Saturday, 31 March 2007

Plugging Lucy Diamond

I've had a plugging-Lucy-Diamond day, and what a strange and memorable one it's been. Very very nice but ever so slightly surreal at the same time...

First up, I did the local run. My publishers (do love saying that) have sent me some spare 'samplers' of the novel they've had printed up (just a chapter or so of the text, in a gorgeous little booklet), so I took a load up to our local shops to see if I could get the shopkeepers to hand them out, as well as dishing out my fliers too. I was just bowled over by the response. I LOVE my local shopkeepers SO MUCH! I do know most of them pretty well as I am there all the time (living the high life, you see) but even so, they all took loads of the samplers and fliers off my hands and wished me well, and wanted to know all about it. It was really, really lovely.

Went into town this afternoon - boring optician's appointment but I seized upon the opportunity to do a prowl around the book shops there too. Borders first - I'm in the 3 for 2s!! Yippeeee!!! I'm in there with all the Richard and Judys and Sarah Waters and Marian Keyes, and oh, just all the names you could want to have your book nestling cosily alongside! So that was really exciting, walking and seeing a pile of them there. Phew. Hot flush of excitement! And upstairs in their fiction shelves, you'll never guess who I'm next to alphabetically... Charles Dickens! My mate Charles! I felt a pang of guilt for having abandoned David Copperfield to the Raw Shark Texts - am LOVING DC but have not managed to finish it this month, thus failing spectacularly on my new year's resolution. Ahem.
Moving swiftly on to... WH Smith, I was in there too, not in any offers but quite a few copies in the Fiction shelves, hooray.
And then to Waterstones, where the books weren't yet on display, but I gave the woman behind the till a load of my fliers to put on the counter and she said, Ooh, I've just put a load of stickers on your book - £3 off!

So all in all, I felt really overwhelmed. I sat on the bus going out of town not quite able to believe it, to be honest. But the best was yet to come...

I got home and there was a table set up outside our house with a pile of the samplers on it and a note in eldest daughter's handwriting - "Free, plees tack one" - and she was sitting out there on a little chair, beaming, saying, "Mum, I've given loads of these away to different ladies!" BLESS!

Like I said, a strange and memorable day. I know it's just a temporary lapse of reality and life will return to its usual pattern soon but I'm having an amazing time right now. Long may it last!

Friday, 30 March 2007

Big in Taunton

In the words of the lovely Caroline, I just need to say...OMG OMG OMG OMG!!
My book has been spotted OUT in the big wide world...in the Taunton branch of Waterstones, no less. Yes! According to partner's mum, there was a big display of them on a table there! On a TABLE, no less! Not just a shelf, oh no. A BIG DISPLAY!!!! ON A TABLE!!!!!

I am so happy to be on a table. Fantastic. It feels GREAT to be on a table in the Taunton branch of Waterstones. People in Taunton might be reading my book RIGHT NOW. Wow. It is a very strange feeling. I'm not sure what's going on though - in fact, hearing this did throw me a bit.
They're not meant to be on sale until the 6th!
"I'm not ready yet!" I kept saying. "I haven't told people yet, I haven't really gone for shameless plugging overkill or anything!!" I went all hysterical with excitement actually, kept laughing at everything and anything, to the point where I thought I was going to start crying. (Does this happen to anyone else, btw? Or is it just me??)
Anyway, partner's mum has bought a copy (thanks, Val!). I hope she hasn't got to the rude bits yet otherwise she might get the wrong idea about me. (Don't read the rude bits, Val!) We're going to stay with her next week, so I might have to take some scissors with me and chop out any pages with saucy scenes on...

So that's Bangkok and now Taunton. And two copies sold already, counting the lovely JJ's copy. I haven't been into Brighton yet so don't know if they're here. But if you are anywhere near a book shop this weekend and see a copy, please tell me so I can be excited about that place as well as Taunton. And maybe if you do see any in the book shop, you could do me a massive favour and say (in a really loud voice), "Wow! Lucy Diamond! I have been waiting for this ALL YEAR! Quick, let me buy one before they all sell out!"
Only joking. You don't have to do this. I am just getting over-over-OVER-excited now. Where's Michael Winner when you need him to tell you to CALM DOWN, DEAR.?

