We have some very exciting news … Kale & Cocoa has an international book deal! After three and half years of blogging, we’ve been commissioned to write a book. To celebrate, we have two packs of the fabulous, sleep-inducing Spacemasks to give away (we wrote about them here). Scroll down for details of how to win…
Our book (title: The Age-Well Project) will include case studies of inspiring older people, the many tips we’ve gleaned from our years of reading and interacting with our readers, interviews with longevity experts and lots of new recipes. We like to think of it as a sort of road-map, a guide to ageing well for time-pressed people from their thirties onwards. We’ll be revealing the ageing secrets of those in-the-know and the things that have worked for us over the last decade.
We never set out to write a book. The blog was our way of keeping off the crisps and getting off our butts, among other bad habits. By scouring the week’s medical research we were constantly reminded of the family members we’d lost too early, and of the challenges facing us if we wanted to avoid a similar fate. Over the last few years, mounting research has suggested that our health might be something we can control. This blog was our way of taking control and helping others to take control. We received regular emails from readers suggesting a book, but we were too busy researching and writing blog posts to give this any thought, let alone write a full-length book proposal.
So how did this happen? Well, there’s a story behind our new book. A story I love. A story that embraces the unpredictability of life and puts a bit of zing in that old phrase every cloud has a silver lining.
After I collapsed in March I was forced to cancel a book tour to Australia. Instead of preparing show-stopping (ahem) speeches for the Sydney Writer’s Festival, I lay in a hospital bed while my head spun and my memory collapsed into little pieces. When I came out of hospital I found myself with some unexpected time on my hands. No travel arrangements to make …. No presentations to prepare…. No two-week trip down under. As I pottered round the house doing very slow chores and feeling sorry for myself, the seed of an idea began to germinate. Could our blog be turned into a book? Susan had already written two cookery books in a previous life and I was now writing regularly for newspapers and magazines. Could we do it?
Very slowly (everything was slow back then) I started scribbling down some thoughts. Would it be a manual or a memoir? Would it be a self-help book or a cookery book? Tentatively, I suggested the idea to Susan. She loved it. And, very slowly, our idea for a book began to take shape. A proposal eventually appeared and, much to our surprise, several brilliant London agents fought to take us on.
My prospective Sydney trip ranked high on the list of most exciting things to ever happen to me. But it was not going to Sydney that resulted in a book proposal and a book deal. If there’s a message here, it’s that many of life’s setbacks can in fact be opportunities.
And by turning setbacks into opportunities, into hope, we aid our own recoveries. I became so absorbed in our book proposal, in running round meeting fabulous agents, I had no time to mope or dwell on what-might-have-been in Sydney. The most exciting thing to nearly happen to me turned into an entirely different but equally exciting experience. As I lay inside scanners or sat in contraptions with zillions of electrodes stuck to my head I was too busy planning our book to feel anxious or frightened. Is it possible this helped fast-track my recovery? Who knows… but if we believe the research on positive thinking, perhaps it did. Like gratitude, positivity has been linked to improved immunity and – in one study – to an extra 7.5 years of life. We’ll be writing about positivity in the next few weeks, so stick with us.
Of course I’m still hoping to get to Sydney, but the cancelled book tour no longer feels so tragic. And who knows… perhaps Susan and I will hit Australia/New Zealand with The Age-Well Project.
The Age-Well Project will be published by Piatkus, an imprint of Hachette, in the UK and Australia/New Zealand in Spring 2019, followed by Vallardi in Italy, with lots of interest from publishers in other countries too.
To celebrate, we have two boxes of Spacemasks (one of Vogue’s favourite 2017 sleep and relaxation products). To win a box (RRP £15 each), please like us on either FaceBook (www.facebook.com/KaleandCocoa), Instagram (www.instagram.com/kaleandcocoa) or Twitter (https://twitter.com/KaleandCocoa) and tag a friend who needs a good night’s sleep. Two random names will be selected and announced on the blog in December.
Finally, and most importantly, we’d like to say a huge thank you to all our readers, to everyone who has shared our blog posts, left comments, tried our recipes, given us recipes, suggested books and reports, and shared their own experiences. We couldn’t have done it without you…
Annabel and Susan