#Review by Lou of #Memoir – Over The Hills And Far Away – by Nikky Smedley @StoryNikky @sandstonepress #Autobiography #NonFiction #Teletubbies

Over The Hills And Far Away
My Life as a Teletubby

By Nikky Smedley 

Rating: 5 out of 5.

In the 1990s, the latest obsession for pre-school children was Teletubbies. I was on work experience in my final years at school, in a nursery and I still remember to this day the majority of children wanted a Teletubby  cake and Tubby Toast for their birthday celebrations. It is to be reincarnated on a streaming channel, but Nikky Smedley, who appeared as herself on the morning news programme – Breakfast recently, talking about its global appeal and reminiscing of the phenomenon, was the original LaaLaa, the yellow Teletubby . I have a review of her fascinating memoir of this time.

Blurb

Say ‘Eh-Oh’ to the performer behind the beloved Teletubby Laa-Laa in this candid and entertaining book.

Lifting the curtain on what it was like to be Laa-Laa and experience the astonishing success of the Teletubbies phenomenon, Nikky Smedley’s enchanting story is warm, affectionate and as lively and funny as the Teletubbies themselves.

Unique in its use of educational theory, child psychology and revolutionary linguistics, Teletubbies achieved global viewing figures of three billion a year. Airing in 120 countries in 45 languages, it was one of the most internationally successful television programmes ever.

Review

Teletubbies as I said, was a global phenomenon as Nikky Smedley recalls. It also turns out, which I think is nice and respectful, that she is to be a consultant for its rebooted version. There were Tinky-Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa and Po, who were these funny characters who lived over the hill and far away.

The book is insightful into what the author is doing now for the reboot, but also in her memories of what it was like to be part of the production and some of the things behind the scenes, such as a certain clause makes for stark reading and makes you feel sorry for the cast of actors. It’s a real eye-opener into what one would assume was something that happened pre-90s.

She reminisces about what it took to get the part and then to be Laa-Laa, to create that character and truly embody her, costume and all on set in the countryside. She lifts the lid on what looks easy and perfect on-screen had its challenges to make it look accomplished. Then she regales the merchandise, of which there was loads.

With the success came extended contracts in 1999, which is when I first heard about it. It had been filmed for 3 years and at the end of the run, more series were wanted, despite some criticism along the way.

There is also an interesting look into life after Teletubbies for Smedley and the others who played the other Teletubbies and what became of them as it all came to an end in 2002.

It’s also interesting what being in Teletubbies meant to her and her lifestyle. The book is so down to earth, with concerns, happiness, sadness that is relatable on some level to people in and out-with show-biz. If you’ve heard of The Teletubbies or watched it in your youth, this is actually worth reading and more so than I originally anticipated.

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#Review by Lou of #Memoir – Over The Hills And Far Away – by Nikky Smedley @StoryNikky @sandstonepress #Autobiography #NonFiction #Teletubbies

Over The Hills And Far Away
My Life as a Teletubby

By Nikky Smedley 

Rating: 5 out of 5.

In the 1990s, the latest obsession for pre-school children was Teletubbies. I was on work experience in my final years at school, in a nursery and I still remember to this day the majority of children wanted a Teletubby  cake and Tubby Toast for their birthday celebrations. It is to be reincarnated on a streaming channel, but Nikky Smedley, who appeared as herself on the morning news programme – Breakfast recently, talking about its global appeal and reminiscing of the phenomenon, was the original LaaLaa, the yellow Teletubby . I have a review of her fascinating memoir of this time.

Blurb

Say ‘Eh-Oh’ to the performer behind the beloved Teletubby Laa-Laa in this candid and entertaining book.

Lifting the curtain on what it was like to be Laa-Laa and experience the astonishing success of the Teletubbies phenomenon, Nikky Smedley’s enchanting story is warm, affectionate and as lively and funny as the Teletubbies themselves.

Unique in its use of educational theory, child psychology and revolutionary linguistics, Teletubbies achieved global viewing figures of three billion a year. Airing in 120 countries in 45 languages, it was one of the most internationally successful television programmes ever.

