2013 Book Reviews

There’s More To Life Than Cupcakes by Poppy Dolan

– Novelicious Blog Tour –

(Publishing 10th October 2013: Novelicious Books)
“A fresh, sparkling new voice and a wonderful addition to women’s commercial fiction!”
Sunday Times Bestselling Author Claudia Carroll

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‘Ellie Redford has a husband, a job and a home. According to the rest of the world, it’s baby o’clock already. Shame life doesn’t come with a recipe…
Ellie knows that starting a family with lovely husband Pete would be an amazing adventure. Pete would make a brilliant dad and she’d have an excuse to eat shed loads of Cherry Bakewell. But Ellie’s bestie would rather she was up at 3am with a bottle of Malibu, not formula. And with redundancies looming, Ellie’s boss isn’t exactly going to throw her a shower if she disappears for a year, with pay.
While Ellie juggles her feelings (and everyone else’s) as competently as a drunken clown, she finds herself signing up for a baking class, alongside the young, free and sizzling hot Joe. As they work buns and shape tarts, is there more to their friendship than a shared appreciation of Paul Hollywood?
Ellie’s soufflés may be rising, but her personal life is one big soggy mess. If she doesn’t make a decision soon, she may just lose everything that matters to her. Maybe it’s time to take off the pinny and face up to the truth: there’s more to life than cupcakes…’

Firstly if like to thank Kirsty and Kerry at Novelicious for allowing me to be a part of their Blog Tour.

There is More To Life Than Cupcakes is all about Ellie. Ellie is that time in her life where everyone I’m her life is asking or wondering when she will get pregnant. Pete, her husband, hasn’t been direct with her about it, but the gooey looks he gives anything baby related and the disappointment his face shows when friends or family announce they are expecting, says it all.

Ellie’s best friend, Lydia, and man-eater gets Ellie to sign up to a baking class because of a man she fancies. Ellie has to go incognito and find out all about him. Which involves lots of harmless flirting between the two. Although maybe it means more to Joe than it does Ellie. Also on the baking course Ellie meets Hannah, the two hit it off and after a few drinks and Ellie’s confessions about not being sure she is ready for a baby, Hannah tells her to start a blog about it.

Ellie uses the blog to write down her hopes and fears of becoming a parent, giving up her social life, alcohol and good foods. With Ellie’s work in trouble, she works at a food magazine, she pitches forward an idea of doing a feature all about pregnancy, what to eat and what to avoid.

As well as her blog, her baking course she has found herself doing, her work, her huge decision making on wether or not to have a baby, Ellie somehow finds herself signed up to appear on a baking show with a very good looking Joe!

With family members falling pregnant left, right and centre Ellie and Pete are becoming less vocal about their feelings and soon things, as always, will come to a stumbling block. Will Ellie give Pete what his always wanted? Or is Ellie feeling under too much pressure?

This was an absolutely fantastic book, the story was interesting and had me laughing out loud so much, which in turn had me racing through the pages. Ellie was very relatable as a character for me, she loved baking, eating and did the Davina workout DVD! Her blog gave her the opportunity to be completely honest about her feelings towards pregnancy, which I really enjoyed.

I also adored her marriage to Pete, yes she flirted a bit with Joe but she was still so head over heels in love with Pete it was adorable. I loved the way they were with each other. They were sweet, lovable and really just made for each other.

Poppy managed to write a story that had me caring just as much for the secondary characters as I did the main ones, not always easy to pull off but she did this with absolute ease.

Funny, full of feeling, honest, warm and heartfelt. A book I didn’t want to say goodbye too.

I really hope that this isn’t the end of Ellie, I’d love another book, one where we follow her through pregnancy.

The link for the book is here:


Poppy Dolan is a rom com aficiando. After watching When Harry Met Sally at the impressionable age of 14, she’s never stopped dreaming of having the perfect ‘meet-cute’, that one-liner that steals your heart and the grand romantic gesture to end all grand romantic gestures. Since her real-life dating experiences were more often situated at Nando’s than the top of the Eiffel Tower, she turned to fiction and wrote romantic comedies of her own.
When she’s not glued to her laptop, Poppy loves cooking, reading and getting emotional over reality TV. She is in her early thirties and lives just outside London with her husband. She writes in a coffee shop nicknamed Terence and also – when it’s not too chilly – in the shed.

Why not connect with Poppy on Twitter @poppydwriter and on Facebook at PoppyDolanBooks. She doesn’t bite. Unless you are a muffin.

I was also lucky enough to have Poppy write a guest post for my blog, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Cake is the best medicine

Sometimes, you get in a mood, right? And you need just a little pick-me-up to break the fug. 99% of the time cake is the answer. So I’m going to give you some of my best cakey cure-alls and my favourite bakers to turn to for the recipe:

Tired: You need a flapjack, stat. The oats are good for slow energy release to pep you up and all the butter is good because butter just IS good and there’s no two ways about it. The recipe I turn to is from Mary Berry’s Fast Cakes, a book my gran and I would cook from when I was little and it hasn’t let me down in all these years. Mary is the don of baking, yo.

Hormonal/heartbroken: Never be scared to reach for the chocolate. In fact, just have a bit now, to cover all bases. Chocolate has been OK’ed by science boffins as a way to improve your mood, so when you’re moods are flipping like pancakes or you’ve been dumped by a chump, remember that scientists want you to eat chocolate. It’s pretty much the law. When I need a chocolate fix, I make Double Chocolate Cookies from Lorraine Pascale’s Baking Made Easy. They deliver three kinds of chocolate (cocoa, milk and dark) in one chewy hit and they are the best.

Poorly: You need vitamins, in cake form, no two ways about it. You could go down the carrot cake route, but I prefer a lovely squidgy banana loaf myself. A perfect way to use up bananas past their best and feel quite healthy while still consuming a lot of sugar. I love Nigel Slater’s recipe for this and I chuck in extra dark chocolate chunks, for good measure. Nigel’s recipe uses Greek yoghurt too, so that’s, like, way healthy. You’ll be fighting fit in no time. Take two slices every four hours.

Celebratory: if things are going well – you got a promotion, or a hot new boyfriend, or you found a tenner in an old handbag – how should you celebrate? I say, trust the name and go for a Millionaires’ Shortbread. It’s chocolate AND caramel AND shortbread. Three fabulous things in a fabulous wedge. You get the smooth chocolate, the chew of the caramel, the crunch of the biscuit base: a 360 cakey experience that is the ultimate reward. There’s a reason millionaires like it. I will admit I’ve never attempted to make my own – caramel scares me as if you turn away for a split second it turns into manky burnt sugar – life is frankly too short when M&S make such excellent ready-cut squares. So get the cake stand out, make your brew in the best tea pot and make like a millionaire to toast your success. Yummers.

In a rush: Sometimes you need a fix, and fast. There’s no time for creaming butter and sugar, warming up the oven, waiting for things to cool. So for those desperate times, I give you Poppy’s recipe for a desperate calorie hit. Take two digestive biscuits (Rich Tea at a push), spread one liberally with Nutella – like a centimetre thick and I’m not kidding – and then put the other right on top. A chocolate sandwich. Best eaten in two massive bites. God, they’re good.

2 thoughts on “There’s More To Life Than Cupcakes by Poppy Dolan

  1. The first of your books I’ve read … It wont be the last !!! Have downloaded The Bad Boyfriends Bootcamp onto my kindle already … hope it’s as good a read because I just couldn’t put the last one down 😀

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