Just to clarify before we get into it, the girl in the photo is me not just some random kid. And look how goddamn cute I was! I came home from a trip away to my boyfriend’s parents house “up norf” and saw this photo sitting in my parents bedroom. First of all, the frame is actually mine so I’m not so happy that my mum stole it but I thought it was cute nevertheless. I was looking at the photo whilst listening to Lea Michele’s version of “Wake Me Up” by Avicii (it’s a beautiful cover, you have to listen!) and all of a sudden I started crying. I know it sounds like I’m making this up but I’m not, genuinely, started to cry. For reals.
Life moves and works in weird and sometimes wonderfully mysterious ways and although we shouldn’t, the majority of us will look back at a better, happier or simpler time and think about the could haves, would haves and should haves of the past. I am thankful that I had a rich, fun and bright childhood and teenage years. I had more fun than I ever thought I would and experienced some wonderful things. But, like everyone, I made mistakes and had to endure the bad with the good. Looking at different aspects of my life, I’m thinking about what I would say to my little, naïve, 13, 16 and 18 year-old self.
When I started book blogging, over 2 years ago now, I had no idea what I was doing. I didn’t really fully understand what blogging – dedicated blogging – entailed and I wasn’t aware of how big the whole blogging community was. I’ve met a ton of people online; bloggers and authors. Some are acquaintances, some I no longer speak to, some I don’t get along with and others who have become firm friends. Not only did I not understand how many people there were to meet in the blogging world, I also didn’t understand quite how important having online friends would be to me.
Hello lovely readers! For the last two months, I’ve been really enthusiastic about blogging and my blog again – which is great considering the 6 month break I went on last year where I essentially abandoned my blog and Twitter account. So I’ve decided to do a series of posts about blogging from all different angles, the first one being my personal favourite things about blogging. Some of these may be similar to yours – others totally different – but that’s the great thing that we all have different experiences! Continue reading
What it’s about:
Phoebe Henderson may be single but she sure doesn’t feel fabulous. It’s been a year since she found her boyfriend Alex in bed with another woman, and multiple cases of wine and extensive relationship analysis with best friend Lucy have done nothing to help. Faced with a new year but no new love, Phoebe concocts a different kind of resolution.
The List: ten things she’s always wanted to do in bed but has never had the chance (or the courage!) to try. A bucket list for between the sheets. One year of pleasure, no strings attached. Simple, right?
Factor in meddlesome colleagues, friends with benefits, getting frisky al fresco and maybe, possibly, true love and Phoebe’s got her work cut out for her.
I actually won a copy of The List in a giveaway and wasn’t really sure what to expect. I read the blurb and it sounded funny but I had no idea how much I would enjoy it, to the point of quite confidently being able to say it was one of the best books I’ve read in 2013. The List follows the story of Phoebe, a normal 30-something woman who has had her heart-broken. After a year of moping about, feeling sad about her failed relationship and 500 quid’s worth of therapy sessions, she decides to make a new years resolution to change one thing – her sex life. With the help of her best friend, Lucy, she devises a list of 10 things she’s always wanted to try in bed but never had the guts to do and sets out on a quest to complete them before the year is up. One problem, who is going to help her full-fill these challenges? That’s where her hot, charming, charismatic friend Oliver steps in…
This isn’t really the usual kind of book I’d read and especially review but I knew I was going to love this book from the sentence, ‘There were tables of Hipsters, ready to Instagram photos of their meal as soon as it arrived’. The narrative and dialogue was so natural and normal to me. Phoebe talks exactly how I talk and the conversations she has with her friends were like reading conversations with people I know! All the characters in this book were very well developed and had their own quirks which I loved. Not a single one of them was boring to read about. Phoebe is a delightful main characters as she’s so normal and exactly the kind of person I’d love to be friends with. In fact, by the end of the book, she kind of did feel like a friend! Oliver was also another great characters and he is exactly the type of guy girls go for – sexy, charming, charismatic and quite frankly, every single girl needs an Oliver in their life! This book was set out in months and dates instead of chapters which was quite different but I really liked it. I felt The List portrays a healthy and very realistic view of sex and relationships. Joanna doesn’t sugar coat anything to make it seem better than it really is because that’s not what happens in real life and on a serious note here, I think that’s very important. Although it’s great reading completely unrealistic sex scenes where everything is a bed of roses sometimes we need to bring ourselves back to reality.
