Jul 30 2012
By Karen Bale
Water Babies Image 1
WHEN I was first invited to take my baby daughter along to Water Babies swimming lessons, I was a bag of nerves.
All I knew about the classes was that you are expected to dunk your precious little bundle of joy under the chlorine-filled waters of your local swimming pool.
At the same time, my logical side knew it was just the neurotic mother in me that was anxious.
Water Babies are famous for teaching infants to swim underwater, and as the glossy pamphlet about the course popped through our letterbox, I learnt that an incredible 24,000 babies swim with Water Babies every week.
They are, in fact, the world’s largest baby swim school.
As I read about the classes, my nerves began to fade.
I discovered babies have natural reflexes, which mean they instinctively hold their breath when submerged.
Swimming under water not only gives babies complete confidence in the pool, but allows them to swim freely long before they would be able to swim on the surface.
So, armed with my new knowledge, I took my then nine-month-old baby daughter, Evie, along to her first swimming lesson at the Westerwood Hotel and Spa in Cumbernauld.
I was, admittedly, soon distracted in the changing rooms by cooing over how cute Evie looked in her tiny little swimsuit dotted with red strawberries and a white frilly skirt.
Water Babies believe in teaching children without swim aids, so I somewhat nervously took Evie to the poolside without the arm bands, rubber rings and life jackets I had piled on my son, Joshua, for his first outing to a pool.
There were eight babies in our class ranging from two months to eleven months. Evie and I took our place at the side of the pool, which was pleasantly warm.
Our first task was to put our babies in the swimming position, facing us, and swim them round in circles. Thankfully, Evie seemed delighted by the water and did not, as I had feared, start to scream in protest.
We then warmed up the babies by splish-splashing them in the water, turning the delighted tots in a circle and throwing them in the air.
The babies were now well and truly in their element, squealing with delight. Then, catching us off guard, our instructor Wendy Lambie dropped the bombshell – the babies would be having their first underwater swim. Today.
Babies are like animals and can sense fear, so I stuck on my best smile, not wanting to warn my daughter that her little head was about to be dunked underwater.
Wendy informed us she would take our babies for their first underwater swim – a wise move, considering the nervous parents tightly holding on to their children.
However, to my delight, Evie seemed to actually enjoy her underwater adventure.
I held my breath as Wendy pushed her under and let her swim back up to the surface, to the safety of my arms.
She broke the surface looking a little confused, but quite happy.
From then on we became pros, Evie and I. By the third lesson, Evie was going for two or three underwater swims per session. Each time I would, under instruction, prepare her by repeating slowly, “Evie, ready, go”, then splashing her little face with water.
By the eighth week the babies were able to swim several feet underwater by themselves.
The moment when I – equipped with goggles and wishing I’d taken off my mascara –watched Evie swimming towards me underwater was amazing.
My little baby was really swimming, quite happily, underwater with her eyes wide open, looking straight at her proud mum.
“One of my favourite parts of teaching,” Wendy later told me, “Is seeing the parents grow in confidence and swim under water with their babies.
“Seeing a parent taking a leap of faith for their child is an amazing thing.”
Babies usually swim with Water Babies for 40 weeks, in a structured programme that not only teaches them water confidence but also gives them essential safety skills, too.
Evie was taught how to hold on to the side if she ever fell into water, and the babies “fell” into the water every week, so that if, God forbid, they ever fell into a pond or a pool, they wouldn’t panic.
In fact, as we sung the nursery rhyme Humpty Dumpty every week and splashed the babies into the pool they shrieked with excitement.
Wendy said: “So many kids fall in the water and panic. We teach them how to react in that situation.
“Water Babies teaches children to hold their breath, get to the surface, find somewhere to hold on to and, if possible, to climb out.”
Thousands of children who have been attending the classes have learnt to swim by the time they are two.
Most babies start from six weeks old, but the youngest ever pupil was just two days old. Between 2008 and 2011, at least 10 children’s lives were saved after falling into deep water, as they had been taught to swim.
