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News Break – Sunday 20 March

News Flash

This title is possibly slightly misleading but I have some exciting news that I simply had to share with you all.

A couple of weeks ago CLIC Sargent held an ebay auction to raise money for the excellent work they do in supporting children and young people who suffer with cancer.  Although we didn’t access this particular charity following Owen’s diagnosis, for obvious reasons I have am passionate about the support they provide for those in the 16-24 age group who are in need of information and support of a different flavour.

The  auction was full of book-related items and the closing date was on what would have been Owen’s 22 birthday; the day we had decided to scatter his ashes and, cruelly under the circumstances, Mothering Sunday here in the UK (the dates had only coincided once before when Owen was still a young boy, that time he sent me a card which I still have, that said ‘To my darling Mummy – on our special day!’

With all the signs insisting that I participate I perused the long list of items being pledged by a huge range of authors and soon homed in on the prize I would like – I want to be a named character in a book and to my delight one of my favourite authors, Tammy Cohen, was offering just this very opportunity.

Fortunately my bid won!  I wasn’t actually watching the auction as I was having dinner, and a gin and tonic for my boy  but  this was a good end to (another) emotional day.

Tammy has been in touch and I will be named in a forthcoming contemporary novel, despite not having the most suitable of names, I can’t wait to see what I will be! And here is my certificate!


I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank all the authors and bloggers who gave to the Just Giving page in memory of Owen that raised money for Cancer Research – this page was in top 1% of fundraisers in the UK for 2015 with a total of £5,236.18 donated to this worthy charity.

On another note entirely, I have finally managed to listen to, and enjoy an audio book. Later this year I am to be ‘Mother of the Bride’ and have duly been sent a selection of pictures of hats by my DD! Apparently ‘proper mothers’ wear hats – it’s good to know that the years of love, encouragement, nutritious meals, pretty clothes, education and all the other daily tasks I performed are all defunct unless I wear a hat!! Perhaps you can tell, I’m slightly resistant! In fact the whole mother of the bride outfit is an issue – perhaps I’m kidding myself but they seem to be designed for women who are at least a decade older than I am!


Anyway once we got to 2016 I decided that perhaps getting into better shape should start early, after all I need to mitigate the matronly outfit (and hat) and so I started aiming to do my 10,000 steps per day. I already owned a fitbit which was telling me how woefully short of the target I was falling, especially on the weekends. I have managed to make the obvious changes to the working week and without too much effort I can do the steps on these days, particularly if we are good and walk to work – but at the weekends, well that does require an extra special effort! 10,000 steps takes quite a long time, so I decided to try the audio book for company. I’ve had problems in the past due to inattention at critical points in the story, or loud noises that drown out the narrator so I decided to go for a good story where I didn’t feel I’d miss something critical if my mind wandered, and finally decided on Maeve Binchy. I loved her tales of everyday Irish folk when I was in my late teens and early twenties, books that were about people whose lives intertwined which were heart-warming seemed to be an uplifting choice.

Evening Class MB


The Italian evening class at Mountainview School is like hundreds of others starting up all over the city. But this class has its own special quality – as the focus for the varied hopes and dreams of teacher and pupils alike.
Aidan Dunne needs his new evening class project to succeed almost as much as his pupils do. They too are looking for something more: Bill to find a way to keep spendthrift Lizzie at his side and Fran to make sure that young Kathy finds her way out from behind the kitchen sink.
The key to their success lies with the Signora. Her passion has drawn her from Ireland to Italy and back home again with a burning desire to share her love of all things Italian – and a secret hidden in her heart …. Amazon

I’m not going to write a review as such, but I would like to say this story kept me going through the wind and rain of January and February, entertained me and finally made me realise that I can concentrate on audio if it is the right kind of story – this one was ideal the story uncomplicated enough that it didn’t matter that there was a week between picking it up again and nor I did I particularly need to get to the end of a chapter before switching off. The narrator was Kate Binchy, the cousin of Maeve who carried off the Italian phrases admirably. So I’ve toned up a little and I can tell you within a hundred or so steps the distance from my house to a variety of places on the island!

Does anyone have a suggestion of what I should try to listen to next?


A book lover who clearly has issues as obsessed with crime despite leading a respectable life

54 thoughts on “News Break – Sunday 20 March

  1. Congrats on being in an upcoming novel. It’s fantastic that the Giving Page garnered so many donations! Hopefully the research funded makes great strides to preventing future losses.

    As for wedding hats….if I remember correctly, at the UK wedding I attend a few years ago the Mother of the Bride did not wear a typical hat (if any). I distinctly recall her being hatless in the wedding photos.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for sharing a very personal post with us. I was watching the auction on eBay (I was unlucky in my bids on becoming a character in a Ruth Ware book) and had no idea it was you who had won the Tammy Cohen one so well.done! My daughter’s birthday sometimes falls on Mothers Day but I can not imagine how difficult it must be for that to happen when your child is no longer with you. Big hugs to you and it would be lovely to see a pic of you in your hat when the wedding does arrive (my head is too big for hats so my DDs weddings will have me hatless!)


