The Bridesmaids Dilemma – Author’s Notes

Why did you write The Bridesmaid’s Dilemma?

A lot of people ask me what inspires my stories, and it’s hard to actually pin down the moment the idea pings into your head, and how you flesh it out to become the story it ends up, so many factors feed into the inspiration that becomes the story.

Whenever I’m at a resort I always admire how the reps deal with the various holiday makers, the activities they do with them from poolside exercises, kids clubs and putting on shows. I was on the aeroplane once with a stag party, and they were quite raucous but seemed nice guys, so the idea of a travel rep having a holiday romance with a guy from a stag party that books into her hotel probably stemmed from these two things.

Setting it in Majorca was definitely inspired by a trip to Majorca with my husband a couple of years ago to celebrate our third anniversary. It’s a beautiful island, and we actually took a trip to the Caves of Drach which feature in the novel.

As to what makes TBD stand out from the other chick-lit. That’s a tough one, I’m very aware that I’m competing with lots of fantastic books but I hope readers will like Jess, with her traffic light red hair and outgoing personality, emphasise with her dilemmas as chief bridesmaid to her snooty cousin, and her growing feelings for Eddie, the sexy French best man with the stag group that she has a fling with, and also enjoy the gorgeous locations of Majorca and France, where the book is set.

Love sometimes comes along when we’re least expecting it, or don’t even want it, so hopefully readers will relate to Jess’s dilemma and want to discover how she deals with it.

Strictly Ballroom The Musical at The Piccadilly Theatre, London


When Scott’s radical dance moves raise eyebrows with the Australian Federation, he finds himself dancing with Fran, a beginner who has no moves at all. Inspiring each other, the couple find the courage to defy both convention and their families – and discover that to be a winner, your steps don’t need to be strictly ballroom…

I can’t make up my mind whether you need to see the film or not before seeing this.

Either go in prepared for the amazing madness of sequins, fake tan, crazy over the top Australian accents and amazing ballroom or you can go in and be slapped in the face by all at once?

Either way to be honest I think you will love it so I suppose it doesn’t really matter.

It’s Strictly ballroom.

From the costumes to the Dancing it’s everything I could have hoped for in the stage version of one of my favourite films.

I had high expectations for this show and wow did it deliver, I had a smile on my face the whole way through.

From the moment the curtain goes up to the moment it falls, you are blinded by the glitz and glamour of the ballroom world, from the comedy and over the top acting, to the dancing, the amazing dancing. It creates this amazing world that I didn’t want to leave.

It’s a love story that I want to follow.

Jonny Labey plays Scott Hastings, a pro dancer but who just wants to dance his own steps, he wants to break the mould.

Jonny plays this character perfectly from his amazing dancing to his acting, he makes you fall in love with Scott, you feel the frustration, the want, the need to dance, to dance his way.

I have to admit that I only knew Jonny from Eastenders so I was unaware of his theatre and dance background, I went in blind and came out amazed, his talent speaks for itself, I could watch him dance all day.

The same can be said for Zizi Strallen, she is the perfect fit for the character of Fran (just Fran). She brings passion and vulnerability to the character, she doesn’t steer to far away from the original that everyone knows but somehow she still manages to make the performance her own so that people who don’t know the film can love her too.

With her perfect dance moves and great chemistry with Jonny it is beautiful to watch.

I have to say though I think my favourite character, they were all amazing but it has to be Shirley Hastings played by Anna Francolini, she is brilliant, she has the humour and the dramatics and the costumes. Anna plays the perfect Shirley Hastings, from start to finish she commanded the stage.

She plays the perfect over bearing mother who just wants what’s best for her, I mean her son.

I also can’t write this review without mentioning Fernando Mira who plays Rico (Frans father). The Paso Doble in this show is mesmerising, he is amazing and I think I will say it’s my favourite part of the musical.

You see him trying to teach Scott (with a little help from Abuela, also played wonderfully by Eve Polycarpou) to dance with his heart and with passion.

It’s a wonderfully choreographed scene which Fernando does beautifully.

Drew McOnie (choreographer) really knows how to create a scene and make full use of the stage with his routines and the dancers really show that off. There is a whole lot of talent in this show.

Unfortunately Will Young was unable to perform in the performance I saw, so instead we had Ivan De Freitas in the role of Wally Strand.

This is a new character to the show and is brought in to help narrate the story and keeps us on the right path of this wonderful, crazy story.

Ivan did a superb job, with vocals that amazed, singing all the 80’s classics (with some new) he really got the audience going.

This show really is fun, it’s a light-hearted feel good show that I would definitely recommend. Whether you have watched the original film or not, it’s worth going to see.

