Chai And A Chat #102 #ChaiAndAChat #CoronaDiaries Week 26

Is it already Monday, again?

Another week, another round of craziness, here! Drinks ready?

  • If we were having chai I’d start with my weekly school update. It was the first week the children were in full time, which was a real chore for some of them. Staying until 3pm meant we heard a few choruses of “Is it hometime, yet?”, but generally they were fine. Aside from some more serious issues I had to deal with as the Phase leader, with regards to some pupils, the week went smoothly, but it felt LONG!
  • If we were having chai I’d mention that as always, teacher duty morphed into taxi service for the kids come the evenings and weekend, with tutoring, and two sessions of cricket training, as well as aa cricket match on Saturday – they won, so it was all good!
View this post on Instagram

Cricket Saturday again! #cricketmum

A post shared by Ritu B (@ritubhathalwrites) on

  • If we were having chai I’d tell you that I was featured on the Great Writers Share podcast last week, which was fun, and a bit of a boost, as I was so tired, and emotionally drained from the week at school and builder stuff…
  • If we were having chai I’d have to update you on the builder situation. It is nearly done, but still at least a week to go. The new downstairs bathroom looks gorgeous, but there are still some niggles that need sorting out. The carpenter has done an epic job with the new bannister and they have begun to lay the flooring, as well as painting the interior. The upstairs bathroom has nearly completed its transformation, too! Outside, the front is more or less done, with a little left on the porch, and the back left to do, so it’s all good!
  • If we were having chai I’d finally tell you that even though I haven’t been able to write, I got a wonderful review from amazing author, Zoe May, on Amazon, and I was buzzing!

This week, it’ll be interesting to see what the Government announces with regards to a possible second lockdown. I have heard of them talking about a possible early half term for schools, lasting two weeks, so everyone is home, with no online learning, as it will be ‘holiday’… one suggestion, anyway. As long as it doesn’t affect our renovations!

Other than that, it will be me trying to get through the week, hoping for the decorating to be done by the end of this week!

Oh, and while you’re here, did you sign up for my mailing list? I am in the middle of writing an exclusive Chickpea Curry Lit story for my subscribers, and there will be news, tips and even recipes! You know you want to join… go on! Click the pic below to sign up!

Spidey’s Serene Sunday – Part 290 – Caring


“The more we genuinely care about others, the greater our own happines and inner peace.”

Allan Lokos

Thank you so much, Spidey for such a profound quote, today.

Care is something on my mind a lot, right now, because, as a teacher, it is our duty to care about the pupils under our wings.

Especially now, care is so important, because of what has been happening over the last few months. (Pandemic, anyone?)

We’re watching these tender souls, whether young or old, reaching out to them all, especially the ones who have had awful experiences during lockdown. From illnesses and losing loved ones, to possible exposure to abuse, both physical and verbal, social anxieties and worry about being with others again, we’re seeing it all.

And I tell you what, we do care. A lot.

So much so, that sometimes the emotional workload doesn’t leave our shoulders when we depart from our school building. It follows us home, as a worry, a concern, a deep need to want to do more.

We try to do what we can, but sometimes it doesn’t feel like we’re doing enough.

But the feeling we get when a parent appreciates how we are helping their child, or them, and when a child turns to us for comfort, or confides in us, because of that circle of trust we’ve built – that’s priceless.

That care doesn’t stop with my pupils. It’s there always, from my family, to friends, colleagues and my blogily. And if I can reach out to help any one of you, it enriches my life as much as I hope it helps you.

So… tell me, do you find it easy to care?

Have a peaceful Sunday Peeps.  And enjoy your week!  

I Have Been Podcasted!

It gives me great pleasure to let you know that I have been featured on a wonderful podcast, Great Writers Share!


I was honoured to be asked on as a guest, and I hope you have the time to listen.

GWS #53 – Ritu Bhathal

Hello everybody! This week I got to sit down with chick pea lit author Ritu Bhathal!

In this episode we go deep into:

  • • Where Ritu’s journey began
  • • How life can prioritize over writing
  • • Starting a blog on a whim without a plan
  • • Indian family customs
  • • How writing groups and accountability can help lift you up and keep you on track
  • • Publishing Poetry vs a Novel
  • • How having a support system is instrumental in the writing process
  • • Stationary and her vast collection of brush pens
  • • Being realistic when it comes to balancing everyday life and getting words written
  • • What her writing advice is for new writers

Listen now:

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Shakespeare And Me – Guest post by @KileyDunbar and #BookReview of #newrelease, One Winter’s Night

Last year I was introduced to the debut novel of someone who I have come to view as one of those authors whose books I will put others aside, to read as soon as I can.

