Adulthood Non-fiction Special moments

New Moulton Stores

People always say how they hate January. You hear of the January blues, dark gloomy days, blue Monday – which can I add is a total myth made up by the travel companies to make money, it was on the news the other day! I always went along with this but recently I have noticed that actually I don’t hate January at all.

Yes, the dark nights aren’t ideal, but I think January can be a very positive month. The end of January is when you start to really notice the lighter evenings. Sunny, gorgeous (but cold), winter days are the best. Everything is calm post the Christmas madness. It really isn’t that bad.

At the shop this positivity has shone through in charity.

The Christmas Draw raised a fabulous £225 for the charity Suffolk Mind in memory of our dear friend and customer, Gerry. Cards made by another generous and talented customer raised £50.40 for Cancer Research. The Hedgehog Hospital total stands at £835 since Feb 2020. The other boxes fill too fast for us to keep up and the Improving Moulton tub gets heavier and heavier each day. From now until the summer, the money raised in this pot will be put towards funding our Platinum Jubilee celebrations so please, pop your change in if you can. It will all add up to create a memorable occasion for everyone.

Our days get brighter still with good comments from customers. One lady said she travels from Fordham to us, passing many Post Offices along the way, for a smile. ‘Don’t change’, she said, ‘it is so lovely coming here.’ Another customer dashed in while we were closing up one day recently and stopped to say: ‘It is always happy in here.’ We were serving ‘the best Lattes in Newmarket and surrounding areas’, according to another customer who gets coffee in a lot of places! Observations like these keep us strong and wanting to continue to provide the service, keep the place alive and do best by our loyal customers.       

It’s not ‘goodbye’ it’s ‘see you soon’

As hard as it is to write and as many tears we have all cried, yes, Mike and Kathy have moved on to begin real retirement a little while later than planned. From all at New Moulton Stores we cannot thank the two of them enough for sharing their expertise with the business as we grow and expand.

The business wouldn’t be what it is today without Mike and Kathy. The energy, hard work, commitment, ideas, warmth and so much more has led to the huge positive reputation that the business has held for years. Fortnum and Mason as one customer refers to us, a little London Deli, a special place. Everything that they have put into the business over the past sixteen years gleams through in the dedicated customers, the quality goods and service, the friendly atmosphere, and the popularity of the place. The fact that these two absolute diamonds stayed on to continue their loyalty to the shop is a bonus that Hugo, Martin and myself will be forever grateful for.

While we are sad to see them go, we fully back their decision in retiring full time and enjoying some well-earned time out.

So, as we come down from the sadness and shock of this news, we would like everyone to (virtually) raise a glass to this wonderful couple with thanks for everything that they have given to Moulton Shop and, for almost two years longer – New Moulton Stores.

They will always be treasured in the spirit of this business and, though they are moving on, they will be here with us too. Mike is a regular topic when people spot the photo above the Red Wine shelf where he is jumping to head the ball, alongside Pelé…

It wasn’t just the shop…

Not only that but Mike and Kathy gave everything, all of the time, to everyone. Whether it was a story around the ever-growing table in the Packhorse garden during summertime and a good laugh too, or it might have been cooking up dinner and delivering a few portions to those who were eating alone for whatever reason. If somebody needed company, they thought of them and opened their door. They thought of everyone. Often if we didn’t stock something in the shop Kathy would have just the thing at home or not even shop related, she would have something that would help, and she would gladly give it away.

On telling people the news that they would be leaving, so many came back with memories. All were filled with goodness. So many people told me how the Dillons’ had helped them out of a really dark time or been there just when they needed it. You all know how close I am to these two beautiful people and each time I’ve cried missing them and while seeing them go I thought: how lucky am I to have a bond so strong that makes this so hard? And I’m sure many others are with me on that.

Endless good deeds, brilliant fun, unique characters, the life and soul. They weren’t just running the village shop, but they were great friends to so many, friendships built so strong that a little bit of sea in between won’t change nothin’!

While we all miss them so much, they will be back to visit for sure. So many have panicked to me worrying that they never got chance to say goodbye. I say to them…we’ll be partying before you know it!

