Tag Archives: Emlyn Rees

Emerging from its chrysalis at last

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Today is publication day.  ‘The Very Hungover Caterpillar’ hits the shops and Emlyn and I had a cheeky breakfast to celebrate.  This morning, we were hungover free, I’m pleased to report, but it’s that time of year when the calendar starts to get full of events, parties and dinners.  I always think I won’t drink too much, but I invariably do.  So after years of experience, here’s my top ten tips to surviving the party season.

 

1.  Accept in advance that you’re in it from early December for the entire duration.   There’s no point in fighting it. You’ll finally get to collapse on Boxing Day. Be strong!
2.  A five pm powernap does wonders to restore a flagging spirit.  Insist on forty-five minutes of shut eye and you’ll be fresh as a daisy and ready to party on.
3.  To avoid illness, never party three nights in a row. Lock in rest days and evenings in your schedule.  You may find yourself filling them up (and they may well turn out to be the best party nights of all), but at least try to book in some sofa down-time.
4. Be a social butterfly, then you can flit between parties, or even slope off home.  In order not to get caught out, make it a rule never send emails or engage in social media after dark.
5. Girls:  Invest in those padded party insoles for your high heels and a pair of folding ballet pumps for when the night ends.  It’s amazing that you can dance all night in heels, but the second you have to stagger to the night bus or the last train, you can’t actually walk.
6. Become an account holder at a reputable cab firm now in November, or even better, stash your company’s account details in your phone so you can always get a cab home.
7.  Do all your Christmas shopping online early and get it delivered to somewhere where someone will be in to take the packages.  Keep a list in a safe place, reminding yourself of who gets what.  Share this list with your partner to avoid doubling up.  Don’t leave present buying until the last minute, when you’re frazzled and stressed out and always buy multiple ‘joke’ presents just in case, as you’ll always need them for the relative and friend you forgot, or the office secret santa.
8.  Make sure you you’re stocked up on bread, cheese and supernoodles for  the 2 a.m munchies.  Then, just before you go to bed drink as much water as you can possibly keep down.
9.  Perfect your own tailored hangover cure.  In this house, we favour Berocca, plus a massive fry up.  For those who know Brighton, only a Billie’s Cafe plate of hash will do.
10.  When all else fails, a hair of the dog does work wonders.  Try a Pickleback – one shot of Irish whiskey with one shot of pickle juice as a chaser.  It’s revoltingly harsh, but remember: you’ll be on the wagon in January.
Cheers!

 

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The Very Hungover Caterpillar – cover reveal

Last Christmas, Emlyn and I had a load of fun when Constable & Robinson published We’re Going on a Bar Hunt, a parody of Michael Rosen & Helen Oxenbury’s much loved children’s classic. On Christmas Day, we had loads of messages from people who’d opened up their copy and were enjoying a chuckle.

Newspapers like The Guardian and Telegraph and sites like Huffington Post were kind enough to say things like “hilarious”, “naughty”, “fabulous” and “very funny”.

We loved working with the very talented Gillian Johnson, the brilliant illustrator and decided to do one more. The Very Hungover Caterpillar is a parody of the wonderful kids’ classic The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. Here’s the cover… What do you think?

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The Very Hungover Caterpillar follows the quest of one man as he attempts to shake off his hangover, through eating whatever he can get his hands on, and annoying his family in the process. The research process for this book was long and arduous!

We hope it’s as much fun as the first one and will get a knowing wink from anyone who fondly remembers the original, but has now grown up and knows all too well just how painful hungover days can be . . .

Out on 6th November!

We hope that once again, it’ll make a perfect humorous Christmas present. You can pre-order on Amazon here.

Or share your own book parody titles on Twitter using #bookparodies

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Less British Hassle, more American Hustle

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Greetings, Lovelies.  So, here we are – third week of January.  The credit card bills have just hit, its cold, windy and raining, yonks till anyone gets paid again and for most of us, the exercise and weight-loss resolutions have all gone right out the window.  They say this is the most depressing bit of the year, but surpringly, for January, I’m in a very chipper mood.

This year, I’ve taken a break from the usual January self-flagellation and have decided instead that this is ‘pamper-me’ month.  On account of the fact that I was such a frazzled old bag before Christmas, running around in a frenzy of chaos, I’m taking it upon myself to be kind to myself.  I’ve had my hair cut, my eyebrows done, my nails done and, on the good advice of my friend Lesley, have taken up sherry as my lady tipple of choice at home.  It’s brilliant.

It helps that all is calm in Rees towers and we’re both writing, which is always the most fun phase to be in.  And last night, Emlyn and I went on our first cinema trip of the year to see ‘American Hustle’.

I’ve been wanting to see this film for ages, mainly because the posters have been everywhere.  All that 70’s hair and fashion.  Disco!   What’s not to love?  And don’t get me wrong, this film didn’t disappoint on the visual front.  It looks stunning.  It also has four tremendous performances from the leads, although for me, it didn’t excel past the opening shot of Christian Bale constructing his elaborate comb-over.

