Joey T’s Memory Lane: Take A Trip Back In Time With Author Gillian Harvey


Oh who remembers the good old days of pink custard on classic school cake? Gillian Harvey does! The world famous author has kindly stepped into my time machine this month to transport us back to when Neighbours wasn’t an Emmy nominated show and the sponge was the highlight of any school day! Get ready to travel to a better time and place here!

Good Morning Lovelies, 

It’s time to step back into the Time Machine today, as I am joined by the brilliant writer Gillian Harvey to go down my very merry memory lane! From Forrest Gump to Neighbours, there are many memories that we can both recall. However, it’s the pink custard that really stands out to me. 

I first discovered Gillian when I worked at Cedar Communications. She is utterly fantastic at making pieces of work that just zap you in. With a fantastic way of describing things, she is also a brilliant author, having just released her brand new novel, The Bordeaux Book Club, which follows a group of women, all facing different issues in life, as they join together to discuss their latest reads. It’s absolutely a must read this summer lovelies. 

For now though, let’s dive back in time to find out all about what made Gillian who she is today…

Let’s begin by letting you introduce yourself to us? Tell us your name, age and the year you were born!

I’m Gillian Harvey, 45 – born in 1978.


Now, let’s step back in time! What year would you love to go back to and relive all over again?

I’d like to relive my 20s – or go back to that time knowing what I know now. I spent a lot of my 20s suffering from anxiety, and now that I have the tools to combat it, I’d love to go and live my life to the full at that age rather than worrying all the time.


Okay, now picture this, you are at school and it’s lunchtime! What foods do you always associate with either your packed lunch or canteen?

It’s got to be pink custard. We used to have various sponge cakes with pink custard and I’ve never seen this odd (but tasty) pudding option elsewhere!


You’ve got to go into your last lesson of the day! What are you hoping it will be and why?

English. I absolutely loved English lessons, especially if we were able to write something creatively. In my final years at school I had a wonderful teacher, Mrs Bowers, who managed to make lessons lively, entertaining and sometimes quite silly. She was great.


Schools over, you have rushed home to watch TV. What are you turning on? Why this show in particular?

When I was at school it was ALL about Neighbours and Home and Away. I think the idea of teens and young people living in this sun-drenched environment with backyard pools and nearby beaches for surfing was quite irresistible to me, when I lived in rainy Bedfordshire. Also, if you didn’t watch, you’d be left out of conversations the following day.


You’ve reached the weekend and you’re going to the cinema! What film do you remember seeing the most when you were younger? Why is this one such a classic to you?

I really loved Forrest Gump – I found it really moving. I saw it in an old cinema in Letchworth where they still had a balcony like in a theatre. My sister and I watched it from the front seat of the balcony and it was just wonderful (although we cried).


You are back home and it’s time to play with your toys! What was the toy you most wanted when you were younger and why? Did you get it in the end?

I was discussing this with a similarly aged friend the other day. Back when I was about 6 or 7, there was a craze for a toy called a Key-per. It was a snail with a lockable shell that you could keep your ‘treasures’ in. I LONGED for one, but never got one – although it seemed at the time all my friends had one. I actually considered buying one the other day on Etsy, but managed to resist.


Is there anything you still own from your childhood that you simply cannot bear to part with?

It’s odd, but when I was about 11 I went to a little sale at my local church hall. There someone was selling a chess set – hand carved and very rudimentary. I bought it for 50p and still have it. It’s quirky and I barely play, but I don’t think I could ever throw it away.


What moment in history do you think defined or stayed with you from your childhood? Can you explain why this left such a mark on you?

I was lucky enough to grow up in a pre-internet world, so other than the news that was kindly delivered to us by BBC Children’s Newsround, I was happily oblivious to most of the things happening in the world. My friend’s dad was in the Airforce and in the late 80s was sent to Baghdad. I just assumed this was somewhere that ‘dads’ must have to go from time to time… The main ‘current’ event that pierced my consciousness was when we were taught about climate change. It scared the life out of me at the time. Still does.


Finally, would you go back and do your childhood all over again? Would you change anything about it? And how much has it impacted you as an adult and what you do now?

I’m not sure I’d want to go through puberty again! But I do sometimes wish that I could go back to childhood and feel more confident in my own skin. I was bullied aged 10 for being a ‘swot’ and after this made sure I always underachieved to stay under the bullies’ radar. I’d love to go back and really perform to the best of my potential without worrying what others thought. I’d also take more photos – I have barely any pics of me aged between 12 and 18 as I hated having them taken, but now I have missing years I’d love to look back on. I’d also try to be more positive about my chances of becoming a published author. I wanted to write for SO long, but was always encouraged (kindly) to have a ‘back up’ plan. I never really thought I’d achieve my ambition, and perhaps could have pushed myself to get here sooner and have more books under my belt! That said, the life experience I gained in my ‘younger years’ means I have plenty to draw on when I write now.

A huge thank you to Gillian for taking the time to answer my questions! They brought back some iconic memories for me and I hope you too! If you want to find out more about her books, you can head to her website, which has a full list of them. I will say though that if you pick one up, you should definitely read it with a piece of warm sponge cake and pink custard! 

Joey X

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