Review

Teletubbies as I said, was a global phenomenon as Nikky Smedley recalls. It also turns out, which I think is nice and respectful, that she is to be a consultant for its rebooted version. There were Tinky-Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa and Po, who were these funny characters who lived over the hill and far away.

The book is insightful into what the author is doing now for the reboot, but also in her memories of what it was like to be part of the production and some of the things behind the scenes, such as a certain clause makes for stark reading and makes you feel sorry for the cast of actors. It’s a real eye-opener into what one would assume was something that happened pre-90s.

She reminisces about what it took to get the part and then to be Laa-Laa, to create that character and truly embody her, costume and all on set in the countryside. She lifts the lid on what looks easy and perfect on-screen had its challenges to make it look accomplished. Then she regales the merchandise, of which there was loads.

With the success came extended contracts in 1999, which is when I first heard about it. It had been filmed for 3 years and at the end of the run, more series were wanted, despite some criticism along the way.

There is also an interesting look into life after Teletubbies for Smedley and the others who played the other Teletubbies and what became of them as it all came to an end in 2002.

It’s also interesting what being in Teletubbies meant to her and her lifestyle. The book is so down to earth, with concerns, happiness, sadness that is relatable on some level to people in and out-with show-biz. If you’ve heard of The Teletubbies or watched it in your youth, this is actually worth reading and more so than I originally anticipated.

Life & Death Decisions By Dr. Lachlan McIver @lachlan_mciver @Octopus_Books #RandomTTours #Autobiography #Memoir #LifeAndDeathDecisions

Life & Death Decisions
By Dr. Lachlan McIver 

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Today I am on the blog tour of non-fiction book – Life and Death Decisions. A fascinating book about delivering medicine and care in challenging climates and topical subjects, including climate change and over-prescribing antibiotics. It also goes into the human toll too. Find out more in the blurb and my review below.

 

Blurb

Lachlan was sixteen when he found his father dead
 
on the side of a dirt road in North Queensland, Australia. He had suffered a sudden heart attack and died alone. It was this
tragedy that motivated Lachlan to train as a doctor specialising in providing medical care
for people living in remote, resource-deprived locations.
 
Lachlan’s work with the World Health Organization and Me´decins Sans Frontie`res has taken him to some of the world’s most extreme environments from the sinking islands of the Pacific to epidemics and war zones in the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa.
In this no-holds-barred memoir, Lachlan recounts his experiences treating patients ravaged by tropical diseases, managing war wounds with drug-resistant infections, delivering babies by the light of a head torch, dealing with the devastating effects of climate change and narrowly avoiding being kidnapped by militia in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
 
Tackling such impossible problems day in and day out inevitably takes a personal toll.
Lachlan is ultimately forced to face his own battles with depression, alcohol abuse and bankruptcy.
 
Life and Death Decisions is a deeply human look at the personal cost of our broken global health system and a vital call to action.
 

Review

Many people are fascinated by medical stories and what’s happening globally. The number of books published and tv documentaries show this and here is another book to add to readers list.
 
This book takes readers to Australia and into the life of Dr. Lachlan McIver. It is pretty well paced and starts with an event and a bit of encouragement that perhaps led to him becoming a medical doctor in the first place.
 
It is interesting reading about the life and death decisions he had to make and all the challenges and obstacles that present themselves from illness, people and environment and the places he goes to. It is also interesting reading about the mental and financial tolls taken on his own life and the drive to continue to survive and to continue to heal others.

The book, in fact covers such a wide range of subjects , all that are well-written and gives great insight into the world through medicine and Lachlan’s journey, but is written in “lay-man’s” terms, so anyone can pick up this book and not be flummoxed by it, instead can learn from it.

 
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#Review of Tales From The Hamlet By Cassandra Campbell-Kemp #LoveBooksTours #Memoir #MemoriesOfItaly

Tales From The Hamlet
Memories Of Italy

By Cassandra Campbell-Kemp

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Thanks to Love Books Tours for inviting me to review an insightful non-fiction book set in Italy.