It’s old and new mixed together and it’s perfect.

With a hugely talented cast it’s not one to be missed.

Just be prepared to have you mind blown with the craziness and wonder-fullness that is Strictly Ballroom!


Big thank you to London Box Office for giving me the wonderful opportunity to see Strictly Ballroom.

If you would like to purchase tickets for Strictly Ballroom visit:

It’s currently playing at The Piccadilly Theatre.

Worth a flutter by Micheal Head

In life love doesn’t always run to the form guide…

4/1 Matt, the gambler with a dysfunctional brain, heart and penis. Might need more experience.

7/2 Sam, suffering from a broken marriage and loss but might have enough to take the spoils, safe hands.

The women…

9/5 F. Paige, the bookies favourite who is as shallow as she is devious, an obvious choice.

20/1 Helen, the outsider, a few skeletons in the closet but has experience if past doesn’t haunt her.

Worth a flutter is definitely worth a watch.

All the cast hold there own in this comedy about love, life and relationships.

When’s the play starts you first think that it’s just a comedy with stereotypical characters the ditsy female, the love rat, etc but it’s much more than that, its about how things we have learnt in the past, how events in ours lives shape us into who we are today.

Brilliantly and hilariously narrated by the main character Matt played by Micheal Head, we are introduced one by one to our cast Lucy Pinder as Paige/Emma, Paul Danan as Paul, Jack Harding as Sam and Clare McNamara as Helen.

We have a talking penis, horse racing, boxing and even a little dancing, it’s funny and entertaining as well as being emotional and heartbreaking as we follow these characters and find out about their past and what made them who they are.

Clare McNamara as Helen is brilliant, she really brings her character to life, you believe her, you feel the emotion. When Helen is revealing her past to Sam, you truly believe the pain behind it, I really enjoyed her performance.

Micheal Head as Matt is hilarious but it’s not all about the comedy, he narrates the story keeping us on track, making sure we are following along, but through the narration we learn things about his past and how it has affected him now, in the present and his battle with it and his battle over his emotions and how he deals with them and Micheal Head plays it perfectly.

Paul Danan is great as Paul, the best friend with the bad advice, his comic timing and chemistry with Micheal shows and they work well together playing the unlikely friends, it was a good casting choice and he brings fun to the play.

Lucy Pinder makes her stage debut in Worth a Flutter and she is brilliant, her stage presence and comic timing is spot on, even pulling off being a Scottish talking penis, yes that’s right a Scottish talking penis!

I look forward to seeing what she will do next.

And then there is Jack Harding, his portrayal of Sam who is stuck in a failing marriage and taking bad advice off of a equally bad friend, is played with a vulnerability that you believe, he delivers his lines with the right amount of emotion, especially at the end when his character is opening up to Helen about his past he pulls you in.

Clare and Jack share a great chemistry which helps with the story telling, especially when the characters are opening about their painful pasts.

All the characters have something about them that you can relate too. They are all believable, yes they have been exaggerated in parts for comic effect (Paige,Paul) but beneath it all there is a deeper meaning to this play.

Micheal Head has drawn from his own real life stories and poured them into the play which has resulted in a great comedic yet touching piece.

The intimate setting of The Hope Theatre is perfect and helps tell the story because it doesn’t get lost in the space.

The casting along with the great writing of this play all goes together perfectly and makes it a really enjoyable evening.

I think if you get the chance you should get down to The Hope theatre and catch it while you can. The odds are, you will love it.

You can purchase tickets for Worth a Flutter here:

It will be playing until the 19th May.


The Corner Shop in Cockleberry Bay by Nicola May

Rosa Larkin is down on her luck in London, so when she inherits a near-derelict corner shop in a quaint Devon village, her first thought is to sell it for cash and sort out her life. But nothing is straightforward about this legacy. While the identity of her benefactor remains a mystery, he – or she – has left one important legal proviso: that the shop cannot be sold, only passed on to somebody who really deserves it.

    Rosa makes up her mind to give it a go: to put everything she has into getting the shop up and running again in the small seaside community of Cockleberry Bay. But can she do it all on her own? And if not, who will help her succeed – and who among the following will work secretly to see her fail?

    There is a handsome rugby player, a sexy plumber, a charlatan reporter and a selection of meddling locals. Add in a hit and run incident and the disappearance of a valuable engraved necklace – and what you get is a journey of self-discovery and unpredictable events.

With surprising and heartfelt results, Rosa, accompanied at all times by her little sausage dog Hot, will slowly unravel the shadowy secrets of the inheritance, and also bring her own, long-hidden heritage into the light.

I love it when you get a book and you read it in one day, you know the kind, where you don’t want to put it down because you want to know the ending but at the same time you don’t want it to end at all?

