Saturday, 23 August 2008

Eating my entire wedding





Oooh, look everyone. A box. A box just delivered by the postman, for me! But what's inside?



Some midnight-blue tissue paper...


And....









Oh my goodness! Shoes, and a bag and a present... as biscuits!
Hold on, there's more. There's more, I tell you!




A wedding cake, wedding dress, hearts, flowers... I can't believe it! How yummy and gorgeous and fabulous! All from my lovely LOVELY publishers!
I'm going to eat my whole wedding - that's if I can fight my kids off, of course...
PS Are you impressed, btw? This if the first time I have EVER posted photos on my blog. Not that I'm technologically challenged or anything. Or a bit dim. I just find such things quite scary and tricky. But these biscuits needed to be seen before I scoff the lot, so I made a special effort!

Friday, 22 August 2008

Treats

I forgot a key Happiness Reason from yesterday's post:

6) The Olympics. I am sooooo enjoying watching/listening to all the events, especially as Team GB are doing so brilliantly. I have already mentally given myself two weeks off for the 2012 games and will be parked on my sofa watching the lot. Can't wait!

Anyway. I had a fab day yesterday. Lovely train journey making notes for the meeting (trying to think of brainy things I could say) and reading My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier (haven't read it for at least 20 years, couldn't remember the ending at all, loved it) and then went here for tea and cake with my editor and the publishing director which was extremely nice (I can recommend the carrot and coconut cake...mmmm....). I do love how, working on children's books, you can have really in-depth conversations about the storylines which must seem completely mad to anyone eavesdropping. Ie yesterday we were discussing mermaids' magical powers, an evil baddie mermaid, and shrinking all the whales of the oceans down to miniature size. Completely bonkers. I so hope somebody was earwigging on that lot.

Then I had a couple of hours to kill before I could get the first off-peak train home. What a shame. I just had to go to Oxford Street and do some shopping. I know, it's a hard life. I made a beeline for TopShop and then H&M (ahhh, H&M, how I have missed you) and bought two tops for about 5p. Then hit the huge lovely Borders where they had a gratifyingly large pile of copies of Over You, yay, and where I treated myself to the new Kate Atkinson . I don't usually buy hardbacks (too expensive/too heavy to read in bed or cart around in a bag), but I loved her last two so much, I just couldn't hold back today. Naughty. But nice.

I read A Room of One's Own on the way back. Shamefully, I had never read it before but I thought it was fantastic. The first chapter was a bit odd, but after that, it was brilliant, surprisingly humorous and chatty, and very inspiring, especially the rousing last chapter. So here I am this morning, in my own room, and feel as if I'd better crack on now... and write something about shrinking whales and baddie mermaids. Perhaps not quite what Virginia had in mind, but hey. I'm enjoying myself. Have a good weekend everyone xx

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Happiness, happiness, the greatest gift that I possess...

I'm feeling very cheerful this morning. (Look away now if you're in a bad mood.)

Here's why:

1) Over You has its first review on Amazon - and it's an absolute corker, five stars no less. Whoopeee!!

2) The sun is shining (I know! I can hardly believe it myself!)

3) I'm off to London today for a meeting, (the one with cake, hoorah), and because of stupid peak-time rip-off fares etc can't get a train back until 7pm. That gives me at least two and half hours' hanging around in London time where I will be forced to shop. Daaamn.

4) I received a huge box of advance copies of my new children's series this morning all about cheeky Prince Jake ... and they're hardbacks, darlings!

5) Did I mention the cake and shopping?

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Loving LoveReading

Oooh! ChrisH has just let me know that Over You has made the LoveReading top ten! Have a look... it's straight in at number seven, my lucky number. Hoorah for the LoveReading downloaders (and thanks, ChrisH)! Still no Amazon reviews yet though...

Other news... not long till the wedding! I am so excited. Bought some lovely new make-up this morning and a few other bits and bobs including a pair of emergency flat-ish silvery sandals today in case my wedding heels get the better of me. Have got the dress, beautifully shortened, got the rings, confetti, cars booked, the bridesmaids all set... Now I just need some beauty sleep instead of anxiety dreams about being late/wobbling off wedding heels/LP not turning up etc...

Monday, 11 August 2008

Catching up

Sorry for the paucity of blog posts recently...feel busy busy with the school holidays and wedding stuff at the moment.

The book signing was great on Saturday - thanks for all your nice words. It was pouring with rain all day but the shop was still busy and I sold lots of books to lots of nice people. I had an email from the shop this morning saying it was the most successful Saturday signing they've had for a long time, sales-wise, so that's brilliant news and made all the nerves etc beforehand seem worthwhile.

I've had some really lovely emails and texts from people who've read Over You - thank you, thank you, thank you. They mean so much to me. It is so nerve-racking waiting to hear what people think of your book(s), I've had a few wobbles of self-doubt and angst this time ("I'm not a real writer... I've got away with it so far but it's only a matter of time before someone realises I'm actually crap..." etc.) Terrible. So thanks again if you've read it and sent me a nice message - I really appreciate it.

I've also had some feedback from one of my new children's book proposals - I'm going to London next week to discuss it with my editor in a meeting (with cake, I do believe, which always oils the wheels of creativity for me) so that all sounds very promising. She said she definitely definitely wants this new series (six books, whoopee) but wants to discuss it further before I write up a formal proposal. Which is obviously fine by me.

Better go and start making tea for the masses. Have a good week, everyone!

Friday, 8 August 2008

Novel 3 has left the building

Hoorah. Just sent off the first draft of Novel 3 to my agent. It was SUCH a good feeling to press 'Send' and let it go. So now I'm in waiting limbo for a while, crossing my fingers that he likes it. Am also in waiting limbo on two new children's projects - a follow-up series with one publisher (have sent them the synopsis of a possible book one of six) and some sample writing and a synopsis with a new publisher. Oooh. I quite like getting a raft of stuff out there but it does mean I turn into a bit of a mad email-checker/ phone-pouncer until I get feedback.

It's my book signing tomorrow - WATERSTONES, MILSOM STREET, BATH, 11AM-1PM - and I'm feeling really nervous. Don't want to do it any more. Am sure it will be an embarrassing disaster with tumbleweed blowing around my ankles. Aaarrgh. The only thing that will get me through it, is that LP and I are going to choose our wedding rings afterwards. And - almost as important - the wedding cake. So by 1.15 I know I will be really cheerful again. I am clinging on to that thought.

I've had a nice mention on LoveReading - "Lucy Diamond is definitely one to watch" they say. How fab is that!!
Have a good weekend, everyone...

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Pavement pounding

I read somewhere that at Abi Titmuss's recent book signing, only three people showed up.
Eeek. That is so going to be me on Saturday, when I do mine, I just know it. What seemed like a good idea at the time will see me all alone in the corner of Waterstones, with kind, pitying looks from the staff, being completely ignored and shunned by customers. I'll have to text LP and beg him to please come in and pretend he doesn't know me, and.. Oh, the shame.

The thought of such a scenario has prompted me to take to the streets with a sack-load of fliers, advertising the event. I've learned from my mistakes last year and have gone out to pound the pavements in trainers this time rather than high-heeled boots, but am still experiencing the same traumas with bristly draught-excluder letterboxes, the fear that a mad dog is going to bite my fingers off and the paranoia that someone's going to fling their front door open while I'm there and say, "Take this litter away with you!"
It's quite a strange business, going to door after door and trying not to be too nosey about it. When I spy a front room lined with books, I think, Yes, you can have a flier. Whenever I see someone in the front room, even if they're not looking at me, I avoid that house, for fear of the above. Gates are a pain, so are steps, so are long drives.
I'll be out again tonight, though. If it means avoiding the three-book signing shame, I'll do it...

Sunday, 3 August 2008

The results!

Sorry to be a bit late posting this... only back from Dorset a few hours ago and there have been kids to feed, bath and put to bed, and bits of wet tent to drape around the house... Yes. It rained. Again. "It always rains when we're camping," my son said gloomily as woke up to loud pattering sounds yesterday morning. Ahh well. We still had a fab time.
Enough about all that, anyway. I've got the result of the limerick competition to announce!

All week, entries have been pouring in to the comments box. In fact there were 28 limericks in all, which is brilliant, I reckon. Thanks to everyone who entered... you are all worthy poets and should give yourselves many pats on the back.
But there can only be one winner. And, if you remember, that winner stands to receive a whopping great parcel of books from those lovely generous people at Pan. As with the anagrams,
I have typed up all the entries anonymously and given the list to my Lovely Partner to judge. And, as before, he picked out a shortlist of those limericks he liked best.
So, without any further ado, I can now reveal that in third place is...









the extremely fabulous Clare with this:

I'm feeling all bothered and blue
I can't seem to get over you
A diamond would help
(I mean it, don't yelp)
Or even a topaz would do.



And in second place is...












the rather foxy Lily Sheehan with this:

You promised you'd always be true
Now I'm trying to get over you
You promised a ring
With a diamond setting
But all I got was hullabaloo



So now, the moment you've all been waiting for. The winner of my limerick competition is...






*someone get that drum-roll going, for goodness' sake*








the incredibly talented Calistro with this:

There was a young lady called Sue
Who wrote a great novel or two
Her words sparkle like diamonds
Her characters aren't shy ones
So buy "Any Way..." and "Over You".

Round of applause for Calistro, please! Very well done indeed. Calistro, please email me at lucy AT lucydiamond DOT co DOT uk with your address and I'll make sure you receive a scrummy parcel of books. Hoorah!!

Thursday, 31 July 2008

It's in the shops!