At the age of 61, Cassandra, a single and peripatetic Brit, was asked to pack up her house and move to Italy to take up the offer of a much-needed job. 15 months later she was made redundant, leaving her unnerved, broke and unable to return home. Her dream of a new life was rapidly turning into a nightmare and, saddled with all her belongings, her antique furniture, over 800 books and her aged Siamese cat she had nowhere to go.

A kind friend offered them sanctuary in a tiny converted former barn in his family’s ‘Borgo’, a cluster of rustic properties grouped around a late-Medieval manor House in the mountains; the beautiful and mysterious Emilian Appenines of northern Italy. There she was befriended and watched over by the owner; an eccentric octogenarian, his household ghosts and 14 semi feral cats.

Review

It’s a very descriptive book that takes time to read, but worth investing in as there is some beautiful writing in there. There is also some lovely descriptions of architecture to draw the reader into Northern Italy.

The eccentric octogenarian adds some interest and appeal as she became befriended by an owner of the properties Cassandra was at. It brought a bit of heart to the adventures of this part of her life.

There’s essentially a story of fighting against adversity being told as she wants to come home, but discovers she cannot, so has to find ways of making more money and hoping she is lucky enough to do this so she can return to the UK. I found myself wondering what the future would hold for Cassandra as it seemed like some bleak circumstances had been hit and wanted to know if it got better.

It was a pleasant read, if not at times, perhaps overly descriptive, but there are fascinating insights into how not all is lovely and perfect when you move, even with all the lovely food and landscape she encountered. It’s like a big dose of reality hits. There are also some historical insights that are interesting in the region of Italy Cassandra was in.

About The Author

Cassandra is a somewhat eccentric, unconventional and fiercely independent woman of pensionable age. Formerly an international real estate executive she travelled widely, living and working in various European countries – including Italy, Greece and Spain. During her time in Europe she fell in love with the countries, their cultures, the people and the food! She learnt several languages and spent all her spare time exploring.

Now happily retired, she lives alone with her rescue cat, Felix, in a quintessential 17th century English cottage where she writes about her 30 years of adventures. Her first book, ‘Cauliflowers through the Catflap and other tales from a solitary lockdown’ is a humorous and very tongue-in-cheek look at her experiences of shielding alone through the Covid pandemic. Her second book, ‘Tales from the Hamlet’, is a heartwarming tale of what happened when, living in Italy, she was unexpectedly made redundant and saddled with all her antique furniture, over 800 books and an elderly Siamese cat, she had no money to return home and nowhere to go.

#Review By Lou of – The Real Prime Suspect By Jackie Malton @Thursley @Inmulholland @Octopus_Books @RandomTTours #TheRealPrimeSuspect #Memoir #NonFiction

The Real Prime Suspect
By Jackie Malton

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I am excited to reveal my review on the blog tour for The Real Prime Suspect. This is one for those who like the successful TV drama, Prime Suspect and other crime drama series and/or about policing. Check out the blurb and my review below, then a bit more about Jackie Malton.

Jackie Malton was a no-nonsense girl from Leicestershire who joined the police force in the 1970s when women were kept apart from the men. Feisty and determined, Jackie worked in CID and the famous flying squad before rising to become one of only three female detective chief inspectors in the Metropolitan Police. In The Real Prime Suspect, Malton describes the struggles she faced as a gay woman in the Metropolitan Police, where sexism and homophobia were rife.

Jackie dealt with rapists, wife beaters, murderers, blackmailers and armed robbers but it was tackling the corruption in her own station that proved the most challenging. Ostracised and harassed by fellow officers furious that she reported the illegality of some colleagues, Malton used alcohol to curb her anxiety.

A chance meeting with writer Lynda La Plante five years later changed the course of her life. Together they worked on shaping Jane Tennison, one of TV’s most famous police characters, in the ground-breaking series Prime Suspect. Not long after, Malton recovered from alcoholism and now works as an AA volunteer in prison and as a TV consultant.

Jackie has spent her life working in crime. Now she’s ready to share her story.

