Seven Stories

While I was up in Newcastle visiting my son, I squeezed in a cheeky visit to a place I’d always wanted to see: Seven Stories – The National Centre for Children’s books.

This former granary building has been converted into a museum and visitor centre completely dedicated to children’s books – whoopee! The founders wanted somewhere to house Britain’s collection of original manuscripts and illustrations, put on exhibitions and invite writers and artists to come and speak. Since it was opened in 2005 by Jacqueline Wilson and Nick Sharratt, it has hosted lots of famous names and won numerous awards.

I was on my own, so had all the time in the world to explore all seven floors – what a treat! I especially loved the magical exhibition ‘Where your wings were’ by North-East author David Almond, and the interactive ‘Aliens Love Underpants!’ room.

If you’re ever in the area, take your kids for some fun – or if you’re a big kid like me, then just take yourself. There’s something for everyone!

A calm kid is a heavenly kid

Chill with Lil

This was the ultimate challenge – helping my friend’s son go from a state of frenzied hyperactivity to total tranquility!

I’m pleased to say that it happened in less than ten minutes, while reading Chill with Lil. As soon as you have the child lying supine with a blanket to aid stillness, they start relaxing straight away.

Read the book with a soothing voice and you’ll soon notice your calm energy transferring over to them. The breathing and body awareness exercise has been especially designed for kids, as they find the instructions fun and easy to follow.

I honestly can’t tell you how much it’s like magic happening before your eyes when you see the instant transformation. Please try it for yourself sometime, and enjoy the peace it brings!

First group reading of Chill with Lil


I read Chill with Lil to this group of adults and kids at the Bournemouth Buddhist Centre. They responded amazingly to the breathing exercises and body awareness meditation, which of course they would, as we all have the ability to switch our brain waves when we focus in silence. The result was that everyone was much calmer, happier and ‘blissed out’.

This is the aim of my book – to bridge the gap between awake state and bedtime. So many parents I know have trouble getting their kids off to sleep, and it’s because they’ve missed out the slowing down process. The beauty of mindfulness is that it can be done anytime, anywhere, not just before bedtime. I want more people to experience the benefits, and that’s why I wrote Chill with Lil.

Releasing Lil into the world

Chill with Lil has been officially released. Let’s hope she spreads the word of mindfulness far and wide!

If you’ve never meditated before, I highly recommend you start with the simple body awareness exercise inside this book. You’ll wonder why you’ve never tried it before. And the beauty of it is, you only need one minute – yes, that’s all it takes to sample a smidgen of blissful, calming silence.

Did you know we have about 60,000 thoughts a day and 90% of them are either repetitive or just a load of negative twaddle? Also, when the mind slows, the body follows? You can learn to feel chilled in seconds – what an impressive and useful skill to have!

I hope this book helps to improve our busy, noisy lives in some way – Enjoy!

Lil goes to Bologna

Lil is off to Bologna Book Fair to see if she can spread the word of mindfulness far and wide – good luck Lil!


To be seen on screen?

Well, what a grand finale to my 3 years of plugging away at my novel. It just goes to show that a little effort each day truly does go a long way (no matter how painful it seems sometimes!).

As we speak, I am writing the synopsis for a TV production company (or rather, applying displacement activities such as updating my blog page). So I best get on, after all, this is what I’ve worked so hard for, there’s no putting my feet up just yet! And a word of advice for other budding novelists – keep going!

Watch this space…

Above: One of the main characters in my memoir ‘My Crazy Chinglish Life’

And it’s off to the publishers

It was a nervous moment sending my manuscript to the publishers, but I’d worked on it for so long, I knew it was the best it could possibly be right then. The day after, I went to Australia for a nice, long, relaxing, NO WRITING holiday.  When I got back, my agent told me I had interest…already! So there I was, only a matter of weeks later, sitting in PRH’s reception – BOOM!

A surprise trip

I didn’t want to get off the bus this morning as I hadn’t finished reading the ceiling! How exciting to start your work day surrounded by poetry. Bournemouth already do a great job introducing more arts to the area, but this was a total surprise and made me smile all day. Well done Bournemouth council – more of this please!

New cover for Chill with Lil

mindfulness for children techniques

So we’ve decided to go with this new cover – I love it! It shows Lil putting Jake to bed on a big, soft, fluffy cloud. Just the feeling you want your kids to have after the mindfulness exercise inside the book.

Chill with Lil is out in April 2018. Published by Ragged Bears.

And now, it’s time to Chill

The mock-up for my latest book has arrived! I was excited because a) I love getting surprises in the post and b) it took two and a half years to get to this point. Why so long? Well, there’s a few reasons:

1) Working a full-time day job – this never helps when you you’re trying to write and illustrate a 32 page picture book.

2) Most publishers didn’t know what to do with it. Was it a picture book, activity book or novelty? Due to its nature it was hard to define what category it fell under, or know how to market it. It was almost two years before I found an independent willing to pick it up and run with it.

3) Differences in opinion – the publisher, agent and I all had to agree on the style, which we eventually got to after a bit of experimenting.

4) Working on another book – I was, and still am, writing a novel alongside this project (yep, crazy I know).

So you see, writing isn’t always a clear cut journey. It’s hard work, fraught with obstacles and self-doubt, and not for the faint hearted. But you’ll always know if it’s the right path for you, because nothing, but nothing will ever get in your way of delivering your story to the world!

Chill with Lil will be published in Spring 2018 by Ragged Bears.