    1. Oh shame you didn’t win too! I am thrilled to have won and can’t wait to see what Tammy does with my name. It was a difficult it ending up on the same day this first year but it was always going to be a tough one.
      I am probably going to compromise with a fascinator… I’m really not a fan which is why my DD thinks it is so funny 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Congratulations Cleo, how exciting to be named in a novel. Everything seemed to come together at the right time.
    It’s been a long time since I’ve read Maeve Binchey but I would imagine her novels work well as audiobooks.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It did indeed and I’m very excited to see what Tammy Cohen creates!
      Maeve Binchy was my companion read when I first left home but I haven’t revisited her in many years and Evening Class worked exceptionally well as an audio book 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Congratulations, Cleo! I’m so happy for you! I am sure that Owen would have been, too. And I’m very glad that you enjoyed Evening Class.

    You have some exciting times coming up later this year, and I know you’ll stun as the most beautiful mother of the bride ever.


    1. Thank you Margot, Owen would have made up ever more bizarre scenarios for my character, but yes he would have been delighted.
      My main aim is to make my daughter proud on her very special day, she is marrying a lovely young man and I’m sure we will all have an amazing day with or without a hat 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Congratulations on your win! (and on your upcoming mother-of-the-bride antics… I can assure you that there are some extremely attractive and elegant hats out there. The Internet can help you find one.) And I’m so sorry for the loss of your son. “Sorry” doesn’t cut it, of course, but please know that I’m thinking of you, all the same.


  6. So much happy news Cleo.
    I listen to books when I walk although recently was diverted by the Serial podcast – have you listened to that? I promise you that Season One is so gripping that you’ll keep walking in order to keep listening!


        1. Kate is so right! And you’ll love it because of the crime aspect! My daughter has got back with her first boyfriend and I’m terrified she’ll make an announcement – but I think it’ll be a few years yet, she’s only 22 and v career oriented. Re the getting in shape bit, my doctor says it’s 99% what you eat. I found Slimming World great (I should go back, I know, with Mr C!) Hats can be really gorgeous – I wore them all the time when I was younger. I think you should go way out there! You’ve such a beautiful face; I’m sure you’ll wow them all! And if I was a character in a novel I’d want to be the baddie! Thank you for sharing such lovely (and v personal) news.

          Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh, Cleo, thanks for sharing all this with us! First of all, so excited to be a character in a novel. We’ll have to watch for that book and see ‘who’ you will be. Would you like to be the ‘bad guy’? LOL

    Also, wonderful for the cause and I know that you miss Owen so much. I can understand your passion for further research and possibly cures for these terrible diseases. Always thinking of you in this regard.

    Hats – well, hats and I don’t get along at all! Of course, we don’t have the tradition of ‘mother of the bride’ and the hat here and I’m so grateful that we don’t. It was complicated enough to find a ‘mother of the bride’ costume (kind of felt like a costume). I told my daughter that she was allowed one wedding because I was never doing this again. And that was 9 years ago.

    Good for you with your steps and walking. I love listening to audiobooks as I walk, drive, do chores, practically anything. And I think that listening does take some practice. I have used books that I wanted to reread as a way to not worry about being distracted and missing part of the story. If that helps. Sometimes I listen to new books, but I still do some rereading that way and really enjoy a different way of experiencing a book.


    1. I don’t really mind what Tammy creates for my name – it is going to be such a thrill to be in a book – if Owen was here he’d be making up horrible characteristics for me 😉
      Owen had some of the newest treatments and although they ultimately didn’t work for him, they do for some, and anything that can stop another family losing someone far too soon has to be a good thing – I’m glad we have been able to do our little bit in Owen’s name – it does help.
      You are lucky (and my daughter is a bit bossy, don’t know where she gets that from), I’m probably going for a fascinator as I’m not sure I’m a hat person. The costumes are not really me either but I’m sure I’ll find something.
      I’m slowly cracking the listening and it is good to have company while I am taking my steps – I think I’m going to listen to an old favourite next!


  8. If you like non fiction, Tina Fey’s book Bossypants was really funny and she narrates the audio book herself. I listened to it driving to work, and I’m sure the drivers around me thought I was nuts, laughing and smacking the steering wheel. Non fiction isn’t something I usually enjoy, but this was worth the time, just for the humor.


  9. Congratulations, Cleo! And though I am a lover of language, I know my condolences for your loss can only be weak words.
    Kindest wishes,


  10. Congratulations on your exciting news, though it was no doubt bittersweet. The money raised for CLIC and Cancer Research in memory of Owen will certainly help many others.
    Can’t help with a hat as I’m not a hat person but regarding your audiobook, I don’t suggest doing what I did which was listening to Wolf Hall while walking the dog- waaay too complex. Took twice as long with rewinds when I stopped concentrating and missed something. I find light chick lit titles are good.


