Saturday 6 December 2014

Christmas Tree Dilemma

This is last year's Christmas tree. There are no doors to our conservatory, it leads onto the living room and dining area, so I can't close it off in anyway to keep Jarvis from, shall we say, snooping!

So far he's decided that Rob's Ipad cover, various cushions, books (yes, books!) and my glasses are fair game, so I'm a bit concerned about glass baubles on the tree and even the more child-friendly wooden ones!

He's also a bit taller than Max  and incredibly inquisitive, so not only can he reach further, he wants to check everything out and then eat it.

Maybe the hallway will be the place for the tree this year?

The Christmas tree will only be up for a few weeks though and I'm a little concerned about the how to deal with the safety of all the books in the ??? bookcases I have throughout the house?

Life's Lemons & Lemonade

It's been seven months since my last blog post and in that time my family have gone through a few changes, the most noticeable one and one that was utterly heart breaking for all of us was the loss of our beloved, Max after two weeks illness and two operations. Now, this is not going to be a sad post - I think those of you that follow me on Facebook will have had more than enough of those.

Max was my companion for 11 1/2 years. He sat and dozed next to me in the shed as I wrote seven books. He interrupted me every so often wanting to go for a walk, a wee, or for something to eat and it made me step away from the laptop and ensure that I was also present in the real world as well as in my imaginary one. Whenever I wasn't at work he was with me, or walking on the beach with Rob. I've posted many pictures of him on this site and even now, two months after he died, I can't type this without crying. Sigh, I really need to stop this!

Days after Max died when I was in the very depths of my heartbreak, panic and loss, a very wise man suggested I think about getting another dog. I thought he was completely mad and told my husband what he'd said, which was that I had a huge amount of love to give a pet/companion and although I couldn't save all the dogs needing loving homes out there, I could save one. Rob looked up The Company of Dogs, a charitable non-profit making group in Jersey who rescue dogs from Spain's kill stations and bring them home - after they've been given health checks, been chipped, etc - and try to place them with forever homes. We saw pictures of Jarvis Leviticus, Zachariah Wilkinson!!! on their site, were home checked by them, and adopted him.

I was very nervous about bringing another dog into my home. I'd only ever had puppies before and what if he didn't like us, or if I couldn't get used to him after spending so many years used to one dog that I adored. We needn't have worried. He fitted in here very quickly and although he's taller than Max and so can reach items on the kitchen table... and it's like living with an excitable toddler who's woken up and found himself in a sweetshop, he is utterly adorable. He'll never take the place of my beloved Max, but he's his own character and already I can see that we made the very best decision when we adopted him.

So, you see, this post might have had the occasional wobble, but it ended up being a happy one!

Friday 9 May 2014

Liberation Day

It's Liberation Day here in Jersey. You can't miss the daily reminders of the Occupation of Jersey - bunkers are dotted all over the island. On 9 May 1945 Jersey was liberated, and for the past 69 years the islanders have celebrated this historical date with services, a day off work, raising flags, and thinking about how it was for those trying to survive living with the enemy through the Occupation, and those that left everything behind as they hurried to avoid the arrival of the Nazis.

The Prime Minister’s words announced the end to the war in Europe and the “unconditional surrender of all German land, sea and air forces in Europe”. When, amidst great cheers across the Island, he uttered the words, “our dear Channel Islands are also to be freed today”, he confirmed to an elated Jersey that their liberation was finally to become a reality. Excerpt taken from:

This photo was taken this morning of our flags and although it's a little overcast, it will be sunny later - it's always sunny on Liberation Day!

Sunday 16 March 2014

Spring & World Book Night

It's Spring. I love this time of  year, even though it's sometimes difficult to find the time to simply sit and 'be' to appreciate everything. It's probably my second favourite time of year - I adore the summer - and I love watching everything come to life, especially after a long, wet and windy winter. As well as the new season, I'm also starting a new job and I've begun writing a new book. So, I'm moving into a new phase personally, too. Exciting stuff!

I can never understand people  complaining about having nothing to do in their spare time. "Spare time, what's that?" I hear you ask. I always seem to have too many things to do each day, never mind not enough and even if I'm not writing, I'm reading someone else's book. Which reminds me, I'm going to be a World Book Night Giver again this year - 23 April - and the book I've been allocated is Jeffrey Archer's, Four Warned. It wasn't my first, or even second choice, but I love taking part. This will be the second time I've been a giver and I'm looking forward to it. I'm also going to be a Community Giver and will give out a book of my choice.

What are you enjoying, or looking forward to this Spring?

Wednesday 29 January 2014

The Classic Makeover Story

Today, I'm welcoming a good friend, wonderful writer and fellow Novelicious team member, Jennifer Joyce, to the shed to tell us about her hilarious book, A Beginner's Guide to Salad.

There are loads of makeover films and books out there. You know the type: geeky/plain/overweight girl is madly in love with the hero. He isn’t interested. He’s probably got a stick-thin, beautiful girlfriend anyway.

Cue the makeover!

Our heroine loses her glasses/weight and plasters on a load of make-up. Look at her! She’s stunning! Who knew? Certainly not our hero, but he knows it now. He suddenly notices her, his jaw drops as he begins to fall in love with our gorgeous swan. His elbow juts out to despatch with the stick-thin, beautiful girlfriend. She was probably a cow, anyway. He takes our heroine in his arms and kisses her before they walk off into the sunset to live happily ever after.

How sweet.

But wait a minute. What was wrong with our heroine before? She was smart and funny and our hero would be damn lucky to be with her. What happened to beauty being skin deep? Does that only count after the makeover?

When I wrote A Beginner’s Guide To Salad, I wanted to throw away the old formula. I wanted our heroine (Ruth, in this case) to be loved for who she is, fat or thin. Because Ruth is a fantastic woman who deserves the hero, who deserves to be accepted for who she is. Because who she is, in my opinion, is pretty fab. With or without a makeover.

Jennifer Joyce is a writer of romantic comedies who lives in Manchester with her husband and their two daughters. A Beginner’s Guide To Salad is her first novel.

You can find out more about Jennifer and her books at

or follow her on twitter: @Writer_Jenn

Friday 24 January 2014

Reading Books, Writing Books

Here's a picture of a sign a lovely friend sent to me recently. I wanted to include it in a post and then realized that I hadn't blogged since September and that's far too long. It made me think back to why I'd been such a tardy blogger last year. 2013 was a funny old year... well sometimes not that funny, but full of ups and downs.

I was made redundant from my wonderful job at at the end of June which was sad, but spent four months of one of the best summers on record being able to write at home - that was FANTASTIC!

Throughout 2013 I had a great time being part of the incredible Novelicious team, and was able to read/review some brilliant novels through the year, as well as interview talented authors for the Alternative Thursday slot. I've spent a lot of time working on my 'other' project, which has been an enormous learning curve, but great fun, and I've met many writer friends because if it and hopefully I'll be able to link it with this page at some point.

I love the 'unknown' and am looking forward to this coming year, reviewing books for, getting to know more fabulous writers through their novels, as well as writing my next book - so, what are you looking forward to in 2014?