Wendy added: “In the past three years there have been at least 10 Water Babies who have saved their own lives, and five of them were two year olds. We do save lives.”
Jul 31 2012 By Fiona Russell
The cauldron at the London 2012 Olympics opening ceremony
NOW the London Olympics are in full swing, millions will be sitting glued to their TVs relishing the excitement of a host of sporting events.
But after two weeks of couch potato inactivity, it’s hoped many of us will be inspired to follow in the footsteps of the top athletes.
Part of the London 2012 “sporting legacy” is aimed at encouraging more people to take up a new sport.
Already a London Sport Global Inspiration Survey has revealed a quarter of Olympics fans say they plan to try swimming this year and one in five is thinking about getting into cycling.
The Olympics offer an amazing insight into a host of different sports and could open your eyes to new fitness opportunities.
Here, Fiona Russell brings you a guide to getting off the starting block in five Olympic sports.
Just one look at the sleek and toned bodies of Olympic swimmers should be enough to see you heading straight to your local pool.
Swimming is a great sport for all ages, and research shows it slows down the ageing process in areas
such as respiration, muscle mass, cardiovascular activity and brain function.
Sharon MacDonald, of Scottish Swimming, said: “Swimming is a fantastic way to keep physically active.
“It provides a great all-round workout, burning fat, strengthening heart and lungs, and toning your body.
“Because the water takes your weight, swimming is ideal for people looking for low-impact exercise, such as those recovering from an injury or for people new to exercise.”
Getting into swimming
If you are a new to swimming, you’ll find information about beginner lessons for adults and children at www.scottishswimming.com
The next step for kids could be to join one of 131 Scottish Swimming affiliated clubs.
A SwimFit initiative offers free online coaching for a range of swimming abilities, and includes gym-style workouts and distance challenges. See www.swimming.org/myswimfit
Alternatively, adults can join masters classes for swim training and competitive swimming.
Masters can be done at any level, from a quick dip to competitions at European and world age-group level.
Open water swimming is also increasingly popular. This combines the benefits of swimming with the enjoyment of competing outdoors.
There are 11 open water clubs in Scotland and many will take part in fun events, such as the Great Scottish Swim on August 25.
With a host of top cyclists taking part in the Olympics, including track supremo Sir Chris Hoy, many Scots will be inspired to get on their bikes.
Track cycling is set to be big in Scotland with the forthcoming opening of the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, as part of Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games 2014. This sport will suit people with guts, determination and endurance.
Other disciplines of cycling, such as longer-distance road cycling or off-road mountain biking, are ideal for people who are overweight or suffering with lower body sports injuries.
Ian Aitken, the chief executive at campaign group Cycling Scotland, said: “All types of cycling are great for stress-busting and studies show regular cyclists are, on average, as fit as someone 10 years younger.”
Getting into cycling
To start with, you just need a bike and a helmet. Try traffic-free routes such as mountain bike trails or check out Sustrans.org.uk for great places to cycle.
Taking cycling up a level, you could sign up for one of numerous non-competitive cycling events such as Pedal for Scotland on September 9. See pedalforscotland.org
A joint British Cycling and Sky initiative also invites riders of all abilities to join in fun Sky Rides on traffic-free roads. See goskyride.com
And if you fancy having a go at racing, such as time trialling, join a local bike club. See Scottish Cycling www.scottishcycling.org.uk for details.
For kids, there’s the Go Ride initiative. See www.britishcycling.org.uk/go-ride
Did you know that Scotland is represented in the martial art sport of judo by five Olympians and four reserves?
The sport, which translates in Japanese as “gentle way”, focuses on self-control, self-discipline and respect in combat. It’s also the sport to do if you need to let off steam but in a safe and controlled environment.
Frania Gillen-Buchert, of Judo Scotland, said: “Judo is a great workout as it improves strength, stamina and cardio fitness while players learn to throw their opponents, and grip and hold them in groundwork.
