Some stuff

It feels like a thousand years since I went on holiday. I thought the first week back would be hectic because taking two weeks out of life will do that to a person, but it feels like I’ve not stopped since the plane hit the tarmac, and we’ve been home for three weeks now.

We’ve been so busy we only just managed to have Oscar’s birthday tea yesterday and it’s been a month since his actual birthday. I’m just grateful we got it in before having to think about Christmas to be honest.

It’s ridiculously late and I have another crazy week ahead of me, so I’m not going for polished prose here. Just another marker to say I’m still here and try to remember some of the things I did.

In work related news, I have added a whole load of things to EBay in an attempt to shore up the coffers somewhat. I also did an interview on Radio Leicester about what I do, and am going to be on again in a couple of weeks talking about organising your wardrobe. I am helping a lovely lady called Tammy Reynolds, who is a very talented hairdresser to style models for some of her hair competitions and photo shoots. She has won some awards recently and her photographer also won an award for a photo he did of her fabulous hair and my fabulous clothes, so that’s all very cheering. The chaos that is my stock room is not so cheering, but I am making tiny dents here and there. I have given up ironing again. I loathe it so much and am so singularly bad at it, it’s not worth the effort even pretending I can do it, so if you buy something from me, it will be crumpled. Don’t @ me, as the kids say.

I have been doing quite a bit of health campaigning work of one kind and another. I have attended a significant number of very boring meetings, largely run by men who invite you along to share your experience with them and then spend the entire time telling you their experience and also what your experience should be, and that the actual experience you have had is wrong. If you ever manage to say anything they will acknowledge, they say sorry (sometimes) and do nothing whatsoever except tick off on a spreadsheet that they had that meeting, thus avoiding random and inexplicable fines. I attend these meetings and then I write letters to people about them. Sometimes, very occasionally someone reads my letters and something is done. Largely nothing is done, but I am amassing enough evidence and letters that if something heinous happens I intend to sue everyone involved and build a community hospital, library and tea room with the proceeds. You are all invited – but not the men who make me go to the meetings and listen to their self indulgent waffle and have to look at their terrible suits.

Maybe I should take some stock and try to shift a better class of suit?

In health news, my blood pressure seems to be holding its own, which is most exciting, in a calm way. My gynaecological life rumbles on tiresomely and I go for a pre-op this week and another attempt at a hysteroscopy and smear test next week, only under general anaesthetic instead of with no pain relief and a bite on this twig, devil may care attitude. I am not looking forward to these things, but I am hoping they will render conclusive results which means that people will stop attempting to rumble around in my under crackers for at least a year, so it may be worth this last ditch attempt.

I am sleeping terribly, night terrors, teeth grinding, nightmares, etc, but it is to be expected after the year to date, gynaecologically and otherwise, and better out than in as my granny used to say.  This fractured sleep makes me somewhat tetchy from time to time, but the lack of hormones means that I am less murderous than mildly annoyed and prone to dribbling.

I managed to give myself two blisters this week, one on each elbow. This has never happened to me before in my entire life. I have no idea how they came to be there, but they are extremely painful, and it is annoying how many things elbows jam into that you aren’t aware of until you have two raw blisters on them. I wonder if I have elbow scurvy. Perhaps the smear test will tell us.

I have been reviving my social life, which spent the summer parked up in a lay-by with a do not disturb sign round its neck along with the rest of my life. Since we got back from holiday I have attempted to be more of a seize the day sort of person. I think I mentioned that I went to see The Dresden Dolls. I have also been to see The Prodigy and am off to see The Levellers this week. I went to see the lovely Sue Perkins talk about her new book, courtesy of my friend Nicki. I have been to see the new Fantastic Beasts film with the children. I start a drawing class this Friday with my friend Kim, and went to my first ever life drawing class last week with Tilly. I’ve also managed to go to the pub quiz and not fall asleep in my wine.

I have been reading things.  I have read the new Tom Cox book, ‘Help The Witch’, which I pledged for on Unbound and which has my name in the back. This is very exciting and it was rather good. If you like eerie, macabre folk stories with a ghostly twist, it’s for you.

I got a tranche of stuff from Netgalley.  I absolutely loved The Sentence is Death by Anthony Horowitz. It was so clever and funny and Sherlockian. If you like an old fashioned whodunnit with a modern twist, it’s for you. It was definitely for me.