I was in such a reading slump before this book and it was exactly what I needed to pull me out of it. Phoebe’s sexual encounters are not detailed in a way that makes you think you’re reading another 50 Shades book and not only does she push her sexual boundaries but discovers more about herself and the meaning of love and friendship along the way. This naughty tale of one girls quest to a better sex life will leave you laughing out loud with its witty, on-point humour and no-nonsense approach and will have you hooked from the very first page.
5 cupcakes! If I could give it more I would!
Interview coming April 2014!
“… About six months later I dropped Lyndsey a line on the dating site. I had a meeting near to where she lived and asked if she wanted to meet up for a reconciliatory drink. Her reply was that she would love to meet for a beer so she could throw it all over me. “A firm refusal but, on reflection, fair.”
Finding myself single at the age of forty was not in my life plan. I had never been very confident or particularly good at dating when I had youth and looks on my side. How the hell was I supposed to get back into meeting women now I was older, heavier, wrinklier and weighed down with emotional baggage? This is the hilarious, odd, romantic and heart-breaking story of the crazy six years that followed. In search of the elusive next Mrs G I dated everyone from my closest friend’s sister to a woman living in Moscow. I have online dated, speed dated and randomly chatted up hundreds of women, spent thousands of pounds and travelled thousands of miles.
After four years I began to think that there were no sane or balanced single women left on the planet. As years went by, however, the truth became inescapable. There was only one common factor linking all of these relationships and events together: ME! This painful lesson changed my life forever.
Join me as I reveal all…
This book was actually written by a friend of a friend and it’s had some great reviews so I was excited to give it a try. It’s also not the type of book I would normally choose to read but I’m glad I did as it was a very enjoyable and eye-opening read. ‘Tidy Up On Your Way Out’ is a true story of Dave’s search for love after his divorce. From dating sites to speed dating, adult-only holidays in Greece to chatting up women in the local pub, you join Dave on his long and very honest journey to finding ‘The One’.
Firstly, I’d just like to mention that I thought this book was exceptionally well written. As a true story I expected it to be straightforward, to the point and simple but his descriptions and language are fantastic which definitely makes it all the more interesting. For me, this book was a real eye-opener. From a 20 year-olds perspective, it was fascinating to read and hear about the awkwardness of the older-generations dating scene. It’s just as bad, if not worse, than dating in your teens and 20’s – and that’s bad enough! It’s a topic that I think most older people who are experiencing it would find difficult to speak openly about but Dave puts it all “out there” and shows you that although it can be nerve-wracking, daunting and at times, scary, it’s real. It’s nothing to be embarrassed about and you may make friends or learn something about yourself along the way. Like he mentions, ‘It’s the journey, not the destination’.
I also felt quite a few mixed emotions whilst reading this book. At the beginning, Dave describes the break-up of his marriage. Which on it’s own, I think is a really courageous thing to do in terms of putting such an intimate and emotional time of your life on paper for everyone to read but I, quite-rightly, felt sad reading about it because as you read on you learn that he is a genuinely nice man with nothing but good intentions. However once the sad demise of his marriage is out the way it really is an extremely funny book. You really couldn’t make some of these weird dates and people up and I found myself not only laughing but cringing out loud at some points. Although it’s predominantly aimed at older people, I think everyone could enjoy this book. It teaches you that 1) Women are crazy but 2) There’s always hope, no matter what age you are.
1) Hi Dave, thanks for answering some questions today. Firstly, can you tell us a bit about your book and what we can expect?
Tidy up on your way out is to provide documentary evidence of what has happened to the world of dating, well my world anyway. Expect laughter, tears, plenty of sagely nodding, the odd frown of disapproval and perhaps some pointers for you or your single friends.
2) At which point did you realise that you wanted to write a book?
I knew I wanted to write a book but the catalyst was splitting up with the girl I mention in the last chapter. I really thought I had done everything right that time and it still went pear shaped. What interested me was the calmness of my reaction. I was upset but calm and it suddenly occurred to me that I needed to write this stuff down.
3) Like I mentioned in my review, I thought it was very well written. Do you have any form of writing qualification or is it just a natural talent?