“And it’s good for improving self-confidence and self-esteem, especially among youngsters.”
Getting into judo
Judo Scotland, www.judoscotland.com, are the point of contact for finding clubs who welcome all newcomers.
To start with, you require only a tracksuit along with an eagerness to learn. The judo gi – the jacket, trousers and belt – can be bought once you are sure you’ll enjoy the sport.
Progression in judo is through a gradings system, while competitions are held across the country in age levels for children and weight categories for adults.
From sprinter Usain Bolt to marathon runner Paula Radcliffe, Olympic athletes offer strong role models for taking up a sport that is easily accessible, flexible, time-efficient and one of the best de-stressers.
If you’re looking for an exercise routine that you can do anytime, almost anywhere and that provides a host of physical benefits, then running is hard to beat.
Sports coach Molly Cameron, of nexus-coaching.com, said: “Running is the sort of sport that almost everyone can have a go at and brings quick results in terms of burning fat and toning legs and bums.
“Running can also help to fight mental problems, such as stress and depression.”
Getting into running
Do you fancy going shorter and faster or longer and slower? If speed is your first choice, then you’ll want to head along to an athletics club who offer track training.
Athletics clubs are particularly popular among youngsters. See www.scottishathletics.org.uk for clubs.
Most adults will prefer the idea of jogging or running longer distances.
You could join one of Scotland’s jogging groups through JogScotland.org.uk or a local running club through Scottish Athletics.
Many gyms also have a programme of social running groups who are designed to suit a range of fitness levels.
And if you fancy a bit of competition, or raising money for charity, there are hundreds of running events, both fun and competitive, taking place across Scotland, including 5k, 10k, half marathons and marathons. See scottishrunningguide.com for a list of events.
Rowers at the Olympics, including Scots Katherine Grainger, Heather Stanning and Lindsey Maguire, power their incredibly fit bodies through the water in solo, double or four-person boats.
But rowing is also a great sport for mere mortals and is the perfect way to exercise if you enjoy being outdoors.
Rowing is for sociable people who like to be part of a team working together with precision.
It’s also hugely beneficial for cardiovascular fitness, as well as core strength, including the potential for a superb six-pack.
For solo rowers (single scullers), the sport offers the freedom to enjoy lochs and waterways under your own steam.
Rowing is a sport that can be enjoyed for life, too. Amanda Cobb, rowing development manager at Scottish Rowing, said: “Because rowing is low impact, it is a genuine sport for life. The oldest masters category is for people aged 80 and over.
“The sport also requires concentration and focus and so it helps you switch off from stresses in your life.”
Getting into rowing
The best way to get involved in the sport is to go along to a local rowing club. See Scottish Rowing at www.scottish-rowing.org.uk and ask about learn-to-row courses.
Most clubs are open to all ages and offer recreational and competitive rowing opportunities for all abilities. There are regular competitions in Scotland and the UK so you can also compete at your own level.
Jul 26 2012
By Rick Fulton
BEL AMI *** (15)
BEL Ami hopes to arouse passions like Dangerous Liaisons, but the lack of palpable eroticism on screen quickly dampens our ardour.
Georges Duroy (Robert Pattinson) harks from lowly stock and arrives in 1890s Paris with barely two francs to rub together.
He is taken under the wing of friend Charles Forestier (Philip Glenister), who lands the ambitious upstart a position on a newspaper and introduces Georges to the elegant drawing rooms where Charles’s wife Madeleine (Uma Thurman) and friends Virginie Walter (Kristin Scott Thomas) and Clotilde de Marelle (Christina Ricci) hold court.
Dressed in a jacket paid out of Charles’s deep pockets, Georges surmises that, if he is to gain a foothold in polite society, he must seduce these women and exploit their influence.
So he hops from one bed to the next, securing opulent lodgings as his underhand scheme reaps rewards.