    1. Thank you – and yes, in a way but it does seem to help others in Owen’s name.
      I think trying to listen to something to complicated was my initial failing with audio books – I’m going to try for a book I love as a re-read/listen next I think – light is good!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Congratulations on your winning bid to be named in a Tammy Cohen novel, I’m a huge fan of her books so I’ll be looking out for your name in a future novel!
    There are some lovely hats around so I hope you find one that you love. My mum and I were invited to a good friend’s wedding a few years ago and the dress code specified hats. I was thrilled (I love hats and wear them every chance I get) but mum was considerably less so. We did find her a lovely, glamorous fascinator in the end and she found she enjoyed wearing it on the day. I hope your search leads to the perfect hat and outfit.
    Audiobooks are great for listening to while exercising. I often listen to them while doing my very painful physio as it gives me a bit of a distraction plus it’s an incentive to exercise as I want to hear more of the story.
    I also wanted to say how sorry I am for the loss of your son, Owen. Sometimes there just are no words that are enough… my thoughts are with you. x


    1. Thank you Hayley, your words do mean so much. As for the hat, I’m probably going to go with a fascinator, I’m really not a hat person! I can understand why having something to distract you helps with physio, I’m sure it’ll be worth it in the end!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think a fascinator is a great compromise – you can go for something quite understated but still be in keeping with the dress code. There are some lovely styles around so I really hope you find something you like and feel comfortable in. Btw – I recently listened to The Woman Who Stole My Life by Marian Keyes on audiobook (I got it from audible) and really enjoyed that. It’s quite a long audiobook but was easy to dip in and out of.


  12. Congrats Cleo on all counts: your exercise goals, the book mention etc. As for suggestions, someone I know listened to the Louise Penny series on audiobooks and loved them.


  13. Wow, congrats on being a character in a novel! I can’t wait to find out the name of the book…and when it will be released.

    Hats are quite the thing in the Queen’s World, aren’t they? I love seeing them, actually, but I’ve never been able to wear them successfully. I hang my hats on a hall tree. LOL.

    I have never listened to audio, and often thought it might work while walking…but again, what book? Maeve Binchy sounds like the perfect pick.

    Thanks for sharing…and congrats for the success of the charity auction.


    1. Thank you Laurel, I am very excited although I think I have a little while to wait while she writes it.
      I don’t really like hats on me, on others they look elegant although I do manage a winter one to keep my head warm haha
      I’ve struggled with audio but the practice with the Maeve Binchy has been successful so I need to find more of this type of story I think.


  14. Congrats, Cleo! That must have been a rough day but it’s very exciting that you will now have your name in a book! How very exciting! and yay for listening to an audiobook and upping your steps everyday. I am trying to get more in shape as well, but I’ve been woefully still the past few days. haha I just need to adjust to a new schedule this week and then I will hopefully be good to go!



  15. Super exciting, Cleo!! Congratulations! And I’m glad that something good came along to give you a bit of a lift after what must have been a very hard day. I wonder if you’ll be the murder victim… or the murderer!!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I won a book from this year and last year’s CLIC auction, cancer charities are very close to my heart and these authors have done a wonderful thing. Congrats on winning your name in a novel, I can’t wait to hear more about it. I love Maeve Binchy’s stories but haven’t tried hers in audible. I have listened to a few Victoria Connolly novels via audible and enjoyed them. Big hugs, life can be very cruel but it can never take our memories. Keep smiling xxx


    1. Well done to you too then! As you say these charities do wonderful work and I now know how needed the support they give is! I will check out Victoria Connolly for my steps thanks for the recommendation. It can be and those memories are very important – thank you x

      Liked by 1 person

  17. I have been speechless and quite perplexed by this post. I had no idea about anything, and I’m sorry (for it, and for not knowing).

    Huge congratulations on your winning! I can’t wait to read the book, which I will surely do because HOW AWESOME is it to have a character named after one of your blogging friends?

    As for the hat… It is a tradition in Spain as well if it helps. Actually, the mother of the bridge has to wear smarter clothes than the other women, even if the other women are already dressed like it’s Oscar Week in Hollywood. I hope you find something that your daughter likes, and something you are comfortable with. It sounds tricky, but it can be done!


    1. Thank you Elena for your kind words, I only mentioned it in one post at the time as some kind bloggers asked after me when I went missing – it was easier to explain just once.
      I know isn’t it exciting and I will of course let everyone know as soon as it is ready – many times no doubt.
      Yes I think I’m supposed to be smartest too which will be a challenge 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  18. As a writer I think it would be great fun to use your name in a book – it’s so spectacular! If I wear a hat people point and laugh so it’s generally out of the question but I do envy people who can. The Irish trainer Willie Mullins looked pretty good in the one he was wearing at Cheltenham Races. Incidentally you are doing a great deal better than me with the fitbit. My average is about 3500 and yesterday I managed a shaming 750!


    1. Aw thank you Vicky – it took me a long time to be ok with my full name but I have to admit it stands out!
      I’m not a hat person at all, in case you didn’t guess – my motion is for a fascinator which I think is a decent compromise! I did really well last week breaking all my records but life has got really busy which cuts down the time I can spend walking (and sadly reading!)


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