Blog Archives

May Round-up

I’d love to say I have loads of fresh news for you since my last post but as with most people, we’ve generally been stuck on repeat. Apart from Dave’s ongoing shed-building. Or “Project Briggy” as I’ve called it.

Here’s a slideshow. I’m most impressed! 😀

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We’ve had several family birthdays since we’ve been in lockdown, including our brother-in-law’s 60th, which would normally have been loudly celebrated with cheer and beer and good music, but I know we’ll do him proud later on when we’re free and able. We did all have individual cakes courtesy of our super-talented niece Alison so we could send pictures to him of us scoffing them and raising a glass or singing Happy Birthday to him via WhatsApp.

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It was also Dave’s birthday this month which we celebrated with a nice Chinese Takeaway and a bottle of wine. I made him a card with pictures of all his favourite things on it as I couldn’t find a suitable enough one in the limited amount of shops open.  

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My good friend Noreen was due to have a party in honour of a big milestone birthday. More belated fun, fizz and cake on the horizon. How will we all cope? 😉 

As for me, well since publication of my second novel If I Ever Doubt You, I’ve been delighted to feature on several lovely blogs, answering questions and sharing photos and book extracts, etc. I’m so grateful for all the support I’ve had. The reviews have been coming in and they are wonderful. Readers are saying how much they are enjoying re-connecting with Rebecca and Alex, having first met them in my debut As Weekends Go.

You don’t have to have read As Weekends Go to enjoy If I Ever Doubt You but hopefully you might decide you want to read them both anyway.  (She says cheekily, fingers crossed …) 😉 

Here are the links to the blogs I’ve been appearing on if you fancy a read. Plus one or two of those brill reviews I mentioned. Thanks galore for all the support.

Books And Me Guest Post

The Day that changed my Life ~ via Morton Gray’s blog

Uplifting Book Extract ~ via Carol Thomas blog

REVIEW

REVIEW

REVIEW

I wanted to also give a shout out to my lovely publisher Choc Lit who organised a virtual literary festival that ran for two weeks and was a resounding success. See the banner below that advertised it. The feedback was great as were all the authors who took part. As you can see there was plenty on offer from both Choc Lit & Ruby Fiction authors.  Bravo! 

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Blooms and tree pics for you to savour this time round, all spotted on our many soul-soothing, scenic walks 😀

Until next time, stay safe and well everyone.

Much love,

Jan X

From My Home to Yours …

I hope this post finds you and all your loved ones safe and healthy and well. Such a  strange, scary, unnerving old time for everyone, isn’t it. Bless those poor souls who have lost their lives. My heart goes out to their families and friends ❤

I was re-reading my previous blog post (written pre-lockdown) about how I’d be reporting back to you on the various family events coming up in April, always a mad month birthdays-wise in our family. As is May.

Little did I know at the time what the next few weeks would bring and how much they would impact all our lives.

Yet for all the negatives and sadness and worry –  perfectly understandable –  I have been reflecting on all the good in my life, who and what is really important. Counting my blessings. As I’m sure a lot of us have.

 

Obviously my husband, strong marriage,  family and friends are at the top of my list of things to be thankful for. I’ve also appreciated the importance of my home. Dave and I live in a maisonette in a densely populated town, albeit on the “slightly” quieter and greener fringes of that town. We’ve lived here a number of years, seen huge changes, met and waved goodbye to various neighbours and witnessed countless dramas.

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Over the last few months I’d begun to feel a bit restless, agitated, less tolerant of the litter, mindless periodic car vandalism the ever-growing traffic, beeping car horns, hollered expletives and general lack of consideration of one or two of our fellow residents. I actually uttered those immortal words to Dave one evening, “It’s not like it used to be round here.”

And then came lockdown.

Now, I’m not saying all of the aforementioned niggles will magic themselves away when things return to normal, whatever normal may be, but I do know that during the extra time we’ve spent indoors and especially the time spent going out for our hourly walks for exercise, or sitting in the garden, that my love for our home and its surroundings has reignited.

Indoors, we’ve had a good old declutter, spring-cleaned and had a mass filing and shredding of paperwork session. Outdoors, we’ve tackled the garden. Dave, unable to work at the moment, has dismantled our decking with plans for a new shed to take its place. Our walks have taken in new local routes I never knew existed. Bridleways and woods full of foliage and blossoms. Hopscotch patterns chalked on pathways, pictures of rainbows in windows, the background sounds of birdsong and children’s laughter as they splash in their paddling pools or play in their gardens, between homeschooling sessions. Less traffic. Fresher air. Bluer sky. An abundance of butterflies (one landed on me – I was so chuffed!) and bumble bees aplenty. Majestic trees, one of which we pass on a certain route, is home to a woodpecker who we now listen out for every day.

Obviously it’s a godsend that we have social media and phones and video calling, etc, so we can all stay in touch, but it has also been wonderful to slow down, give the brain a rest and appreciate those things we either take for granted or never notice.

I know for sure that I’ve been more creative, writing blog posts and a Christmas novella and a few comical odes and ditties . I’m looking forward to the publication of my sequel to As Weekends Go later this month.

Published by Choc Lit, it’s entitled If I Ever Doubt You and here is the blurb and the glorious cover.