Bel Ami is a tepid adaptation of the 19th century novel by Guy de Maupassant about an amoral journalist who clambers up the social ladder in Belle Epoque Paris by sleeping with neglected wives and daughters of the men who wield power.
It’s a handsomely-crafted period piece with heaving bosoms and straining britches aplenty. But, while Pattinson hones the mournful pout of his vampire from the Twilight saga, he lacks sexual chemistry with any of his co-stars, making a mockery of his anti-hero’s ability to reduce lovers to swooning, gibbering wrecks.
Also available to buy DVD £17.99/Blu-ray £22.99
STREETDANCE 2 **** (PG)
STREETDANCE 2 is energetic and undemanding, recycling the plot of the first film, but replacing the pirouettes of ballet with the swivelling hips of salsa and tango.
Britain’s Got Talent winner George Sampson plays Eddie, who joins forces with fellow street dancer Ash (Falk Hentschel) to create a crew from around the world to dethrone champs, Invincible.
Comic relief comes courtesy of Scots actor Tom Conti, who makes the repercussions for letting down his niece clear to Ash. “If you hurt her, I will break your legs,” he growls in a cod-Spanish accent.
A box set of both StreetDance films is also available.
DVD £15.99/2 DVD Box Set £19.99/3D Blu-ray £19.99
WILD BILL *** (15)
THIS gritty Britflick tale of violent retribution and reconciliation marks the assured directorial debut of actor Dexter Fletcher.
Charlie Creed-Miles plays ex-con Bill Hayward, who leaves prison to find his ex-wife has abandoned their two kids. Older boy Dean (Will Poulter) has been illegally working on a building site to keep him and his 11-year-old brother Jimmy (Sammy Williams) together.
When social workers find out, Dean blackmails his dad into staying around.
Even though some of the characters are a little undernourished, Wild Bill signals Fletcher as a talent behind the camera, as well as in front of it.
DVD £19.99/Blu-ray £24.99
I AM BRUCE LEE **** (E)
ALMOST 40 years after his death comes a documentary about the martial-arts movie star. Lee’s wife, Linda Lee Cadwell, and his daughter, Shannon Lee, provide fascinating contributions, interwoven with archive footage and testimonies from celebrities, actors and sportsmen such as Mickey Rourke and Kobe Bryant.
DVD £17.99/Blu-ray £22.99
WALLANDER – SERIES 3 **** (15)
KENNETH Branagh reprises his role as the eponymous taciturn detective in the Bafta award-winning
drama series based on the best-selling books by Henning Mankell.
In one of the three feature-length episodes, Wallander moves away from the home comforts of Ystad in Sweden to politically unstable Latvia. A box set of all three series is also available.
DVD £24.99/Series 1-3 DVD Box Set £49.99/Blu-ray £29.99
SOME LIKE IT HOT ***** (U)
A WELCOME re-release of Billy Wilder’s classic 1959 comedy featuring Marilyn Monroe in one of her most famous roles, as sex-pot Sugar Kane. Struggling musicians Joe (Tony Curtis) and Jerry (Jack Lemmon) witness the 1929 St Valentine’s Day Massacre and flee for their lives.
Their only escape is to dress up as saxophonist Josephine and double bass player Daphne, as part of an all-girl band travelling towards Miami.
DVD £9.99/Blu-ray £14.99
Jul 27 2012
By Amber Morales
Lynda Bellingham is now a fashion designer for Isme
LYNDA BELLINGHAM’S new collaboration with retailer Isme sees her create stylish clothes aimed at discerning 50-plus women.
Here the 64-year-old mum of two shares her fashion tips and what makes her new Savoir collection so special.
Shopping is not my favourite pastime. The women I know that shop well, shop on the run and visualise in their heads what’s in their wardrobes.
The trick is to have in your mind what you need and the gaps in your wardrobe that you need to fill – this way you won’t fall into the trap of buying more of what you already have. We’re all guilty of it!
WATCH YOUR SIZING
Buy something that fits properly and is the right cut for you.