That’s what I had with this book.

I knew I had to be a part of the blog tour for The Corner Shop in Cockleberry Bay, having read Love Me Tinder by Nicola and loved it, I knew that I had to read this one.

Nicola has a great way of writing her characters and their stories she makes them believable, you want to follow their story.

Rosa is no different, you want to follow her story and you want to see her get her happy ending. You join her on her little rollercoaster ride of life and you want to stay on until the end.

I loved all the characters, I loved the story, it had romance, it had heartbreak, it had great friendship, it’s everything you could want in a rom com and I want a Josh in my life.

Of course I can’t forget Hot the little sausage dog, so adorable, I want one too!

So if I could just have Josh and a Sausage Dog called Hot, oh and move to Devon, I would be very happy, thank you.

I would highly recommend giving this book a read, if you like your romance with a little drama, heartbreak and intrigued then this is for you.

I said it last time and I will say it again, I will definitely be reading more of Nicola Mays books.

You can purchase The corner shop in Cockleberry Bay here: – Amazon US – Amazon UK – Amazon CA – Amazon AU

About author

Award winning author Nicola May lives in Ascot in Berkshire with her rescue cat Stanley. Her hobbies include watching films that involve a lot of swooning, crabbing in South Devon, eating flapjacks and enjoying a flutter on the horses. Inspired by her favourite authors Milly Johnson and Carole Matthews, Nicola writes what she describes as chicklit with a kick.

Follow Nicola May:





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The secret letters of Gertie and Hen by Imogen Hunter

“The secret letters of Gertie and Hen” was thought provoking and moving. Although it states on the programme that it is a fictional story and the characters are not based on real people, the war was very real and there probably were people who went through similar experiences to what is in this play.

It made me think of what past generations had to go through and in some countries what families are still witnessing now, things that I can’t even begin to comprehend.

The writing is clever and the acting was raw and emotional, after only 4 days of being workshopped I think everyone involved can be very proud of what they have achieved.

I liked the two points of view, I liked that it is documented through letters and that these letters are written by children, Gertie in Berlin and Hen in London.

It gives it this innocent, naive point of view but as the war rolls on, you start to see a shift in the writing of the letters as Gertie and Hen have had to grow up quickly, they have had to witness things that no child should they have to, and do things that no child should do.

This play tackles everything from the political to friendship, love and loss.

Two girls who were friends but are now seen as enemies through no fault of their own.

My favourite part would have to be the underground scene. The air raid siren had been sounded, the bombs were falling all around and then, the sudden change in music, the screaming, the darkness, fantastic change in the atmosphere, it sent chills through me.

It truly is a thought provoking and wonderful play, with the acting and writing doing justice to the emotion that is needed to be portrayed.

If I were to nit pick, I could say that the accents dropped in and out and were not consistent but after only 4 days rehearsal I think that this can be forgiven.

The actors play many different characters with different accents but not once did I feel lost. It all made sense and you always knew who was who.

The play officially opens in November at The New Wimbledon Studios but I was lucky enough to have been invited along to a special preview evening and I’m glad I went.

I will definitely be going back to watch it again.

Emotional, moving, heartbreaking, and I loved every second.

Big thanks to Imogen and Jen for inviting me along to the preview night.

If you would like to know more please visit the website below:

The Watcher by Monika Jephcott Thomas

The Watcher

It’s 1949 when Netta’s father Max is released from a Siberian POW camp and returns to his home in occupied Germany. But he is not the man the little girl is expecting – the brave, handsome doctor her mother Erika told her stories of. Erika too struggles to reconcile this withdrawn, volatile figure with the husband she knew and loved before, and, as she strives to break through the wall Max has built around himself, Netta is both frightened and jealous of this interloper in the previously cosy household she shared with her mother and doting grandparents. Now, if family life isn’t tough enough, it is about to get even tougher, when a murder sparks a police investigation, which begins to unearth dark secrets they all hoped had been forgotten.

The book I read before this one was about the war also but not from this point of view, I have read many a book about the war from the British point of view but never from the German.

I found this fascinating and can’t believe I have never read any books like this before.

We have a family trying their best to come to terms with the effects of war but all in their own way without letting anyone else in.

Max is left scarred and damaged from his experiences, Erika doesn’t know how to help or what role she plays in her husbands life anymore or how to handle the guilt of her actions while he was away. Then we have their little girl Netta, who is suppose to be seen and not heard, like all good children should be but yet she hears and sees all and is probably the most scarred by everything.