So thank you, Mike and Kathy, for everything (I will make sure they get a copy of this Moulton Matters) from the bottom of our hearts. Moulton won’t be the same without you both physically here, but you will always be a huge part of our village.

For links to all of my writing related stuff, my link tree is below. You can also find published work in my portfolio. My debut novel, Dear Brannagh, is available on Amazon along with the sequel Don’t Tell Jack. If you enjoy what you’re seeing here and are interested in following me on my writing journey, then please subscribe to my newsletter by dropping your name and email. There will be plenty of giveaways, news hot off the press and an honest insight into life as an author. Thank you x

Adulthood Non-fiction Observations Special moments

A Place That I Love

There’s this place that I go to and one that I absolutely love. It’s just down the road but it sometimes feels like a million miles away. Everything changes here everything is different. Slower. More chilled. Less stressful. I’VE WRITTEN THREE CHAPTERS. IT’S 1PM. THIS USUALLY TAKES ME TWO WEEKS…AT LEAST.

Everything about going to this place is bliss. From the moment I get into the car until I get out again once home. The journey is part of the trip. Hugely. I love podcasts but I rarely find the time to listen to them. I mean actually listen. I’ll often have one playing while I’m changing the bed or tidying up but my focus is never fully on it. Working in retail my days are full of small talk and putting on fronts no matter how I am feeling. There is sometimes nothing better than getting into the car and just listening. Driving and listening. No better way to switch off.

Yesterday I fit two brilliant podcasts into my journey. Both on Fearne Cotton’s Happy Place series and both recorded during the pandemic so, as you can imagine, both very interesting chats. One was with Robbie Williams and the other Russel Brand. If you haven’t already, go listen.

There’s no place where I am more chilled. I sleep, eat, drink, read, drink, eat, read, write. I even had a mini party the last time I was there. A party with me, myself and I. Very 2020. I sang and watched Strictly dances over and over and challenged myself to finish the bottle of wine. I did it! Of course I did.

It’s a place on the coast. The Suffolk coast. And whenever I am there, there’s no place I’d rather be.

All blog posts can be found at and to read my published work visit my portfolio. My debut novel, Dear Brannagh, is out now.

Adulthood Non-fiction Special moments Writing

My Publishing Journey: My book in my hands!!

Publishing is a strange process. It begins with hours of work, a never ending task of finishing the book. Sometimes it’s enjoyable, sometimes painful.

Then editing begins and it honestly feels like that takes decades to complete. There are a lot of very quiet periods spent waiting on the next draft to come through, followed by extremely busy and excitable periods in looking over said draft to send back.

I’m like a kid with it all – so excited and restless!

Each time I recieve an email my heart races. Even during this initial marketing stage, I have found myself replying so fast to each email almost choking on my words to get my questions sent off before the person on the other end has read back over what they have sent.

Yesterday was a brilliant day!

As the world is in a dire state of affairs with the global pandemic and the US election and while all you hear about is doom and gloom, I was glad to receive good news. Is that selfish? I shared my joy with others and it boosted spirits at work so I guess not.

My Mum sent me a picture and while I was working and trying to make out what the picture was I held in a scream when I realised it was quite possibly most probably the first prints of my first novel!!!!!!!

I rang her knowing I was expecting two books for a separate reason. I also condsidered the fact that it could be the promo material and the books would follow. The conversation went something like:


‘Er, about a foot wide and…’

‘Mum, does it look like 25 books or 2 books?’

‘Definitely 25.’


I couldn’t open the package faster if I tried. I ripped it open and pulled out the first copy of my novel in my hand. It felt so good. It SMELT so good.

Immediately I started glancing through looking for mistakes. Then I swiftly stopped!


All blog posts can be found at and to read my published work visit my portfolio.

Adulthood Non-fiction Special moments Writing

My Publishing Journey: A 2020 Publication Date

Wow. It’s all been very quiet on the publishing front and then – bam – it’s livened up.

