#Review of A Life Without You by Katie Marsh (@marshisms) @HodderBooks @HodderPublicity

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Can you ever outrun the past?

It’s Zoe’s wedding day. She’s about to marry Jamie, the love of her life. Then a phone call comes out of the blue, with the news that her mum Gina has been arrested. Zoe must make an impossible decision: should she leave her own wedding to help?

Zoe hasn’t seen Gina for years, blaming her for the secret that she’s been running from ever since she was sixteen. Now, Gina is back in her life, but she’s very different to the mum Zoe remembers. Slowly but surely, Gina is losing her memory.

As she struggles to cope with Gina’s illness, can Zoe face up to the terrible events of years ago and find her way back to the people she loves?

A Life Without You is a stirring and poignant novel about the power of the past – and the possibilities of the future.

What does TWG think?

I need to apologise BIG TIME. I bought Katie’s book a while ago, it even made my ‘Top Books of 2016’ list (TWG’s Top 24 Books of 2016! @Bookouture @headlinepg @HQStories @canelo_co @littlebrownuk &more), BUT, what I didn’t do was write my review for it! I honestly thought that I had, but obviously I hadn’t. I am very sorry that you’re just getting my review now, Katie Marsh!

Mum…or soon to be husband, which one would you pick? No, I’m not saying that you need to play eeny meeny minee mo just for the sake of it. Let me ask that question in a different way; if you received a phone call which alerted you to a situation with a person (your mum)  you hadn’t seen for many years, whilst you were gearing up to get married to the love of your life, which one would you choose? Stay and get married? Or go and help a person who probably won’t want your help, yet…is your mum? Tough decision to make really, isn’t it?

Zoe hasn’t seen her mum, Gina, for a very long time. Unsure as to whether she would ever see Gina again, Zoe tried to get on with her life and move forward, except the call she received on her wedding day completely turned her whole world upside down…

My heart went out to Jamie for Zoe’s actions, and my heart went out to Zoe for Gina’s actions. I’ve seen a few reviews where the reader has said how walking out of a wedding is a ‘no-no’ and ‘unrealistic’, but I beg to differ. It is realistic but the chances of anyone stating that they have been jilted at the aisle is slim to nil. Not really THE conversation starter is it? As readers, we walk into the storyline partway through the characters lives, and we are unaware of their pasts, relationships with people and so forth. All we know is what they are doing when we open up the book, therefore we cannot really judge a character, in this case, Zoe, on their actions at the very start of a book as their reasons are still hidden within the book.

Zoe DID have her reasons and there was A LOT more to Gina than ‘just getting arrested’. Little did we know that Gina’s journey was heading down a harrowing path; I had no idea how harrowing it was going to be until it hit me. This review is quite hard to write because whilst I want to talk about the book, every situation is linked with a vital piece of information and I don’t think I would be too popular if I wrote this review with spoilers in!

‘A Life Without You’ absolutely blew me away, and at times it felt like my heart was being ripped out due to the emotion that was pouring from my eyes like a waterfall. The family dynamics within this book, despite being broken and rocky, are surprisingly strong and full of hidden courage. Gina’s battle was incredibly eye-opening yet incredibly devastating, Zoe and Lily (along with real life readers) must have felt so powerless as they watched their mother deteriorate before their very eyes, becoming a shadow that even Gina herself didn’t know. For me, the most powerful relationships within the storyline were Zoe, Lily’s and Gina’s, every other character played a part in their own ways, but those three ladies lives shook me to the core.

Katie’s ability to write a raw, poignant and emotionally charged storyline deserves an incredible amount of respect. The fact that she delved into a relatable and devastating illness with such poise and sensitivity, really showcased her writing talent, putting her in the ‘one of my favourite authors’ box.

A Life Without You is a storyline guaranteed to make you shed a tear or ten, whilst also filling your heart with love towards fictitious characters. This book also highlights the importance of trust, honesty and ensuring that you’re there for the ones you love, regardless of how hard it may be at the time. You need them and they need you. Reaching the end of Katie Marsh’s novel was a struggle as I couldn’t see the book properly through my tears.

An inspiring, thought-provoking and emotional read, whilst it broke my heart into pieces it also protected and comforted me whilst reading. Katie Marsh has delivered perfection with this novel, in my eyes anyway. An unbelievable author, and after reading this, one of my favourite authors of all time. Incredible. I just wish I could find the right words for my feelings towards this book..

