Search This Blog

Friday, 29 April 2016


Do ever wish you had the courage to stop what you're doing and follow your dreams?  A new book coming out next week tells how fifty very different women did just that.

Eat Pray Love Made me Do it  looks back on Elizabeth Gilbert's international bestseller and the impact it had on ten million readers.. Here's the blurb:

In the ten years since its electrifying debut, Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat Pray Love has become a worldwide phenomenon, empowering millions of readers to set out on paths they never thought possible. In this candid and captivating collection, nearly fifty of those readers – as diverse in their experiences as they are in age and background – share their stories.

Featured in the June edition of Red Magazine, the book's  authors Lisann Valentin, Tracie Cornell and Theresa Thornton explain how they were inspired to reinvent their lives.

The feature in June's Red magazine

Unhappy in her job as a corporate lawyer, Lisann Valentin decided to set up a book group 'thinking it could be a way to find insight' to her problems.  The first book the group chose was Eat Pray Love and, almost instantly,  Lisann's self-discovery began. She'd always wanted to be an actor and after making he decision to leave Wall Street  now spends her time acting and directing.

Tracie Cornell, 46, found the courage to leave her unhappy marriage after discovering Gilbert's book. 'Reading about what Elizabeth went through, her years abroad, created a door for women like me to walk through,' she says. 'It created a space for us to leave our unhappiness behind.'

The final author, 55-year-old Theresa Thornton, was juggling her office job whilst raising her two children after a financially- draining divorce. She read Eat Pray Love and decided to  pursue her lifelong fantasy; to be a singer. After saving for a singing workshop in New York she literally found her voice. 'Singing fills my soul and makes me happy,' she told the magazine. 'I sing for me.'

Eat Pray Love Made Me Do It  (Bloomsbury £8.99) is available from May 5.

Monday, 18 April 2016


Q Why don't students have time to read entire books?

A Because graduates tend not to be avid readers.

This pronouncement caused quite a stir when it hit  the British newspapers earlier this week - because most of us thought it must be a joke.

Jenny Pickerill, professor in environmental geography at the University of Sheffield told the Times Higher Education magazine 'students struggle with (whole books), saying the language or concepts are too hard.'

'Recommending whole books would overwhelm them' agrees Jo Brewis, professor of organisation and consumption at Leicester University. 'Graduates and post graduates seem mainly not to be avid readers.'

Professor Brewis wants students to read more as does Len Fisher, visiting fellow in physics at the University of Bristol who regrets the  move towards seeking information on the internet since books 'drive and encourage readers to think for themselves in a way that just looking up the answers does not...'

After a long conversation with my six-year-old granddaughter who has just finished reading a whole book, I have come to the conclusion that if this is  2016, then April makes fools of us all.

Monday, 11 April 2016


My mother as a child with my grandmother in Oldham, Lancashire

'Nearly ninety and her first selfie...' said the  caption on my daughter's facebook page last week. The photo showed my mother with three  generations of her family - the youngest just two years old.

A few days after that photo was taken I returned to Leicester to meet writers' group The Belmont Belles, before  sneaking off to look at my old grammar school, Newarke Girls',  now a community college.  From a distance it looked exactly the same - an elegant building, with a central clock tower, surrounded by an acre  of green grass, with a long pathway leading down to the main road.

It was along that path that I walked for the very last time one sunny Friday afternoon in  the  late 1960s. Three days later I was a trainee reporter on the Lytham St Annes Express in Lancashire.   It felt a long way from my Guernsey home.

Meanwhile my two daughters have done their own bit of moving around - one has worked in Australia and the United States, the other travels Europe with her work. She is also a dedicated Derby County Football Club supporter who was born in Lancashire and lives in Yorkshire!

Not to be outdone, my two  granddaughters support  Leeds United most of the time and Derby County when their father's not looking.

Which brings me back to my mother, who was  born in Lancashire in 1926 and went on to marry a Guernseyman when she was just nineteen.  She wants to keep the selfie - well - to herself. But here she is ten years ago on her 80th birthday. Happily she's still got plenty to smile about.

Happy Birthday Mum

The old Newarke Girls' School, Leicester, as it is today