25 July 2016

Interview with Author Bella Osborne

 

Willow Cottage - Sunshine and Secrets* by Bella Osborne
"Beth is running away. With her young son Leo to protect, Willow Cottage is the lifeline she so desperately needs. Overlooking the village green in a beautiful Cotswolds idyll, Beth sees a safe place for little Leo.
When she finally uncovers the cottage from underneath the boughs of a weeping willow tree, Beth realises this is far more of a project than she bargained for and the locals are more than a little eccentric! A chance encounter with gruff Jack, who appears to be the only male in the village under thirty, leaves the two of them at odds but it’s not long before Beth realises that Jack has hidden talents that could help her repair more than just Willow Cottage.
Over the course of four seasons, Beth realises that broken hearts can be mended, and sometimes love can be right under your nose…"

I am super happy today to have an interview with the really awesome author Bella Osborne.  Her new book is such a lovely read that is just great for these lovely sunny days we have been having lately.
I hope you really enjoy the interview and you can buy the book from Amazon now.

1.  I loved this story; it was just so charming and sweet.  For anyone who hasn’t read the book yet, can you tell us a little bit about it?
Firstly, many thanks, Emma, for having me on your blog today.
At the core of the story is the friendship between Beth and Carly and the story interchanges between the two of them.
Beth and her young son are running away and find themselves in a beautiful Cotswold’s village miles from London and everything that is familiar to them.  When she finally uncovers the cottage, which she bought on a whim, from underneath the boughs of a weeping willow tree Beth realises this is far more of a project than she bargained for. The locals are more than a little eccentric and Beth’s first encounter with Jack, who appears to be the only male under thirty, doesn’t go well.
Carly is desperate to have her fairy-tale wedding but as Fergus is busy gaming and quite happy with how things are she has more than a challenge on her hands. 
As both women face more difficulties they both have to fight for what really matters.


2.  What was the inspiration behind the book, have you ever done any DIY cottage makeovers?
My publishers were keen to build on the success of my first book ‘It Started At Sunset Cottage’ but this time they wanted the cottage to be the main focus of the story.
I’ve not been lucky enough to live in an old property like Willow Cottage but I did once buy a repossession, which was a bargain but needed a lot of work so I’ve done my fair share of DIY!


3.  The book features an array of eccentric characters that I think bring so much humour to the story, who was your favourite character to write?
That is so hard to answer – it’s akin to asking which of your children do you love the most!
Fergus and Shirley are probably the characters that surprised me. They are secondary characters so their back stories were not as well defined when I started writing. They both quickly developed and presented me with fascinating histories that I was only too pleased to write into the story.


4.  The book is coming out in four short instalments.  Can you tell us what the other three books will be called and when they will be released?
Following Part One ‘Sunshine and Secrets’ we have Part Two ‘Christmas Cheer’ on 20th October.
Part Three ‘A Spring Awakening’ will be available 2nd March 2017 with the final instalment, Part Four ‘Summer Delights’ out on 4th May 2017.
The full paperback that pulls it all together into one book is also out in May 2017.


5.  You have chosen to publish this book in a really new and exciting way, was that something you have always wanted to do rather than a traditional format for all your books?
It was something that my publisher suggested as an approach they would like to try with me and that they had seen work well for other authors. It sounded exciting so I was more than willing to give it go.


6.  The four instalments of your book will only be available in an eBook format to begin with.  I know a lot of authors are still wary of what eBooks mean for them. Do you feel it’s a format that you really want to embrace?
Absolutely. I was originally signed by Harper Impulse, which is a digital first imprint of HarperCollins, so without eBooks I would not have been published. It is an excellent way for publishers to take on new writers without the high costs of traditional publishing.
Also in a day and age where we want instant gratification the ability to quickly download a story to your eReader and immediately start reading it is so convenient for busy people – me included!


7.  For anyone out there reading this who would love to become a published author, what would your advice for them be?
Make time to write. If you really want to write, then something else has to give; be it social media, the latest addictive game on your mobile, television, sleep or the cleaning – trust me in a year’s time you won’t regret not having done those things but you will regret not having found time to write.
Seek out other writers. I can’t explain how brilliant it feels to be around other writers. I would recommend joining groups, courses and the myriad of genre writing associations. I joined the Romantic Novelists Association on their New Writer’s Scheme and I have learned so much from their events, met some amazing writers and made some terrific friends.