Last week was a little bit crazy. I was doing 6 o’clock starts and leaving work at 6pm with possibly a few hours out but often that time was spent running around doing work-y things. Of course, this is the week in which I receive exciting emails for my book. Why wouldn’t it be? I find it’s like London buses my work load, it all happens at once!

It was Wednesday. I had just returned to work having sat staring at the TV not taking in what words the presenters were saying but instead contemplating how long my adrenaline rush would last and whether or not I’d survive the week. We were two important cogs of the wheel down and I was having to fill my head with more information than usual. The email came through from my publishers, and I knew exactly what it was.

My final proof certificate!!!!!!

I read the email carefully, glanced at the piles of post I needed to get through for customers who had come in during my break, and got straight back into my car to go to my printer and get it all signed off. The email stated that if I got the form filled in and sent back quickly, my book would make the Christmas market. I think signing and returning within 2 hours of receiving the email is pretty bloody quick!

That was that. Excitement again. Like no other. I couldn’t believe it and had to pinch myself that it was real and happening.

Friday. I got home and it was sunny so I had my sausage dog in his harness and we were waiting on my sister to go for a walk. Another email. This time it was my publication date!

Oh my oh my oh my…

My book is going to be published on the 30th November!!!!! It is all so very real and exciting. My support bubble are all incredible and the pre-order list is expanding fast.

A 2020 publication date might not be so bad… we shall see…

For links to all of my writing related stuff, my link tree is below. You can also find published work in my portfolio. My debut novel, Dear Brannagh, is available on Amazon along with the sequel Don’t Tell Jack. If you enjoy what you’re seeing here and are interested in following me on my writing journey, then please subscribe to my newsletter by dropping your name and email. There will be plenty of giveaways, news hot off the press and an honest insight into life as an author. Thank you x

Adulthood Non-fiction Observations Special moments Stories Writing

In a crazy world where good things happen.


I think it’s safe to say – we love our NHS.

In my village each Thursday night, the clashes of saucepans and spoons is getting louder. The clapping and cheering takes over. Even trumpets play from windows. We heard the lovliest rendition of Somewhere Over The Rainbow last week, it was beautiful.

At work, we always support charities. From Saint Nichs, to Marie Curie, to the air ambulance, Macmillan and so many more – we have a very generous group of customers.

In the week a generous customer came in with bags of old style sweets. She said she’d been given them by her family for Easter, over seventy bags, and that they wouldn’t get through them all. She suggested we sold them.

I said happily, we’d sell them and then all the money could go to the NHS.

This got me thinking.


Over the time I’ve worked where I do, we have raised so much. The Macmillan bucket usually makes almost a thousand pounds yearly. The bucket we had for the Moonwalk raising money for Breast Cancer Research raised even more.

So, we got a bucket.

People are so generous and giving. I’ve had customers buy a bag of sweets and put a twenty pound note into the bucket. Others have spent four pounds and given me ten, saying to put the change in the bucket. It’s lovely.

What’s even lovlier. The children have all decorated and made posters to display around the shop. Rainbows and colours all in support of our wonderful NHS.

How lovely.

Adulthood Non-fiction Observations Special moments Stories Writing

In a crazy world where good things happen.


We were sitting in the sun, two peas in a pod. The best of friends.

The birds were louder than they have ever been. Ever. Maybe it was because there is less noise pollution without traffic. Or the birds are loving the fact that the world around them is less people-y?! We will never know.

The breeze was perfect.

I was wearing a new top which I loved. 1/10 items and I loved them all. AND THEY FIT! Unheard of. Yes, I fell into the lock down online shopping trap. ORDER! Why not? It felt great.

We were chatting about the exciting future. We were talking about food and which takeaway to order. We were discussing good things and good times.

I forgot to get us drinks.

We were looking at more lovely clothes and talking about lovely words. We were watching videos that made us smile. The warmth was thrilling on our skin. We discussed plans.

I forgot our needs for coffee and water.

We were chatting in the sun and it was so nice to be chatting when we weren’t so exhausted. So nice. We hadn’t just finished a long and tiring shift making conversation difficult. It just flowed. No slurring of words.

Though that’s usually down to alcohol.