I would like to say its natural talent. I am not really a writer but I do seem to have an ability to tell stories and make people laugh, and perhaps help them to see something of value through my experiences. I love comedy and have spent hours watching DVD’s of my favourite shows. I think this enables me to write in a humorous style, without losing any deeper meaning. Tidy up on your way out was a team effort. I was supported by Jennifer Manson who I tell the stories to and we then shape them. In the case of Tidy up I then had it professionally edited by the wonderful Wanda Whiteley. She dropped it from 75,000 down to the clean fast paced 55,000 words you see now.
4) You mention in your book that you’re a business coach. Was does that involve?
I help business owners grow their businesses by helping them get clear about what they are doing, keeping them focussed and making sure they take action. Coaching has helped me understand people at a deeper level than I used to, which helped me see the funny side of what was otherwise a series of car crash relationships. My commercial skills have also been put to good use with marketing the book.
5) Was it daunting putting your very honest experiences out there for the world to read?
Not really. I make the point in the book that we can only ever tell stories from our own perspective. I am sure if you asked the women involved they would have explained what happened completely differently. It was a little uncomfortable when I was writing about some relationships as I am still in touch with many of the women in the book.
6) I assume you have changed names to protect peoples privacy. Do you ever get worried anyone mentioned in the book is going to read it and realise it’s them?
I have had four exes talk to me already, having read the book. They all loved it and in some cases were really surprised at how I felt about what happened. Its been lovely actually, really sweet of them.
7) Did you self-publish your book? And what made you decide to do so?
I looked for an agent for a little while but they all struggled to find a convenient genre niche for the book so no one had the bottle to take it on. My honest take after spending a bit of time understanding the industry is that it is in a colossal mess. Once I realised that I decided to do it my way and teach them a lesson LOL.
8) Are there anymore books lined up?
Oh plenty. If the demand is there I have another book of dating experiences already planned. I have been lucky to have lived a colourful life (not just in dating terms) and can see myself comedy writing about the whole spectrum of the human experience.
9) What advice can you give to aspiring authors out there?
Write for half an hour everyday, even if what you are writing is shit. Best way to defeat procrastination. Get excited by the commercial side of selling a book as well as the message/story you are writing or find someone who can do that for you.
10) Lastly, any words of wisdom to anyone who is also struggling to find ‘The One’?
The ‘one’ does not exist. You are ‘The One’. If you want to find a perfect partner start to appreciate and understand yourself and show up in the world as the best ‘you’ that you can be. That’s what the most attractive people do :-).
Born to a working class family in Essex, Dave endured a boringly happy childhood. His educational potential was largely squandered by his desire to spend his days pissing about. As a result his clerical career started at sixteen with the civil service and then the NHS. He sustained a lifestyle that saw him just about earning enough to keep himself in beer and fags until his ‘career’ hit a seam of good luck and he applied for, and got, a job two grades higher. This was the beginning of a hugely successful (but hopelessly dull) corporate career. Never confident with women, he failed to ask out pretty much every woman he fancied and ended up with an impressive catalogue of female friends. Finally summoning enough courage to alter this state of affairs, his life became one of happy mediocrity with a well paid job and an attractive but underappreciated fiancé. The relationship was to last five years but they never married. Excitement was provided by a brief flirtation with motorbikes. At 28 he confronted mortality when his mother died. Whilst on the surface he coped well with the grieving process, his life turned 360 degrees. He took a job with lots of international travel and to engaged in every adrenalin sport known to man. This wild ride lasted three years before he met, fell in love with and married his wife. Dave took to marriage like a snake takes to roller skates. His attempts to surrender to domestic routine were largely unsuccessful and led to an expanding waistline, a penchant for Austin Reed clothes and finally, eight years in, the end of the marriage. Adapting to single life pretty well, he embarked on a journey of indulging his mid life crisis. Snowboarding, sailing, flash cars and clothes, dating any woman that showed even the remotest spark of interest and partying hard. His career was the one area where success continued to seem assured, so inevitably three years after his divorce he went to work dismantling that. He engineered redundancy from a six figure salary + bonus + benefits and headed into the world with no idea what to do next. After six months of having fun, he trained, and established himself as a self employed Business Coach, a role he has stayed with to date. Through coaching he began to access new ideas and ways of looking at the world and finally finds himself content. Throughout his life only three things have been constant… the support of his family and closest friends, his love of nature and Gary Numan.