Audiobook Review: Quite by Claudia Winkleman

Claudia Winkleman’s warmth, humour, no-holds-barred attitude and smoky eye have made her the favourite broadcaster of millions and a much-loved household name.
In this, her first ever book, Claudia invites us all into her world. She shares her observations on topics such as the importance of melted cheese, why black coats are vital, how it’s never okay to have sex with someone who has an opinion on your date outfit, how nurses are our most precious national treasure, and why colourful clothing is only for the under 10s (if you’re reading this sporting a bright red jumper and you’re 9, great! If you’re older, sorry). 
This is a love letter to life – the real, sometimes messy kind. Quite celebrates friendship, the power of art, the highs and lows of parenting, and of course, how a good eyeliner can really save your life. 
Heartfelt, wry and unmistakably Claudia, this book gets to the heart of what really matters.”

Now – I’m not sure what to say about this book. In one of the chapters Claudia specifically says you shouldn’t tell people things like books or art are amazing, you should let them find it out for themselves.
Send them a copy of a book you adore but don’t tell them it will be lifechanging.

So.
Um.
I’ve sent this book to a friend.
And it’s ‘Quite’ good. (I realise I am a knob………..)
And there endeth the book review.
Maybe.
Not quite.

I recently wrote that when reading the Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman I could feel how strongly the author’s personality came through the writing – and it was exactly the same here. You can just imagine Claudia saying ‘Quite’ for a start. (And actually the fact that she is reading the audiobook makes it even more ‘Claude’) I am also being careful not to use too many exclamation marks, which I would usually scatter about with abandon, but Claudia is not a fan! Whoops……

So if you’re not a Claudia fan (maybe you’re one of those people whose Tweets she’s read out in the Head & Shoulders adverts?) then don’t bother buying this. But if you are a Claudia fan – then go for it.

It’s not strictly an autobiography in that it doesn’t start with Baby Winkleman being born and follow a timeline through to the present day. Instead it’s Claudia’s musings on various different topics – from art to fashion (fashion is art!), to sports day, to the tube, to things to avoid – all with reference to her own experiences.

It’s witty, funny, clever, self deprecating – and also incredibly moving. I wept buckets listening to the ‘Nurses’ chapter. Whilst Claudia doesn’t reference her daughter’s horrific accident some years ago (per the press at the time, the little girl’s fancy dress outfit caught fire whilst trick or treating and she suffered serious burns) knowing what the family have been through makes this chapter all the more emotional. Nurses really do rock. (Thank you to the nurses at Birmingham Children’s Hospital for looking after our chronically ill daughter – I could have written some of the sentences myself.)

Similarly I sobbed at the end of the chapter “They’re Going to Leave, Aren’t They?” about Claudia’s eldest son leaving home. Interestingly it’s the parental chapters that have affected me the most, snotty crying-wise anyway.

I think the chapter on Skiing was perhaps my favourite – the outlook on exercise as a whole – but also the skiing holiday itself. It made me almost hope that next February’s trip to the Alps does get cancelled – and I’ll just stay at home and put the Cathedral City in the microwave to melt it and dip toast in it instead. #toptip

Don’t buy this expecting a load of Strictly backstage goss – Claudia is incredibly discreet about that – aside from Ed Balls being good at making a round of hot drinks.

Perhaps my favourite line of the book is where Claudia tells girls to ‘nerd the f*ck up’ As a self confessed geek as a teenager (and still now), and with a 17 year old daughter who is also proud of her geekiness too – this really hit home.

And manners – yes, yes, yes. I agree with Claudia on so much.

I loved and adored this book. Sh*t, I wasn’t supposed to say that.

I want to be BFFs with Claudia even more than I did before (which was quite a lot anyway) And given I have a toasted sandwich maker (a double one no less) and love a decaf Kenco – I reckon I could be in there.

Got to go – need to get the children fed before Strictly, so I can get another Claude fix. #ImnotaweirdstalkerIpromise

De de de de, de de de……

Tonight is the night – sequins and spandex ready – Strictly is BACK!!

SCD

I have loved Strictly Come Dancing back since the very first series – where Natasha Kaplinsky and Brendan Cole rumba-ed on (and allegedly off) the dancefloor to lift the glitterball trophy! For the last few years eldest daughter and I have been glued to every episode together and have even been to the live shows – and I suspect another couple of little girls will want to watch this year (although not tonight – it’s on too late for a 4 year old who starts reception tomorrow morning!) With the advent of social media – I also like watching it in the company of Twitter – where dances / outfits / fights with the judges are replayed in real time and discussed at length!

The line up this year looks fab – something for everyone?! And the fact that Brucey has (FINALLY!) retired and been replaced by Claudia Winkleman means there will no longer be the cringey links – hoorah! I have to confess to a little bit of a girl crush on Claudia – and would like to be her friend!! Let’s face it – there aren’t many high profile shows presented by two 40+ female presenters!!

Tonight is just the launch show, where the celebrities get partnered with their dancers (who now are mostly celebrities in their own right!) – and we have to wait until 27 September for the show proper – but a quick fix tonight can see me through for a few more weeks!

I really want to become famous just so I can go on Strictly and learn to dance, wear lovely outfits and get fit in the process – but in the short term, I will just have to live vicariously through my TV screen and maybe do some more Fitsteps classes!

So everybody – ‘Keeeeeeep dancing’!