Monday, 2 March 2015


Another in our short series of playlists for the Chocolate Box sisters… this time, reader Rosie creates a list for Cherry!

Rosie says:
I want to start by giving a shout-out to Chloe who inspired this article with her blog 'A Song For Summer'… it was lovely. So here is my playlist for Cherry!

The first song I have chosen is Everything Has Changed by Taylor Swift. It's an obvious choice - it basically sums up Cherry's life! She is so used to living a life of lies in a flat in Scotland… then she moves to Tanglewood to meet her new sisters. Everything rapidly changes for Cherry and she can't keep up. The song also describes Cherry and Shay's relationship. She is so used to being on the outside looking in, and boys not looking twice at her. Then she meets Shay and it is a beautiful and enchanting romance.

I Miss You by Avril Lavigne is my next song. This choice is a bit more sad than exciting; more deep and heartfelt. Cherry misses her mum and feels like even though she hardly knew her there is still a beautiful connection there. She is still struggling to move on. How can she accept a new family without leaving her mother behind? Cherry is just about to step out - but what if she regrets her choice? This song is just perfect for Cherry!

My final choice is Why Can't We Be Friends by War. I wonder who this is about? Honey, of course. Cherry tries so hard to fit in, to be friends with Honey, to make her like her. She struggles to make choices and treads on eggshells around Honey. A line from Sweet Honey made me choose this song especially: Cherry writes Honey a letter saying she wishes they could be friends.

Cathy says:
Great choices… well done, Rosie! Would YOU add any more songs to cherry's playlist? Which ones? COMMENT BELOW to tell me!

Sunday, 1 March 2015


Reader Rosie decided it was time we heard more about the Chocolate Box BOYS…

Rosie says:
As well as the cool boys in the Chocolate Box series, there were also 'dishwater' boys as Honey would say. Riley and Aaron are two that spring to mind, boys too interested in their looks and very shallow. There were a lot of lovely, kind, caring boys too…

How about Alfie Anderson? OK, I admit that in the beginning I found him annoying… but then we got talking to Skye and he was so sweet. My favourite thing he did for Summer was to give her a box of delicious fruit, and I also loved the part where he and Summer were jumping on the trampoline. I loved Alfie because of his caring nature and dedication.

Then there was Lawrie… again, to start with I found hum surly and unkind, but I could still relate to him. As the story developed, I grew to love Lawrie's passionate and determined attitude. My favourite Lawrie moment was when he said he would never forget Coco… aww!

I liked Ash, Honey's Aussie boyfriend, right from the start. He was such a good boy, the type I would want, who works hard and cares about his family; the type who would treat you as a princess. The confusion with him and Riley got me a bit jittery - I liked Ash, but I worried that Honey would choose Riley. My best Ash moments? I love it when they first meet and he peeks out from under his fringe, and I love the bits where he and Honey play with his little brother and sisters.

Then there is Shay, Honey's ex and Cherry's current boyfriend. Oh, Shay - he is so adorable! I loved him from the start and I'm currently waiting for a boy like Shay to come and be my boyfriend. He was so sweet to Cherry and a good boyfriend to Honey despite her horrible attitude to him. I found it interesting when Cherry called him shallow because I found him very deep. He was so lovely… I wish him and Cherry the best!

Last of all is Finch; he's like a male version of me. I loved his vintage styling and how caring he was, his dedication and love for Skye. Although they live far apart, I hope they can stay together. My favourite part with Finch was when he and Skye first meet at the end of Marshmallow Skye… I also like the bit where he and Skye were staring at each other and Skye let the iron burn her petticoat! Which boy is YOUR favourite?

Artwork by talented reader Deniz - thank you so much!

Cathy says:
Do YOU love reading about the Chocolate Box Boys? Don't miss out on their e-books, Bittersweet (Shay's story); Chocolates and Flowers (Alfie's story); Moon and Stars (Finch's story); and Snowflakes and Wishes (Lawrie's story) all available from the amazon kindle store now. There may be a few surprises in there! So go on, tell us… which boy is YOUR fave? COMMENT BELOW to tell all!

Saturday, 28 February 2015


Reader Jenna shares a heartbreaking short story based on her memories of her dad, who died four years ago… just beautiful.

Jenna says:
We walk along the strawberry pink path of the park woods, Rosie the dog trotting ahead of us. Birds sing in the trees, making their nests ready for the wintry nights ahead. Forget-me-not flowers litter the emerald grass and in the distance, far behind the chestnut trees, I see turquoise waves crashing on the rocks, splashing people on the golden beach below.

