Monthly Chat: September 2015

Collage 2015-09-30 21_43_18

What I did

September is my favourite month. I love the quality of the light, the temperate weather, and I never have been able to shake my brain off the “academic calendar”; Septembers are much more about new beginnings to me than Januarys are! Plus I still think there are very few pleasures as big as getting new stationery.

And September started off with an excellent bang, with the beautiful wedding of our friends. The weather was perfect, the venue was stunning, the décor and details were amazing. I ate, drank, (drank some more) and danced the night away. The following day, the nuptial celebrations continued: it was mine and my husband’s first wedding anniversary. We went for a champagne high tea at a beautiful restaurant in a converted art deco cinema and listened to live jazz – very grown up.  And as the traditional 1st anniversary is paper (and as my husband knows me so well, see above…) I received a huge box of pens, pencils, notebooks and the like. Love.

I was honoured to be invited back to an old haunt – the independent book shop Clapham Books – for a reading and signing to celebrate Somewhere Only We Know – not least, of course, because the book is mainly set in good old Clapham Common. It was great to see some of the Harper Impulse team, including my editor Charlotte, my cover designer Alex and fellow authoress, the award winning Brigid Coady, as well as readers, bloggers, friends – and even the random guys that decided to crash the after-party and take loads of selfies with the “famous author”. I did insist that I wasn’t a particularly famous author, but they insisted on buying me shots nonetheless, and I’m only human. The after-party was at the Belle Vue pub, yes, the very pub where my main characters Alex and Nadia meet in the book, and they laid on special “Alex”, “Nadia” and “Lila” cocktails, which went down an absolute storm.

Needless to say, I woke up with a rather sore head the next morning. But it was time for hair of the dog, as it was one of my favourite days of the year: Proms in the Park! People who have never been to Proms in the Park always look at me like I’m crazy when I say that – they think it’s all “old people” and classical music – but everyone I’ve dragged along has absolutely loved it. It’s one little last gasp of summer, sat out in greenness in the very centre of London, drinking Pimms, eating hummus, chatting with friends, dancing to some feel-good music and finally getting to belt out the words to Jerusalem, Rule Britannia,  and the National Anthem. What’s not to love?

On the 18th my beautiful friend gave birth to a beautiful baby – only a few hours late! – and I soon got to have precious  cuddles with lovely five-day-old Evie – the most incredibly chilled newborn I’ve ever met. I’m basically in love.

Those who know me know I’m not exactly a gym bunny. Okay, I have a membership with one, but that’s because I absolutely love my Monday evening booiaka classes! Spin bikes, treadmills, rowing machines etc aren’t really my natural habitat, but I spent the last day of September (and will be spending the first day of October) participating in Tour de Law 2015, where my firm as a whole attempt to cycle from London to Paris and back in 24 hours on a static bike in support of Breast Cancer Care. I might be (almost) the slowest cyclist firm-wide, but I’m still pretty proud of my contribution (even though my bum feels really bruised from that unforgiving saddle).

Lots to look forward to in October. My middle sister is coming to stay with me for a few days; The Vampire Diaries is starting up again (I am an unapologetic TVD fangirl); the Cheltenham Literature Festival returns to town and I’ve got tickets to see a livestream of Benedict Cumberbatch’s Hamlet at the cinema. On the 31st we’re hosting a Hallowe’en themed housewarming for our finally-finished (sorta) new home – can’t wait to celebrate with friends!

What I read

Valentine’s on Primrose Hill, Nikki Moore (☆☆☆☆)
Queen of Shadows, Sarah J Maas (☆☆☆☆)
Ready Player One, Ernest Cline (☆☆☆☆☆)
Ibiza Insanity, Aimee Duffy (☆☆☆☆)
None of the Above, I. W. Gregorio (☆☆☆☆)
Wild Swans, Jung Chang (☆☆☆☆) [book club read]
Firsts, Laurie Elizabeth Flynn (☆☆☆☆)
#PleaseRetweet, Emily Benet (☆☆☆☆☆)
My Lady of Cleves, Margaret Campbell Barnes (☆☆☆)
Finnikin of the Rock, Melina Marchetta (☆☆☆☆)


What I wrote

  • I finally got myself sorted and bought my new computer, hooray! I’m still waiting to sort out buying Office, but for now I’ve been using good old Google Docs and working to finish off my Christmas short story before I start in earnest on Book 3.
  • My good old Hidden Historical Heroines series had a resurgence with my post about the rather wonderful ‘Black Agnes‘; as one commenter put it, a real old-school “troll”.



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