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Welcome to the first edition of LLm: Loveahappyending Lifestyle emagazine with contributors from the UK, US and Canada

LLm is all about celebrating the good things in life Visit our two websites for lots more interesting articles: “LLm” & “The Bookshelf” You can follow us on Twitter: @loveahappyend and @LAHEBookshelf FB

We’re in holiday mood! Our cover photo was taken at Cayeux-sur-Mer, Northern France. With a fourteen kilometre stretch of beach, the planked boardwalk is 1800 meters long and has around 400 cabins, all painted in a variety of colours! It’s charming, relaxing and still has an active fishing port, where you can buying shrimp and fish on the dock. It’s setting the scene for our first edition and even if you aren’t holidaying away from home, whether you are BBQ’ing in the garden, going to watch a film, or taking a little time to maybe sit in the sun with the perfect summer read—LLm is full of great ideas! We’ll be bringing you a wide range of great articles and features, plus some interesting interviews in our free emagazines—three times a year! We love feedback, so do drop by our websites and talk to us—tell us what you would like to see in future issues! You can also email us at

In this edition: •Welcome •Guest interview – author Ben Hatch •Wine 101 •Travel feature – cruises •Bookshelf Reviews •Mushrooming on Vancouver Island •Feeling the pinch to lose an inch this summer? • Craft ideas – Bead-dazzling this summer •Relationship advice •Film reviews - The BIG screen & Film Fatales! •Sizzling summer recipes! •Inspiring the kids •Summer travel – child friendly! •Adam’s rib – adult humour •Ode to summer •Sport – Golf and F1 •The Write Path •Village Life in France •Village Life in the UK •County Life - Keeping chickens •Meet the Team •On the bookshelf – some great reads!

GUEST INTERVIEW We’re kicking off the summer fun by talking to author Ben Hatch - who is guaranteed to make you smile! Hi Ben, thanks so much for coming to visit us today. I have to ask the question – how does it feel to have one of your books made into a movie? I’ll let you know when/if it happens. So far Are We Nearly There Yet? has been optioned by Island Pictures and a treatment is being worked on and although there’s a long way to go it is exciting imagining seeing it on the screen and maybe Sue Pollard playing my wife. I should add although I want Sue Pollard to play my wife, my wife does not want Sue Pollard to play her and gets cross when I talk about: a) Miss Cathcart and b) red coats. Writing a manuscript is only the start and it’s a long and bumpy road – what would be your top 5 tips for the ‘writer’s survival list’? 1. Get yourself an understanding partner. And by understanding I mean one prepared to live with a human being that will spend a lot of their life sat down in a dressing gown covered in toast crumbs, bending paperclips out of shape and mumbling about a problem in their story arc. Also this partner will have to accept they will probably always be broke. 2. Be prepared to be rejected a lot. You will be rejected by literary agents, by publishers. You will be rejected by bookshops, by supermarket book buyers, by book reviewers and by readers. Ultimately your own family and friends will despair of you. Although they won’t actually tell you to abandon your dream to be a writer they will certainly think this. They will demonstrate this lack of faith in you by asking “How’s the? …” and then mimicking writing in the air. This will be because they are far too embarrassed at your delusional state of mind to mention the word “book”. 3. Get used to procrastinating. If there is anything to be done other than writing your book you will do it. And you will do it right away. You will fix wobbly handles back onto doors right away, make dental appointments. You will volunteer to do the Tesco shop. You will spend time on twitter and Facebook. You will talk to the postman, to cold callers, to the man

walking down street with a hairy forehead and a bottle of Drambuie in his overcoat pocket. You will go to cafes and eat flapjacks with a pad that you will write nothing in. You will go to the bank for OTHER people. That is why you will need more than anything in the world, a deadline. A REAL deadline. 4. You will have to get used to lying to yourself. You will become very good at this. For instance, I once watched Krufts for three days solid and I don’t even like dogs. I convinced myself that listening to Peter Purves commentate on the gundog group final was research. It wasn’t research. I was wasting my time. That’s how much you will not want to write. Watching a spinoni bitch with a gentle rise from tail to loin will be infinitely more appealing than writing. 5. Don’t think you’re Charles Bukowsi or Hunter S Thompson. The chances are you can’t drink whisky and write well. What you will do is write gibberish. You can only do one of these well at once. Save the whisky drinking for afterwards. Instead welcome your new drinking friend – tea. You will see a lot of tea. Ben Hatch is on the road again. Commissioned to write a guidebook about France (despite not speaking any French) he sets off with visions of relaxing chateaux and refined dining. Ten thousand miles later his family’s been attacked by a donkey, had a run-in with a death-cult and, after a near drowning and a calamitous wedding experience involving a British spy, his own marriage is in jeopardy. A combination of obsessions about mosquitoes, French gravel and vegetable theme parks mean it’s a bumpy ride as Ben takes a stand against tyrannical French pool attendants, finds himself running with the bulls in Pamplona and almost starring in a snuff movie after a near fatal decision to climb into a millionaire’s Chevrolet Blazer. Funny and poignant, Road to Rouen asks important questions about life, marriage and whether it’s ever acceptable to tape baguette to your children’s legs to smuggle lunch into Disneyland Paris. Road to Rouen is published by Headline – you can find it in paperback and eformat on Amazon. Ben can be followed on twitter @BenHatch.

Brought to you by: Linn B. Halton Website/blog: Twitter: @LinnBHalton FB: Author Linn B Halton

WINE 101 The Perfect Match There are so many different varieties of wine on offer these days that the choice can be rather bewildering. Red, white, rosé and sparkling wines adorn the shelves of supermarkets and fine wine sellers and to make matters more complicated, you also have to choose between dry, medium and sweet. Of course if all you plan on eating for dinner is a fiery curry or a greasy kebab, it could be argued that just about any bottle of wine will do, but if you are cooking a meal and would like to choose a bottle of wine to complement the food, which wines go best with which main meals?

Wine to Accompany Red Meat Dishes The general rule of thumb when pairing meat with wine is that red wine goes best with red meat and white wine is more suitable for white meat. But although this generalisation often works perfectly well, it is fair to say that it won’t work in all cases. Some wines are more robust than others, wines aged in oak barrels for example and when a wine is heavier than the dish it accompanies, the subtle flavours of both are lost. Always consider the flavour of the meat you are dishing up before choosing a wine to accompany it. A rich claret wine might be perfect with a piece of beef fillet, but a rack of lamb lightly cooked would benefit from a softer red wine. It is also a good idea to avoid wines with a higher alcohol content as these can often drown out the flavours of the meat dish you are serving.

Wines to Accompany White Meat Dishes A crisp Chardonnay is a great choice for white meats such as chicken, but don’t be too quick to dismiss the red wines on offer. A heavy red wine would be too overpowering with chicken, although a stronger flavoured chicken dish can withstand a more robust red. Light, fruity reds will enhance most chicken dishes: a Merlot from Rivas or an Australian Shiraz from Binder’s a good choice, or you might like to consider a rosé wine.

Wine and Turkey With the turkey stuffed and oven ready, it is a good idea to consider which wine you are going to serve to help you and your guests make the most of this deliciously sweet meat. A fruity Zinfandel is a good choice of wine to accompany roast turkey as it complements the flavour of the meat as well as the side dishes.

Wine and Fish Dishes As with meat dishes, different fish dishes benefit from different densities of wine and although you can err on the side of caution and only ever serve a dry white wine with fish, this won’t always be the best choice. For simply cooked fish dishes, go for a dry Pinot Grigio or Chenin Blanc, but if you are serving fish cooked in a rich sauce, you can afford to go for a more robust wine: try a Chardonnay with oak flavours or a Pinot Gris. For fish lightly fried in batter, a sparkling wine is the perfect choice.

Wine and Cheese The stronger the cheese, the more robust the wine you can choose. So if you have a passion for mature cheddar or stilton, open a bottle of aged Bordeaux (or any red wine with a heavy, complex flavour) because these are the type of strong wines that can hold their own with an equally strong flavoured cheese.

Wine and Dessert Instead of serving coffee with your dessert course, do as the Italians do and choose a dessert wine instead. There are no hard and fast rules for pairing desserts and wines, but in general, the lighter the dessert, the lighter the wine you should serve. Rich chocolate desserts go well with red wines – Shiraz or Grenaches – or you can opt for a rich Port instead. For light buttery pastry desserts, try a white Riesling or a sweet sparkling wine. If in doubt, you can’t go wrong with a glass or two of good quality champagne or port. Carlo Pandian is an Italian expat living in London interested in wine and gardening. He loves to share his wine tips with the community of LLM and is looking to hear more about your favourite ways to pair up food with wine! Brought to you by: Carlo Pandian Twitter: @CarloPandian


I’d never considered a cruise for a family holiday choice, until I read a book by author Milly Johnson called Here Come The Girls. In the book four friends went on a cruise and I remember thinking “mmm, perhaps a cruise might be quite interesting after all”. When Ollie and I were invited to sample Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas as part of their Royal Mums blogger campaign, to experience a real family cruise, after running around the room doing a happy dance, I jumped at the chance. What an opportunity! After travelling down to Southampton, we stayed in the De Vere Grand Harbour Hotel on the Friday evening and then headed over to the docks on Saturday morning. The first thing that hit me was the sheer size of the ship, it was absolutely enormous! After going through passport control and security, as we walked onto the ship the next thing that I noticed was how plush the surroundings were. The younger kids were taken into Adventure Ocean to get some play-time, with Matt who

was brilliant with the youngsters and the older kids were taken away to experience the Flow Rider surf simulator. We then went onto the H2O zone where Ollie had tons of fun with water fountains, archways, water firing cannons and swimming pools. The kids were then invited to make cheeseburger cupcakes, which were pretty awesome. Following this, we moved to the ice-rink to receive cocktails for the adults and a welcome speech from the captain before watching a brilliant ice-dancing show. We had a fabulous 3 course lunch, where the Captain of the Ship and the Hotel Director came around to chat to us all. I was amazed to learn that there were around 1300 staff. An afternoon of free time followed to explore the ship further, which in our case meant back to the H20 zone for a spot of sunbathing (me) and fun in the pools and splash zone (Ollie). Wow! What an amazing day. It was a whirlwind tour of the ship, but one of the best days out I have ever experienced. Ollie was completely overcome with excitement about his day. Talking to other families onboard, they said that on cruises they have already been on, the kids have such a great time and don’t even meet up with the parents unless it’s time for food! I also found it really interesting looking at the type of passengers that were there. There were young couples, families, older people and it seemed to accommodate everyone.

Onboard this ship there is a shopping area, an ice-rink, a boxing ring, a running track, umpteen places to eat and drink, a spa, a rock-climbing wall, a fitness centre, a mini-golf course, a golf simulator, a bungee trampoline, a zip-line and full-size sports courts. I couldn’t believe that all of this can be experienced on a ship. This taster day totally changed my mind about a cruise holiday. I can honestly say that I would love to go on a family cruise on one of these awesome Royal Caribbean ships. There are Dreamworks parades experience, featuring Shrek, Kung Fu Panda and the Penguins of Madagascar to name just a few of these familiar characters. This sounds like so much fun and it would be an absolute dream for Ollie and I to experience this. Or would we rather cruise around the Caribbean? The world is our oyster!

Here’s an example of a 14-night Spanish Mediterranean Cruise with costs: Join Royal Caribbean International’s (; 0844 493 2061) Independence of the Season a 14-night Spanish Mediterranean cruise only from £1,149 per adult and £899 per child, direct (based on four people sharing an inside stateroom) .Price includes transfers and a 14-night cruise departing from Southampton (England) and calling at Vigo (Spain), Lisbon (Portugal), Ibiza (Spain), Valencia (Spain), Palma de Mallorca (Spain), Barcelona (Spain) and Cadiz (Spain) before returning to Southampton; meals and entertainment on board and all relevant cruise taxes/fees. The price is based on 28 June 2014 departure.

For more information or to book or see, call 0844 493 2061.

Brought to you by: Kim Nash Website/blog: Twitter: @KimTheBookworm FB: Kim Nash

BOOKSHELF REVIEWS BOOKSHELF REVIEWS – SUMMER SIZZLERS! “Bookshelf Reviews brings you independent reviews from some of the most trusted book reviewers on the internet. We have asked these respected reviewers to give you their unbiased opinions on our Loveahappyending Lifestyle author’s books so that you, the discerning reader, can choose your next read with confidence from our Bookshelf. All our authors’ books can be found on Amazon, and all major stockists.” Janice Horton

Patricia Sands is currently on a summer tour with her new novel: The Promise of Provence The Promise of Provence: June in Provence is full of promise when Katherine arrives from Canada, eager to feel renewed by her surroundings. Endless rows of lavender prepare to burst into pink and purple blooms. Fields of sunflowers flow in golden waves among vineyards and olive groves overlooked by ancient hilltop villages. It’s the postcard setting she envisioned, but is that all she needs? After a year of heartbreak, Katherine has impulsively agreed to a home exchange in the south of France. Colorful locals, a yellow lab named Picasso, and the inspiring beauty of the countryside breathe new life into her days. Seeking to shed the pain of betrayal and loss, she struggles to recapture her joie de vivre and searches for the answer to a haunting question: is it too late to begin again?

