Review of ‘Someday Someday Maybe’ by Lauren Graham


Lauren Graham is an actress arguably best known for her role as fast-talking Lorelai, in the TV show Gilmore Girls, and I couldn’t help but hear Lauren’s voice in my head as I read this. Someday Someday Maybe is a novel written in the first person and narrated by Frances ‘Franny’ Banks, a struggling actress named after a character in a J.D. Salinger story.

Set in New York in 1995, this story begins six months before the date Franny set herself to make it as an actress or give up and go home to marry her high-school sweetheart and get a sensible job. Franny is funny but insecure, and she’s never quite sure if she’s the leading lady in her own story or just the sassy sidekick, but I found myself rooting for her to succeed.

This is a character driven story, and the looming deadline creates a sense of urgency that drives the plot forward. The novel includes excerpts from scripts, transcripts of answer phone messages (mostly from Franny’s supportive but long-suffering father) and scribbled extracts from Franny’s precious Filofax, which records everything from her waitressing shifts, acting classes and auditions to bad hair days and doodles.


The story offers a somewhat unglamorous glimpse into show-business, from the rivalry between aspiring actors in the same drama class to the awkward auditions, how it feels to be scrutinised by costume, hair and make-up artists and the tedium of repeating the same lines over and over again. It’s hard not to imagine that parts of this novel where drawn from Lauren’s own experiences as an actress trying to make it in the big city.

Someday Someday Maybe is a light-hearted escape into another life, place and time, which reminded me a little of Bridget Jones’ Diary and Sex in the City, but it’s not at all derivative of either of those novels. This is laugh out loud in places and cringe-some in others as Franny recounts her messy romantic encounters, professional mis-steps and everything in between.

A Safe Haven

Mara helping us pack

We are in the middle of moving, and as we pack up our belongings, I know I will miss this place. The little home my husband and I rented for three years and seven months was our first home together and the setting of so many memories and milestones in our relationship. It seems to me that a home is whatever you make it: it could be a battleground, a dumping ground or a safe haven. Our home has been all of these at different stages of our relationship.

Our home was a battleground as we clashed over money, housework and competing priorities when we first moved in together. Although we have resolved most of those early conflicts, whenever we have something contentious to discuss now, we find a neutral space like a café or a park, and the discussion ends before we step through our front door.

We used to wipe our feet on the doormat, but tramped the day’s emotional dirt through our home. It became littered with the ghosts of all of our stresses, sorrows and frustrations. Now we understand that we don’t have to bring these issues inside, and our home can be a safe haven away from our troubles. As well as the emotional detritus, we treated it like a dump for our possessions. Our home was already furnished when we moved in, and once we’d squeezed our own things into it, the cupboards and drawers were bursting and there wasn’t a single clear surface to be found. It took us a little while to realise that we didn’t need more space but less stuff, and we have been gradually downsizing and decluttering over the last few months.

We’ve become more intentional about what we keep and what we buy now. When our electric kettle broke, we replaced it with a stove-top whistling kettle; it’s a little reminder to slow down in an impatient world. We also treated ourselves to a few house plants (after researching which plants wouldn’t poison our curious house-cat); I don’t know if they purify the air but having greenery around is calming.

It seems odd, but what I’ll miss most is the scratched, old dining table (featured in many photos on this blog), around which my husband and I shared meals, wrote our Christmas cards and wedding invitations, played board games with friends, and where I typed most of these posts. I suspect our landlords would let us have the dining table and chairs if we asked, yet I’m leaving them behind, because I’m keeping all the memories.

A roof over our heads and walls to shelter us is something many of us take for granted, but others are not so fortunate. Over the last three and a half years we have learned to protect our home from physical and emotional clutter in return for the safe haven it provides from storms of all kinds, and these are the lessons we’ll take with us wherever we live. Have a lovely week.

Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie Recipe

This is real comfort food, ideal for a winter supper.

Ingredients: (Serves 4)

1 Medium Onion, finely diced

1 Medium Carrot, quartered lengthways and diced

½ Celeriac, cut into cm cubes

1 Cup of Frozen Peas

1 400g tin of Aduki Beans, drained

1 Clove of Garlic chopped

1 tsp of Marmite

Pinch of Thyme

Pinch of Rosemary

Butter or Dairyfree spread

2 medium or 1 large potato, halved and quartered



Pour a splash of oil into a medium sized oven-proof pan and heat on a medium heat.

When the oil is warm, add onion and garlic, cook on a medium heat for three to five minutes, until onions turn translucent.

In a second pan, bring water to boil and add the potatoes. Cover and simmer until cooked through.

Add carrot and celeriac to the first pan. Cook for about five minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add herbs to the pan with the vegetables, and season with salt and cracked black pepper. Mix well.