Suddenly, Rosie starts to bark at the little stream that seeps through the woods. She looks at my dad for permission, and at his nod she jumps in with a loud splash, trying to pick up twigs in her mouth without having to put her head in the water. Dad stands by the stream watching her; I walk over to watch too, and after a while we sit down on the banks of the stream. Dad puts his arm around me as he used to do when I was small, and we just sit and watch Rosie. It feels like hours, but I know it's just minutes.

Rosie eventually gets out of the water, shaking her soaking chocolate brown fur so she looks less like a drowned rat. We start walking again, and then Dad starts to jog along with Rosie, getting faster and faster, Rosie running alongside him. I watch them running like birds chasing one another along the pink painted path. I've never seen Dad look so free; like all the roubles in his hard and complicated life have left him, like he is free of the illness that has held him back. He is grinning like he never has before.

Dad slows at last and we walk on together. Dad looks ahead into the distance, like he can see something I cannot. Birds fly above us as we watch and the sound of waves crashing in the distance as we stroll along together, father and daughter reunited after four years apart. And then the pink path gets thinner and thinner, as if it is coming to an end. As I look around, pictures begin to form around me, memories of the good times now gone. In the distance I can see a dim light, and I know what's coming. I turn to Dad, tears in my eyes, and he nods, answering my unspoken question.

'I must go, my time is up,' he whispers, so softly you can barely hear it.

He kisses me gently on the head and pats a now whimpering Rosie. There's a strange white light at the end of the path and as he walks towards it the light gets steadily brighter; then suddenly the light goes out and I am sitting up in bed, Rosie howling at my bedside, reminding me he's gone and will never return.

Cathy says:
I love Jenna's brave tribute to her dad; have YOU ever lost someone close to you? COMMENT BELOW to tell us more, or comment on the story.

Friday, 27 February 2015


Another in our series all about growing up in a different decade… we talk to Kellie, who was a teen in the 1990s…

Kellie says:
I turned sixteen in the summer of 1996; what a great year that was! Every boy - well, lots of them, anyway - looked like Liam Gallagher from Oasis. The dress code was skinny jeans and band t-shirts, Adidas Firebird tracksuits and Adidas Gazelle or Campus trainers. Music was the battle of Blur versus Oasis and laughing at the manic Street Preachers fans in their feather boas! Bedrooms were covered in posters of bands and musicians and any part time jobs we had, the money would go on various music magazines like Kerrang, NME amd Melody Maker to check the gig listings. We were free to go to as many gigs as we could - Ocean Colour Scene for a tenner at the Royal Court, Space on a Friday night… the city was alive and booming.

HMV was the place to buy your music from, and you would always find someone you knew in there. Vinyl was just a pound to buy! New bands were coming up all the time, and everyone wanted a boyfriend in a band - many of us joined bands ourselves! There were no mobiles then. We had pay phones, and everyone would crowd around to hear what was said. No digital cameras either… just a throwaway camera you'd take to the photo shop to get prints. You'd have a boyfriend for a week and then dump them by not ringing back or hiding from them at the next gig! Life then was good. There was no Twitter, no Facebook - people talked to each other. I miss those days… there was no pressure.

Cathy says:
Kellie's account really captures the buzz of being a teen… love it! These days she is a mum and an anti-austerity campaigner, and still loves music and live gigs! Would YOU have liked life as a teen in the 1990s? COMMENT BELOW to have your say!

Thursday, 26 February 2015


Readers share more of their cool sister stories… naaaw! Read on to find out why family matters!

Lucy Mae says:
My sister Emily is totally awesome - kind of like my guardian angel. She helps me loads, she lots of fun and and is always there for me when I'm down. She's like a best friend who just happens to be my sister! Sometimes we have these days where we feel like we hate each other, but that never lasts for long - we love each other really and I wouldn't swap her for the world!

Grace says:
I love my sister Lily, she's really cool. We share a room together and she always has great advice. We have a laugh together. She can be a bit grumpy if I leave my clothes strewn around the floor, but that's just because she likes the room to be tidy. She is the best little sister in the world!

Caitlin says:
I have four sisters but sadly I haven't seen them for five years now… they live in England and certain circumstances mean it's not possible to stay in contact. In this old photo, I am the blonde one in the middle, smiling like a loon, and my youngest sister isn't in the picture. I remember that we always played make-believe games together, and my older sister and I used to sit up all night sometimes, telling each other scary stories. The downside was that they used to always tell on me if I did something I shouldn't have… but I do love my sisters!