Sheryl Browne was recently at the Droitwich Festival Literary Day ‘Live Lit’ event reading from ‘A Little Bit of Madness’. Her next novel ‘Learning to Love’ was released as an ebook on July 22 2013 A Little Bit of Madness: No rest for the wicked. Saving Charlton Hall will burrow into your heart. Celia Summers, intrepid mother of two, is too cuddly for sweatpants, she suspects. But then, her class at The Harbour Rest Home are similarly clad. Celia loves her work as an art therapist. She’s proud that she gives her elderly independents something to look forward to, even if her partner, Martin, disapproves of her efforts. He also has other things on his mind – telling complicated lies to Celia so he can sell Charlton Hall, his mum’s house, to pay off his debts.

Bonny Trachenberg was at the airport in Milan, on her way back to the USA, when she discovered that her novel Neurotically Yours is a double finalist in the Readers Favourite Book Awards! Neurotically Yours: Smart, attractive, and ambitious, thirty-seven-year-old Dara Harrison is, nonetheless, still single-and on sabbatical from dating. Ironically Los Angeles’ most renowned relationship advice columnist, Dara has become a Southland sensation with her “tell-it-like-it-is” approach to the mating game. Parlaying her success into a new business, Dara launches a revolutionary dating service geared for the perennially single and romantically challenged. Its no-holds-barred theme soon makes the company a roaring success, even catapulting Dara onto the national talk show scene-until, of course, it all backfires. Witty, poignant, and immensely engaging, this romantic comedy pulls you in and never lets you go.

Emma Calin’s, romantic love poem video was filmed on location in France and features the flowing waters of the lovely River Charente and an original guitar soundtrack. Message from Emma: “In this composition I look back at my first love and express in poetry the love and passion that unfold in my story writing. If you have ever loved, you will know that a love once loved is sealed in time. I have looked deeply into my own heart to share this feeling with you. I know that looking back on love can bring pain but if there was once love there will have been its joy and it can live again.”

Check it out on YouTube:

Mandy Baggot was busy packing her suitcase for the Romantic Novelist’s Association Conference in Sheffield this weekend when she was alerted to a fabulous review for her novel Breaking The Ice on Breaking The Ice: When routine driven box office assistant Samantha Smith meets the stars of ‘Skating on Broadway’ her life is turned upside down. Immediately attracted to lead skater Jimmy Lloyd, Samantha does her best to deny her feelings. But when all you can do is burst out laughing and hyperventilate every time you’re under pressure, keeping things under wraps is a hard task. Charlotte of says: “If you’ve ever watched Dancing on Ice, you’ll never look at it the same way again. Breaking the Ice is like a small snippet of what could be going on behind the scenes of this popular TV show, as it explores the lives of a venue employee and one of the stars.” Our LLm review team:

Left to right:

Kim Nash (Kim the Bookworm) JB Johnson BrookCottageBooks Nikki Bywater Books4U Carol Wright Dizzy C’s Little Book Blog Charlotte Foreman BestChickLit Susan Livingston Fascinating Books Heidi B Cosmochicklitian Tanya Farrell After The Final Chapters Kate Verrier Me, My Books and I Brought to you by: Janice Horton Website/blog: Twitter: @JaniceHorton FB: Janice Horton Author

MUSHROOMING ON VANCOUVER ISLAND Anneli Purchase lives on Vancouver Island, which is the largest Pacific island east of New Zealand One of the most pleasant ways to get exercise is to be out in the woods climbing over and under sticks, branches, and fallen logs. You don’t agree? You wonder why I wouldn’t rather follow a smooth manmade path through a park? It’s a classic case of “The end justifies the means.” The elusive chanterelle mushroom is worth it all. Many years ago, my friends took me out into the forest and showed me what a chanterelle looked like and more importantly, what it did not look like. It was peaceful in the woods. On the spongy moss of the forest floor I looked carefully at everything around me not wanting to miss finding these aromatic peach-coloured mushrooms. In my search, I noticed things I would otherwise have missed. An abandoned grouse nest with several broken eggs lay forgotten at the base of a tree. Squirrels scolded me as they scampered along fallen logs and up tree trunks. Beautiful varieties of poisonous mushrooms tempted me to pick them, but I knew not to touch them. Two lonely huckleberries were left on a bush. Who could have browsed the rest? A black bear? In spite of my ursaphobia I was hooked on mushrooming and went back into the woods many times after my friends introduced me to this hobby.

There are other creatures in the woods besides mushroom pickers. I’ve seen wolf sign on the logging roads. And there is always the possibility of seeing a cougar, especially if you have a small dog along to tempt the cat, but in the many years I’ve spent mushrooming, I’ve

never seen a wolf or cougar out there sharing my picking territory. Still, it’s a good idea to carry bear spray just in case. Don’t let these things unnerve you. It’s beautiful and silent in the woods. Very peaceful for the soul. I’m always happy after a day of mushroom picking. If I hadn’t made the effort I would have remained unaware of these subtler beauties of nature. Most mushrooms have a look-alike that is highly likely to be inedible if not poisonous. I’m careful not to pick any mushroom I’m not sure of. It’s always best to go with an expert until you learn to identify your mushrooms beyond doubt. Have them sort through your mushrooms before you take them home to make sure you don’t have any poisonous ones hiding in the bag. The rule of thumb for mushroom identification is, “If in doubt, throw it out.” Before you go out into the woods, make sure you have a buddy. It’s never a good idea to go alone. Here is a list of the basic gear and supplies I take with me. In a large fanny pack, I put a simple first aid and survival kit together. Bandaids, tensor bandage (in case of a sprained ankle), small scissors and tape, a lighter (in case I need to make a fire), pocket knife, bear spray, a whistle (in case I get lost), mushroom scissors or a small paring knife, flagging tape, large plastic garbage bag to wear if lost in bad weather, and a good, reliable compass. It’s a good idea to put your car keys in a very safe place where they won’t get lost. You can read about one of my mushroom adventures involving lost keys GPS is very nice but in the woods under a dense canopy of fir trees the GPS doesn’t get a signal. There is also rarely a cell phone signal. This is why a compass is so important. Gaiters are a wonderful invention and are ideally suited for walking through the wet underbrush where chanterelles can be found. Wearing gaiters helps keep the fir needles out of your boots and keeps your pants dry from knees to ankles. Be aware that when everything is damp, as it must be for the best mushroom picking, fallen logs can be slippery. You’d swear someone had slathered grease on them. Use caution. Chanterelles are often found on slopes where fir trees grow and the undergrowth is less than waist deep. Ideally there is a lake or river at the bottom of the hillside. This type of watershed is likely to support this type of mushroom. If you find yourself wandering into areas of deciduous growth, your chances of finding chanterelles decrease dramatically. Be sure to bring a picnic lunch as you’ll work up a healthy appetite. The nearby lake or river may be a perfect spot for a picnic. If it starts pouring rain, sit in your vehicle to have your lunch and enjoy listening to the rain on the roof. If you go mushrooming on a rainy day, be sure to bring a change of clothes. All the effort of going out into the woods to hunt for mushrooms is worth it. After you’ve had adventure, exercise, and fresh air, you’ll have a prize bag of chanterelles to go with an omelette or a juicy steak for supper. Brought to you by: Anneli Purchase Website/blog: Twitter: @Anneli33 FB: Anneli Purchase

FEELING THE PINCH TO LOSE AN INCH? OR FEELING THE FIZZ? The summer is here! Hooray! Now whether you’re spending your breaks at home or away, one thing we’ll all be doing is showing a little more flesh than usual (unless it’s raining – UK readers only I expect!) But will you dare to bare like those preened and perfected celebrities or will you opt for just ankles and forearms? Today’s women are under constant pressure from every which way to LOOK good (article usually next to advert for expensive rejuvenating face cream), FEEL good (yoga, pilates/soya products) and BE good (only one glass of wine with you Quorn stir-fry and palm full of acai berries). So, can we do it? Can we knuckle down and follow the trends? And do we want to? Here are my FIVE top tips for feeling good no matter what you decide! 1. If the latest fashion trends aren’t your style – buck it! You’ll feel way more comfortable in a style that suits YOU! 2. The perfect skin doesn’t exist! We all have different combinations. Use what you’ve always used on your skin. If it works why change it? Are creams with gold flakes in them really going to make that much difference to anything but your bank balance? 3. If you can’t afford a gym membership just get out in the fresh air and walk! Fresh air is free and unlimited and you can take people with you! Dog? Children? Hot guy from across the road you smile at sometimes…just saying! 4. New fruits and vegetables with funny names probably won’t make you live longer. Our grandparents were brought up on apples and cabbage! My nan is 84 and she’s never been near a kumquat! 5. Love the skin you’re in – you’ll win! Confidence comes with relaxing into yourself. We all think there are parts of us we could improve, but most of the time those are the parts other people love about us! Celebrate your uniqueness!

Are you feeling the fizz?? One of the biggest marketing campaigns this year has been from Coca-Cola! I’m talking about all those Coke bottles produced with 150 of Britain’s most popular names written on them. Here’s the list – is your name one of them?

Coke bottle name list -

I have visions of people going into supermarkets, raiding the chilled drinks cabinets in search of a bottle with their name on. Fizzy pop lying in the aisles, children crying when their name can’t be found, employees ordered to search out the back for extra stock… I’ve changed my name to Rachael!

Personally I love campaigns like this because it means the company is thinking outside the box (or should that be the bottle) and really trying to connect with people by using something personal to them (their name) and combining it with social media to muster attention. But what do you all think of trends like this? Do they really work to increase sales of a product? Or is it just all about creating a buzz about a brand? What other adverts or campaigns do you remember that caught your attention? I know the adverts for Calgon work. My daughters know the jingle really well!

Brought to you by: Mandy Baggot Website/blog: Twitter: @MandyBaggot FB: Mandy Baggot


Bead-azzling this Summer! Beads are the accessories for your summer time wardrobe!

You can have lots of fun making some great accessories or simply adding a bit of sparkle to an existing item of clothing or footwear. A trip to my local bead shop near Chichester (Beadazzle) saw me return with a kit to make a charm bracelet and another to make a book mark. There’s a huge variety of beads and kits to choose from, as well as items already made up. If you’re not within driving distance, you can order on-line through their website - There are, of course, many outlets and on-line places to buy beads and there are a variety of magazines available for inspiration and advice.

They are really easy to make and in less than an hour you can have yourself some great accessories. All you need is a pair of mini pliers and a pair of mini snips. You begin by threading your beads onto the rods:

Once you are happy with your beaded rods, you then gently open one of the rings and hook it onto the bracelet. Then take the rod and using the pliers, bend it into a small loop near the beads and snip off the excess rod. Thread the beaded rod onto the ring and gently squeeze the ring closed.

Repeat this until you have your desired amount of bead charms attached. Et Voila!

The same principle applies for this lovely charm book mark, again they can be bought in kit form, in a range of colours.

You can use beads to jazz up any of your accessories, clothing or footwear. A pair of ordinary flip-flops can easily be given a make-over. Using approximately 1 metre of ribbon per flip-flop, wrap this around the straps of each one. Secure in place with heavy duty glue. Then simply apply some glue to the fabric and stick your beads on. You can do this in an ordered pattern or randomly. A simple way to out-dazzle the sunshine!

Brought to you by Sue Fortin

Website/blog: Twitter: @SueFortin1 FB: Sue Fortin


When is a marriage REALLY over? Q. I’m writing this for my brother who would like your advice on a certain matter but would never take the initiative to write in. I hope you can help. My brother is 53 years old and has been married to the same woman for 28 years. He is a good, easygoing man with his own business. He has three grown children (all over 22 and living on their own). The problem is that he is miserable with his wife and has been for many years. I believe she has a personality disorder that makes being around her for long periods of time very difficult. For the last seven or eight years, they’ve had a non-relationship. By that, I mean that they live very separate lives and never do anything together unless it’s a family get-together or a formal affair they’ve been invited to, or if their children visit. These days, they have none of the same interests, spend time with different friends, and share no rapport or emotional connection—and certainly no romance. My brother often comes over to hang out with my family or goes to another one of his close friends on weekends, while she makes other plans. Even with all of this, he has never cheated on his wife. He’s just not that type. If you ask him if he’s happy, he’ll tell you “of course not, I’m miserable.” But when I ask why he hasn’t discussed divorce, he makes an off-the-cuff remark like, “I don’t want to lose my house and my pool.” Do you have any words of wisdom you can share with him? They are beyond marriage counselling so that’s not an option. I just don’t want to see him throw the rest of his life away when he might be able to find a good relationship and some happiness. Thanks in advance for your advice.