Buy now from Amazon

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From novel ‘The Gift’ to her own ‘Gift’ @Fab_fiction – (LJ) talks from the heart #guestpost

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As I’m sure a lot of you are aware, Louise Jensen’s latest novel, ‘The Gift’, has made itself known in the Amazon charts (it may have peaked at numero uno…. 😉 ). Quite rightly so! If you still haven’t read this book, you can find my review: #Review of The Gift by Louise Jensen (@Fab_fiction) @Bookouture #psychologicalthriller.

Seeing as the book title is about a gift, I wanted to know what Louise’s own personal thoughts were in regards to her ‘gift’. As always, the talented author delivered; here is her very honest yet incredibly heart-warming guest post, especially for TWG.

Guest post by Louise Jensen.

My new novel, The Gift centres around Jenna, a 30-year-old woman who receives a transplanted heart. She is overcome with gratitude at this chance of a second life but, over time, she starts to experiences flashbacks of things that haven’t happened to her. Jenna learns about cellular memory, the phenomena that the cells of a heart can retain memories, and organ recipients can inherit these memories and she begins to believe that Callie, the donor, didn’t die in an accident as purported. Jenna is convinced Callie was murdered.  Jenna becomes obsessed with Callie’s family, desperate to uncover the truth, and as she alienates her own family and friends, and begins to lose her grip on reality, she questions whether, if she could go back, she would want this gifted heart. 

Writing this novel really gave me food for thought. It is human nature to compartmentalise things as they happen and often the things we think are the greatest things ever can leave us utterly bereft if they don’t work out, and things we class as terrible can sometimes turn out to be the greatest gift of all. 

Becoming disabled in my 30’s left me feeling utterly lost and utterly alone. With a lack of mobility and chronic pain my future felt bleak and in those dark, early days, I thought I would never be happy again. I was always very active and I was at a loss to know how to occupy my time and depression swamped me. A blackness I just couldn’t shift.  As time passed I knew I had to try to piece my life together again, for my children as much as me, and tentatively I began to write. As I wrote I became completely absorbed in the characters I was creating and I momentarily forgot my pain, I momentarily forgot I can’t just get up and go for a walk, and little by little life became brighter. 

My change of health wasn’t a gift as such, but an opportunity, and one I ended up grasping with both hands. 

In the mindfulness courses I teach I often tell the story of The Farmer and the Horse, a lesson that there often isn’t good or bad, some things just are; but if you look, sometimes ever so closely, there is often a silver lining after all.

A farmer had one old horse that he used for tilling his fields. One day the horse escaped into the hills and when all the farmer’s neighbours heard about it, they sympathised with the old man over his bad luck. “Bad luck? Good luck? Who knows?” said the farmer.

A week later, the horse returned with a herd of wild horses from the hills and this time the neighbors congratulated the farmer on his good luck. “Good luck? Bad luck? Who knows?” said the farmer.

Then, when the farmer’s son was attempting to tame one of the wild horses, he fell off its back and broke his leg. Everyone agreed that this was very bad luck. Not the farmer, who replied, “Bad Luck? Good luck? Who knows?”

Some weeks later, the army marched into the village and forced every able-bodied young man to go fight in a bloody war. When they saw that the farmer’s son had a broken leg, they let him stay. Everyone was very happy at the farmer’s good luck.

Louise is an incredible author and such an inspiration, I am in awe of her strength through the good days and bad.
Thank you Louise for your wonderful piece.

Author & book links.

Twitter
Website
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Influenced by a book, TWG lets loose with her thoughts.. #honestpost #awareness #bullying

I need to type. I need to try and free my mind from whatever seems to be constricting it right now. I have no idea what that may be. All I know is that my mind feels trapped..
I have just finished reading a book that reopened many of my wounds, although to be honest, I’m not too sure that they were even fully closed. Throughout this post, the book title, author and overall information of it will remain anonymous. No, it’s not because I thought the book was rubbish, or any other negative views at all. The book was brilliant yet incredibly harrowing; yet I need to keep my thoughts of the book in my head for now.