Must be brief as LP has just nipped to the offy to get us a bottle of vino and a DVD but I just had to report that MY BOOK IS OUT THERE!!! I was in London today for a lovely lunch meeting with my children's book agent and managed to squeeze in 3 book shop visits to see my new book out there on the tables. I went to two of the WH Smiths in Paddington and the Borders in Charing Cross Road, and there it was, looking lovely on the 'Buy One Get One Half Price' tables. It should be in Waterstones too and other book shops, and Asda are selling it as well. Whoopee!!

I was surprised how overwhelmed I was to actually see copies in REAL shops (not just in my imagination). I didn't think it would be so exciting as when Any Way You Want Me was published and I saw it for the first time. I thought that would be a one-off burst of excitement, never to be repeated. But I was trembly all over again and had that must-pinch-myself feeling, that my book was really there, in a proper shop that sold stuff, and random people who didn't even know me might pick it up and read it... Oh, just such a fabulous, wonderful thought.

Good luck, book. May you fly off the shelves and tables into lovely readers' hands all over the country...

Must just finish by saying that tomorrow is the LAST DAY of my limerick competition so time is running out. Go on, have a last bash at it, the prize is so brilliant, remember, a whole big parcel of books...just what you want to see you through the summer. We are off camping for the weekend (it has just started to rain here...ha ha... ) but I will get LP to pick a winner on Sunday night so will announce the results then. Have a good weekend everyone xxx

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Partners

I have got a new perfect partner! Well, all right, not me, then - but Over You has. On Amazon. (Keep up!) My perfect partner for Any Way You Want Me changed a few times at first, then it was Brown Owl's Guide to Life by Kate Harrison (fabulous) before changing again to The Yorkshire Pudding Club by Milly Johnson (also fabulous). So I was chuffed with my perfect partners there, but what would be my new one for Over You?
Well.... I've just had a look and it is... Coming Up Next by Penny Smith, as in Penny Smith from GMTV! How exciting! I feel a bit dizzy at such proximity to celebrity and am almost tempted to write her a gushing email saying, Ooh, we're perfect partners, you and me - but will restrain myself. For now, anyway. Because that would be a bit sad, really, wouldn't it?

Talking of perfect partners, I had a fantastic creative bath last night with my real-life Lovely Partner (no, we're not talking about Penny any more). You know how it is, fellow authors, sometimes you find yourself in a narrative cul-de-sac, wondering, what the hell is meant to happen next? (Or maybe that's just me?) Anyway, my solution is to do some plot-busting in the bath with my loved one plus a fierce G&T for inspiration. You should try it. Not with my loved one, though. He's taken.
Seriously, though, there is something about being there in hot water and bubbles (a bit pissed) that seems to get the old storylines going. (Gawd - don't even go there with the double entendres please.) Now I just have to decipher all the notes I made last night to see if the ideas are really as good as we thought they were at the time...

Monday, 28 July 2008

Squeak piggy squeak

The school holidays have started here (at last) so blogging may be a bit sporadic over the next few weeks as I am likely to be out and about with the bairns. Today we went pig-spotting around town - we've got a map to tick off the porkers and managed about 18 today. I love the pigs, will miss them when they all get auctioned off in autumn. The kids are all really into the idea, so that was a very enjoyable (and free!) start to the holiday.

And then when we got back this afternoon, I was declared "best mum in the world" as the Nintendo Wii was delivered - yes, the one that I was supposedly waiting until Christmas to buy. Ahh well. Bar a weekend's camping in Dorset we're not actually having a holiday this summer what with the wedding already costing us a few bob etc, so I thought there might be some rainy days where we needed something to do... Oh all right, then, I couldn't wait any longer. It's ace. Hoorah for the Wii!

Saturday, 26 July 2008

Drum-roll please...

So, the phone lines have closed, the votes have been counted and verified, and...
Oh, sorry. Came over a bit Davina there.
What I MEANT to say was... we have a winner of the anagram competition! It was a close call, I can tell you, very high standard. My completely unbiased partner was judging the entries and out of almost 40 fabulous anagrams, he drew up a short list of three.

In third place with Acrimony, you love dud is the very lovely Calistro






In second place with I luv you: condom ready! is novel racer Captain Black




And in first place....









With Randy? Could I move you? is.....




*drum-roll please*




... PatP from Write up the Hill !

Congrats, Pat - you've been picked to win my prize - if you email me at lucy AT lucydiamond dot co dot uk and let me know your address, I'll post you a signed copy of the book. Well done!

Oh, I did enjoy that. Now... who's going to have a go or two (or three...) at my limerick competition, then? See below for details....

Friday, 25 July 2008

Another competition!

So... this is the final day of the anagram competition. At the last stroke of midnight, I will be declaring the competition closed, and copying out all the entries for my Other Half's perusal and judgement. Oh all right, so I'll probably do that in the morning, but you know. Trying to add a bit of drama to proceedings etc. I will announce the winner tomorrow evening anyway, I hope your nails can withstand the tension.
If you are mourning the end of this wonderful competition and feeling a tad blue that all the fun and hilarity is all but over... stop! Do not despair! There is ANOTHER competition to launch today to celebrate the almost-publication of Over You... and the very generous Pan's people have donated a splendid bundle of books - feast your eyes on this lot:

My Vintage Summer, Jane Elmor
Tan Lines, JJ Salem
The Hakawati, Rabih Alameddine

The Forgotten Garden, Kate Morton
Proof copy - Love All, Elizabeth Jane Howard

A Set of the new Picador Shots
The Birds, The Bees and Other Secrets, Frances Garood
An Accidental Light, Elizabeth Diamond
The Morality Tale, Sylvia Brownrigg
Touching Distance, Rebecca Abrams

Wow. How good is that? What a prize! I am especially jealous of that new Elizabeth Jane Howard proof copy - I may have to arm wrestle the winner for that one...

So, anyway...now that I've whetted your appetite, here's what you have to do. This time, I'm looking for limericks please, and the only rule is that your limerick has to contain the words 'OVER', 'YOU' and 'DIAMOND' in any order you like (you can even throw in a 'LUCY' if you're feeling very clever).
You've got a whole week to think up a good one... closing date is Friday 1st August (which just so happens to be...PUBLICATION DAY!) As before, I will type up answers anonymously and ask my other half to choose his favourite. The power that man has at the moment... I hope he can take all this responsibility I'm loading onto his shoulders. And usual terms and conditions apply, judge's decision final, blah blah.
Sorry but I think I'll have to restrict this to UK entries only as it will cost a small fortune to post a parcel of books that size overseas. (But do have a go anyway if you feel creative!)

Right... I think that's all I need to say. Over to you!

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

What's it all about, then?

Well, it looks like this season's Amazon-rank-watching has begun... yes, they're now showing Over You as in stock, hoorah! Very exciting to think of those pre-orders whizzing off to their new homes now... and people actually reading the book... gulp.

So, I'd better tell you what it's all about, then, hadn't I?

I started writing this novel after a brilliant weekend in London with two of my best friends. The three of us had lived in many rented flats together in London back when we were twenty-somethings in such glamorous locations as Tulse Hill and Harringay all the way to the delights of Kings Cross (obviously we told everyone we lived in Islington though). And then, one by one we moved away from the big city, settled down, went travelling, had kids... you know.
Now we live miles from each other (sob) so the three of us arranged a weekend reunion in London for old time's sake. It was so strange and yet familiar revisiting our old haunts - Camden, Upper Street, Hackney - a really peculiar feeling of the past and present colliding. I kept expecting to see people we'd hung out with at the time, ex-boyfriends, old work colleagues, ex-housemates - and then reminding myself, Oh yeah, I don't live here any more...

ANYWAY. It struck me as a great start to a novel. What if a woman met up with two old friends in a similar way... and a secret was revealed that shattered everything she'd once believed in? What if the friendship wasn't actually how she'd seen it at all? And what if stepping back into the past meant that the present became tarnished and spoiled?

You'll have to read it now, to find out what happens, won't you... unless you win my anagram competition, of course, which is still running until Friday - see below. (And by the way, I've got another competition starting next week in which you can win a lovely Fiction Package from those gorgeous people at Macmillan. All will be revealed on Friday...)

Oh, and two more things: my new Bridalwave column is out here...
And the funniest comments thread ever seen on the internet is here...

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Great Summer Reads

I've been asked to take part in an author promotion that Waterstones are running here in Bath. They're asking all the local authors to nominate their favourite book, and to write a short piece about it - I think there's going to be a display of them at the front of the shop which is quite exciting (especially as the local authors' books will be up there in the display too - result!).

My choice is The Magus by John Fowles. I find it so hard to pick an absolute favourite as so much depends on mood etc, but this has got to be up there as one of the books I have most enjoyed reading and it sprang to mind (sprang? sprung?) as a Great Summer Read, worthy of that front-of-shop place. I remember being dazzled by it first time around, mesmerised by the twists and mysteries, never quite knowing what to believe or expect next. When I think of it now, I think of bright blue Greek island skies, heat, intrigue and illusion. And I know I did that (rather dangerous) reading-whilst-walking-along-the-street thing with it, loath to put it down - which is always a sign of a fab book. I'm reading it again now and feel swept along by it already.

So... what would you have picked? What would you recommend? Which book would you want up there in the front of Waterstones as a book that you'd love others to pick up and read?

Monday, 21 July 2008

Oops

Oh no! I was just flicking casually through one of my author copies of Over You (it is very nice to flick casually through one's own book, I must say)...and on the very first line I read, I spotted a typo. Aaaarrrgh.
It's in the Acknowledgements page, so pretty much the first page you come to. Bollocks.
Free signed copy to the first person who can tell me what it is....

Friday, 18 July 2008

It's in the bag. (Well, technically, a box.)

A large resounding HOORAH, if you please. I have finished my third novel. Yay! Such a good feeling to get to the last scene, I felt utterly giddy with excitement and joy. Drank bubbly, ate pizza and watched Juno on DVD last night to celebrate. Hey, I know how to live it up (even though the film made me cry - the birth bit - always sets me off, that kind of thing).

