Anthem*

Work hard at training today. We do upper body as hurt ankle a few days ago and it’s a bit inflamed. Attached photo is Chest Press On Pilates Ball.

Mum has sent a photo of the fluffy monster looking at the snow:

He looks miserable because he is. He hates snow and has been reduced to the humiliation of using the litter tray, at least to do a wee. No poo so he must have done one in his brief foray outside, one hopes, or he’ll be very uncomfortable. Poor fluffy.

In exciting news: have commissioned a painting! It’s from the brilliant Jake Andrew Art. He has synaesthesia and paints songs. Here is some of his work:

He asked me to choose a song and said he’ll paint it for me. So I said Anthem by Leonard Cohen.

“I see his voice as red and blue,” he said.

“I also like Suzanne,” I said.

“Well leave it with me and if it gets too dark I’ll play around with other Leonard Cohen songs.” He said. So I gave him some more songs:

  • So Long, Marianne
  • Take This Waltz
  • Everybody Knows
  • Closing Time
  • Alexandra Leaving
  • I’m Your Man
  • First We Take Manhattan
  • There Ain’t No Cure For Love
  • Tower Of Song
  • Famous Blue Raincoat

Am excited. This is my first foray into art patronage, other than the portrait of the fluffy monster painted by my talented next door neighbour.

Can’t wait to see the painting!

It’s 4.34pm and it’s dark. It did snow more this morning but it didn’t settle, sadly. I’m listening to Leonard Cohen’s I’m Your Man album and thinking about my painting.

Happy Monday everyone!

*1992. Song by Leonard Cohen from the album The Future.

White Christmas*

It’s snowing!

So, it’s snowing in London which is a cause of great excitement. Have spoken to Mum and the fluffy monster won’t go out and hasn’t used his litter tray so must be desperate for a wee and a poo. Poor fluffy monster!

Am snowed in so it seems a good time to do lots of online shopping to compile a Christmas Gift Guide for you and things I want please.

  1. Mum is getting me these shoes from Hobbs which are low availability. Have already purchased them and if you want them I’d be quick:
  2. I would really love some Marc Jacobs makeup which comes from John Lewis and Selfridges and other places: http://www.marcjacobsbeauty.com
  3. Esther Coren recommends the gel eyeliner on The Spike which is, I think, this one:
  4. I really love Onzie Bell Pants. The black velvet ones are my new ones but pictures 2 and 3, Fast Flower and Late Night are now in the sale. I have and love both colourways: https://www.onzie.com
  5. Yoga Rebel also stock some Onzie Gear: http://www.yogarebel.com
  6. You can’t beat Sweaty Betty for sportswear: http://www.sweatybetty.com – I love my new emerald green trousers from them:
  7. There is a matching top but I rejected it as too tracksuity:
  8. Now I’m not sure what to wear with the trousers though…
  9. I got these from Kurt Geiger and I love them. At the moment Kurt Geiger is 20% off with code KG20.
  10. If you’re looking for an unusual Chanukiah, Mezuzah or Shabbat candles, I recommend The Vanilla Studio’s Menorasaurs, lizzuzahs and candles. Available from http://www.etsy.com

11. If you’re in the USA, find them at: http://www.etsy.com

12. For all your lavender cats, rabbits and other handcrafted needs, I recommend the wonderful Made By Maggie:

Also available on Etsy as Made By Maggie Studio:

13. For the literature lover in your life I recommend Out Of Print:

Hope this has given you some ideas.

Happy Shopping!

I went to Spin drinks last night so the attached photo is my Joseph Ribkoff dress.

Happy Sunday!

*1954. Song by Bing Crosby.

Everything Changes*

Work hard at today’s Spin which I’d Take That vs Kylie. Here is graph:

Look at all that yellow. That is over 80% heart rate.

Here is photo with The Boss. Note the reindeer leggings:

Get to see my fluffy monster before I leave. Here he is with his grandma:

You can also see them in the attached photo.

Finish Mum’s scarf last night. Here it is:

Am very upset as have just discovered that Nars have started selling in China where animal testing is mandatory. Therefore, they’re no longer cruelty free and I will need to replace all my make-up, probably with Marc Jacobs and Charlotte Tilbury. Am devastated about this as I love my Nars make-up and it wasn’t cheap…

Have to have a bath now and get dressed as I have Spin drinks for my Spin class at the gym. It’s in a nearby pub.

Happy Saturday everyone!

