The 4 Ways to Show Your Love for MISTER ORANGE!

1-MisterOrangeCatNicecoverChristmasDaycovernervous5with caption

It has not been an easy project, but MISTER ORANGE is making his debut on iTunes. He has uploaded correctly at last, and after awaiting judgement by the folks at Apple who decide what can or cannot be published on their hallowed site, he is now “LIVE on 51 stores across the world”!

He is very excited but a bit nervous. A lot hangs in the balance. Since he first saw the light of day on the iPad, it has taken him over two months to scramble his way through the tricky obstacles of Procreate, Book Creator, iBooks, iTunes Connect, iTunes Producer etc etc.  He could paper the kids’ nursery with error messages on failed uploads to Apple and emails between Dan from Book Creator, and Lynn from iTunes Support. (It was a weird date-and-time-bug; Dan is working to fix it ASAP.)

So all MISTER ORANGE can think about is, will he be a Big Hit? The under-fives in his author’s life love him, (see the header picture), but will the rest of the world feel the same?

Will “MISTER ORANGE The Cat” be a mega-success story in the history of children’s picture book publications, or will he sink to the bottom of the iTunes pool? His fate, dear Reader, lies in your hands.

 nervous5with caption

He is biting his claws, anxiously..

The thing is, I’ve promised him it will all be worth it.  And whilst I wouldn’t say he has an inflated ego, he firmly believes that his stories are the cutest, most heart-warming humorous verse stories ever written, with the best ever illustrations.

So, here are the 4 ways to show your love for MISTER ORANGE:

1) Click the iTunes links here  or to download one of his books (and leave a glowing review!), to help MISTER ORANGE achieve the Celebrity status he so shamelessly craves, and then :

2) Humour him with his little poll here,

and then :

3) Enter your details, below, to leave a comment..

and finally :

4) If you want, you could always share the joys of MISTER ORANGE on your iPad with any 3-5-year-olds in your life..


Thank you, from MISTER ORANGE! 🙂

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Naughty but Nice. Look what we cooked for our Valentine’s meal!

We cooked something special last night, in honour of St Valentines Day. We found a classic 1970’s favourite, filet de boeuf en croute in an old Good Housekeeping recipe book, published in 1989.



With it, we did Jamie Oliver’s Horseradish Potato Dauphinois, (all creamy and garlicky), and some green beans and mange-tout. The fillet was flamed in brandy, and the gravy was made with port and the beef juices in the pan.IMG_1873We made amaretto chocolate truffles for dessert.



Miraculously, it all turned out the way it was supposed to, (we do have our moments when the kitchen resembles a disaster zone, and all the smoke alarms go off, as friends who come for supper will confirm), and it was yummy! We added in some Linden Poacher and Cambazola cheese and biscuits, some Chenin Blanc and some Medoc, lit some scented candles, watched the latest Richard Curtis movie on the sofa, and… well, job done.

There is nothing like a really gorgeous meal and some good wine, is there? Especially after half-starving ourselves all week on the 5:2 diet.

Happy Valentine’s Day, retrospectively, from me (and Mister Orange course..!)

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MISTER ORANGE: Not bothered by his new-found fame..


Does he look bothered?  MISTER ORANGE is a truly laid back character.


I think I’ve captured his personality quite well… 🙂

Download his first adventure here for free:


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Who is MISTER ORANGE? Free download!

Hello and Happy 2014 to everyone.

As promised in a previous blog, I’ve been working on writing children’s books, as a sort of legacy for my grandchildren to enjoy.  I’ve been busy with MISTER ORANGE over Christmas, and have created two little rhyming picture books on my iPad, which my three grandchildren have approved. Well, the 3 and 5 year olds anyway, the 9 year old understandably not so interested!


MISTER ORANGE is a real marmalade cat, with yellow eyes and white whiskers, who lives with my grandchildren.


