Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

Local author Claire gets rave reviews for first novel

Claire Upton

Local author Claire Upton, 36, has been getting 5-star reviews online for her first novel Twisted Fate.

She said: “I uploaded my book to Amazon on a whim because I’d spent years sending it to publishers and agents with no luck. A friend of mine had uploaded their books and I just thought why not? At least people would get to read it this way.”

After just a few weeks online, the novel is enjoying major success, receiving glowing reviews:

“My book has now made it to number 2 on the Amazon chart for Romance and Contemporary reviews over the last 30 days. I’m now only one good review from the top space!”

The romantic novel, set in Norfolk, tells the story of successful career woman Natalie and her fateful meeting with farm manager Matt, which subsequently changes the course of her entire life.

Among the glowing reviews received on book-store Amazon was this: “Many thanks to C. Upton for tantalizing imagination and pure colorfulness of characters. Inspiring read with great purpose and emotions. Bound to be a best seller. Can only recommend to those who enjoy nothing more than a well written story (which is everyone). ENJOY.”

Claire enthuses, “I hope readers enjoy reading my book just as much as I loved writing it. At the moment it’s only available as a download for the Kindle, but I’m hoping a publisher will soon be able to put it into book form.”

Claire was born in King’s Lynn. She spent the first few years, and many school holidays in Richmond, Surrey. Her family moved back to Norfolk when she was five, and she later attended Springwood High School. She currently lives on the outskirts of King’s Lynn.

Claire qualified as an Interior Designer in the mid 90’s and has worked as everything from Dogwalker to PA to Company Director. She has recently returned to education and is currently embarking on a psychosocial degree.

Claire has four children & a stepson who she says are “her world”. Her Partner works in Healthcare & supports all her crazy dreams… such as publishing her novel!

Twisted Fate was written while her third child was tiny. While he refused to sleep at night she made the most of the time & wrote this novel, mostly with him resting on her shoulder.

A brief synopsis of the book Twisted Fate

It is 2001 and Natalie Walsh is successful in her career, has great friends and subsequent social agenda. She is not looking for love but serendipity takes a hand and leads her towards Matt Samson, a down-to-earth Farm Manager.

Fate however steps in and twists her life into an unrecognisable form. How will she put her life back together or more’s the case, does she want her old life back? If she does, is it possible after her course has changed?

A heart-warming story of love, loss and acceptance.

You will laugh and cry your way through Natalie’s trials and tribulations. And at points wish you could just reach into the book and give her a supportive hug.


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Review ~ ‘A Classic Experience’ in Gaywood

KLYT A Classic Experience

A cleverly written script and an enthusiastic performance by a talented group of young actors, combined to produce a hugely enjoyable experience on Friday evening.

Not really knowing what to expect, we waited patiently for the curtains to open along with a considerably sized audience at King’s Lynn Academy’s North Hall, in Gaywood – It turned out to be a real treat.

The King’s Lynn Youth Theatre’s production of ‘A Classic Experience’, written and directed by Luke Goold, entertained us from start to finish with it’s story of a disastrous Norfolk school trip to ancient Italy.

There were less Ancient Wonders and more Catastrophic Blunders, as the group of sixth formers got involved with bank-robbers, inept secret agents and the world’s most deadly assassin.

Some amusingly played characters, original stage effects, lighting and music, all combined for a very entertaining evening out.

So, ‘Well Done’ to the King’s Lynn Youth Theatre!

If you ever get the chance to see one of their productions, we would highly recommend that you go along.

Youth Theatre goes from strength to strength

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Denver Mill features on BBC-2’s The Fixer

Alex Polizzi and Simon Rowe filming at Denver Mill

We were at the filming of the Denver Mills Farmer’s Market and took this photo of KLFM’s Simon Rowe talking to Alex Polizzi.

A local windmill featured this week on the BBC-2 documentary “The Fixer”. Alex Polizzi was called to the family firm who run Denver Mills, near Downham Market, finding they were in dire need of help.

Just before Alex arrived, a tragedy had struck. Three of the sails had crashed off the windmill, leaving the Abel family absolutely bereft. A business already in trouble had just hit rock bottom.

Alex found a business that didn’t know what it was, with the site comprising of the windmill itself, a tea shop, gift shop, function room and rental cottages. She also found a family that, although passionate about milling flour, were clueless about how to run a business.

Relationships had started to implode, with mother Lindsay not knowing anything about their finances and son-in-law Duncan angry that the family cared more about milling than money. Alex had a huge challenge on her hands. She needed to get the family focussed, and fast.

Identifying that the shop and the cafe were profitable ventures, she got the family to concentrate on those areas. Realising that they were underselling their high-quality produce, she took them to hamper producers Forman and Field to learn how to package and sell their local produce properly.

