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Five Photos … with Jessie Cahalin

  • Post category:Guest Posts

Sharing her five photos with us today is Jessie Cahalin. Jessie is best known to many of us in the book world as the creator of the fabulous and quirky book blog, Books in my Handbag, which is well worth a visit! However, she’s also an author in her own right, having published her debut novel,  You Can’t Go it Alone, last year. Here are Jessie’s photographs: 


‘Every day’s a bonus. Promise me, you won’t do anything you don’t want to do,’ said my father, in the last weeks of his life. My father’s advice niggled me for a decade. Knee deep in action plans, I chose to leave the rat race. Briefcase abandoned in the garage, I had the freedom to write and appreciate the simple things in life.
In work, I was always running late like the White Rabbit, in Alice in Wonderland. Now, I acknowledge the start of the new day and eat breakfast, with my husband. It is a humble breakfast of tea and toast.

Time to enjoy a humble breakfast of tea and toast:

As I wrote this post, I gazed out of the window. The clear, blue sky and promise of spring jolted my senses and made me smile. I delight in garden waking from its slumber, rather than getting annoyed that weeding is another chore on my to do list.
The clear, blue sky and promise of spring has just jolted my senses.

spring, in garden

Indulging in writing is wonderful, but I also appreciate time with my husband. Previously, we would grab a moment here and there. Often, I would arrive home very late, only to commence work again. We don’t have as much money, but it doesn’t matter. We do not eat out in fancy restaurants. Instead, we prepare simple sandwiches, walk along Penarth Pier and visit coffee shops. Perfect! During our last visit to Penarth, we sat on the bench and I grabbed my notebook to write about ‘the sun dissolving topaz crystals’. The photograph doesn’t capture the movement of the clouds gliding above the water.

…simple sandwiches, walk along Penarth Pier and visit coffee shops

Cutting the cloth according to funds does make me more creative. For instance, I can’t buy myself lots of handbags, so I swapped my stash with friends. The lilac bag, used for Books in my Handbag Blog, was my mother’s handbag. This is a photo of the first edition of my book, in the bag. I haven’t used the photograph, as I re-edited the book and designed another cover. This was the day I came up with the idea of authors placing their books in the Handbag Gallery. Tintern is one of the villages that inspired the setting of Delfryn, in my novel.

This was the day I came up with the idea of authors placing their books in the Handbag Gallery – lilac handbag, in Tintern

We no longer have expensive holidays and take time to enjoy the local sights, but this also means we don’t waste as much time in airports. Ogmore by Sea is one of our favourite destinations. Walks along the deserted beach, in springtime, rewarded us with some magical photographs. On viewing the photos, I decided that one of them would be perfect to signify the title of my novel ‘You Can’t Go It Alone’. Indeed, one of my characters says: ‘Stop thinking you’ve got to go it alone and hide your feelings…’ Ironically, I have found this applies to writing a book and have connected with generous, supportive authors. I am currently re-editing my novel ‘You Can’t Go It Alone’ based on the advice of some experienced writers. I will automatically send a revised version to anyone who has purchased the novel.

Walking along a deserted beach in springtime – Ogmore Beach

Presenting these photographs, I have reflected on my new approach to life. I have more time for the simple things in life but less money. However, I am much happier! Following my father’s advice that ‘every day’s a bonus’ has led me to some wonderful people online. Writing is solitary, and I do miss interactions with colleagues. Thankfully, social media and the blog has enabled me to connect with like-minded people. It is an honour to share my thoughts via wonderful platforms such as these. I had been going it alone with my dreams until now.

Thank you so much for sharing your photos and your story with us, Jessie.

Jessie is a bookish blogger, word warrior and intrepid virtual explorer. She loves to entertain with stories, and is never seen without: her camera, phone, notebook and handbag. Fellow authors have deemed her ‘creative and quirky’ and she wears these words like a blogging badge of honour.
Having overcome her fear of self-publishing, she is now living the dream of introducing the characters who have been hassling her for decades. Her debut novel, ‘You Can’t Go It Alone’, is a heart-warming tale about the challenges women still face in society. The novel has light-hearted moments and presents hope. As C. S. Lewis said, ‘We read to know we are not alone.’
Connecting with authors via her Books in my Handbag Blog is a blast. She showcases authors’ books in the popular Handbag Gallery and has fun meeting authors in her virtual world. Communicating with her authors, still gives Jessie a creative buzz.
Jessie Cahalin hails from Yorkshire, but as a book blogger, she has realised that her country of origin is probably The World. She loves to travel the world and collects cultural gems like a magpie. She searches for happy endings, where possible, and needs great coffee, food and music to give her inspiration.

You Can’t Go It Alone

Love, music and secrets are woven together in this poignant, heart-warming narrative.
Set in a Welsh village, the story explores the contrast in attitudes and opportunities between different generations of women. As the characters confront their secrets and fears, they discover truths about themselves and their relationships.
The reader is invited to laugh and cry, with the characters, and find joy in the simple things in life. Listen to the music and enjoy the food, as you peek inside the world of the inhabitants of Delfryn.
Let Sophie show you that no one can go it alone. Who knows, you may find some friends with big hearts…

You can buy You Can’t Go it Alone here.

Find out more about Jessie by visiting her website .
Connect with her on Facebook
Follow her on Twitter @BooksInHandbag
Contact her at:

This Post Has 32 Comments

  1. jessiecahalin

    I am delighted to feature on this brilliant blog. It was exciting to focus on representing my story through five photographs – what a brilliant idea. Thank for the opportunity to share my thoughts. I did publish my novel last year but have been re-editing and tweaking.