Kiley Dunbar’s first book, One Summer’s Night, is a wonderful story, based in Stratford-upon-Avon, and heavily influenced by that famous bard, William Shakespeare. As I read her fourth book, One Winter’s Night, (yes, she’s got that many under her belt since last year’s release!) I realised it was also Shakey-heavy, too, so I decided to be nosy and ask all about her fascination with Shakespeare, and how much he’s influenced her writing, and life, too!

Over to you, Kiley!

I fell in love with Shakespeare’s poetry when I was fourteen and I talked my mum into buying me A Midsummer Night’s Dream, based solely on my lovestruck reaction to its gorgeous cover. I still have that book! (pictured).

That was the summer my parents dug out a small pond in the back garden of their terrace in the coal board village where I grew up. I spent hours that summer sitting by the pond trying to get to grips with the strange language and magical characters. I only understood half of what I read and it took me the whole summer to finish the play.

I was always a dreamy kid but something about the summer moon reflecting in the water and this 400-year-dead beardy English bloke had me reeling. I was a goner.

Cut to Mrs Marr’s English class a few years later and I’m head over heels for Hamlet, outraged by Othello and totalled on Twelfth Night. Thank you Mrs Marr!

In May 1999 I was writing a long letter to the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in Stratford upon Avon explaining my obsession and asking if they have any summer job vacancies – and they did!

Within weeks I was living in Stratford, working as a tour-guide and seeing every single play at the RST and the Swan. I was in heaven!

And I didn’t want to leave.

So I applied to study at the Shakespeare Institute and, to my amazement, got a place – after a nerve wracking interview. I made Shakespeare-obsessed friends for life there.

A few years, and a lot of studying, later I have been fortunate enough to be able to teach my own Shakespeare courses at a uni in the North of England. Seeing the moment where it finally all made sense for my students was utterly magical!

It felt as though all my teenage summer dreams had come true. Except for one. I wanted to write love stories and comedies of my own.

In March 2019 my debut novel, a rom com, called ‘One Summer’s Night’ came out with Hera Books, inspired by my love of Shaky and (v. v. loosely) based on my first summer in Stratford all these years ago where I met my husband and we got engaged after FOUR days! I know, I’m not exactly risk averse. Now I’m looking forward to sharing the sequel to that novel. It’s called One Winter’s Night and is out on 17th September 2020 and follows the same characters and some new ones through a very romantic, dramatic winter in Shakespeare’s hometown. One of the storylines is a gender-reversed version of Love’s Labour’s Lost, one of my favourite Shakespeare plays.

I hope you love it, Kiley, x

You can download your copy of One Summer’s Night here:


And One Winter’s Night can be bought here:




Here’s the blurb:

A gorgeously uplifting, romantic read that will warm your heart – take a trip to Stratford-Upon-Avon, where magic happens…

It’s autumn in beautiful Stratford-Upon-Avon and Kelsey Anderson is enjoying her new life in her adopted town. Her Shakespearean tour guide days behind her, she’s now opened her own photography studio and loved up with boyfriend Jonathan – even if a long-distance relationship is sometimes lonely.

When best friend Mirren Imrie moves down from Scotland, Kelsey is delighted to have her friend at her side – and as the nights turn colder, Mirren throws herself into dating, until she finds herself growing closer to sexy journalist, Adrian Armadale. But when Mirren uncovers a long-buried scandal while working at the local newspaper, her big scoop might throw Kelsey’s – and Jonathan’s – life upside down. Will she choose her career over her friends’ happiness?

And when Jonathan returns from America and discovers the secrets Mirren has uncovered about his family, it throws his relationship with Kelsey onto shaky ground. Can they find their way back to love, before it becomes the winter of their discontent?

A romantic, funny and feelgood read that will make you smile from ear to ear. Fans of Milly Johnson, Heidi Swain and Holly Martin will fall in love with this cosy winter read!

Thank you, so much, Kiley, for sharing your love affair with Shakespeare with us all!

And four days! Wowzer! Well, they do say, when you know, you know. 😉

As I mentioned, I was honoured to be able to read an ARC of One Winter’s Night, and it was fabulous! Here’s my review.