Two best of friends just sitting letting the world spin. Letting time tick on but not having a care in the world. Sitting comfortably and quite content.

All was good.

It was a Sunday. We didn’t have to do anything. No pressing tasks at hand. The butterflies flew all around us. Nature was so loud. So wild. So lovely.

I forgot our drinks.

I just want to remember. I want to remember snippets like this from these times. When the world around us is so bizarre, unsafe and uncertain.

In this we weren’t actually doing anything. Just being. Treasure it. It is in the moment we must live. Times like these we must cherish. Especially now.

For links to all of my writing related stuff, my link tree is below. You can also find published work in my portfolio. My debut novel, Dear Brannagh, is available on Amazon along with the sequel Don’t Tell Jack. If you enjoy what you’re seeing here and are interested in following me on my writing journey, then please subscribe to my newsletter by dropping your name and email. There will be plenty of giveaways, news hot off the press and an honest insight into life as an author. Thank you x

Non-fiction Special moments Writing

My Publishing Journey: the first stages

There I was signed up, no going back and eager for all that the future held. I was thrilled at how my future was developing.

I sent off my manuscript ready for it to undergo the first stages of publishing. I had read a lot about it before but it was very exciting to see it done for myself and for my debut novel.

I have to say so far the communication between myself and my publishers has been sound. I couldn’t fault it. They are very quick to respond and thorough in their responses.

Firstly, I had to fill in a questionnaire which included lots of details about my novel as well as a cover design idea. I can’t draw nor am I very artistic in that sense at all so I had an image inside my mind and desperately tried to explain it as well as I could in words.

Two weeks later I was emailed what they had come up with and it is perfect.

Now awaiting the first proofs the pending excitement continues.

Good things to come… stay tuned xoxo

Non-fiction Special moments Writing

My Publishing Journey: the decision

Shortly after receiving my publishing contract I returned to reality. I put a serious head on and I realised I needed to make a very important decision.

I researched my publishers online, I read about the different forms of publishing, I read and re-read the contract and then passed it onto my brother for advice.

I soon realised that this was a big decision to make. Nowadays there are so many options within the publishing industry and so many success stories within each route taken that it opens up so many opportunities to consider.

Reading through the industry jargon hurt my head which is why it was also great to get people who know about contracts to translate to me in layman’s terms.

I contacted people who have worked in publishing for years. I considered advice from the society of authors. I emailed my long list of questions to the publishers directly. I weighed up the pros and cons.

I had more sleepless nights worrying, fretting, wondering, learning. I discovered how clueless I am and how everything will be a valuable lesson. I asked for the opinions of those closest to me.


Non-fiction Special moments Writing

My Publishing Journey: the initial reaction

Some time earlier this year amid the mass of submissions I sent out, I sent off a submission to my (now) publishers, never thinking for a minute but forever hopeful that they would accept my work. One of the few publishers who accept unsolicited material.

I had undertaken a lot of research regarding the publishing process and sent most of my submissions out to agents hoping for the best. My most useful resources during this time was my writing course which I do from home and the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook 2019.

My writing course helped me construct my submission to a professional level as well as aiding my writing process while the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook 2019 gave me all the information about agents, publishers and what to do to become a published novelist.

Some time in July I heard that my manuscript was being passed to the board of Editors who were to review it and get back to me.

Some weeks passed.

On Tuesday 17th September 2019 I recieved a publishing contract in the post. I was beside myself.

Excitedly I text family and friends delighted to tell them my news. I shared champagne celebrations that evening with some friends. I couldn’t sleep that night because I was sleeping on clouds. I couldn’t quite believe it.


I dreamed of the book signings, the interviews, the launch party. I kept holding my contract to certify its reality.

I was telling people at work and each time it felt surreal to be talking about me and my novel. I received gifts and cards in the post. I was eligible to sign up to the society of authors. It all felt pretty darn cool.

Special moments

A sunny moment on an otherwise rainy Saturday

Most days just happen. Some happen badly, some happy really quite well but mostly they just happen.