I didn’t like Homegrown Hero by Khurrum Rahman.  I chose it because Ben Aaranovitch wrote a blurb for the dust jacket, and the synopsis read like a Rivers of London kind meets Four Lions kind of vibe, but honestly, it was not for me. It’s the second book in a series about a man who accidentally gets drawn into the world of terrorism and counter terrorism. It says that it’s funny, but I found it really traumatising and upsetting to be honest. It was well written, tense and with a good plot line, but it wrecked me.

I just finished M for Mammy by Eleanor O’Reilly. It was very good, but a bit heart breaking. All about families and how they communicate and what happens when the worst things you can think of actually happen. It’s clever and absorbing and the characterisation is great, but not for you if you’re having a rough go of it.

I’m currently reading The Lost Properties of Love by Sophie Ratcliffe, and really enjoying it. I’m not entirely sure yet what it’s about, but it’s beautifully written and is full of strange little facts that are keeping me intrigued. So far I’ve learned a lot about Tolstoy and handbags. I’ll keep you posted.  I have to finish it quickly because the latest Rivers of London by Ben Aaranovitch (Lies Sleeping) gets delivered tomorrow and I have to read it immediately it hits the door mat.

Reverse Advent Box 2018

My head is teeming with blog post ideas. The time to write them however, is not quite as forthcoming. I’m writing this between an appointment for a pelvic ultrasound (much better than I expected) and Tallulah’s appointment with the orthodontist (such a medical day). Today’s post is purely informational. Hopefully more philosophical musings will follow at some point.

Two years ago I launched a scheme in my local community to make up reverse advent boxes for our local food bank. I did it on a whim and expected I’d gather enough interest to fill a car load. I live in a great neighbourhood and they absolutely pulled it out the bag for me, and we donated just over two van loads of stuff in the week before Christmas. It was a hugely positive experience and I had planned to do it again last year but was just not well enough.  This year, despite pelvic ultrasounds and ongoing gynaecological jiggery pokery I am fit enough to do it.

Two years ago, I wrote about the project on this blog, and many of you, despite being nowhere near me geographically, joined in. Between us I think we must have donated tonnes of food to various places in the UK, and it was absolutely amazing. I’m hoping we can do the same this year, as certainly things are no better than they were, and with universal credit and sanctions from the DWP, it’s fair to say things are considerably worse.

The Trussell Trust is the largest food bank provider in the UK.  They estimate that there are 13 million families in the UK living under the poverty line. The poverty line estimates the least possible amount you can survive on.  It works out to be about a fiver a week per person for food. There are plenty more families living above it who still can’t make ends meet, and many families in the UK have both parents working and still need help from food banks. This year, many food banks have repeatedly run out of food to give out, they have been so inundated with people needing help. With the government talking about stock piling food supplies in the event of a no deal Brexit, we as a community, need to come together to help each other more than ever.

If you want to help, here’s what you do.

For every day of advent you put an item in a box, which you then donate to your local food bank to be distributed to make someone’s Christmas a bit more jolly and a lot less hungry.

This year I will be starting my box in the week beginning the 19th November and donating it in the week beginning the 17th December. By doing it earlier than actual Advent, it gives the food banks time to donate the boxes before Christmas.

If you’d like to join in, the Trussell Trust website has a locator for your nearest food bank, although there are others, not run by them all over the country. You can contact them to find out when they are open to accept donations and find out if there is anything they won’t accept (fresh produce can be an issue, as can alcohol).

Some food banks will pick up donations if you don’t have transport. If you live near me (Leicester) let me know if you can’t travel. I might be able to arrange something for you.

Here are some tips I picked up from the last time I did this:

Every day items are more useful than luxuries. If you want to add treats, because it’s Christmas after all, that’s fine, but keep them reasonable. Some people are ashamed of using food banks and will be put off accepting items that mean they will have to answer questions when they get home.

Bags for life are easier for people to transport than boxes. Many food bank users will either walk or use public transport to get to and from collection points. Make it easy for them.

Small gifts and items like gloves, hats, hot water bottles, scarves etc are great.

Things that can be made using either just a kettle or one ring are really useful. Not everyone has a kitchen, but everyone gets hungry.

Toiletries are often overlooked, but can be expensive and are really welcomed. Sanitary towels and tampons in particular are desperately needed.

Cleaning products are also invaluable.

Many people donate tins of beans and tomatoes. Check with your food bank if they need them, they might be able to point you to other items that they are desperate for instead.