A. I find it very sad when I hear about people in hopelessly unhappy relationships who don’t take action to better themselves. I know there are many reasons they stay: some are financial in nature; others concern the children. There are also many reticent individuals who are uncomfortable with change. But when you strip away all of the other reasons, one usually remains: Fear of the Unknown. Something tells me that as much as your brother loves his home and his pool, those are not the only things keeping him in his dead end marriage. Oftentimes, men don’t leave unhappy marriages unless they have a woman waiting in the wings for them. Since your brother is not the type to do that (and I compliment him on this!), living on his own is probably a very daunting prospect after 28 years. As the old adage goes, “Better the devil you know, than the devil you don’t.” So now I have a few thoughts I’ll address to your brother: What if the devil isn’t waiting for you at the end of your divorce? What if a really great woman who shares your interests, enhances your life, and can offer true friendship and real love is just around the corner? Do you think so little of yourself that you’re willing to stay with your wife, your house, and your pool instead of finding out? If so, then there’s nothing I can say that will help you leave, though a good counsellor might be of use. If not, then it’s time to get your head in gear and begin to think about your future. Suffering should not be an option for anyone, and 53 is way too young to give up on love. However, if you continue to let the years pass and do nothing to bring about positive change in your life, then you will have only yourself to blame for your misery. Do you want to look back on your life and say I never even tried to find love and happiness? Divorce isn’t easy, but sometimes it’s a necessary evil, and there is light at the end of the tunnel. My advice is not to waste another day of your life in an unhappy relationship. The universe helps those who help themselves, so take a dive into another kind of pool—one that has a lot more to offer than just chlorinated water.

Mom’s new life is ruining mine! Q. I hope you can offer some help. I’m fourteen years old and my father died two years ago from cancer. He was only 52. My mother, my sister and I had a very hard time with his sickness and death. After a year my mom started dating and began to act like a boy crazy teenager, which was very hard for me and my sister to deal with. But now, even worse, she’s met someone who lives across the country and has been seeing him for many months now. They both travel back and forth and it’s getting serious. He’s a nice man and seems to really care about her, and he is nice to us, but because he has a medical practice where he lives, my mother has talked about us leaving our home and moving to the West Coast to be with him. Part of me is glad to see my mom happy again, but another, bigger part of me is so sad and confused. I miss my dad so much and wonder if he’s hurt that she’s moving on. I’m also freaked out by maybe having to leave everything I know to move someplace so far from home. I know it’s wrong to be selfish and tell my mom how upset I am. It might make her sad again. But I feel so sad, too, and am not sure where to turn. Can you help? A. I’m terribly sorry for what you and your family have gone through. It’s so hard to lose a parent, especially so young. Watching your remaining parent go through the dating process again isn’t easy either. But it seems you realize that your mother is entitled to move on with her life and find another

partner to share it with. Luckily she seems to have picked a good man. Unfortunately, his location does make things a lot more difficult for you and your sister. I’m a big believer in open communication, though, and I think it’s crucial that you have a calm and cordial conversation with your mother about your feelings. I’m sure she realizes that moving would be hard on you and your sister. Give her the chance to try to allay your fears. If you do it without hurtful comments or overwhelming emotion, I don’t think it will make her sad. It will just be calling attention to a very real concern of yours that needs to be discussed in a pragmatic way. You also don’t seem to know for sure if this move is even going to happen. You may be worrying before it’s even necessary. However, if your mother’s plans do come to fruition, you might be surprised by the new and wonderful people and opportunities that will come your way—things you can’t even conceive of now. And, with face-time, video conferencing, the internet, etc, you should be able to hold on to your old friends even as you meet new ones. The world has become a much smaller place during your lifetime thanks to technology! As for worrying about your father’s feelings, I have it on good authority that when loving souls pass, they only want their loved ones here on earth to be happy. If this new man turns out to be a good husband and stepfather, I can assure you your dad will rest a lot easier and be happy for all of you. In the meantime, have that little mother/daughter talk I mentioned, and if you get a chance, I’d love to know how it goes! Hugs to you. If you would like Bonnie to offer some advice on your personal relationship issue, contact her at

Brought to you by: Bonnie Trachtenberg Website/blog: Twitter: @Writebrainedny FB: Bonnie Trachtenberg

SHERYL BROWNE’S BIG SCREEN Pure Entertainment! Whilst on holiday I took the opportunity to see The Lone Ranger (UK general release 9th August). This was my son’s choice and I wasn’t really sure what to expect. However, I was pleasantly surprised. If you’ve read a less than favourable review in regard to The Lone Ranger, I would say, ignore it. Go and see it.From the team that Brought us Pirates of the Caribbean, this is an excellent adventure film, a Western adventure film, action-packed and with no gratuitous language, sex or violence. Definitely one for the family, with perfectly placed comedic moments, as one would expect from a film starring master of one-liners, Johnny Depp. Recounted by American Indian spirit warrior, Tonto (Johnny Depp), The Lone Ranger tells the story of how law-abiding and all-round good guy, John Reid (Armie Hammer), came to be the Lone Ranger, working alongside his less-law abiding and unlikely sidekick, Tonto. Their initial mission: to bring notorious, blood-thirsty outlaw, Butch Cavendish (William Fichtner), to justice, each man’s idea of justice being a little different. The impetus behind their mission: Briefly, Tonto feels responsible for the death of his fellow tribesmen and family, whilst John Reid seeks retribution for the death of his brother and fellow-ranger, Dan Reid (James Badge Dale), killed ghoulishly by Cavendish. In achieving their aims, The Lone Ranger and Tonto must tackle greed and corruption, giving us an underlying ‘good wins over evil’ message. Throughout the film the two men’s obvious chemistry (Hammer with his earnest performance, Depp with his fabulous facial expressions and quirkiness) was pure magic, each one a perfect foil for the other. My only tiny moan is that I would have liked to see more of Helena Bonham Carter (and her fake leg). That aside, I would highly recommend this movie to anyone seeking a fun time at the cinema. With excellent direction, cinematography, casting, screenplay, special effects and pacing, it really doesn’t disappoint. The story never flagged, I sat through the entire 159 minutes and came away thinking The Lone Longer was exactly what a summer movie should be, pure entertainment: A new take on the classic Lone Ranger that will appeal to those who remember the original and younger cinema goers alike. Imho, Silver (the horse) was a definite scene-stealer and will definitely appeal to the children. Director: Gore Verbinski; Writers: Justin Haythe, Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio; Cast: Johnny Deep (Tonto); Armie Hammer (John Reid – The Lone Ranger); William Fichtner (Butch Cavendish)

Brought to you by: Sheryl Browne Website/blog: Twitter: @SherylBrowne FB: Sheryl Browne


The Film Fatales ruin their manicures due to nail-biting suspense and fist-clenching tension.

Life of Pi. NOW ON DEMAND & ON DVD. 2012. Rated PG. 127 minutes. Starring Suraj Sharma, Irrfan Khan, Adil Hussain. Directed by Ang Lee.

A young man who survives a disaster at sea is hurtled into an epic journey of adventure and discovery. While cast away, he forms an unexpected connection with another survivor: a fearsome Bengal tiger. Nicole: Ooof, let me tell you Cassidy – I am glad we waited to see this On Demand. I don’t relish the thoughts of the house lights coming up in the theater after the movie ends and everyone making their way out, only to see me reduced to a sobbing mess

I cried for 20 minutes (COUNT THEM) t.w.e.n.t.y. minutes after Life of Pi ended. And, not because the ending was Beaches-caliber sad. I chalk it up to being in a state of complete, gripping tension for 2-plus hours and then crying out of utter relief that the ordeal was over. elizabeth: I hate to agree but I was glad that I watched this movie while reclining on my bed with one of my cats sleeping on my hip. I have been banned from ever watching any nature documentaries because I just can’t stomach animals making lunch out of fellow animals. I know about the food chain, but I don’t need to see it. If I did, I would be reduced to eating whatever accumulated on the bottom of my shoes. But we are taking about Life of Pi and not my strange addictions. Nicole: Now I know why you’re always eyeing my shoes. elizabeth: I thought that it was a beautiful film about surviving against what would seem to be insurmountable odds and Pi certainly had his share of them in his young life. I did do my share of crying because I can’t stand to see animals hurt – live or animated. I could give you a list of some people I would like to see hurt, but not one animal comes to mind. Hell, I save crickets from the jaws of Henry, one of my cats. And when Henry is successful, I tell the remains that they will like cricket heaven. The doctor will see me now? Nicole: Ah, Henry. At least he’s a vegetarian. But before you go and think I hated the movie, let me say that I didn’t. While parts of it were extremely difficult for this animal rights advocate to watch, other parts were literally marvelous. I usually steer away from any movie that centers around animals, because, well – you know: Something bad almost always happens. elizabeth: I really like this soft side of you. I know it won’t last for long, so let me just take a moment. Nicole: Literally rolling my eyes at you. elizabeth: I think Life of Pi can be a leaning moment for people who have seen or will see this movie. We can go on. We must go on. We can’t let the cruelty of mankind or Mother Nature kill our spirit. You got to get up and go on — even if you are a Bengal tiger. And because there was much to gain from viewing this movie, I am glad that Ang Lee won for best director. And if Spielberg calls to do our life stories, I will tell him that I was surrounded by thousands of meerkats at the time I made this statement. Nicole: You seriously have to stop taking antihistamines. So, do I recommend this movie? Yes, if only for its stunning visual effects and testament to the strength of human (and animal) will. But I do suggest having a box of tissues and/or some sort of mood stabilizer at hand.

Hitchcock. NOW ON DEMAND & ON DVD. 2012. Rated PG-13. 98 minutes. Starring Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren, Scarlett Johansson. Directed by Sacha Gervasi. A love story between influential filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock and wife Alma Reville during the filming of Psycho in 1959. elizabeth: You know when you go out and have a really spectacular meal with close friends or you are kissed by someone who knows what they are doing that the feeling stays with you and you just want to keep revisiting it? Well, Hitchcock was like a kiss on my lips and I felt full and satisfied when the credits started to roll. I got to say that this is one of the best movies made in 2012 – a movie that did not get its due. I apologize to director Sacha Gervasi for not going to see it in the theatre. Nicole: Oh-oh. We’re going to come to blows over this one, aren’t we? (Finally, I’ve been waiting to get into fisticuffs with you.) While I liked the movie in part, I couldn’t help being distracted by some questionable creative decisions. But I’ll let you digress before I really tear into it. elizabeth: What a terrific cast. Anthony Hopkins was unrecognizable as famed director Alfred Hitchcock and there was such great on-screen chemistry with his wife Alma Reville, who was portrayed brilliantly by Helen Mirren. Can this woman ever do a bad movie? And this was a well-written and witty movie that elevated the viewer and never insulted our intelligence. Nicole: OK, I will relent that the casting (aside from Scarlet Johansson as a very unconvincing Janet Leigh) was well done. But hands down, the best thing about this movie was Helen Mirren. Best scene in the movie is when she gives him his comeuppance (and I do hope that actually happened, word for word). elizabeth: There was quite a bit on Hitchcock’s fantasy life on the screen and I felt that just made him appear more vulnerable, flawed and maybe a little more likable. He was the boy who never gets the girl. But let me just say that if I was on the set and he came over to me, I would have hit him with a shovel. The Creep Meter kept going off in my head. Nicole: Ah, you’ve touched upon one of the things that irked me. Hitchcock’s obsession with his blonde leading ladies is the stuff of notorious Hollywood legends – well, more fact than legend according to many tell-all autobiographies. And save for the filming of the shower scene, I don’t think the movie accurately portrayed his crazed obsession and anger management issues. I also don’t think the relationship between Hitch and Alma was accurate – they didn’t like each other nearly as much as this film portrayed. From what I understand, their relationship was more in keeping with the portrayal seen in HBO’s The Girl, starring Sienna Miller. You want creep factor – I grew to hate Hitchcock as a person after seeing that movie, which was difficult considering how Rear Window is in my Top 5 films ever made.