She also took them to historical site branding experts Imagemakers, to help give Denver Mill a new cohesive brand identity. Most of all though, Alex needed to give the family their confidence back so they could continue after she had gone. She helped them set up a farmers market at the Mill to showcase the new improved Denver Mills and its produce.

During the programme, the family were seen going to the studios of local radio station KLFM, to produce a commercial to promote the farmers market.

Windmill to feature on BBC2

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Review ~ Mrs B’s Heavenly Carrot Cake

Mrs B's Carrot Cake

When we opened this beautiful-looking carrot cake, we knew we were in for a treat.

The knife sliced easily into the cake, revealing a rich and fluffy texture, and an enticing, spicy aroma.

The cake was very moist and just melted in the mouth. The pecan nuts added some crunch, and the ginger a bit of bite to the flavour. The cream cheese icing, was smooth, zesty and delicious.

Slice of Carrot Cake

To sum up: A delicious, indulgent carrot cake from Heaven, we can highly recommend!

Mrs B is based in Downham Market, and has been passionately baking cakes for the last 25 years. She does some local delivery, or people can collect orders directly from her.. You can find more details on her website at

You can also find her on Twitter at

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Art exhibitions focus on everyday objects

David Kefford's Sculpture "Bakers Dozen"

Six artists from the King’s Lynn Arts Centre have each created two responses to a domestic object they have chosen from the Lynn Museum collection.

It’s all part of Aspire, a 3 year project funded by the Arts Council and conceived by Liz Falconbridge, Director of the King’s Lynn Arts Centre Trust in partnership with Lynn Museum and Freebridge Community Housing.

The large Triffid-like sculpture by David Keffort [left] mimics the form of an early 20th Century egg stand, using simple materials and low-tech processes in an imaginative way.

The structure is precariously balanced on a 3-legged stand wedged over an egg-like central form consisting of multiple layers of plastic shrink-wrap. Threads of taught red twine hold it all together.

Richard Layzell’s “Silver Service” [below] was inspired by knife or carver rests c1900.

“When I was in China a few months ago, and thinking about the Re-Home project, I found some ceramic ‘rests’ for artists’ brushes. These can be seen as part of my display at the Lynn Museum” said Richard.

Richard Layzell - Cutlery Rests

There are three exhibitions, at the Arts Centre in King Street, King’s Lynn Museum and 149 Hillington Square.

Opening times:
King’s Lynn Arts Centre & Lynn Museum
Tuesday – Saturday 10 – 5 Closed Sundays & Mondays
149 Hillington Square
Tuesdays, Thursdays & Saturdays 11- 3

See also: Back to the 60’s at Hillington Square – a flat restored in the style of the 60’s when they first opened.

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An excellent burger bar

Queues at the munchbox

The Munchbox attracts all kinds of customers.

The Munchbox is a Burger Bar situated near Wickes in a corner of the car park at St Nicholas Retail Park, King’s Lynn. Now this small establishment is not particularly visible from the road and we have often been surprised of late to see how many people seem to frequent it so thought it was time to investigate.

When we arrived we were greeted with smiles and asked if we would like drinks, these were prepared as we dithered over what to order. Having settled for two cheeseburgers, one with onions and one with mushrooms we then had to make another decision of whether or not to have butter in the baps (never been asked that at a Burger Bar before).

Service was very quick, from placing our order to sitting at a nearby table with our food was only a matter of minutes. Our burgers were delicious, everything was fresh and well presented, really melt in your mouth, hot enough to be enjoyable right to the last mouthful. Coffee was served in proper mugs and not the polystyrene variety, although these were available for take away drinks.

Whilst eating we were impressed to see a variety of customers come and go, trades people, office workers, a family and a couple of obviously retired gentlemen and a smartly dressed young lady.

Charlotte and Jamie, new managers of The Munchbox

Charlotte and Jamie, managers of The Munchbox

Having polished off every crumb like food was about to be rationed we went to have a chat with Charlotte and Jamie who took over managing The Munchbox a few months ago. They have made quite a few changes, including some interesting additions to the menu like Peri Peri Chicken. The recent rebranding makes everywhere look very smart and extremely clean, both inside and out.

Whilst chatting, Charlotte was busy cleaning the table and chairs and Jamie was cleaning the cooking surfaces ready for the next lucky customer. It was pointed out to us that they now have a delivery service and have also introduced a loyalty card (buy 10 get 1 free).

When you are next in the area of St Nicholas Retail Park, if you don’t have time to go into a cafe but want something quick and of good quality to eat or drink we would definitely say give The Munchbox a go, you won’t be disappointed.