I have been through many, many things in my life already. Most of which I have pretty much glazed over, acted like things are ‘fine’ and believed that my feelings and experiences aren’t worthy of peoples time…because others believe them not to be. How do you ever come back from that though? Being stuck in a place you have been made to feel as though it is the right place to be, yet all along it is wrong, and you have now lost the chance of breaking free.

When I was a little girl I used to be so afraid of growing up, yet I would dream of wearing sparkly clothes, having long, flawless hair and walking with such swagger and confidence. From the time I was a little girl to the time I became an adult, a lot of things changed. Innocence was lost and my dream of wearing sparkly clothes and walked with swagger, became no more. Instead, I just saw…black. There was no sparkle and no swagger. Instead, there was fear and trying to find my own way of surviving through the black times. Some people may use that moment to try and shine or to fight back, yet others may decide to think of everything as….FINE.
‘Are you okay?’ Yeah, I’m FINE.
‘Nothing on your mind?’ No, I’m FINE.
‘You look grumpy…’ I’m not, i’m just…FINE.

Instantly, you’ve lured yourself into a sense of false security. You know deep down that you’re not fine, but seeing as ‘fine’ seems to be your most favourable word, you tend to believe it.

The book that has influenced my thoughts tonight, has given me a real kick up the booty. It has made me realise that I need to learn to talk. I need to learn to talk about MY deepest and darkest feelings without feeling guilty. I need to realise that my feelings are just as important as JimBob’s across the road, or Phoebe’s in Central Perk…

Whilst it is extremely easy to realise those things, it is even harder to put them into practice, especially when you’re surrounded by people that seem to think that is okay to downplay your feelings and take away YOUR moment to express what you feel is important. Nobody has the right to do that, EVER. It is NOT theirs to take. Jodi Picoult made an extremely valid point (one of many) at her event recently. She was talking about what you should and shouldn’t say to a person of colour, and I also believe that those things should be taken into consideration with multiple other situations too. Jodi said that when you’re in a conversation with another person who is talking about their concerns, what you do NOT say is ‘ah I know someone with X Y & Z too’, or ‘that happened to me too’. Why? Because you then downplay their moment and cast it aside like it is of no importance, all because Clementine over the road is the same.

Whilst typing this waffle, it has made me realise even more so that I need to say F………….YOU to a lot of things and a lot of people, and say HIYAAAAAAAA to myself and my daughter. I can do it for her, I just don’t know how to do it for myself.

Maybe one day I will find the confidence to talk about situations that haunt me to this day, one that is even more important after reading that book. I will never rid myself of that situation completely, well, hardly a situation as such. All I know is, my experience of it may help others. If I can’t do it for myself, I will do it for them….whoever they are…it may even be you.

Over and out.
TWG.

Continuing publication day buzz, Kelly Rimmer(@KelRimmerWrites) gets interrogated! @Bookouture

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Nothing says ‘congratulations on your latest release’ better than an interrogation, does it? Glad you agree! Kelly Rimmer’s latest book; A Mother’s Confession, was published yesterday by Bookouture and you can find my review right here: Publication day #review! A Mother’s Confession by Kelly Rimmer (@KelRimmerWrites) @Bookouture.

As soon as I finished the book (in amongst my snotty, ugly crying), I had some questions that I was needing answered. Luckily, Kelly said yes to my request for an interrogation (no spoilers guaranteed):

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions, I really do appreciate it. After reading ‘A Mothers Confession’, I just knew that I had to delve a little deeper as I am a curious little devil! Don’t worry; I’m good at interrogation so it will be spoiler free!



 TWG: Your newest novel, ‘A Mothers Confession’, has just been published, congratulations! If you could describe the book in a mere five words, which ones would they be?

I only need 3!

Perspective is everything 🙂 

TWG: What made you decide to write such a complex and intense storyline for ‘A Mothers Confession’, and how?!



I like to write about things that bewilder and scare me, and domestic violence fits that bill perfectly. So I started researching it, and as I read and listened and talked to people, Olivia and Ivy’s stories solidified in my mind. 

TWG: The book was written, in my opinion, with such a personal feel to it as if YOU (the author) could relate to the storyline personally. Is that the case with this book?



I always try to put myself deep into the character when I’m planning a story, so that’s exactly the end result I really try to achieve, thanks for saying that! There are always aspects of my experience in my books, but it’s usually the small things like the way conversations flow or aspects to a particular type of character’s behaviour.

