My Sunday Photo – January 14th, 2018.

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We went to Brancaster beach for the first time yesterday, which was surprisingly busy – although it doesn’t look like it from my photo.

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I was very impressed with the quality of the shells, there were some real treasures to be found and the beach was lovely, if a little chilly.

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Wishing you all a lovely week.

If you’re interested in writing, please pop back tomorrow for the first of this year’s Behind The Book posts. I’m kicking off 2018 by chatting to author (and fellow Norfolk resident) Ian Wilfred about his three novels.

Photalife

 

Book Review: The Endless Beach.

endlessbeachI couldn’t have picked a better book than Jenny Colgan’s The Endless Beach to kick off my New Year reading.

Romantic, emotional, poignant, I could go on and on with a long list of all the things that make it amazing but I won’t.

What I will say is that while I was already a fan of Jenny’s work, this one is now my absolute favourite.

Here’s the blurb:

On the quayside next to the Endless Beach sits the Summer Seaside Kitchen. It’s a haven for tourists and locals alike, who all come to eat the freshest local produce on the island and catch up with the gossip. Flora, who runs the cafe, feels safe and content – unless she thinks too hard about her relationship with Joel, her gorgeous but emotionally (and physically) distant boyfriend. 

While Flora is in turmoil about her relationship. her best friend Lorna is pining after the local doctor. Saif came to the island as a refugee, having lost all of his family. But he’s about to get some shocking news which will change everything for him. 

As cold winter nights shift to long summer days, can Flora find her happy-ever-after with Joel?

I like books set in shops (anything to do with food/chocolate, really) and I thought I had a good idea of what to expect but it completely blew that out of the water.

With a cast of characters who quickly got under my skin, I read well into the night, got up early to continue – and even read in the car and made myself feel a bit ill (that’s Mark’s driving for you) but it was all worth it.

The quality of the writing meant I felt Flora’s frustration and loneliness at Joel’s distance and Saif’s story actually had me in tears but I was heavily invested in all of them, including Flora’s brothers.

As Jenny explains at the start, she first wrote about the tiny island of Mure (where I now want to live) and its residents in A Distant Shore, part of the Quick Reads series, but I hadn’t read it and didn’t have any trouble keeping up.

I’m hoping there might be another book or three in this series, there is so much potential. If there isn’t one already being written I’m going to start a petition to set Jenny to work. As soon as you’ve read this one, I think you’ll join me.

Format: Kindle.

Price: £4.99 (via Amazon).

My rating: Five stars.

Parenting: Will I Always Be One Beat Behind?

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It was like being in a cool band where she was the lead guitarist and I was the drummer; Freya brought the melody, excitement and showmanship but I provided the beat for her to follow.

I was looking forward to getting back to that over the Christmas holiday – the first proper break she’s had since starting school full time in September (we went away at half term) – but I think we had what can safely be described as some “creative differences”.

While I was playing pop music, Freya strayed into heavily metal. We tried to jam together but we sounded terrible – and like a lot of bands, felt like going our separate ways.

I’ve read so many Tweets and comments from parents saying how much they hated their children going back to school today. Before the holidays I thought I would be among them but, frankly, not only did I want her to go back to school, she couldn’t wait either.

And that makes me really, really sad.

Motherhood isn’t for everyone – and, in the last couple of weeks, I’ve questioned whether it should have been for me. Maybe those two loses before Freya were actually someone, somewhere, telling me I wasn’t cut out for it? I know that’s a silly thing to say but her first year was hard, hard work. We came out the other side stronger and even as I struggled I knew just how privileged I was to get this chance.  As she grew, our relationship did too. We had fun, we explored, learned together – even surviving the terrible twos relatively intact.

Then it was time for school – something that she was ready for, even if I wasn’t.

She has loved most of it and perhaps I was naive to think that we could just slot back into our old band when we’ve both being doing some solo stuff for a while now.

Over Christmas, we still went out and explored, splashed in muddy puddles, had playdates and enjoyed ourselves but when we were at home it seemed like she missed the schedule of school, of having a million things to do and right at her finger tips. We would paint and cook and craft and play and have iPad time and read but, whereas before that would be spread across the day (or more like different days), this time she was done in 15 minutes (from 5am).

I know that some of it was just the excitement of Christmas but there were several points where I just thought ‘I have no clue what to do now’ and because of that she went into meltdown. The last couple of weeks have not been my finest as a parent. After she had gone to bed, I would look at her, peacefully asleep ,and the guilt was almost overwhelming. It felt like that first year all over again.

Just when I thought I was getting the hang of it and keeping a steady rhythm, the song changes and I’m left a beat behind again.

The thing is, I want to be in our band but I’m not really a fan of heavy metal and it doesn’t seem like she enjoys pop anymore so I’m not sure where that leaves us? Maybe we need to explore some other genres.

Anyone know anything about jazz?