Anyway. So. Other news is that my agent rang yesterday to give me a vote of confidence on Novel 3. Hoorah. He liked it, although did have some searching questions, ie, What's going to happen to this character? And when is this character going to discover this big secret? And how's it going to end?
I'm afraid my answers were all pretty much like this. "Well, ummm, that's a good question and um... Well, I haven't actually got that worked out yet. Hmmm. Don't know. I will just think of something off the top of my head blah blah blah."
Back to the drawing board, Ms Diamond.
The thing is, I'm too hyped up to go back to the drawing board for a while. It is only the fact that I'm waiting for my fliers to be delivered that's stopping me from hotfooting it into town to start haunting the bookshops there...
Tum te tum...

Thursday, 29 March 2007

Muttering

It's my first full day on the novel today after - ooh, WEEKS. I'm a bit scared I'll have forgotten what to do.

Mind you, I say "full day on the novel" but we've got estate agents coming round to give us valuations at 10 o'clock, 11 o'clock and 1.30. And it's the school easter egg hunt today at 3.30...

Right. That'll be a few paragraphs on the novel today, then. Sigh... Never going to finish the bloody thing mutter mutter.

Haven't got anything else to say this morning, sorry. Ooh - just thought, I have, actually. Here's my brand spanking new Lucy Diamond website. Let me know what you think...

Wednesday, 28 March 2007

We are not worthy. And we're not tidy either

We are just about to enter that awful stage in house-selling known as Trying-to-keep-your-house-tidy-at-all-times-in-case-of-surprise-viewings.

Bugger. It was bad enough last time we moved with just one small child's toys to shove into a cupboard at the drop of a hat. But now we've got three times as many children and toys and... God. I feel knackered just at the thought. Their very presence in the house is enough to throw things into turmoil. Ie this morning, somehow, youngest found time to empty all the Polly Pocket things on the floor before she was whisked away to nursery. Somehow, son found time to do some drawing, leaving pens and paper (and felt-tip marks) all over the coffee table. Somehow, eldest has managed to abandon half her wardrobe, sans hangers, on the floor, even though she only had to choose her school uniform to put on.

Where do you even begin?

Well, I haven't begun today, not on the tidying front anyway. Wednesday mornings are precious all-kids-out time so must get on with writing and get round to tidying when youngest is having a nap this afternoon. OH, this is going to be such fun, I just know it.

Retreating hurriedly to nice-book-world and shutting the door on all the mess... I printed out, read through and tweaked the first hundred pages of Novel 3 yesterday afternoon/evening. I've now sent them off to my agent for some feedback. Gulp. I'm already wishing I'd changed the ending of chapter 5, but too late for that now. Unfortunately I've made the mistake of reading something absolutely BRILLIANT by one of my agent's other authors at the same time - The Raw Shark Texts by Steven Hall which is just mindblowing. I am gripped, intrigued, totally hooked...and now feeling totally inadequate in comparison. This is exactly the trap I fell into last year when I sent off some of Novel 2. I started reading The Optimists by Andrew Miller, another of my agent's authors, and was spun into a we-are-not-worthy panic of inferiority.
BUT, to paraphrase (or misquote) Helen Dunmore, "we authors have to plough our own furrow". And my furrow seems to be domestic dramas with lots of sex and (hopefully) laughs, rather than anything very mindblowing or highbrow. So that's okay then...

Anyway, on with chapter 6...

Tuesday, 27 March 2007

A PROPER review at last

Phew, have finished my last Jake story for Orchard, which is just as well, really, seeing as the deadline is on Friday. Just have to read it to my expert panel of advisers (my six-year-old and four-year-old) to get their opinions and then I can send it off. And THEN it's time to get back to the novel. That word counter over on the right has been static for a while - I'm looking forward to racking up a few more words on it soon. Oh, and I've had a lovely review from Trashionista which will definitely inspire me to motor along with it. Hooray for nice reviewers. Observer, please take note.