Herbs, spices, condiments and flavourings to make food more exciting are a great thing to add.

General Tips:

Don’t feel you have to donate a whole box of items. Every single thing makes a difference.

If you can’t do one on your own, can you take a box to work, or school and club together to donate something?

If you want to donate but money is tight, can you take one item from a three for two or BOGOF offer and donate that? Have you got something kicking around in the kitchen cupboards you will never use but that is still in date? Do you have old raffle prizes you want to get rid of? Even a single serving from a multi pack of cereals will help someone.

Let me know if you want more information.



Holiday Reads

We are home. We landed in the early hours of Saturday morning. I slept like the dead for several hours, woke up, drove to London, went to see the amazing Dresden Dolls with the equally brilliant Grace Petrie as support, hung out with my best beloved’s Alex and Connor, and then drove Alex back to Leicester in the early hours of this morning. Slept like the dead again and have spent the rest of my day in pyjamas, trying to make sense of the coming week in one way or another. There’s always a price to pay for frivolity, and a day of intensive admin whilst mainlining chocolate buttons is it. Better than a day without chocolate buttons.

I’m going to do a post about how bloody lovely Cyprus is in the next day or two. Right now though, I am going to gallop through all the books I read while I was away. I managed fifteen books, which is most cheering. I’ve read three pages since I got back, but hopefully that will change when I don’t have two weeks worth of emails to catch up on standing between me and the bookshelf.

Let’s start with my Netgalley reviews:

Presenting the Fabulous O’Learys by Caron Freeborn – This is available now. I requested it because the lovely Marian Keyes recommended it on Twitter, and I trust her recommendations. It’s about a dysfunctional family, headed up by a once well known actor who is now fading fast and who decides to retire from the stage and screen before he gets desperate enough to go for pants parts.  It’s narrated in sections by different family members and you are plunged right into the middle of things and have to figure it out for yourself for a bit. It’s dark, macabre in places. It’s witty and sad and really well observed. It reminded me a bit of Angela Carter and a bit of Joe Orton.

The Swish of the Curtain by Pamela Brown – I loved this book as a child. I read it over and over again. I thought it was magical. It’s being re-released along with three other books in the series which I didn’t even know existed until recently. I jumped at the chance to read it again. I have to say I was a bit disappointed. There was still a bit of magic there, but mostly I noticed that the kids in it are insufferable snobs and are pretty horrible and the middle section really drags. Sad times. It’s available now if you’re not old and jaded like me.

War is Over by David Almond – Regular readers will know how much I love Almond as a writer. He is consistently brilliant. Lyrical and powerful with beautiful characters and a great love of Newcastle and its environs that is present in every book. This is a short book for children, written to celebrate the centenary of the WWI Armistice. It has gorgeous illustrations and is a wonderful meditation on peace and what it means. It’s available from November 1st.

Once Upon A River by Diane Setterfield – I’ve been meaning to read something by this author for a long time and never quite managed it. I’m glad I changed that. It’s a master class in proper, old fashioned story telling. The telling of tales is the backbone of this book, and holds together a whole host of characters who all have a part to play in finding out what really happened one dark night when an injured stranger falls into the door of an inn with a drowned child in his arms. The plot thickens as the child comes back to life and her future is fought out between three rival claims. A supernatural element gives this a slight air of magical realism. I really enjoyed this. It’s out on 24th January 2019 and available now to pre-order.

Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid – I absolutely loved this. Daisy Jones is a Sixties It girl, casually sleeping her way through the rock bands of the day, but all the time burning up with the knowledge that she could be a star, that she has something to say.  The Six are a band on the rise. When they meet Daisy Jones an explosive chemistry occurs and they begin to make a seminal album that will change all their lives. This reminded me very much of the stories around the making of Fleetwood Mac album, Rumours. This book is a romp. Not deep but absolutely a page turner from beginning to end. It’s going to be published on March 7th 2019 and is available for pre-order now.

Everything else I read:

The Truth Pixie by Matt Haig – Haig is famous for writing about mental health. His book, Reasons to Stay Alive, is one I give to people over and over again. The Truth Pixie is a short, rhyming book for children. It’s silly and funny and sad, and poignant and has some excellent things to say about what to do when you’re sad and you think you’re going to be sad for the rest of your life.

