Apologies for the lack of blog posts recently. I know I have been rather quiet on here lately. It’s not that I have run out of ideas for blog posts, on the contrary in fact – my head is buzzing with new concepts, but I deliberately took some time away from this blog to figure out which direction I wanted this space to take.

You might have noticed that I have changed my social media handles to my name and away from “Cosmochicklitan”. I didn’t hate my original blog name, but I feel I had outgrown it somehow. I don’t think I have ever explained the meaning behind Cosmochicklitan – but here it is. When I first started this blog several years ago, I wanted to create a space to share my love for books. My preferred genre at the time was all things romantic fiction/chick-lit. I was toying with several ideas and when I could not make up my mind, I said to my husband that I wanted a name that sounded cosmopolitan and somehow incorporated the books I loved. So he just said why not combine these two and call the blog Cosmochicklitan – simple as that!

Over the years, however, my taste in books has changed. Don’t get me wrong, I still love a good love story, but through book blogging, I have also discovered so many other genres that I really enjoy. Lately, for example, I have been reading a few fantastic and nail-biting thrillers.

During the past year or so, I have also blogged about other topics such as our family adventures and have written a few general lifestyle and parenting posts which I have hugely enjoyed. Going forward, I definitely want to keep a healthy medium between book posts and family lifestyle posts and I feel that the blog name and social media handles had to change in line with this. I am so much happier with the new name!!

Right, on to the Sunshine Blogger Award Questions. I have been nominated by Tom from Diary of the Dad, to take part in said meme. The idea behind the Sunshine Blogger Award is to answer the 11 questions posed by the person who nominated you and then to come up with 11 new questions to ask 11 other bloggers. So, here we go:

What’s the best bit of parenting advice you’ve ever been given?

To not compare your children’s skills with others! Everyone grows and develops at their own speed. Who cares if your child stayed in nappies longer than other children? Take away the pressure and enjoy the time with your little ones!

Is there a story behind your blog’s name?

I am simply using my name now as my blog domain and my social media channels, but I have explained the story behind my old blog name above :-).

What’s the most embarrassing thing your kids have said or done in public?

Erm, quite a few things actually, but the one that springs to mind was a trip to a supermarket a few years ago. The male cashier was, should we say, a metrosexual looking type. My daughter turned around and said quite loudly: “Mummy, this is not a very pretty woman!”. She earned a few stifled laughs from the people queuing behind us and I don’t think I ever put (or rather threw) my shopping into the trolley that quickly.

Do your family and friends know that you’re a blogger?

All of my family knows, but to be honest, not all of my friends do. My very close ones, yes, but certainly not all of the newer ones. If it comes up in conversations, I don’t hide the fact that I am writing a blog, but I am usually not the one to mention it first

What’s the strangest thing you’ve done while sleep deprived?

I’ve been sleep deprived for the last 6 years. None of my children are great sleepers and I haven’t slept through a full night since my oldest was born. Luckily, she sleeps through the night now (however, she has only started to do so since she has been going to school), but it’s my youngest one who now keeps us awake. I think my body is so used to not getting a full night’s sleep that I can cope pretty well with little sleep.

How much has your blog changed since your first post?

It has certainly changed directions a bit. When I hit publish on that very first post more than 5 years ago, I would have never thought this space would ever be anything other than a place I’d record and share my book reviews. I’ve learned so much through blogging and it has definitely broadened my horizon.

Do you have a hidden talent?

If being able to recite every single Peppa Pig episode counts, then yes. Otherwise, no :-).

Where do you see your blog in five years’ time?

Hopefully still going strong. I’ve only just rediscovered my love for blogging and definitely plan on dedicating more time to this little space.

What was your dream job as a kid?

I always wanted to become a doctor, until I did some work experience in a busy doctor’s surgery specialising in internal medicine – definitely not for me!

Where and when do you write your posts?

I write all my posts either when my youngest takes a nap after lunchtime or in the evening when both of our children are in bed. Although I have a small office space, I usually prefer writing blog posts on the sofa.

Which largely trivial things in life really annoy you?

Bad manners! A simple “please” and “thank you” go a long way!

Thanks for all these questions, Tom! Some were definitely easier to answer than others :-).

Here are my nominations: Laura, Shaz, Katy, Uli, Natalie, Simona, Kate and anyone else who would like to play along.

  1. Which advice would you give your younger self?
  2. What were your reasons behind starting a blog?
  3. What has been your blogging highlight so far?
  4. Which book are you currently reading?
  5. Who are your favourite bloggers/vloggers?
  6. Which location has been your favourite holiday destination?
  7. What’s your favourite time of the year?
  8. What would be your ideal working environment?
  9. What’s your favourite social media channel?
  10. Do you have any bad habits?
  11. Do you still keep in contact with your friends from school?

 

Last week, I was finally able to tick off a few things from my list of places I wanted to see in London. I had the opportunity to attend an afternoon tea in the wonderful Covent Garden Hotel to celebrate the launch of Rosanna Ley’s newest novel, Her Mother’s Secret. Such a treat! My lovely friend Laura and I decided to travel to London early and explore this fantastic city a little beforehand. I don’t go to London too often, and if I go, I usually go straight to a set place or event. So this time, I wanted to see a few more things. We headed to Elan Cafe first. I had seen so many gorgeous pictures on Instagram and was desperate to see this place. This cute little cafe certainly didn’t disappoint. It was a lot smaller than I anticipated, but luckily we managed to get a table straight away. The atmosphere in this place is amazing! I don’t think anyone left this cafe without having their picture taken – so when in Rome… (or, erm, London)

The food was superb as well. I went for avocado and egg on toast. Yummy!! Afterwards, we took a stroll through some pretty amazing back streets and made our way to Liberty.