TWG: Before I read the book I saw on social media that many people couldn’t stop crying as they were reading it. I’ll be honest, I got halfway and wondered why I hadn’t cried….YET (that soon changed). How emotional did you get while you were writing the book? Did you find yourself getting far too emotional and had to stop writing?



I do write emotional books, and I get insanely attached to my characters which is strange, given I know better than anyone that they aren’t real :),  but this was the first time I had to write the difficult scenes before I wrote the start of the story. I knew they were going to be too hard to write once I knew the characters inside out. I’m so glad I did that or we might still have a story stuck at 75%… 

TWG: A lot of important topics are covered within ‘A Mothers Confession’. Was that done intentionally?



Yes, I definitely set out to understand and then write about how some aspects of our culture contribute to family violence, and to explore the impact these behaviours have on survivors and even bystanders.

TWG:  As the storyline went on and I learnt more about the characters, it quickly became clear which character I disliked. When you thought up your characters, did you feel angry to any of them based on the life you had/were creating for them?



I know exactly which character you are referring to and yes!!! I kept trying to soften the characters to make them more likeable, but that really took away from the realism in the story. But in the writing of this book there were several incidents of me yelling at my screen!

TWG: The tears came thick and fast shortly after I wondered where they were, and I ended up having a book hangover for days afterwards. Did you find that once you had written the book you needed comforted yourself?



For the first time ever after a book, I took a few weeks’ downtime. I banned myself from reading anything heavy or intense and just took it easy. It’s all fiction, of course, but this was a really difficult book to write and I needed some recovery time emotionally myself.

TWG: How different is ‘A Mothers Confession’ to your other books, overall?

Well, I think readers who enjoyed this book would enjoy my others, but I have covered a wide variety of topics in them, from romance and illness in Me Without You, to forced adoption in The Secret Daughter, and the breakdown of a marriage in When I Lost You. 

TWG:  If you could choose one of your own books to be your favourite one, which one would it be and why?



I’ve loved writing them all but A Mother’s Confession is my favourite so far. I had such a clear vision for it from the outset, which is pretty rare for me. I think being a few books in, I had more confidence writing it and I knew where I needed to take it much earlier in the process. Plus the topic is just such an important one and one that’s not openly discussed in enough circles.

I really hope readers connect with the story the way I did :).

TWG: I mentioned above about book hangovers, which book have you read that has ended up giving YOU a book hangover, and why?



I am a die-hard Jodi Piccoult fan and I think I sobbed for half a day when I read My Sister’s Keeper. I kept crying long after I’d closed the book and even years later still think about it sometimes. It was the book that inspired me to write this genre, so I guess it’s given me a many year hangover!!

TWG: Because you do write such emotional and poignant books, do you find that you steer away from those types of books when choosing a book to read yourself?



I read anything and everything. I read a lot now that I’m writing full time too. I try to read at least one independently published book a month, a few from my genre, and something random. I have a few friends who write crime/thrillers and I keep trying to get into that genre but I’m such a huge, gigantic chicken, all it takes is a grizzly murder scene and I have to shut the book, so I’m not getting very far 😉

I also read a lot of non-fiction in doing my research.

TWG:  I ask this question to all of the authors that I have on my blog; what were your favourite books as a child? Who are your favourite authors now?



Heidi by Joanna Spiri – I SO loved that book when I was a child. I was also obsessed with Roald Dahl, and I think I read every Trixie Belden book at least twice!

These days I will immediately buy anything by Jodi Piccoult, Dianne Chamberlain or for very different genred but always brilliant storytelling, I adore Margaret Atwood. My Bookouture sisters Teresa Driscoll and Renita D’silva are amazing writers, too! 

TWG: If you weren’t an author, making me ugly cry, what do you think that you would be doing career wise?

I had a career in IT before this, most recently in business intelligence.

 I can’t remember making anyone ugly cry in my old job 😉

TWG: Lastly, seeing as I detest odd numbers and had to make it an even one; what is in store for you next? Is there another book coming out? Can you give TWG an exclusive? Tell me all!!





Haha, there is something in the works, I can’t give you an exclusive just yet but once I have some details you’ll be the first to know, promise! 🙂

Thank you so much to Kelly Rimmer for answering all of my questions, and apologies for interrogating you ;). I really appreciate you taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer those questions, and out yourself as a gigantic chicken :D.

