My review of A Wedding in Italy by Tilly Tennant

With huge thanks to Donna, a lovely stop on the blog tour 🙂

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Today is my stop on the blog tour for Tilly Tennant’s latest book, A Wedding in Italy… check out my review below!

untitledSun, spaghetti and sparkling prosecco. When it comes to looking for love, there’s no place like Rome – but once Kate’s found her man, can she keep him?

Kate is living the dream with her gorgeous boyfriend Alessandro in his native city, but the reality is sometimes a little less romantic than she’d hoped. Every day in her new home is a fight against leaking pipes, her cantankerous landlord and her less-than-perfect grasp of the Italian lingo.

All around her there is talk of weddings, but when a secret from her past is thrust out into the open, Kate must fight to prove to Alessandro’s Mamma – and the rest of his formidable family – that she truly is Italian marriage material.

With the women in Alessandro’s life…

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Tweet Your Treat!

It’s nearly here – the release of The Little Village Bakery!  And we’d love you to join in the celebrations!

For the next week or so I’m going to invite you all to TWEET YOUR TREAT – post a photo of a cake you’ve baked, a tasty morsel you’re about to tuck into (whether you’ve baked it or not), perhaps a yummy looking shop window display – basically anything to do with cakes and baking!  All the photos posted with the tag #tweetyourtreat by  Sunday 26th June will be entered into a prize draw to win a whole bunch of baking related goodies as seen below along with a signed copy of The Little Village Bakery:

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But it’s not just about the prize – it’s about having fun and getting everyone talking about cakes – after all they make the world go round! And if you fancy taking a look at The Little Village Bakery at the same time, then that’s ok too!

I look forward to seeing your photos!

Tilly goes Bananas

Ok, I know I haven’t exactly kept up with this baking lark, but it’s just been too hot! However, yesterday it rained and I took the opportunity (and also advantage of rather too many bananas in the cupboard) to have a bash at banana loaf.  The recipe is in this book:

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And it wasn’t too tricky. I had ridiculous eggs in the fridge that were clearly from hummingbirds or something, but I dropped an extra one in and hoped for the best.  The recipe says cook for 40 minutes, so after 40 minutes I duly took it out.

‘Looks a bit wobbly,’ my daughter said.

‘It’ll be fine. The recipe says 40 minutes.’

‘Looks a bit wobbly. Stick a knife in it.’

‘It’ll be fine. The recipe says 40 minutes.’

‘Stick a knife in it.’

I let out a sigh, stick a knife in it and… ooops – gloopy cake mixture. What the hell?

So the cake went into the oven again, and actually ended up cooking for almost an hour before it looked done. We had to stick foil over it to stop it burning on top. Here’s my result and here’s the photo of how it should look. I wonder if you can tell which is which?

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It actually tastes pretty good. Banana-y. Just as you’d expect.

Cakes have to follow the laws of physics too!

Yesterday, in the spirit of learning how to bake before The Little Village Bakery is released (see this post) I decided to try a recipe a friend had recommended as pretty much the easiest cake in the world to make. This post is about my attempt at Weetabix cake.  The recipe is here:

Ingredients (serves 6)

  • 300g self-raising flour
  • 225g sugar
  • 200g dried mixed fruit
  • 2 Weetabix, crushed
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 275ml milk
  • 1 egg, beaten

    Method

  1. Measure out all the dried ingredients into a large bowl
  2. Pour in the milk and egg and mix well (the mixture will look like a lumpy batter)
  3. Pour the mixture into a greased and lined loaf tin
  4. Bake at 130’C/Gas mark 3 for around 1hr 15 minutes, until it is firm to touch, golden brown and a skewer or knife comes out clean
  5. Once cooked, turn out of the tin onto a wire rack and remove the greaseproof paper
  6. Cut into slices when cool

It literally was a case of throwing everything in the bowl and slamming it in the oven. It doesn’t look pretty when it comes out, is so dense it might just be creating its own gravity, and cutting into it is a bit like trying to slice through an old shoe, but it actually tastes quite good.  It has the benefit of having actual healthy ingredients in it and the (probably misguided) virtue of being low fat, so if I scoff three slices straight from the oven, that won’t hurt… will it?IMG_2994

Do you want to know a secret?

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It’s been a very exciting week. Some things I can tell you about – like the fact that I have just begun a 6 month break from the day job (hurrah for working at home in pyjamas!) and some things I can’t reveal yet because they are still in progress.  But the biggest thing was this announcement…  a dream of a deal from Bookouture, the hottest digital publisher of the moment. The first book of my new Honeybourne series, The Little Village Bakery, is due for release on June 15th. My lovely agent took me to lunch to celebrate.  ‘You can start a blog – post recipes for lots of different cakes you’ve baked,’ she said, ‘It will be a brilliant companion to the book’. She sounded quite excited and also rather convinced that this was something within my capabilities. Which it’s not.