She might have scored a celebrity footballer, but the game isn’t over yet …
Rebecca Dunning should be blissfully happy – after a whirlwind weekend, she and top footballer Alex Heath are still going strong. But as the murkier side of the celebrity lifestyle reveals itself, so does the creeping doubt.

Rebecca finds herself isolated in the fake, flashy world of toxic WAG cliques and ruthless reporters, and when a mysterious online admirer follows Alex’s every move, she struggles to cope. Can she keep playing the media game for the man she loves, or will she have to admit defeat?

MORTON POST IIEDY

 

The beautiful blooms below are dedicated to our brilliant NHS and carers and key workers for whom we’ve been clapping and banging our saucepan lids in appreciation of the invaluable work they are doing throughout this pandemic and for all they do in general.

No applause will ever be loud enough. clapping-hands

Thank you.

Stay safe and healthy, everyone ❤

Much love,

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Jan x

 

So pleased to accept a Sunshine Blogger Award – Nominated by Jessie Cahalin

Sunshine-Blogger-AwardNominee

 

The Sunshine Blogger Award allows bloggers to highlight and celebrate their fellow bloggers’ creativity and positivity within the blogging community.

I am thrilled to have been nominated, along with ten other bloggers, by Jessie Cahalin of the fabulous Books in my Handbag blog. Jessie was herself previously nominated. Congratulations!  I love Jessie’s gem of a blog with all its entertaining and engaging features and  value her friendship and support.

Below are the 11 questions set by Jessie for her nominees, with my answers :

Which three photographs would you present to capture your life?  Feel free to include these in this post if you can.

I believe laughter is one of the best tonics in life.  When was the last time you could not stop laughing?

At home last week when Briggy almost did the splits springing off the sofa with cramp in his  lower leg. 

Explain the last act of kindness you showed to a friend or stranger.

Listening to a lady in the hairdressers whose older sister had recently passed away. She just wanted to talk about her.

Do you prefer the winter sun or the summer sun?  Explain your response.

Ooh, that’s a close one, as I do love crisp blue-skied sunny winter days, however, being on holiday in Spain and sitting outside on a terrace, people-watching, on a warm summer’s evening with a long, cool drink in my hand, gets my vote. 

Describe your perfect Saturday evening.

Cozied up on the sofa watching TV with Briggy,  a Chinese takeaway, a bottle of wine and some choccies on the side for afters.

What sorts of characters do you prefer to meet in novels?

Multi-layered ones – open-minded,  fun to be with, resilient and self confident, but able to laugh at themselves and not be afraid to show their emotions. Big-hearted and kind. I don’t want much, do I?  😀

Give one sentence of advice to yourself when you were sixteen.

Know your worth.

Is there a friend from the past you would love to get in touch with and why?

Not really. I think I’m still in touch with most of them in some way or other.

What is your food heaven and food hell?

Food heaven is one of Briggy’s fabulous Sunday roast dinners with extra crispy roast potatoes and all the trimmings. Food hell would be anything garlicky.

Share your favourite recipe.

I wish I could say I enjoyed cooking but truth is I’m not really that adventurous or experimental. I do bake a mean Victoria sponge though. Briggy would also sing the praises of my cauliflower cheese (extra thick sauce with added chopped leeks).

The cake recipe I follow is hereBBC GOOD FOOD

If you could travel back in time where would you visit and who would you take with you?

Being a huge fan of the film Grease, I’d love to experience being a teenager in the 1950’s, like my parents. The music, the fashions, the lack of cars on the roads, the sense of hope and new beginnings after the second world war. A new Queen.  Obviously it wasn’t all sweetness and light – what era is? – but it did seem a safer, more innocent time to be alive. Obviously I’d take Briggy with me. I could teach him to jive!

 

I nominate these lovely people for a Sunshine Blogger Award 🙂

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Christine Stovell

Sharon Goodwin

Elle Turner

Rose McClelland

Sue Fortin

Kathryn Freeman

Morton S Gray

Nicola Cassidy

Heather Smith

Samantha Tonge

Sharon Booth

Big cheers for you all.  I love your blogs and you fully deserve  recognition for your  supportive, engaging, inspiring, creative and motivational posts. Please don’t feel obliged to respond, but if you do choose to accept the Sunshine Blogger Award nomination, there are a few little rules:

  • Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you and link back to their blog.
  • Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you.
  • List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award in your blog post.
  • Nominate 11 new bloggers & their blogs. Do leave a comment on their blog to let them know they received the award and ask your nominees 11 new questions.

 

Here are the 11 new questions for my nominees:

 

What are the best and worst gifts you’ve ever received?

Who is the celebrity you’d most like to share a 100 mile taxi ride with and why?

If you could interview any author past or present, who would it be and why?

What’s the most nerve-racking thing you’ve ever done in your life?

What’s your idea of the perfect holiday?

What do you find best helps you to relax, de-stress and re-focus? 

Which song triggers happy memories for you and why?

Who is the fictional hero you’d most like to spring to life before your eyes?

Which city in the world would you most like to visit?

What’s your favourite food treat/indulgence (however big or small) ?

Which three words best describe you?

 

Until next time,

With much love,

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Jan X