If you’re looking for a present to buy your Dad this Christmas then I can highly recommend the biography Marvellous – Neil Baldwin, My Story. I read the book in August and I couldn’t put it down.
I’d been keen to get my hands on a copy as I’d watched the Marvellous film on BBC 2 last year. It was one of the best things I’ve ever watched. The story was so compelling, I cried quite a few times and it left me smiling from ear to ear too. If you didn’t see it, then check out the trailer below:
Here’s a brief summary of the book (and Neil’s life):
Bishops and archbishops, top footballers, politicians and actors…they all count him as their friend. Prime Ministers and senior royals stop and listen to his opinions. He’s got an honorary degree and his very own football club. There was even a movie about him on national television. But who is Neil Baldwin? At Keele University they hold regular celebrations and chapel services for the decades he’s been the friend of students, academics and vice-chancellors. But he’s never been a student, or a teacher, or had any formal connection with the place. At Stoke City Football Club, he’s ‘more famous than the players.’ He’s even got a dialogue going with the Queen, though that one’s still a little one-sided. But who is he, and what’s he famous for? When he was a boy in a working-class part of the Potteries in the fifties and sixties, the education system wrote him off. But Neil thinks ‘you can get things by asking for them.’ He also thinks his late Mum wanted him to have a happy life, and it’s his duty to her to have one. So he does. This is the inspiring and, at times, hysterically funny story of Neil’s extraordinary life.
I loved the book, it was interesting to hear stories from Neil perspective and his famous friends too. I think Neil’s attitude to life is something we should all admire:
The world be a much better place if we all “put nasty things” behind us. Neil’s story is remarkable and this book is a must-read. At the start of this blog post I said it was ideal for dads but really anybody would enjoy reading this book. I hope I get to meet Neil one day and shake his hand… maybe I need to take a trip to Keele University!
Tonight my daughter ‘helped’ me sign copies of my books for the library at St Michael’s Catholic Primary School in Widnes. I had a great time giving an author talk there a few weeks ago and they wanted a full set of my book’s for the school library. I didn’t give them every book as some are too adult for them but I think they’ll love the thirteen I’ve picked out. I think the boys will love the Superheroes vs Supervillains A-Z and Justin Bieber books and I think the girls will love the One Direction books and Pollyanne.
Today has been a busy day but it’s been so much fun. I finished checking my second draft of my Taylor Swift book and emailed it across to my editor Chris first thing. I’m so excited about this book and can’t wait for it to be in stores. I want all the Swifties who’ve helped me to see the finished book ASAP. I wish I could hand-deliver a copy to each of them when the book comes out next spring. I would give them each a hug and we could dance to Shake It Off together!
After breakfast, I took my little girl to the tots group in my church (and we made snowman biscuits and reindeer food), then after picking up a Christmas present from the Post Office, I enjoyed cake and a chat with one of my best friends. This afternoon I worked on my website and went on a dog walk with my mum and two of her dogs. We went to Pex Hill which is a wood and quarry in my home town. It’s the best place to walk dogs because they can run free and enjoy mixing with other dogs. My little girl loves playing in the leaves and we always get muddy at this time of year. She was wearing a black and white cat outfit today so she looked soooooo cute.
PS I know our snowman melted a bit but he tasted yummy!
I’ve really enjoyed writing my Taylor Swift book and my first draft is now with my editor Chris.
This was the first time my daughter Lizzy has ‘helped’ and its been lots of fun. We’ve drawn lots of pictures together and played hide and seek under my desk. I think she’s going to be a Swiftie one day!
I love receiving tweets from fans from around the world. Today Lenka from Slovakia tweeted me this photo. I love the cover, it’s very different from the UK version, but just as good. Her mum has bought her the book as a present because she’s a huge Belieber.
Today I had a great time at St Michael’s Primary School giving an author talk. It was great to inspire so many pupils and they asked some really good questions at the end. This was the school where I did my first ever author talk, seven years ago. Back then, I’d only written my rugby book that I’d self published so I had a lot more to say this time around. I was only supposed to talk for 15 minutes but I ended up talking for 45 minutes – there was so much to say.
The headteacher has invited me to work with some Year 6 pupils on an exciting writing project in January and I’m so excited I could burst!
For my “D” post it was really hard to choose one thing or person so I’ve decided to have two (or maybe three!)
My dad is an amazing man and has always supported me. I was born with only one functioning kidney so my dad gave up drinking alcohol in case I ever needed one of his kidneys. He’s one in a zillion.
(This is my brother, grandad and dad on my wedding day in September 2007)
He was a bit puzzled all those years ago when I told him that I was going to try and write a book on Robert Pattinson and send it to publishers. He didn’t really know who Robert Pattinson was and thought I was a little bit crazy but he was so excited a few weeks later when I’d written it and managed to secure a book deal. When the book came out, he would go into supermarkets and book stores to tidy the shelves and make sure my book was displayed properly.
I’ve always been a daddy’s girl and every time I make the trip to London to see my agent, meet my editor or go to a press conference my dad always comes. We get the really early train which leaves around half five in the morning but we don’t care. We walk from Euston to Leicester Square and enjoy a cooked breakfast together. If there’s a film premiere that night we watch the fans eagerly waiting outside and see the red carpet being rolled out. We always make the most of the day, we walk everywhere and we’re always shattered by the time we catch our train home.
I see my dad most days and if I can’t see him then we’ll speak over the phone. My dad and mum mean the world to me and I’m so glad I live close by. When my dad went travelling with my brother in September I really missed him and was gutted that he couldn’t be there for my daughter’s second birthday party. I was so surprised when he turned up – as you can tell from this picture…
D is also for Dan, my brother. I was seven when he was born and I was so excited to have a brother. He is much more adventurous than me and has travelled to lots of countries over the last few years. He’s home at the minute which is lovely.
It’s also for dogs… I love dogs. I have had some wonderful dogs over the years. I have three cats at my house but my mum has five dogs and I walk them most days. If it was down to me, my mum’s dog Dave would live at our house but he doesn’t like cats (and my cats hate dogs) so he can’t.
My mum’s dogs are Chinese Crested dogs so I get funny looks when I walk them. They have hair on their heads and feet but apart from that they’re pretty bald. They’re really cute and love curling up on my lap. My daughter absolutely adores them, she’s must take after me as her dad loves cats.
Here’s a cute photo of her singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star with Rudy on a walk…
Just finished writing for the night, I love how my cats keep me company when I’m writing. If I wasn’t working they’d be off having adventures. My tabby Tobey is very affectionate and always tries to climb on my knee when I’m typing.
I had an amazing time last night watching One Direction perform live in Manchester. I felt so proud. I’ve supported them since the beginning and just seeing them on stage, doing what they love meant the world to me. Not every Directioner gets to see them perform live and I’ll be forever grateful that I had the opportunity.
I kept my eyes peeled in case I could see any of Harry’s family and friends but sadly I couldn’t see anyone. I went with my friend C and although our seats weren’t the best we still had an amazing time.
My ears are ringing, everyone screamed so loud, especially when Niall walked onto the stage. He definitely got the loudest screams, followed by Harry. Liam looked so cute, he wore a hoodie for the whole show, he must have been so hot.
I really wish that Zayn had been there too but I understand that he felt he had to leave the group. I hope the boys perform as a 5 piece again one day.