Browsing Tag


A little Valentine’s Day love

Littlest son tonight: “Mum, what does M.I.M.B.F. stand for?”
Me: “What?”
Littlest: “Mummy is my best friend.” *kiss*

Valentine’s Day doesn’t get any better than that. ♥


Wishing you a little love this Valentine’s too!



Holding out for a hero

Obviously, the world needs heroes. And happily, you just never know when a hero might cross your path. Why, only the other day I came across this guy (I really did!) on the London Underground:



He got me thinking about the heroes in our own lives, and the fictional heroes we love too. Why do some people look down their noses at women’s fiction and romance? Is it because a big part – maybe the main part – of the story is a woman looking for their own personal hero? There are plenty of thrillers, mysteries and action stories that feature a cut-and-paste hero straight out of the cliché handbook. And the current wild popularity of this guy:



…proves that the world still has a huge appetite for heroes.

Could this hero snobbery be because in romantic kinds of fiction, the central character is a woman, and her search is for a hero of the heart, not the galaxy? (There are usually other body parts involved, of course, but that’s another blog post!) Depending on the genre, this search might be right at the centre of the story, or it might be alongside her own complicated journey of growth and discovery. Of course, we know that A Hero Lies in You, and Sisters are Doin’ it for Themselves, and So What (love you Pink!). But all the same…Everybody Needs Somebody to Love.

If some people feel the need to be sniffy about stories that are personal, romantic, and ultimately uplifting, well, good luck to them. The rest of us will carry on enjoying our happily-ever-afters. Money/power/fame might make the world go round, but it’s love that makes it worth the ride. (Even Superman knows that.)

My Ghostbuster on the tube made me think about all the ways we meet our heroes in real life, so I asked some friends about their ‘how we met’ stories. Most often, it seems, we don’t need any actual heroics from our heroes – that profound ‘meant to be’ will quietly win out.

Mel and Matt's fur babies demonstrate what happily-ever-after looks like in their house.

Mel and Matt’s fur babies demonstrate what happily-ever-after looks like in their house.

My friend Mel retold the story of how she met her guy. “I was out with my friends at a London nightclub having a lovely time. We were all having a dance, and it was very close to closing time when I saw someone trying to catch my eye. It was Matt, and he asked if I’d like to have a drink with him. I was very keen, but everyone was about to leave, so we swapped numbers and went our separate ways. I had a very good feeling about him, and lo and behold, he texted me a couple of days later…and that was 11 years ago.” They’re now happily settled in a picture-book seaside cottage in the south of England.

What about my author friends – they specialise in fictional happy endings, but how did they find their own?

“Sophomore year of high school, he saw me at the end of the crowded hallway talking to a girl he knew. He started hanging out with this girl and her boyfriend so he could get introduced to me. We dated, but I dumped him and broke his heart. Some 17 years later, he found me on Facebook; we’ve barely been apart a day since and are engaged to be married next year.”
Becky Flade, author of Fated Souls and Secretly Serviced

“My husband is my hero. Yes, he’s hunky and fun, but those aren’t the qualities that drew me in. Our relationship started off bumpy. Both of us were coming out of divorces and our parents, who knew each other, set up a blind date for us. I reluctantly agreed. Who lets parents arrange a blind date?! Well, he broke that date! I wanted nothing to do with him after that, but he had a good reason, and he persevered. Like the hero in Dancing with Detective Danger, my husband gave me unconditional love and space to heal from a traumatic past.”
Lynn Crandall, author of Dancing with Detective Danger

So if you’re still waiting for your hero – with his underwear on the inside, or the outside (or not at all!) – keep your eyes open. He’s out there somewhere, looking for you too. (While wearing his undies appropriately, I’m sure.) Maybe on the subway, or out on the town…or even at the airport, like Henry.



And whether you have a hero or not, feel free to keep reading those happily-ever-afters. Let the cynics sniff. We know what we like.


Squeeze and please that person, give ’em all your love…



Our extraordinary, ordinary lives

“A life without the extraordinary is a life unlived.”

“If your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough.”

The internet is awash with pictures and quotes exhorting us to live an incredible life. We like them, we share them, we save them to our ‘inspiration’ folder. But do they make us feel a bit, you know…


Follow that dreamEvery day now, we see staggering achievements from high fliers in every field, often as they happen. You start to get the impression that the world is full of people doing the most unbelievably spectacular things. And you’d be excused if you just threw up your hands. I mean, once you’ve seen someone skydive from outer space…

Of course, the flip side of that is TV shows packaging the ordinary as something astounding. The Kardashians seem kapable of selling anything, including a karefully krafted kharade. (That last one almost worked!)

So what really counts as extraordinary, anyway?

If you ask me, the most extraordinary thing about us isn’t the flashy, splashy achievements. It’s our fortitude in getting through every minute of every day, the mundane, ever-turning cogs of going to work and coming home, laundry and groceries, bills and housework. It’s our strength in surviving the run-of the-mill but agonising lows that we often don’t even see coming.

And it’s our ability, through all that, to keep dreaming. To hold onto high hopes and imagination, and the determination to make something happen. And, when we take a moment, to see the magic that’s there in the most commonplace things. The backyard miracle of a squishy caterpillar utterly transformed. The way a baby’s eyes change colour as he grows. That rush when you look at someone and know your life’s about to change. (The kind of things that writers collect and treasure!)

There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle. – Albert Einstein

The most amazing stuff of life is in the hearts of the people who share our path, and the way we love each other. If we’re lucky, it’s a long, ordinary journey with them by our side. With our eyes open, the little stuff is as spectacular as the big stuff. Lots of people dream of writing a book one day – and maybe everyone does have a book in them! But anyone’s life could BE a book. And an extraordinary one at that. Walking down the street, on any regular day, you’ll pass perfectly regular people living the most inspiring, heartbreaking and uplifting ordinary stories.

So we’ll keep dreaming, and making those plans, small and big. Maybe we won’t kash in with a krazy kareer – but that’s kool. We might find that what we do turns out to be something extraordinary after all.