mardi 31 décembre 2013


2013 has been the best and worst year of my life.  'Rollercoaster' is not only a dreadful cliche, but also doesn't even begin to cover it.

To the forefront has been some terrible family anguish that at times I honestly didn't think we would make it through.

But as well as that...  I bought my first house.  I published a novel and a novella.  I am ending the year feeling closer than ever to the friends and family I still have left.

I got a tattoo.  I went to Istanbul, my new favourite place in the world.

I went to see a shaman.

I went mental and came out the other side.

I went to Portugal and to Edinburgh and Lindisfarne.

Things are better now than they were in January.  Or February, or March.

I am looking forward to 2014.

(Not really a plug, but I would like to say that I also had the great privilege of writing a bit about all of this for my very favourite Elle magazine, in their January issue - a lovely start to 2014.)

mardi 24 décembre 2013


I am thinking in advance about New Year's Resolutions.

I am a fan of anything that lets you imagine that you can reinvent yourself.  I love being full of good intentions.  As ever, 'the triumph of hope over experience' is a great thing.

Here are mine:

  • See more of the faraway friends who I truly love.  This one is always top of the list, to be honest, but it can't hurt to keep trying.
  • Fitness drive in January that will hopefully last into the year - I've been feeling the need to step and/or shake things up.
  • Stop hate-looking at the internet.  This is a big one that has been playing on my mind.  I'm going to attempt to give up the Mail Online sidebar of shame.  I'm going to stop looking at oh-so-perfect blogs by slightly annoying girls who make me scowl.
  • This time next year, my house will be (if not completed) then at least getting there.  It will be a beautiful place to live.  We will thus have a 'proper' grown up Christmas, with decorations and cosy gatherings.  I will also hopefully have a cat.

lundi 16 décembre 2013


Hello, friends.  I have been pretty quiet on the social networkz etc of late.

I have been insanely busy with various things, mostly living in a building site and laid low with a particularly nasty cold (sounds feeble, I know, but it turns out a cold can be bad enough to knock you out for the best part of a week).

I am sort of looking forward to Christmas, in my usual (ambivalent, disorganised) way.  I am mostly looking forward to having a couple of solo days off between Christmas and new year, in which I intend to potter, strip some wallpaper, do some painting (walls, not, like, watercolours), to a soundtrack of Absolute 80s on my digital radio, and preferably with a glass of whisky and a Chocolate Orange to hand at all times.

It's not even that close to Christmas yet, and already there seem to be mince pies happening every day and booze every night.  Funny, I didn't like mince pies as a child but now I am rather partial to them.  Also, I have recently developed anew fondness for sherry (there was nothing else to drink in the house, and this turned out to be a happy accident).  Just the latest step along the path to Becoming My Grandmother.  No bad thing.

Hope you're all enjoying December and possibly a Christmas jumper.

jeudi 12 décembre 2013


This is such a weird thing for me to have become obsessed with lately.  Do you remember the TV programme 'Gladiators' from the early 90s?  When I was a child, I loved it; it was the cornerstone of my Saturday night viewing schedule.  My favourite gladiator was Jet, as she was so pretty and could do this cool thing where she pulled her leg all the way up to her face.  I imagine that she was many dads' favourite for not dissimilar reasons.

Anyway, a few weeks ago, my mum and I both had horrendous Sunday morning hangovers.  Lying in bed with cups of coffee and a small dog between us, we happened upon a 'Gladiators' rerun on some obscure cable channel.  And it was great!  It perked us right up.

My (very weird) love for the gladiators is renewed - I have been looking up classic episodes online and finding out obscure facts about my favourite.  Jet is now a psychologist, BTW.  These days my favourite is Saracen, as I think he has a kind face for such a mountain of testosterone; he is now a fireman, apparently.

Seriously, it's worth a watch or a re-watch.  Such fun!

lundi 9 décembre 2013

Barefoot in the Park

This was my grandpa's favourite film.  It is also one of my favourites.

I hadn't watched it in a while, but whilst writing and generally pottering about, I have watched it the last  two nights in a row.  That probably sounds weird, but I do this a lot.  I don't like to write in silence and it's comforting to have something I know on in the background - if something feels like the right rhythm, I sometimes watch it again and again.

I'm not always a big fan of Robert Redford, but he's perfect in this.  Not as perfect as Jane Fonda, who is a delight and I could watch her all day long.

I also wish I had a neighbour like Mr Velasquo - what fun that would be.  Oh, to go on the ferry to Staten Island to see a belly dancer and drink cocktails that will mean I can't make a fist for a week.

jeudi 5 décembre 2013


Yesterday was such a lovely day.

After a walk on the beach and an excellent breakfast, I headed (with a lovely gang in tow) to Brighton Flea Market - my current favourite junk shop, at the top of St James's Street; do check it out if you're ever in my neighbourhood.

Amid the taxidermy, church artefacts and an amazing plaster dog that Jack wanted to buy, we found the perfect mirror.  I've been looking for a mirror for my sitting room for ages, with quite specific requirements - art deco, the type with bevelled edges that hangs from a chain.  It's been a lengthy process, as they've all been either not quite right or wildly expensive.  Anyway, there it was - just what I've been looking for, hanging in a dusty corner behind a pillar and only £18.

For good measure, I also bought a little blue and white French 'a vendre' (for sale) sign, because I liked the look of it.  It is currently hanging on my bathroom door for no good reason.

We then hauled our spoils to Metrodeco, a tea house where I have been meaning to go for ages.  There were exciting teas (and tea cocktails, which I did not try but intend to) and really good cakes.  Plus, all the antiques in there are for sale.

We headed home for Sunday dinner and Poirot, and I had a glass of ale in the bath.  Whenever I look at my new mirror hanging over the mantelpiece I can remember a lovely winter seaside day.

lundi 2 décembre 2013

A Literal Eclipse of the Heart

Have you all seen this?  My friend Chad showed it to me and I laughed like a drain.

I love this song, and I don't think I ever even realised that the original video was so gloriously, bonkers-ly fucked up.