Doggy day care and day dreams

One thing I’ve noticed through lockdown is the number of my friends who have got dogs – I suspect partly because as a result of the increased working from home it’s a much more viable option for many than previously, and partly as the “daily walk” has become an integral part of most our lives.

I always enjoy “fly on the wall” books for the insights they give into other people’s lives. And since I have a dog, I was curious to read Trials and Tribulations of a Pet Sitter although I’m not sure what I expected – it’s not like you’d get any scandalous stories from the dogs themselves during their stays, nor was I expecting any shocking revelations from the pet sitter (thank goodness – that would be far too upsetting and need a trigger warning). So this could have been a mundane recount of daily dog walks, and in a way it is, but it’s also strangely compelling and I kept picking it up at every opportunity! It’s such a lovely, warm memoir of a life filled to the brim with dogs that I defy any dog lover not to enjoy it. Oh, and I desperately want to own a slightly mad Pointer now!

I also just checked to see if there was an audio version of this as I’d love to hear it narrated by the author – sadly not (yet), but I’ve got my fingers crossed.

The Blurb

Hilarious and heart warming true stories of a Pet Sitter.

​Laura takes us on her journey describing the immense joy that the animals have brought into her life. But it’s not all fun and games. With sometimes as many as ten dogs around her home, things can get a tad hectic. Not to forget the every day challenges faced in keeping the pets happy and safe when out walking. Luckily she is not alone in her quest; her unusually dominant Golden Retriever ‘Brece’ is always by her side. Brece earns her keep by convincingly playing the part of the alpha female, ensuring harmony amongst the pack.

​At times, the responsibility that Laura faces becomes overwhelming. She may think she has everything covered but that hand of fate could quite easily swoop down, creating havoc for her and the dogs. Laura has endured many close calls and teetered on the precipice of disaster may a time. The longer she continues with her pet sitting enterprise, the more likely hood that total disaster will actually strike. Is she tempting fate?

​Laura Marchant is the Bridget Jones of the pet sitting world!

Author Bio

Laura Marchant was born in 1959 in the seaside resort of Lytham St Annes, Lancashire, England. Both her parents were born in the same town, so not exactly a family of intrepid travellers! As a child Laura and her siblings were fortunate enough to own shares in the families pets. Unbeknown to Laura at the time, her love for the animals formed the blueprint for a large part of her life. In 2011 she finally found her vocation, and in the comfort of her own home, set up a pet boarding business. For the next 7 years she shared her abode with a pack of dogs. A lot of this time was spent watching over the animals and observing their behaviour

Four fab lockdown family photo ideas

If you know me, you’ll know I’m very chatty on Twitter, but actually I’m loving Instagram at the moment because the images are so cheerful and uplifting. My attempts don’t always work out Insta-worthy, so I was chatting to photographer Nina Mucalov and have invited her to share her tips … I’m going to start with idea 3.

Looking for a fun 15 minute activity with your kids this long weekend?  

Try an at-home lockdown photoshoot 📸  No need to tidy anything, just pick a spot next to a big window, grab a laundry basket to clear any mess, then call your kids over.  

HERE ARE 4 IDEAS I’VE USED WITH MY OWN KIDS DURING LOCKDOWN


1. Reading
Are books a big part of your life? Grab some favourite titles and capture your kids reading on their own or ask your partner to take one of you reading with them.  

2. A favourite game
Are your kids into lego, chase, or hide-and-seek? My little one never tires of hiding under the covers (and she especially loves it when I hide with her!)   


3. Upside Down
This is a sure way to capture genuine smiles and laughter. Get them to go upside down on the sofa or on the bed or ask your partner to hold them upside down.  It always results in giggles.   


4. Age Profile
Take a photo of each child on their own and ask them to list their favourite things.  Then use an online program – Canva is great (and free!) to create an Age Profile.  You’ll love looking back on these as your children grow and their tastes change.  

If you like these (how could you not!) do check out her other pictures over here …

www.ninamucalov.com

Instagram: @ninamucalov

My favourite books of 2019 so far

Honoured to be included in this list, and have to credit the amazingly talented Chris Dickins for his narration of Eternal Seas. He’s already signed up to do the sequel 🙂

Herding Cats

It’s hard to believe that we are half way through the year already but here we are. I wrote a post highlighting my most popular posts of 2019 so far but I wanted to do a post to show my favourite books that I have read in 2019 so far too.  It is by no means a fully comprehensive list but I honestly struggles to cut it down further.  I apologise if I haven’t used the correct genre for any books.  Reviews for all of these books can be found by clicking the links underneath.

So here they are in no particular order …..

Psychological/Crime Thrillers

Changeling, Lost Lives, Murder at Macbeth, The Flower Girls, Call Me Star Girl, The Puppet Show,The Passengers.

Romance

The Serial Dater’s Shopping List, The Little Vintage Carousel by the Sea, The Summer of Chasing…

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Local author, with a touch of Tasmanian devil …

I’m really excited to introduce Rosemary Noble to you today. Now, she’s not a kids book author, so I know I risk straying off here, but I just read Sadie’s War, the third book in a historical saga which is based on her own family’s true story of being transported to Australia. She now lives locally to me and we’re in the same writers group, Chindi Authors, so how could I not share! She’s just back from a tour of Australia, all in the name of research – remind me to write a book set in Fiji soon – but skipped Sydney Opera House in favour of convict factories and orphan schools.