20 July 2016

Changing To a Plant Based Diet...



So I’m not a big sharer, not in a you can’t have my sweets way I’ve always been pretty on point with that but in a personal life way.  I’m not the best at this in real life with people I don’t know, so in my online life I’ve been even worse. I’m naturally a really shy person so I always feel super hesitant to put any of myself out there on my blog.  It’s not that I don’t want to its just that it doesn’t come that natural to me I guess.

I’ve tried so many times on my blog to put into words more personal posts but I always end up deleting them as I can never get them to sound just right.

But I decided this year for my blog I wanted to try harder at this.  I’m not gonna lie I’m still not going to be that TMI girl over here but hopefully with the new posts that I’m going to start sharing you will feel like you can all get to know me a little bit better.  I want to make the lifestyle section of my blog bigger and better and start writing some posts on some things that I love and that will hopefully help you learn a bit more about me too.

One of the biggest aspects of my life over the last few years that I guess I haven’t even really mentioned on here is that I have completely overhauled and changed my lifestyle and diet and I thought that would be the best place to start with these new posts. This is probably the thing that I’m the worst at talking about or putting into words, so why not go in head first right? Haha!

Around three years ago I started to look into plant based diets.  It is the longest story of how I ended up getting to that point (maybe another one of these posts on that soon if you’re interested?) but long story short because of my health I decided to look into changing my diet to this way of living and see if it might be able to  help with my symptoms that I was experiencing and maybe it would be able to help me feel all around better.

The biggest problem for me was that I had no interest or knowledge in food, like zero.  I ate the plainest, simplest food and put no thought into it.  I just didn’t care.  I have never been a ‘foodie’ it just never interested me, food shows on TV bored me and if anyone cooked me a fancy meal I would always rather a plate of chips or a pizza.  I never ate terrible, my diet was probably as average as it comes, just boring and normal I guess.

So once I started to look into a plant based diet it was like a light bulb moment for me, I felt like finally this was the thing that would help my body and I hoped so much that this would leave me clear of all the health troubles I had been having (again I’ll cover all that in another post if you guys want so you can get the full picture) it felt like this real big light of hope that I would finally feel better and I knew there and then that I would have to tackle this head on. 

So what I decided was to just learn, learn and then learn even more.  I had to basically teach myself about my health, my food and how this way of life could quite possibly change mine.

I wanted to start off with this post as I never wanted to talk about any of this before on here because I wanted to give myself a while to settle in to this way of eating before showing and telling you guys about it.  I feel like even though everyday is a learning curve I think that I have some fun things that I can share with you all who are maybe going through a similar lifestyle change.

 The biggest reason why I wanted to share my story and 'journey' to steal X factor's favourite phrase, is because if your considering changing your diet to plant based for health reasons or any other reason I guess and you feel like that mountain is too hard to climb I want to tell you that if I, someone with genuinely no knowledge what so ever of food and cooking can manage to learn what I’ve leant and educate myself on this way of living then anyone that wants  to do it, can.

I want to take you all along with me on my plant based eating life and show you the things I’ve learned, any advice I can pass on and my favourite things to eat.

Look at these posts as a sort of beginners guide to plant based eating if you will; I will cover the basics and be brutally honest about the whole thing.  I think that’s what I found the hardest when I started trying to find out information about changing my diet.  So many people made it seem like a dream and the easiest thing to do in the world which made me feel like I must have been the only one that that was like ‘this is a pretty damn hard change’ haha! So I want to share with you my real life experiences of cutting out gluten, wheat, diary, meat, refined sugar and as much overly processed food as possible. Gosh doesn’t that sound like it will be a laugh a minute haha, I’m joking, I’m joking its way better than it sounds I promise.
I hope you all enjoy this post and have liked reading something a little bit different on here too!

