About Me

Spending ten years as a journalist was an amazing experience and the four years I’ve spent writing books has been even better. I won’t pretend it’s all hard work when I get to travel the world and do brilliant things, especially now I can take my ‘office’ (laptop, husband and little boy) wherever I go. So that’s what this Blog is about – the places I’ve been, the things I’ve done and how those experiences feed into the books. I’ve always prided myself on having been everywhere I write about; for example, Daddy’s Girls features Mustique, Megeve and Manhattan, and was written in Port Isaac, Cornwall (which is in the opening scene of Gold Diggers). This Blog will hopefully give a bit more insight/detail into what those places and were like and to maybe give you a sneak peek into who and what might be in the next one!

Wednesday, 4 August 2010


One of the world's most perfect beaches...

My hunt is on for Britain's best beach! For years my favourite bit of UK coast was St Ives' Porthmeor beach - but a sunny afternoon spent at Porthcurno has turned my head. Porthcurno has a lovely undiscovered feel about it despite being one of the most photographed places in Britain. The sea is bright green and if you squint in the sun you just might believe you're in the Carribean.
Any - send me your suggestions! Is Britain's best beach Chesil Beach? Or the golden stretches at Camber, the white sand wilderness of a Scottish island beach or the beautiful bleakness of the Norfolk coastline? Send me some ideas - I want to check them out!


Let's talk about food! Anyone who's read other posts on the blog will know one of my fave places in the world is St Ives. I go there at least twice a year - usually to get my head down to write. And when I'm not writing, I like to treat myself to some of the yummy treats in the town's most fabulous cafes, restaurants and delis. Here's my top five St Ives foodie destinations
1. The Cornish deli. Serves up the best ham baguette in the world - no contest. I bring their thick sliced honey roasted ham back home with me.
2. The Moo-maid ice-cream parlour. My little boy's first port of call. The cones are crisp sugar confections with a cow face on them. The delicious ice-cream is from a farm in Zennor and is made from milk from their cows Violet and Daisy.
3. Porthwidden beach cafe. This place is almost Californian beach chic - with its whitewash interiors with splashes of colour. Perfect for Sunday lunch
4. Porthmeor Cafe. Aussie style beach food - go at sunset for spectacular views. I love their Avocado and roma tomatoes on toast for brekkie and their chicken burgers for supper. Finish off with grilled bananas, clotted cream and salted caramel. Dreamy!
5. Porthminster cafe. A St Ives favourite, pitched right on the beach, that continues to deliver. I'm not sure you can find a better view from your dining table anywhere in Britain.

Beer, Beer, we want more beer

Cute beach huts facing the sea in Beer

I'm always on the look-out for lovely places by the sea. Beer - in Devon is hardly undiscovered (Kirsty Allsop says it's one of her favourite places to holiday). But if you're in that neck of the woods it's well worth the detour. Have a coffee in the beach-side cafe, and feel the pebbles between your toes and the sea-salt on your tongue. English summer-time bliss.

Down at 'the House'

Pretending to be the Iron Lady

Okay. So it's not really 'travel' but I was very excited to go to the House of Commons for tea, biscuits and chat to support the White Ribbon Alliance, a fantastic charity that raises awareness about the tens of thousand of women who die in childbirth every year. Annie Lennox gave an amazing speech that moved half the room to tears. Please log on to http://www.whiteribbonalliance.org to find out more. It's a cause that every woman should know more about and support.

Cap Ferrat 2

Pool and sea - perfect!


Kinsale is so pretty...

Wandering around quirky independent book shops is one of my favourite ways to pass the time - I imagine myself as some character in a romantic adventure who is just about to stumble across some ancient, priceless manuscript. Let me tell you about some of the indie book shops I love.
1. The Kinsale Book-shop. A gem in this pretty coastal Irish town. Straight out of a James Joyce novel
2. Bart's Bookshop - a magical treasure trove of books built around a huge oak tree in the Californian town of Ojai. They call themselves the world's greatest outdoor book-shop. I agree!
3. Mr B's Emporium of Reading Delights. Who couldn't love a book-shop with a name like this! This Bath store is just great - particularly the top-floor reading booth where you can bed-in with head-phones, coffee and your favourite tome.
4. Daunt Books. There are a few outposts of this famous book-store but head to their Marylebone branch to feel as if you've stepped back in time to be a character in a Dickens novel.
5. I love Lyme Regis - not just for those French Lieutenant beach moments but for their array of second hand book shops. Try the excellent 'The Bookshop' on Marina Parade by the Cobb or The Sanctuary - on Broad Street which actually offers B&B accomodation to book lovers!


This is a view of the pool at the Emelise...

People often ask me - where is a great place for a lazy summer holiday? I always point them in the direction of Fiskardo in Kefelonia. It's a picture post-card greek village - with oodles of chic (some seriously stylish yachts come in to moor) without the glitz or volume of visitors as St Tropez or Marbella. The hotel Emmelise - a five minute shuttle bus from the harbour is a fantastic place to stay in the area. Although it's a stunning boutique bolt-hole, it's not pretentious in the slightest and very family friendly.

My new house...not!


My friend Alex, the travel editor of Brides magazine has been on the phone. Do I want to go and review a hotel for their Honeymoon guide. Do I? Do I!
We are sent to the Hotel Grand Cap ferrat – a twenty five minute drive from Nice airport on that manicured finger of land known as Cap ferrat. This part of the Cote D'Azur is one of the most expensive places in the world to live – the villas that poke behind the high stone walls belong to Russian oligarches and Euro billionaires. The hotel itself is a gem. You waft around the white foyer feeling like Grace Kelly, eat on the pine scented terrace next to some of the wealthiest people on earth and go for a snooze in a bed the width of a double decker bus. I loved it. My husband loved. The hotel's beach club with its candy pink parasols and azure lap-pool is the last word in Old-school glamour.
The snag - it’s very pricey but I can't think of a better way to start married life or simply to spoil yourself rotten than in this little pocket of paradise.