Pour Me: A Life by AA Gill – I’ve always rated AA Gill as a writer, even when I haven’t always been comfortable with some of the things he wrote. Pour Me is a biography, written through the lens of his alcoholism. This is not a straightforward memoir. He treats his decision to stop drinking as a kind of pivot around which the memories of his life revolve. His writing about art is particularly moving. This is beautifully written, lyrical, melancholy and surprisingly full of love.

Jonathan Unleashed by Meg Rosoff -I love Meg Rosoff. Her books are always brilliant, always surprising. This is the first book I’ve read of hers aimed at an adult market. It takes the traditional romcom format and gives it a fresh lease of life. It made me laugh out loud in places. Absolutely perfect escapism.

Theft by Finding by David Sedaris – David Sedaris is god-like. I luff him. Someone described him as the American Alan Bennett and I totally get that. His books are hilarious. This is the first volume of his diaries. It’s brilliant.

All Things Wise and Wonderful by James Herriott – I got this in the Kindle sale before I went on holiday. I have never read any Herriott before, but I like soothing books when I’m stressed, and for 99p I thought I’d give this a go. I loved it. Also I was amazed by how true to the books the television series of my childhood was. A double nostalgia sandwich.

The Rise and Fall of Becky Sharp by Sarra Manning – This was another recommendation by Marian Keyes. I enjoyed it. It’s very sharp, rather scurrilous and very true to the original Vanity Fair, but without being 8 million pages long and with a bang up to date plot including Big Brother and a thinly veiled allusion to a media mogul who may or may not resemble Murdoch. It’s currently on Kindle for 99p.

Transcription by Kate Atkinson – God, I love Kate Atkinson. This is the third book on the trot she has written about the war, but it has its own unique flavour. It’s about espionage and fifth columnists and it’s divinely twisty and clever. Absolutely perfect.

Pretty Iconic by Sali Hughes – Sali Hughes is remarkable in that she writes about beauty products in a way I find genuinely interesting. I say this as someone who just went on holiday for two weeks without a hairbrush and didn’t miss it once. You will see how amazing this is. She picks a whole range of products across all price ranges, uses and ages and writes about them in such a way that it made me want to go and fill my bathroom with potions.

In A House of Lies by Ian Rankin – Rebus is dear to my heart. This is a tried and tested formula on its 22nd outing and I love it. I love it so much I worry a lot about Rebus’ health in case he doesn’t make it through many more outings. All the usual characters, all the best bits of back story and a tightly plotted murder to boot.

Lethal White by Robert Galbraith – I blame my obsession with Cormoran Strike firmly at my mother’s door. She gave me the first book in the series a few months ago and insisted I read it so we could talk about it. Now I’ve just finished the latest one and am bereft that it could be another two years before I get to find out what happens next. Some people complained that this was overlong. Not me. I devoured it and loved every page.

Mental Health Thoughts On A Mountain

I’ve been thinking a lot in the last few days. My daughter’s health is never far from my mind. The last few months have been a steep learning curve and until now there has been very little time to process that learning before having to grapple with something new. This holiday has given me some space to think and try to put some of the pieces together.

Don’t for one minute think I have been sat here on my hilltop like a cut price Rodin, sucking all the enjoyment out of my holiday. I absolutely haven’t. I’m having a lovely time, but sitting on a sun lounger allows for turning my thoughts over from time to time.

Having the leisure to process is a bit of a treat in itself. Thoughts don’t turn off, at least mine don’t, so having the luxury of my brain going from spin cycle to the equivalent of a gentle swooshing is nice in its own way.

It occurred to me that this is not just good for me, but for her too. Everything has been so urgent (with good reason) recently. Decisions have had to be made, and made again and again. Questions have had to be persistently asked and answered. Things have had to be done, and every time something has been done it has been followed by a whole host of other things that need doing, hot in their heels. It’s been exhausting and stressful from my point of view and I’ve been in reasonable mental health. I can only imagine what it’s done to her.

And, of course, it’s not over. This is just a hiatus before we head home to more of the same.

And the things she is expected to make decisions about are not simple. They’re private, complex, messy, sometimes shameful (in her head) sometimes only half understood. They are things there may be no words for. They are things that might sound stupid (even though they aren’t). They are things that we as adults may not even understand ourselves and yet part of mental health recovery is exploring all this and expecting our loved ones going through it to have answers.

Sometimes, I realise, I have fallen into the trap of getting frustrated because things are not progressing fast enough. Yet why should I expect her to have all the answers to this? When I was in her shoes, at the age of 17, I couldn’t have given those answers, made those decisions. It’s not even that I couldn’t have. I didn’t. Time and love and tenacity pulled me out in the end, not self knowledge or wisdom. It’s fair to say that I was fucked up for years before I started making any progress with that.

