Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Everywhere is so hot and muggy at the moment - with the showers and the heat I feel as if I'm trapped in a giant sauna. Today I worked at my day job - I don't usually do Tuesdays but we had two schools booked in at our project so I spent today with fifty plus ten year olds, showing them how their food grows, helping them taste new to them foods and watching them plant and harvest some of our crops. We dodged the showers, got very hot in the polytunnels and laughed when a frog suddenly appeared in a tunnel making them all jump.
Now though I'm very tired! The belles are very busy too at the moment. Eldest dd is on work experience - she was very surprised to discover that this means doing work, but she's enjoying herself. She has also won an award at school for - drumroll - maths. Yes, she doesn't take after me. Middle dd - Miss Boo - has won two awards one for RE and the other one - to Mr Nell's embarressment because you know how much he loves this - Morris dancing. She's going to be morris dancing soon at Birmingham botanical gardens, which reminds me I have to find her a long sleeved white shirt. They said they will supply her with a Baldric - I'm assuming this isn't the guy from Blackadder but is something Morrisy.
Miss La - not to be outdone has just learned she's going to be in the top stream when she starts her new school in September.
Maybe I'll let them off the untidy bedrooms and mountains of laundry and that someone ate all the bread again last night making toast.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Happy Dancing

I just heard from my editor and she loves Crystal Clear - yay! There are the usual tweaks on the way to me but that's cool as she is great at spotting things that will make my story even stronger.
I figured out what was wrong with the new story too so I've added a scene and twiddled with the edges and it's starting to come together a bit more now. So for now you can colour me happy!

Sunday, June 28, 2009


We went and fetched some new fish for the tank today to replace some of our losses, so now we have three red Mickey Mouse Platys, Three Blue wagtail Platys and a strange whiskery fish which Miss La has called Mr Whiskers - hopefully he'll play nicely with the clown loaches. Angie the angel fish is decidely put out by the new arrivals and is guarding her patch of the tank. The clowns are watching from the pineapple house while Mr Molly is beside himself with excitement at the prospect of new females to flirt with.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The things you do

Yesterday was fun. As part of my day job I work with the local health authority. Part of my role is undertaking research which is why last night myself and my jobshare partner where hanging around a snooker club interviewing and talking to men about physical activity and diet. We had a blast, everyone was so helpful and fun. I'm not sure that we got the answers that the authority thought we would get but it was a very positive experience. We've a load more of these to do so if you are out and about in the Black Country and get accosted by two strange women asking you about diet and physical activity don't panic! We're harmless really.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


I wore some trousers today that I'd forgotten I'd got. I haven't worn them for about three years because they were a bit tight but now they fit! Yay. I'm glad my scales aren't working because I think if I weighed myself and I was heavier than I think I might be then I'd start to get disheartened. This way, just knowing how my clothes are fitting is really motivating me. I'm not dieting, just trying to have smaller portions, watching that my calories aren't mega excessive, trying to eat more salad and vegetables, making sure I have breakfast everyday and walking more on the flat whenever I can.
I tried on my navy suit that I had for the Savoy today too. It was a snug fit when I bought it but today I had to take the trousers in just a little bit and it fits the best it's ever done - not loose - but comfortable. Hope this keeps up, I might even get back to my prechildren weight in time - only another umpteen million pounds to go.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I'm melting

I don't do heat terribly well and today was hot. I had five back to back appointments most of which involved me being outside - in the heat - talking. Whimper. So now I'm home and ate one of my mini Haagen Daz tubs of Baileys icecream - yummalicious.
Yes, I did count it in with my food totals so I'm still being good and healthy. I positively glow with virtue - either that or it's sunburn - not sure which.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Time out