Anyway, I've printed it out, all 344 pages of the beast and stuffed it in a box for a few weeks to stew gently before I come back to it for the edit. AHHHHHH! And relaaaaaaaax.

Meanwhile, competition entries are flowing in thick and fast, there are some real corkers coming through. Have you entered yet? See post below for details if not. Come on - have a go!

Thursday, 17 July 2008

Competition

Ooooooooh.
Ooooooooh!
Something very exciting has just happened. A box of books has just been delivered... my author copies of Over You!!! And oh, they look really gorgeous. Really. I'm not just saying that because they've got my (fake) name on the front cover. The back is this lovely dreamy green colour and mmmm, the spine looks gorgeous, with my (fake) name really clear. I can't stop looking at them, THEY ARE SO LOVELY!

Now. As I am over-excited and generous, I'm going to do a giveaway, right here right now. Is it too soon to start giving copies away? Sod it, I'm in a good mood.
So what you have to do is come up with the best anagram of LUCY DIAMOND OVER YOU. That's not too hard, is it? I can spot loads of juicy words already - LOVE, EVIL...um... DEAD... VILE.... Hmmm. Was this a bad idea?
Anyway, you can either leave your entries in the comments box, or if you feel shy, email them to me at lucy at lucydiamond dot co dot uk. You've got until next Friday (25th July) to come up with one! To make things fair I will type out all the entries then get my Other Half to pick his favourite one so there will be no bias. And I think I'm meant to say the usual terms and conditions apply too. I will post the winner a signed copy of the book!

Go on, get creative. May the best anagrammist win!

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Today I am mostly...

Stressed. I found out that a festival event I've signed up to do is a whole hour long. That's sixty minutes of me on a stage in front of an audience of kids. Heeeeeeellllppppp!

Overwhelmed. Just finished reading The Outcast and it's bloody fantastic. Can't believe it's her first novel - just so good. Beautiful uncluttered prose, huge emotional depth, and such fragile, damaged characters it's almost painful to read. (Do wish the blurb on the back hadn't given away quite so much though.)

Apprehensive. Going back to the dressmaker who's going to shorten my wedding dress tomorrow. "Can't possibly do anything until you've got your shoes," she said last time before trying to flog me several pairs. "Of course, people do tend to spend hundreds on their wedding shoes," she went on when I turned them down. She is sooo going to look down her nose at MY wedding shoes, they only cost a tenner in the sales. Ho hum. Trying not to care...

Knackered. Running up hills on the treadmill. Ooer. Gruelling or what.

Excited. Finished copies of Over You are in and winging their way to me! Whoopeee!

Sunday, 13 July 2008

Busy busy busy

Cor....busy old weekend. A good 'un though. First stop, London on Saturday to meet up with some of the Novel Racers! How exciting...and how enjoyable to chat to so many people whose lives I've followed online for months and months. It was fab putting faces and voices to blog names, and so nice to chat to so many fellow writers about...well, all kinds of interesting stuff, actually... And then JJ nearly made me cry by handing out cards and Waterstones vouchers to me and Kate for starting the whole thing off... very lovely and unexpected. Just a shame that time flew by so quickly and I had to be a Cinderella and leave first...gutted!

Out in the evening to a friend's 40th birthday party in town. Had a really fab night, lots of laughs and dancing and beer. On the way home I realised that it was a year to the day that we'd moved to Bath...and it felt really apt to have had a great night out with lots of new friends to mark the occasion. Hoorah.

Today, went for lunch with a really good friend of my mum's and her husband who happens to be a very famous author. We were sitting in the back garden enjoying the sun and a cup of tea when the garden gate opened and this woman walked in. "My son is such a fan, I hope you don't mind, we've driven all the way from London to see you, can I bring him in to meet you?"
What a cheek, honestly! Sunday afternoon too. So rude and out of order and actually a bit creepy-stalkerish. But the very famous author was incredibly polite, signed various things, had his photo taken etc. Apparently this is the first time it has ever happened which is something, I suppose. But all the same...I wouldn't be very happy about that!

Friday, 11 July 2008

One, two, three

I couldn't sleep last night. I was fizzling about all kinds of things. Number one: the fact that I'm going to meet some of the Novel Racers in London tomorrow! I am so excited and a bit scared too. The last time I went on one of these blog-meet things it was quite unnerving walking through the door and actually seeing all these real, live people I'd chatted to over the blogs. Great, though - I loved it. And it will be so nice to finally meet a bunch of the Novel Racers after all the many virtual coffee mornings we've shared... the angst, the triumphs, the writer's block, the mutual cheering-on support and encouragement. Make mine a large white wine please.

Number two thing that stopped me sleeping: I had a cracking day on the novel yesterday. Isn't it fabulous how a good day's writing can give you such a buzz, such a massive rush of excitement? I was soooo chuffed with how well it had flowed, 4,500 words knocked out and they all came so easily too. I hate those days where you feel you are hauling sentences from your brain with tweezers - painful and laborious. So now I'm past 85,000 words and today I'm going to finish off one of my big plotlines (I have three). Just one juicy final scene to write and then that particular character's story is done. Done, I say! Then only two chapters and an epilogue to go... I can almost see that finish line now.

Number three: I finished The Road Home and couldn't stop thinking about it (in between everything else). Fabulous. Fabulous. Fabulous. There's something so convincing about the way Rose Tremain writes, you really feel as if she's been there, a migrant worker coming to Britain, struggling as a kitchen assistant and asparagus picker and everything else. I could have done with a slightly longer ending but maybe that's because I just didn't want the book to be over. Can't say better than that. Next book to be read is The Outcast - and I'm ashamed to say, I opened it up to flick through last night and my first thought was, "Oh good, nice big writing". Tsk tsk.

Down to work now, I'm going to get straight into my juicy finale scene for Character 1. Yum.
Have a good weekend, everyone - and look forward to seeing some of you tomorrow!

Thursday, 10 July 2008

I can, and I will

There is an acute case of end-of-term-itis rampaging through the house right now - all three kids are tearful, bad-tempered and over-tired. And we still have a whole two weeks to go before the school holidays! Eldest daughter is headachey and hot this morning and normally I would have kept her at home but she was so desperate to take part in the school concert today, I caved in. I'm not used to hearing "But I really WANT to go to school!" - I find that a bit freakish, personally. I'm sure I never uttered those words as a child. Anyway, she's gone, bless her. But what's the betting I'll get a phone call from the school in an hour's time asking me to trudge down the road and pick her up?

As for me, I need to make this last term-time fortnight count big-style...I'm determined to finish the novel-in-progress before the end of the month. Determined! I thought I'd manage it by the end of June but got so tangled up trying to hammer out one of my backstories, it didn't quite happen that way. But now... Now I am surging towards The End again, full steam ahead, I can do it, I can do it, I can do it!

PS Everyone go and say happy birthday to Clare today. Because she's worth it.

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

The Raining Sky

Ahh...what lovely summery weather we're having today. (If you're reading this from a country far far away, I'm being sarcastic. It is lashing it down and set to be this way the entire day. Great.) Seems all the more grey and miserable somehow as we watched The Sheltering Sky last night on DVD. Wow. Have you seen it? Visually it is stunning - all those miles and miles of rippling golden dunes with impossibly blue skies, scorched earth, stone fortresses, leggy lurching camels - all so foreign and different. Star Wars land.
At first, as we watched, LP and I were ruing the fact that we hadn't travelled around North Africa together (in fact we haven't done any proper travelling together - we have covered almost all the continents separately on big travelling stints but have only ever had holidays together, not set off for months at a time (and obviously that ain't gonna happen now)). By by the end of the film we weren't quite so keen to dust off our backpacks, funnily enough... Great film though. I find John Malkovich a bit creepy (sorry, John, if you ever read this) but he was very good in it. Definitely Debra Winger's film though - she was brilliant. And oh, how I wish I had such a fabulous throaty laugh.

Anyway. Back to the real world. I am reading The Road Home by Rose Tremain at the moment which I am loving - she is such a fantastic writer who makes every detail and exchange of dialogue utterly convincing and seemingly effortless. It's one of those books where you sit down to read a bit and suddenly find you are 100 pages further through the book. Great characters and story. I'm hooked.

Lots of other interesting books in the TBR pile at the moment - I've got The Outcast and The Gathering (like everyone else) which both look brilliant, Hearts and Minds by Rosy Thornton, The Delivery Room by Sylvia Brownrigg (I read a proof of her new one, Morality Tale, which was very good) and Everything You Ever Wanted by Rosalind Wylie... phew, I need a week off to get stuck into that lot, I think.
What's next on your TBR pile? Tell me, tell me...

Monday, 7 July 2008

Smashing

Down in the kitchen first thing this morning, braced for the usual rush of making kids' packed lunches, breakfast all round, large cuppa for me, large coffee for LP etc, opened the fridge door to get the milk and... SMASH! The shelf in the door dropped clean off, along with all the jars. Chilli sauce bottle smashed, chilli sauce and broken glass everywhere. Too half-asleep to even swear luckily but that was the only silver lining to be had.

Back for tea after daughter's gymnastics at 5.45 this aft, braced for the usual rush of making the tea, nagging about vegetables, bossing into pyjamas etc, opened the fridge door to get a courgette out and... SMASH! Down fell that bloody shelf again, along with all the jars. This time it was the mayonnaise jar that shattered everywhere. Mayo and glass everywhere. Couldn't rein back the swearing. Children's eyes lighting up at bad words like little candles.

I bet this never happens to Nigella. Ever.

