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Summer Summary …

Mid-July. Seems mad to be saying that but here we are and I’ve snippets aplenty to share with you since my last update.

After some worrisome humps and bumps in the road, I’m so pleased to report that I’ve finally submitted my sequel to As Weekends Go to Choc Lit   HOORAY!   Such a relief. I just hope they like the story enough to give it a Yay instead of a Nay. Keep your fingers crossed for me, dear friends.

Talking of Choc Lit , they celebrated their 10th birthday in June. What an achievement. It’s a delight to be part of such a solid, successful, professional team. We all celebrated online by posting our various good wishes and congratulatory messages and photos with our books and the glorious cupcakes we were kindly sent which can only be described as didn’t-touch-the-sides delicious. Thank you, Choc Lit

A raft of family birthdays including an 18th and a 21st (our lovely nieces) were much celebrated. Amidst all the partying, I managed another London walk (diamond-studded London) with Mum and my great friend Noreen. I love these walks, always so entertaining and informative. London Walks Diamond Studded London Mum and I also visited the Charles Dickens Museum (both great fans)  in Doughty Street, Bloomsbury, where Oliver Twist was penned. We spent a good couple of hours browsing the family rooms and soaking up the history and memorabilia.

Another event I enjoyed tremendously in early June was a day spent with my bestie Clare at the 3 Principles Conference in Hendon. Clare introduced me to self-help techniques and mindfulness of which I’ve become a huge fan. I’m always open to anything that helps to quieten my mind when it’s cluttered with meddlesome muddled thoughts. Before attending the conference, I’d read a couple of books about the 3 Principles (mind, consciousness, thought) including Somebody Should Have Told Us by Jack Pransky  to gain a basic understanding. Listen to the speakers’ own experiences and explanations, however, brought a deeper appreciation as well as great comfort. 

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Later in June, Dave and I went on holiday to Spain with my parents. We stayed in gorgeous Los Boliches (halfway between Malaga & Marbella) an area we all know and love. A brilliant time was had by all which made it extra special given Dad’s past health worries. Lots of lounging, laughter, good food and the “occasional” tipple was just the tonic we all needed.

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The first Saturday of July saw our annual pilgramage to the Old Coulsdon Village fete. Always a joy and a super sunny day to boot. Classic cars, dog show, tombola, you get the picture. We love it!

Just last week, Dave and I took ourselves off to Wimbledon on the tram. Glorious sunshine and a short walk up leafy Wimbledon Hill Road brought us to the village. We crossed the common to beautiful Cannizaro Park, walked round the flower gardens and the Italian garden before grabbing a coffee on the terrace of the Hotel du Vin (Cannizaro House). A browse round the lovely independent shops and a pit stop at the handinhand pub completed our jaunt.

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And so to what I’ve read over the last few weeks …

Quite a few books of different genres (including three on holiday) so here are the reads that particularly sparkled for me.

Blooms are in abundance at the moment, but this stunning bougainvillea we saw in Spain takes top spot on the blog this time around.

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Until next time, enjoy the sunshine and the rest of the summer.

Much love,

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Xx

 

Summer Round-up

Well, what a glorious summer we’ve had, eh? My flip-flops waved the white flag when it hit 34 degrees. And now in mid-September, between the storms, the sun’s still occasionally flirting with us.

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Help, Help …!

 

Weather aside, since my last post in the spring it has felt like the ultimate seesaw ride.

We all celebrated Dad’s 80th birthday at the end of April. He wasn’t feeling 100% but did manage to enjoy a slice of cake.

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Soon after this, Dad fell very ill and had to spend some time in hospital having a barrage of tests, scans, you name it, the conclusion being that he will need some medical TLC. Fast forward five months and we’re hopefully about to learn when that will actually be. While Dad has had periods of feeling brighter, and will, in time we’re sure, be fighting fit again, it has really brought home to the whole family how much we love and value both him and Mum and how protective of them we all are.

