Blog Tour Book Review: A Jersey Dreamboat, by Georgina Troy

The third instalment of the captivating Jersey Scene series…jersey dreamboat

 Izzy and her best friend Jess are badly let down when a Jersey socialite, who has agreed to hire their entire vintage party stock for her upcoming wedding, decides to elope instead – leaving the girls with no bookings and no money.

Feeling despondent, the girls try a night out to cheer themselves up, and meet the captivating and aristocratic Ed, who invites the girls on a cruise to Nice on his yacht, together with his two brothers. Romance builds on the luxury trip, but when a last-minute wedding booking is offered, the girls must return to Jersey, and real life has to begin again …or has it?

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Book Review: How I Wonder What You Are, by Jane Lovering

Maybe he wasn’t here because of the lights – maybe they were here because of him …

how i wonder what you are

It’s been over eighteen months since Molly Gilchrist has had a man (as her best friend, Caro, is so fond of reminding her) so when she as good as stumbles upon one on the moors one bitterly cold morning, it seems like the Universe is having a laugh at her expense.

But Phinn Baxter (that’s Doctor Phinneas Baxter) is no common drunkard, as Molly is soon to discover; with a PhD in astrophysics and a tortured past that is a match for Molly’s own disastrous love life.

Finding mysterious men on the moors isn’t the weirdest thing Molly has to contend with, however. There’s also those strange lights she keeps seeing in the sky. The ones she’s only started seeing since meeting Phinn …

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World Suicide Prevention Day: Top 15 Empowering Songs When You Need a Pick-Me-Up

In the spirit of World Suicide Prevention Day, I wanted to share with you some empowering songs, that are great for when you need a little pick-me-up. What I love most about music is how incredibly emotive it is, and these are the songs on my empowering playlist, that I really find can help give you that extra little kick of strength when you need it most. Continue reading

World Suicide Prevention Day: What It Means To Me

Today, September 10th, is World Suicide Prevention Day. Of all causes out there in the world, this is one of the very closest to my heart, as someone who has both battled with severe depression, and lost a family member to suicide.

It is also particularly prominent to me as it is 5 years ago this week, on the 13th, since my life was turned upside down, and my depression entirely took over my life. To say these 5 years have been a roller coaster would be a complete understatement.

I have been lower than I ever knew to be humanly possible. I have lived inside the darkness, where for months on end I simply could not see a possible future past that day, that week, and certainly not that year. I have had times where I have been unable to get out of bed, let alone leave the house. Over this time I have punished myself by starving myself for days on end, purging every single thing I ate, and slicing hundreds, possibly thousands, of cuts into my body. I have weighed less than a child, seen my bones, and still hated myself for being ‘fat.’ I have carved into my wrist drunkenly with a kitchen knife, and taken two overdoses which hospitalised me, each time feeling even more broken for failing.

While I have been on the slow and treacherous road to recovery over the last couple of years, never once did I actually think I’d be where I have arrived in the last few months. For the first time in my entire life, I can look in a mirror and not despise what I see. In fact, there are times I actually think I look nice. Yes, there are lumps and bumps there that I don’t like, but for the first time, I’m still gonna eat that damn pizza, or that whole tub of ice cream, if I damn well feel like it. Or whatever the hell I want. And maybe I’ll go for a run tomorrow to compensate, but maybe I won’t. But I’m not gonna torture myself either way.

For the first time, I do not feel guilty for simply being me. I no longer have an overwhelming sense that I am a horrible, pathetic person, who is worthless, and nothing but a burden to those around me.

In fact, I know myself to be a loving, loyal and caring person. I will go above and beyond for my friends and family. I am someone who is, or at least can be, fun to be around. Hell, at times I think I’m damn right hilarious! I also finally know that I deserve to be loved and cared for too. I have skills and talents. I am able to set myself goals for my future, like writing my book, like getting married and having a family, because I can finally see myself actually having a future, one where I am happy and loved and deserve to be so.

I am also no longer ashamed to talk about where I was, because I am proud of how far I have come. I see the scars on my body and they are a reminder that I was stronger than what tried to destroy me. They are my battle scars and they remind me that I won the battle.

I am not what happened to me. I am not what you made me and I am not what you did. I am what I choose to be. And I choose to be happy, and fearless, and beautiful, and loved; just the way I am.

And right now? Sure, I’m not where I thought I’d be when I mapped out my life as a kid, or at school. Hell, I’m freshly single at 24, with barely a clue what the hell I wanna do in life. But I feel strong, and fearless, and empowered and amazing. There are so many things I want to do and see and read and taste in this crazy, beautiful world we live in, and I am excited to get out there and do it all. For the first time I can hand on heart say: I love my life. I have an incredible family and network of friends, as well as this unbelievable online community, all of whom mean the world to me, and I can count on for support. I am lucky enough to live on this absolutely amazing little island, surrounded by beaches and beauty. I don’t know where I’m going yet, or exactly what I’m doing, and that is so totally okay. Because it’s going to be an amazing journey getting there, and I plan to have one hell of a ride!