Sunday, 6 July 2008

Pandas, iguanas and Lego cake

Son's birthday party on Saturday - we took him and some of his muckers to see Kung-Fu Panda at the cinema, followed by lunch in town. I thought it would be a stress-free antidote to last year's nightmare (12 boys in our house, five days before we moved, what a stupid idea of mine and yes, the longest two hours of my life as they all turned feral within two seconds of their parents dropping them off). But this year's effort was pretty easy as parties go - the film was ace although afterwards all the boys were keen to do lots of kung-fu at any given moment, all the way out through the cinema, along the street, crossing the road (I had to get a bit stern about that) and then along to Las Iguanas. Chips and Lego cake all round (not MADE of Lego, just decorated with little Lego people fighting each other (son's orders)) and the job was done. Lovely. That's birthday season over for us now until October, so a few months' respite...

Meanwhile, I am gearing up for the launch of the new novel - I am doing a signing at Waterstones in Bath on 9th August (feel free to arrange your West Country holidays around that date!) and sorting out some competitions for this here blog and elsewhere - with prizes and everything - so stay tuned... On the children's books side of things, I am saying yes to all sorts of other events - two festivals so far, three school visits in the offing, and two bookshop signings. Get me, eh, publicity whore. Or not, actually, I am saying yes to them all but then going into a kind of denial and pretending none of them are really going to happen. My head is too full of wedding detail right now to stress about anything else which is actually quite lucky really...

Friday, 4 July 2008

Domestic Goddess in Training

I nearly managed a post about what a domestic goddess I am these days. Nearly. I was doing so well, too, having whipped up four loaves of bread so far this week (edible, and everything) with my fancy new machine, and a batch of fairy cakes yesterday, ready for my son's party tea today (he's six today - another celebration! All go around here, you know). Once the kids were all in bed last night, I even made his cake, a yummy chocolatey one. God, I'm good, I was thinking. I am totally in this domestic goddess groove, I just need a Cath Kidston pinny and a halo to complete the look.

Then. Then I had a nice G&T and watched Heroes (evil Sylar is BACK!) before deciding to make the icing for the yummy chocolatey birthday cake. I blame the gin. I was just melting the cooking chocolate in the microwave (it's okay, Nigella does it) when I smelled a horrible smell.

Yes. Plastic bowl in the microwave. With a new molten bottom (sounds like a toiletry range) and chocolate dripping everywhere.

*sigh* Like I say, I blame the gin. So close...but no floral pinny for moi. Shucks.

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Perfectly lovely

Birthdays rock!! I had such a nice day yesterday. Lovely home-made treats and prezzies from the kids (no horses though... youngest daughter's present was a vaguely horseshoe-shaped bangle but how she made the connection that it might be a real horse, I fear I will never know) and some brilliant treats from LP including one of these deckchairs and a breadmaker. Went shopping in the morning and bought myself a top from my favourite clothes shop and then had lunch with LP and youngest daughter in town...party tea in the afternoon (hula hoops, candles on the cake, Happy Birthday To You, party blowers etc), then down the pub in the evening... perfect. Only 364 days to go before the next one!

Right...must do a bit of work now before I am too tempted to get some of my home-made bread and fall asleep in my lovely new deckchair....

Sunday, 29 June 2008

The last day of being 37

I am 38 tomorrow. Somehow that seems a lot nearer to 40 than 37, doesn't it? At 37 you can kid yourself that you are still mid-thirties but somehow, with just one extra year in the mix, it's the start of the slow slide to 40. Aggghh.

Am not feeling too chipper about that, especially as I've got a monstrous hangover today. LP and I celebrated 11 years of Being Togevver yesterday and went out last night to celebrate. Went to Demuths, a veggie restaurant in town which was tasty but a bit healthy and worthy for my liking. When I go out to eat, I want to feel as if I'm having a treat. I want potato. I want cake. I had neither of those last night, but quite a lot of lettuce. Not much good for soaking up the alcohol, lettuce. Still, we had a lovely night, reminiscing about all the ace times we've had, all the places we've been together, and of course my excellent chat-up line which started the whole thing off: "I've always fancied you" - short and to the point, I'd say (if rather slurred). And I was about to fly off to Bangkok two days later, so I thought, what the hell, might as well. Anyway, it did it for me - any singletons out there, I'd recommend giving it a try.

Right, off to lie on the sofa now with a cup of tea...

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Back-handed compliments from my seven-year-old daughter

Part 9718, in an everlasting series:

Daughter [having watched me blow-drying hair, her head tilted on one side, her eyes pitying]: Your hair is definitely growing longer, Mum. By the time you get married, it might even look nice again!

Me [crushed]: Thanks, love... [weeps into mirror]

Moving swiftly on... here's another meme, this one from the lovely Leigh:

What were you doing 10 years ago?
Living in Brixton with the LP, working at the BBC, going out every night and having lots of disposable income (sob)

Five things on your to-do list for today:
Write next chapter of Novel 3
School pick-up
Cook tea
Sit and have a beer in garden with LP once kids are in bed
Heroes

What are three of your bad habits?
Losing my temper
Losing my marbles
Losing the car keys

What would you do if you were a billionaire?
Oh, don't get me STARTED...

What are some snacks you enjoy?
Cadbury's Fruit and Nut
Kettle Chips
Grapes
Cheese and Marmite sandwiches

What were the last five books you read?
The Secret Shopper's Revenge - Kate Harrison
The Accidental Wife - Rowan Coleman
Seizure - Erica Wagner
Mothernight - Sarah Stovell
Daughters of Jerusalem - Charlotte Mendelson

What are five jobs you have had?
Shop assistant
Barmaid
Seed-planter
Editor
Subtitler

Five places that you have lived?
Nottingham
Leeds
Oxford
London
Sydney

Okay, I'm going to tag Clare, Girl With A Mask, Pacha, Calistro and L-Plate. Over to you, ladies...

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Meme - authors

It's all me me me me meme meme these days. I've been tagged by Michelle and Leigh for memes so here goes. Michelle's first, which is all about authors.

1. Who is your all-time favourite author, and why?
Oh, impossible to answer. I would happily read anything by: Jonathan Coe, Kate Atkinson, Julie Myerson, John Fowles, Margaret Atwood, Esther Freud, Dickens, George Orwell... too many to list. I am generous with my favouritism!

2. Who was your first favourite author, and why? Do you still consider him or her among your favourites?
Enid Blyton, without a doubt - great characters and plots, lots of humour and adventures, and of course, happy endings all round (apart from the baddies who ALWAYS got their come-uppance). And now that my seven-year-old is ploughing through everything Enid she can get from the library, I'm quite enjoying dipping into them again myself...

3. Who’s the most recent addition to your list of favourite authors, and why?
I really enjoyed When We Were Bad by Charlotte Mendelson. Fabulous.

4. If someone asked you who your favourite authors were right now, which authors would first pop out of your mouth? Are there any you’d add on a moment of further reflection?
I guess the list I gave to the first answer, if that isn't too lazy of me!

Feel free to tag yourself if you want to... Leigh, I'll get to yours tomorrow!

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Not a real horse

It's my birthday next Monday, and the first thing my three-year-old said when she got back from playgroup with LP at 12 was, "I got your present, Mum, but I'm not going to tell you what it is!"
"Oooh, how exciting," I said, knowing full well how tricky she finds secrets, especially secrets about birthday presents or cakes. "I bet it'll be a lovely surprise."
Her eyes lit up. "It IS a surprise. It's a secret!"

Over the table at lunch time just now:
Daughter: Can I give you your present, Mum?
Me: Well, let's wait until it's my birthday next week. That would be best, wouldn't it?
LP: And remember, we're not going to tell her what it is, are we? Because it's going to be a surprise!
Daughter (a bit gutted - clearly DESPERATE to reveal all): Mmmmmm. (Moments later, cryptically): It's not a REAL horse, is it, Dad? Mum's present. It's not a REAL one.

Either she's a fantastic bluffer or there's some hideous china horse from the charity shop coming my way on Monday. The mind boggles...

Ooer

I have been asked to appear at Cheltenham Literary Festival.*
I have said yes.
I am not sure which of those two statements is scarier....


* for my children's books, not the Lucy Diamond stuff. Eeek.

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Hen night

Just to say...it's my hen night this weekend, so excuse me while I go a bit quiet on the blog (and loud on the town) for a few days...

The Sound of Music

I'm feeling a lot more chipper today after a laugh last night with LP trying to decide which music to play at our wedding. We're tying the knot in a big old barn in the countryside, so anything goes.

"Right, we need something that everyone can listen to while they're waiting for the actual marrying bit to start," I said.
"How about The Clash?" LP suggested, sticking on Safe European Home.
"Well, you know, good choice and everything, but I'm not sure our aunts and the more senior guests will enjoy it that much..."
"Oh, they'll love it! All right, how about some reggae? Who could not love Toots and the Maytals?"

Indeed. Meanwhile, I'm trying to think of something brilliant that I can make my entrance to - tottering up the stairs with my dad, trying not to fall over in front of everyone. I'm quite tempted to pick 'Fat-Bottomed Girls' by Queen or something tongue in cheek to make everyone laugh but then remember how the vows go on about what a solemn occasion this is blah blah. So maybe not. I'd really love to walk in to 'Walking Barefoot' by Ash - ahh, I just love that song, it always makes me so happy, but I don't think I'd be able to stop myself singing along at full volume, like I always do. Hmmm. Karaoke queen is perhaps not the right look for a bride.
So maybe 'She Bangs The Drums' by the Stone Roses, another of my all-time faves...but then I would be tempted to do a stupid dancing walk to it... oh, decisions, decisions!

I really think it would be a laugh to have 'Fiesta' by The Pogues as our 'first dance' - you know, it starts off all slow and moody, then turns into a danceable riot and we could go mad to it, but LP is adamant that he doesn't want to do a first dance, so better not....

Ahh, so there you go, planning a wedding is fun after all! Sod the table confetti, let's get some good tunes going, and it'll be great.