One Winter’s Night by Kiley Dunbar
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I happened upon Kiley Dunbar and her debut last year, and after devouring the first one, I have awaited any other releases with great anticipation, and she’s never failed to satisfy.
Hearing that the characters from One Summer Night, Dunbar’s debut were getting another outing in One Winter’s Night, made my summer.
I love Shakespeare, Stratford-Upon-Avon is a place we visited plenty when I was growing up, And though I’ve never been, Scotland and its. beauty has always enticed me.
One day I will visit.
And romance? Well, I love a bit of romance, so, having all these components in a book should be a guaranteed good read, for me, at least.
And it surely was!
Catching up with Kelsey Anderson, as the Scottish lass comes to grips with settling far south of her home town, in Shakespeare’s land, attempting to set up a business fuelled by her passion for photography, with no good friends or family close by, and the love of her life off acting across the Atlantic was a joy.
And I loved the parallel story of Kelsey’s best friend Mirren, the newly single, Scottish journalist who’s finally had enough of the sexist world of broadsheet journalism, and finds herself swearing off men, jacking in her job, and jumping on a train to join her best friend, for a little while, as she straightens her life out.
There were a whole host of new characters introduced, including the old soak, propping up the local bar, who ended up being a rather famous actor in his prime, with a hidden secret, and Blythe.
Oh, I loved Blythe! Everyone needs a Blythe in their lives.
An eccentric elderly woman who was a force to be reckoned with in her prime, on stage, until life threw her some huge curveballs. Blythe may be a bit of a recluse, but she has amassed a veritable smorgasbord of memorabilia and hard-learned wisdom over the years, along with the talent of distilling her own extremely strong flavoured gins.
Kelsey’s unusual, initial meeting with Blythe cements a multi-generational friendship that adds another layer to an already wonderful story.
So there’s love, heartbreaks, more romance, Shakespeare, family angst, and GIN! What more could a reader want?
Absolutely a recommended read.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Hera Books for an ARC, in exchange for an honest review.

Now, I 100% recommend you get reading all of Kiley’s books, they are wonderful little nuggets of escapism!

Happy Reading!

Chai And A Chat #101 #ChaiAndAChat #CoronaDiaries Week 25

Oh, man… anyone gotmatchsticks to keep my eyes open, while we sup our drink?

It’s been another one of those weeks… (when is it ever not, in Ritu World?)

  • If we were having chai I’d begin with updating you about school. So, this week the children in our class were staying for lunch for the first time. I was dreading it, since there was a new format, where the teacher stay with thoses having packed lunches, and the assistants were to go to the canteen to support those eating school lunches. we adapted it slightly, as there were few children having packed lunches, so my team teacher had lunch with the packed lunch kids, and I ventured over to the canteen with my teaching assistants, to see how the school lunch children would settle. I have to say, that apart from a couple of teary faces, most did really well. Then illess kicked in around school. Children with streaming noses, and even pants being pooped in twice! I only had a couple off, over the week, but the other class was depleted from 27, to 20 by the end of the week! Elsewhere in the school, absences started, where people kept their children off with temperatures, or coughs. One of my colleagues was called as her son, in a different school, was sent home. It meant that, until he had a negative test, he couldn’t come back, so she was unable to be at school. That meant, in turn, that I was asked to spare an adult… which left us a little short. Then the nursery teacher was off, so we had to scramble to find a supply teacher. And I had to deal with a biting incident, and then a parent calling about said biting incident, and another parent calling to ask about a child in school with a runny nose… Basically, it was never-ending. I was grateful for the weekend, but rest wasn’t meant to be…
  • If we were having chai I’d tell you that, alongside the craziness of school, I was acting like a taxi service for the kids, with training or tutoring, or more training, followed by cricket matches… and a trip to Bluewater. I haven’t been there since lockdown started, and to be honest, I was a little nervous. Lil Princess had a friend who was celebrating a birthday, and there were four of them who were going to chill in the shopping centre. I had agreed to take her, as she has barely been out over the last six months, and I felt that this would be good for her wellbeing, then the cases of Covid-19 started to rise, and the talk of a possible second lockdown began. And talk of cancelling was met with sulks and moods, so I took her. And as it was Friday, I was shattered, so after a few moments of walking around, I ended up in Costa, with a huge Chai Latte and my Kindle. I was there for nearly two hours, and I tell you, I could have happily fallen asleep!
  • If we were having chai I’d update you on the house. So the front is painted. The porch is nearly complete, the downstairs bathroom is functional! The inside is being painted… The last set of wardrobes upstairs have been dismantled. My husband has more clothes than me! And he is awful at getting rid of things, too. Some of the guys doing the work are very aware of us wanting to get things done quicker, and have volunteered to work weekends, so that has been a bonus in one sense, as things will get finished sooner, but the bummer is that there is no rest time for us. There is always something that needs doing, or a room that needs clearing… hence the tiredness. Still, it’ll all be worth it in the end!

This week, the kids in my class are finally staying fulltime… let’s see how they (and we) cope!

Fingers crossed that the plumber guys will have finished, and the painters will be done, and possibly only the flooring left!

I can’t even think of anything else to focus on… life is too crazy, with school and home improvements!

Oh, and while you’re here, did you sign up for my mailing list? I am in the middle of writing an exclusive Chickpea Curry Lit story for my subscribers, and there will be news, tips and even recipes! You know you want to join… go on! Click the pic below to sign up!

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