By day, he is a bit boring, sleeps a lot, eats food, pops out to the garden, then sleeps on the sofa again. But on Friday nights, he goes out and has adventures. Unlike other cats in his neighbourhood, he doesn’t hunt, kill and eat small furry creatures, he is kind to them and treats them as his friends. This odd behaviour earns him enemies within the local cat community, his most scary adversary being Caspar, the chief alley cat.  In the first book, “MISTER ORANGE, The Cat Who Was Nice to Mice”, Caspar stirs up trouble with Queen Canterbelle, and gets MISTER ORANGE locked up in the tower of the Queen’s gloomy castle.  Luckily his little mice friends come to the rescue.


The second book in the series, “MISTER ORANGE, The Cat Who Saved Christmas Day” went down well on Christmas Eve; Caspar sabotages Santa and his elves and reindeer, so MISTER ORANGE and his friends have to take over delivering all the presents.IMG_0539

The third book is still a work in progress, but in”MISTER ORANGE, The Cat Who Baked Cakes for the Queen,”  Mister Orange has his own tea rooms, and Caspar plays dirty tricks involving cupcakes and spiders, causing Mister Orange serious embarrassment.

I’ve produced the books using BookCreator and Procreate, both iPad apps. They are currently available as free downloads, or if you’re feeling generous you can pay any amount you choose to!! 🙂 🙂

They are in either pdf. or epub. format, so can be downloaded and read on Kindles, PC’s or Mac’s/iPads from an excellent website called  I’m still waiting for Apple support to advise me why the uploads to iTunes keep failing, but when that’s all sorted out they’ll be on iTunes as well.

I’ve had fun making up the rhyming couplets and doing the illustrations. It’s made a complete change from writing contemporary romance. One of the best things was seeing the expressions on the children’s faces when they first read “The Cat Who Was Nice to Mice’ on my iPad.


Get free downloads here:IMG_0549

MISTER ORANGE The Cat Who Was Nice to Mice:

MISTER ORANGE The Cat Who Saved Christmas Day:

That said, it’s time to stop playing around with orange cats and cute mice and get back to my other work in progress, BREAKING VOWS, the second book in the Roundwell Farm trilogy.  Victoria is pregnant again, Jessica and Andy are having marital problems, and Daniel the local celebrity chef is irresistible to every female in the vicinity. Pity he’s gay… or is he?

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“A WILD INHERITANCE” now out on Amazon!

A Wild Inheritance cover image Continue reading

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Love and Quilting!

This summer has been brilliant. I’ve seen one daughter get married in Italy, another daughter find health and happiness with a new partner, I’ve travelled a lot, had some excellent holidays and enjoyed some memorable summer picnics with friends with our respective little grandchildren in tow.  A chat with a very good friend of mine, Janet, made me stop and think about life, love and what we leave behind us as a legacy to our younger generations.  Happy memories and family values, hopefully. But in tangible terms, something creative and personal.

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In Janet’s case, she’s done something truly different – made special quilts for members of her family.  I asked her to explain all about it and here’s what she said:

When did you start quilting?When I retired, about 5 years ago. I had resisted for years because I didn’t have enough time to spend on the craft and I thought I would have time on my hands after I retired.  Big mistake.

Why do you like doing it? I tried many crafts over the years (bobbin lacemaking, tatting and embroidery to name but three) but I find that patchwork and quilting produces articles that almost everyone would like to own so I no longer produce items that are admired but not wanted or used.  On the negative side, the materials are quite expensive and it takes a fair amount of room to execute. 

Zeph's quilt

Finn's quilt 2 (2)

Who do you make quilts for? Family, mostly.  Quilts make lovely presents for special birthdays and anniversaries.  Also, they come in all shapes and sizes so you can make a tiny buggy quilt for a neighbour’s new baby, which would be thoughtful but not embarrassingly extravagant. At the other extreme you could make a bed quilt for a son or daughter’s wedding present.

Double wedding ringNicky's quilt

Where do you get your fabrics from?  My favourite, fairly local, shop is Bramble Patch in Weedon, which has a vast range of delicious fabrics and where there are always numerous quilts on display providing inspiration.  I also go to a few quilt fairs during the year, most notably The Festival of Quilts at the NEC in August.

How do you choose styles and colours? Styles are quite easy as there are numerous books and magazines available.  Colours are much more difficult and choice is crucial to the success or failure of the finished article.  I am not very good at choosing colours . . .

