Monthly Chat: March 2016

Collage 2016-03-31 20_52_06

What I did

March for me is basically about one thing. My husband’s birthday. He really milks the entire month, having different celebrations with me, with friends, with work, with family. We had our Nearest and Dearest down to where we live in Cheltenham to do the infamous Bath Road pub crawl. Several old-man-pubs and an ill-advised number of shots later we wound up in Cheltenham’s grungy rock club. One of our friends went home with my husband’s work colleague and the romance writer in me is naturally hoping they now immediately get married because what a fun meet-cute.

My father-in-law came to stay with us for a few days and my husband and he went to the Cheltenham Races. As you can imagine, it’s a big thing here… I credited a betting account with £5 and bet between 10p-50p on a completely random assortment of horses over the four days. I basically choose my bets based on how much I like the wacky name. Jockeys wearing pink or shirts with stars also usually get a punt! I came out with about £8 in my account, so not too bad! My husband… let’s just say he did not come out in credit (what a way to spend your birthday money). A friend of my colleague won £21k on a £9 accumulator bet – lucky bugger!

March also marked the five year anniversary of our yearly Games of Thronesathon. Every year a group of us gets together to watch all ten episodes of the most recent season back to back in preparation of the new episodes in April. This year we had a new member – four month old Theodore (see my Monthly Chat for last November re his happy arrival). Technically he was present last year as a teeny foetus inside Jen, but whatever. I am a big fan of tradition and this has to be one of my favourites. Themed cupcakes, greasy take away, duvet forts and plenty of bants. It is so funny to think that when we started getting together to do this we were all sprightly young things in our early twenties, mostly all living in London, and now we’re all over the country, and groaning a little when we get up from having been sat on the floor for a while and passing a diddy baby between us. But it’s lovely how we’re all still such close friends.

The month ended on a bit of a low. As I mentioned in my last post, I was booked in to have a back tooth extracted under general anaesthetic. I absolutely hate doctors, hospitals, needles. I know, I know, you’re thinking “nobody LIKES that stuff Erin, man up…” I am clinically phobic and I could write an entire series of blog posts based on my “funny in retrospect” experiences with medical professionals (the time I almost ran out in front of a truck fleeing a Meningitis jab and, of course, the saga with the industrial magnet my then-boyfriend attached to my face are particular anecdotal highlights). It took me a long time to wind myself up for this extraction (I first damaged the tooth in question about eight years ago…) but the lovely staff at Gloucester Royal were so patient and understanding and I got through it with only a handful of whimpers. I’m so glad because having a positive experience as my most recent memory will really help me the next time I have to go in to hospital (not that I’m exactly planning my next time!).

A combination of coming down off the general anaesthetic and being prescribed painkillers that have a side-effect of drowsiness/dizziness means I was barely awake for five hours at a time throughout the entire Easter weekend, which I spent with my in-laws and friends in Bournemouth. No Easter Eggs for me of course, I survived mostly on chocolate milkshakes and mashed sweet potatoes (hashtag healthy). I was a bit naughty and ate solid food a little earlier than I perhaps should have when we went out to a Korean grill restaurant for our friend’s birthday. I was pretty starving at this point, and had never tried Korean food, so I couldn’t help myself (I did have the plain version of the meat though, I really wasn’t sure what the spice would do to my stitched-up gum!).

But, HAPPINESS! A few days later I passed my driving theory test, even under the influence of said drowsiness/dizziness painkillers. Obviously I was about ten years older than every other applicant; some of them were even accompanied by their parents, awww!

April showers bring May flowers… I bloody hope we don’t have many April showers though, because Storm Katie blasting through Gloucestershire did a number on part of our roof! Gutting!! Please don’t be shy about recommending my books to friends, because I need all the royalty money I can get right now (I’m joking… but I’m also totally not joking… sigh). Aside from the showers, lots of lovely things to look forward to. I am going for dinner with a load of school friends, most of whom I don’t really get to see much and I’m also going on a mini-break to a cabin in the Forest of Dean with the Nearest and Dearest (aka the usual suspects most often in my photo collages!). Only for a long weekend but really looking forward to the break. And getting to eat normal food. That’ll be sweet.

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

Sofia Khan is Not Obliged, Ayisha Malik (☆☆☆)
Kindred Spirits, Rainbow Rowell (☆☆☆☆)
Wellies and Westies, Cressida McLaughlin (☆☆☆☆)
Wu: The Chinese Empress who schemed, seduced and murdered…, Jonathan Clements (☆☆☆)
Bridesmaids, Jane Costello (☆☆☆)
Summers at Castle Auburn, Sharon Shinn (☆☆☆)
Morning Star, Pierce Brown (☆☆☆☆☆)
As The Crow Flies, Damien Boyd (☆☆☆)


What I wrote

I finished draft one of The One With The Engagement Party and started on The One With The Wedding Dress. I then promptly got edits back and had to cycle back three months in the lives of my characters and do a little restructuring. Thanks to my editor’s brilliant feedback I’m feeling a lot more confident!



What I listened to

Top 5 tracks on my Spotify this month

  • Olivia Lane, You Part 2
  • The Maine, English Girls
  • Birdy, Wild Horses
  • Machel Montato, Erupt
  • Alexa Goddard, So There

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