*1994. Song by Take That. Went to number 1. From the album Everything Changes.

Stay Another Day*

Do much better at Spin today. Here is graph:

Have attached photo with The Boss.

Then walk Gandalf. Is lovely to see him but it’s cold. Here we are:

Listen to a Spotify playlist of Christmas songs from the 70s, 80s and 90s whilst am walking Gandalf in the freezing and receive my first Christmas card from his owner.

Have porridge for lunch (tummy still a bit dodgy) and then have a sleep. The fluffy monster is in now and is sleeping under my chair.

Can hear that Mum has just returned home so am going to post this and then go and help Mum with her new jigsaw which is garden birds.

Happy Friday everyone!

*1994. Song by East 17. Their only number one on the UK singles chart, 1994 Christmas number one. Also number one in Sweden, Denmark and Ireland. Appears on the album Steam.

Purr M For Murder*

Do OK at Spin. Here is graph:

Must try harder and spend more time in the yellow zone.

Go out for lunch with Hannah at Pizza Express which is OK but they’ve taken our favourite things off the menu: Bosco Salad, Melanzane Parmigiana and aubergine Pizza. Also they charge us £4.35 for a bottle of San Pellegrino fizzy water. So we’re disappointed.

Have a sleep and wake up and post a couple of pictures on Instagram and that’s been my day really.

Last night the fluffy monster helps me with my bath. Show you:

Mum has just taken him to the vet to be weighed and vet is pleased as his weight has gone down from 7.3kg to 7.1kg although apparently it needs to be 6.5kg, so we’ve still got a way to go.

The parentals are going out now so am going to watch some of the new series of Peaky Blinders which have been recording.

Happy Thursday everyone!

*2017. By T C LoTempio. A Cat Rescue Mystery, Volume 1. Starring Sydney McCall and Toby the orange cat. Set in North Carolina.

Mr Darley’s Arabian*

Finally make it to the gym this morning, sporting my new Onzie black crushed velvet bell pants. Do Leg Press, Chest Press, Leg Extension, Leg Curl, Pulley and Arm Extension.

Here is gym outfit:

Take the train to parentals and then have lunch and a sleep.

Have just started reading Mr Darley’s Arabian, which is a history of racing in twenty five horses, starting with the arrival of the Darley Arabian and following twenty four horses descended from him. It’s jolly good and would make a nice present for the horse lover or racing enthusiast in your life, although as with anything about racing – all of human life is here: from stable boys to princes and from prostitutes to queens. Definitely read this if you get a chance, it’s wonderful:

Will do a gift guide in a later post maybe. Or maybe won’t. Let’s see…

Am at the parentals and Mum wants me to have a bath so had better do that. It’s ever so dark at 5.36pm. Maybe will take my fluffy in the bathroom with me for some company: he’s just sleeping in brother’s room I think…

Happy Wednesday everyone!

*2016. By Christopher McGrath. Book about the Darley Arabian and twenty four of his descendants, forming a history of thoroughbred racing.

The Quiller Memorandum*

So, I’ve just written 80,150 words of the Memoir in under three months. You may be wondering how I did it. So here goes:

