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Tales of the Unexpected

If you asked me what my life would be like in the future, a cockroach travelling buddy would not have featured in my response. Yet, here I am with my very special roach shaped travelling buddy. Pedro comes with me everywhere and he is now a very important member of the family. ⠀

I also would not have envisaged being part of an early morning radio show. It’s so much fun and gives me a chance to be a part of the hustle and bustle of life very early in the morning. The milkman, window cleaners, street sweeper and sleepy people clutching coffee cups. I have even walked in the rain and I was only mildly bothered about the new hole I found in the bottom of my converse. It is so much fun but I should really curb my giggles!

I was given also the opportunity to plug ‘The Little Cockroach’ on the Jeremy Vine Show! It was almost fated. Jeremy Vine was discussing with the panel that research had shown the importance of doing a job you love (it amazes me what researches actually research). After the panel unanimously agreed that yes it was important and the research was crazy, Jeremy came into the audience and came to me. Unbelievable.

I had the honour of hosting story time at Greenwich Waterstones. It was a lovely afternoon and I met so many lovely little people. It also gave us the chance to continue our ‘Roach Trip adventures and explore Greenwich. ⠀

I also had the privilege of being a guest on Tony Fisher’s BBC Essex show. We talked about Pedro’s adventures, the writing process and where TLC may go next. I absolutely loved it. All thanks for my little buddy Pedro.

Many of the amazing things I do with Pedro and the Roach Trip Gang would not be possible without the most amazing campervan in the world. Allow me to once again introduce the amazing Mille.

The past year has been full of the unexpected and not for one moment did I imagine that The Little Cockroach would earn it’s BEST SELLER flag on Amazon and remain there over Christmas and into 2020.

The opening dedication in The Little Cockroach is:⠀

‘Try and you might, don’t and you certainly won’t’. ⠀

For a long time I kept trying and felt like I was achieving nothing. I would put in 100% and get 3% back. What would Pedro & Enrico do? I have days where I think ‘this is too hard, why am I doing this?’ then I draw on the inspirational words of Jay Z who said:⠀

‘The genius thing that we did was, we didn’t give up.’

I have also been able to involve my family in this adventure. They have been with me every step of the way. It has taken us all to places we wouldn’t have otherwise visited and the amazing experiences are now shared with the special people in my life.

The past year has been filled with more than I ever expected. I’ve been looking back over 2019 and I can’t believe what we have achieved on our ‘Roach Trip adventures. Now I cannot wait for 2020 to see where we’ll go. It’s not all been easy and it has definitely been full of ups and downs. It’s only by reflecting on everything we have achieved that I am able to say… ‘yep, we did ok’. Thank you to everyone who has supported me throughout the year. I really mean it… THANK YOU. ⠀


Coming to a bookshop near you….

Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life. I’m also going to add a good sprinkle of story-times.⠀The best part about being an author is reading Pedro’s story. I visit bookshops, schools, libraries and everywhere in between to share his adventures.

It has also allowed me to find new and exciting places to take my little ones. A very fun place to visit if you have time is the Gruffalo Trail in Thorndon. You can have an amazing walk in the woods while trying to find the Gruffalo characters and then having pictures taken with them. It was a wonderful experience to be invited along here to do a book reading and signing. I even met the big man himself.

A similar idea with a different twist was the Wind In The Willows Trail at Essex Wildlife Trust Hanningfield Reservoir. Pedro hosted a colouring competition and there were some amazing entries. The first time I went to read TLC I didn’t realise there was a Wind in the Willows sculpture trail so when I returned a month or so later for another reading I allowed more time to explorer. ⠀

Waterstones is becoming a particular favourite bookshop to hold a reading. During the summer holidays I went on a full blown northern book tour (which I will blog about later) and also managed to squeeze in a sneaky reading in Colchester and Brentwood. It really is a honour and privilege when I can hold my own story time and each time is just as exciting as the last.

Bugfest is a beautiful family event which is fun, interesting and quite unusual. Several events are held up and down the country and we try and go to as many as possible. It’s definitely a good one to drag the kids along to. They wander around looking at the centipedes, spiders & roaches and watch amazing shows like ‘Wild & Deadly’. Check me out with Carnage Cockroach!!

Of course, the most rewarding part of being an author is visiting schools. One of the brightest and most welcoming schools I have been to was earlier this week.

I was lucky enough to to be invited to Millbrook Primary School in Waltham Cross to introduce Pedro and read The Little Cockroach. It was made even more fun and special because it was super hero day. The outfits were great, the pupils were amazing and the school was beautiful. Thanks for having me Millbrook Primary.⠀⠀


So here is just a small taster of what we do in-between ‘Roach Trips. If you know of an interesting event or have a school who would appreciate a visit please feel free to ‘drop me a line’

Keep reading!!!

European ‘Roach Trip – The Journey Home

Off we go. We were all set to leave Italia but we decided to sneak in an extra cheeky little night by stopping over in The Gran Paradiso National Park. The temperature reached up to 37.5 degrees during the day so it was nice to be a bit higher & cooler. The altitude was so high that the air pressure changed and the air expanded causing things to pop from water bottles to Bruce the Porta Potty. Eeekkkkk. We found the most amazing dam (who doesn’t love a dam) and of course the drone came out.

The next stop was Nancy in France. It was a super way to spend a morning. Gaëlle from Speak Dating language school invited me to her language school to read ‘The Little Cockroach’. We held the reading in a beautiful park near Place Stanislas in the centre of the city. Luckily there was some much needed shade as the temperature had already reached 32°C by 10am. Nancy is an amazing place full of stunning architecture. I cannot believe we have never stopped here before, if you are ever passing you should really check it out. ⠀

The next stop was Belgium and we were all buzzing because went to watch the BMX World Championships in Heusden-Zolder. We were cheering for Australia & the UK because my cousins kids were racing for Australia. Kai & Saya absolutely smashed it and despite the rain it was an amazing day.

