New year, new life, new house, new attitude.


I’m going to finish my book. I’ve spent since July thinking about it, and it’s time to get the rewrites done and start resubmitting it to the agents who said almost, but not quite, and to the publisher who said yes please, we’d like to read more.

There’s something about writing, the act of sitting down with this laptop and letting words fall out of my fingers, which makes me feel whole. I need to let it out. I have words and words and words all jumbled up in my head and they are desperate to escape. So much of last year was taken up with dealing with life and I didn’t have time to lose myself in words. I need them.


A few days by the seaside always help to clear my head. We saw in the new year in Formby, in a beautiful cottage where the children could rampage around the garden and roll down giant sand dunes, and I had much needed grown up time talking and relaxing and being me. No proper photographs, though, because I managed to forget my camera battery. I won’t make that mistake in a few weeks when I go to France, I promise.


NaNoWriMo 2011

It’s almost time. All over the world, people are starting to think about National Novel Writing Month, aka NaNoWriMo.

Last November I started a book and wrote 50,000 words in one month. Scary stuff, and I spent the whole time in a words obsessed haze. So for anyone contemplating it this year, here are ten things I learned whilst doing NaNoWriMo.

It was worth it! An excerpt of Sealed with a Kiss reached no1 in the Harper Collins Authonomy chart for unsigned writers – have a look, you can read the first few chapters there. And a year (and an editor, and lots of twiddling with chapters and characters) on, I’ve had interest from agents and publishers, and I’m about to take a huge leap, inspired by my friend Melanie, and venture into the world of self publishing.

And if you’ve even wondered what NaNoWriMo looks like, here’s photographic evidence.

And this? This must be the best feeling in the world.

Happy writing. And good luck for NaNoWriMo 2011!

Cybermummy 2011 – Blogger to Blogger Inspiration

I’d love to pepper this post with photographs from this year’s Cybermummy 11 blogging conference, but unfortunately before my talk I was too nervous to take any, and afterwards I left the conference for a quick refreshment break with Hannah, Emily and the lovely (yes, it’s a pseudonym) Bumbling. The refreshments were rather, er, refreshing. And the evening photographs are rather, er, interesting.

I have to confess that the conference was more a chance for me to meet up again with some of the slightly deranged lovely friends I’ve made through twitter and blogging, and less a chance to learn about the mechanics of writing a blog (I think I’ve got that bit worked out – or at least this is as good as it’s going to get. Ha ha). So I can’t really review the conference itself. But I did love Jay’s photography workshop and I’m going to be stopping, dropping, and angling all my photos from now on. As well as figuring out ISO and, um, the other one I can’t remember the name of.

If anyone would like a write up of the talk, you can find it here thanks to WitWitWoo who live blogged the session with me, Tara from Sticky Fingers, Maggy from Red Ted Art and Claire and Lucy from Crumbs.

For those of you thinking I was really posh, having my notes on my iPad, a little confession: I had some written that tied in with the slides, but unfortunately I left them at home. The ones I used were cobbled together at the last minute on the train. I think I just about got away with it. Shh, don’t tell.

It was really lovely to meet so many people who read the blog over the weekend. If you’re new, you can add me as a friend on Facebook and also like Tales from the Village on Facebook for extra photographs, ramblings and chat, and you can also follow me on Twitter. And if you do all of the above, you deserve a medal. Hope you had a lovely weekend.

another weekend in London

Going to London again, this time to talk at the UK conference for bloggers. Exciting stuff. I’m going to be talking about how writing my blog helped my book to reach the top of the Authonomy chart for unpublished writers and how Twitter, blogging and Facebook help to get your name out there as a writer, and the 10 things I learned whilst writing a book.

If you want to look out for me, you will find me pulling faces, hiding behind things to avoid having my photo taken (not sure what to use as I can’t take the dog with me) and probably doing quite a lot of cackling as I catch up with old friends and some new ones. And as ever, taking notes.

And when I get home, I’m going to finish the edits and rewrites I have been procrastinating about for ages, and send the book off to the publisher who has expressed an interest. I forgot to mention that bit, didn’t I? Hooray.

Have a good weekend, everyone.

when a man is tired of London

When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life, for there is in London all that life can afford.

