Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Exploring Lanzarote

When the sun comes out at this time of year, I want to lie outside and soak up rays like a solar battery. This year, I got an early charge when we flew to Lanzarote for a week's stay over the Easter holidays.

Swimming pool at Princesa Yaiza hotel, Lanzarote
One of Yaiza's many pools
We took a family suite at the hotel Princesa Yaiza in the Playa Blanca resort. The hotel was vast and we were tucked away in a distant wing (the family zone) but there was lots to keep us entertained. As well as three swimming pools and numerous restaurants in the hotel complex, there was the 'Kikoland' sports facility, where we got addicted to paddle tennis (a cross between tennis and squash). We could also walk to a pretty (if busy) beach nearby.

Tuesday, 9 April 2019

Vive l'ind├ępendence!

This time last week I dropped off my 15-year old daughter at school for her French exchange trip. In the dark, lamp-lit morning (4:30am), seeing her onto the school coach felt like a surreal experience. In a haze of orange street-light, I was sending off  into the unknown, to stay with a family I'd never met before. Instinctively, I didn't want to let her go, even though my head was telling me this was a good opportunity for her.

My daughter at ease with her new independence!
On the quiet drive home, I gave myself a stern pep talk. As a good parent, I needed to allow my daughter her independence and the freedom to try out new experiences.

Monday, 25 March 2019

The march of a million feet

The word march was a misnomer. It was more of a gentle stroll on a mild spring day. A great tide of humanity rolling through the famous streets of London - Park Lane, Piccadilly, Whitehall; everyone chanting and waving placards. This was the People's March, a historic protest against Brexit, with hundreds of thousands voicing their call for a second public vote.

Thousands of anti-Brexit protesters on the People's March in London
A constant stream of protesters
I woke up on Saturday morning undecided as to whether I should go. (We're currently planning a house renovation with an endless 'to do' list.) But then I watched a clip of Anna Soubry on Channel 4 News talking about the death threats she's received for speaking her mind on Brexit - vile letters posted to her home address. Soubry's closing words were: "Get on that march and show them we've had enough."

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Spring house makeover

At long last, spring is in the air! I can't say I feel the urge to spring-clean, but all this lovely sunshine is raising my energy levels on the house front. We moved into a period home last October and are in the throes of figuring out what needs renovating. The to-do list seems to keep on growing...

Fliers of exhibitors at the Henley House & Garden Show 2019
Exhibitors at the House & Garden Show

We could live here quite happily for another year or so without doing anything, but we're under pressure to get the heavy lifting out the way before my daughter takes her GCSEs next summer. 

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

The power of friendship

First page of a new novel
Chiselling away... page one!
Just when you thought An Author's Notebook might have died and gone to blog heaven... here I am! The reason for my absence has been book-related: I've spent January finishing my third novel. I'm nearly there (New Year's resolution - tick!) although I'm still tinkering around the edges.

I actually finished writing the book over a year ago, but have spent all this time chiselling away at it, refining sentences and teasing out themes. Most usefully, I've been addressing feedback from a small group of readers - most of them writers themselves. I've been so lucky with the people I have met through my CBC creative writing course, as well as a few supporters closer to home.

Tuesday, 18 December 2018

For tradition's sake

Christmas is an elaborate production. The sheer brilliance of it is that everyone collaborates in one way or another - whether that's buying presents, sending cards, or perpetuating the magic of Santa. The festival is one massive, co-ordinated effort across the nation and most of us opt in without even questioning it. The results are spectacular: from the gorgeous lights illuminating our town centres to crazy knitted jumpers, Secret Santa, fairs, parties and the decorated trees adorning our homes.

Christmas wreath hanging on a white front door
My first ever Christmas wreath!
As each year passes, I get more practised at keeping my end up. I now have processes in place (start the cards early; book online shopping slots in November) to make life easier. I know what's expected and I deliver. It helps that it's the same show every year because - let's be honest - I'm not much of an innovator. I follow the time-honoured plan and streamline efficiencies where I can.