Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Sorry I have been a bit awol recently.  There has been a lot going on at home.  It's all fairly good things but as a result I just haven't had the chance to blog as much as I usually would. 

We haven't really had any days out either, which also means I have less to blog about, that's never a good thing.

I am hoping come September I will have plenty more to blog about.  I will have started my floristry course and life will have a bit more structure to it.

Me & James have been house hunting, with much disappointment and struggles so far, it seems we just can't find that perfect house for us and when we do, someone always beats us to the post, so the hunt continues.

I've also been working on a few little projects so have been kept busy with those.  Some of them will be coming to a close soon so that will free up a bit more time.  So with any luck normal blogging will resume very soon.

Thank you all for bearing with me and hello to all my new followers :)  I will be back soon.

Love Gem x x x x

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Your Suggestions Please.

Walking past a furniture charity shop the other day, this little beauty caught my eye.  I knew had to have it.

I'm not quite sure what I will use it for.  But I know as soon as we get our own place it will be well used and well loved.

Now the only decision I'm left with is whether to leave it as it is or sand it down and paint it white.  I'm swaying towards painting it but I'm still not 100% sure.

What do you think I should do?

Love Gem x x x x

Sunday, 12 August 2012

London 2012

With today being the last day of the Olympics it felt pretty fitting to blog about my evening in London earlier this week.

Over the past year I have been looking forward for the Olympics to be all over.  I was dreading the Olympics.  How wrong I have been.  I have been loving it.  Watching the games on TV, but most of all wishing I could be there to soak up some of the atmosphere.  I had been searching for tickets over and over without any success.  I had also wanted to go to the Paralympics so began to focus my time of getting tickets for that.  Luckily for me I was able to get Paralympic tickets straight away and will be going to watch the athletics at the beginning of September.  While the Olympics was still going on myself and my Mum decided to go up to Stratford to pick up the tickets also in the hope of experiencing some of the Olympic atmosphere.

After we had picked up the tickets we headed for Westfields to check out some of their viewing platforms.

This whole stadium is made from Lego.  This was in John Lewis.

I loved the mascots scattered around the city too.

Taken from the viewing platform in Westfields.

The athletes village is looking rather colourful.

From Westfields we went onto Tower Bridge to see the Olympic rings that had been hung from the bridge.

We walked from London Bridge station to the river, I loved all the flags that had been strung up.

One of the many great landmarks in London - the gherkin.

Another mascot on the riverbank.

The bridge is looking brilliant.  Part of me feels that they should leave the rings there as a reminder, although I doubt anyone would need reminding, at least for a few years.

And the last mascot we spotted was this one.  This is my favourite photo I captured on the evening.  I love the fact I managed to catch the two policemen in the background along with the bridge and the Olympic rings.

I'm really looking forward to the closing ceremony this evening, let's just hope it is as good if not better than the opening one.

Love Gem x x x x

Monday, 6 August 2012

Guest Blogger - Sarah Rayner - A Day In The Life

About two years ago the book group I was a part of decided on reading One Moment One Morning, written by Sarah Rayner.  I loved it, and just couldn't put it down.  What I loved most about this book was how it changed my mindset.  At that time I was commuting from Chelmsford to London, so I could in a way relate to what happens at the beginning of this book.  I'm not going to give anything away from the storyline, all I will say is how one moment can change everything.  If you want to know more you will have to read it for yourself, I'm sure you won't be disappointed.  I know some fellow bloggers have already read the book and enjoyed it too, it's definitely one to add to the reading list.

After I'd read the book I emailed Sarah to let her know how much I'd enjoyed it.  It's the first and only time I've ever done this.  I didn't expect a reply, but Sarah took the time to send me a response.  Since then we have kept in touch through Facebook, email and more recently Instagram.  I contacted Sarah and asked her if she would be interested in featuring in a guest post for me.  I was so chuffed when she agreed, it means a lot for her to write in my little space here in blogworld.  I now hand over to Sarah with pleasure for her to share with you a day in the life of a novelist 

A day in the life of a novelist
by Sarah Rayner

Photo courtesy of Sarah's photographer John Knight -

For years I used to have to get up and out of the house really early, as I was working in London as a freelance copywriter and I live in Brighton. So like the characters in my novel One Moment, One Morning, I’d be on that 7:44 train. I’m very lucky in the success of that novel has enabled me to be an author full time, so these days I work from home, but still wake-up time is often horribly cruel, as my partner, Tom, is a freelance chef and likes when possible to work the first shift of the day. I grumble like mad, and if it’s very early usually manage to go back to sleep, otherwise I lie in bed, thinking. It’s often when I have my best ideas - I ponder what should happen next in a novel, what’s missing from a character and incidents that might best illustrate what I’m trying to say. If I’m right in the thick of writing, I may get up and start typing while I’m still in my PJs.

Photo courtesy of Sarah's photographer John Knight -

Several times a week I go running. Sometimes I scoop up my friend who lives in nearby Hove, in which case we also gossip, which is wonderful, as before we know it we’ve jogged a reasonably long way. Otherwise I go alone – I find running is perfect for letting ideas settle. It feels a bit like when you pour rice in a jar and then bang the bottom and the grains become more compact, neater.

Brighton beach.

If possible I like to experience first-hand the places I’m writing about. For instance in The Two Week Wait, my latest book, there’s a passage where one of the characters, Adam, goes to a cafĂ© on the promenade in Hove called The Meeting Place, and I wrote that sitting there with my morning coffee. Other characters in The Two Week Wait, Cath and Rich, live in Yorkshire. I lived in Leeds in the 1980s and Tom’s family is from there, so I went and stayed with them to remind myself of the city.

Apparently Anthony Trollope used to write 1000 words a day, but I’m nowhere near that fast or disciplined. For a first draft, I set myself a target of 500 words a day, which makes it relatively easy to exceed it. If I’m on a roll I continue – the most I’ve ever accomplished is 3000 words in a day - but often I only manage the minimum. If I’ve managed to write a lot, in the late afternoon I might head to my local beauty parlour for a manicure. It’s a teeny salon a stone’s throw from our house where customers from all walks of life congregate – it’s inspirational for getting a sense of how different people talk.

Photo courtesy of Sarah's photographer John Knight -

Every few weeks I head up to Soho for my book group, The Vicous Circle. Each session my friends and I aim to read a different book. We’re like most book groups – we don’t always love all we read, and I’ve found the best discussions are often for those books where some of us have enjoyed it and others not. When we all agree it can curtail debate, but then we spend the evening catching up instead.

The view from my office window

If we’re not out, then Tom and I have dinner, and often we indulge in a DVD. We both would rather watch a quality series such as The Killing, Mad Men or In Treatment, than trash telly. That said, if Seb, Tom’s son, is with us – which he is every weekend – we’ll often watch a more light-hearted film – oh, and eat chocolates.

Bedtime varies; if I’m coming back from London it might be midnight, but usually it’s much earlier, as I no longer have the stamina I did when I was in my teens and twenties for late nights.

One Moment, One Morning and The Two Week Wait are both available now in paperback (Picador, RRP £7.99) in all good bookshops and on Amazon.

You can find out more about Sarah at her website, or follow her on Twitter @creativepumpkin
Huge thanks goes to Sarah for taking the time to write this piece for me to publish here on my blog and also to her photographer John Knight for some of the photos used in this post.  So if you have not yet read any of Sarah's work, what are you waiting for?  Go and check it out, I guarantee you will not be disappointed.
Love Gem x x x x