It’s frustrating to read but in a good way, the author describes these characters and situations in such a way that it makes you want to grab the characters and shake them, especially when it comes to the little girl, I just want her parents to see what affect it’s all having on her, and just when you think it can’t get worse and they can’t be more lost you finally you start to see each character turn a corner, you see Max realise how much he has hurt his family, you see him start to shake himself out of this bubble of war he has been trapped in.

You see Erika realise what her husband has been through, what she has put herself through and finally you see her realise what they have put their child through. As a reader you feel relief that things are finally starting to come together.

It’s cleverly written and takes you on a emotional and at times frustrating journey but like the characters you come through it and you feel the relief. It can be dark in some places but that represents the time period that this book is set.

The writing to me does well to represents the emotional toll being a POW has, not only on that person but on the family. It also shows just how much mental health was not understood back then and how far we have come today.

It’s a world where for years all they knew is war but now that is gone, how do they go back to normal?

As for who “The Watcher” is, well that would be telling.

As for the murder, there will be no spoilers here.

It’s a good read that has some dark moments, definitely one for anyone who likes drama and suspense mixed with family heartbreak in the aftermath of war.

If you would like to buy The Watcher you can purchase it here:


About the author: Monika Jephcott Thomas grew up in Dortmund Mengede, north-west Germany. She moved to the UK in 1966, enjoying a thirty year career in education before retraining as a therapist. Along with her partner Jeff she established the Academy of Play & Child Psychotherapy in order to support the twenty per cent of children who have emotional, behavioural, social and mental health problems by using play and the creative Arts. A founder member of Play Therapy UK, Jephcott Thomas was elected President of Play Therapy International in 2002. In 2016 her first book Fifteen Words was published.


The keeping of secrets by Alice Graysharp

The Keeping of Secrets

The keeper of family secrets, Patricia Roberts grows up isolated and lonely. Trust no one and you won’t be disappointed is her motto. Three men fall in love with her and she learns to trust, only to find that their agendas are not her own. With secrets concealed from her by the ultimate love of her life, and with her own secret to keep, duplicity and deceit threaten their relationship. In a coming of age story set against the sweeping backdrop of the Second World War – evacuation, the Battle of Britain, the Blitz, buzz bombs and secret war work – Patricia ultimately has to decide whether to reveal her deepest held secret for the sake of her future happiness.

Growing up I was always told stories by my grandparents on what it was like to grow up during the war.

My grandma left education at 15, worked in the local butchers and grocers making deliveries from early in the morning to then being an ARP warden in the evening.

I remember her recalling one memory of the time a bomb was dropped in the woods next to her house but instead of being upset at the bomb she was upset it had ruined her day of cleaning.

“I had just done all the dusting for when mum arrived home, then this bomb dropped and it looked like I hadn’t touched a thing!” It’s this keep calm and carry on attitude that I love the most but the story that made me intrigued to read this book was of my Nan, who was evacuated to wales as a little girl with her older brother, and she would tell me tales of where she stayed and it fascinated me.

To be uprooted from everything you know and to put complete trust in stranger to keep you safe is a crazy thought this day and age.

So when the keeping of secrets came up for review I leapt at the chance, I can’t begin to imagine what everyone went through, I only have the stories, I can’t relate to the fear, the hunger, the not knowing where the bombs would drop next or if my son, brother, uncle, husband would come back safe.

The keeping of secrets is written so wonderfully, from the point of view of evacuee Pat that you can almost smell, hear, feel the threat of war. You see her live through it all and see that even with everything going on, she is still just a young girl trying to figure herself out, which is something we can all relate too.

It’s a love story mixed with family life dealing with war. I throughly enjoyed reading this book written by Alice Graysharp, it wonderfully descriptive and lovingly heartbreaking.

It really makes you feel like you are there, you get to see the war through a characters eyes with no censorship.

I recommend anyone to have a read, it really helped put into perspective (for me anyway) just how greatful I am for what past generations have done for our country so that we can have our today.

What our families of generations past had to go through (and some are still going through today) it really does bring a tear to the eye. So when I’m sitting down listening to my grandpareants tell their stories, I will listen and I will not forget and I will be grateful.

I loved that it got me thinking about my family and it made me love them more (if that’s possible).

Alice Graysharp has written a wonderful book with such emotion and detail, I don’t know who couldn’t love it.

It’s about a girl with secrets trying to live her life to the best she can with literally a war breaking out around her.

If you would like to purchase the book for yourself you can find it here:


About the author: Born and raised in the Home Counties, Alice Graysharp has enjoyed a varied working life from hospitality to office work and retail. She currently lives in Surrey. This is her first novel, and the first title in a two book series, she is also already working on a seventeenth century trilogy. Published in the anniversary month of the outbreak of the Second World War and the Battle of Britain.