At this point I need to let you into a little secret…. I can’t bake – not one bit.  Not to worry, I thought as she smiled expectantly at me, because nobody is going to want me to make cakes. I’ll just post the recipes and everyone will be happy. But then, the more I thought about it, the more I felt like a bit of a fraud.

I looked at my new book cover, and as I wiped a little tear of joy from my eye, I realised something that shook the smugness right off my face. The tagline:  A feel-good romantic comedy with plenty of cake?  I can write about cake, I can certainly eat it, but making it…. Maybe I am a fraud?  The last time I tried to make a birthday cake for my youngest daughter, it was so bad I had to pretend to the family that my (then) eight year old had made it for her younger sibling.  If they made a rival to The Great British Bake Off called The Great British Baking-in-the Bin Off I’m sure I’d beat all comers.

I must make amends. I can’t have my lovely readers thinking I know all about baking. So I’m going to learn how to bake. And I’m going to share the results with you all to pass judgement, and laugh, and possibly beg me to stop. Tips and advice will be most welcome!  By the time The Little Village Bakery hits the digital shelves, I will be able to bake something edible. I’ll succeed, or get food poisoning trying!

Christmas Wish Come True

At the beginning of my own writing journey, Jaimie Admans was one of the people who encouraged me to stick at it when I got down, and her support and friendship of me and other writers has been wonderful over the years. I also absolutely adore her stories and so I was probably almost as thrilled as she was herself to discover that she’d been offered a deal with Carina, along with Misty Shaw and Gina Rochelle, to do a Christmas story collection.  She’s very kindly agreed to come on my blog (I did beg a little bit) to share her dream cast for her story, Christmas Every Day. I love this cast, and Aidan Turner is a particular favourite of mine so I can’t wait to read the book now and imagine him as the romantic lead!

So, enough of me, here’s Jaimie herself to tell you more…

I’m absolutely thrilled to have a Christmas novella published as part of an anthology by Carina UK this year, and when Tilly Tennant offered to host a dream cast of who would play my characters if a movie was ever made of my story, I couldn’t think of anything more fun!

The book is called Christmas Wish Come True and my story in it is Christmas Every Day. It’s about Emma – her life is pretty dull and the highlight of her day is saying hello to Gorgeous Dog Walker, a man she passes when she takes her dog out each night. She doesn’t even know his name, but all that changes when she (accidentally!) pushes him under a bus and he ends up in a coma, and Emma finds herself taking over his very unusual job and learning the secret of his very unusual identity!

Emma – Katherine Heigl

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I think a dark-haired Katherine Heigl would be perfect to play Emma. Emma’s got messy dark hair which gets messier (and darker!) when she takes over Gorgeous Dog Walker’s job, and Katherine really suits how I’ve always pictured Emma. Emma’s a bit down on her luck, her life is pretty stagnant, her job is boring, and her love life is non-existent, but all that changes with Gorgeous Dog Walker and a runaway car. Katherine seems good at playing resilient characters who remain upbeat when really weird things are happening, so I think she’d make a great Emma. Plus, she got to kiss Jeffrey Dean Morgan in Grey’s Anatomy, and who wouldn’t want to kiss him?!

Nick – Aidan Turner

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aka Gorgeous Dog Walker seeing as Emma doesn’t even know his name for most of the book!

Ahh, the gorgeous Poldark from BBC1! Aidan Turner has got the dark curly hair and lovely smile I always pictured on Nick so he’s a perfect fit for a dream cast! I think I must’ve been subconsciously imagining Aidan in the role when I wrote the story because he’s exactly as I described Nick. Nick’s smile is something Emma falls in love with before she even gets to know him and Aidan has got the perfect twinkle in his eye when he smiles!

Twinkle – Lee Arenberg, aka Grumpy from Once Upon a Time.

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In the story, Emma meets Twinkle who, unlike his sparkly name, is possibly the grumpiest and most unhelpful elf she’s ever come across. Not that she’s met a lot of elves but hopefully they’re not all as irate as Twinkle! Twinkle isn’t impressed with his new charge, and Emma isn’t impressed that she has to spend extended amounts of time with him while Gorgeous Dog Walker is in a coma. She’s not even sure he’s really an elf!

I loved writing Twinkle, he became my favourite character in the novella, from the moment he slides down the chimney and surprises Emma to chasing reindeer around supermarket car parks, I loved every moment of writing his character. Lee Arenberg has got the perfect mix of grouchiness with a soft heart underneath, and he fits perfectly into Twinkle’s initial crabby attitude and the slightly less grumpy side he shows as Emma gets to know him!