I was getting on my own nerves so while I was out having my eyes checked I went shopping - for me - by myself. Not something I do often. I don't actually spend much on clothes and I only possess three pairs of shoes in total. I bought a nice John Rocha top from Debenhams sale, a top from Per Una and some lovely evening trousers from the Jacques Vert sale to take to conference to wear at the gala dinner. My other evening trousers were given to me by my mother when I was pregnant with eldest dd, so I'm well overdue for a new pair.
Turns out my everyday glasses were fine, which is what I thought, and I was right about my vision being worse on the computer and for reading, so I now have to wear the stronger lenses for computer work and I should get another pair for reading. I don't really like glasses so I'm going to see the consultant in a few weeks to see if I can have contacts - squee! I'm a bit excited about that, I think I'll feel more 'me' as in the old 'me' if I can wear them and if I can't at least I'll know.
Still thinking on the new book - I think c4 will be the decider as to how it needs to go. No news on any of the other projects.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Ho hum

I'm still in a really restless mood. I'm putting it down to the weather. I did eat a little bit of a lovely M&S strawberry Compote trifle which lifted my mood for a while but since I'm still endeavoring to be good and eat more healthily I didn't go wild. I think I may have lost some weight as I've gone down a jeans size back to the size I was last year so hopefully that's good. I would weigh myself but the battery has gone in the scales and really it's how I look and feel thats more important to me than the number on the dial.
I'm still researching stuff for the new book and thinking about the structure of how it will work. So far I haven't used the hero's pov and I think I may be missing a scene that would show that things aren't as Tia perceives them. Or as Juliet wants her to perceive them. I think it might become clearer when I do the next chapter when Josh makes his first physical appearance, I just don't know.
I'm getting my eyes checked today too, I think I mentioned I have been getting fuzzy vision and headaches and it's definitely more of an effort to see clearly so I think my eyes have taken a sudden deterioration. I'm going to ask about contact lenses too as glasses really annoy me especially when I have to keep swapping for reading.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Some days

are good, some are great and others are just meh. Today is meh, not sure why. I think the crows are pecking at me at the moment over the new book. I have three chapters now and I think it works but then again maybe not. Perhaps it's because this book is in third and my others are in first, maybe it's because I'm still hanging out to hear on my other stuff, maybe I should just knock it all on the head. I dunno, it's just that kind of a day. I think I'll go and eat something calorie laden and bad for me and then I'll feel better.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Parents evening

Tonight was parents evening for Miss Boo. Her evenings are always interesting as we're never quite sure what to expect. She is my special baby who came into the world very small and quite a few weeks too early. She also has a very specialised language diability which means she has to work extra hard just to prove how wonderful and clever she really is. Luckily for her and us she has some wonderful teachers who have picked up on how she learns. Amongst the many lovely comments this evening were several teachers saying they had never had a pupils grades improve so much in the course of a year. For her favourite subject - science - several of her tests came out at level 7. Average for her year would be a mid 4. The same with her other favourite subject, Drama, again way above where she was expected to be. Unfortunately her math gene seems to come from me so you can't win them all. Even so it just proves that a small adjustment to how information is presented to a child with a learning challenge can make a huge difference. I'm so so relieved that the acadamy was knocked on the head.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

feeling ick

I don't know what's wrong with me today. It started yesterday evening as feeling generally not well and today I've felt awful all day. Funnily enough my jobshare partner has also felt ill all day too and we both had similar symptoms yet we haven't seen each other since last wednesday - strange huh?
So, we've kind of muddled through today with both of us feeling less than stellar. We've also decided that we do far too much so we are trying to streamline our workload. I say trying because we are both people that pride ourselves on doing a good job of work and consequently tend to take on far too much because we feel that what we do is important. Sigh, we will do better I promise. We made a start today by taking a proper lunch break out of the office.
I think I'll be having a early night tonight and my word count won't be very high this week until I get back to feeling more like myself again. My partner said she knew I was ill, I only had two cups of coffee all day lol