Amidst the fog of concern, June, July and August did also provide a generous dose of family and friends fun and laughter, including our nephew Andy’s 30th birthday drinks, a sunny day trip to Brighton (remind me to never drink double gin and tonics again!) and cheering on an inspired England in the World Cup (“we love you, Southgate, we do …“)

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World Cup 2018: Well if you’re gonna fly a flag, it may as well be a massive one!

Briggy and I also ventured to Bournemouth and Poole for a couple of days which did us both the world of good. Sunshine all the way, a sightseeing bus tour plus boat trip, plenty of good food and drinks, a mooch round the harbour and potteries and a lovely B&B in which to rest our weary bones at the end of each day. Bliss!

 

I’m a huge fan of walking and find it really helps with the dreaded anxiety and flat days. I’ve been on quite a few of the guided London tours via Walks.com . No pre-booking, you just turn up at the specified meeting place (always by a tube station exit), hook up with your knowledgeable, friendly guide and away you go. This summer, I did the Little Venice tour and the Swanky Old Mayfair tour, both of which were thoroughly enjoyable.

 

This summer also saw my publisher Choc Lit  celebrate 9 years in business. Proud to be part of such a friendly, supportive, professional (and in my case, patient!) team.

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In August came a short visit to see our Uncle in Grantham (or thereabouts) whose house overlooks a huge field where we did some hare-spotting. I never realised they were THAT big or had such massive ears! We were also treated to this spectacular sunset. UFO-like or what?

UFO SUNSET

More recently, my best friend Clare and I stayed overnight in London near Westminster after a day spent being hurled around in our seats (me shrieking and laughing all the way!) courtesy of ThamesJet.com . Donning our waterproofs and life-jackets, a 50-minute ride saw us take in the sights up close and personal, cameras clicking, until we cleared Tower Bridge whereby we zoomed off, twisting and turning, arms raised in excitement (in Clare’s case) me white-knuckled and gripping the hand rail, daring myself to open my eyes. That said, although I was WAY out of my comfort zone doing this, I’m so glad I did as it was well worth it.  Our reward afterwards for being so brave was a nice stroll along the South Bank and a hunk of yummy carrot cake.  It was great to spend some quality time with Clare. She’s a gem. Much scoffing and quaffing and hilarious reminiscing.

A few pics …

 

The bundle of absolute joy that is our great-nephew Henry has us not quite believing that he is already six months old. He’ll be walking and talking before we know it.

Too cute!

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A summer awash with blooms I’m glad to report.

 

Not much writing done, sadly, but it’ll come, I know it will. I’m viewing every paragraph written as a few words nearer to submission day.

Books I’ve read include the following:

Take Me I’m Yours (A Wisconsin Love Story) by Lizzie Lamb ~ As ever with Lizzie’s novels, her wonderful words transport me to a magically vivid setting, in this case, the much-coveted Macfarlane’s Landing in Wisconsin, where I meet a gorgeous go-getting, gutsy heroine – one India Jane Buchanan – and a hero who makes the heart pound … Well hello, Logan Macfarlane …  Fast-paced, sizzling chemistry, family feuds and past dramas and secrets that contrive to keep India and Logan apart, with a top cast of supporting characters who all want their say. You won’t be disappointed.

Practical Mindfulness – a  step-by-step guide by Consultant Ken. A. Verni, Psy. D. ~ An easy to follow book (with illustrations) for anyone looking to embrace a more mindful approach to life. Offers a wealth of supportive, encouraging tips, examples and exercises to help with anxiety and depression. Well set out, interesting and informative. A guide you can return to as and when the need arises. Very calming.

 

I have two books I’m planning on reading next, one being Kathryn Freeman’s Oh Crumbs , the other Jessie Cahalin’s debut You Can’t Go It Alone . Both novels have some cracking reviews so I’m looking forward immensely to reading both and reporting back.

 

Until next time,

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Love Jan  X