One final note on the script: I felt the scenes in which Hitchcock was channelling the book version of Psycho were uninspired and forced. I think the time could have been better spent on the cutting room floor.

elizabeth: Visually, this was a beautiful film that was having a love affair with the 1950s. You saw people walking around all dressed up with a cigarette in their hands and not an iphone. Women wore stockings – well, I never liked that. Too much work. And, it was fun to see how the movie Psycho got made back in the dark ages…and how one of the Film Fatales will be checking behind the shower curtains once again. Nicole: Yea, yea. So, meet me out in the parking lot at 3pm sharp for a throw-down. It’s on.

Brought to you by: Film Fatales Website/blog: Twitter: @Film_Fatales FB: Film Fatales

SIZZLING SUMMER RECIPES Thinking about alfresco dining with the pleasure of inviting friends and family round for a barbeque? What could be more perfect? The tantalising thought of food being cooked in the open air, with savoury aromas drifting across a balmy breeze, sends me straight to the shed to brush down the barbeque and set up the garden furniture (it inevitably rains, but we’ll pretend it doesn’t!).

Fancy a barbie with a difference? We can all baste a burger, grill a gammon or even chop a chicken for the barbeque, but how about something different to entertain your guests this summer? I’ve been experimenting with new recipes and have found a few unusual ideas to make your guests smile. (Whatever the weather!) We enjoyed trying them and barbeques will never be the same again! Why not give these recipes a try…

Here’s one to get the boys cooking! Ask any man: “Who wants to insert a half-drunk beer into the bottom of a chicken?” Stand back for the stampede… This is a great way to cook a chicken! As the liquid evaporates inside the chicken, the flesh is kept wonderfully moist; while the outside dry-roasts and crisps the skin perfectly. Rub olive oil, salt and pepper with some fresh thyme onto the skin to bring out the flavour.

BEER CAN CHICKEN Ingredients 1 whole chicken – free range if possible 1 large can of beer 2 tbsp olive oil 1 medium size onion – finely chopped 2 cloves of fresh garlic – finely chopped (or 1 tsp garlic powder) 1 tsp mustard 1 tsp paprika 1 tsp salt 1/2 tsp ground black pepper 1/2 tsp ground coriander 1/2 tsp cumin powder Fresh thyme – several sprigs, chopped

Method  In a bowl, combine the onion, garlic, mustard, paprika, salt, pepper, coriander, cumin and thyme to form a paste.  Brush the chicken with the olive oil and rub all over with the paste – inside and out.  Open the beer and pour off (or drink) half the contents.  Set the can on a flat surface and slide the chicken over the top so the can fits inside the cavity.  Place the chicken on the grill – keeping upright, using the legs for balance. Roast for up to 1 1/2 hours.  Remove the chicken, (taking care not to spill the contents of the can which will be hot). Let the chicken rest for about ten minutes then lift from the can and discard the beer.  Cut the chicken into pieces and enjoy!

TIP Experiment with your ‘rub’ – try chilli or your own favourite spices. Substitute wine in the can for an alternative flavour, or try a different beer – perhaps something really malty and strong.

DO THE SAUSAGE TWIST! Bangers don’t have to be boring!

 Take your favourite variety of sausage and place in a wrap of foil.  Twist one end firmly.  In the open end of the wrap, pour a small amount of wine  Twist the open end to seal in the wine.  Place the foil parcel on the barbeque.  The sausage will poach as the wine evaporates and creates steam.

TIP Frankfurters are great for this sausage twist – they are pre-cooked and have a good colour.

CEDAR WOOD SALMON Here’s an unusual way of cooking a salmon steak. You can buy cedar wood planks online and they are great for a barbeque, the water in the plank will steam and ensures that the salmon stays moist. The cedar wood will infuse with a sweet, spicy fragrance and naturally smoky flavour.

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Season an 8oz salmon steak. Soak the plank in water; it becomes pliable when wet and you can wrap it around the fish, into a parcel.  Tie your parcel with garden wire.  Place on the barbeque, not too hot.  Cook for 8 – 10 minutes, turn half way during cooking process  The fish is ready when flaky

TIP Try other fish combinations and add your own seasonings and fresh herbs, such as dill or mint.

THE BUCKIE BURGER by Martin Blunos for Buckfast I’ve pinched this recipe from a Michelin starred chef (with his permission of course!) It’s too good to leave out of a summer barbeque and the twist is the Buckfast Tonic Wine which really gives a different flavour to the meat. Enough for 4 burgers I’ve gone for a mix of pork and venison mince making for a juicy burger. The Buckfast lifts the gaminess of the venison and wow! It just makes it special! Martin Blunos Ingredients 500ml Buckfast Tonic Wine pinch of salt 500gr minced venison 250gr minced shoulder of pork ½ teaspoon fresh milled black pepper 1 level teaspoon sea salt 2 juniper berries, crushed and finely chopped Method Put the Buckfast into a saucepan with the pinch of salt and set over a high heat – bring to the boil – reduce heat to a simmer and cook for approximately 20 – 25 minutes until you are left with about 125ml of reduced Buckfast. Leave to cool completely. In a bowl mix the meats with the pepper, salt and juniper add 60ml (4 tablespoons) of the reduced, cooled, Buckfast – mix well and form into four equal sized burgers. Cook on the barbecue for about 4/5 mins each side over a moderate heat. One minute before the end of the cooking time, brush over the remaining Buckfast (glaze). Dress in a toasted bun with salad leaves, sliced tomatoes and top with or without a slice of mild blue cheese and a juicy pickle.

TIP If you really want to chill – add lemonade and ice to the remaining Buckfast and create a refreshing summer punch to go with your burger. Throw in some fruit and… Cheers!

CAKE IN A CAN I’m sneaking off for an exotic break this summer and was asked to come up with a pudding concept for a ‘booze, beats & burgers’ bar…Use baked bean tins to present! This sits well on a barbeque and the flavour combinations are endless…

Ingredients 8oz SR flour 8oz caster sugar 8oz butter 4 medium eggs Makes 16 cakes Toppings Sliced banana & dark rum with a sprinkling of Demerara sugar Strawberries and clotted cream Chocolate sauce and ice-cream Tins Take a small baked bean tin and remove top with opener. Remove contents and label and wash tin. Dry thoroughly and grease tin well (a little oil brushed round the tin is ideal) Method  Cream the butter and sugar  Whisk eggs until light and fluffy and beat into butter mix  Sift flour and fold into mix  Drop a small amount of mix into each tin – to just under half the depth  Place on barbeque (on white coals – no flame) and place barbeque lid over cakes  Check after 12 mins or so – cake will be springy to touch, or, if you pierce with a skewer the skewer will come out dry when the cake is cooked. Add the topping of your choice!

TIP Dribble a little dark rum over the warm sponge and top with sliced bananas and Demerara sugar and return to the barbecue for a couple of minutes – delicious! The sponge in the picture has grated carrots in the mix, which made a heavenly sweet pudding. Experiment with your own variations!

DIY KEBABS Get the kids involved!

Slice and chop your favourite fruits into chunks and place in bowls  Use pre-soaked wooden skewers (with blunt ends – little fingers!) and get the kids to make up a fruit kebab of their choice  Sprinkle a little sugar on the kebabs  Get an adult to place skewers on the barbeque until warm and sugar caramelised  Serve with chocolate dip/ crème fraiche or a big bowl of clotted cream TIP Soak the wooden skewers before use, to prevent them catching on the barbeque. Have a sizzling summer! Brought to you by: Caroline James Website/blog: Twitter: @CarolineJames12 FB: Caroline James Author


E3 technology exposition in Los Angeles & Christmas shopping for the kids 2013!

Plan ahead in order to make Christmas 2013 a great experience for their school age children, whilst retaining control over the games they are exposed to. Well, Happy Christmas everyone! It’s almost upon us. Santa will be here before we know it!. Um…I know it’s August…but you can never be too prepared!

This article is inspired by the recent E3 technology exposition in Los Angeles. These brand conferences happen all of the time, so when one makes the news you know it is culturally important. The two big announcements of E3 were of new products that will impact significantly on the Christmas lists our children write this year. Expect to see “Dear Santa, can I have a Playstation 4 (or an Xbox One), I’ve been good this year” on a note coming to you later in the year.

ABOVE: Two news articles announcing the new games consoles

Each time a child-centered product is released, the manufacturers traditionally bombard children with TV and print advertisements to build the desire to own it. Things are different now; apart from CBBC programmes on the iPlayer, my children generally watch TV via YouTube. It allows me to select and vary their programming, to balance the more violent cartoons with softer, traditional entertainment such as Mr Benn and Bagpuss. They are wholly unaffected by traditional advertising as they are rarely exposed to it. As a teacher, I

think this is great. The toys that are pushed are usually the licensed and unimaginative oneswrestling figures in recent years, for example. Taking the power of choice away from loud adverts and in to the hands of parents (along with a little peer influence) is a nice progression into the freedom to buy good quality presents, rather than just the things that are culturally popular.

The current generation of consoles has an interesting split. The Playstation 3 is a traditional console that offers all sorts of games, but the Xbox is considered to have many more violent and unsuitable titles. Talking to any group of young children shows that not only are they aware of these violent games, but of those who own an Xbox 360, a number will have either played on or actually own these games. The Xbox seems to have higher ownership numbers among children, perhaps caused by two reasons: it’s cheaper (important for parents) and peer pressure usually draws children towards it. If ten of their friends play online, they won’t want to be left out. If Call of Duty is a game they all play, your child will want it too. For parents it seems to be easy to be drawn in to allowing their child to play on these games- even when they would never, ever allow them to watch an 18 certificate film. “It’s only a game, they know it’s not real” is an awful and untrue maxim. I will not allow my own children to play age inappropriate titles, and I often talk to my pupils in school about the reasons these games have age certificates, but I do not feel backed by their parents to any degree. Parents let their children play unsuitable games too readily.

These consoles will be on many Christmas lists, but what the media won’t discuss is the appropriateness of them. If your child wants one, and you want to buy one, I’d advocate buying the Playstation 4. Cheaper, fewer violent games as the top sellers, and a good history, it’s a safe choice.

ABOVE: A selection of the current PS3 games aimed at children

Both consoles offer numerous online facilities, apps such as the iPlayer and Netflix, inbuilt Blu Ray players, and plenty of hard drive storage for films, tv programmes, games and photographs. Both represent good value for money as they can replace multiple devices in the front room or games room; I saved £800 over the last year by cancelling my TV licence and Sky subscription, and using the video apps on the PS3- none of which require a TV

licence. Really, since the advent of catchup TV and YouTube the TV licence is anachronistic. Who wants to pay for live TV when you can watch it an hour later for free? So as a hub for entertainment, the PS4 will be good value and if you change your viewing habits it could pay for itself (RRP is £349) in just six months, based on what I used to spend. But perhaps that’s the way to see these consoles; not as toys, but as family purchases that should sit in the front room and be used with supervision. The slightly worrying fact is that many of these adult games played on by children are purchased and disappear into bedrooms. As a central entertainment device, at least you will see the game being used and be able to decide if it really is “just a game”. Of course, maximising the family TV will also help your children to control their time spent gaming. “Games off at seven o’clock!” will be unavoidable if Mum wants to watch something at that time, and their bedrooms can be reserved for proper toys and of course sleeping!

ABOVE: Two lumps of plastic and electronics that many children will want to own

So this is it. Indulge your children. Let them be ‘in with the in crowd’ but be clever about it, use it as the excuse you’ve been waiting for to remove the existing technology from their bedrooms. Reserve their bedrooms for reading, sleeping and playing with toys. Encourage them to trade in their existing gaming systems for games for the new console, and encourage them to read after that 7pm technology curfew. They’ll be so happy to receive the latest gaming system, and you’ll find uses for it too. I’m sorry to have mentioned Christmas already- buy by posting this article now, at least I’m giving you six months to save for the most desirable present of 2013! Enjoy your summer readers. Sony PlayStation 4 (PS4) Xbox One Console Mark Hulkus is a primary school teacher and an experienced Head of IT. He has three children, is obsessed with the 1980s, and runs a fun design website at He will be helping us to help our children when it comes to school work and IT skills. If you have a question for Mark email us at

SUMMER TRAVEL – CHILD FRIENDLY! Keeping Your Child Happy On a Never-Ending Journey

I am what you would call a seasoned business traveler. At one time, I traveled 75% of the time for my job as a corporate trainer. I couldn’t tell you all of the names of the cities I’ve been to, the airports I’ve flown out of, the cities I’ve driven through, or even the people who I traveled with-they’ve blurred together. One thing I can share with certainty, however? A screaming child makes it worse for everyone-especially the parents. Whether you’re traveling by plane, train, boat, car, or bike, having a crier on-board just stinks – regardless of their age. Still, I packed up my two kids, for a sixteen and a half hour car ride to Maine last summer and a twelve-hour car ride to The Outer Banks in North Carolina, just two weeks ago. We’re mostly focusing on drivers here, but there are tips for all sorts of travelers. Here’s how this mother kept everyone happy. Makes Sure Seats Are Safe and Comfy

Photo credit: gracobaby / / CC BY-NC-ND

If you have little kids who are still in cars seats:    

Check the condition of the seats. If the seats are worn, do you have a set in another car that’s in better shape that you can switch out? Many car seats have expiration dates. Look on the underside of yours or consult the manufacturer to ensure yours is current. Arrange to bring light blankets and some inflatable pillows for older kids. They won’t take up too much space and everyone will be happier. Happy driver tip? Make sure each driver adjusts the seat so they are comfortable when taking the wheel. Leaning forward while driving can cause neck pain, nausea, and irritability. Favorite app? The Car Seat Helper app can give you tips and info on your car seat and help you pick one.