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Jitters (and moaning)

I've had a case of Wedding Jitters recently. Bad dreams where it all goes wrong, the works. I blame the dressmaker I went to see the other week (she's taking up the hem of my dress). She started asking all these questions like, Who is doing your make-up? (Um... me?), What are your shoes like? (Um...dunno) and How will you be wearing your hair? (I don't bloody know!)

I ended up feeling really crap for not being the type of person that maps out every single minute detail months in advance. I am more of your make-it-up-as-I-go-along types. In novel writing and life.
Too many decisions to make! Too much organising, when I barely have the time to brush my hair in the morning, let alone think about how I might want to do it in TWO MONTHS time!! I mean... seriously...
I don't know. It all seems a lot of money and FAFF and I'm not sure it'll actually change anything whatsoever about my relationship with LP. I'm kind of wishing we'd gone for a registry office job now with two witnesses dragged off the street, then a pint in the pub. We're not doing a Wayne n' Colleen style extravaganza by any means (although if OK magazine offered to cough up £2.5m I might be tempted to shift the whole thing to Italy), but even so... having to make decisions about how we want the napkins folded and what sort of glitter we want sprinkled on the tables at the reception...arrrgghh! I don't know! I don't really care either!

I poured my heart out to Nice Neighbour yesterday. "If I'd known it was all going to be such a palaver, I think I'd rather have stayed happily unmarried," I moaned.
"But you've got all those things to look forward to!" she replied, shocked. "Like... changing your surname and..."
"I'm not going to change my surname," I interrupted.
"Oh," she said.

Sorry. Moaning. Trying hard not to. It's just doing my head in a bit...

Saturday, 14 June 2008

A book splurge

I dragged the kids into town today for some Father's Day purchases and accidentally found myself stumbling into a book shop while I was there. Well...you know how it is. I've been VERY good lately, haven't bought a book for ages so I had a little splurge.

First up was the lovely Kate Harrison's new book, The Secret Shopper's Revenge - with the most gorgeous slip cover I've ever seen on a hardback. It's a bag - how cool is that! I am lucky enough to have had a sneak preview of the first few chapters which are fab, but have been left dangling with anticipation ever since. This one is definitely going straight to the top of the TBR pile!

Next... The Gathering by Anne Enright. It's the next one for our book group. I've heard tell from another book group that everyone struggled with it but had the best conversation about it EVER. In fact, apparently they came to the conclusion that they hadn't just read the book, "the book had read them". Spooky! So that was enough to make me want to read it on its own.

I also bought the new Rose Tremain one, The Road Home. I really like her books - always very stylishly written and about such a wealth of different subjects. I didn't even read the blurb to find out what this one's about, just bought it. (Well, you can't hang around when you've got kids in tow, after all, the days of slow bookshop browsing are gone for me, I'm more of a heat-seeking missile in there these days, zooming straight to the ones I have to buy...)

I also wanted Garden Spells after its rave review on Trashionista the other week but it seemed to have sold out. So my son suggested making up the 3 for 2 with the new Captain Underpants book for him. And then, of course, I found myself suckered into buying all the kids a new book each. So rather a lot of spending, all in all. But what price on a good read? I have just read Rowan Coleman's new one, The Accidental Wife, and would have paid double for it, it was so brilliant.

So I'm looking forward to many happy hours reading that lot. In between cheering on Holland, of course. The lads in orange have only gone and done it again, last night, haven't they?! Why didn't I put my money where my mouth is at the start of the tournamet and put down a whopping great bet??

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Backstory wrestling

It's the final of The Apprentice tonight...hooray!!
But I'm going to miss it, as I've got book group tonight...boo! Not boo to book group although I must confess I didn't like this month's book very much (ended up skimming the last third, never a good sign) but boo to missing out on a Britons-united-on-their-sofas event. It's not the same watching it on tape, is it? You need to be there, oohing and ahhing with the nation as Surallan points the finger for one last time. I'm just going to have to watch it as soon as I stumble drunkenly into the house tonight, I don't care how late it'll be, and I don't care that I'll have a school run in the morning, I need to watch it before some big-gob spills the beans tomorrow and tells me who got hired. I want Claire to win although I quite like winking Lee too. And Alex is very sweet, I find myself wanting to ruffle his hair. Even Helene's all right. Ooh, it could go to any of em. Excellent!

What a saddo I am. Enough of my telly witterings. I'm working on the novel today, have just passed the 75,000 word mark which is good, and feel like I've finally pinned down the backstory for one of my main characters. It has been troubling me, especially as it is CRUCIAL to the plot. I have tied myself in knots, inventing all sorts of complicated traumatic experiences for the poor women, but have decided to red-pen them all in favour of a more simplified version that will hopefully justify some of the weird things she goes on to do. Cryptic, eh. I have been getting bogged down in it though, so am hoping that I've got it straight at last. Right - better get back to it before I change my mind again...

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Rambling stream of consciousness

Brrrr. Had a nightmare last night that I was at a fancy dinner with hundreds of people, and suddenly it was announced that I would be giving a talk on the similiarities between Mary Poppins and Elizabeth Barrett Browning starting...NOW! I had a sheaf of papers in front of me and was shuffling through them, trying to find the things I wanted to say but it was torture, my mind was blank, my notes were gobbledegook and I was waffling all kinds of nonsense about Mary Poppins to fill the silence (nothing at all about Elizabeth BB, obviously). It was a relief to wake up - except it wasn't, really, as my youngest daughter and son were having a loud argument about ten centimetres from my head about whose turn it was to sit on a particular chair in the kitchen for breakfast....arrrrggghhh... I think the Mary Poppins debacle was slightly preferable on reflection.

Onto cheerier things - hey, what about Holland last night then? Hup, Holland, Hup, as I now know to say. Oooh I bet there are some sore Dutch heads this morning. See? A bit of Lucy Diamond magic goes a long way. I am doing all right with my predictions so far, I have to say, thrashing LP in our competition by a mighty three points. Not the same, though, is it, when the England players are all lagering it up on Wayne Rooney's stag do rather than... well, all right, rather than going out on penalties to Germany....

Onto even cheerier things... We're off to a Wedding Meeting this morning. How exciting! We haven't been back to the place we're getting married since we booked it so I hope it's the rural gorgeousness I remember and that it hasn't actually transformed into a small back yard with barbed wire fences and broken glass underfoot complete with snarling Staffordshire bull terriers straining on ropes, baring their teeth. Last night, I was going through the documents we need to send back to the registrar for the service and got really annoyed to be honest. All that 'Who gives this women away?' rubbish - I mean! So bloody medieval. If they dare ask that in my service, I will be forced to shout, "No bugger, thank you very much!" in response. Gawd. I can see it now, me with my hands on my hips, finger wagging, tearing a strip off the registrar. Excellent. Am looking forward to it already...

Friday, 6 June 2008

Who ate all the pies?

I can't believe Euro 2008 starts tomorrow! I haven't even got a colour wall chart or anything with the fixtures yet. I've had to print one off from a website, but it isn't the same.
So, who are we all supporting then? It's got to be Holland for me. In a parallel life, I would have lived in Amsterdam for a while. (Actually, I said the same thing about Barcelona too the other day. Maybe I need a few parallel lives.) And almost every Dutch person I've ever met has been fab (apart from the prat who.... Ahh. Never mind. Ancient history.) And also I like their kit. Lekker ding! as I believe they say. *ahem* LP is supporting Sweden. How about you?

Right then.... matches tomorrow. I'm going to say the Czech Republic will beat Switzerland 1-0 and Portugal will beat Turkey 2-1. But what do I know? Feel free to disagree, shout "WHO ARE YER?" and point at me if you want. LP and I are going to have a little competition between us so I shall keep you updated (unless I start losing really badly in which case I will pretend to have forgotten all about it).

Onto more cerebral things...have you seen the Picador blog lately? They're offering us, mere blog-readers, a chance to put questions to the marvellous Tim Winton. As you know, I'm a fan, so immediately felt a bit excited at the opportunity. Trouble is, I go all pathetic when amongst famous people. I can't speak properly, I just sort of mumble at them, and all I can think about is OMG You Are Really Famous! etc. Even when offered the chance to post a question on a blog to someone famous, I am blushing and turning to fluff, and just want to say, "You're great, you are, ooh, I really like your books". Pathetic. In a parallel life, clearly I would be asking something really in-depth and clever from my Amsterdam townhouse, something that would really impress him. But in this life... Sigh. Maybe I should ask him who he's going to support in Euro 2008, and be done with it?!

Thursday, 5 June 2008

Achey-breaky arse

Ooooh!!! I am still aching all over from yesterday. Bloody exercise. I couldn't get to sleep last night because every time I moved, a new bit of me started to hurt. Just as well then that I've been sat at my desk all day today, in my nice comfortable padded chair...

For the first time in weeks, I've returned to Novel 3. Hoorah! I've been feeling guilty for not having the time to tend to it lately but that's all going to change and I'm definitely DEFINITELY going to finish it this month. Quite good to have such a break from in it in some ways though, as I have just read through the whole ms as it currently stands, all 72,000 words of it, and have been able to work on it much more objectively. And - phew - I have thought out how to solve a big plot problem in the process, too, something that was nagging at me as not working very well previously. So I am chuffed about that. Now I just have to do the repair work, drip in some juicy clues to make the whole thing more mysterious and... oh yeah, finish it. Well, I'll start tomorrow. Prepare to see that word count soaring, oh yes.

Have got to go and cook tea now (all action round here, you know) so will sign off by letting you know that my latest Bridalwave column is here...

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Is this what you call a mid-life crisis?

Ouch.

Seriously, ouch. My arse feels as if it's been whacked by a bag of spanners. Owwww!