    1. sharon

      Pleasure to have you here, Jessie!

  2. sarigelin

    Jessie, you have been brave enough to abandon the rat race. Yes, it means living simply, but what riches are out there when you have time to observe them. Lovely photos, and ideas.

    1. jessiecahalin

      This is a perfect way to describe how I feel – thank you. I spent so much time working that I never looked up to appreciate those riches.

  3. Liz Young

    Five photos – I can’t imagine having to choose from the thousands in my albums!

    1. jessiecahalin

      Liz, Thanks for taking the time to comment. It is quite a challenge to find five but helps to focus my, easily distracted, mind. Such a great idea from Sharon.

  4. junekearns

    Lovely post! So nice to learn more about Jessie.

    1. jessiecahalin

      Thank you, June. I am so pleased you like the post. It is more challenging to write about myself rather than my adventures. Sharon’s format helped me to focus on my message.

  5. katyjohnson1

    Such a good idea for a blog – gorgeous photos and words I can really relate to xx

    1. jessiecahalin

      Thank you, Katy. It means so much to connect with people in this way. I never dreamed this would happen when i took the plunge.

  6. Lizzie Lamb

    Reblogged this on New Romantics Press and commented:
    Two of our favourite writers/bloggers – Sharon and Jessie – great photos and great memories.

  7. Lizzie Lamb

    Morning Jessie and Sharon, I think this idea of five photos is a brilliant one. (my turn soon). If I sing the praises of social networking it would be to say that it’s brought some lovely writers/friends etc in to my life. You and Jessie being an example of two of the best. I’ve met Sharon in ‘real life’ and I hope to meet Jessie one day. In the meantime I’ll simply settle for learning more about her via this blog.

    1. Isabella Tartaruga

      I’ll second what Lizzie said! We became friends on facebook, and the rest, as everybody knows know, is history. The same applies to Sharon and Jessie, here. I am a very sociable introvert, if that makes sense LOL and I treasure your friendship, ladies! Brilliant blog post, it was lovely to know a little more about Jessie.
      Raising a glass of virtual Italian wine!

      1. jessiecahalin

        Isabella, it is great communicating with you. It is fortuitous Adrienne and Lizzie have introduced you to me. It always makes me smile when your face pops up on Facebook. It was so funny to learn that you share my love of slippers. I really think we need to start the slipper and book club.

      2. Isabella Tartaruga

        I’m so glad we got to meet! Jessie, I am the queen of slippers and pj’s! Rock ‘n roll life, me LOL
        That fictional Diva I share the name with is currently banging her head on a desk, seriously you’d say she’s ashamed of me. LOL
        That book/slippers club sounds fun! 😀

      3. adrienneauthor

        Another special friend, Isabella … we’re very lucky! X

    2. jessiecahalin

      I look forward to your five photos. I genuinely adore interacting with you. It is fun to spot photo opportunities relevant to your book – again a simple pleasure. I always know that my mad ideas will be rewarded with your wonderful enthusiasm – you inspire support. It would be truly amazing to meet up with you in the future.

      1. Lizzie Lamb

        Has got to be on the cards Jessie. Have caravan will travel. lol.

    3. adrienneauthor

      Spot on Lambster, couldn’t agree more. X

  8. adrienneauthor

    Reblogged this on Adrienne Vaughan and commented:
    Love this blog from the wonderful Jessie, thank you for sharing Lizzie. Having just spent a rainy Sunday on a Norfolk beach with our two spaniels and my fabulous husband, I totally get where Jessie is coming from. We had a lovely time, I found a splodge of Norfolk mud on my notebook this morning, I didn’t wipe it off, just wrote where it came from and the date! Precious memories. X

    1. jessiecahalin

      Thanks, Adrienne – you are so kind. It sounds as if you had the perfect weekend.

      1. adrienneauthor

        Heavenly, Jessie. Rain was soft – what’s not to like. 🙂

  9. adrienneauthor

    Love this blog from the wonderful Jessie, thank you for sharing Lizzie. Having just spent a rainy Sunday on a Norfolk beach with our two spaniels and my fabulous husband, I totally get where Jessie is coming from. We had a lovely time, I found a splodge of Norfolk mud on my notebook this morning, I didn’t wipe it off, just wrote where it came from and the date! Precious memories. 🙂
    Reblogged on

    1. jessiecahalin

      Thank you for re-blogging this. I am delighted Sharon’s five photos blog presented me with the opportunity to reflect.

  10. adrienneauthor

    Oh look! It’s Sharon’s blog … another of my faves … I must have spotted it on New Romantics Press, hence I thanked Lizzie. Now adding huge extended thanks to Sharon … who like Jessie, I know is also living the dream. Love you guys. X

  11. Jan Brigden

    What a lovely post/feature, Jessie & Sharon. Great to learn more about you, Jessie. I too am a huge fan of the simple things in life. Your book sounds wonderful and I look forward to reading it. Xx

    1. jessiecahalin

      Thank you, Jan. I am so grateful of your support. I can tell you also appreciate ‘the simple things’ as it is evident in your lovely posts.

  12. shelleywilson72

    Great post! Lovely to learn more about our lovely Jessie xx

  13. LucciaGray

    Lovely post and Beautiful photos. Love the pier.

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