X

18 July 2016

Book Review - The Creative Workplace

 

The Creative Workplace*
"In the creative industries of graphic design, architecture, advertising and digital media, your workspace is a huge statement. It needs to inspire your team, excite clients and firmly cement your aesthetic. 'The Creative Workplace' opens the doors to studios around the world and asks creative people what their workplaces say about them. With brave architectural statements, airy minimalist lofts, and quirky personal touches."

This is one of those books that just even feels nice, you know? Like the hardcover has that sort of luxe texture to it and the pages have that beautiful thick paper feel to them.  The contrasting yellow and turquoise colour that has been used on the front, back and binding is just stunning.  I am all about pretty books and when its a visual coffee table book your buying I think its just perfect that it looks striking and super inviting to read.

As you know if you've read my blog for a while I am the biggest lover of a coffee table book.  I think not only are they normally always classic forever purchases that you cherish and re-read over and over again but I think they also make for the most thoughtful gifts.  Because of my love for books like this I have been gifted so many for birthdays, Christmas etc and I always feel like they are such personal and special gifts that you are able to keep and remember for a long time.

I love home interiors and decorating so if your anything like me then you will just adore this book.  It is a collection of offices and work spaces from around the world.  It is just endlessly inspiring.  I have already marked pages (with a post-it note FYI I don't actually write on my beautiful books haha) with bits that I want to try and use in my own working space.

Each working space comes with a small description and note on where the working space is from and what inspired them to decorate it like that which I loved too.

I really love reading and viewing how other people decorate their space and if your anything like me you probably have a pinterest board dedicated to office spaces so I'm sure you will love this as much as I do.

This is a beautiful book and I really do think it would make a great present for anyone who is also interested in interiors especially quirky ones.

This is another coffee-table book that is going straight into my collection.

You can buy the book on Wordery and get free delivery on your order too and you can also buy it on ROADS website. 

13 July 2016

#GilmoreGirlsBookClub Book Five - The Collected Dorothy Parker


"Dorothy Parker, more than any of her contemporaries, captured the spirit of the Jazz Age in her poetry and prose, and The Collected Dorothy Parker includes an introduction by Brendan Gill in Penguin Modern Classics.
Dorothy Parker was the most talked-about woman of her day, notorious as the hard-drinking bad girl with a talent for stinging repartee and endlessly quotable one-liners. The decadent 1920s and 1930s in New York were a time of great experiment and daring for women. For the rich, life seemed a continual party, but the excesses took their emotional toll. In the bitingly witty poems and stories collected here, along with her articles and reviews, she brilliantly captures the spirit of the decadent Jazz Age in New York, exposing both the dazzle and the darkness. But beneath the sharp perceptions and acidic humour, much of her work poignantly expresses the deep vulnerability of a troubled, self-destructive woman who, in the words of philosopher Irwin Edman, was 'a Sappho who could combine a heartbreak with a wisecrack'."

Welcome to book 5 in my #GilmoreGirlsBookClub.
You can read more about my book club HERE
And you can read about the other books that I have covered so far here-
Book One
Book Two
Book Three
Book Four

So on to the review...

Name - The Collected Dorothy Parker
 
Who? - Well she was an American writer, poet and critic that became famous for her words.  She was born in 1893 and was infamous for her wit and wisecracking humour.  She was also a prominent writer for The New Yorker, wrote screenplays and her work was twice nominated for an Oscar.
 
My thoughts on the book? - I had been wanting to read this for so long and that's one of the reasons I wanted to include it in my book club so much as I knew it would push me to read it.  The book is made up of short stories, poems and her reviews from magazines too.  It’s a really interesting different read that you can dip in and out of rather than it being a full connected story.  I loved that aspect of it and really enjoyed reading her work and finally getting to grips with some of her most famous words.  I really enjoyed this book and thought it was a great introduction to Dorothy’s life and work but I really want to read more about her now rather than just her writing as I think she seemed so interesting and achieved so much especially given the time in which she lived and I think it's all kinds of awesome that she was able to push through barriers and do that.
 
When was this in Gilmore Girls? - In episode 9 of Season One.  It was a different Dorothy Parker book that was mentioned but I choose to include this one as this is the easiest to find in the UK and is super similar to the one mentioned in the show. 
 
