Bah, I’m still not used to saying, admitting or if I’m honest, fully accepting that I’m forty yet. I have however had a reflective few weeks where I’ve realised and accepted a few things.
I haven’t put 40 things I’ve learnt. Firstly, because that would be a very long post! Also, because I’m constantly still making mistakes and (hopefully) learning from them!
Age means nothing. It’s state of mind. I’m still the idiot I was at 20, I just have more wrinkles!
You’ll have a lot of baggage unless you deal with it. Ditch the emotional baggage. Ditch the clutter. Ditch the toxic people. Just declutter. Whether it be counselling, being ruthless and just get rid. I’ve been reading a great book called, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying, which is brill if you need some motivation.
Deal with grief and loss when it happens. It will only come back to bite you on the bum years later (trust me).
The same goes for anxiety.
Time goes faster than you’ll ever imagine. I am, in my head, still probably about 18. That’s, shit… a long time ago!
Get as organised as you can to save the old grey matter from excess stress. I’m loving bullet journalling at the moment.
I still don’t know ‘what I want to be when I grow up’.
If you take a chance on a career change and it doesn’t work out, don’t punish yourself. Don’t feel stupid and just carry on. Just admit it wasn’t what you hoped for and work on devising a strategy to move forward, or ‘backwards’ if that’s the case.
Love can’t be forced. If a relationship is wrong then it won’t work out. The minute you realise this and still carry on thinking it’s something you ‘can fix’ or ‘you just haven’t known each other long enough’, or… It just isn’t meant to be. Just get out of it before you waste precious years.
Love does happen when you aren’t expecting it!
There is a massive great big world out there. If can afford to, explore as much as you can, whilst you can.
Find your own way of relaxing and letting off steam.
Stop beating yourself up. You’re doing a great job!
The most important thing is to remember that you are amazing, so go and live the life you love! Lots of love, Helen xoxo
I love getting lost in a good book, whether it be on the beach, travels or just feet up on the sofa. Today is the turn of Lucy Brazier’s Porter Girl First Lady Of The Keys. Based on her own personal experiences as a Deputy Head Porter at Cambridge University. Lucy originally blogged her experience as the Secret Diary of a PorterGirl, as she struggled to get to grips with this eccentric world, far removed from everyday life. This has now been rewritten and turned into this fantastic novel.
Porter Girl First Lady Of The Keys follows Lucy from her first day at Old College, which is in for a shock when it appoints its very first female Deputy Head Porter. We follow Lucy through some pretty hair-raising incidents; from chasing after naked students to the dark underworld and even murders… You can definitely say the new Deputy Head Porter is never far from adventure.
I did find the book a little slow to start off, but it soon built up pace and I found myself totally gripped by the touching and at times laugh-out-loud funny storylines.
Once again, I am bringing you an exciting Blog Tour post! This time it is the lovely Michele Gorman’s Love is a Four-Legged Word.
This is such a lovely story. We meet best friends Scarlett and Shannon spend their days tangled up in dog leads and covered in fur, running their dog business together. Scarlett’s intensive training course, Ruff Love, fixes owners as much as their pets. From the very off the book had me laughing out loud as Scarlett attempts to hide her embarrassment after being knocked over and having her leg humped by the rather amorous Murphy.
Michele builds up each and every character with such richness, including the rather amusing Barkly, the greedy pooch. One paragraph that particularly amused me: “Barkley glued his eyes to the aluminium foil as she unwrapped it. Dog treats? Leftover sandwich? Was it even edible? It didn’t matter – could he get it into his mouth? Chicken! It’s chicken! Everybody, the lady’s got chicken!…” You can actually imagine that is the thoughts going through the average dog!
As well as the entertainment value, we see the rich bond between the characters. Scarlett and Shannon share more than their business though: they also share Scarlett’s husband, Rufus, who’s been Shannon’s best friend since childhood. It’s a cosy setup. Unless one of them has a secret…
When Scarlett and Rufus’s baby plans are decimated by a surprise turn of events, their marriage hits the rocks and they both turn to Shannon. All three relationships are pushed to breaking point, but when loyalties become divided, how do you decide who’s most important? The book has you embroiled in their high-emotional intensity until the end. I literally couldn’t put the book down until the very end.
This book has to be up there with one of my favourite click-lit books. I will definitely be looking out for more from Michele.
Want to know more about Michele
Michele writes books with heart and humor, full of best friends, girl power and, of course, love and romance. Call them beach books or summer reads, chick lit or romcom… readers and reviewers call them “feel good”, “relatable” and “thought-provoking”.
She is both a Sunday Times and a USA Today bestselling author, raised in the US and living in London. She is very fond of naps, ice cream and Richard Curtis films but objects to spiders and the word “portion”.
Today I come to you with a really exiting post – Rachelle Paige’s Blog Tour is starting off with Little Hels B! Here is all the details about her wonderful new book, Anchored in the Bay.
About the book:
This was one of my favourite summer reads and you know I love a good romantic! Cue, memories of sitting on the sun lounger, sun cream and brilliant book on my iPad.