Plan for Breaks I’m one of those goal-oriented people who hate to stop for breaks. When I get in the car, my motto becomes “Go, go, go!” Yeah- that doesn’t work so well l with kids, I’ve found. They just can’t sit still for that long. 

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Arrange to stop every two-three hours, it’s not only good for the kids, but will work to prevent medical issues, such as blood clots. If you are on a plane or train get up and walk if you can. Even if that means frequent bathroom visits. You might need to stop overnight, even if you feel you could keep going. Happy driver tip? This also allows for frequent driver rotation, which makes the trip safer for everyone. Favorite App? Around Me or Android’s embedded Local app will help you find places to stop.

Snacks Only one thing is worse than cranky travelers- hungry, cranky travelers! So pack plenty of snacks and drinks to take with you. Before you throw everything in the bag for the trip, here are some things to consider.

Photo credit: stevendepolo / / CC BY

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Cut down on snacks like candy or chocolate-covered anything. Too much artificial sugar in a kid of any age-yikes! Choose snacks that are low on the mess factor, like dried fruit or other snacks that are easily held in small or large hands alike, such as mini-graham crackers. Pair snacks with bottled water or those half bottles, which are great for kids. You can also bring your own sports bottles, but if you’re traveling by car it’s tough washing the sports bottle to avoid bacteria. These to-go bottles make it easy. Happy driver tip? Give the driver a can of soda, a bottle of water, and a snack within easy reach. Sometimes they will need sugar and caffeine! Favorite App? Healthy Snacks will give you some good snack ideas.


Photo credit: shankar, shiv / / CC BY Ah, you knew it was coming with me, right? I always have music playing. Who wants to sit in a quiet car for two, four, ten, or more hours? BORING! Here’s how you can spice it up. 

Create a trip playlist as a family before you leave for your MP3-Player or CD-Player – depending upon what you have in the car. Get everyone in the family involved when selecting the music, so that they’ll get excited when a particular song comes on.

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Make sure you have any and all equipment to play the music in your car, so all can hear. You might need an iPod cable for Apple lovers ($19.00 US) , and AUX cable ($1-$35 US) for Android users like me, or even a portal speaker that runs on rechargeable batteries ($39-$125 US). For flyers, make sure you have noisecancelling headphones to hear over the airplane noise. Happy driver tip? No ballads! Unfortunately, ballads will not cut it for the drive. Save those for the romantic moments when the kids are asleep on the trip, right? *wink* Favorite app? Pandora hogs your data plan a bit, but you can’t beat it for variety. Plus, everyone gets their own channel.

Entertainment This is one of those key things that you just can’t leave home without. Some of my tips here might involve a bit of an investment, but I can guarantee they’ll be worth it. 

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Go heavy on the books. Whether they come in the form of a tote bag of kid’s books and paperbacks or a loaded e-reader, have them. Kids reading=a quiet car, plan, train, etc. Invest in tablets. My husband and I each have a Google Nexus 7 tablet ($199$250 US), but Kindles($159-$199 US), Nooks ($199 US), and iPads ($329-$499 US) have also become equally affordable. Load them up with games and activities. Put movies that the kids pick on the tablets. Ripping a DVD and putting it on a tablet is much less daunting than it used to be. Apple, in particular, makes this pretty easy. Load up the tables with movies and let them watch with headphones. This also works for long waits at restaurants for tables or food. For older kids, purchase a cheap headphone splitter ($3-$25 US), which will allow more than one child to share a tablet. Bring a small cookie sheet with edges, crayons, and a sketch book/coloring book for younger kids. The edges on the cookie sheet keep the crayons from rolling on the floor. Happy driver tip? Make sure tablets and books are not in sight of the driver, so they won’t be tempted to watch or read along. Favorite app? For little kids I love Hungry Guppy. For older kids? Angry Birds or Words With Friends are classics.

Here are just a few of the things that worked for us when traveling. However, I think the most important thing is to make sure you set realistic expectations for the trip. If you feel like you’re pushing your family, you probably are. Sometimes it can’t be helped, for example, with airline travel. Just do your best to be prepared for the trip and you’ll be fine. When all else fails, remember to pack your own headphones! Travel safe! Brought to you by: Stephanie Keyes Website/blog: Twitter: @StephanieKeyes FB: Stephanie Keyes


No Way In! I’ve never written at any sort of length about my father, and for no particular reason. Maybe it’s because he’s always been a dependable parent, great provider, and fair disciplinarian. A consummate workaholic, my father is now approaching retirement age and spends his days enjoying the life he’s built for our family. The more that I think about it, I’m genuinely surprised that I haven’t written about him up until now. The fact that he embraces a professional demeanor and understated stoicism makes his mishaps all the more fun to rag on when stupid shit happens to the grizzled old fart. This past weekend was no exception. Being raised in a blue collar household, my dad developed a strong work ethic at a very young age, going on to graduate from college, get married, and start a computer business at a time when computers were a radical, new way of thinking. Surfing a wave of ingenuity and having faith in machines, that at the time had as much memory as a pocket calculator, my dad developed a business plan that would not only be successful, but would ensure that his family would never go for want. We were fortunate. On a familial level, the success didn’t quite translate. I believe that the true measure of a parent resides in their ability to impart wisdom upon their children. My father fell less on the teaching side of the fence, gravitating more toward the Tiger-Mom mentality of “I’m only going to show you this once and you better not fuck it up!” Alas, I’m 8, and learning how to change the oil in a 1974 Karmann Ghia wasn’t high on my list of shit worth retaining. You can only imagine the disastrous version of the ‘birds and bees’ speech that was right around the corner. I had heard about this mindboggling rite of passage from some of my friends whose fathers took the plunge, so I was anxiously awaiting my turn, ready to absorb his knowledge and

learn what the commotion was about. I had never seen my father nervous before, but he visibly was that night. It probably would have taken my bleeding from every orifice for him to even consider engaging in a single drop of eye contact during what was sure to be one very difficult discussion for the both of us. Dad: You know about condoms?

Me: Yes Dad: Use them. He then proceeded to flip to the sports page, emotionally satisfied that he fulfilled his fatherly duty in explaining the art of fucking. Well done, Pop. I have to figure that my father thought he had sired a military man. When I was born, all he saw was a child who would grow to encompass all of the characteristics inherently synonymous with honor, courage, and pride. Instead, he produced a mouthy jerkoff who gets immense pleasure out of busting his balls whenever the austerity crumbles. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it’s usually a doozy. We reached the apex Saturday night. It all started around a backyard bonfire. Several years ago, my parents moved from the house I was raised in, and instead of memorializing the yard with a bronze statue of me, they sold it without my consent. The folks built their dream home in the middle of nowhere. Swallowed up in trees, acres of wildlife and peace surround the empty-nest couple who can’t shut the fuck up over menial, bullshit arguments the likes of which the world has never seen. On the brink of insanity, the two of them fight over what’s for dinner as if the wrong choice would determine the future of human existence. People wonder why I question my genealogy, but despite their idiosyncrasies, they know how to put on a hell of a party.

Several times a year, our family and friends get together friends and sit around a blazing fire with drinks in hand and music barrelling through the speakers. Eventually the crowd dissipated, but a few stalwarts were content to keep the night alive. We were having a great time when my mother decided to pack it in and go to bed. She grabbed her stuff, kissed my father goodnight and asked something of him while pointing at me. “Are you going to talk to him?” Staring impassively into the fire and saying nothing, he nodded his head. Huh? Talk to me about what!?! Did they find my pot? Shit. They found my pot. He probably flushed it and is going to tear my ass a new one. Now I’m going to have to call my guy in the morning and… Dad: Have you ever seen that movie No Way Out? Me: No, but I’ve heard of it. Dad: It’s pretty good. I think you would like it. It’s about a naval officer who investigates a murder. It has that guy from Hoosiers and Superman…ehh… Me: Gene Hackman? Dad: Yeah Gene Hackman. You should check it out. Me: OK. It sounds like something I would like. He paused; eyes still fixated on the glowing embers in front of him. I had only seen that nervousness in him once before. Dad: You know you can break your dick having sex? NOTE: Now, I’ve struggled with this story over how to phrase my response to the previous sentence, and the word “gasp” seems entirely too hollow to describe a bowel-escaping moment in time. Dad: Well it’s uncomfortable for me…it’s uncomfortable for your mother… Me: Wait. What the fuck? Dad: …so you need to be careful… Me: Whoa!!! Dad!!! What in the hell does this have to do with Gene Hackman!?! Spin it however you want, but his segue skills need some serious polish. As much as I should have wanted to sprint away from the remainder of this life lesson, I couldn’t take my eyes off of what was unfolding in front of me. For a half an hour, I was filibustered with an unprecedented level of gruesome detail that I’m not sure I’ll ever forget. Basically, I learned that my parents had an “incident” during a romantic encounter wherein

my father sort of missed the mark. Not so coincidentally, I also learned that I would no longer be able to watch a Gene Hackman film without throwing up in my mouth a little. Observing my look of confusion and disgust, my brother chuckled over the free entertainment. “You knew about this didn’t you?” I asked. “Yeah, he told me a few weeks ago.” “Does Alex know too?” “Yep.” Christ. One brother is in the midst of a divorce and the other hasn’t gotten laid since the Clinton administration. Aside from Caligula and my mother, I’m the only person around here having regular sex, yet was the last to be told to look out. It’s not a secret that no one has Hornyak-Miranda rights around me, so my father had to be aware that everything that had, and will come out of his mouth will in some way be used as fodder for my readers. If the thought had crossed his mind he must have dismissed it, since an attempt at justification via medical jargon referred to his malady as Peyronie’s disease. Disease? I don’t think so. It’s not like he forgot to wash his hands before touching a door knob and his dick suddenly snapped. He can refer to it as Peyronie’s disease if it helps him sleep at night, but unless ‘Peyronie’ is Italian for “bad aim”, he should just call a spade a spade and own up to the fact that he literally fucked up. There are physics involved here. If I ran naked into a tree with a raging erection, the only acceptable disease you could pin on me is psychosis. Not about to blindly accept the fact that I was being forced to add one more item to my personal sex watch-list, I researched the bullshit disease to find that Peyronie’s is a tissue disorder that affects an incredibly small percentage of men. It may seem odd, but I’ve told this story to a handful of friends, and nobody has ever asked how my father was doing. I don’t blame them. The real question revolves around the state of my mother’s spine. Were we two pounds of pressure away from an embarrassingly unexplainable Christopher Reeves situation. The speculation is making me sick. I have always known that I would grow out of my physical ability. I’ve already seen a slide in my strength, speed, and, when driving drunk, my ability to articulate the alphabet. I worry that one day food won’t taste the same, and I won’t be able to see as clearly, but agonizing over an imitation disease isn’t worth my time. The simple fact is that this is nothing more than a ‘crooked’ side effect of something that everyone should be giving my parents a standing ovation for. Dad. Congratulations on scarring my brain just a little bit more, and for your ability to find the woman with whom you constantly fight with ‘do-able’. No Way Out will continue to be an unwatched film that I will sadly write off for the remainder of my life, but maybe one day, we can all sit down at the fire again without fear that a penis will enter the conversational periphery. I love you dad, and as always, think twice before sharing with me. Brought to you by: Adam Hornyak Twitter: @AdamHornyak FB: Adam Hornyak

ODE TO SUMMER… As summer is in full swing across the northern hemisphere I hope that Loveahappyending Lifestyle Magazine readers are getting out there and enjoying the long days and warmer weather! For me, summer has always been my favorite time of the year.