The Savoir range available at www.isme.com puts the darts in a different place, so where you thought you’d need a size 14 jacket to cover your bust, the size 12 actually fits. It’s clever.
All the pieces are cut like this, and I also love how the collection enables you to feel confident and beautiful in your curves.
None of the pieces are too low at the front and they have power mesh inserts for extra support.
Isme really listened to me, especially about the sleeves. There are lots of different styles of dresses that cover up your arms.
WATCH YOUR NECKLINE
While a V-neck is flattering for women with larger busts, when in doubt, I always say don’t show off acres of your cleavage.
Obviously there are times when we all want to wear something a bit sexier, so if you are looking for an evening outfit that has a lower neckline then look for something with some sheer fabric or lace along the bustline.
You can look feminine and show off a bit more of your decolletage without being too revealing.
DEFINE YOUR SHOULDERS
Have the shoulders tailored – don’t go sloppy otherwise your shoulders become round. You want to do nifty neat and flattering, not round.
COVER UP BINGO WINGS
If you have really toned arms then obviously you are going to feel confident enough to show them off.
But most women over 50 don’t want to. Personally I even stay away from the cap sleeve as it cuts your arm at a very unflattering point. I think a sleeve that comes a bit lower on the arm is much more flattering for women.
It’s also definitely worth investing in boleros and cover-ups as there are lots of fab styles around in the shops right now.
DEFINE YOUR WAIST
It’s a common mistake to think that wearing a big baggy top is the way to cover up a larger bust and look slimmer at the same time.
The reality is that it does everything but. What we all need to do is emphasise our waistlines by wearing tops that skim our bust.
The worst thing you can do is wear something that goes out from the bust. In this way you just create a triangle, which would make you look bigger than you actually are.
You’ve quite simply got to be brave and find your waist again. This will make you look slimmer and younger instantly.
WEAR A JACKET
If you’re self-conscious about your bust or feel you don’t have a good waistline, then wear a tailored jacket that flatters your shape.
Don’t do what a lot of women do and simply cover up from the knee to the neck line. You can wear a low-cut dress teamed with a jacket.
I am also a big fan of the waterfall cardigan as it draws the attention away from the boobs but you still get a nice line.
NEVER WEAR A GIRDLE
It may stop bulges out the front but will ultimately make you look wider. What you really need is higher waisted jeans. Not Your Daughter’s Jeans are slightly high and give you that confidence.
WATCH YOUR HEMLINE
I can’t bear mid-calf. It’s the last thing you want to be wearing. The minute you go mid-calf, you cut your leg in half and it just ends up making them look huge.
Another mistake people make is going too long or too short. I’ve found that the most flattering hemline is one that rests just above the knee.
DON’T GIVE UP HEELS
A lot of women my age have completely given up on heels. My advice is to find a shoe with a heel height you are comfortable with.
A heel makes your legs look nicer and, if your dress is just above the knee, it’s a very flattering look. I do think it’s worth investing in one good pair.
You can even try a mid heel with a small platform but do avoid ankle straps at all costs – they are very unflattering on the legs.
PLAY TO YOUR STRENGTHS
As an actress, I have learned about disguising your bad bits.
It’s all about wearing things that enhance you. The minute you feel comfortable that you’ve covered up your bad bit, you feel more confident and enjoy the rest.
At the end of the day, confidence is what people find attractive.
CHECK YOUR BRA
Good underwear is really important. If you have a well-fitted minimiser bra and then enhance your waist, you will look much slimmer than you were.
INVEST IN SHEER TIGHTS
As you get older, you need tights that hold you in. It’s very hard for a lot of women over 50 to have bare legs so it’s better to wear a pair of sheer natural tights.
If you like the idea of jewellery, go for a pair of big earrings. Or for a really modern look, layer up lots of bracelets. Avoid a necklace if you don’t want to draw attention to your decolletage. Good accessories can really make an outfit.
www.isme.com, 0844 811 8112
Jul 28 2012
By Tam Cowan
Phew! When I finally got round to writing this week’s review, I discovered I had FIVE sets of notes spread over THREE notebooks.