Add the drained aduki beans to the vegetables.

Add about half a cup of boiling water to the vegetables and stir in Marmite until dissolved.

Add the frozen peas to the vegetables. Stir thoroughly, cover and cook for 20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and the stock has thickened. Remove the pan from the heat and allow to sit for a few minutes.

Preheat grill to a medium heat.

Drain the potatoes and allow to sit. Add a generous amount of butter or dairy-free spread and mash until smooth.

Spoon a small amount of mashed potato onto the top of the vegetables, until evenly covered.

Place the oven-proof pan under the grill and remove when the mashed potatoes start to turn golden or crisp.

(An alternative option is to peel and thinly slice the potatoes to roughly ½ cm thickness. Add to boiling water and simmer until almost cooked but still firm. Drain and set aside. Once the vegetables and sauce are cooked, layer the potatoes on top. Drizzle with olive oil and cook under the grill until crisp and golden.)

Review of ‘A Street Cat Named Bob’ by James Bowen


I saw the film of this at the cinema last year and was so moved by it that I read the book soon after. James Bowen was a busker and recovering heroin addict living in sheltered accommodation in London when he encountered an injured but friendly stray cat (whom he names Bob) that found its way into his block of flats. The two quickly become inseparable companions and the book follows all the highs and lows they share together, it is their loyalty and devotion to each other that drives the book forward.

James is living a hand to mouth existence for most of the book, but spends the little money he earns busking and selling the Big Issue magazine on cat food and vet’s bills. From the offset, James is a responsible pet-owner, taking Bob to the vet, getting him neutered and micro-chipped. Taking care of Bob gives James a purpose, and it seems like the simple routine of caring for the cat keeps him tethered to normality, and he is rewarded with Bob’s affection and trust.

Having adopted a rescue-cat of my own from the Scottish SPCA, I could relate to James’ speculation about Bob’s past, as he tries to understand the quirks and behaviour that might offer clues about Bob’s life before they became companions.

Throughout A Street Cat Named Bob, James shows humbling insight into how society regards homeless people and addicts, drawing attention to the deliberate blindness of passers-by and how it felt to be invisible. He also describes the vulnerability of working on the streets of London, trying to eke out a living from busking and selling the Big Issue, as well as the numerous barriers facing those trying to turn their lives around.

This is a rags-to-riches autobiography in a sense, yet this is a also a tale of recovery, second chances and above all the friendship that develops between a recovering addict and a stray cat.

Peaceful Midwinter Days

December passed in a merry blur as my husband and I squeezed too many catch ups with family and friends from near and far away into too few days around Christmas, along with trips to Christmas markets and the cinema to see A Street Cat Named Bob, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

Christmas with Mara

On Christmas Eve we drove to the little town where my parents live, singing along to Christmas songs on the radio, with our cat Mara curled up at my feet in the passenger footwell. There was no lie in for us on Christmas day as Mara woke us up bright and early demanding her breakfast; she’s a creature of routine and her body clock is unerring where feeding times are concerned.

Fortunately my family and in-laws only live a short car journey apart so we’re able to spend time with both sides on Christmas Day. We visited my husband’s family in the morning to exchange gifts and catch up over mugs of coffee, before returning to my family and Mara.

Christmas dinner has become a team effort in my family as we all do something to lighten the load of whoever is hosting it, whether it’s setting the table, preparing the starter or washing the dishes afterwards. As we gathered around the dining table, my grandmother insisted everyone wear the paper crowns from their crackers as we tucked into a three course Christmas dinner, while Mara circled like a shark under the table searching for scraps. Boxing Day was also spent surrounded by family, chatting and picking at leftovers.

It is always the cosy togetherness with family and friends that I look forward to and appreciate most during the festive season.

The Kelpies by night

My husband and I started 2017 with a trip to Falkirk with a couple of good friends for a refreshing New Year’s Day walk around the Kelpies. It was a cold, clear evening, and I loved breathing in all the hope a new year promises in the chill air.

Back in our own home now, January tends to be a peaceful month, providing a much-appreciated lull after the busyness that precedes it. Life seems to slow down at this time of year as the world outside hibernates.

Cosy mornings with Mara

On the coldest, winter mornings, Mara crawls under the duvet and flops down on her side between us, purring like an engine and revelling in being warm and close to us. While the short days and long evenings provide the perfect excuse to stay cosy at home together, playing with Mara or letting her snooze across our laps while we read, write thank you cards and finish off the last of the cheese selection.

Taking down the Christmas decorations seemed more poignant than usual as we are moving soon, yet with change and upheaval on the horizon, I’m grateful for these peaceful midwinter days. Wishing everyone a happy New Year!