To any one who is still going through that darkness:

When you are not able to see a way out, I promise you it is still there. Believe me, I know, I know – it’s almost impossible to believe someone who says it – I used to think the same. ‘That’s great for you, but it’s just not gonna happen for me,’ was what I thought when I read stories of recovery and coming out the other side. But I promise you, it is 100% within your grasp. It is going to be difficult, and long and there are times you will slip but that is totally okay. You’ll get there. And even when you are there, you may still have bad days, but again: that is totally okay. You’re human. We are fragile, and we are allowed to feel down, and weak and sad at times. Even without reason. More than anything, I urge you to talk to someone. A friend, a family member, a therapist or a helpline. Sometimes it’s easier talking to a total stranger.
Here’s the number for the Samaritans: 08457 909090, or alternatively please feel free to email me here, and I promise I will always be there to talk or listen.

Just don’t go through this on your own. You are not alone, not ever, no matter how much it feels that way.

And no matter how much you can’t see it, the following things never cease to be true:

  • You are beautiful.
  • You matter.
  • You are unique.
  • No one else can play your part.
  • You are loved.
  • You would be missed.
  • Life goes on.

I’ll see you tomorrow xxx

Tomorrow15-ProfileImageRIP Dusty, you are forever missed xxxxx

Blog Tour Book Review: The Riviera, by Karen Aldous

The journey is only as good as its end…

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The blurb:

It’s been a hard journey, but Lizzie Lambert’s life is a Provençal dream come true. Her business is wildly successful, and with her little boy and the love of her life, Cal, she is making a beautiful home on the vineyard for their blended family.

But when Cal goes to America to support his son through a teenage crisis, it becomes clear the kid’s not the only one with some growing up to do: Cal’s glamorous ex-wife wants to get her claws in him again. As Cal spends longer and longer away, Lizzie wonders, was it all too good to be true?

Escape to Provence with Karen Aldous’ The Riviera, the perfect read for an idyllic summer.

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Book Review: The Vineyard, by Karen Aldous

the vineyardThe Blurb:

It’s been five years, and Lizzie Lambert has decided it’s time to try to make things right with her estranged mother.

She’s made a success of things in Cannes, she’s bringing up a lovely little boy on her own, and she’s ready to put the past behind her.

But it seems Lizzie’s mother has moved on as well. She’s moved her toyboy – a muscle-bound vintner named Cal – into the family home, and given him the run of the land that was meant to be Lizzie’s inheritance!

Cal’s wine business frequently takes him to France, and suddenly wherever Lizzie goes, he’s already there – meddling, giving unsolicited advice, saving her little boy’s life and stealing her heart. But none of this changes the fact that he’s her mother’s lover…

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Monthly Wrap Up: August 2015

I am Rubbish.

Yet again, I have to put my hands up and say I am absolutely shit. I know it, you know it, lately it feels like the universe knows it and is floating around taunting me with whispers in my ear of how unproductive I’ve been, and that I’m the worst blogger in the world, but I just can’t help it. Having resolved to get over my reading slump in August and get back on track, I think, if anything, I actually read less. So, yes, I am totally useless, and very, very sorry. I blame the wine, it calls to me. However, my bank balance is not on such good terms with the wine as I am, so I think I am really going to HAVE to reign it in this month, whether I want to or not, so I should find myself back on track! Although I do plan to go back into my writing cave for the next week or so, so the reading may still take a back seat for now. We’ll see.

Granny Hair

CNeloYxXAAAoPim

Okay, so I did my original Silver Fox look at the very end of July, but I’ve gone a bit darker now so it’s more of a grey-silver (with a slight hint of a blue rinse, but shhh!) but seriously, I am so in love with it that I had to include it as one of my highlights of the month, even if that seems silly. I’ve wanted silver hair for several years now and I’m just so happy to have finally done it!

Weekend Away

I wouldn’t normally go into such detail, but honestly, last weekend was just AWESOME and I’m feeling very soppy about it all and how much I love my besties, so thought I’d do a bit of a write up.

For the Bank Holiday weekend, I went back to Devon, where I lived for 6 years, to catch up with my friends. I think it’s going to go down as one of the best weekends EVER. We just had so much fun, and I hardly ever stopped laughing. It was a very busy weekend, but it was just brilliant. My best friend Fran and I have ‘our boys’, Tom and Niall, so the four of us and Fran’s other half, Nick, just had such a proper Summer weekend, despite not having the best Summer weather!