If you’re rather curious about A Mother’s Confession, you can buy yourself a copy of the book via Amazon UK | Amazon US.

If you feel the need to buy all of  Kelly’s previous books (just like I did), you can do so via:
Kelly’s Amazon Page UK | Kelly’s Amazon Page US

Author Guest Post – Mary-Jane Riley author of ‘After She Fell’.

It’s the Life of Riley! Mary-Jane Riley to be precise! I asked Mary-Jane to feature on my blog (polite version of saying ‘write a post so I can put my feet up’) so I could be a nosy devil. Devil being quite apt considering the genre she writes. Anyway! As most of you are aware, I’m not a crime writer, so I wanted to find out ‘why crime?’, although I probably should have asked ‘what’s a nice girl like you writing crime?’! Please don’t put me in your book! Actually, do, five minutes of fame!! Luckily for us, Mary-Jane agreed to fulfil my nosiness and tell me what made her decide to write crime novels. Over to you Crime Lady!

Bio:
Mary-Jane wrote her first story on her newly acquired blue Petite typewriter. She was
eight. It was about a gang of children who had adventures on mysterious islands, but
she soon realised Enid Blyton had cornered that particular market. So she wrote about
the Wild West instead. When she grew up she had to earn a living, and became a BBC
radio talk show presenter and journalist. She has covered many life-affirming stories,
but also some of the darkest events of the past two decades.

Want to keep up to date with Mary-Jane and her books? Here is how you can:

Mary-Jane’s Facebook
Twitter: @mrsmjriley
Instagram: maryjanerileyauthor

‘It is probably the question I’m asked most – what’s a nice girl like you doing writing
crime? (Actually, I made that up, normally people just look at me and frown then say, why crime?) And I say – well, let me tell you how I got here. I am a journalist by profession (trade?) which means I deal in facts that I have to check and re-check to make sure I’ve got the story right. This is satisfying in itself, but I had always wanted to write fiction. I started young, writing a story about a gang of children going on adventures and then one about a magical tree… but soon realised Enid Blyton had got that corner of the market sewn up, so I stopped for a few years.

 I don’t know what made me pick up a pen again – itchy fingers perhaps – but I knew I wanted to try and write while my three young children were having naps (so that got me about 3.8 minutes clear in a day). I began by trying my hand at Mills and Boon. Easy, I thought. All I need is a bit of a love story. How wrong I was! It was hard. Harder than hard. And I didn’t get very far, though I did learn a valuable lesson: you have to believe in what you’re writing, really believe, otherwise your insincerity shines through like a beacon.

 However, the children took over. They were growing up, I got a full-time job, any notions of writing a book took a back seat – until I made a friend at the school gates and we both went along to a local writing group. That started me writing again and I had success with stories for women’s magazines and small presses and I began to toy with the idea of writing a full-length novel. But what? Romance seemed to be the way to go, but – I love reading crime. Always have. I’ve devoured Agatha Christie, Patricia Highsmith, Daphne Du Maurier, Ruth Rendell, PD James – the list is endless. But people like me didn’t write crime, did they? Then one day I had a ‘light bulb moment’. I was walking the dog (she plays a big part in my writing life) when I saw my husband coming down the road towards me. What if, I thought, a car stopped, he got in and I never saw him again? And that was it. The start of my first book, which got me an agent though not a publishing deal. But, as my agent said: ‘You’re a writer, so write!’ (She is not known as The Fearsome One for nothing). I just had to get on with next.

Another ‘what if’ moment came along, which stemmed from my work on the BBC News website… what if I had to go and interview someone who’d devastated my family years before? That was the starting point for my debut novel, THE BAD THINGS. I also knew I wanted two protagonists – a journalist (naturally!) called Alex Devlin and a police officer, Kate Todd, who had some ‘issues’, but not the normal alcoholism/broken marriage/difficult colleagues issues, and I wanted to explore the effects of a crime on both of them. I wanted to set it on the Suffolk coast, a seaside town in the winter. (I live in East Anglia and adore it). Eventually, after boring my husband, children and most particularly my dog with talk of plot, character and twists, and sitting my bottom on the chair in front of the computer I came up with roughly 95,000 words. Phew. Cue a lot of nail-biting when I sent it to my agent. She loved it. Told me to drink champagne.