I am anxious for progress because I am terrified of what will happen if things stay the same or get worse. That, however, is my problem, not hers. What I am learning on this holiday is that I need patience. I need to allow her what I have given myself, time. I need faith too, because that will help.

I also need to remember just what it is I am asking her to do. I am asking her to have the courage to be uniquely herself. I am asking her to have the courage to stand up when most of the world prefers to sit down. I am asking her to learn to love and accept herself exactly as she is and take pride in that. I make it sound so simple, but it’s huge. I’m 46 and I’m still learning to do it. Some days it terrifies me.

I am asking her, in a world of perpetual image filtering, photo shopping and acting to be real and vulnerable and raw. And the amazing thing is, she’s trying. She deserves every accolade I can heap on her for that, and the very least I can do is be patient. And the very best I can do is show her that I’m trying too. After all, how can I ask her to be what I’m not? How can I show her how if I don’t do it myself?

Morning Thoughts – Cyprus

It’s early, here in Cyprus. Everyone else is asleep. I’m sitting out by the pool, drinking coffee and watching the world wake up.

This villa is perched on the top of a mountain. My view spills over the side, across the valley. In front of me is the arc of the sea and the tiny town of Polis. Beyond is a nature reserve with dark, piny woods and beaches where turtles flock to lay their eggs every year.

To the right I can see the Troodos mountain range hazing into the horizon. To the left more hills with the odd villa scratched into the side.

Occasionally a ribbon of road becomes apparent when something bothers to drive along it. For the most part, during the day you can stand here looking across a landscape that probably hasn’t changed much for a thousand years at least. Even at night, when village lights punctuate the darkness, it’s not too difficult to imagine being in the past and the present. That line is my audition to go in the TARDIS by the way. #shesmydoctor.

The most noise we hear is from dogs, shouting to each other across the hills. The odd cockerel failing to figure out when dawn actually is, and lots and lots of birds. It’s the birds that make me the most happysad. Happy I can watch and listen, sad this doesn’t happen at home anymore. Not because I don’t make the time, you understand. It’s just there aren’t enough to watch like this.

There is a dwarf oak on the other side of the pool from me. Its crown is level with the edge so it looks more like an impressive bush. A gang of ruffianly sparrows live in it. Watching them is a bit like watching an avian soap opera. A couple of days ago a ring dove flew into the tree and all hell broke loose. The sparrows went off alarming. I always think of them as the bird equivalent of Cockney barrow boys. Obviously the dove would have been posh, I’m thinking Penelope Keith. The sparrows were all ‘farkinell gerrof me bleedin tree yer ladyship’ and she was all ‘there’s no need to use that kind of language’.

Some mornings the air is alive with swifts. They’re so pleasing to watch. It’s like going to the circus but for free. They zoom around, turning on a pin head, skimming the top of the pool for the smorgasbord of insects that have thrown themselves to their watery doom overnight. They make restlessness into an art form.

It’s a little brisk this morning. We had huge thunderstorms yesterday afternoon. The world drowned for a few hours. Thunder shook us in our eyrie. It was fabulous. Not as fabulous as the storm moving on over the mountains late last night. The darkness was punched through with great flashes of lightning that flicked the mountains into relief, yet everything here was silent and still.

And this morning the world is washed new. A heat haze is beginning to build in the distance. When it reaches us the lizards will begin to wake up and hunt for all the insects the rains have enticed out. By the time I’m ready for my lunch it will be perfect basking weather and I can eat in peace while the children try to tempt the entire cat population of Polis to come home with us.

Oscar is Twelve

It is six in the morning. I seem to be good at waking at this time, perched up here in the mountains of Cyprus. The sun is rising and the sky is full of soft pinks and blues. It’s going to be a beautiful day.

Of course it is. It’s your birthday, Oscar. What better way of celebrating it? This, sun drenched, golden day will be your first as a birthday. October babies don’t really get this opportunity at home.

You are 12. In high school, tall as the clouds, peach fuzz moustache, feet like boats, deep brown voice, clumsy as a moon calf. Hard to know what to do with all those limbs, I know.

You can’t sit on my knee any more. Well you can, but it’s not neat like it used to be. When I get a hug now, I am engulfed, peering out from a tangle of limbs. That day has already come when you absent-mindlessly drop kisses on the top of my head as you stride by. I’m pleased I still get them though.

