The Big Project: Surviving Childhood Leukaemia

At the age of 7, I stopped playing with friends. It was no longer my wish to run outside, play on my bike or even walk to the shops to buy sweets. My rosy, pink cheeks turned to chalk dust, scattered over my skin and drawing in my eyes; my legs ached, my chest throbbed and my skin began to bruise at the faintest of touches…

Leukaemia does that to a girl, apparently.

I was diagnosed after blood tests, a bone marrow test and a lumbar puncture and together, as a family, we began the biggest journey any of us had experiences before…now comes the time for me to tell that story.

I’ve been writing notes of memories for years; I suppose it’s been therapeutic when my mind becomes distracted by the seriousness of it all, paired with the possibility of its eventual return. But now, it’s time to tell the whole story, from diagnosis, treatment plans and chemotherapy to emotional breakdowns, school bullies and the lasting emotional and psychological impact of the illness 20 years after being given the all clear.

It will be 20 years on April 19th since I started my recovery. The aim is to give back to those who helped to treat my illness and I’ve began to raise funds for research; a huge part of the donation will hopefully come from the book that tells my story.

So watch this space! Currently in the planning stages, I’m now working as hard as I can to raise awareness, break down those barriers and help as many people as I can…

I’ve taken great inspiration from Alesia Shute who I came across while researching other survivors who have written about their experiences, please take a look at her website at the inspirational work she does…it’s incredible. You can find her page here

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Rumour Has it By Jill Mansell

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Rumour Has It, restoring our faith in the ability to turn problematic men around, was an amazing read packed with well- written and expertly developed characters!

Tilly, the Central character as opposed to the main one, (as I became so involved with a group of characters rather than 1) experiences issues in the opening pages that any woman can relate to; trapped in a relationship she feels is running through the motions rather than sweeping her along in the direction of a happy ever after. These problems are very, very quickly forgotten by the reader as she becomes part of the community in Roxborough.

With her best friend hiding a huge secret which will eventually rock the town, a mystery new job and a love interest from the town’s main man (who has, as you can imagine, a troubling reputation with almost every woman in town!) Tilly sets about settling into a close-knit town with a warm heart and, at times, a viscous tongue.

The characters of Tilly, Jack, Max, Erin, Max and also his ex wife, Kaye all come with their own fascinating narratives, inviting the reader to experience the lives of characters that Tilly finds herself closest to; this only leads the reader to empathise with Tilly’s character more as the novel progresses. Her happy ending therefore, is not the only one we long for as we read on…

Like all of Jill’s novels, characters and their stories play a huge role in engaging her readers and Rumour Has It is no exception to the consistent quality Jill Mansell provides.

Simply wonderful!

Down London Road, by Samantha Young

Taking a trip to the library has become a once a month affair. Last Saturday, I checked out 3 books to last the month and decided on reading Down London Road by Samantha Young.

Opening the cover, I noticed that the book belonged to the Erotic Novel section – I had found the book on a display shelf of new stock and so this came as a surprise (honest!). Having devoured the 50 Shades Trilogy, I was prepared for anything, but have to admit that I enjoyed Samantha Young’s book much, much more!

Jo, the protagonist is a fabulously complex character who is unravelled for the reader by the intriguing, Cam. Our initial impression of her as somewhat of a gold digginggirlfriend is quickly, (perhaps too quickly) explained and her inner insecurities exposed to us as they are to Cameron, with whom she becomes involved on a variety of levels.

The erotic scenes only heighten the intensity of the novel; it holds physical, emotional, psychological and sexual intensity lasting until the turning of the final page, keeping the reader in desperate need to continue to read.

Through one character, Samantha Young manages to capture the experiences and feelings of a variety of ‘tormented women’, emphasising the insecurities of them and offering explanations behind their somewhat erratic and irrational behaviours and decisions. Within Jo, Young encapsulates women who are victims of abuse, be it physical or emotional as well as those who are victims of their own insecurities…she reaches out to a variety of readers who are able to relate to Jo’s feelings, attitudes and mannerisms quickly; I feel that this contributes hugely to the success of the novel.

I was distraught to learn that I have read the sequel first, but admit to being in quick pursuit of more of Samantha’s titles to devour in the coming weeks!

I also admit that it took only 2 days of my predicted week to read the novel, snatching glances at every opportunity!

yes…kid’s nap times, bathtime and bedtime included!!!