One of the major parts of my revisions was to make Nick sexier, which you’d think would be easy considering he looks like Aidan Turner, however probably due to a combination of the name and The X Factor just starting back on TV, every time I tried to picture Nick being sexy, this is what popped into my head.

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Thanks, Grimmy! That’ll teach me to watch reality TV talent shows while trying to edit!

Tilly again here!

I bet you want a copy now! Well, you can have one because it’s out today! That was a rollercoaster of a cast, going from the divine Mr Turner (that photo floored me when I opened it – Jaimie needs to choose a less sexy one next time because my ticker won’t take that kind of shock!) to Nick Grimshaw in a bra! I need a lie down now!

You can order Christmas Wish Come True here… So, what are you waiting for????

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I wish I’d written… Miss Wrong and Mr Right by Robert Bryndza

MissWrongWebCoverI’m already a huge fan of Robert Bryndza, not only as a writer but as a lovely fella too, so I couldn’t wait to get my hands on his new book. After being captivated by Coco Pinchard, Miss Wrong (or Natalie Love, as she’s more commonly known) had a lot to live up to as a heroine, but she didn’t disappoint.  Robert writes a female POV effortlessly and with conviction and if I hadn’t known I was reading a female POV character written by a man I wouldn’t have guessed in a million years. I found, in Natalie, someone who felt like a best mate.  She lived a glamorous life but was down to earth.  The leading men were all brilliant too, even the slimy Benjamin, but strangely, it was the Hollywood star Ryan Harrison who captured my heart. He was so sweet and vulnerable, and I desperately want to see another book about him… pretty please!  The last mention has to go to Natalie’s friends and family. They were all brilliant but in particular her Hungarian Gran who was a like a cross between Cruella DeVille and Sophia Loren, and was bloody hilarious.

If you haven’t already, you won’t regret picking up this brilliant book. I was gripped by it, even when I was supposed to be packing for a holiday! The only problem I now have is that I’ve just finished what was supposed to be my holiday reading….

 

Get your hands on a copy here…

Miss Wrong & Mr Right cover reveal

I’m thrilled to share the never before seen cover of my good friend Robert Bryndza’s latest book. It looks hilarious and if his hugely Coco Pinchard series is anything to go by we’re in for a treat.  Check out the blurb below and keep your May free for release!

MissWrongWebCoverNatalie Love has worked hard to have it all: she runs a successful theatre in Soho that’s about to host one of Hollywood’s leading stars. Her biggest supporter is her eccentric Hungarian Gran, and she even has the ‘perfect’ yoga teacher boyfriend – Namaste!

Life in the bright lights of London has always been Natalie’s escape from her chaotic country family in rural Devon and Jamie, the childhood sweetheart she left at the altar 15 years ago.

And then he turns up at her theatre door…

With rivalry clouding old feelings, events in Soho bring Jamie and Natalie together in hilarious ways. Gran is loose in the city once more, it seems to be raining sandwiches and records are broken for Burlesque flash mobs. If she can keep her world together, will Natalie discover who is really Mr Right, and that perhaps she isn’t Miss Wrong?

From the best selling author Robert Bryndza comes a hilariously heartfelt comedy.

Tilly Tennant – Hopelessly Devoted to Holden Finn Blog Tour

Day two of the Hopelessly tour sees a musical interlude…

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Today Tilly Tennant is stopping by the blog as part of her blog tour.

About Tilly:

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Tilly Tennant was born in Dorset but now lives in Staffordshire with her slightly nutty family.  Tilly is married to Mr Tennant (not that one, though a girl can dream). She likes nothing better than curling up in a quiet corner with a glass of wine watching the world go by, but can more usually be found taxiing her daughters to parties or taking them on emergency shopping trips. After a huge list of dismal and disastrous jobs over the years, including paper plate stacking, shop girl, newspaper promotions and waitressing, she began working as a temporary secretary in a hospital to boost her income whilst doing a degree in English and creative writing. This job lasted nine years. Not terribly temporary. But it does mean that she knows just what it’s like to make monumental admin cock-ups, spend the month’s…

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Hopelessly Devoted To Holden Finn by Tilly Tennant

Day one of the Hopelessly Devoted to Holden Finn blog tour.

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I’m so excited to be a part of the blog tour for Tilly’s simply superb book.

You can read my review here!

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I cannot express how much you all need to read this book, it’s utterly hilarious and charming!

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Blurb:

‘There’s only one man for Bonnie, and that’s Holden Finn. The problem is that Holden Finn is a twenty-three-year-old pop megastar with his boy band, Every Which Way, who doesn’t even know she exists. Not only that, but half the women of the world want to be Mrs Finn, including Bonnie’s teenage daughter, Paige. But the real men in Bonnie’s life only let her down, and a man that you can never have can never let you down… right? When Paige wins a radio competition to meet Holden and his band, it seems all that is set to change. Bonnie is about to find out that you should be careful…

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