It’s hard to see the baby you once were for the man you’re going to be, but he’s there in small flashes. Peeping out, reminding me of birthdays past.

I love you, boy of my heart. You’re gentle and clumsy and sweet. You’re thoughtful and funny and daft as a brush. As tall as one now too.

We will have a family birthday when we get home. In the meantime make the most of your sunshine day. I predict Fruit Mentos, quad bikes, beaches and lots of ice cream in your future. It’s going to be a good one.

Holiday Niceness

We go away on holiday tomorrow. Tilly will mind the house and Derek. Granny is minding the kittens and grandad. We fly out to Cyprus for a fortnight. This was to be our second honeymoon, after our second wedding. The wedding didn’t happen, but we figured we deserved the honeymoon.

It feels like we haven’t been on holiday in a million years.  At the moment, each week takes about a hundred years to pass whilst simultaneously flying by at light speed, so that’s probably right. We are due.

I have loaded tonnes of books onto my Kindle. I’m taking two actual books as well, just in case. I hate the thought of being without. I’m taking the David Sedaris diaries and the new Cormoran Strike in paper form. I’ve loaded the latest Kate Atkinson, the newest Rebus, several random things from the Kindle sale and some things I got to review from Netgalley. If I don’t get eyestrain by the end of the holiday it won’t be for want of trying.

I’ve been doing more reviewing recently. I took a break over the summer, but I’ve just tucked away a book called Eggshells by Catriona Lally (Eleanor Oliphantish but better), which I absolutely loved. Shortly after I read it, she won some big prize for it, so I think we can say that was my influence working already.  I read a book about a woman’s peripatetic travels through the icy realms called The Library of Ice by Nancy Campbell. It took a while for me to get into this, but it really started to draw my interest after a while and towards the end I positively hoovered it up. This evening I read Matilda by Roald Dahl, but with the new covers.  I love the covers, still love the book, but secretly wished that they had tacked on a new chapter at the end of each one to give more flesh to the idea of her careers. It was nice to re-read it again though, particularly after all these years. These were all from Netgalley. Everything except Library of Ice is already published. Library of Ice is available for pre-order.

In non review reading I read Matt Haig’s Notes on a Nervous Planet. I enjoyed it. Not as much as Reasons to Stay Alive but it was still good. I think Reasons to Stay Alive really resonated because I could connect with so much of it, whereas at times I found myself anxious while reading Notes on a Nervous Planet. I don’t need to be any more anxious than I already am, so I struggled with it. I’d like to read it again when I’m less hatstand. I also read the Lily Allen, My Thoughts Exactly, which I polished off in two days. I love a celebrity memoir.

I may be considerably slower with my reading this year, but what I lack in speed I am making up for in eclecticism.

I’ve been reading some good books and I’ve been watching some excellent telly.  Killing Eve was fantastic, I’ve binge watched the entire back catalogue of No Offence, which is marvellous. I’m not going to be able to watch the end of series three, because I’m on holiday, so no spoilers please. I’ve been binge watching The Good Place and am nearly caught up with that too. I also absolutely loved the new Dr. Who, to the point where I got incredibly emotional and it made me cry.

I went to my last art class on Friday.  I am sad that it is my last one, and I shall be booking on to the next course as soon as possible. Tilly has invited me to come to a life drawing class she goes to on a Wednesday. I am shockingly bad at drawing, worse than I am at painting, so we will see. I might love it anyway, or it might make me snap my pencils in rage. I shall think about whether I am feeling brave enough while I am away.

Today I went to an event, run by my wonderful friend Alexia Elliot. I met Alexia years and years ago when some of you may remember, I was making a total drama about passing my driving test.  Alexia was the brave soul who took me through hypnotherapy and was largely responsible for me passing.  I bumped into her again last year when I needed someone to help calm me down before surgery.  This course, called ‘How to Love Yourself’ was a one day workshop where, amongst other things, we looked at The Hero’s Journey in relation to being kind to ourselves. I’m going to take all my findings and thoughts away with me to help me make sense of things, and then I might write some more about it. It was good to focus on self care,  I already know that.  It seemed a good way to preface a holiday.

I hope we will have WiFi when we’re away. I love relaxing, but I also need to run my EBay empire and find out what my friends are doing while I’m away. I may also need to post some shots of me forking feta cheese into my face on Instagram. All the important stuff.