  1. Find the time of day when you’re most productive and write then. For me that’s late morning, after exercising and late afternoon/ early evening, after my sleep. For you it could be at completely different times of the day. My friend Hannah writes on her phone when she’s out and about and then emails it to herself later.
  2. Set yourself a word target for each day. At the start I was clocking up two thousand words per day, but after this initial spurt I took it down to one thousand words a day, which is really just an hour of writing time. It all adds up.
  3. Some people like to do a detailed plan before they start. I don’t. I’d just decided where the starting point was – my cancer diagnosis four and a half years ago, and worked forwards from that, with the occasional flashback.
  4. It’s probably best to stick to one point of view and one tense. Mine is first person present tense because that’s the only thing I’ve really mastered so far.
  5. Write every day. This is pretty much non-negotiable. I only took about four or five days off in the three months.
  6. Aim for short chapters. My chapters are around two thousand words long, so I managed a chapter every day at the start and every two days later. You’ll get muddled writing great long chapters and they’re less fun for the reader too.
  7. Make sure to give yourself little rewards as you go along. My main reward was, if I’d completed a day’s word target, allowing myself a Midsomer Murder and some knitting.
  8. If you have to go to work: use your commute to write. That could be around two hours a day of writing time, enough to write two thousand words.
  9. If you’re not feeling inspired, put in some lists. The Memoir contains plenty of lists.
  10. There’s nothing wrong with recycling old pieces of writing if you can fit them in with your plot.
  11. If you get really stuck:
  12. Make a list of things that your character has in their pockets or handbag.
  13. Think about where your character is in space and time and simply have them cross the room and describe what they can see out of the window.
  14. Is there a dog? Get your character to take him for a walk.
  15. If you simply can’t write: go for a walk and think about your writing. Chances are you’ll be able to write on your return.
  16. Or even just make a cup of tea or coffee and then get back to the grindstone.
  17. Do plenty of reading in the genre in which you’re trying to write. Before writing the Memoir I read Amy Liptrot’s The Outrun, A.A. Gill’s Pour Me, Carrie Fisher’s The Princess Diarist and Antonia Fraser’s My History. Whilst I was writing it I read Bryony Gordon’s Mad Girl. So my reading at the time was mainly memoirs, so I could see what did and didn’t work in the genre. All the above are brilliant examples. If you’re writing in a different genre, read as widely as possible in that genre.
  18. Although it’s best to do your own writing earlier in the day, before you start reading other people’s words and end up imitating their writing style.
  19. Don’t despair if the writing is going slowly. There is no need to write a whole book in three months.
  20. Try not to have too many characters as this both bogs down the writing and can confuse your reader. Where possible: mould a character out of two or three people. This is called ‘character folding’ and I read a piece about it recently – Google it.

Hope that is helpful.

Here is Dolly today:

Here is her Hot Spot:

You can see why she mustn’t be allowed to scratch it, poor Dolly.

The attached photo is my overbend row from Training this morning.

Happy Tuesday everyone!

*1965. By Elleston Trevor writing as Adam Hall. The second Agent Quiller spy thriller novel.

Delicate*

I’ve finished a first draft of the Memoir and sent it to my agent. It’s 80,150 words. Oh I hope they like it! Obviously it’s very much a first draft and may need much more work but am so pleased with myself. Just hope that they don’t hate it…

The concert last night was wonderful but I was rather overdressed:

It was in a Synagogue and there was a memorial service for the victims of AIDS before the concert. Anyway: my friend in the choir was very pleased that I was there – I was his only friend who made it. Also, the Rabbi whom I’ve known since Oxford was really happy to see me.

Today have training and work hard. Here is squat photo:

We also do Leg Press, seated Chest Press, Pull-ups and some other exercises. Another squat photo is attached.

Then I cross London to see my chum who has just had twins. Here they are:

They are lovely and am helpful with holding them and giving them bottles and so on. My chum is pleased to see me.

Do Body Scan Meditation and sleep and then when I wake up I write an Epilogue to the Memoir and send it off.

Am listening to Taylor Swift’s Reputation and drinking lemon squash.

Right: am going to make some supper.

Happy Monday everyone!

The Mermaids Singing*

I have to go out soon: going to hear the London Gay Men’s Chorus performing at West London Synagogue – it’s a World AIDS Day event with a service of remembrance and a meal afterwards.

Never go out at night. Am excited. May even put a dress on. With tights and boots: it’s cold out there.

So, work hard at Spin this morning. Here is graph:

Still not quite up to speed and strength due to it being cold and me having a cold. But am there and that’s the main thing. Here I am with my instructor and you can see us in the attached photo:

Then the fluffy monster gets stuck near the top of the pine tree, chasing a squirrel:

Silly monster. Dad takes me back to the flat where I meditate and sleep. Mum tells me the fluffy made it down from the tree.

Now just have to post this, dress and leave the house.

Happy Sunday everyone!

*1995. By Val McDermid. The first Dr Tony Hill Murder Mystery Novel.

The Cat, The Mill And The Murder*

Work as hard as I can at Spin but can’t get into the yellow zone. Here is graph:

Maybe it is because it’s cold and I still have a cold.

Help Mum finish her jigsaw. Here it is:

Then have a sleep and when I wake up get on with the Memoir. It now stands at 79,776 words. Nearly finished. Am going to finish it tomorrow or early next week and get it off to my agent well before Christmas.

Have already written my Christmas cards so am organised.

Dad is getting twitchy as we need to watch Midsomer Murders before nine o’clock when he wants to watch something else and it’s 7.13pm now.

The attached photo is with my instructor at Spin today.

Happy Saturday everyone!

*2013. By Leann Sweeney. A Cats In Trouble Murder Mystery, Book 5.