Monthly Chat: February 2016

What I did

Well, that’s the shortest month over with then – even though of course this year it was slightly longer than normal! Time for a super speedy monthly recap, as I am suffering from the dreaded post-holiday Inbox of Tremendous Size.

As you can probably tell from this month’s collage, this month was pretty jetset for me, but before I headed off for warmer colder climes I had a lovely few weeks. In particular, I got to quaff prosecco and eat tiny posh cupcakes with a great deal of my Harper Impulse family – special mentions of course to fellow-authors Brigid Coady, Katey Lovell and Jules Wake who carried on the party with me across the road after we were chucked out of the News Building!

One of my oldest, dearest friends turned 30 and came to stay with her family. It was a lovely, chilled weekend, but you never realise how child-unfriendly your home is until you have a two year old come to stay. You also don’t realise that you have children’s TV channels.

Valentine’s Day and my work organised a ‘cupid service’ to raise money for charity (see previous month re the Wiggin Wheelie Big Challenge and please, please consider donating if you haven’t already!).  This gave me the shudders remembering how there used to be a rose delivery service every year between my school and the boys’ school across the road and how I NEVER got one… even the two years I was with my childhood boyfriend! I fared better as an adult. One sweet one from a manager and one about a butt plug from my friend. Ahh, romance!

And then it was time, off to Latvia! I have spammed Twitter and Instagram enough, so I won’t bang on, but it was a great break – cheap, good food, lovely snow and free museums! Riga was a strange city – it still feels quite sad (but after learning all about their eternity of occupation, I can understand why!). I would definitely recommend it for an alternative weekend city-break.

A brief hop across Europe to Norway then, where we met up with friends and – most excitingly of all –  Ksenia (aka Dearly Deported Best Friend who inspired Somewhere Only We Know). We do all miss her HORRENDOUSLY, but when we’re all back together it feels like the most normal thing in the entire world. We crammed a lot in to three days – saw the Viking burial ships, the Nobel Peace Prize Museum, walked along the roof of the opera house, took a ferry island-hopping, played hide-and-seek in the icy ruins of a monastery, saw the famous nudie sculptures and more!! Trying to have the most stereotypical Norwegian experience possible, we dined on whale (odd texture) and reindeer (very strong taste) and went sledding in the mountains high above Oslo.

Now, that I did this at all may surprise people, because I famously hate rollercoasters, and I even complain when the car goes over a speedbump and I get that little tummy jolt. I’m a complete wuss. But I thought I didn’t want to be left out and I assumed that the sledding track would be “walled in” and there was only so much damage I could do to myself if the front of my sled went into a barrier. I basically could not have been more under-prepared for the reality of the thing. What I thought was a designated sledding area was basically just a narrow mountain road, iced up and unusable, completely open to a sheer cliff face 75% of the time, with lumps and bumps that made my arse fly up about a foot off the sled every time I hit one. I thought I was going to die. But I still did it a second time. As scary as it was, it definitely has to rank high on my list of Epic Life Moments. The first run was done during sunset and the second was under the stars, with the whole city and the sea spread out underneath me and it really did feel like flying (when I wasn’t blind with panic, anyway). And I didn’t even crash; not once.

So, holiday time is over, and back to the grind. March is always loads of fun for me though. It’s my husband’s birthday and also when we do our yearly Game of Thrones marathon in preparation for the new series starting (all ten episodes in a row, it can definitely be done, but you have to be very strict about the toilet breaks). The month ends on a bit of a downer though – I have to go into hospital and under general anesthetic to have a tooth removed – so I’ll be spending the entire long Easter Bank Holiday Weekend in hospital/recovering, which is an absolute bumder. In addition to being a complete wuss when it comes to rollercoasters, I’m also a complete wuss when it comes to doctors and hospitals, so I’m completely bricking it already; wish me luck!!

PS: If you don’t already, consider following me on Instagram (at @rinylou) as I’m waiting to hit 250 followers so I can do an Instagram-only giveaway to celebrate!!


What I read

Reader, I Dumped Him, Lorelei Mathias (☆☆☆☆☆)
Viral, Helen Fitzgerald (☆☆☆)
For Darkness Shows The Stars, Diana Peterfreund (☆☆☆☆)
Pretty Girl Thirteen, Liz Coley (☆☆☆☆)
Riga Travel Guide, Marc Cook (☆☆☆)
The Map of Bones, Francesca Haig (☆☆☆☆☆)
The Versions of Us, Laura Barnett (☆☆☆)
The Maiden Thief, Melissa Marr (☆☆☆)


What I wrote


I was featured in an article for my university’s alumnae magazine as an Inspirational Female Author. So that was pretty cool.

I also wrote some of Bridemaids. I promise, I swear.


What I listened to

Top 5 tracks on my Spotify this month

  • MisterWives, No Need For Dreaming
  • Astro Safari USA, Royal Rumble
  • Mike Tompkins, Shake It Off/Pompeii mashup
  • Secret Someones, Headfirst
  • Tifts Beelzebubs, Hey Juliet

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