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Thank you to all the lovely readers I met at Thimblemill library on Monday. I had a lovely time talking with all of you. I'm still deep in research for the next book as I need to get the first part of the setting right with who is responsible for what. I think I have all the main characters straight now except Josh who is still off screen at the moment but about to make his appearance at the end of chapter three although we are already aware of him.
Today has been another day of errands. My watch battery died so I had to get that sorted, another trip to the bank, booking my eye appointment as I suspect i need new glasses which is why I've been getting headaches, migraine and fuzzy vision. Loads of little fiddly businessy type things to sort out too all of which eat up time. I am hopeful of finishing chapter three this week though and the rest of my immediate research.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Thimblemill Library

If anyone is in Sandwell tomorrow at 2.30 call into Thimblemill Library if you want to hear me waffling on about writing, books and well, anything else you want to ask me. Just don't ask me anything mathy - you know the advice won't be good.

Saturday, June 13, 2009


Sigh, have done tons more research getting myself into the right mood for this story. Tia ia a very different heroine from Zee in Crystal Clear. So far I've been reading beauty columns, fashion mags, Cosmo and surfing on Friends reunited and on Facebook. Yes it is all in the name of research and getting back into what it was like to be at secondary school. It's felt very strange digging up things that I'd kind of forgotten but will give me the right flavour for the story. How the different groups worked and what's happened to people since then, all of which is hugely important for Tia and Josh.
I also read Freya North's Pillow Talk. It kind of reminded me of the Time Travellers wife. There were aspects of it that I liked but the head hopping and weird tenses kept jolting me and I couldn't get deep enough into it to turn off my internal critic. So a good read and i'm glad I read it but not a keeper. I will look out for a few more of her books though and give them a shot.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Half-wit or Sophia?

Okay, so if you don't watch BB then you won't get what I'm talking about but for those of you as sad as me who do you think will go? The poison pixie or the vacant one? My bet is on Half-wit simply because Sophia will be a real thorn in the obnoxious Safia's side if she stays.
Most of my errands run today, bought new jeans, PJ's and my favourite items for cheering myself off (yes, I'm talking knickers)I love my new bag - now to empty all the crap out of my old bag and use my lovely cute green Radley one with matching coin purse and little pale blue Radley dog.
I've done a ton of research today too for the new book - why do I never learn? Why do I insist on setting books in areas and subjects I know virtually nothing about? I got a load of magazines for research too while I was running errands. The new edition of Cosmo is giving away Freya North's pillow talk - bargain for £2!!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

day off

I have tomorrow off as I worked Tuesday instead this week. I say I have the day off, in reality by the time I've collected a parcel from the sorting office (new Radley handbag, Kate!)tracked down orthotics to see if Miss La's shoes are back, run the belles to their various destinations, been to the bank, bought yet more grocery, done some washing and planted out my butternut squash plants into the garden I guess there won't be a whole lot of 'me' time left. Did I mention I have this book I need to write too?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

More images

This is one of Evan Rachel Wood, an actress and she's perfect to be cast as Juliet - Tia's teenage nemesis come back to haunt her.

This is a pic of beverley Craven and really it's perfect for Tia, the heroine of Just Look at Me Now. This is a girl with a lot of secrets.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Shoring up the pictures

I mentioned in my last post the amount of thinking I do when I'm starting a new story. To help me build up a sense of that story and who those characters are i make myself a playlist of music that helps me define certain moments or characteristics of the story. Here's my list for Just Look at me Now:

Love Scenes - Beverly Craven
It's all coming back to me - Meatloaf
Shape of my heart - Sting
I get the sweetest feeling - Jackie Wilson
I will never fall in love again - The Noisettes
If I could turn back time - Cher with Cyndi Lauper
Shes got the look - Roxette

I usually add to this as the book goes on and over time one song will come to mean that story to me. For Animal Instincts it was the Sugababes - Cos I know how I feel about you now. For Crystal Clear it was Girls in their summer clothes by Bruce Springsteen.
Oh, and I found a picture for Josh - my hero, yep, that's him at the top. Apparently he's an actor called Matthew Goode but I've never seen him act so i don't know if he's famous or not. I'm sure one of you more worldly people will tell me lol.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Thinking Time