Back in the real world (as opposed to nice book-world), have pretty much finished painting everything in the house. Just as well because we've got some estate agents coming round on Thursday to give us valuations. Poor eldest daughter has definitely swung back to not wanting to move anywhere, which she demonstrated at top volume yesterday when I was on the phone to said estate agents, trying to grab the phone from my hand and shouting, "We are not moving!" Gawd. She has even taken to writing me little messages saying "But mum wot abowt yor frends? You wil mis them" trying to persuade me that leaving Brighton is a Bad Thing. Frankly, I am still totally in denial about the missing-my-friends and not-knowing-anyone-in Bath thing. Actually, I just feel as if I don't have any roots anywhere at the moment. I hate this limbo feeling. Please PLEASE let us get this house buying/selling malarkey over and done with soon!

I think I'll just stay in nice book-world for a while, on second thoughts.

Monday, 26 March 2007

Moaning

Exactly ten years ago, I was working as an office lackey in this swanky hotel in Perth. I'd been travelling for over a year by then and was desperately trying to save up a few dollars for the last few months' travelling before returning to the UK. I was temping in the marketing department there and part of my job was to go through the guests' questionnaires about how they enjoyed their stay. This was a five-star hotel and it used to really wind me up that ANYONE in their right mind could complain about staying in a five-star hotel (especially as I was skint and sleeping in horrible cockroachy hostels or on people's floors at the time). And it always seemed to be the people who were staying in the penthouse suite who whinged the most, about the stupidest little thing. Moany tossers, I'd think, rolling my eyes and huffing as I read through more gripes about air-conditioning or other trivial, pathetic little complaints. Get a grip, for Chrissakes! Get a life!

You know where this is going, don't you?

So. Anyway. Just to refresh your memories, partner and I went to a swanky hotel on Friday. Not five stars, but still the poshest place I have ever been in my life. We're talking flash. We got there and this bloke came striding over towards me with his hand out. I'm Brian, your concierge, he said.
Oh, all right, Brian, I said, shaking his hand. Nice to meet you.
That was when I realised he was holding out his hand for my BAG not for my hand. (I am rubbish at this posh lark.)
Anyway. It was that kind of place. Concierges taking your bags and pretending not to notice you were a pleb and thought they wanted to shake your hand. Splashy waterfall thingy in reception and huge overstuffed armchairs and ginormous bed in room, plus bathroom to die for.

And...
we complained.
I know. Do you hate us??
First we complained about the fact that partner's veggie dinner (grandly called Vegetarian Gourmand in the menu) consisted of boiled carrots and green beans, a single tomato, a single mushroom, about five olives and two little bits of potato. That was it. (I'm sorry, but having a laugh or what? And for £14! Our six year old could cobble that together.)

THEN - oh, there's more - we complained about the fact that the hotel website and brochure had gone on and on about what a perfect place it was to relax - but all we could hear in our room was really loud and really crap sub-club dross until midnight. You know, if I wanted to lie in bed listening to the Macarena blasting through the wall, I'd have stayed above a pub on Brighton sea front.

Ahem. So we complained. And I know damn well that the 26-year-old me of 1997 would probably have slapped the 36-year-old me of 2007 around the chops. And wouldn't have been in bed at midnight in the first place, anyway. Oh, and called me a moany tosser, and told me to get a grip, and a life while I was at it.

Still. Fifty quid off the bill. You know, it pays to be a moaner sometimes. And we did really enjoy ourselves despite that, honestly...

Friday, 23 March 2007

Ju-ust the two of us...

Very excited...going away tonight with partner, just the two of us, sans children, I-think-we're-alone-now etc. Oh yes. My parents are staying here in Mission Control while we're away, and we will be waving bye-bye and driving away this evening to a swanky hotel, as the last bit of my birthday present to Partner. Ooh, bliss or what? I am so looking forward to it. Love a good hotel, me. I think it's partly the legacy of all those camping holidays as a child. I like my creature comforts now, not leaky tents and soggy sleeping bags...