Then came the business of sending it out to publishers. A German publisher loved it! In fact, three loved it so much that it went to auction… an extremely tense and exciting and nail-biting week followed (I keep my nails very short now) until one of them won out. Champagne again! Then some time after that, the editor of a new Harper Collins imprint, Killer Reads, said she wanted it. More rejoicing! More champagne! (In my defence, my agent told me I should celebrate every triumph… so I do… sometimes it’s Cava. Or Prosecco.)

‘I hope you’re getting on with the next one,’ The Fearsome One ordered while I was still reeling from the bubbles. ‘Er..yes…’ I said. I went out and bought a new notebook. I began to make notes. I knew I wanted to tell more of Alex’s story and I fancied setting the book in a village on the North Norfolk coast. And a boarding school. (As a child I’d always wanted to go to boarding school. I don’t any more). Yes, a private boarding school whose pupils didn’t get on with the youngsters in the village. And where’s the body? At the bottom of a crumbling cliff. And why does Alex go to this village I’ve called Hallow’s Edge? To help an old friend, of course. And there it was, the bare bones of the dreaded Book Two. My husband and children began avoiding me, but the dog had no choice, and so on long walks we talked plot, character and twists (I talked, she dug for moles). Then I sat that (now spreading) bottom on the chair in front of the computer and began writing. And 95,000 words and several cases of wine later I had AFTER SHE FELL.

Dear Reader, I drank yet more champagne.’

I’m sure I wasn’t the only one that giggled at parts of that! Such an honest answer to a curious and dark question, thank you Mary-Jane! If you like the sound of her books, follow the links below where you can grab yourself a copy. Or, if you have read them already, please leave a review on Amazon/Goodreads if you haven’t already!

Buy: ‘The Bad Things’ via Amazon UK
Buy: ‘The Bad Things’ via Amazon US

Buy: ‘After She Fell’ via Amazon UK
Buy: ‘After She Fell’ via Amazon US

The thoughts of a toddler…and a mumma

One morning (yesterday to be precise), I was sitting on the sofa (getting soft toys put on me and around me) and I had a light-bulb moment. Don’t get used to it, it doesn’t happen very often. Pretty much the same amount of time as a leap year! Ah I jest, I jest….nowhere near that frequent. ANYWAY, my light-bulb moment was that the little person in front of me that morning, is extremely witty and would make incredible reading material. Slightly biased perhaps, but oh well! ;).

How many of you have either had children, or been able to be around young children? Probably a lot of you actually. I hadn’t really had the opportunity to be around a baby a lot until I was 16, when my little brother was born. So when I became a mummy at 23, I had a rough idea of what to expect in terms of the basic keeping them alive sort of thing. But one thing that I never prepared for, was the scenario of having a two year old coming out with comments and thinking to myself ‘darn it, I wish I had said that!’. Believe me, it happens a lot! For example, my eldest brother was wearing a university gown in a picture, and my little one said he was wearing a dress. Well, that and she called him a Princess. To say I was slightly disappointed that I never thought of that would be a rather large understatement! Hilarious.

No offence to little people and their intelligence, but I never realised a two year old would be able to give you reasons why they cannot do something, or won’t do something. ACTUAL reasons.

Me: Eva, can you bring your fork out please?
Eva: Not today mumma, I’m busy.
Me: Busy doing what?
Eva: Busy dancing to songs and kicking Minnie mouse ball in the living room.

Do you think I was annoyed with that? Honestly? No, I was laughing so hard that I had to sit down. Did she break anything? No. Does it matter? No. Was she happy? Yes. Or when I ask her to use her fork for her dinner, she uses it once and goes ‘I’m going to use my fingers now’. That was what she said at din dins tonight. She did what I asked, I never stated for how long haha. Called me a superstar for using my fork though. Ooooooh yeah! Gold star for mumma!!!
One thing I will advise though, do not tell a young child that you need the toilet in a supermarket, ever. Because they will never, ever forget. Even after weeks have passed from you saying it, in a busy supermarket on a Friday afternoon whilst walking past a huge group of people, and as loud as they can go ‘MUMMA, YOU NEED TOILET IN ASDA? YOU GOT UNDERWEAR MUMMA?!’. Yes, I am speaking that from experience. To be fair, I did stop and check that I had underwear on, just to be sure! More hilarity!