Review

The Real Prime Suspect gives great insight into policing and what it was like to be a female police officer moving up the ranks, but being one of the very few who did, dealing with changing times and legislation as well as a male dominated work force. She was also a member of The Flying Squad.

Jackie Malton tells her story with candour and dignity as certain things are recognised and shown how times move forwards, things learnt, police doing their best and working hard under tough conditions. It demonstrates how far policing has come and what they have to deal with day to day in human behaviour. It is fascinating how Malton talks of operations she was on, some heartbreaking, some with the hard end of the realities of the job. All are fascinating and told with authenticity in what is a well written memoir with so many points covered.

To read her story is truly fascinating and eye-opener as she takes readers through the decades with much integrity. There’s a feeling of not just determination to succeed, it goes further than that, a real bravery (not a word I ever use lightly), to make a real difference. The book is very open about tough times regarding her health, a test she fails. She shows, she is as human as the rest of us, even with the extraordinary opportunities that opened up new worlds for her. 

Readers will be able to see how and why she is such a successful and reliable police consultant on many favourite TV series, from Cracker to Prime Suspect to Life On Mars, with a lifetime’s knowledge and experience to impart to help the script writers reach a script idea that has plausibility about it.

Cold Fish Soup By Adam Farrer @AdamJFarrer @SarabandBooks @RandomTTours #NonFiction #BlogTour

Cold Fish Soup
By Adam Farrer

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

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I have a non-fiction book for my blog tour spot today of which I am closing the tour with the award winning book – Cold Fish Soup. It’s consuming and will take readers to the sea and discovery of the author. Thanks to Random T. Tours for the invite to review and to Adam Farrer for the book, bookmark and stick of rock.

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Blurb


WINNER OF THE 2021 NORTHBOUND BOOK AWARD

‘Adam Farrer is a bold new voice in nonfiction writing. His keen observations are as gentle as they are wry, as attentive to the bleak truths of loss and deprivation as they are to the eccentric humour of humans being entirely themselves … Witty, charming, moving and real.’ Jenn Ashworth

Before Adam Farrer’s family relocated to Withernsea in 1992, he’d never heard of the Holderness coast. The move represented one thing to Adam: a chance to leave the insecurities of early adolescence behind. And he could do that anywhere. What he didn’t know was how much he’d grow to love the quirks and people of this faded Yorkshire resort, in spite of its dilapidated attractions and retreating clifftops.

While Adam documents the minutiae of small-town life, he lays bare experiences that are universal. His insights on family, friendship, male mental health and suicide are revealed in stories of reinvention, rapacious seagulls, interdimensional werewolves, burlesque dancing pensioners, and his compulsion towards the sea.

Cold Fish Soup is an affectionate look at a place and its inhabitants, and the ways in which they can shape and influence someone, especially of an impressionable age. Adam’s account explores what it means to love and be shaped by a place that is under threat, and the hope – and hilarity – that can be found in community.

Review

Cold Fish Soup begins with a map of The Holderness, Witherness. I received this book on a rather hot summers day and holiday time was upon me and very timely, it came with a very delicious stick of rock (now long gone and enjoyed).

So, what of the book? It’ll make your body tense a bit and shudder and perish the thought of what could have happened in the beginning and it is very well-written. It can’t not catch readers attention. It’s atmospheric and emotional and will more than touch the sides of your very being.

Adam Farrer is candid in what is indeed bold writing as he takes readers through changing times in his life as it becomes more challenging and more melancholy than ever before; and for a guy who really enjoyed food, this all changed. Adam is candid when it comes to his mental health and also his friends and family.

There is some humour that smooths the book out from the shattering beginning and mellows it a bit, from the sharpness. The humour and sharpness of life plays great contrast together and then another element comes in of the boldness of the seascapes and the vulnerability of the coastlines and the properties lining them. It all flows and interweaves somewhat poetically in its cleverness and draws you further inwards.

Adam then moves to as was acutely aware of his mental health and the anxieties he had developed and were never too far away and nor is the sea, he initially talks about.

The book dances between the happy and sad as people get to know more about Adam, Witherness and the quirks of a place and of its residents and of life.

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