How long does it take to complete a quilt? It depends on the size of the quilt, complexity of the pattern, whether it is hand or machine quilted and how much time you have available to devote to it. I have never totted up the time taken to make an item but I would guess that a simple lap quilt could not be worked in less than 25 – 30 hours.  This is why I think quilts make fabulous presents for loved ones – anyone can go into a shop and buy a present.  Mind you, only those who do hand crafting themselves can have any idea of the time involved.

Do you do it all by hand or do you use a sewing machine?  Mostly by machine but sometimes I use both techniques.  Only once have a made a quilt entirely by hand and this was for a competition that stipulated it.  I did not win.

 Do you have a favourite creation? No, but baby quilts always have the Ahhh factor.  I recently made a quilt out of my granddaughter’s old Babygros , which I thought was a nice memento.  Lexi's babygro quilt

 How many quilts have you made? About 25.

I’m really envious of my friend’s achievements – those quilts will be treasured for years to come by her family not just for their beauty but for the love, care and time taken in their creation. To be given something, to own something that has been made specially for us is an emotive link to the past, and a wonderful and comforting way of remembering someone we love when they are no longer around.

Although I used to enjoy sewing and made quite a few of my daughters’ clothes when they were little, quilting is probably not something I would be very good at, I’m a bit too slapdash, too impatient.

But as writing is my main form of creativity these days, Janet’s quilting ‘labour of love’ has made me think about writing something especially for my 3 yr old granddaughter, and for any other grandchildren who may come along in the future.  Quite a challenge, as I know only too well that writing for children is much harder than writing for adults. But I’m going to give it a go – my new winter project!

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More on the wedding in Tuscany

black and white ceremony crop

I forgot to mention the ceremony, which was a real tear-jerker (why do we cry when we’re happy?) The bridesmaid (our eldest daughter) (see photo below),  gave a wonderful reading of the Edward Monkton”Dinosaur” poem:

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“A Lovely Love Story” by Edward Monkton

The fierce Dinosaur was trapped inside his cage of ice.

Although it was cold he was happy in there. It was, after all, his cage.

Then along came the Lovely Other Dinosaur.

The Lovely Other Dinosaur melted the Dinosaur’s cage with kind words and loving thoughts.

I like this Dinosaur thought the Lovely Other Dinosaur.

Although he is fierce he is also tender and he is funny.

He is also quite clever though I will not tell him this for now.

I like this Lovely Other Dinosaur, thought the Dinosaur.

She is beautiful and she is different and she smells so nice.

She is also a free spirit which is a quality I much admire in a dinosaur.

But he can be so distant and so peculiar at times, thought the Lovely Other Dinosaur.

He is also overly fond of things.

Are all Dinosaurs so overly fond of things?

But her mind skips from here to there so quickly thought the Dinosaur.

She is also uncommonly keen on shopping.

Are all Lovely Other Dinosaurs so uncommonly keen on shopping?

I will forgive his peculiarity and his concern for things, thought the Lovely Other Dinosaur.

For they are part of what makes him a richly charactered individual.

I will forgive her skipping mind and her fondness for shopping, thought the Dinosaur.

For she fills our life with beautiful thoughts and wonderful surprises. Besides,

I am not unkeen on shopping either.

Now the Dinosaur and the Lovely Other Dinosaur are old.

Look at them.

Together they stand on the hill telling each other stories and feeling the warmth of the sun on their backs.

And that, my friends, is how it is with love.

Let us all be Dinosaurs and Lovely Other Dinosaurs together.

For the sun is warm.

And the world is a beautiful place. 


Just reading it again has set me off.  Tissues, where are the tissues…


The photo left just makes me smile every time – Flower Girl and Page Boy bonding over a very messy pasta meal at the pre-wedding dinner. (Nervous pale-silk-wearing-people, look away now!)

Finally, see the gorgeous scented flowers (in the antique silver rose bowls of course!), and the fabulous wedding rings below.chiusi-wedding flower and rings

It really was such a magical, unforgettable event.  It’s a shame it’s all over. In fact, although I haven’t told him yet, I’m tempted to start planning a little “renewal of vows” event for husband and me. After all, we’ll have been together 15 years next summer…

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