I've just got back from my first go at Gymnastics, if you're wondering. It was quite surreal. I did handstands! Headstands! Trampolining! Cartwheels! Running and jumping off a trampet thing! It was like being a kid again, really exciting and quite scary. Must confess, I nearly bottled going there this morning. And if I'd known just how bloody good the other women there were going to be, I probably wouldn't have gone. I was expecting the standard to be pretty low, to be honest. A few forward rolls, a bit of mucking about on the trampolining etc. But no! All quite serious. And some women there were doing backflips! Handsprings! Round-offs, whatever the hell they are. !!!!! Now that's what I call bloody impressive, especially as everyone was a thirty-something mum.

But there's something about doing a handstand as a thirty-something mum that feels very daring. And exciting. And very out of the ordinary - it's not all that often I find myself upside down these days. And yes, you bet I'm going to use this as material in a book somewhere or other....

Right, just off to practise some cartwheels down the garden, anyway... *


* a complete lie

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

The worst start to a day ever?

Oh dear. Life feels very difficult this morning. Was woken by a scream of outrage from eldest daughter because the tooth fairy had forgotten to collect her tooth and leave a nice shiny pound coin in its place. D'oh!!! Tooth Fairy alias was too busy drinking wine and reading last night to remember. I am a failure at motherhood. Rubbish.

Then the screams came from me as I realised we had another nit nightmare upon us so had to wash and comb offspring's hair with gallons of conditioner and nit comb before school, meaning lateness on school run. Gross. I am a bit itchy too to be honest... Sometimes it's disgusting, living with children. Where's Malory Towers when you need it??

I am quite scared about what's going to happen next, you know. If I don't blog again, you'll know I've been eaten by a pack of gigantic headlice...

Monday, 2 June 2008

I Did It!

It was the Race for Life here in Bath yesterday and...I did it! I ran with one of my sisters and we finished the 5km in 33 minutes according to her watch - which is not too shabby a time, is it?

It was an extraordinary experience - so moving, reading all the poignant, often heart-breaking messages on people's backs. People were running for their mums, dads, sisters, grandparents, aunts... It really brought it home to me how many lives are affected by cancer. The atmosphere beforehand was very highly charged, very emotional, but there was also a real buzz of excitement and adrenalin, and it felt as if everyone was revved up for the event. The Nivea boys were there to entertain 'the ladies' with their dance routine (hilarious, especially the two dancers at the back who looked hungover as hell and kept fumbling their moves), and the warm-up from the Rosemary Conley women was ace, and then we were off, along with 2,498 other women, pounding across the start line.

It was quite something, being with so many other runners, so many other women, all emotional, all motivated to run with so many different people in mind. That whole sisterhood feeling really got me - it was exhilarating and inspiring all at once. We were running in the university grounds, a great stream of women wearing pink, different ages, different fitness levels, all in it together, a sea of positive feeling.

By the time we were near the 4km mark, I was feeling really buoyant with excitement - I wasn't out of breath, I felt totally brilliant about running, knowing that we were going to finish it. Lovely Partner and the kids were cheering us on near the end and it gave me a real lift to see them on the sidelines - "Look, there's Mum!". Then we were straight on to the Finish line, me and my sister holding hands as we sprinted over.

I felt so so so proud of myself. Still do. I know it's not the London marathon, I know thousands of women all over the country are running the same event, it's not a unique experience, but it was the first time I've ever done anything like it, and I just felt euphoric. Big pub lunch afterwards and glasses of bubbly last night. Yayyyy!

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

On being wrong

Well, I finished On Beauty last night - I actually stayed up late because I just had to get to the last page - and I loved it. Just loved it. Oh, it's fantastic - great characters, fabulous drama (especially the conflict scenes - she's soooo good at them), wonderfully rich, meaty plot with all its parallels and interweaving storylines. So there you go. Lesson learned. Do Not Be Scared Of Books. When's the next one coming out, then, Zadie?

I'm working today - I had intended to get back to the novel this morning after a few weeks away from it but have been caught up with my girly children's series instead - second draft of Book 4 to read through and send off, first draft of Book 6 to check over and send off, copy-edit of Book 3 to read and okay, and now there's a second draft of Book 5 to work on.... I feel quite under pressure with my partner's job ending on Friday and being the sole earner from then on, for however long. Must keep everything ticking over otherwise it'll be cheese on toast and home-brew all round at the wedding, and I'll have to start making the children's shoes myself.

Talking of high-flying business people (as we weren't), did you see the Apprentice last night? Thank God Michael got the boot at last. I like all the remaining five although I reckon Lucinda and Helene will be on their way out next. And the interview week next week! I always like that bit - something quite enjoyable about seeing someone else sweat their way through gruelling interview questions when you're safe on your own sofa.

Next book to take off the TBR pile is the book group one - Seizure by Erica Wagner. Not one I'd have chosen in a shop, to be honest, despite the striking cover. (Striking but rather odd nonetheless.) Anyone read it? "Beautifully written but dense," one of the other book group members has said to me. "Not one that you can skim through." Damn....

Monday, 26 May 2008

Mud's the word

Ahhh....it is so nice to be in a house again, with a roof, and walls that don't leak, and a bath, and fridge, and toilet.... And oh, it is so nice to be dry, too! The weekend was definitely one of two halves.
Saturday, we packed up and set off for Hay. There was a sweeping gale on the campsite, so putting the tent up was a challenge but luckily nothing crucial blew away, and before long, we'd conquered the thing and were in. The kids were all totally over-excited about camping, lots of tent zipping and unzipping going on, running around bellowing in joy etc. Ahh, camping is fab, we thought, smiling to ourselves. We were especially smiley once all the kids were in their pyjamas and sleeping bags supposedly going to sleep (although lots of giggling and more zipping and unzipping and getting into sleeping bags headfirst was to be heard). We sat there with glasses of wine with a fantastic view of the sun setting over beautiful wooded hills and thought, this is the life. Camping rocks!

Then, early Sunday morning, it started to rain. And rain. And rain. And did I mention the rain? It always sounds loud in a tent, we reminded ourselves. It can't be that bad out.
It was that bad out. It was lashing it down. I don't think it stopped pouring all day, in fact. The campsite soon became a swamp, squelching with mud. The tent was leaking. "I'm fed up with camping," eldest daughter said, shivering and baggy-eyed. I'd had about three hours sleep' and didn't have the strength to argue.

Still! We were at the Hay Festival! The Woodstock of the mind, and all that! And I'm sure it's fab when the sun is beaming down, all that lolling around on grass, drinking Pimms and reading and secretly checking out the celebs through your sunglasses. Yeah, that must be brilliant.
The thing is though, when it is cold and peeing it down and you have three children who seem to have organised a secret rota between them where they take it in turns to individually demand trips to the Portaloos every twenty minutes, and when there's nowhere to go except tramp round the covered walkways because the children's area has flooded, and when the only celeb you spot is a very shiny William Hague...well...

I'm moaning. I didn't mean to. I actually really enjoyed the events I went to - Julia Donaldson in particular was just wonderful, entertaining hundreds of children with stories, songs, theatre, puppets, with members of her family all acting out parts of the story (her husband was a fantastically camp Fox in the Gruffalo). And Hay itself is gorgeous, all those lovely bookshops and nice warm pubs. And it was quite exciting, being amidst all those posh literary types (I am SUCH an inverted snob, I am quite scared of posh literary types). And I was celeb-scanning like mad and kept getting all excited thinking I'd spotted Ian McEwan every five minutes when it was just a random bloke in glasses each time. So that was all good.
But it is nice to be home again...

Friday, 23 May 2008

Carry on Camping

So...list of things to pack for our weekend camping. It starts off quite practical:

Foot pump
Sleeping bags
Torches
Cool box...

It then all gets a bit pessimistic:

Coats
Wellies
Umbrellas...

And finally, acceptance:

Ear-plugs
Wine

The kids are soooo excited at the thought of sleeping in a tent. I'm excited too - I've never been to the Hay Festival and it sounds right up my alley, lots of books, booky people and star-spotting. And I'm going to see Tim Winton and Lloyd Jones (Mister Pip) speak on Monday!!! How fab will that be. But camping in a mudbath...oh Gawd... I think alcohol is the only way I will see it through!

PS I never told you my next Sporting Challenge! It is..... Gymnastics! For Adults! Trampolining, floor-work and vaults. I am dead excited. And quite scared too!
Have a good weekend everyone, back next week.

Thursday, 22 May 2008

Wedding dresses part 2

Hoorah!! An excellent writing day yesterday, 4,000 words which meant I finished my series finale book. It's all a bit rough and ready and needs prettying up, but the first draft is there, banged out all the way to THE END. Marvellous. My editor of this particular series is keen for a follow-up set of books so I have been spinning new ideas around my head...am going to try and get down some possible storylines today while I'm on a bit of a roll. Famous last words...

Mind you, I can't concentrate brilliantly at the moment as I'm going out to try on a few more wedding dresses later this morning - it's a mum who's set up her own business, selling ex-sample and second-hand dresses from her house. I really hope there's an 'I-love-it!' one there in the collection. Cross your fingers for me...

(And actually, if you could keep them crossed until Monday, that would be brilliant, cheers. We're taking the kids camping this weekend for the first time ever... please let it be sunny!)

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

I can't believe...

..how much I am enjoying On Beauty!!! Who would have thought it? I never expected it to be quite so funny and entertaining, so big thanks to Girl With The Mask and Milla for persuading me to get it down from the TBR shelf at long last and blow the dust off it. I read 100 pages last night, am loving it. I'm rather stunned to see those words in black and white, having assumed otherwise (see previous post and comments if I am confusing you.)
Must confess, I did find it slightly disconcerting to discover that there was a character called Kiki in the book, as Kiki has become synonymous with funny parrot remarks in our house, since my eldest has been on her Enid Blyton love-in. "Wipe your feet, blow your nose, wipe your nose, blow your feet, what a pity, what a pity" etc. And if you don't know what I'm on about, shame on you! (Oh, all right, Kiki the parrot is the star of such greats as The Castle of Adventure, The Mountain of Adventure etc.) Ahh, the bit on the train where cheeky Kiki stuffs toffee wrappers into the sleeping old man's pocket! Ahem. Anyway, moving on.