And then it was already time to head to Covent Garden for afternoon tea. Meeting Rosanna in person was fantastic. We chatted so much about her new book and even got a small insight into the book she is currently writing.

About Her Mother’s Secret

For many years Colette has avoided returning to her homeland – the magical island of Belle-Île-en-Mer in Southern Brittany – afraid to confront the painful memories she left behind. She is living on the Cornish coast when she hears about her mother Thea’s failing health and realises that the time has come for her to go home. But can Colette ever forgive Thea for what she has done?

Despite Colette’s wariness, romantic Belle-Île still fascinates her. She takes on the running of her mother’s flower shop and makes friends with Élodie from the Old Lighthouse where Thea once worked as a nanny and with the enigmatic Étienne who shares Colette’s mixed feelings about the island. As Thea opens up to her for the first time, Colette finds herself softening and being drawn back into the landscape of her past. But can Belle-Île also be a part of her future?

The ghosts of that past still linger. What happened all those years ago and how did it cause the rift between mother and daughter? It becomes clear that the beauty of Belle-Île hides a devastating family secret – one that Colette is determined to unravel at any cost.

Her Mother’s Secret is currently available in hardback, with the paperback version to follow on 14th June 2018.

Thank you so much Rosanna and Quercus for such a brilliant afternoon.

PUBLISHER: Orion

PAGES: 384

PUBLICATION DATE: 19th April 2018

I cannot praise this stunning and charming debut novel by author Libby Page enough. It didn’t take me long to fall for this story of friendship and community empowerment. 

Main characters Kate and Rosemary are fantastically depicted. Kate is a twenty something journalist trying to built a career in London, but feeling rather overwhelmed by the big city. Rosemary has lived in Brixton all her life, but the changes around her pose a challenge. Together these two embark on a journey to save the local Lido and in the process form an incredible friendship.

Rosemary’s persona really touched me. It is not all that often that you come across a main character in a novel who is already in her mid eighties. I found her extremely interesting, easy to relate to and completely admired her. She reminded me very much of my great aunt and only after a few pages I had a complete picture of how I imagined her to look in my head.

The storyline felt so incredibly real, raw and utterly relatable. This novel doesn’t only showcase the immense power a community has when everyone comes together to fight against something that is important to them (in this case the closure of their local swimming pool), but also how meeting different people and forming friendships (no matter how unlikely on first sight) can shape, heal and support a person. 

Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a proof copy of this book. All opinion are entirely my own. 

PUBLISHER: Simon & Schuster

PAGES: 416

PUBLICATION DATE: 19th April 2018

As soon as I read the title and the rules of the Sunday Lunch Club, I knew I was going to enjoy this book. Every family should have regular family gatherings just like the Piper’s do. What better way to discuss and (hopefully) solve problems, gossip and generally just enjoy each others company. If only my family lived closer (we are all in different countries), I’d definitely be an advocate for a Sunday Lunch Club!

I was certainly not disappointed by this book. The whole plot went a lot deeper than I had initially thought from reading the back cover. I loved that there was not just one main character, but in fact the reader gets to know the whole Piper family inside and out (including some hidden and well-kept secrets). The Sunday Lunch Club kept me guessing throughout and some of the plot twists and turns I did not see coming.

If you are looking for an escape from the busy day-to-day life, join the Piper family on their Sunday Lunch Club. I promise, you will laugh out loud, almost feel like one of the Piper’s and if you are anything like me, also shed a few tears along the way.

I have the huge pleasure of welcoming Claudia Carroll to the blog today. I’ve been a fan of her books for years and as part of the blog tour for her newest release, Our Little Secret, I was able to ask her a few questions. I met Claudia at an event a few years ago (you can read all about it here) and she is just the nicest person ever!!

I am so excited to read your newest novel Our Little Secret. Can you please give a brief summary of the book?

Did you ever see the old movie, All About Eve with Bette Davis? It’s basically about a good deed that comes back to bite you. Just like the song in Wicked (my all time favourite musical) about no good deed going unpunished. The movie All About Eve, was a huge inspiration point for me, so I got to wondering – suppose you had a middle aged, older woman who, with no motive other than kindness and a genuine altruism, decides to help a younger woman, who needs a bit of a leg up in her own career. But of course there’s a twist, and pretty soon, my leading character comes to deeply regret ever having giving this young one the time of day.

You have published several successful books. Did publishing your first book change your approach to writing?

Writing is writing, I always think. The process is exactly the same, whether you’re writing a TV script, a movie, a play or a novel. But publishing my first book certainly taught me a thing or two about discipline and writing to a tight deadline! 

 How do you select the names of our characters?

With great difficulty! It’s astonishing how fast you run out of names. And also I don’t like to name a character after anyone I actually know – people can sometimes get offended! 

 If you could be a character from any of your books, who would you choose and why?

Baddies are always such fun to write. So I suppose I really enjoying writing the character of Lauren, who is basically all sweetness and light on the surface, but tough as a boot just underneath and with an ambition that’s terrifying. Someone who would walk all over you, just to advance their own career. So the moral of the story is—- be on the lookout for Lauren’s everywhere! 

What does your research process for a book look like and how long does the research stage take?

It depends on the book really! For Our Little Secret, I did spend a lot of time talking to security men in shopping centres asking what happens to teenagers who shoplift, as happens in the book. I got more than a few funny looks, I can tell you.  

Do you ever face writer’s block? If yes, how do you overcome this hurdle?

I find writing a good, watertight plot synopsis in advance really helps me on the bad days. It’s like having a roadmap that you can constantly keep referring back to. 

What advice would you give your younger self?

Don’t take up smoking just because all your friends are doing it. And stop worrying!

Thank you so much for visiting today, Claudia. I cannot wait to read Our Little Secret.