When I was a kid, perhaps eight years old, I got a children’s calendar for Christmas that had a sheet of stickers you could put on different days and months of the year. There was picture of a cake with candles for your birthday. For Easter there was a colored egg sticker. A firecracker was for Independence Day. And then there was a sticker that said, “My Favorite Month!” I had no hesitations in deciding where to stick this one. I opened the calendar right up and pasted it on the 1st of July. Over the years I’ve spent seven seasons working as a chairlift operator, photographer and ski and snowboarding instructor at ski resorts in the U.S. Many of my instructor colleagues live for the snow and winter weather. They spend a season working northern hemisphere resorts, and as soon as it is over they hop on planes and head to the southern hemisphere to do it all over again. Sometimes they might take one week off in Hawaii for a quick blast of warm weather, but then they are right back into winter, for years on end. I can hardly imagine a life like that.

No, that is not the life for me. As much as I do appreciate a good day on the slopes, or sitting inside a nice warm coffee house with my laptop, looking out the window as the snow falls down.

I’m more of an endless summer kind of person than an endless winter one. I love long, lazy afternoons at the beach, or hiking by a mountain stream. To me it is hard to beat scuba diving in a balmy sea, or zipping down a challenging trail on a mountain bike. Shorts and a T-shirt beat jacket, hat and gloves hands down. At the same time, in some ways I find that it is only through the contrast that we can fully appreciate a thing. It is our hardships, after all, that make our successes that much sweeter. Not that winter is a hardship, necessarily, but in contrast it does make summer all the more enjoyable.

I have spent some time in perpetually warm places. I grew up in southern California, which never gets too cold in winter and where snow is a concept that many people have never even seen. I’ve lived in Hawaii and spent periods of time in Thailand and Australia. One thing that I have learned by living in these perpetually warm places is that one can begin to take it all for granted. After a while, it can become hard to appreciate idyllic days, one after the other. It is only by suffering through the depths of a cold, dark winter that one can fully enjoy a sunny summer day.

I know that many readers of Loveahappyending Lifestyle come from places in the U.K. Others live in the American Midwest or Northeastern corridor. Wherever you happen to come from there is a good chance that you have recently suffered through a cold dark winter. Well, it is time to rejoice! Summer is here! Time to get on out there and go for a hike in the hills, or wander through a nearby park to enjoy the flowers, or maybe even plant your own. Time to go for a bike ride or maybe enjoy a meal outside. And if it is raining? Fear not, for sunshine is surely just around the corner. For those of you reading this in the southern hemisphere rest assured that your suffering will be rewarded in time! That’s just part of the beauty of living on planet earth. Now if you don’t mind, my mountain bike is sitting in the corner looking far too lonely. I think it’s time for me to get on out there myself and make the most of this lovely summer day! Brought to you by: Kenneth Rosenberg Website/blog: Twitter: @IndieNovelist FB: Kenneth Rosenberg

SPORT – ARE YOU IN THE SWING? The golf swing that is! Golf is a fine way to have fun at any age and, unless you are hindered by specific health issues, it’s never too late to begin. Shake off any fears or apprehensions about taking on a new hobby late in life! Golf is an activity that truly can be enjoyed at any age. Many older people dismiss golf as a sport they could not possibly enjoy and assume it is a younger person’s game. Although golf at top level is physically demanding, it can also be an extremely pleasant and gentle pastime. Most clubs have special rates for seniors: another benefit of aging! Taking lessons, using the practice facilities, and convincing a friend to go along are all ways to ease into the sport. Set some simple goals and have fun! From what I could discover, the oldest active golfer today is 100 years old and still tries to play three times a week. He lives in West Sussex and you can read more about him by clicking on this link. If you can skip taking the golf cart and walk the course, you will be receiving even more benefits. Walking is undisputedly one of the best low-impact cardiovascular exercises for seniors. Easy on the joints, it burns calories and builds muscle and bone density. On the other hand, if walking is something that gives you trouble, you can still play the game with the help of a cart. The golf swing benefits everyone in many ways with balance, strength and flexibility. Training exercises will improve your game and also help prevent injury. Common problem areas for seniors in golf are the ankles, hips and shoulders, and you can do a number of exercises to help improve your strength and flexibility in these areas. You’ll also want to work on toning and stretching muscles that work hard during a golf game, like your legs and back.

Click here to go to an excellent site offering advice for senior golfers including such topics as: warm-up, posture, balance and stability, equipment.

While our bodies change as we age, we still want to stay fit. Stretching and strengthening exercises help with flexibility and can improve the distance you achieve in your shots. Having the right equipment also makes a difference in your swing and the distance you get. Every club has a golf pro who will be only too happy to advise you in all of these matters. No matter what, golf is a very social game that is a fine way to have fun with friends. Hitting balls at the range or practicing putting is always helpful to your game and can be a very pleasant way to spend time. All in all, this is a sport everyone can play and is a great addition to the new chapter opening for you after retirement. Stay fit and have fun at the same time! Don’t forget to enjoy the 19th hole too! Socializing is a big part of the game of golf. If you haven’t tried golf before and are looking for something new in your life, take some lessons and get in the swing!

Brought to you by: Patricia Sands Website/blog: Twitter: @Patricia_Sands FB: Patricia Sands

SPORT - SUE MOORCROFT TALKS F1 Fast cars going round in circles… right? Sometimes when I witter on Twitter about my love of Formula 1 racing I get reactions such as ‘Huh? You’re talking about fast cars going round in circles all afternoon, right?’ Right, that’s what I talk about a lot. I even have a column at where you can find me after most races airing my opinion on that day’s action. I love the excitement, the thrills and spills, the strategy and the bravery of the racing. And, OK, to be honest, the noise of a fast car makes my hair stand on end. Here are my crib notes on the elements of Formula 1:

FORMULA 1 – a category of circuit racing for motor cars at the pinnacle of motor sport. (Yes – fast cars that go around in circles all afternoon.) RACES – around twenty each season in various venues around the world. Countries compete hotly to be added to the Formula 1 calendar because of the revenue that can come alongside the Formula 1 circus. (Although some have been known to speak of debt more than revenue.) TEAMS – competing against each other for the World Constructors’ Championship and the World Drivers’ Championship. Usually, but not always, reflecting massive sponsors in the

team name. A team will support hundreds of employees. (A team also has more secrets than a rogue politician. Any aspect of one team can be useful to another.) CARS – each team two race cars. Or, to be precise, they have two cars in each race. They may have any number of cars throughout a season. They get bashed about, they evolve, different set ups suit different circuits. The cars are at the cutting edge of motoring technology and what is innovated in Formula 1 today may be on your road car in a couple of years. In Formula 1 there are no ‘off the peg’ cars. Each team is responsible for its own cars’ construction. (They are also things of beauty – the more they win, the more beautiful everybody finds them.) DRIVERS – the cream of motor car drivers, in possession of super licences and often earning huge income. They’re fit, focused and talented … everything depends upon their results. They will have worked their way up through other formulae, perhaps beginning in carting when they were little.

Oddly, those who aren’t earning huge salaries often have to pay their way into the sport with the help of massive sponsorship deals. As well as the race drivers there is usually at least one test driver, who might get some running in a practice session on race weekends and even step into a car for a race if a race driver is unwell etc. (And there’s a huge queue of other drivers wanting to get into these three seats.)

CIRCUITS – the tracks on which the races are run. They’re never ovals or ‘D’s as in some other motor sports, but each is different, with a variety of angles and speeds of corners, elevations, track widths, track surface and climatic conditions. Vastly expensive to create, an F1 circuit needs a massive infrastructure of paddock (garage area), communications centres, hospitality units, spectator facilities, and an army of people to run it. A new circuit is years in the planning before the construction begins. Speed is limited only by the capability of car and driver. (But street circuits, such as Monaco or Albert Park in Melbourne, Australia, are literally created in a couple of weeks from an area of public roads. Go figure.) POINTS – points are awarded to the top ten cars to finish a race. Everything depends on points, including income from TV rights. If you’re ‘in the points’ you’re in the money. Points count to both Championships, driver and constructor. PITS – the pit is the area in front of each team garage marked by a box shape on the ground where cars stop for tyre changes during a race or for mechanical attention. Also called ‘box’. PITLANE – the part of the circuit that passes in front of the pits. Speed limits apply. A dangerous place to be and access strictly controlled during races and practice sessions. TYRES – not just round and black, tyres are a big factor in performance, especially now when they degrade quite quickly. They form the backbone of the race strategy and two compounds are brought to every race. Unless the race is declared wet, both compounds must be used on each car during a race. Tyres can be blamed for just about everything in Formula 1. PITSTOP – when a car flies into the pits, hits its box, and mechanics dressed as Darth Vader change its tyres in sub-three-second bursts of activity. Lots of time won and lost in pitstops. Mechanics and drivers train rigorously. Occasionally, someone gets hurt. More frequently, someone makes a mistake and a forlorn car is left with three wheels on its wagon, trying to return to its box in a shower of sparks.

These notes give you the most rudimentary structure of Formula 1. They don’t say anything about the colour, the excitement, the noise, the edge-of-the-seat race finishes. I’ll have to leave you to discover that yourself. Brought to you by: Sue Moorcroft Website/blog: Twitter: @SueMoorcroft FB: Sue Moorcroft


Help! Do I Use Single or Double Quotes? Without doubt, the single most perplexing problem for many writers and authors is with regard to punctuation and capitalization, particularly concerning dialogue. As with many things in writing, there are differences between what is deemed acceptable in the USA, Canada, and elsewhere, and how it is done in the UK. The publishing industry in Britain has long followed that editors’ bible New Hart’s Rules: the Handbook of Style for Writers and Editors, published by the OUP, a goldmine of information on standard conventions for the written word. Of course, some things have changed and evolved over time, but the basics have not. First, to answer that constant chestnut: “Should I use double or single quotes in my writing?” The answer is simple – you use whichever you prefer. The USA prefers the double quotation mark. This is, in fact, how millions of children in the UK were taught to write dialogue in school – with the good old double inverted commas. UK English (and as in Hart’s Rules) favours the single mark, but there is no rule that says you cannot use double if that is your preference. In fact, using double quotes has its advantages in that it saves a lot of time and hassle if you are considering publishing in the USA. Converting single to double is never as straightforward as it sounds, even when using the Search and Replace function. What is important is consistency in style throughout your document. Whichever you choose, ALL quotes, including single words or phrases, as well as direct speech/dialogue should be in that choice, i.e. either all double or all single. The only exception would be a quote within a quote/dialogue (see New Hart’s Rules p.85). There is a school of thought that direct speech is set within double and anything else within single. Not so in UK English. Take a look at any professionally published novel by the major publishing houses, and you will see this is the case. It’s one or the other. The extracts below show how this should be done. Example 1 Single within double quotation marks “I was telling Elaine about it and she said, ‘I don’t believe you.’ It took me ages to convince her.” Example 2 All quotes words/phrases/statements







‘Sorry,’ said Anita, ‘I’m going to have to leave you to your own devices again.’ There was a large pile of correspondence waiting in her little ‘office’, the cupboard beneath the stairs. Punctuation Within Dialogue Again, USA English and UK English use different conventions. The UK places punctuation inside quotation marks in direct speech, and outside in quotations or individual words/phrases; the USA seems to favour inside for both. Example 2 above shows an example of UK style. If you have a publisher, it’s worthwhile checking what their preferred house style is with regard to quotation marks and its punctuation. One final point today: Always use commas before or surrounding the name of a person being directly addressed in dialogue (see Example 3). For example, the following statements are both correct but each has a different meaning. “Come and see Michael.” and “Come and see, Michael.” Can you see the difference? In the second statement, Fred is speaking directly with Michael; the comma use before Michael’s name makes this clear. In the first statement, Fred is urging whomever he is in direct dialogue with to come and see someone called Michael. Example 3 Commas surrounding name of person directly addressed ‘Sorry, Elaine, I can’t come today,’ said Anita. ‘I have to go out.’ ‘That’s okay, Anita, I know you have to go and see Michael.’