Other good news, Usborne said yes to my new proposal which is brilliant. Hoorahhhhhhhhh! Six new books to write, that will keep me busy for the rest of the year. So over the moon to get the call - being self-employed is a bit nerve-racking sometimes, wondering when the next pay cheque is going to arrive, and if anyone is ever going to want me to write another book again. So I'm really chuffed about that.

And then yesterday I got a call from my children's books agent, saying these people were interested in this, in relation to...
Sorry. I can't actually type it. I haven't signed anything yet and I'm too superstitious about it falling through and not happening to tell you properly. But it's good, anyway. Dead good. Good enough to see me get through a bottle of bubbly last night anyway. If it comes off, it will be a CAREER HIGHLIGHT!

I hardly dare go to the novel racers coffee morning today, once again have not written a single new word on the novel. But I've nearly finished my last Jake book so hopefully next week will be more productive on that front...
Have a fab weekend, everyone.

Tuesday, 20 March 2007

Flurrying, not worrying

You know, I'm so busy with the book stuff at the moment, I've barely had time to think about MOVING HOUSE. It's quite a good strategy, I think. Hopefully I'll be able to flit through the whole house-selling-buying-upheaval in a Zen-like calm, while my mind is focussing on all my plans for the novel, and then one day I'll find myself in a removal van, and the whole thing will have happened without a single new stress wrinkle to show for it...

Oh, as if, we all know that won't happen, but I have thrown myself into a flurry of pre-publication activity anyway, which is all very exciting. I have ordered a thousand - a THOUSAND! - fliers to be printed, advertising the book signing. Does that seem a bit excessive? I've already roped in some mates to help distribute them far and wide - thank you, lovely friends, if you ever read this - so hopefully I can get them all given out. I've booked some advertising space in a local magazine too and bunged them a press release in the hope they'll do a review, too. AND I'm chasing up all the media contacts various people have given me. Another writer advised me to treat myself to a funky new pen for the signing - which I'm definitely going to do - but I'm also wondering if a new outfit for the occasion is acceptable as a business expense... What do you reckon? I mean, I can't just rock up there in my jeans, can I?

Must must must write lots of words today. Deadline looming at the end of the month for the sixth and final book in my Jake series. I haven't written a single word of it yet - well, unless the title and 'Chapter One' count - eeek. Last night, sank a few large G and Ts and brainstormed the plot with partner. Now all I have to do is write the thing. And STOP PROCRASTINATING ON THIS BLOG!

Sunday, 18 March 2007

"It's racy"

So, how was your Mother’s Day? Handmade cards with wonky writing and lots of kisses, breakfast in bed, flowers? I was lucky enough to have all three, AND a hot bath waiting for me with the newspaper. Bliss.

But then I read the sneering, dismissive ‘Yummy Mummy Lit review’ (ugh, do hate that label) in the Observer and considered submerging myself under the bubbles and not coming up for air ever again.
Well, no, to be fair, it wasn’t that bad. There were some nice comments about all of the books - I did quite enjoy being likened to a chocolate pastry (not me, the book, silly) although the tone overall was pretty patronising – and I’m still not sure why they asked a bloke to review five novels that definitely come under the category of Women’s Fiction but there you go. Still, it’s given me a quote of sorts that I’ll be using on my fliers. Are you ready? Here goes:

“It’s racy” – The Observer

That's about all that's salvageable. Still, I think it's quite amusing. Not half as good as my quote from the lovely Kate which includes the killer line - "Sexy, sassy and very funny" - but then that's the difference between nice authors and patronising journalists, I guess.

Still, I was hugely cheered by the photo on JJ's blog. Have you seen it? It's a picture of her READING MY BOOK! How fantastic is that? Thank you, JJ. You totally made my day. I promise to do the same for you when your novel comes out (as I'm sure it will)!

Other major news includes the fact that finally FINALLY eldest daughter's first tooth is out. I know - it seems like months ago that I posted about the first wobble. It seems the stakes have been raised since I was leaving teeth for the tooth fairy, though. These days, the going rate is a quid, I've been told and the tooth fairy leaves a note. Bloody nora. The hoops we mums have to jump through. Apparently her friend L's tooth fairy was called 'Violet' and friend R's tooth fairy was called 'Twinkle'. I think I'm going for Trixie. Or is that a bit too Geldof??