Ed vowed he’d never go back. But no matter how many miles, or blondes, he’d put between them, he couldn’t shake her hold on his heart. One day he makes the decision to return to the bay. Is he going to be able to win her back? Meanwhile Emily has met Ryan. Afterall, Ed left town and broke her heart. Can she forgive him and leave Ryan for the true love of her life. On top of this Emily has a wedding to plan!
This really was a will they wont they, why didn’t they work out first time around? The suspense is built up superbly by the fact Rachelle slowly unravels why he broke her heart, giving a true insight to the feelings of the characters.
Now Ed is fighting both for and against her to win her heart once and for all. But can they find their way back to each other, through years of hurt and with an unexpected baby on the way?
Rachelle Paige lives in the Midwest, spending her days taking care of her family and her nights plotting her next story. Setting her books in some of her favorite locales provides the perfect excuse for plenty of research trips.
Today I come to you with a really exiting post – Hemmie Martin’s Blog Tour has reached Little Hels B. I got the chance to read her wonderful new book, Garlic and Gauloises and ask her some questions.
Here is what Hemmie has to say in reply to my questions:
How long did it take you to write the book? It took me about a year, as once I’ve written the first draft, I then rewrite sections, before editing it about four times, then sending it to my publisher where I do about three more edits with their editor. I’ve had the same editor, James, for all seven of my novels, and I really enjoy working with him; I’ve learnt a lot from him over the years.
You write about the frustrations of writers before they hit the big time. Therefore, are some of the characters and experiences based on your own experiences before you became a published author? Some of the emotions of the aspiring authors have indeed travelled through my mind in the time before being published. From reading authors blogs, and responses to my own blog, I was not alone in feeling that way. However, even though published, doubts and self-criticism are part of everyday life for an author, unfortunately.
Your characters are made up of quite complex layers based on their past experience. Where do you start when building up a character profile? That’s a tough question! I adore writing characters with depths of sadness entwined with some form of mental health issue – a passion that stems from my years as a forensic mental health nurse. I start with the character in the present then gradually weave a past around them, building layers as the story progresses and ideas blossom in my mind. I don’t always have the full picture of the character when I initially create them; after spending time in their company, I begin to see them as a more rounded character which enables me to convey more to the reader – hopefully!
If you could pick anywhere. Where would be your ideal place to sit and write a book? I love sitting by a lake as my husband fishes, in warm sunshine with birdsong drifting through the air. I’ve been fortunate enough to see a kingfisher swooping across the water a couple of times, and robins cheekily steal fishing bait. I hand write my novels then type them up later, which means I can write anywhere, which I truly love. Ideally, I would love an outdoor office over-looking a lake with ducks on it. It’s good to dream! What is your next project going to be? I’m currently writing the fifth novel in my DI Eva Wednesday crime series. Wednesday works alongside DS Jacob Lennox, in Cambridgeshire. This crime involves two missing teenage girls, only the crimes are three years apart. Wednesday was involved in the first investigation when she was a DS, and the girl was never found, so her family are understandably unhappy at Wednesday’s return to their door.
Who or what inspires you?
I am an only child, and as a consequence, I believe I have a very vivid imagination due to making up games to play on my own. I would build TV sets with toilet rolls for cameras – I believe I have Blue Peter to thank for that! – and I would perform plays in front of them. Thanks to my nursing career, I have worked in a cross-section of society and in hospitals where I’ve been surrounded by a variety of characters. Some of their traits and quirks have nestled in my brain ready to immerge in my writing at a later date. From all the books you have written, do you have a favourite character? If so, why? I have two, actually; I know it’s cheating. The first is Finlay Walker, the antagonist in my psychological thriller, ‘Attic of the Mind’, was a thrilling character to write, as he was a nasty, vindictive, and violent man – everything I am not, so it was wonderful to act in a way that I wouldn’t do normally.
Antagonists are the most fun to write, as I can explore the darker side of human nature safely. We all have a dark side within us, and I clearly have, I’m just glad I write about it rather than act on it!
The second is DI Eva Wednesday. I initially wrote ‘In the Light of Madness’ as a stand-alone crime novel, featuring Wednesday and DS Jacob Lennox. However, I loved her tenacity at her job whilst managing to cope with a mentally ill mother, and her own fear of developing a mental illness gnawing at the back of her mind, whilst keeping it a secret from her work colleagues. There are currently four novels in the series, and I’m currently writing the fifth one – as mentioned above.
Thank you for having me on your blog – I enjoyed answering your questions immensely.
Here is what I thought of the book
At first I thought of this a nice easy read. I settled myself into my sun lounger and thought a nice little chick-lit book. You know the usual, nice plot, but not much substance. This was not what I expected
The quality of the writing really impressed me. Hermmie Martin builds up each of the characters superbly, but by bit slowly pealing away the layers, we gradually get to know the different circumstances which made them the people they are now.
Alice and Theo, two people with very different agendas notice the advert for a writing retreat in Bourdeaux. The book has many twists and turns, as the agenda for Theo going on the retreat is revealed and the consequences this then has. Without giving anything away, I was touched by the depth of feelings I had for the characters; from pity to anger, from loathing to empathy. I literally did not put the book down. I was totally hooked from the first to the last page.