Archive for April, 2011

Four fantastic new competitions!

Win a copy of Jodi Picoult's latest novelThe Book People are going giveaway crazy this Easter with four brand new competitions for you to enter! Whatever your interests, we’ve got a prize on offer that you’re sure to find appealing, with signed books, cookware and gift vouchers all up for grabs.

To tie in with our recent dinner with author Jodi Picoult, we’ve got a signed copy of the thought-provoking Sing You Home to give away, as well as a signed edition of Brian Cox’s awe-inspiring Wonders of the Universe.

What’s more, those of you who are handy in the kitchen can get your hands on a Ching He Huang five piece wok set, as well as £25 worth of Jimmy’s Farm vouchers, plus a signed copy of his wonderful self-sufficiency guide A Farmer’s Life for Me.

Click here to take a look at all four competitions and if you haven’t entered a spring flowers photo for a chance to win a gardener’s toolkit, then why not get snapping?

An evening with Jodi Picoult

Sing You Home by Jodi PicoultOn 12th April 2011 I was lucky enough to be invited to an intimate dinner at Kensington Palace with Jodi Picoult to celebrate the launch of her new book Sing You Home.

I arrived at Kensington Palace where we were given a private tour of the state apartments that have been transformed into the ‘enchanted palace’. The tour focused on seven princesses that have lived at Kensington Palace and their lives have been re-imagined as installations, which give a fascinating insight into the palace’s hidden stories. We heard about the rebellious princess who ran from an arranged marriage into the arms of love, sad Queens who bore the pain and sadness of lost babies and the young heir to the throne who escaped the controlling grasp of her overprotective mother. What’s more, in each room there was a selection of dresses from contemporary designers such as Vivienne Westwood and Paul Costelloe, and also original pieces that the princesses wore. It was a really interesting tour, although Jodi and I agreed that it was pretty spooky wandering around the palace at night!

Susie Chalmers and Jodi Picoult

TBP's Susie Chalmers with Jodi

After the tour we were served champagne followed by dinner in the rooms that were formally Princess Margaret’s. Meeting Jodi was such a pleasure – she’s one of the warmest and liveliest people I’ve ever met. She told me that Sing You Home – a book about gay rights – has been the most controversial book she has written.

The reaction in America has been particularly extreme and she’s received a lot of hate mail from Evangelical Christians saying that she will “burn in hell”. But she has also had thousands of positive messages from those who have enjoyed and been moved by the novel. While she was researching and writing Sing You Home, Jodi’s son told her he was gay and she said she realised that writing this story was then even more important.

Jodi also talked about the musicals that she writes that are performed in schools across America. Her love of music truly comes to life in Sing You Home as there is a CD to accompany the book. The songs were written together with Jodi’s best friend Ellen Wilber who was also at the dinner and performed the title track for us. All in all it was a truly memorable evening and I felt very lucky to be there.

You can view the full video of the event here to have a look around Kensington Palace and listen to a live acoustic performance from Ellen Wilber.

Spring flowers competition!

The sun is beginning to shine on TBP Towers in Surrey and the grounds of Catteshall Manor are starting to blossom. To celebrate the picture-perfect impact that spring can have on the great outdoors, we’re offering budding photographers the opportunity to win a wonderful gardener’s bundle and copies of the excellent Great Gardens of Italy by Monty Don.

To stand a chance of winning the handy gardener’s toolkit pictured below, just send us, via email or post, a photograph that you have taken of some beautiful spring flowers (you don’t even have to have planted them yourself!)

For our email and postal addresses and for more information on how to enter, just click here.Gardener's toolkit competition banner While you’re there, why not check out our two new gardening titles, Natural Garden Style by Noel Kingsbury and Garden Wisdom by Leslie Geddes-Brown.


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