With a change in weather and temperatures going from scorchio to the very opposite of scorchio we got back into snuggly camper life. We love getting in our ‘jammies’ and playing Dobble. The lighting is perfect and the sleeping bag is big and fluffy. It’s a lovely feeling to relax after a long day of exploring and excitement.

Au revoir, auf wiedersehen, arrivederci & tot ziens Europe. We’ve had so much fun. Due to the huge change in temperature from 41.5°C to 18°C and bucket loads of rain we decided to return a day early. We left on a high after the BMX World Championships and we were lucky enough to get on an earlier boat.

After reflecting on our recent adventure, the highs and the lows. Whilst driving around Europe we talked about all the places we would like to go. A big US Road Trip was one of our dream destinations. I would loved to spend time in a yoga retreat in India and one day visit the Taj Mahal. Where is your dream destination? Where should Pedro go next?⠀

European ‘Roach Trip – Arriving in Italia

WE MADE IT TO ITALY… WOOHOOOO. We are staying in the most amazing vineyard in Tuscany called ‘Il Bardine’ which is just 55 minutes north of Pisa. I can’t wait to explore, there is so much around here; Lucca, Milan, Florence and loads of other undiscovered costal delights. Another amazing fact to mention, we have driven on four A12 road’s to get here; the UK, Holland, Austria & Italy.

We went to the home of Pedro’s first adventure. I can confirm the tower is still leaning (depending on your vantage point). DID YOU KNOW that it was an English professor who lead the project to solve the problem of the lean. If the tower had carried on leaning it would have fallen by now. If you look closely at the top it is straight, by doing this the centre of gravity changed and stopped it from leaning further. ⠀

An extra bonus from our visit is a bookshop called Liberia Erasmus near the tower now stocks ‘The Little Cockroach’.⠀

Did you see the present from the Book Fairy?

It’s market time at Sarzana! I love an Italian market. They always remind me of my Nonna. They are always full of Nonna style slippers & nighties. Plus, there is always an opportunity for a quick coffee & dolce!⠀

This evening was pizza night and obviously we took along Pedro for a calzone. The waiter was not happy!! 🙄⠀

Questa sera è stata la notte della pizza e ovviamente abbiamo portato Pedro per un calzone. Il proprietario non era felice !! 🙄

Pedro loves beer so we made our way to Pioero Fest . It’s a craft beer festival, that celebrates the twinning between Fivizzano and the German town of Steinhagen. I love my European roots and the concept of twinning fosters friendship and understanding among different cultures. It’s the very essence of our European Vacation. ⠀

We told Pedro & the gang for Sunday lunch at Loc Pieve S Paolo in an amazing place called Ristorante Albergo. You don’t get a choice and you get what you are given but who cares when everything is so amazingly yummy. This is definitely a place where the locals go!! ⠀

We then went to a bar in the woods. Idyllic does not do this place justice. Italian wine, playing cards and sitting by a running stream is the most perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon.⠀

The ‘Roach Trip gang went to this cute coastal town called Cinque Terre (five towns). It is a string of five fishing villages perched high on the Italian Riviera which until recently were linked only by mule tracks and accessible only by rail or water. An ancient system of footpaths is still the best way to visit the five villages. We didn’t see all 5 but what we did see was outstanding.

It’s fun being on the road and not knowing where you’ll be tomorrow but it’s also lovely to just relax and take it easy. Aperol by the pool and ice cream in Aulla at Il Gelatiere.

Ciao ciao, arrivederci Ilbardine. We have loved our stay but it’s time to move on. Pedro…Where to next?

European ‘Roach Trip

Whoop whoop… off we go. The van is packed, excitement is high & Pedro is ready. European vacation here we come!⠀

Pedro has made it to Amsterdam!! I absolutely love this city. The first time we came here with the kids it was Pride and there were parties every where. Elsie couldn’t believe adults could be so fun & silly. It set the bar high and although they both still love it … it will never be as bright, colour and fun as that first weekend.

On our way to Stuttgart we noticed Backnang was only 25 minutes away from where we were heading, so we decided to swing by. It’s beautiful. I’ve seen ‘Twinned with Backnang’ so many times on the ‘Welcome To Chelmsford’ sign. I always wondered what it was like and I never thought I’d visit…. but here I am!! ⠀

We went from Backnang to Stuttgart but because we didn’t have a sticker proving we have a low emissions vehicle we had to take the park & ride. With fighting kids and our inability to navigate the public transport we gave up and went to Augsburg. I am so glad we did. The city is lovely and we found a lovely restaurant @ratskeller_augsburg with sausage, sauerkraut & beer. Yummy. The waiter was great too … even if he did laugh at me trying to work out what 4 is in German. 🤦‍♀️⠀

We’ve made it to Innsbruck in Austria. It is bursting with that quintessential Austrian loveliness. The weather was mazeballs when we arrived and then it started to hammer down which is not all bad. At least the rest of Europe get rain in summer and it’s not just a UK phenomenon.⠀

We did find the largest walk-in sun dial in the Alpine region (first pic) and cable cars that took us to 1,800 meters.⠀Please excuse the camping hair.

So now we are heading to Italy, watch this space for more ‘Roach Trip adventures.

Bye Bye Mexico

‘Arrrrrrrrrrrriba, away they flew, high up into the sky.’⠀

Almost everything worth while carries an element of risk. Pedro and his best friend Enrico took a big risk and it definitely paid off. The story teaches children to be willing to step outside of their comfort zone to achieve great things.⠀