Meeting the Ladies of ChocLit

Yesterday afternoon, Kaff and I went out for the day. We hadn’t been anywhere for aaaaaaaaaaages, so I was super excited about the road trip. It was brilliantly sunny and a warm Spring day and we drove up the Heads of the Valleys road and dropped down over the hills into Llanfoist to have lunch with Geek-boy’s parents. His mummy, June, came into Abergavenny with us and almost immediately Kaff’s nose went twitchy and she led us along at a cracking pace. I knew from how frantic she was that she had either sniffed out chocolate or books. And what do you know? …. It was both!

Margaret James and Christina Courtenay, two lovely authors published by ChocLit (as you’ll appreciate, Kaff loves their books) were in Waterstone’s doing a book signing, and those writerly temptresses had chocolate to lure people in. It worked with Kaff! and *cough* I might have tucked a couple of Twirls down my jumper. Also there was another super lady we know from Twitter, Maureen Vincent-Northam, so we had a fab tweet-up. We spent the afternoon chatting and eating choc (yum!) and watching Margaret and Christina chat to people about their books and then signing them. Here’s a picture of me with Margaret and Christina and the wonderful display of their books and chocs in Waterstone’s Abergavenny.

Afterwards, we all went for a cup of coffee and then it was time to hot-paw it to Cardiff to meet Geek-boy off the London train.  It was a really fun day and I had a smashing time out and about. I don’t like to blow my own trumpet but I think I was a bit of a hit with the ladies, too…

Kaff and I have loved both of Christina’s books, Trade Winds and The Scarlet Kimono and we’re currently really enjoying Margaret’s novel, The Silver Locket, which we’re reading at the moment. In fact, we’re just about to take it out into the sunny garden and read some more. Have a sunny Sunday, folks!

Happy Easter!

I am so incredibly happy and beside myself with good thoughts aimed in the direction of my bestest mate in all the world. Yes, Kaff, I mean YOU! I actually do mean it this time as well and I said that with a straight face. (Okay, slight manic grin but I am sooooooooo happy.) Just look what a stupendously nutty Easter Egg the lovely Kaff found for me and my crew this year. (Between you and me, I ain’t sharing it with them!) While it is from every little helps Tesco, they do seem to know what makes their squirrel customers tick so I’ll let them off just this once, given it’s a holiday weekend and all. Those are whole nuts – almonds, brazil nuts and hazelnuts – actually melted into the dark chocolate shell. And it gets better, because not only is it a chocolate shell, but that chocolate is Belgian Milk Chocolate. I am in squirrel heaven. I have seriously never had such a brilliant Easter Egg before and I am going to now go and attack this with the gusto it truly deserves.

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday weekend, however you celebrate it.

Luv ‘n’ nuts,

Squizz x

South Chocolate Bank

When my mate Kaff got me up at stupid o’clock yesterday morning, I did wonder if the time had perhaps come to end our albeit immensely rewarding relationship. Not only did she get me up very, very early in the morning when most self-respecting squirrels – and even some of us reprobates – are heading to our hammocks, but she also told me we were going to London for the day. Yes, yes, I know. Wildly exciting and the place-to-be and all that congestion-charging traffic to dodge but really folks… I’ve lived there, I’ve done London like an American tourist could only dream of doing it, I’m an old squirrel and, quite frankly, not only do I have the t-shirt but I have the jumper as well (see picture if you don’t believe me).

Still, days out with Kaff are almost always fun and they usually involve road snacks, which are not the same as road kill, in case that’s what you were thinking. One of Kaff’s better (only?) qualities is that she is happily very squirrel-friendly. No, road snacks means chocolate or nuts, and sometimes both combined in a deliciously-wrapped but easy to open package.

The beginning of the trip started off at Victoria train station. I know what you’re thinking, less than auspicious. My thoughts, too, until we bumped into Kaff’s very lovely Swedish friend, Catti and her colleague. Apparently, that’s why we were there. Kaff and Catti (which is Swedish for Kaff – I don’t know why she picks friends with the same name as herself but she will insist on doing so and it is confusing, trust me) hadn’t seen each other for 7 years. Can’t really be that great friends then, if you ask me, but Kaff insists it might have something to do with the fact that they live in different countries and she isn’t a fabulously successful writer who can afford to jet around seeing her bessie mates yet. I told her, she shouldn’t be gallivanting about in London but perhaps ought to stay home and finish my decalogy of books. That’s when she zipped up the bag I was traveling in and wouldn’t talk to me for a while. Some people just don’t like hearing the truth.

So, she did let me out at lunchtime and we had a very pleasant, enjoyable time with Catti and colleague in benugo at the BFI on the South Bank but it was sadly over all too soon and we saw them off into a taxi so they could catch their flight home. But, en route to finding a taxi, Kaff and I stumbled across something rather wonderful – a Chocolate Festival! Yes, stall after stall of chocolate (and a goodly proportion of nutty) goodies. It was just the thing to wander around until it was time for us to wend our way homeward. We met up with a Twitter friend, the lovely @marmadale from Rococo Chocolates. This was brilliant because we’d only recently been unable to make it down to London for a chocolate tasting at Rococo when it fell on a school night. We made up for this by stocking up on some goodies and both Kaff and I love their Scorched Almonds and Scorched Hazelnuts – absolutely delish. (I have to say that neither of us were that sold on the Earl Grey chocolate though. Kaff drinks EG tea but doesn’t think the mix with chocolate was great.) We also made new friends and discovered some amaretto chocolates, which were sadly a bit bleh due to the low cocoa content choc used. I was so disappointed with those – amaretto is, after all, my favourite tipple. However, we also found some lovely nutty chocolate from the fine folks at Artisan du Chocolat – they gave us a selection which were super-yummy.

As you can see from the picture, Kaff made sure that I brought home a fair stash of goodies for me and the crew and they all went down very well, and very quickly. I wonder where my next nuts are coming from…