Another example is that when you ask them what something is, in one instance I was pointing at a tree, they are incredibly precise with their answer. Did she say a tree? NO. Her answer was ‘tree trunk’ because I was pointing at that. I was like ‘you’re two! smarty pants’. Not that I am insulting her intelligence, because she is a smart cookie, but I never expected her to come out with that! I’m not exactly a genius myself. Close, but not completely! I jest….kind of. I can actually have a chat with her, and not just about peppa pig or how Ra Ra goes ‘raaaahhhhh’. Big people conversations about diggers, tractors, The Hulk, Bon Jovi, Helidoctors or prescriptions…to name a few. I kid you not, all of that list is genuine. Our chats are brilliant! Oh to be two years old again! Instead of getting excited to go to a toy shop, she gets excited because she gets to go to Boots, and Asda!

Just like a lot of people, I do doubt myself sometimes as a mummy, especially the more ill that I get. It also doesn’t help seeing comments saying that ‘chronically ill mummies are selfish’ and their children ‘won’t want an ill parent and would want a normal one’. Now those days I doubt myself, or when it’s really visible that I’m in excruciating pain, Eva knows. Bearing in mind, she is two. She stops whatever she is doing and asks me if I’m okay and ‘what’s hurting mumma?’ then proceeds to say that she will fix it and how cream will make it all better. Two years old. She has more empathy than some adults I know! I don’t ever worry that she won’t love her ill mumma, because I’m her mumma. The person that allows her to be herself when others find fault.

That little girl amazes me every single day. Although I wish she would stop thinking everything costs £100 pounds, makes me feel like I’m going to pass out by spending all of that money….on £100 rice cakes…

I remember parts of my childhood, but two things I remember the most is receiving an easel for my 3rd birthday and having a ‘Jungle Book’ book in my bedroom. I also know that it was my mum that always did things like that. As a child you don’t know how to look at presents in a sentimental way, and why should you? It’s not until you’re older that you start realising the memories connected to your childhood, and funnily enough, some of those memories you put forward into your own children’s childhood without even realising that. I had a teddy bear when I little, what child doesn’t I guess. She had a wonderful name, Susie Bringnals. She went everywhere with me, my own little comfort bear, wouldn’t sleep without her. (Don’t worry, I am going somewhere with this). But unfortunately I grew up and the teddy was no longer in my bed as a comfort bear, obviously. Then one day, Eva picked her up. I froze as the emotion connected to that teddy came flooding back. The years of sitting crying cuddling it whilst my mum hugged me too. Cor I’m crying now! Or when Susie had a plaster put on her head as she ‘had a poorly’ just like me. That was my mum again. Anyway, I told Eva that the teddy’s name is Susie. You know what she did? Gave Susie a massive hug and pulled me in for a cuddle too, just like my mum did with me. You want to know another thing? Susie is currently sitting in my daughter’s bed right now, while she is asleep.

It’s thanks to my mum that I have manners, that I’m not materialistic and that I am very sentimental whilst knowing how to look after anything and everything that I am given. It’s also thanks to my mum that I’m a fiery mare and know how to cut someone down if they’re nasty! Why? Because my mum is a very strong woman who is extremely underestimated in terms of her capabilities. People need to give her way more credit. Now, people might say that toddlers have ‘terrible twos’, ahem, I disagree. They are learning different emotions and unlike us, can’t say it or argue. They try, don’t get me wrong. Because I am fiery, this also means my little girl is fiery, very strong willed and independent. Just like her mumma, and just like her nanny. Would I want to change that in myself? No. Why? Because if people don’t like the three generations of fiery, independence and power, don’t annoy us!

Becoming a mum, despite the fact I had a very low chance of being able to be a mummy, is the most rewarding thing that I have ever done. My daughter is the best thing I have ever made. I appreciate my daughter to the moon and back, and being a mum myself, I also appreciate what my mum did for me as a child. You would do anything to protect your children, regardless.

I’ll end with this, memories need to be made because sometimes they are the only things that you can hold onto when you feel like everything is falling around you. Or as Eva likes to say: ‘Today will be best day ever’.