I think Samuel Johnson had a point. Every time I go (we only live an hour away by train) I love it, but then I’m always glad to get home. As I type this at the kitchen table I can see the daffodils peeping through. The chickens are sunbathing, and the sun is lighting up the new leaves of the rose bushes.

On a Saturday, London is heaving with tourists who wave maps and stop suddenly in front of barriers and congregate in huge groups, driving you off the pavement. And people who are talking so much (because they haven’t seen each other for two years) that they get on a train, change at the next underground station, keep talking, walk in a circle, and get on a train that takes them back to where they started. Ahem.

What I like about blogs is that you see the world through someone else’s eyes. For me the world is all about pattern and colour. Lines, shapes, impressions. So my London photos aren’t of Big Ben or the Houses of Parliament. They’re photos of the things I see, and the way I see the world. It’s a kaleidoscope.

We were on a mission to find a bottle of wine when we found Persephone books. It was quite by accident and very lovely. The shop was beautiful – everything a bookshop should be. And I accidentally bought another three books for my collection. I’ll write about them soon.

Even nicer still was coming back from London to a beautiful bunch of flowers – the lovely Liz at Violet Posy nominated me for a treat from Interflora. Aren’t they gorgeous?

Have a lovely weekend in the sunshine. I’m off to do some gardening.


Silent Sunday

1950s housewife keeps poo in a jar

Google have a clever thing for website owners called Google Analytics. You can find out all sorts of things, but my favourite is looking to see how people find their way here. As you’d expect there’s lots of jam, books, cake, chickens, gardening and all that stuff, but some of the other searches really make me laugh.

To the people who googled ‘1950s housewife’ – Sorry, nice idea but no, really not at all. I’m a failed domestic goddess, really. I spend too much time lying around drinking cups of tea and reading books or reading blogs.

To the people who googled ‘most boring thing in the world’ – Mmm. Well, thanks, Google, for sending them here. You know how to make a girl feel good.

‘I want to kill everyone in the world’ – Imagine. You’re a deranged psychopath, planning the demise of humanity. So you google it, and end up looking at photos of cake, chickens and Penguin paperbacks. Kill or cure, I guess.

Posh jelly? I’m not sure I want to know what that is.

400lb woman? Oh dear, not quite but thanks for the morale boost, dear Googler.

Dog poo. Poo in a jar. Poo in a bottle? I actually went back and checked to make sure I hadn’t written a scatalogical blog post whilst under the influence. Who are these people, and what on earth are they looking for? (Yes, poo, I know. But why?)

Vodka woman. Me? Never. Can’t stand the stuff.

Gin woman. Ahem. Maybe. Alright, I admit it.

Completely bonkers. Evil vegetables. (But why would you google these things?)

Women being milked like cows? Are these people insane? Oh, yuck.

Badger poo. (Badger poo?)

Deer eating popcorn?

I think I’ve been living a sheltered life.

In other news, Tales from the Village is now the no3 Uk Gardening Blog according to Wikio, right below the Gardening blog of the Guardian and Observer newspapers. Not bad for a little blog that isn’t even a year old! Thank you all so much for reading, commenting and making writing this jumble of gardening, 1950s housewifery, badger poo and deer eating popcorn such fun.

If you haven’t subscribed (where have you been?) you can put your email address in the little box there, and you’ll get Tales from the Village straight into your email inbox. Exciting stuff.

If you’re a Facebook sort of person, you can come over to the Tales from the Village Facebook page for extra ramblings, photographs of chickens and conversations about what’s for dinner.

And you can also add me as a friend on Facebook too.

Phew. That’s enough social media trumpet tootling. I’m off to prepare some evil vegetables for dinner, like a good little 1950s housewife.

Inspired by Karen at If I Could Escape’s post and much cackling on Twitter this afternoon when I could have been doing something productive.

something amazing happened today

my book

I put the first few chapters of my book on Authonomy a few days ago. It’s a website, created by the publisher Harper Collins, where writers can upload their books and get honest feedback.

Today it reached no1. Much squeaking for joy ensued. People who weren’t obliged to be polite liked it. People said nice things about it. People asked for more. I can’t quite believe it.

This has to be the best World Book Day present ever.

If you’d like to have a read, my book is here.

I’m going to have a little lie down. Or a big gin and tonic.