Friday we had a girls day in Plymouth once she picked me up from the airport, then met the boys for dinner and drinks in my beloved Wetherspoons in the evening. Wine was drunk, fun was had, Taylor Swift was danced too, and we took 99 selfies. Literally, that’s how many photos were on my phone from that night – and that’s just my phone! They were all super attractive too, as I’m sure you can imagine!! Given both boys were driving, they do pretty well at taking mine and Fran’s crap, and don’t need telling twice to get up and dance to Taylor Swift with us. We’ve trained them well.

fran and me with boys faces

Saturday, we all went for lunch then went to a wake boarding park, which is something I never knew existed before, but was seriously cool, and I definitely recommend it. While you were waiting, there were paddle boards and kayaks to use in the lake, so the boys all did some stand-up paddle boarding – with some efforts to knock each other over! – while Fran and I shared one board, sitting cross legged, while gently paddling around singing Pocahontas songs. Obvs. It was amazing. Then the wake-boarding itself was equal parts terrifying, brilliant and hilarious, and I absolutely loved it – what a thrill! I managed to get the knack of it pretty quickly which was great, especially as I’d been so scared, so I was really pleased about that. They also served some of the most amazing hot chocolate afterwards, which finished the afternoon off perfectly.

suitswetboarding

Saturday night was probably the most horrendously Devonshire event I’ve ever been too. Seriously. After being coerced into going to ‘a bonfire,’ which actually sounded pretty cool to me, that is definitely not quite what this turned out to be. It started out all well and good, we had burger van food, candy floss and ice creams (it really was not a good weekend for the waistline!!), then after hanging around for a while, they had some very bad entertainment, then played episodes of Trumpton on a big screen. I have never heard of said show before in my life, and it’s ridiculous. It’s laughably bad, and boy did we laugh. We were then promised the BEST PYROTECHNICS SHOW YOU HAVE EVER SEEN. No pressure then. After an agonisingly long wait between poor entertainments, there was a fireworks display which, to be fair, was fairly impressive, as some things were set to music, then the miniature version of Trumpton which had been built over the last two years, was burned down. Kind of weird and sadistic, but cool, whatevs. What the organisers hadn’t foreseen, was that the wind carried the embers of the burning buildings towards us, and basically the rest of the show couldn’t really be enjoyed as you were jumping around trying to avoid the raining embers and almost certain death. I’m not even joking, there were pieces of wood still on freaking fire, falling down around our heads. It was probably one of the scariest things I’ve ever seen. Health and safety for the win. Or not.

tom all embers

Somehow we escaped the impending doom, and retreated to the campsite to stay the night. The following morning started with bacon (and fake-n) sarnies in the tent, followed by a farm tour in the rain, which was awesome. I met some beautiful horses, which absolutely made my day. We went for another pub lunch (whole baked Camembert, YUM!) before parting ways and returning to Fran’s to regroup before I headed back out to Spoons to cram in a catch up with other friends. When my friend Ry arrived, the Prosecco quickly appeared, and four bottles later we stumbled into taxis clutching cheesy chips after a very, very good night.

A slightly fragile Monday morning saw breakfast with one of my other very best friends, who I hadn’t seen for about 3 years, so that was wonderful, then a day of shopping in Exeter before catching my flight back to Jersey in the afternoon. Honestly, it was just one of the best weekends of my life, and I don’t think I have continuously laughed and smiled so much in a long time. These guys mean the world to me, and I don’t know what I’d do without them. I love how we can be so diverse and varied in what we do together, and that we’re all happy to go along with what anyone wants – even risking (almost) certain death! I miss them so much when I’m back home, but it’s great to have weekends like this that remind me it doesn’t matter how far away they are or how long we go without seeing each other, we’re best friends and that doesn’t change.

bestfriends besties

August in Books

As previously mentioned, I have been absolutely shit, and this pathetic effort is all I managed to read this month. I hang my head in shame. Although what I did read was fab, so that’s good, and quite a varied selection of styles too. But this is definitely the least I’ve read in a very long time, certainly since I started blogging.

25263264 cover71669-medium 25487640 the vineyard

Books Releases to Get Excited About in September

I am actually seriously psyched about September’s book releases. Not only is there a new Nic Tatano, meaning a new snarky red head for me to love and adore, but later this month sees the start of the Christmas book releases! I shouldn’t be this excited in September, but I am, and I don’t care. First up on my list is Christmas at Lilac Cottage by the amazing Holly Martin, and you just know it’s going to be adorable – look at that cover, for chrissake!! I’ve also been really excited about A Parcel for Anna Browne for quite a while, as I’ve watched Miranda’s own excitement on Twitter and shared in that with her, so I can’t wait to get stuck into that one too.

stirred with love cover girl The Beachside Guest HouseThe Misadventures of a Playground Mother A Parcel for Anna Browne Christmas at Lilac Cottage

Stirred With Love – September 3rd

Cover Girl – September 3rd

The Beachside Guest House – September 10th

The Misadventures of a Playground Mother – September 11th

A Parcel for Anna Browne – September 24th

Christmas at Lilac Cottage – September 25th

Books I Plan to Read in September

I’m not setting myself much of a target as it never seems to go to plan lately!! So I’m just going to do what I can, but here’s a few at the top of the TBR:

25618905 stirred with love  cover69679-medium

What are you looking forward to this month?

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