So, yes, I think it’s safe to say I’ve enjoyed Akbar’s.
But why wait until my fifth visit before waxing lyrical about it in the Saturday mag?
Well, the fact Akbar’s is (a) in Glasgow and (b) an Indian restaurant, meant it was just too easy. Trust me, folks. In the 14 years of doing these reviews, I could have quite cheerfully written up an Indian restaurant in Glasgow every single Saturday.
After all, that’s what I eat every other night of the week.
I think I’ve also kept Akbar’s out of the paper for so long because I was hoping to keep it a secret.
Too late! From the minute this small chain (the first of 11 restaurants opened in Bradford in 1995) set up in Glasgow back in March, it has been absolutely mobbed seven nights a week.
On every one of my five visits (two Thursdays, two Wednesdays and even one Tuesday at 9.40pm) loads of Asian punters have packed the place out – always a good sign – and I’ve had to wait 15/20 minutes for a table.
On Fridays and Saturdays, I imagine they must have a queue at the door like the Boxing Day sale at Harrods.
Tell you what, though, it’s always well worth the wait.
The food is absolutely delicious – I promise anybody who likes a curry will love it – and it’s all just a wee bit, well, different.
Especially the truly mouth-watering starters.
Chicken liver tikka, for example, is cooked slowly under a grill with lots of ginger, garlic and coriander. And, yep, it’s a million miles from that horrible liver your mum and dad used to force you to eat as a kid.
Or what about chicken nimbali? Tender, marinated, bite-sized bits of chicken topped with melting cheese. As one of my pals said: “It’s like eating a pizza without the inconvenience of the bread.”
There’s also a rather novel (and utterly yummy) duck tikka.
A taste sensation.
And the best duck in Glasgow, I reckon, this side of the crispy shredded stuff at the Ho Wong.
Or how about – wait for it – rabbit tikka! Boneless bunny marinated overnight, I thought it was lovely.
And before you ask, I didn’t get a hare in it.
Meanwhile, the cheese keema (mince) samosa with its light, flaky pastry is a bit like a superior Indian bridie, while the more traditional starters also shine at Akbar’s.
The seekh (sausage) kebab might just be the best in the city. All too often dry and leathery, it was moist, succulent and, like quite a lot of the creations at Akbar’s, VERY spicy.
Even the onion salad served with the kebab (usually a pointless distraction) deserves a mention.
Elsewhere, the chicken pakora was raised to a different level thanks to the accompanying Yorkshire rhubarb and chilli jam – nice and sweet at the start before three different types of chilli give your tastebuds a kicking.
You could easily stick to the starters at Akbar’s and do a serious bit of grazing (and that’s exactly what I did on one of my recent visits) but I think it’s almost impossible to resist the curries.
My personal favourite is the chicken tikka and keema balti – grilled chicken, pot roasted with minced lamb, ginger, garlic and selected herbs and spices.
It’s fantastic and the combination of chicken and mince works an absolute treat.
The simple lamb and potato balti is also worth trying. It’s like a spicy, Indian version of Irish stew.
However, don’t miss the dish a member of staff recommended on my most recent trip to Akbar’s – the chicken and spinach balti. Take a bow, sir. Honestly, folks, in 20 years of eating the stuff, this just might be the best curry I’ve ever tasted.
Sadly, the chefs still haven’t mastered the art of the thin, crispy, well-fired paratha (the one I ordered, while tasty, was a bit greasy and stodgy) so I suggest you stick to the naan bread.
They normally take up too much table space, of course, but the naans at Akbar’s are hooked up on a wee “hangman” contraption (a neat idea) that makes the whole thing look like a duvet on a washing line.
Incidentally, in keeping with the “something different” theme, the menu also boasts a fruit and nut naan.