Writing tips and useful links I thought I’d share a few excellent websites, blogs and books some of the LLm authors use as a means of reference, and often the first place they turn to when looking for guidance on any writing dilemma. I’ve been proofreading and copyediting for more years than I care to remember but even I need to call upon quality reference books occasionally, whether to double-check on a point of grammar or the protocol for spelling a particular branded item mentioned in a novel, for example. There are a few rules in English writing and a good author is one who observes and learns them, and a sad fact that a writer who chooses to ignore them is often perceived as an amateur or inexperienced writer. Publishers, agents and many editors, indeed some readers, will not read beyond the first paragraph, let alone the first page, if it is full of errors. Remember, correct spelling, punctuation and good grammar make all the difference to how a reader enjoys the reading experience. So, first and foremost for any serious writer is a good, modern and comprehensive dictionary. I always have two at hand, the first a well-thumbed up-to-date edition of the Collins English Dictionary. Although expensive, this heavy tome is worth investing in. It

covers spelling variants, shows what words should be italicized, capitalized, hyphenated etc, lists famous people, presidents, foreign words in English usage, countries, cities, plants – everything you would possible want to know. Other authors swear by the Oxford English Dictionary; one as equally as good as the other. Invest, too, in a good thesaurus. Nothing is more monotonous than reading a pages of the same noun, adjective, phrase or verb used repeatedly. The second reference book always close at hand is the Oxford Dictionary for Writers and Editors, again an invaluable source of help although nowhere near as comprehensive as the Collins. A quick online tool is the style guide produced by the Guardian newspaper ( This covers all manner of spelling convention and format, capitalizations etc, from world politicians’ names to brand names which should always be written as the manufacturer intended, for example, Blu-Tack not Bluetack, Sellotape not sellotape. Worth subscribing to is the blog Daily Writing Tips ( Each day it covers a different topic, from grammar to word use, punctuation to etymology. I don’t always agree with everything there, but that’s because the blog is geared more towards American styles which, on some things, are different to the UK, but it always has interesting and useful information. Another excellent online site for problems with grammar is the website Grammar Book (, a marvellous and quick “how to” guide that’s easy to use to search for solutions. When writing, often it is the actual formatting of a document that gives problems. Try if you are having difficulty dealing with page numbering in Word 2003; and if researching how to prepare a book for self-publishing Sometimes it isn’t just the writing element authors need guidance with. Often it’s the business end, when your novel is finally complete, when you’ve done all the rewrites and self-editing, and now need help to move forward. Thus no self-respecting author should be without the Artists and Writers Yearbook and/or the Writers Handbook, both for their invaluable listings of agents, publishers, magazines, award schemes and prizes, as well as advice, tips and hints on, for example, on how to approach and submit to agents. For those authors thinking of going it alone and selfpublishing, Linn B Halton found exceedingly useful, as is The Writer’s Guide E Publishing, a website she recommends following for the advice and help it gives, the majority of which is presented in a very professional manner. Miriam Wakerly recommends the following books: How to

Publish Your Own Book by Anna Crosbie,Publishing and Promoting Your Book by Pauline Rowson, Aiming at Amazon by Aaron Shepard, Print-On-Demand Book Publishing by Morris Rosenthal. Joanna Penn’s site is highly regarded by Patricia Sands. Joanna covers so many important aspects of writing and publishing and her posts are always well researched and supported. Rather than simply dispense the information herself, Joanna frequently invites others for interviews or offers videos. A self-published author herself (initially), Joanna understands the journey and is very approachable to discuss particular issues. If you have any query on editing or writing, Kit is more than happy to try to answer your question via Comments over at Think of Kit as your Edit Agony Aunt! Author and Artist Kit Domino is a professional editor. For details of her services visit Edit Agony Aunt. Find out more about Kit on her Author page and website on Twitter,

And when it comes to research, author Melanie Robertson-King says “Ordnance Survey Maps are not just for getting to your destination!” These maps are wonderful beyond belief. They’re far more detailed than any road atlas and are a great addition to any travel itinerary. Modern ones are in full colour but there are also Victorian era versions of them as well. This is great because you can see how much an area has changed over the years. Why is that important you ask? Say, you’re writing a historical piece. Towns, villages and cities change over the years, decades and centuries. What’s there now wasn’t necessarily there then. So you get yourself a copy of a Victorian Ordnance Survey map closest to the time you want. But it’s got so much information on it that it’s hard to see the amount of detail you want/need. And then there’s the chance that the location you’re looking for is on the border of the map and is cut off. Even if you have the adjoining one, there’s no guarantee that everything is there. Don’t despair! There is a wonderful website called Old Maps that allows you to pick your location, the map closest to the time frame you’re interested in, and you can zoom in and get as much or as little information as you want. In other parts of the world, these maps are better known as topographical maps. Try a Google search that includes the keywords topographical maps and the area you’re interested in and I’ll bet you’ll get results. The Victorian Ordnance Survey maps are available at branches of genealogical societies but if you’re looking for a modern one, you can drop in to the bricks ‘n mortar location of World of Maps but if not, you can order from them, too. Digging into the past can be interesting and fun… even if you never took a shine to history in school.

Brought to you by: Melanie Robertson-King Website/blog: Twitter: @Robertsoking FB: Melanie Robertson-King


Playing French Cricket With Le Grand Crew If you score fifty in cricket, one can generally expect a ripple of applause from polite English gentlemen, looking up from their warm beer. When you score fifty as a woman, the gentlemen neither applaud nor look up. Typically, they stare even deeper into their beer with a kind of mournful affection. When I was young I thought that middle-age spread was a sandwich filling used on Saga cruises. Well, these days it’s the whole sandwich with full fat salted butter and a lifetime of lust and pleasure securely built in to my vertically challenged body. If I were still a poet I could write a true version of “The Waist-Land”. I could no longer put off the knowledge that it was time to leave the crease and take off some padding. I am soooo lucky to spend a fair bit of my life in a small town in Charente-Maritime. No matter how I much I resist, the cunning native trap of bread, brie and brioche gets me every time. Increasingly in France, I am not alone. The old image of the chic weightless French maid has somewhat slipped south these days. Waistlines are probably the only thing growing in the French economy. Zee ‘amburgers (with or without horse meat) are very much established as part of the younger French lifestyle. However, my contemporary sisters still wave the tricolour of slim cool elegance. Agonisingly, this is apparently achieved on a diet of foie gras, fromage and the odd Cognac digestif. How can this be?

Saint Savinien Sur Charente, France

Saint Savinien Sur Charente, France If food is the true religion of France, La Santé is the theology. One hears rumours of dirty tricks and wrinkles unknown to us Anglo-Sacks of spuds. My mission was to infiltrate behind their lines and into their kitchens to see what keeps these armies marching on their stomach free conquest. I hoped to emerge with a new Entente-Cordiale of lean cuisine. Not everything works out first time. We set out on a sortie. Being a believer in determinism I have to accept that since my birth and the first design concepts of the cross-channel ferry “Bretagne”, I had been hurtling towards a moment of destiny. Ahead of us lay a starry night, our traditional Earth moving kiss on the deck as Angleterre slipped away to the north and a hairy Frenchman in orange overalls spraying water with a hose. As we crossed the heli-pad my leg folded under me with an agonising pop. As I lay felled by the French like Admiral Nelson at Trafalgar, I began to wonder how the crew of the rescue helicopter would be able to reach me on the treacherous gloss painted skid pan deck. I guess they carry a good supply of crutches. I knew that my trip home to France was not to be. Oscar cajoled and dragged me to the cabin and we summoned the nurse. She found the solitary ship’s ice pack which I think had been a left over from a close shave with an iceberg.

On arrival in France my leg resembled a black blue and green mottled snake that had swallowed a football. Our home lay 300 miles to the south and I could not bend my leg. We decided to keep me on ice in the cabin (they pickled Nelson in Brandy – but I did not think that Brittany Ferries would supply a barrel) and go back to the UK where we live a few minutes from the port. As a Brit I can get medical attention in the UK without complication and a long stay in a hospital miles from any home lacked appeal. If you really want to feel insecure – plonk yourself in a wheelchair as a captive patient. The following afternoon as we approached the shores of Britain, my partner Oscar decided to take me out for a spin. Watching paralympic sport on TV had obviously inspired him into some kinda wheelchair sprint fantasy accompanied by

Formula One racing car noises. He’ll make someone a lovely husband when he grows up. He does the same tricks with supermarket trolleys. You do realise just how tough it is for folks in wheelchairs. All manner of lumps and gulleys become hazards. With my leg straight out in front of me like a lance I felt like a jousting knight on a runaway horse escaping from the Findus buying department. At the self service restaurant a chef tapped rather impatiently on his steel pots of vegetables demanding to know which I wanted. I would have told him but my eyes were about level with the tray track. “Does she like beans?” he asked Oscar. About halfway across the English Channel the UK coastguard carried out a helicopter rescue exercise. The kids wanted to offer me to the Captain as an authentic casualty. The red and white whirly-bird hovered above the ship while a guy dangled with a stretcher above the deck. Luckily he kept himself clipped on to his rope since the ice pack had melted and there was not an iceberg in sight. Eventually I was trundled back to the car deck and levered into the car. Some 23 hours after we had boarded the ferry we got off again at exactly the same point. I must say that all of the crew of the Brittany ferry Bretagne were kind and helpful – but I’m not so sure about the orange guy with the hose. In a couple of days I am setting out again to France. I am still a complete hop-along but if the sea is rough at least I’ll only have to find one sea leg. The quest goes on and will include a weight loss regime set in the vineyards of France and featuring a tandem bicycle, a poet and a romantic novelist on a mission. We call ourselves Le Grand Crew and if you’re in a car following my pumping rump you’ll know why.

La Normandie – en route to Paris Brought to you by: Emma Calin Website/blog: Twitter: @EmmaCalin FB: Emma Calin


All Things Green and British It is fair to state that location and environment are key to wellbeing, a happy lifestyle – and property prices! Did you know that all is not entirely well in the world of footpaths, village greens and green belt? It may be alarmist to say they are variously ‘under threat’, but perhaps we should be concerned and take a look around where we live to assess current changes that might affect us. If you have been on a country walk recently, you may have discovered that negotiating some footpaths was more like penetrating jungle. For some you may need a pair of secateurs or shears to fight a way through. A spokesman from Boston Ramblers Association recently said, ‘All the paths are overgrown with grass, nettles and the like and some of them you can’t even find where they start it’s got that bad. They want people to get exercise, and walking is a great way to do so but by having the paths in this state is putting people off.’ Local councils are struggling; resources are stretched to breaking point. Like many aspects of life, the environment is suffering from government cuts and, as reported in the magazine of the Ramblers, Walk, ‘the Wildlife and Countryside Link says the Coalition has made slow or no progress on all but two of its 20 environmental commitments …’ British walkers have expressed their concern and nearly 19,000 have signed a *Ramblers petition to bring about changes in maintaining those absolute national treasures, National Trails. (See link below). So, public money is not held in a bottomless bucket, to say the least, so what else can you do about this? It’s not all bad news. Find out if there is a volunteer scheme in your neck of the woods; you may be able to help. In Buckinghamshire, a group of Ramblers organised a ‘path checking day’ checking out missing paths and broken stiles. Next, what is going on with our green belt? What is green belt? The Metropolitan Green Belt around London came about in 1935, followed by the

Town and Country planning Act of 1947 that allowed green belt proposals in regional development plans; clearly defined green belts, protected from development, were further encouraged around towns and cities from 1955. Little has changed since, generally thought to be a good thing. However, the nation’s people desperately need more housing; so how can we square this with a potential sprawl of bricks and mortar swallowing up our green spaces? My home town of Tetbury in Gloucestershire was recently in the news, with controversial housing developments planned in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and on farmland that has remained as such for the past 500 years. The Campaign to Protect Rural England is on the case, analysing operations that may result. Again, what can we do? Check out your area for planned development … we must have new houses, but see what scale the development is and whether the infrastructure of local roads and amenities is going to cope.