Change of subject. I've got myself a new sporting challenge lined up for after the Race for Life (June 1st - still time to sponsor me if you are feeling generous...). I'm a bit scared about it but quite excited too. Anyone want to have a guess? Go on, someone flatter me and say the London marathon...

Friday, 16 May 2008

On Books (and Beauty)

I have read lots of books lately which is a Good Thing - always makes me feel virtuous to put a dent in the towering TBR pile before buying a load more. (There are some books in the TBR pile that have been there a LONG time, too. I am starting to think I will never get round to reading On Beauty, for example, there always seems to be something else more appealing that begs to be picked up instead. And anyway, it looks too much like hard work. And I'll probaby end up feeling a right thicko because I don't get all the clever references and blah-di-blah. I don't want a book to give me an inferiority complex!)

I'm currently reading something (I won't say what) which is turning out to be a slow one, if you know what I mean. Clever and literary and beautifully written but... Well, it's just not a page-turner you can romp through, put it that way. Not one you can flop onto the sofa with and discover you've gobbled through 50 pages in the time it's taken you to sink a single glass of wine, chortling and ooh-ing at the juicy bits. Hmmm. Luckily, for some light relief, I'm also reading Wicked Whispers by Jessica Callan, which is the perfect counterpoint - a real guilty pleasure of a book, full of gossip and showbiz indiscretions. I'm telling myself it's research because one of my main characters in Novel 3 is a showbiz reporter for a tabloid but we all know that I'm just an old gossip at heart...

So tell me... what's the veteran in your To-Be-Read pile that you bought with such good intentions but which, for one reason or another, has remained resolutely unread since the day of purchase? Go on, fess up, you're amongst friends here. Oh yes, and should I make an effort and pick up On Beauty next?

PS Ran for half an hour with Lovely Partner along the river this morning. Lovely and cool, lots of leggy cow parsley in the hedgerows, ducks on the water, barely saw another person. Checked out my favourite new site and discovered we'd run 4km. Result!

Thursday, 15 May 2008

Running, crying, gasping, maybe even working

I've just come back from the gym having run a mighty 4km on the treadmill - my furthest ever! C'MOOOOOONNNNNNN! (in a macho back-slapping City Boy styley). I have really had my ups and downs with running - was all set to pack the whole thing in at the start of the week, went into a real 'I'll never be able to do it!' spiral but now... now I think I might just pull it off. Go, me!
My sponsorship has topped £200 too which I am so chuffed about - and it makes the whole thing seem all the more worthwhile having watched Child of Our Time last night. Oh my God - did you see it? I always watch it as my eldest was born in 2000, the same year as all the featured children, so I'm always really interested to see how they're all getting along. Last night's programme was about children dealing with stress, which I find very sad anyway but oh, it was just a heart-wrencher. I burst into tears when that announcement came at the end. Very very sad.

I am actually going to do some *gasp* work today (haven't quite begun yet but hey...). I'm starting the final story in a six-book children's series I've been writing for Usborne. This is my first sequential series, so I'm quite excited about reaching the finale, it's going to be an all-action finish (she says hopefully). All six books will be coming out at once next spring and there's even talk of *another gasp* sparkly writing on the covers. Oooh. Like the sound of that.

Ahhh - there's the grindstone starting up, I believe. Must go and press my schnoz against it immediately...

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

culture club

Hello! I am back at my desk. I haven't spent much time here lately, I must say... the weather has been far too gorgeous to be stuck indoors at the pc. Somehow or other I've managed to get away with not-very-much-work lately too - a bit of proofreading here, some tinkering on a second draft there, but no actual new writing. Not sure I can do it any more now...
No - mustn't talk like that. Lovely Partner's job ends this month so I will become Sole Breadwinner of the House until something else comes up for him (eek) and therefore I must stop slacking off and get down to work.
I'll just write this blog post first. And then work really really hard until I have to get my youngest from playgroup at 12.
Hmmm. That's not going to happen, is it?

So...what to say? Tell you what, I'll give you my cultural round-up of the last week. Go on, humour me, pretend you're watching Newsnight Review or something and I'm Germaine Greer or someone brainy...
Okay...so I've just read the brilliant Mothernight by Sarah Stovell. Ohhh it's good. I can't believe it's her first novel, it's so beautifully written, paced, structured... Very chilling and intense, the sort of book that's hard to tear yourself away from, the sort of book you read with a creeping feeling of dread, that oh-no-please-don't-let-this-be-happening! fear running through your mind. And the cover!!! So striking and beautiful. If I had more than half a brain cell, I'd be able to post a picture of it but *cough* I still haven't worked out how to do that yet on Blogger. Ahem. Go and look at it on Amazon anyway. Lush.

Saw Enduring Love on DVD the other night which was fab. I picked it up in the video shop and couldn't for the life of me remember if I'd already seen it or not because for me, the book was so vivid (especially that amazing opening sequence) that I could still conjure up lots of images from the pages, and wasn't sure if they were from the film or my own head! That's never happened to me before - weird. Anyway, turned out, I hadn't seen it. I thought it was good although judging by the review on Amazon, not everyone else agrees...

Telly...ooh, I feel spoiled with all my favourite programmes on at once. Lost, Heroes, The Apprentice... Best telly moment of the year so far has got to be the kosher chicken incident in The Apprentice last week. Priceless!

Over to you, now. What's your cultural round-up? I'm all ears...

Friday, 9 May 2008

I blame the parents

No time to blog properly today so I'll tell you my son's current favourite joke instead.

Why did the baker have brown fingers?

Because he kneaded a poo...

Sorry.
Normal service will resume soon!

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Making a statement

Today I tried on some wedding dresses. It didn't go very well. I don't know if it was the bad new haircut or what, but nothing looked great. In fact, most of the dresses looked awful and I couldn't quite smile at myself in the mirror. So that was a bit depressing.
I started off in Monsoon having liked the look of a couple of dresses on their website. All the long dresses were just too long (I am five foot one and a half). All the shorter ones seemed a bit shapeless on me. And I don't know how many other brides-to-be had tried them on before me, but I did see quite a lot of dangling threads and loose sequins which put me off too.

I tried a second shop. I don't know why - maybe it was the bad haircut again, or maybe because then I was starting to feel a bit harassed - but I only flicked through a few dresses, saw a £1000 price tag and came over all faint. I just can't pay that much money for a dress - it seems all wrong when you have three kids to feed and clothe. So I ran out of the shop in a fluster.

THEN I looked in the windows of the poshest bride shop in town... but it's one of those places where you have to ring the bell for them to let you in and there were no prices in the window and I was all hot and sweaty and I was sure the door would be answered by someone very glam and beautiful who would turn their nose up at me... so I went home.

Maybe I'll just get married in a black bin liner. I could call it a statement. What do you reckon?

Sunday, 4 May 2008

High, low, everywhere we go...

What a weekend I'm having! And it's not even over yet. Here are the edited highlights and lowlights so far:

A horrible rat incident (that's 'rats' plural actually...am still too freaked out to write about it but it was BAD)

Crying over a new way-too-short haircut (I look like a pinhead...wahhh!)

Fantastic night at friends' house involving drunken Nintendo Wii-ing (I so want one now!)

Crashing hangover today, not enough sleep, more angst about bad haircut and pinhead-ness (wahhh! #2)

The lovely b emailing me with the translation of my German review as done by her sister (so so kind, thanks again b and wonderful sister!)

And best of all... I have a new nephew, born yesterday. Ahhhh!!!! The world is a lovelier place. Even with this hangover.

Thursday, 1 May 2008

Ist gut, ja?

Oooooer! Look at this racy cover of my book in German! How exciting is that! I think the title translates as My Career as a Liar - is that right???

Anyway, I'm all a-flutter about my first review in German - four stars the reviewer has given it, cheers, love! I have no idea what she's saying though, so whizzed it through an online translation thingy. Apparently it means:

Lucy Diamond has "My career as Lügnerin" a novel that is very difficult from the hand to put it. Rather, the reader will in large sheets into the events and is catapulted meanwhile torn from the stress with the children and Sadies secret affair. Secretly think desöfteren "no, do not" or "why are you only so blind?". And yet it includes Sadie, her two children Molly and Nathan - the author described wonderful - and other characters quickly into the heart. This is where the mother is not rosy words, but also with the real stress of women and sometimes frustration emerging enriched. After all, nobody is perfect and even Sadie know that they are much different, should be better. But at the moment simply lacks the power to decide, and so here and there a little too flunkern, sometimes even as a career woman, and so spend their dreary life to escape. When Mark finally appears in her life, she is no longer under control, even if they know that this affair may not be. And finally, their increasingly aware of how happy they can appreciate, with two healthy children and a man who slowly starts to their relationship to work and to understand them. The author has a great sense of feelings and knows this expressive in her novel. And at the end vergießt with the aufgewachten Sadie sometimes one or the other tear, and is happy that everything still can be good.

I am lost for words. Ist gut, ja?

Loose Woman

I feel as if I've been let loose on the writing front at the moment. For the past few years, I've had back to back deadlines, have taken on way too many commissions for my own stress levels - on average 20 children's books of between 4,000-10,000 words each plus a full-length novel each year, working only two days a week (as well as LOTS of bleary-eyed evenings). My work diary has been mapped out like a military operation - must write three chapters of Book A on Wednesday, start second draft of Book B on Thursday, proofread Book C on Friday morning before playgroup pick-up etc.... It has been a bit of a slog, to be honest, and while I've been grateful for being offered writing work in the first place, I have still found myself yearning for for a lighter workload and more hours in the day. Oh, and my evenings free again, please!