Isis says:
My little sister is just amazing… I look up to her and she looks up to me. Even though we do sometimes argue about stupid little things, we always make it up fast. We are always hyper and we laugh a LOT! You can see from the picture that it's hard for either one of us to keep a straight face. We both like the same things and are always ready to help each other out when we need help or are stuck on something. We're a team. She is a pretty awesome sister and I think we'll always stay close… I don't know what I'd do without her!

Poppi says:
I have two sisters and I get along with both of them, but I see my oldest sister more at the moment. She is six years older than me and we get on like clockwork most of the time. Of course, as I'm fifteen and she's twenty-one we are at slightly different stages of our lives and for that reason we do sometimes get on each other's nerves! If that happens, we are always friends again within the day. I love her to bits… it's a shame I don't see so much of my other sister, because we do get along when we're together!

Cathy says:
Awww… such fab (and sometimes sad!) stories! Do YOU have a sister that gives the Chocolate Box Girls a run for their money? COMMENT BELOW to tell us more!

Wednesday, 25 February 2015


This Lent, reader Charlotte is raising money for the British Heart Foundation. Find out how... and what YOU can do to help!

Charlotte says:
You might know that Lent started last week, and that people everywhere are giving something up until Easter. Instead of giving something up for Lent, I am going to be taking part in the British Heart Foundation's national 'DECHOX'. I will be joining thousands of others in giving up chocolate (yes, CHOCOLATE!) for a whole month, to raise money for the British Heart Foundation. BHF are a charity dedicated to researching life-threatening heart conditions such as coronary heart disease, which thousands of people in the UK suffer from.

I will be giving up all types of chocolate - even cakes, biscuits and ice-cream - for the whole of March, and any money raised will go direct to the charity. The cause means a lot to me as my grandparents  suffer from heart conditions; they are very happy I have chosen to support BHF. It's going to be difficult - it's only when I think about it that I realise how often I eat chocolate, from Coco Pops in the morning to biscuits as a snack. Plus, when I'm at university, there is an amazing chocolate cake stall which I'll have to avoid! It will be worth it, though, to send money to a charity which can save lives.

I am amazed at the money I've raised so far and I'd be grateful if anyone reading could have a look at my page and donate - even 50p or £1 will make a difference. The link to donate is:
If you can't donate, why not consider taking part in the DECHOX yourself? Thank you!

Cathy says:
I love Charlotte's challenge and her determination to make a difference - and I will definitely be donating! Are you giving up anything for Lent? Or raising money for a favourite charity? COMMENT BELOW to tell me more!

Tuesday, 24 February 2015


Readers tell us about their favourite sports and hobbies… would one of them suit YOU?
Isabelle says:
I have played golf for seven years or so, so I am pretty good at it now and have won the championship twice in a row. What I like best about it is that it's an outside sport, so you get to spend time in the sun - I like the wind too, though! I have made lots of new friends through golf. For example, one of the competitions we do involves going to another town to play for a day, so that can be interesting and you meet new people! My dad is really good at golf and I started playing as a way to spend more time with him and learn a skill at the same time. It does keep you quite fit as you have to walk the nine or eighteen holes to get around the course, but I do other sports too which gives me a good balance. It's not something kids my age always think of, but it can be lots of fun!

Molly says:
My two brothers and I all play indoor and outdoor bowls as a hobby. I have been playing for about three years now, and I am the current junior singles club champion. I've just reached the finals again this year - they'll be played in April. I have also been invited to play for Kent Ladies Under 25s which is quite cool when you are only twelve! I am really looking forward to that. My brothers have been playing bowls for about a year so far, and Harry got his first runners up trophy last year so I think they're going to be pretty good, too!

Jess says:
I'm not terribly sporty, but I am extremely passionate about horse riding! I had my first riding lesson when i was about five,after watching one of my friends who was having lessons, but I didn't start going for regular lessons until I was about eight, just after giving up gymnastics. What I love about riding is that although it can often feel like you're taking one step forward and two back, when you DO achieve something significant it gives you confidence as well as a real sense of accomplishment! And horse riding is an exhilarating experience, where you can really connect with the horse.

Cathy says:
I love these accounts - Isabelle, Molly and Jess all clearly love their sports, and are good at them, too! Do YOU have a sport you really love? COMMENT BELOW to tell us more!