Friday Catch-up: Exams, writing and getting crafty

Hello, my lovelies!

I thought it was high-time I gave you all a personal update…

I’ve been trying to support my eldest with her first set of ‘big’ exams. In Scotland, these are called National 5s and they are roughly equivalent to GCSEs.

In truth, there hasn’t been much to do in practical terms (my daughter is one of the most hard-working and organised people I have ever met), but the subject has loomed large over the household and, being a soggy over-emotional kind of parent, I empathise with her deeply and will be very happy when they are over!

LandandSea
Land And Sea by Iona Mackenzie Laycock

I’ve also been trying to get a better work-life balance (ha!) and took a day off last week for a rare day out with my lovely mum.

We both love craft and have dabbled in a variety of different projects and materials over the years. We went to the Knitting and Stitching show in Edinburgh and wandered around in a happy daze, discovering interesting new things and stroking the beautiful yarn, threads and materials on offer.

We also took a workshop with textile artist Iona Mackenzie Laycock, which was brilliant. Iona showed us a technique involving a hot iron and pearlescent acrylic ink to make a ‘layered landscape’ picture. Iona was really nice and it was lots of fun to be in a real-life class (I do most of my learning online these days).

It also reminded me how important it is for me to do other creative things which are just for fun.

Speaking of fun, I finally sent the first draft of the new book to my agent, and have spent the last week happily writing on an old project. It’s a slightly different style and genre to my other stuff and feels like a wee holiday!

I also finished episode #15 of The Worried Writer. If you haven’t listened yet, all the shownotes and episodes can be found at worriedwriter.com or you can subscribe via iTunes or Stitcher.

elizabethbuchanI’ve been reading lots, too, and highly recommend Elizabeth Buchan’s I Can’t Begin to Tell You.

It’s set during WWII in Denmark and London and focuses on the SOE/Danish Resistance. I finished it at the beginning of the week and I can’t stop thinking about it.

I’m also looking forward to reading Catherine Ryan Howard’s, Distress Signals, which came out yesterday.

I have been following Catherine’s blog for ages and was thrilled to speak to her last year for The Worried Writer.

 

 

So, how about you? Read any good books, lately? Seen any wonderful films? 

 

 

 

He’s back!

lochgoil-in-winter

No, not Voldemort; my lovely son.

My eleven-year-old went on his school outdoor pursuits trip last week. In Scotland. In March. Yes, there was snow… And I missed him terribly. I mean, serious ‘didn’t I used to have two arms?’ missed him.

So, the weekend was spent in a contented haze, gazing at my boy (safe, alive, happy and well), and grabbing as many cuddles as I was allowed (thankfully, lots). He had a wonderful time and I’ve been reminded of how utterly blessed I am; total result.

In other news, I have been working lots. I have a secret project that is almost-ready to be revealed (subscribe to my newsletter if you want to be first to hear about it!) and I’m hoping to finish the zero draft* of a new book by the end of the month. It’s a bit of departure – probably classed as urban fantasy – and it may never make it out into the world, but I’m having too much fun to leave it half-written.

Hope you have a good week, and thanks for reading!

* Yes, most writers have ‘first drafts’. I’ve decided mine are so messy and disjointed they need to be downgraded.

 

 

 

Tired and emotional

Yesterday was a very emotional day; It was my daughter’s leavers’ assembly at primary school and I spent the entire day crying on and off. I actually cried myself to sleep last night and I woke up today with a tension headache and the bulbous eyes of an alien.*

So I was already feeling a wee bit delicate when I read the news that the talented and inspirational Nora Ephron had died. I’m not in any fit state to write anything about it and wouldn’t manage to be as coherent and brilliant as my friend, Keris, anyway. Go read what she had to say instead.

*Yes, I know I have another child at primary school and that I’m very lucky to have a happy, healthy daughter who is growing up and that I am a wuss and should buck up and all of that. It’s the end of a lovely chapter in my precious girl’s life and I’m mourning its passing. I cannot help it.

Speaking of lucky…

Yesterday’s post made me think about my blessings and, without wishing you all to lightly vomit, they are legion.

Top of the list this week has to be this gorgeous dotty apron which my daughter made for my birthday. She had the help of a talented (and wonderful – thanks Mum!) Gran and it was her very first sewing machine project.

To say I was overwhelmed when I opened the parcel would be an understatement. I won’t lie to you, dear reader; tears were shed. How could it be that my baby girl* could’ve executed a surprise present so perfect? How? My mind, it boggleth. My heart, it squeezes with joy. Seriously; how did I get this lucky?

[Thanks to Mum for the photo, too. Read more about the fabulous apron-project on her craft-filled blog The Turtle Moves]

* Anybody who wishes to point out that my baby girl is now eleven years old is perfectly at liberty to do so. I have my fingers in my ears.