I guess it's all part of that freelancer's mentality - say yes to everything for fear of never getting any work again. And for a long time, we struggled financially, what with me popping out 3 kids back-to-back (well...that's how it felt at the time) and my other half only working part-time, so....

Anyway. It all feels unnervingly different now. Since the end of last year, I've turned down quite a lot of work. Eleven children's books, I've just counted. It was all stuff that would be under a pseudonym, not really my stories (and not really my cup of tea either, a lot of it...) So I took a deep breath and said no, no and thrice no (in a rather scared voice). Instead of sweating over those commissions, I've now got space to concentrate on the new novel, and more of my own children's books, with my name on the front cover and everything!

It's great on one hand, having more time and space but I do find it a bit daunting. What - no deadlines for anything until the end of the month? But how can that be???

PS 25 minutes on the treadmill this morning. 4km is now tantalisingly within reach. Whoopeee!

Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Uh?

Oh Gawd. Went to bed last night and scribbled half a dozen GENIUS ideas for Novel 3 in my notebook (in the dark) and dropped off to sleep feeling all excited about writing such brilliant plot points into the story in the morning.

Somehow or other, though, I've managed to delete more words than I've added so far today. How has this happened??

Thursday, 24 April 2008

Books and more books and some telly too

Ooer, I’ve just done one of those impulse Amazon orders. You know where you dreamily add all sorts of things to your basket and then have a sod-it moment and buy the lot? Well, I’ve just gone and done exactly that. I’ve ordered Mothernight by Sarah Stovell, which looks and sounds fabulous, Rowan Coleman’s new one, The Accidental Wife which I am sure will be brilliant, two Goldfrapp CDs, some bits and bobs for the kids… Ahem. Must stop doing that just-can’t-resist thing on Amazon, especially as my To Be Read pile already resembles a small mountain…

I’m currently reading Mister Pip. I know, I know, you’ve all read it already and I’m the only person left in the world who hasn't yet… But ooh, isn’t it good? So vibrant and rich and beautiful. It’s the first title of a new book group I’m in so I’ve got to finish it by our meeting next Monday and think of some clever-sounding things to say about it other than “Oooh, isn’t it good?” It is fab to be in a book group again, I have to say. Wine, kettle chips, lovely new friends, gossip and oh yeah, a bit of chat about books. What more could you wish for?

PS I am very excited about tonight…Heroes is back on the box, and I’ve got last night’s Apprentice Sky-Plussed too as I was down the boozer and missed it. Ahhh – what a perfect night in!

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

I feel the earth move...

So I know what you're all wondering. How's the running going?
Well. It was going great - until I got my first ever sports injury. Ouch. I don't know what I was doing wrong but my knee started to really hurt every time I put my foot down. Which was quite inconvenient really.
I googled "knee pain running" and found all sorts of very technical sites about anatomy and running techniques and words like 'pronating' which I had to look up in the dictionary and...oh, it was bewildering, to be honest. Too much information. Didn't understand. Too complicated.
Anyway, I was plunged into doom and gloom - ohhh, I'll never be able to do it now! etc and had to return to a go-slow and wear a stretchy knee bandage which has all been a bit dispiriting.
Today, though, I ran for 22 minutes on the treadmill and managed 3.43 km which made me feel better. So I am aiming to build up to 4km by the end of next week, and then hopefully I will be on for 5km by 1st June...

For all that, though, I still haven't braved it into the outside world. It's stupid but I'm slightly worried that the sight of my tomato face will reduce infants to sobs of fear, my thunderous thighs will make Bath Abbey sway and tumble to the ground and people everywhere will point and stare at me. Lovely Partner has been very encouraging and has persuaded me to go running with him this Friday morning while our youngest is at playgroup but he is like a lean, lithe greyhound whereas I am more of your fat Labrador that's been at the Easter Eggs.
*sigh* Wish me luck. And if you see news reports that Bath Abbey has plunged to destruction on Friday, don't let on that it was me.

PS I've got a new children's book out this week - Happy Birthday Oliver Moon! which Amazon are selling for a rather tasty £2.99... a bargain, frankly!

Sunday, 20 April 2008

Deep Breathing

Twelve years ago, I was living and working in Australia as part of the 18-month period I spent travelling around the world (it seems soooo long ago now...). My diary from 12 years ago to this day reads like this:

Today. Gawd! Up at 5.15, aarrgh! Nightmare or what. Slept really badly due to the nutter’s midnight prowls. Picked up at 6am, worked an 11-hour day. Never worked so hard in my life. Knackering. Everyone is okay except this woman Ann who plays her shite CDs all day. Today me and Erika washed and sorted ONE THOUSAND banana bags. Arrrrr, shite or what?...

Oooh yes, that was awful. Working on a banana farm in Innisfail, Queensland. Luckily after a few weeks of that, I’d saved enough dollars to move on and was in gorgeous koala-tastic Magnetic Island, where I got a job painting the men’s toilets in the backpackers’ hostel where I was staying, before being promoted to the dizzy heights of – gasp! – kitchen assistant to the most miserable chef in the southern hemisphere.

Anyway, amidst all that glamour, I was trying to read as many Australian authors as possible although being a skint traveller I was reduced to swapping books and getting them from second-hand places, so it was pot luck. But in between painting toilets on Magnetic Island, I discovered Tim Winton. AHHHH! I have a really clear memory of lying in bright Aussie sunshine, stinking of turps, feeling a bit fuzzy from too much VB or whatever it was the night before, reading Cloudstreet and just feeling blown away by it. Oooooh. Just so fantastic.

So imagine how chuffed I was to win a competition on the Picador blog a few weeks ago, where the prize was an early proof of TW’s new book, Breath. I finished it the other week and it really made me feel as if I was back there – the sound of the ocean, the karri trees and peppermint scrub, the houses on stilts, the wildness and loneliness of rural Australia… I love the way he writes – so sensual, so physical, such powerfully atmospheric scenes. The story is about Bruce, a boy who’s always felt an outsider, his friendship with Loonie (another outsider), and their love of surfing. All innocence at first, but then they become involved with an older couple, Sando and Eva, and gradually things becomes darker and more intense between them all.
Reading the story is rather like being gathered up in a huge wave, if that isn’t too obvious a metaphor. You know it’s going to break at some point and are hanging on, waiting to see how hard the crash will be…and whether there will be any survivors to tell the tale…
Anyway, it’s out in a week or so, I think. Totally recommend it.
And hello everyone, by the way! It's nice to be back.

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Fear of the fat pinchers

Oooh, I went on a blog blind date last night. Well, kind of, anyway. I met up with the lovely Single Mother on the Verge who was in town putting on a play, and we sat and talked books, blogs and gossip over a drink or three. Her book is coming out next year and after Glass of Wine Number Two I was trying to get her to tell me all the juicy bits. She wasn't giving too much away sadly but from what she did say, it sounds like it's going to be a corker. I will definitely be buying a copy, put it like that...

Up to 2.7km on the treadmill today...am trying to go a bit further and a bit faster each time. I nearly didn't bother this morning - felt somewhat frazzled and was extremely tempted by an invite to go to the nice coffee shop up the road with some of the mums from school but I have got my monthly 'gym review' on Thursday so don't want the fat pinchers to tell tales on any frothy hot chocolate-drinking slackness...

Saturday, 29 March 2008

Keep on running...

I'm starting to think that running is rather like getting married, say, or having a baby - everyone but EVERYONE - wants to put their oar in and give you advice. Which is a bit tedious really and annoys the (lycra) pants off me. Still, the one thing that everyone - but EVERYONE - has said is: Get yourself some good running shoes.
So... I took myself along to Running Bath (geddit) in town the other week. Blimey, I only wanted some flipping shoes but the salesman had me running up and down over a special pad on the shop floor so that he could have a good old laugh at me - I mean, use the footscan gait analysis system (I just got that from their website, don't ask me to explain please) to find me the perfect pair. Then, I tried some on and he made me run up and down The Corridor , a rather gorgeous Victorian shopping arcade by the shop, weaving in and out of the passers-by which was rather embarrassing. I tried on about four pairs and let me tell you, they were all so bloody ugly. The pair that fitted best were in this absolute vile bright orange and silver style with this horrible mesh over them - my feet were cringing inside, I can tell you.

"Oh God, why do they all have to look so hideous?" I moaned.
The salesman did this sort of tutting noise as if I was the most shallow person he'd ever met. Thankfully the next pair were slightly less gross - green and silver with the same horrible mesh and they fitted a bit better. Well, I think they did, but I really didn't want those orange ones, anyway so I said they fitted better. Maybe I am the most shallow person ever to buy running shoes. *sigh* Talk about a crime against fashion, though.

Anyway, I am still running away on that treadmill, trying to build up for the Race for Life. I had a wobble today (of the mind, as well as the thighs) when I limped off exhausted after a mere 2.6km, thinking, I've got to run twice as far as that in June, I'll never do it, this was a terrible mistake... But there are two months to go and I did only start running at all a few weeks ago so I'm trying to think positive. And now that lots of lovely people have sponsored me... well, I can't let them down. (Sponsor-Widget is still over there on the right, if I might just mention that again...)

Changing the subject - saw a really good film on DVD last night, Into the Wild. Anyone seen that one? I can't stop thinking about it today. Really moving and different and beautiful. Sure, it's flawed - a bit self-indulgent in places and some episodes rather drawn-out but oh... it's one of those films that stays with you. If you don't already know about it, my advice is, don't read too much about it, watch it without knowing the story. I'm really glad I didn't know the ending, it made it all the more powerful.

Hope you are all having a good weekend...