Anyway, if I were a superduper mum, I'd be better prepared for this sort of malarkey, I'd have nice purple card and a gold pen all ready in the making-things cupboard, so that I could fashion a proper sparkly card from Trixie. But it's gonna be biro and a bit of paper for my tooth fairy. Oh dear. And daughter has made her a pillow from cottonwool, decorated with felt-tip and everything. I've been tested on Mother's Day and found wanting. Maybe a sprinkling of glitter will be good enough...

Friday, 16 March 2007

They're here!

Very exciting delivery this morning...a box of books. Not just any old books, mind - MY books. Author copies!

Ooooohh....NOW I'm excited again. I can't stop stroking them and swooning over them and seeing how they look on bookshelves (gorgeous, actually). I keep thumbing through, wondering which bits people will skim-read if they pick it up in a book shop. I hope they flick to a rude bit. Or a funny bit. Or something really dramatic. Hmmm, let's see... page 181. I hope they turn to page 181 when they're flicking through.

That's all I can give you today. Partner staggered in a couple of hours ago jetlagged and knackered and has gone to bed, so am going to grab a bit of work time while youngest daughter is snoozing. But if you're looking for something else to read now, you can always check out this little interview I did for Trashionista...

Wednesday, 14 March 2007

Wobbling

I am having a wobble this evening. Three weeks on Friday, Any Way You Want Me is published. Copies are in the warehouse right now, apparently. Twenty author copies are winging their way to me. Actual copies of my novel!!!

That's good, right? I know what you're thinking: What's the problem, you drama queen? Stop moaning. Get a grip! Bombs are going off around the world, people are starving, and you're still banging on about your wretched book! Leave it out!

I know all that. But I am still having a wobble. Up until now, the ride has been great. It's over a year since I got the call - They said yes! They've made you an offer! - right in the middle of W H Smiths, actually. I thought I was going to pass out with joy. This was my big dream, my biggest ambition, getting a novel published. Wow. It was going to happen, really actually happen!

And ever since then, it's been so exciting - telling all my friends, meeting all the lovely publishing people, seeing the proofs and cover, writing this blog - in fact, being Lucy Diamond has been great full stop so far. I have loved it. The thing is, that exciting limbo period is coming to an end quite soon. And for as long as I've known my novel is going to be published, I've had all these amazing little day dreams about it. Of course I have - wouldn't you? Surely every author does this - fantasises about being there in the bestseller lists, the film options, the pats on the back, the glowing reviews. Oh, I've so enjoyed thinking about all that!

But in three weeks' time, that bit is over. Reality kicks in. I'll find out at last what people actually think of it. I am terrified, you know. I'm really nervous. What if everyone thinks it's awful? What if it is panned in the reviews? What if all the playground mums think I'm a complete slapper? (I bet they will)

I've got a review coming out this Sunday but I'm so nervous I'm not even going to tell you which newspaper it's in, just in case it's bad. (If it IS bad, forget it, you'll never hear from me again, I'm taking to bed for the rest of the year.) Oh helpppp!!!

I know I'm being overly dramatic about all this. I will probably be fine tomorrow.
Bloody hell.
Three weeks, two days and counting...

Since my baby left me...

Well, I've made it through the first night and the first school run, without a single tantrum, not even from me. Always a bit weird, the first night he's away. Keep thinking I hear strange noises in the house - footsteps, whispers, that kind of thing. And all that double-checking - I did turn the hot water off, didn't I? (Yes) I did lock the back door, didn't I? (Yes) And I did remember to put a booby trap in front of the back door, didn't I, so that anyone kicking it in would trip over the washing basket and hopefully stun themselves and give me time to call 999? (Yes)

Last night I was prepared to bet everything that youngest child would be throwing up every hour - she's the only one of us not to have caught the dreaded bug and I was convinced she was just waiting for her daddy to leave the country before coming down with it. But no. All well. Eldest two deliverered to school on time, youngest at nursery for the morning. And it's a gorgeous spring morning tra la la.