Lastly, a subject very close to my heart: the great, the quintessential, English village green! A village green is the hub of many an English village; not just aesthetically, but as the pulsing heart of activities that help bring a community together, whether sport, especially cricket; children’s play; village fetes; travelling fairs and grazing of livestock. These days it can also be a vital, surviving ‘lung’ for developed surroundings, much like a park in London; quite simply, somewhere to sit and contemplate, meet friends, feed the ducks or walk the dog. Surely they are sacrosanct? Well, apparently not. The Open Spaces Society has recently expressed its disapproval and outrage at the government’s plans for town and village greens in the new Growth and Infrastructure Bill. The Commons Act 2006

allowed for the registration of new town or village greens. Anyone may apply to add land to the Register of Town or Village Greens. Land can become Town or Village Green through 20 years use as of right by the inhabitants of the locality or of a neighbourhood within the locality. So, what has changed? The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) points out, ‘The Growth and Infrastructure Bill makes it more difficult to register new town and village greens … Tens of thousands of planning applications for housing development are granted each year, but in 2009 there were only 185 village green applications … The tests for registering village greens are already onerous. We fear that this proposal will lead to an inequality of arms between local communities and house-builders who are banking more and more land and want to steamroller councils into developing land that should be protected.’ Explains Kate Ashbrook, the Open Spaces Society’s general secretary: ‘The clause is an oppressive measure which will make it difficult, if not downright impossible, to register land as a town or village green once it has been identified for development—even if that identification is a well-kept secret.’ The Society cites many village greens all over England that were registered as a town or village green, but which might well not have been registered if the Growth and Infrastructure Bill had been passed. Amidst a severe shortage of land – whether for affordable housing or commercial business projects – like bookshops and libraries, village greens need our protection and support. As the song says, ‘You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.’ Maybe next time you go for a country walk or even a drive, you will ponder on these green matters; and have you thought about what is going on in your area; how your neighbourhood may be affected and what you can do about it? *Ramblers Petition

Brought to you by: Miriam Wakerly Website/blog: Twitter: @MiriamWakerly FB: Miriam Wakerly

COUNTRY LIFE Talking Chickens – Chick-Lit…? Country folk have always had a few chicken scratching about the yard and pecking about in the fields around their farms and cottages. There really is nothing better than a freshly laid egg with a naturally golden yolk for your breakfast in the morning or a clutch of surplus eggs making their way into a cake for your afternoon tea. But it seems that, increasingly these days, it’s not just those with acres of fields or large gardens who are keen to keep chickens. According to the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, hundreds of thousands of folk in the towns and cities of the UK are now ‘hobby hen owners’, which is a huge increase on a decade ago. So is it the rising cost of supermarket eggs and the recession that’s behind this interest in keeping a few chucks or an increased desire in the general population for some degree of self-sufficiency? Have we all decided to embrace The Good Life by taking the leap from growing our own potatoes and veg to confidently keeping livestock? Let’s take the recession. If you bought half a dozen free range eggs from a supermarket these days you’ll probably pay £1.50 – £2.00 for them, so does keeping hens mean cheaper eggs? Well, that depends on how much you want to spend on getting set up as a hobby hen owner. You could go in for keeping some fancy rare breeds or rescue a few hybrid hens from a commercial egg farm. You could choose to house your ‘girls’ in the ultimate of designer coops or you could knock one up yourself over the weekend using a bit of wood and a sheet of shed felting. If you do build your own, you must of course make sure the coop is both draft free and ventilated, that it has a nesting box area and a perch for your hens to roost on. Whether you plan to keep them in a run or allow them to roam free, you will need to provide a safe place for them to sleep at night, locked away from Mr Fox. You can find chicken coop plans on the internet here. A simple home-made hen house

To be healthy, your birds need to have access to fresh air and exercise, and happy hens will produce more eggs! Will you build a run – a small fenced area or pen – or will you allow them to roam free range? Do be aware though, as cute as they certainly are and as charming as their little scratching ‘dance’ can be, hens can ruin a lawn and decimate your flower border in no time at all. My girls, Madonna, Kylie and Lady Gaga, have access to a large field at the back of our cottage, which they reach via a ‘pop hole’ in the fence. They spend their days like feathered commandos, making their way over the grassy hills in a scouting formation, so they won’t miss a single juicy worm, bug or beetle, in their path. Despite this, they still need a constant supply of clean fresh water and to be fed. I feed my girls twice a day on layers pellets, a dried all in one balanced food for laying hens. As a treat they get a handful of corn, which they love almost as much as any leftover cooked rice (which I’m sure they think are grubs) and cooked spaghetti (worms?). I have to say that keeping hens is an absolute joy and, despite what you might think, they are not completely feather brained. Hens can be trained to come when called. They ‘talk’ to you with their cute cooing and clucking noises and, the best of all, they like to present you with a small oval gift every morning. So get cracking. What’s stopping you from keeping a few hens on the hill or a few chickens in the coop?

Free Range Hen on The Hill Janice Horton lives in a remote cottage on the side of a hillside in Scotland. She says that the Scottish mist, the diffused light, the ancient castles and old traditions that surround her, inspire her stories and fire her imagination. Brought to you by: Janice Horton Website/blog: Twitter: @JaniceHorton FB: Janice Horton Author


Our Lifestyle feature editors:

Left to right: Janice Horton, Kit Domino, Bonnie Trachtenberg and Linn B Halton

Bookshelf Reviews: Janice Horton lives in Scotland. She writes fiction with humour and heart and with a hint of tartan. Look out for her Amazon Kindle bestselling ebooks ‘Bagpipes & Bullshot’ and ‘Reaching for the Stars’ and her magically romantic novellas ‘How Do You Voodoo? and ‘Voodoo Wedding’. Janice writes lifestyle articles, has also been involved in BBC Scotland’s ‘Write Here Write Now’ and is a member of the Romantic Novelist’s Association.

The Write Path: Kit Domino -for ten years she ran her own agency editing, proofing and typing up reference books including for the Oxford University Press, the Radcliffe Hospital and the EU Commission. Kit now runs her own publishing and editing business putting her skills to good use helping other authors. Her London historical novel Every Step of the Way, previously shortlisted for the Harry Bowling Prize, was published in 2012.

In Search of a Happy Ending: Bonnie Trachtenberg is the author of two bestselling romantic comedies, Neurotically Yours, and her debut novel Wedlocked, which won the Gold Readers Favorite Award, the Beach Book Festival Award and the Indie Excellence Award. Bonnie was senior writer and copy chief at Book-of-the-Month Club and has written seven children’s book adaptations. She lives in New York with her husband, four cats and a dog.

People with a Passion: Linn B Halton writes novels about ‘Love, life and beyond…but it’s ALWAYS about the romance’. You are guaranteed an uplifting ending that won’t disappoint and often a psychic twist that will make you stop and think…what if? Linn signed with US publishing house Sapphire Star in 2012 and is about to announce another signing for her new series. Before becoming a writer Linn had two very different careers—finance and interior design. Linn is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association.

Our LLm member contributors: Mandy Baggot brings you award-winning fiction! In 2012 she won the coveted Innovation in Romantic Fiction award at the UK’s Festival of Romance. Her novel Strings Attached was also short listed for Best Author Published Read! Mandy writes strong contemporary romance and characters you’ll fall in love with. Previously self-published, she was signed by US publishing house Sapphire Star Publishing in January 2012 and in 2013 by HarperImpulse. Mandy is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association.

Sheryl Browne brings you Fabulous, Funny, Heart-breaking Romantic Comedy! Her novel Recipes for Disaster, commissioned by Safkhet Publishing, was shortlisted for the Innovation in Romantic Fiction Award. She now has four books published under the Safkhet Soul. A member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, Sheryl grew up in Birmingham, UK, where she studied Art & Design. She works part-time in her own business and is a mum and a foster mum to disabled dogs.

Emma Calin was born in London in 1962. She currently lives part of the year in the UK and spends the rest in France. She has been writing since childhood and has won numerous local, national and international prizes for poetry and short stories. She blogs about the contrasts in life on both sides of the English Channel, which she likes to explore on her tandem whenever weather and fitness coincide. She defines herself as woman eternally pedalling between Peckham and Pigalle, in search of passion and enduring romance.

Stephanie Keyes spent the first twelve years of her career in the telecom industry, wearing various hats. Last year, Keyes began consulting under her own business, Sycamore Road Design. In addition, Keyes is the author of the YA Fantasy series, The Star Child, which currently includes The Star Child and The Fallen, both released by Inkspell Publishing. Stephanie Keyes holds a certification in Instructional Technology, an undergraduate degree in Business/Management Information Systems from Robert Morris University, and a M.Ed. from Duquesne University.

Anneli Purchase has more hobbies and projects than she can pursue in one lifetime, but of them all, writing takes priority. Storytelling has been a part of her life since she was a child. Writing the stories is just another phase of the process. Traveling, camping, fishing, mushroom picking, and birdwatching are her preferred pastimes when she is not writing.

Anneli has lived on Vancouver Island, Canada, for most of her life. The island provides everything she needs for the activities she enjoys.

Melanie Robertson-King lives in Brockville, Ontario, Canada on the St. Lawrence River. She wrote non-fiction articles before she turned her love for the written word to short stories and novel-length fiction. Her first book, A Shadow in the Past, was published in 2012. Melanie loves Scotland and all things Scottish.On one of her trips to her father’s homeland, she met Princess Anne at the orphanage where he was raised.

Patricia Sands lives in Toronto, Canada, when she isn’t somewhere else. An admitted travel fanatic, she can pack a bag in a flash and be ready to go anywhere … particularly the south of France. With a focus on women’s issues and ageing, her stories celebrate the feminine spirit and the power of friendship. Encouraging women of all ages to stare down the fear factor and embrace change. Her awardwinning debut novel The Bridge Club was published in 2010. The Promise of Provence was released in 2013.

Miriam Wakerly retired in 2008, the day after Gypsies Stop tHere was launched in Waterstones. There was more to say; so No Gypsies Served followed in 2010. Set in the same delightful English village, Shades of Appley Green offers new themes: family, community and love, written with both humour and emotion. Brought up in Tetbury, Glos, she has lived in Surrey for 35 years. With a BA Degree in English, French, Sociology, Politics, she is author of many published articles and short stories; her novels show a keen understanding of social issues and change.

Our guest writers: Nicole Dauenhauer (left) and Elizabeth Cassidy (right) are - The Film Fatales! Elizabeth Cassidy’s favorite quote is: “My soul was removed to make room for all this sarcasm.” She has excellent taste in movies and will argue to the death anyone who would dare disagree with her. Nicole Dauenhauer is known for her acerbic wit and razor-sharp barbs. Her taste in film ranges from the absurd (Anchorman) and the zany (Young Frankenstein) to stuffy period pieces (A Room with a View) and classic suspense (Rear Window).

Fabulous recipes, whether you want to eat healthily or indulge…Recipes/tips – Caroline James has owned and run businesses encompassing all aspects of the catering industry from a pub to an hotel, restaurants and outside catering. She currently lives in Cheshire and when not writing, runs a hospitality related company. Caroline spends her leisure time cooking, climbing mountains and contemplating life.

Adam’s Rib (satire) - Irreverent and oddly observant, Adam Hornyak is a self-described train wreck. For reasons unknown, Adam is a human magnet for wildly outrageous situations that only he can communicate in his own unique manner. Since nothing embarrasses Adam, he will happily share personal stories of arrest records, family catastrophes, and an atypical dating life. With no filter between his brain and mouth, Adam will periodically shock his audience by tackling taboo subjects and providing commentary on topics that most people would never dare say aloud.

How best to help your children utilise their IT skill than encouraging them to think for themselves? Children and education – Mark Hulkus is a highly experienced primary school teacher who currently runs a Preparatory Department in a 150 year old boarding school in Wales. He has three children, is obsessed with the 1980s, and runs a fun design website at He will be helping us to help our children when it comes to school work and IT skills.

Award winning author Sue Moorcroft – Sue works full time as a writer, a tutor and a competition judge. Sue is head judge for Writers’ Forum Fiction Competition. Her novel Love & Freedom was the winner of the Best Romantic Read Award 2011, presented at the Festival of Romance and Dream a Little Dream has been nominated for a RoNA (Romantic Novel Award) in the Contemporary Romantic Fiction category. Born near Monchengladbach in Germany, Sue comes from an army family. They spent time in Cyprus and Malta, the latter being Sue’s favourite place in the world. She now lives in Northamptonshire. Sue admits she hates to miss a Formula 1 race!

Talking about some exciting travel destinations – and you really will wish you were ‘there’! Kim Nash - Mom to 5 year old Ollie, is a reviewer with a huge passion for books and loves to spread the word about the amazing authors and brilliantly entertaining books that are in the world. Kim loves chick lit, thrillers & suspense and books about the afterlife. She is a Sales & Marketing Manager for The Marketing Room and a writer for Have a Lovely Time.

Fun sporting activities – Kenneth Rosenberg is a California writer whose work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Surfer Magazine and other publications. Kenneth attended UCLA where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature. When he is not writing, he spends his time surfing, snowboarding and traveling the world on a shoestring. Kenneth’s first novel, “No Cure for the Broken Hearted,” was a top 10 bestseller on Amazon UK. His second novel, “Tinseltown Blues,” was a bestselling romantic comedy. His third novel is the suspense-thriller, “Natalia.”

Join Carlo Pandian in the wine cellar. Wine 101 – poured with style! Carlo Pandian is an Italian expat living in London interested in wine and gardening. He loves to share his wine tips with the community of LLM and is looking to hear more about your favourite ways to pair up food with wine!


Loveahappyending Lifestyle Issue 1  

A wide range of life and style topics - including recipes, book reviews, travel ideas and much, much more! With contributors from the UK, US...

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