Any other fun facts? - Well, Amy Sherman-Palladino who is the creator and writer of Gilmore Girls actually named her production company after Dorothy Parker as she cites her as one of her biggest creative influences.  So keep an eye out at the end of every Gilmore episode and you will see the 'Dorothy Parker Drank Here' Productions sign.
Sorry this book club post wasn't as long this month guys but all will be back to normal for next month’s post.

As always you can use the hashtag #GilmoreGirlsBookClub on twitter and instagram.

You can buy this book on Wordery and get free delivery on your orders too.

See you here, same time, same place for next months book!

11 July 2016

The Song List #3



Ahh so it has been far too long since I've done a music post on my blog.  I don't know what it is with summer time but I seem to post so much more fashion and book related things on here and I've sort of let music take a bit of a backseat.  But worry no more beautiful people as my monthly 'The Song List' will be back from now on and so will my 'Songs That May Or May Not Change Your Life' posts too.  I have been listening to sooo much music over the past few months so I'm going to try and put all my favourites from the last few months into this post rather than just the last month.
If you want to take a peek at my other song list posts to see what music I've been loving then have a click here....
The Song List #1
The Song List #2

So on to this month's list, as always its a proper mixed bunch, I like so many different types of music and I really hope you find something you love in this list too.  Click the link to get taken to the songs youtube/soundcloud to have a listen....

1.  Hannah Trigwell - Another Beautiful Mistake - Ah I have been listening to this song so much over the past few months.  Actually I have been listening to all Hannah's covers on her YouTube channel nonstop. Her voice is ah-mazing and this song is so beautiful! Have a peek at her stuff if you haven't already.

2.  The Lumineers - Ophelia - So I'm all for everyone loving different types of music and it's all about personal taste, right? Someone's favourite song is the same song that someone can't stand...and I'm all about that.  That's what makes music so special but you know when you hear a song and even though I am 100% down with the above statement I'm a bit like 'come on though, there is no one on earth who couldn't fall in love with this song'  because I am so in love with The Lumineers  music, I feel like its me in musical note form, if that is even a thing haha! Being real though I do totally get that this type of music just isn't for everyone but I love this song.

3.  Jerry Williams - Mother - This is all kinds of perfect!  I fell in love with this song a few weeks ago.  I love, love, love the whole vibe of this song and she is so damn cool too.

4.  ROMES - One Dance - Love Drake, Love ROMES and love this cover of such an awesome song.  Their version of it is so on point.

5.  Lynyrd Skynyrd - Simple Man - Who doesn't love some Skynyrd right? This music much like The Lumineers above is just music that I can never get bored of.  I forget how much of a crazy beautiful song this was until I reheard it on American Idol months ago and I fell in love with it all over again.

6.  Birdy - Wild Horses -  Ever since I first heard this it's reminded me of another song but I still can't remember what one? Has she sampled something maybe? I can't work it out, if it reminds you of something too, let me know what it is in the comments below.  Anyway, I love this a lot.

7.  Jennifer Lopez - Ain't Your Mama - My Queen since day one. I can't even tell you how many times I have played this song, sung this song, danced to this song.....Just press play and turn it up loud.  My summer anthem.

8.  Calvin Harris - This Is What You Came For - Ah isn't this just perfect summer music.  LOVE Rih's voice on this too.  This song is all kinds of beautiful.

9.  Selena Gomez- Kill em' With Kindness - My.Life.Motto.  Couldn't love this song anymore right now...

10.  A Thousand Horses - Southernality - I have no idea why its taken me so long to discover this band, I am definitely late to the party with this one.  I could basically listen to this music all day long, it makes me wanna go live in America, sit on a front porch , play guitar and drink from a red cup, you know what I mean? Love them and love this...

11.  Peter Bjorn and John - Young Folks - This is summer in a song and summer doesn't beginning to till you have this playing on repeat. Also hands up who pretends they are in an indie movie when this is playing...um OK just me then haha!

So there is The Song List #3.  I hope you all love it and let me know what your favourite songs are this month?
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