It's not so bad. I can make it through to Friday.

Tuesday, 13 March 2007

Trying very hard not to moan

Scuse the absence, I've been suffering with horrible tummy bug that the kids thoughtfully shared with me. But am not about to start moaning as I'm expecting hordes of new readers from The Book Bar now that my interview is up there and don't want to send them all away again in disgust! Hello, hordes!

Still feel a bit light-headed today but have got to finish writing Oliver Moon's Troll Trouble this morning (my son thought of that title - good, isn't it?!) because this afternoon my other half is abandoning me for a conference in Cape Town, the lucky sod, and will be away until Friday, which rather puts the kybosh on my work time. Mutter mutter. The thought of managing all those school runs and teatimes on my own is enough to send me back to bed, right now, but I will struggle on. Oh dear. Moaning. Sorry.

Book-wise, I'm still continuing my Cultural Resolution and am going for another Dickens this month, David Copperfield. No, I've never read it. Shame on me. Was sorely disappointed by Under the Greenwood Tree last month - thought it was very flimsy, hardly any drama and I didn't like any of the characters.

Better do some work while I still can anyway...

Friday, 9 March 2007

Who would you invite?

I'm filling in an interview for the lovely Jess at The Book Bar at the moment - but have stalled on one question. In fact, this question has taken over my whole mind because I'm struggling to pin down the answer.

It is: Which six people (alive/dead/real/fictional) would you invite to a dinner party, and why?

You might think it's easy but I'm telling you, it's not.
First, I went for the fit men approach - Hmmm, George, Brad, Orlando, you can all come. Then I got a bit worried about what Hollywood A-listers would think of our house. I wouldn't want anyone turning their noses up at me. (Also beloved partner might get a bit p'd off with me for making eyes at George Clooney across the table.)

Then, I started thinking about people I could imagine having excellent dinner table stories to make me laugh: Jonathan Ross, Ricky Gervais, Peter Kay - yep, all hilarious, you can definitely come. But what if they got a bit competitive about who was the funniest? What if there was an almighty ego clash right there in my kitchen?

Hmmmm. Tricky. Then I started thinking about guests who'd be able to provide excellent showbiz gossip. Graham Norton - too annoying. Charlotte Church - she'd be a laugh but she'd want Gavin to come too and no offence, but he seems a bit dull.

I was starting to feel a bit shallow. Is this how I choose my friends? People who can make me laugh and provide excellent gossip? Well, actually... Pretty much, yes. Oh dear. Quick, I thought, think of someone historical, to add a bit of gravitas to the occasion. Ummm... Henry VIII? No, that fat bastard would eat all the food. Queen Elizabeth? Looks a bit up herself. Can't imagine her spluttering wine down her nose at Jonathan Ross's jokes. Gandhi? Well... I'd feel I couldn't get properly lashed and cheeky in front of someone like that.

See what I mean? It's difficult. I mentioned it to partner who immediately said, "Oh, I'd definitely invite Tony Benn". And that's the difference between us. He (clearly on a higher intellectual plane) invites a legendary politician. I (on a low, low barely-intellectual-at-all plane) would be put off by Tony Benn's pipe smoke, and pick someone I can have a laugh with.

Maybe I'm taking this a bit too seriously? It's not real, I keep having to remind myself. You aren't really going to have to cook for six famous people, some of whom might be dead/not actually real.

All the same, I'm never going to be able to finish this interview. The only definite is J K Rowling so I can get her tipsy and persuade her to tell me how Harry Potter is going to end. But that's five places left to fill. Suggestions, anyone?

Wednesday, 7 March 2007

Well hung

Good meeting yesterday with one of my children's book editors. She came to my house and we discussed all the work in progress, then I took her to a nice pub up the road for lunch. Sometimes I do love being an author. The lunch bit is definitely the best, I reckon. I've nearly finished the series I'm writing for them - last book to be delivered at the end of this month, so I chanced my arm and pitched a new idea for another series. It was a bit rough and ready, I only had about two sentences to say about it, no characters or plots lined up at all, just an idea, but she liked it and is going to speak to the publishing director about it. Now I just have to think it all up and write a killer proposal. Hmmm.