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Festival Too ~ Friday Review

Sophie Eliis-Bextor sings Murder of the DancefloorThose who braved the weather to be at last night’s Festival Too were certainly not disappointed, with belting performances from Sinéad and Sophie Ellis-Bextor. Read the rest of this entry »

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Review ~ Awash with colour

Book Review: Making Shore by Sara Allerton

Making Shore author Sara Allerton

Making Shore author Sara Allerton.

Sara Allerton, a 41-year-old mother of three from East Anglia, has received rave reviews for her very first novel Making Shore

Based on the memories of a Lancashire born Merchant Navy radio operator, Brian Clarke, the novel is a heart wrenching tale of survival, sacrifice, love and lies, set against the backdrop of the Battle of the Atlantic, during World War II.

Making Shore has been shortlisted for two national book awards this summer: The 2011 Beryl Bainbridge First Time Author Award and the annual People’s Book Prize.

Voting for the People’s Book Prize runs until 15 July and winners will be announced on 20 July. You can vote for the book by logging on to

Making Shore is set in the aftermath of a torpedo strike by a U-boat on a Merchant Navy vessel in 1942. The fictional drama has been brought to life through the reminiscences of 87-year-old merchant seaman Brian Clarke, a survivor from the sinking of the British merchant ship SS Sithonia.

“Brian’s experience and what he and his fellow survivors had to endure almost beggars belief,” explains Sara Allerton. “In writing the novel, I wanted people to dare to imagine how they might fare if exposed to such extreme hardship. We’re both thrilled that it’s fast becoming a favourite with so many readers.”

Andrew Wheatcroft, author of ‘The Enemy at the Gate’, said: “I don’t cry much over books, but this one brought a great lump to my throat. It is an extraordinary story – the grim face of war, chirpy unassuming courage, and running through, the need to keep faith whatever the cost.”

The People’s Book Prize is decided by readers rather than a panel of judges, and works with independent publishers and libraries. Dame Beryl Bainbridge was the founding patron of the award and during an illustrious career, several of her novels were made into films.

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Review ~ A Pamper Day in King’s Lynn

I was recently invited to take part in a “Looking 10 Years Younger” experience with three local businesses that have teamed up to give the complete package. I will leave you to look at the result and judge for yourself but I came away feeling like a million dollars and with the confidence to face anything life wanted to throw at me.

Make Over Before


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KL Magazine – May Issue


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Book Review: Death Toll

Book Cover Death Toll by Jim KellyDeath Toll by Jim Kelly

Rising sea levels have forced graves to be moved at King’s Lynn’s dockside cemetery. When one is opened the bones of young man are found on the top of the coffin. Only one thing is certain – he didn’t die of natural causes.. . .

Death Watch has been short-listed for the prestigious New Angle Prize for Literature.

Review By S. Lloyd

I was really pleased to be able to read Jim Kelly’s latest novel on Kindle because I couldn’t put it down and it’s easier to disguise a Kindle to keep on reading. This has to be the best in the Shaw and Valentine series.

His writing is vivid and conveys easily the grittiness of the large town of Kings Lynn together with the stark difference of the coast line and coastal towns a few miles up the road.

The plot, like “Death Watch” has twists and turns unravelling family secrets. “Death Toll” was stronger for me because I thought I had it worked out when another twist comes along.

The characterisation is strong too. Firstly the difficult relationship between Shaw and Valentine feels so real – for example when in DS Warren’s office together “so they sat, each alone, despite being together”. However with developments in the sub plot it will be interesting to see how their relationship develops. There is more depth to them too with Valentine’s loneliness more pronounced and Shaw’s drive to get results. Other characters are well developed and you connect to them both kindly and unkindly.

It would be great for this series to be televised.

Review originally published on

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A coffee break in King’s Lynn

Coffee BreakWe’ve always known that King’s Lynn has some outstanding places to go for a coffee but even we were really impressed by the service we received at TJ Hughes Coffee Shop today.

Served by Kim, we had a cream tea, a sausage roll and two coffees, so not exactly big spenders. Kim really made us feel special, she took time to explain about the Vancouver Quarter discount card and about their own coffee loyalty card. We were asked if we would like the sausage roll heated up, not waiting for us to ask if this was possible.

I would point out that we were not holding up a queue of people and I had already noticed the kind way in which she had spoken to the gentleman in front of us, he walked away from the counter smiling.

So often do we all moan about bad service that we felt we had to say a really big “Thank you and well done for turning a quick coffee stop into a pleasurable experience”

*Sadly, since writing this review T.J. Hughes and the coffee shop have both closed down. We wish the staff all the best for the future!

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