Adulthood can sometimes seem a little mundane with the constant repetition of routine. We go about our lives with work and play, but even free time is filled with monotonous tasks like filling dishwashers and putting washing on the line and it’s all done on repeat.

That’s why when little moments occur which add something extra to the days events, I find it a perfect excuse for a blog post.

I’m taking you back to yesterday, a rainy wet and quite frankly dull Saturday.

I had worked a busy shift, come home to chill out and put on a film because what else is there to do when the clouds are full with water that’s pouring out onto the grey world and it doesn’t look as though the tap is ever going to turn off? And what other film to watch than Bridget Jones’ baby? It was actually a perfect afternoon. One thing missing though? My daily dog walk.

I ventured upstairs to busy myself before wine o’clock came around and began changing my bed, constantly doing things that would better my dreary day. A fresh bed is possibly one of life’s best things, right?

So there I was stripping my bed, a little gutted about not seeing my favorite four legged friends but each time I looked out of my window the rain seemed to have got heavier so I kept thinking that there was no chance we’d get out.

I’d just stripped my bed and the bare duvet and pillows lay all over my bedroom floor when a text message came through from my friend bringing a huge smile to my face – yes of course I want to go on a dog walk in the wet, mud and cold!

Happily, we all loaded into the van and headed to the closest walk to us which we call ‘Italy’ because it’s always flooded. A perfect place to go to in the pouring rain I hear you say. Hear me out.

There was one other crazy person parked up when we arrived but we soon came to realise that she wasn’t crazy but rather distraught as her Spaniel, Cadbury, had disappeared. She had been walking in the fields where we were about to go and Cadbury had gone hunting, not to be seen for an hour and a half. We said we’d try to spot her and took the ladies number, feeling very sorry for her as my friend had been there before and praying but pretty doubtful that we’d see anything.

So, we walked, chatting away about nothing much and were simply happy to be out. We laughed at the madness of our being out in the rain but the dogs were happy so were we too.

I never knew that I looked up when I walked and always thought I looked down at the ground so that I don’t trip on something tiny and make a total fool out of myself, however look up I must because I spotted a black blob in the exact corner of the field that the lady claimed she had seen her dog go missing.

“That’s her!” I shouted to my friend who wasn’t totally sure until the dog turned and the shape was certainly a Spaniel.

We began the loud cries, “Cadbury!” “Cadbury!” sounding almost as desperate as the poor lady looked and trying to mimic her accent which was a lot more well-spoken English than mine and certainly not Irish like my friend’s!

“Cadbury! Caaaaadddbury!” We continued but the poor petrified pup just retreated into the overgrowth.

I tried going up to her alone to try to calm her into the security of the lead I was holding but with a very protective big chocolate Labrador and an excitable pup there was no chance we weren’t going to intimidate her, so we contacted the lady to attempt for herself.

All well and good you might be thinking but the lady was driving down the track thinking that we had found her dog when in fact we’d lost sight of her and were desperately trying to regain it before she arrived. The adrenaline was real and we couldn’t feel the rain pouring on us, until the little Papillon let out a tiny cry and the Shiatsu barked as if to say “Dinner time now please!”

Thankfully, Cadbury made another appearance out of the grass so that we could point the lady in the right direction while we guarded her abandoned car. The cries came as well as the whistle but the poor dog was too scared and remained stagnant until she retreated again.

As hopeless as the situation seemed eventually she reappeared in a gap in the overgrowth a little to the left of where the lady was searching.

We called out as loud as we could and tried to ring but her phone was in the car. We were screaming as Beyonce sang “To the left, to the left” but she didn’t hear.

Turning around to see our crazy hand gestures, she finally cottoned on at the same time that Cadbury realised that it was her Mum and began running towards her like a moment from a film. A film with a very happy ending. A very VERY happy ending indeed.

The two returned to us, one soaked Spaniel and an extremely thankful owner, grateful for our help and happy to be reunited. There was only one place that we were heading and that was the shower!

It’s moments like these that certainly bring the sunshine to dreary, wet Saturday’s and excitement to the mundane. We felt good, we felt we’d done a very good deed.