It also featured Amy Adams breasts.  A lot.  She’s got a great pair of knockers and rocks a Dianne von Furstenberg dress like no-one else, but I left very thankful that the low ‘V’ neckline is no longer in fashion.  I am seriously tempted to Google how many metres of tit tape the costume department used during the filming.  Didn’t they wear bras at all in the 70’s?

My overall impression was that whilst the characterization was great, the script could definitely have been better and the plot a bit beefier.  But maybe I’m just picking holes because I’m hot off the back of a box set.  I’ve just watched series one of Wentworth Prison.  It’s the opposite end of the spectrum to American Hustle, being about an Australian women’s prison (so the costume department had a significantly easier job).  However, if you ever watched Prisoner Cell Block H back in the 90’s (usually late at night after a few pints) then this is definitely one for you.  It’s utterly gripping.

So there are a few recommendations for you.  But my biggest recommendation of all is to treat yourself today.  Right now.  It’s January.  Let yourself off the hook.

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These I have loved…

It’s an exciting day here in Rees Towers.  This morning, the typeset page proofs of Emlyn’s new thriller, Hunted, arrived.  It’s always a great moment for an author, when you see your work professionally set out.  When it’s no longer a file on your computer, with your silly font on the title page, but instead looks like a real life book.

It arrived by special delivery.  (A miracle in itself.  Mostly, the van man sprints to the door and shoves a ‘you weren’t in’ red card through it.  Grrrr.  It’s become a secret obsession of mine to catch one red-handed.)

Anyway, the arrival coincided with the Little One in full tantrum mode.  She wasn’t in my good books anyway, having back head-butted me – twice – in two separate wake-up calls during the night.  She’d just protest-blown chunks of dippy egg across the table, when the doorbell rang.  I dumped her on the naughty step on my way to answer the door, realizing as I went that I was only wearing a t-shirt and white running socks.  Not a good look, I thought, as I saw the postman impatiently peering through the glass panel.  I hope he hadn’t heard what I’d been shouting. He wouldn’t be nominating me for a good parenting award any time soon.

Then everything changed.  The package was handed over reverentially.  When I saw the Publisher’s insignia and felt the neat block of pages inside, I called for Emlyn, who was out of bed in a shot.

Of course he ripped open the package and put the precious manuscript straight onto the egg smeared table, before I could say anything.  Doh! But we all oo-eed an ahhed anyway.  Especially after I discovered he’d dedicated his novel to me.  Awww.  What a lovely feeling.

Talking of lovely feelings, I went into the kids’ school to teach creative writing as part of their World Book Day celebrations yesterday.  It was great fun getting all my girls dressed up before hand – as Hagrid, Wimpy Kid and the Cat in the Hat – but it was only when I was actually in with the Year 6 class that I realized that the reason The Big One had insisted on going in as Hagrid from Harry Potter was so that her face would be almost entirely covered by a huge wig and beard – meaning none of her mates would be able to see her cheeks burning as I stood up and started the session in front of her peers.

I used a poem by Rupert Brooke and an extract from ‘The Great Lover’ in which he lists all the things he has loved.  It’s a beautiful passage. The kids did their own version and they all worked on ways of describing the things that are special to them.  Here’s what they came up with.

Wind in my hair                                                                                                          Cantering through the green lushness of a field; the soft giving                           Warmth of a vanilla sponge; elegant stone statues posing;                                            Icy blue droplets viewed from the red warmth inside; boating on a               Diamond-sparkling river; talking; a red caterpillar on a green leaf; a beach with Crystal blue water lapping at your feet tempting you in to swim;                    Gymnasts flying freely around the room; an explosion of exotic colours.

Purple snuggling under my duvet; the solitude of a garden;                          Welcoming metal Fingers; sheets of fur; the soft fluffiness of pets;                  Sydney’s intriguing eyes; canine tickling: a dog’s coarse fur;                                       The exhilaration of performing and the pleasure of                                                Getting the part I wanted; competing in a sporting challenge;                                    Sun shining, the feeling of happiness,                                                                    Splashing in the warm calming sun.

Exploring the lanes with my dad on a Sunday; my carved silver leopard; the Adrenaline rush of a perfect hand-spring landing;                                              Grabbing my pillow as the movie monster appears; a shower of red football Cheers;   hip-hop dancing; lemon-soaked sugary pancakes;                               Stroking my guinea pig; watching the water                                                         Twizzling down the plug hole of my bath; the smell of                                                 New paper; the luxury of a car; the tangy aroma of                                                       Wet paving slabs; a water slide squeal; and the radiant sun                                 Melting into the cold, crisp sea.

Oh to be a ten-year-old again.  I hope that’s given you a nice warm feeling too.

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