Wednesday, 7 November 2012

UK Appreciation Month; Sarah Alderson - Guest Post and Giveaway

Sarah AldersonTop 10 Favourite's from the UK
by Sarah Alderson

When Donna emailed to ask if I’d take part in this I was sitting at my desk in Bali, the sun was just beginning to slide it’s golden path across the terrace by the pool. The rice paddies were swaying lushly in the distance and the coconut delivery had just arrived.

The UK seemed like a million miles away.

I was born in London and lived there most of my life with spells of amazing travel in between. But then in 2010 my husband and I quit our jobs, deciding that we wanted to find some place new to live. We went travelling around the world with our then three-year old daughter on an adventure to discover home and wound up in the tropical paradise of Bali.

Truthfully, I can’t see myself returning to live in the UK (there are no coconuts for starters) but I thought I’d take this opportunity to reflect on all the British things I miss and which I mourn:

1. Bookstores
There are no bookstores in Bali. Well, there are, but they’re not very good and they’re hugely overpriced. I just use my Kindle instead but I love heading to Waterstones or a good independent when I’m back and stocking up on paperbacks and seeing what’s recommended in-store. Also I sign all the copies of my books I can get my hands on which is always fun.

2. Topshop
Every time I visit Topshop I tell myself I’m getting too old to wear their stuff, but it still doesn’t stop me. I’ve always been a Topshop addict and always will be.

3. M&S undies and Percy Pigs.
First stop on any visit back to the UK is M&S for new undies (another thing you can’t get in Bali), oh and Percy Pigs!

4. Knowing my way through London blindfolded.
I grew up in London and have been weaving through its streets since I was a kid. I temped all over the West End and then lived in Spitalfields and used to cycle to work along the river on my boyfriend’s BMX. In fact, if I  wasn’t a writer and I didn’t like to scream at bad drivers, then I think I could be a black taxi driver. I miss that sense of belonging to a city, of knowing it like the back of my hand and recognizing its every mood and smell and taste.

5. Cadbury’s
Yes, they have Cadbury’s here but they put an anti-melting agent in it so it doesn’t taste the same. I miss Cadbury’s Wispa and Twirls and Flakes the most. Have you ever tried a Wispa dipped in a hot chocolate? Ecstasy. The only thing that could beat that would be a Wispa dipped in hot chocolate and shared with Alex.

6. Tea
I miss the availability of good tea. And by that I mean PG Tips. They only have Lipton here. Lipton? PLEASE. That ain’t tea.

7. Marmite
There need be no explanation.

8. The British sense of humour
By this, I think I really mean sarcasm. I miss the dry wit and humour that the Brits do better than anyone on the planet. I miss the scathing cynicism. I’m surrounded by Californians and Canadians here who are all so earnest they make me feel like a total bitch when I say something sarcastic or scathing (sigh) so like, every time I open my mouth. Shows like The Thick of It are a gazillion times funnier than most the stuff on The Comedy Channel.

9. Countryside
I miss green grassy fields – that idyllic English countryside made for summer picnics with strawberries and Pimms. I also miss London’s parks. We don’t have parks here in Bali. Only rice paddies and you can’t picnic in a paddy. You’d get wet and probably also get Japanese Encephalitis.

10. And now I couldn’t resist…here are my favourite places in London (and look! They’re all food related…how’d that happen?):
Borough Market for foodie heaven, Konditor & Cook (try the Curly Wurly cake), Mildred’s on Lexington, Dehesa off Kingly Street, Waterstones on Piccadilly (the bar / cafe on the 5th floor is awesome), Bodega Negra (for celeb/cool spotting and yummy Mexican), Curzon Soho (one of my all time favourite cinemas in London = up there with the Ritzy in Brixton.).

Hunting Lila (Lila, #1)Hunting Lila.

17-year-old Lila has two secrets she’s prepared to take to the grave. The first is that she can move things just by looking at them. The second is that she’s been in love with her brother’s best friend, Alex, since forever.

After a mugging exposes her unique ability, Lila decides to run to the only people she can trust—her brother and Alex. They live in Southern California where they work for a secret organisation called The Unit, and Lila discovers that the two of them are hunting down the men who murdered her mother five years before. And that they’ve found them.

In a world where nothing and no one is quite as they seem, Lila quickly realises that she is not alone—there are others out there just like her—people with special powers—and her mother’s killer is one of them. 

Want to win a copy of ANY of Sarah Alderson's books? Winners choice! You can choose between Hunting Lila, Losing Lila OR Fated. 
- Just fill in the form below. One free entry plus a ton of extra entries.
- Ends 30th November 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Author Bio: 
Having spent most of her life in London, Sarah quit her job in the non profit sector in 2009 and took off on a round the world trip with her husband and princess obsessed daughter on a mission to find a new place to call home. After several months in India, Singapore, Australia and the US, they settled in Bali where Sarah now spends her days writing by the pool.

She finished her first novel just before they left the UK, wrote the sequel on the beach in India and had signed a two book deal with Simon & Schuster by the time they had reached Bali.

A third book, Fated, about a teenage demon slayer, was published in January 2012 and it's sequel, Severed will be published on November 12th, 2012. 

Losing Lila, was published August 2nd, 2012.

You can find Sarah on facebook and at or follow her blog at
Don't forget to stop by Misty's blog today to see Janet Edwards's post!
Click on the button below.


Melanie Hall said...

Awesome interview :) I think I would really miss our humour too, it's one of the things I love about being a Brit :)
Just want to say, I love Sarah's writing, Hunting Lila was one of my faves of last year and I have a signed Losing Lila waiting to be read (courtesy of Donna) I really need to get to it!

Zoë Somers said...

Love the post :)
I already have all 3 books, so I'm going to leave all the choices to the other people :D

Suzanne @ Paranormal Book Fan said...

Great post. And thanks for the awesome giveaway. Sarah is amazing :)

isabel roberts said...

I'm really grateful to you girls... Thanks for making it international

Carly @ Fiction Fascination said...

Love this interview!! No PG tips?? No way!! LOL the undies made me
giggle. I would love to pack everything up and travel though, although I
would definitely miss the countryside, being from Northern Ireland
everything is green. Thanks for the giveaway and for sharing this
interview! :)

Addie Richardson said...

Great post! I've always wanted to visit London. x]
Thanks for the giveaway! ^__^

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