Well - you don't have to but I seem to be doing rather well at getting out of the big smoke these days. In fact, if I count next weeks Bank Holiday (house party in Stafford coming up!) I will have been away four out of five weekends! No wonder I'm struggling to get anywhere fast with the decorating...
Although I love the hustle and bustle of my life in London, it is nice to get away from it all. Three weekends ago I came up north for a friend's hen do - and saw her get married this Saturday. What made it all the more special was the rural setting of the reception - said friend lives in the middle of the Nottinghamshire countryside where you can see nothing more than fields as far as the eye can see, and the nearest convenience store is a good 15 minute drive away - and even that closes at 10.
As a city girl of thirteen years, I forget what it's like to live out in the sticks. When I was camping near Stratford Upon Avon recently I was delighted to learn that there was a bus service into town so the dedicated driver in our party could enjoy a drink. Needless to say my plan was foiled by the last bus, running at a mere 6.10pm. Oh well...
I guess both ways of life have their pros and cons. Whilst London offers me everything I could possibly want when I want it, getting away from the 24 hour society helps me to slow down and recuperate - something that I really have to work at back in the city. So, whilst I will be relieved to see my local Co-Op open when I get back to Walthamstow tonight, I know that I will have to make myself breathe more deeply and let the chaos wash over me once in a while.
And on that note, I shall say adieu - I have some serious chilling to do...
I hope you are all feeling nicely refreshed after the weekend? I have to admit that, after three nights of camping, I'm quite tired - but then there's nothing quite like sitting around a smoldering BBQ at 11 o'clock at night, playing cards and supping Jameson's whiskey (a new and rather dangerous discovery for old Shell) to re-charge the batteries. Okay, so as camping goes we were pretty well looked after (electricity supply, showers AND clean toilets? Wow!) but cooking outdoors, sleeping with nothing more than a sheet of waterproof fabric between you and the elements and being without all those creature comforts we don't need but depend on is certainly good for the soul. Even if not the back...
It isn't just going camping that has helped me detox my mind - if not my body (one thing at a time people!). I've been reading a book by Gabbi Bernstein, Yoga and Meditation buff whose 108 Miracles Now breaks down developing your spiritual side - and maintaining your well-being - into easy to follow steps. Whilst some of it isn't for me, it is full of handy hints to improve your relationship with the world and look at life with a more positive slant, something I admit I sometimes find tricky.
On Thursday, I found myself seeing positives in what could have been a rather crushing situation. After several rejection letters confused by some very positive feedback from publishers and competition judges, I decided to ask a professional to look at my first novel, Faith, Hope and Chocolate. Deep down I knew it wasn't my best writing by any means but had grown attached to my characters - and still loved the concept. Claire's feedback confirmed this - and her comments helped me see where it wasn't working and think about how I could develop the story line. We concluded that the best course of action would be to start again - and, this time, write with a bit more of a purpose and a plan, something I admit not really doing the first time round. So, watch this space people - just don't hold your breath, as I have novel number two to edit first, plus a couple of other ideas floating about...
Now, with all that in mind, I'm going to run myself a nice bath, read some more "Miracles" and write in my journal - the detox isn't complete yet!
Here you will find my latest news, including what I have been up to and what I have been writing (and making). Hopefully you'll like what I have to say - and perhaps I will motivate you to get creative too...