Over to Rosemary …

 

I’d like to thank Lexi for inviting me to her blog today. I know Lexi is interested in travel and sailing, so come with me on a journey to the far side of the world. To an island no bigger than Ireland, with a beauty that one would go far to surpass, empty beaches of bone, white sands, topaz seas, stunning mountains and lakes, roads you can drive down without seeing a passing car – a veritable paradise – but one that has a terrible past.

Tasmania, off the southern coast of Australia, was settled by the British in 1802. At that time, it was called Van Diemen’s Land and that name struck terror into the hearts of the thousands of men, women and children who were transported there, often for minor crimes. Take a young Irish girl during the time of the famine. She found an egg in a hedge. She was starving and placed it carefully in her apron pocket. Later she was accosted by a policeman who searched her and finding the egg, he arrested her for stealing it and despite her protestations, she was transported twelve thousand miles from her home and family.

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That’s not to say everyone was innocent. There were plenty of villains too. This was a time when Britain preferred to send their miscreants far away rather than have prisons. They used to send them to America but after America won its battles for independence, Britain needed another prison and they chose Australia. Terra Nullius, James Cook called it – an empty land. Only it wasn’t a land without people, not at all.

It is estimated that there were five hundred or so separate nations of native Australians who had lived there for almost fifty thousand years, each with their own language. Imagine their land invaded and their horror as they were turfed off their native hunting grounds and watched their sacred lands desecrated. On my last visit to Tasmania in October 2018 I came across this sign in the museum in Hobart.

Around that time the aboriginals were attempting to fight back and some of the new settlers were speared. The government responded by hunting down all the native Tasmanians and sending them to a smaller island where they gradually died through disease and neglect. It’s a shameful tale.

But what sparked my interest in Tasmania? It was discovering that my husband’s three times great grandparents were transported. They met there, married and raised a family. For them it was a huge success because they thrived. They had the determination, grit and endurance to survive and they helped populate Australia. It wasn’t always the case. A recent study has discovered that those convicts who had not grown up in a close family unit were the least successful. Now consider what the system did to the children of convict women, still under sentence.

A visit to the ruined Cascades Female Factory in Hobart and watching the performance ‘My story,’ tells the heart-breaking truth. The children were taken from the women to be weaned at six months. If they survived weaning, and many did not, the children were sent to the Orphan School until they could be apprenticed to a master or mistress around the age of ten, if their mothers had not claimed them. Some did, some were not in a position where they could. They may have married, and their new husbands refused to take their children. The matron of the Orphan School was the subject of a very harsh report in the 1840s. Cruelty, starvation, neglect – you get the picture. But this was thought to be better than leaving them with their ‘criminal’ mothers.

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So many stories. Thirteen thousand women were transported to Tasmania, twenty-nine thousand to Australia in all – each have their own story. The wonderful work of the Female Convicts Research Centre volunteers in transcribing the records and following up on all the women, together with so many descendants reaching out to find the truth, is testament to our craving for knowledge of our history.

When I attended the seminar in October at the Orphan School, three separate women told me that their female ancestors had been transported from Sussex, from Boxgrove, from Oving and from Horsham. Did I know these places?

Since returning, I have thought about these three women from Sussex. I knew the story of one because I had researched all the women on her ship some years before for the FCRC. You see I was one of the volunteers. Charlotte Ayling was unusually fifty years of age, a washerwoman, sentenced in Chichester. Why unusually – because mostly they sent out young women able to marry and bear children. Charlotte was too old to take her children with her, but, and this is what strikes me now – at least one of her adult children must have loved their mother so much that they followed her out. Charlotte died only three years after arrival. I hope her son or daughter got to see her before she died.

Bio

Rosemary Noble lives in West Sussex and worked as an education librarian. Books have been her life, ever since she walked into a library at five-years-oldand found a treasure trove. Her other love is social history. She got hooked on family history before retirement and discovered so many stories that deserved tobe told.

Her first book, Search for the Light, tells the story of three young girls transported to Australia in 1824. Friendship sustains them through the horrors of the journey, and their enforced service in Tasmania. The Digger’s Daughter tells of the next generation of gold-diggers and a pioneering woman who lives almost through the first hundred years in Victoria. The third in the trilogy, Sadie’s Wars takes the reader to the fourth generation and into the twentieth century. The trilogy is based on the author’s family. It tells of secrecy and lies, of determination and grit and how all can be done or undone by luck.

Rosemary is a member of CHINDI authors and is involved in literary events in and around Chichester. She also loves to travel, especially to Australia and Europe and not least, she loves spending time with her grandchildren, one of whom is a budding author herself.

Links to Books

Search for the Light myBook.to/SearchFTL

The Digger’s Daughter myBook.to/DiggersD

Sadie’s Wars mybook.to/SadieW

September 2018 {Book Releases}

So excited to see Eternal Seas featured on this list. Not long until publication day now!

Read, Write, Inspire

Hey and welcome to my new feature. I decided to start doing a monthly new releases post but rather than include the generic big hitters that can be found all over the place I turned to the world of Twitter and one of my favourite groups The Fiction Cafe for authors. We are lucky as readers that we have such a vast pool of talented author’s to chose from when deciding our all important read list. Let’s face it there are more books on our TBR piles than we will ever get to read in this life time.

I wanted to share with you some of the lesser known authors, we often overlook the authors who we have not heard of or have self-published and don’t have a massive budget to spend on promotion. That is where this feature comes into play, I will be helping them on their journey…

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