Monday, 27 October 2014

What I'm Reading...

This month I have read 'The Voyages of the Princess Matilda' by Shane Spall, wife of actor Timothy Spall.

After watching Timothy Spall: Somewhere at Sea, Back at Sea and All at Sea, a set of three BBC Four television series that follow the journey of actor Timothy Spall and his wife Shane as they take their £200,000 52 feet (16 m) long ocean going Dutch barge, the Princess Matilda, on a trip around the British Coast including Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man, I couldn't wait to get stuck into Shane Spall's books as they give so much more detail and background than the programmes can.

As someone who loves the british waterways and have only had brief trips aboard barges, I now long for the open sea on a dutch barge! That's how beautiful Shane's descriptions are of locations and adventures along the way. It draws you in from the word go and paints so many pictures, you feel like you're on the journies with the Spalls.

I was laughing out loud at parts, and crying in others. It's a wonderful tale of living life to the full, and staring death in the face whether it comes in the form of leukemia or the turbulent tides ever threatening The Princess Matilda and it's crew. Shane and Tim's banter reminded me of my husband and I as they bickered and made friends in the blink of an eye, and shared moments of tenderness, true love and enjoyment.

It's a beautifully written book, that at times is funny, scary and the start to an adventure of a lifetime. I'm yet to read 'The Princess Matilda Comes Home' but I certainly intend to after reading 'The Voyages of the Princess Matilda', and will certainly recommend this book to many :)

Below is the write up from Amazon...

'Tim and I both understood we had done something really stupid. We had underestimated the danger involved in going out to sea. We had no radio, compass, life raft or flares. In other words, we were a couple of idiots.'

This is the story of Shane and Timothy Spall and their Dutch barge The Princess Matilda. After a summer on the Thames they head out to sea with only a road atlas and a vast amount of ignorance - and it is absolutely terrifying!

On their travels, memories are triggered of childhood trips to the seaside, but also of more recent times. A decade before, Tim had been diagnosed with acute leukaemia and was given only days to live. Shocked at how life can pass you by they decided that when, and if, Tim got better, they would buy a boat.

As Tim and Shane explore the coast from the Medway to Cornwall, eventually they start to wonder, could they make it out of England altogether? Could Matilda make it to ... Wales?!

Taking over five years, The Voyages of The Princess Matilda is a minor epic, charting a very personal, moving and uplifting story of an everyday couple's adventure around their much loved homeland.

** Winner of the British Travel Press's Narrative Travel Book of the Year Award **

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Write Foxy!

I've booked myself onto the 'Write Foxy! Writers' Inspiration Day' on the 2nd November in Dudley. I'm very excited as there will be four writers whose work I have read and enjoyed. I'm looking forward to both meeting them and also seeing what advice and inspiration they have for me and the others attending the course.

As far as I know there are a few tickets left, so I'll put the details below incase anyone else fancies booking up. There's another day in the new year too, on the 8th February.

Write Foxy! Writers' Inspiration Day - November 2014

Back by popular demand - the inspirational day for writers from bestselling author Miranda Dickinson!

Speakers confirmed:
Hannah Beckerman - Author of The Dead Wife's Handbook (Penguin)
Miranda Dickinson - Author of five Sunday Times Bestsellers, including Fairytale of New York and Take A Look At Me Now (Avon)
Tamsyn Murray - Author of the Stunt Bunny series (Simon & Schuster Children's) and Afterlife series (Piccadilly Press)
Cally Taylor - Author of The Accident - as CL Taylor (Avon)

Don't Just Write: Write Foxy!
A day for writers to come together, share ideas, be inspired and, most of all, reconnect with a love of writing. Part conference, part writers' retreat, the Write Foxy! Day will encourage you to make the most of your writing, learn from the experience of bestselling authors whilst also providing space for you to work on your own projects. Refreshments will be available all day and a full buffet lunch is included.

Who is the Write Foxy! Day for?
Everyone who writes! Whether you are just starting out, are working towards becoming a published or self-published author or are already published, this day offers something for you.

Will the Write Foxy! Day teach me how to write a novel?
No, but it will inspire you to make the most of your writing, whatever stage you are at. It's an inspiration day that will leave you fired up, armed with new tips and raring to pursue your writing goals.

What does Write Foxy! mean?!
Write Foxy! is all about writing what you're passionate about, keeping fun at the centre of your writing and loving what you do. So many writers at all stages of their writing careers struggle with doubts, fatigue, a sense of hopelessness and a lack of motivation: this day is designed to reconnect you to the reason you started writing. If you believe in and love what you write, readers will too!

The website for details and booking is:

If you want to take a look at some of the speakers work etc. you can find details on twitter for each at... Miranda Dickinson @wurdsmyth

Cally Taylor @callytaylor

Hannah Beckerman @hannahbeckerman

Tamsyn Murray @TamsynTweetie