I think I mentioned I'd written the first chapter of the new book? I'm halfway through chapter two now and hope to finish that this weekend. At this stage a lot of my writing time goes on thinking. I'm thinking through my characters stories, the plots and subplots and the routes for the various personalities. I also need to work out my playlist too. I find a few key songs can really set the mood for what I want to write. I've heard a few tracks that might work but I really need to go play on Youtube and make sure I've got it right. Also while I can 'hear'Tia, my heroine, very clearly I don't see her yet or Josh, the hero so I'd better look for some pictures too.
Oh the hardships of a writers life!

Friday, June 05, 2009

It's back!

you knew I would be watching! Yes Big Brother is back with another collection to entertain me for the summer. This group appeared to include the childcatcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Wolverine, a girl with an inflatable bust, a punk and one of my best friend's nephew! (He's the Russell Brand lookalikee Chris) I thought he looked familiar but last time I saw him he had a crewcut and really you don't expect to see someone you know - albeit vaguely - on TV.
The first night included a Brazillian boy shaving the eyebrows off a pretty Irish girl then drawing glasses and a moustache on her face with permanent marker. I love that BB never pretends to be something it isn't. It doesn't pretend to be educational or to expose some sad seedy secret. Instead it provides a brilliant and bonkers sideshow of human behaviour.
Davinia 'Shouty' Mcall was there too of course, dressed in a binbag and pretending everyone going into the house was sane. Looking forward to the next few weeks to see how everyone shakes down.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

X marks the spot

Today is polling day in the UK for the European elections. I know a lot of people are very disenchanted right now with politicians of all parties. Even so please use your vote. I personally don't care who you vote for, even though there are some factions out there that clearly are not very desirable, but I do care that people exercise their democratic rights. If you don't know who do vote for then choose the party you think will do the least harm.
If you don't vote then don't complain that you don't like the policies that affect your life. Do something about it - Go vote!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

On a roll

Finally got the shoe problem sorted - in the end I had to go down there with the shoes and not move until I got an answer. Shoes are now gone to be altered so Miss la will have to have a note for school and permission to wear sandals for a week until tbey come back. Not ideal but better than nothing.
I finally got on top of some of my mailing today too - a huge haul to the post office of official forms, parcels and other writerly bits and bobs that I needed to sort out.
I also braved the child tax credit line and dealt with updating and renewing all of that info - always a challenge when you have dyscalculia and there are a lot of numbers involved.
I finished the first chapter of Just Look at me Now. I think I quite like it - it's very different again from my other books and definitely different from Crystal Clear. Even better yesterday I got my sticky mitts on a copy of Jessica Hart's Honeymoon with the Boss. Rush out and get a copy - it's a lovely summery sunshine feelgood read that whisks you off to a tropical paradise.

Monday, June 01, 2009

shoes and the NHS again!

For all of you that remember the last saga of Miss la's shoes well, guess what? Sigh. Miss La has hypermobility of her joints, this especially effects her feet so she needs wedges fitted to the outside of her shoes to help with her balance and stop her feet turning in and an arch support fitted inside the shoe to stop her feet from hurting. She's been having this done since she was two - until she was seven she wasn't een allowed shoes, she had to wear boots.
Fast forward to two years ago when Mac, the experienced pillar of the othotic dept retired. Ever since then it's been hell on wheels to get her shoes fixed. The last time, they changed the rules and didn't tell me then insisted she had to be seen again before they would fix the shoes even though she wasn't due to be seen for another six months. That took ages to sort out.
This time I called my GP and asked him to write and ask if they needed to see her this time before fixing the shoes or could I just drop the shoes in as it had only been six months since they last saw her.
That was April - since then nada - zip. I've called and called and either get a nice man who says they have the letter but the girl who does appts insn't there or I get cut off then the phone is off the hook, or noone answers or the line is busy. It's absolutely ridiculous - so guess how I'm spending a lovely sunny afternoon?