Ace morning today, partner has taken the day off work and I decided to take the morning off too so while youngest was at nursery, we were actually *alone* in the house. Together. No children fighting or asking us to feed them or get them stuff. No-one shouting or whinging or pestering. This just doesn't ever happen, believe me.

So, guess what we did all morning?
Was it something debauched? No.
Was it something romantic? No.

We....






wallpapered the landing wall.

Sorry. Was that a letdown?

Tuesday, 6 March 2007

Westward Ho!

Have had a mad few days. Weekend in Bath, then partner's 40th yesterday. Phew. Once again, I have eaten and drunk too much. There is definitely a bit of muffintoppery going on with my trousers at the moment - must try to rein myself in at the dinner table for a few weeks. (Although having said that, am having lunch with one of my editors today so I will start the new regime tomorrow...ahem....)

Anyway - Bath. We loved it. Even more gorgeous than I remembered. Could really see ourselves living there - so we're going to do it! Had a bit of a turning point with eldest daughter (who has previously resisted any talk of moving) - we went to see one house, just to get an idea of what we could afford and she started sobbing outside the estate agent - "I don't want to move house! Please don't make me go!" which was horrible. But then, once inside this house when she and son discovered that on the top floor, there were just two rooms, one with Spiderman murals all over the walls and the other with white-washed floorboards and a pink heart on the door - at that point, she got really excited, saying, "Can we live here? This could be my room and this could be Tom's!" (They share at the moment) - and suddenly she was really into the whole idea. Relief all round.

Stayed in a B&B Saturday night - kids all wildly excited as we haven't been anywhere like that for years. Much bouncing on beds and giggling and running around in the dark. The kids, too. (ba-boom).

So it was a good weekend. Feel really excited about our life change now! (Come back in two months though when we're knee deep in surveys and gazumping and full-schools stress and remind me of this, please)

And then yesterday, partner turned 40 - he hasn't ordered himself a sports car or gone off to get a mistress yet, so no sign of impending midlife crisis. He took the day off work and we went to Wakehurst Place which is Kew's country house and garden - very calming, strolling around this fabulous Elizabethan manor house and massive grounds. The sort of thing we couldn't have done if the two older children had been there ("This is SO BORING!" "Can we go home now?" "What do you mean, there isn't a playground here?") but youngest dozed in the buggy as we wheeled her round so we could chat and everything. What a bonus. In the evening, went out to Indian Summer, a really yummy, posh Indian restaurant in Brighton.

Must try and do a bit of work now before I go off for my eating - I mean, meeting.

Friday, 2 March 2007

It'll be all right on the Newsnight

Partner says he was mobbed in the school playground this morning by parents telling him how good he was on Newsnight last night (did you see it? He was fab, I thought. Very cool, calm and collected. I'd have cacked myself being interviewed by Jeremy Paxman). He said the best thing was eldest daughter's beaming face as various parents congratulated him, she looked dead proud of her dad. Awwww. He also said he was having desperate phone calls from certain members of Brighton and Hove council before the programme began trying to shut him up. I don't think so. Hope they squirmed all the way through it.

Elsewhere, not so excitingly, youngest has ear infection and keeps sobbing and clapping hand to her ear in anguish when the Calpol starts wearing off. Ouch. Can't get her in to see the doctor until 6pm though which is a pain. Son is all peaky and floppy too so he's having a morning off school. Poor partner didn't get in until 2 this morning and he's looking after them both while I work, which I feel bad about but I've missed quite a lot of work time lately for one thing and another so can't give myself a day off. I will have to knuckle down and try and get my stuff done quickly so I can assist in nursing duties.

Looking forward to the racers' coffee morning today - I've actually made some good progress on the novel so don't have to make my excuses this week. Over a quarter of the way through now, excellent, feel it's going well.

Right - am starting a new Oliver Moon today so will crack on. Have a good weekend, one and all!