However, before all my female readers rush at once, I should point out it’s not a big bar of Cadbury’s melted over bread.
Address: 573-581 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow, G3 7PQ; Telephone: 0141 222 2258; Open: Monday-Saturday 5pm-midnight and Sunday 2pm-11pm; Wheelchair access: Yes; Bill for two (with wine): £65
Food: 5/5 – five visits says it all; Service: 4/5 – fast, efficient and knowledgeable; Decor: 5/5 – smart, colourful interior; Toilets: 5/5 – spotless and sparkling; Value: 4/5 – worth every penny
Jul 28 2012
By Shari Low
IF exciting, historical fiction is your thing, there are two blistering new releases from M.C. Scott this summer.
Out now in paperback is the second instalment in Scott’s gripping Rome series, The Coming of the King.
Ripe with foreboding atmosphere and tension, it opens with the sinister plans of Saulos Herodian.
After many seasons spent recovering in the care of the Berber tribes in the desert, Saulos and a new accomplice are travelling to Judaea.
Every mile he covers on his quest for vengeance is hastened by the knowledge that his nemesis, the Roman spy Sebastos Pantera, is hunting him down.
Meanwhile, over on the hardback shelves, the third Rome adventure, The Eagle of the Twelfth, reigns supreme.
In this epic tale of struggle and comradeship, a new hero, Demalion of Macedon, is reluctantly assigned to the Twelfth legion of the Roman Empire – notorious for its ill fortune.
His baptism of fire will ultimately transform him into a warrior prepared to sacrifice all for honour.
To read these books individually is to experience a stand-alone treat.
But, for the full experience, pick up the first in the series, The Emperor’s Spy, read all three in order and revel in the intoxicating action of a lost weekend in the searing heat of Scott’s ancient world.
Outrageous Fortune by Lulu Taylor
From the moment the daughter of Lady Julia Dangerfield and her husband entered the world, Daisy knew nothing but luxury and privilege.
On the other side of London, on a rough Peckham estate, Chanelle Hughes was born addicted to heroin, the offspring of a woman who cared more for a drink than her child.
Years later, their fortunes shift when Daisy is suddenly cast out by her family, while Chanelle fights for a future far away from the sink she grew up on. Lulu Taylor delivers yet another brilliant beach read with the story of two women born worlds apart, destined to collide in an explosion of secrets and scandals.
The House by the Sea by Santa Montefiore
There are two very different storylines in this novel.
One goes back to Tuscany in the 60s, where a young, impoverished girl called Floriana would stare through the gates of a beautiful palazzo. When the son of the owner invites her inside, she steps into a whole new world.
The other narrative is set in the present day. Marina, a struggling Devon hotel owner, recruits an artist to entice new guests, only to discover he has an astonishing secret. A very enjoyable holiday read with a surprising twist.
Battle of the Beast by Adam Blade
Sam is just an ordinary boy who gets invited to an academy to train people to become knights.
He goes on a quest that includes two fierce beasts, a dragon called Ferno and a giant bird called Epos.
The two beasts have a mighty battle and there is a lot of suspense as to who will win.
This is a new book in a series called Beast Quest. I learned that more than seven million Beast Quest books have been sold. I can see why they are so popular, as I have read a few of the books in the series and I found them all to be as exciting as this one.
The Edinburgh International Book Festival runs from August 11-27 and this year there will be 750 readings, discussions and children’s events running throughout the period.
More than 800 authors will participate, spanning fact, fiction, biography, music, poetry and sport.
Big names on the bill include Ian Rankin, John Gordon Sinclair, Denise Mina, Val McDermid, Maggie Craig, Louise Welsh, Danny Wallace, SJ Watson, AL Kennedy, Karen Campbell, Roddy Doyle and the legendary William McIlvanney.
Kids’ favourites Michael Morpurgo, Darren Shan, Debi Gliori, Julia Donaldson and Jacqueline Wilson
are just some of the highlights for
For full details and tickets, go to www.edbookfest.co.uk.