Join me for the August Break?

I’m writing this from my hotel room in New York City — the awesomeness of this is not lost on me :) In a few days I’ll be flying back to (most likely rainy) England and stepping back into my usual routine, a routine I plan to pull apart and remake as the weeks pass.

But first there is August.

For the last two years I’ve hosted the August Break, a sweet no-rules community project that involves sharing one photo (or more) a day on your blog for the whole of August. Can be any sort of photo. Can include some words, or not. Doesn’t even have to be every day. The idea is to simply sink into the joys of the month while taking a wee break from the obligations of blogging.

As I’ve had bit of a July break while i’ve been on the book tour I’m actually looking forward to unravelling my thoughts about my time away and writing some blog posts, but August is still a time of rest and refection, so I’ll August Breaking right alongside you.

Would you like to join me?

I’ve made a page for a blog roll over here — last year there were so many new blogs to visit, it’s a great way to make some new blog pals :) Katrina of Pugly Pixel has made some fabulous badges for us (I love them so much – thank you, Katrina!) so feel free to add one to your blog if you wish. I’ll get some code for the badges made next week — my designer Jo is currently away and I lack the techie skills to do it, so bear with me!

I’ve also created a Flickr group, so head over there to join the group ready for our start on August 1st.

And while i’m thinking of it, let’s have an Instagram hashtag too, yes? How about #augustbreak ?

Okay, NYC is calling to me…. more soon! xo

It’s not you, it’s me

[I don’t have a photo of my Kindle, so here’s some photography paraphernalia]

I think it might be time to break up with my Kindle. We’ve been together for 18 months, and I think it would be fair to say I’ve given it a good go. But when I found myself buying a paperback version of a book I have on my Kindle for the FIFTH time, I knew it wasn’t working out.

Here’s the thing: I love books. I love the feel of them, the smell of them and the wonderments they contain. I knew when I invested in a Kindle that I’d still buy the occasional paper book, but there was definitely a part of me that wondered if i could really go fully digital. I love being able to immediately download samples of books I think I might want to read. There is nothing more satisfying than downloading an entire book within ten minutes of reading a glowing review on someone’s blog. It’s the best sort of instant gratification.

But with my love of books comes the desire to underline and dog-ear and flick back and forth from front to back, whenever the whim takes me. I like to race ahead and skip the uninteresting parts. I like to fill the pages with post-it notes, reminding me of the passages I need to read again. In short, I like to fully interact with my books. And on a Kindle I find I can’t do this. I’ve been patiently underlining the parts i want to read again, and trying to fathom the bookmarking system. But it’s just. not. the. same. And so, in a fit of frustration, i end up going back online to order the paper book.

Going forward I’m going to use my Kindle to download samples of the books I want to buy — that continues to be really useful — but when buying the whole book it’s now paper all the way for me. It’s still nice to have both options, and I’ll still download the occasional novel to read on a plane, but as 99% of my life is lived on terra firma, I think it’s safe to say our relationship is downgrading from long-term to booty call.

Do you have a Kindle? Do you love it? What am I doing wrong?


The blog book tour continues!

Monday 4th — Poppytalk

Tuesday 5th — Ali Edwards, Chookooloonks, Rachel Cole, Tara Mohr

Wednesday 6th — Shutter Sisters, Scoutie Girl, Roots of She, Kelly Rae Roberts

Thursday 7th — Intuitive Bridge, Lisa Sonora Beam

Friday 8th — Kind Over Matter

Friday 15th — Boho Girl, Sfgirlbybay, Brene Brown

My ABC of important things

My ABC of important things |


A is for abundance. It’s taken me all my years to believe this was something that could flow through my life. I never believed I deserved abundance — not just financial, but in love, work, family or community. I always believed there was something fundamentally wrong with me, that I was not good enough to be worthy of good things. Now, after many years of clearing out and questioning every corner of my self and my beliefs, I trust in the possibility of abundance. I only have to look at my nephew to know it is not only possible, but already here.

B is for books. I spent much of my childhood with my nose in a book — it’s one of the few traits I inherited from my father. I spent most of the weekend going through my books, trying to decide which to keep and which to donate — they’ve multiplied like horny rabbits and my small flat cannot hold them all. I flick through the pages and find passages I’ve marked, notes a younger me felt compelled to make as she chewed on new thoughts and theories. My heart gets bigger at the thought of people making their own notes in the book i’ve written — that it then becomes our book.

C is for coffee. Oh bitter mug of brown juice, what would I do without you?

D is for dreams. Sometimes I go to bed still thinking about the dream I had in the morning. Sometimes I’m flying several feet above the ground. Sometimes my unconscious reconstitutes loved ones from the past and we live another night together. Sometimes I go to bed and wish my dreams weren’t so real.

E is for e-courses. Never in a million years would I have thought the internet would provide me with a way to create meaningful work, connect with thousands of souls around the world and also be able to pay my rent. It still blows my mind and I do not take any of this work for granted. (See also: T is for technology)

F is for friendship. My friendships become richer the older I get. “She is a friend of mind.  She gather me, man.  The pieces I am, she gather them and give them back to me in all the right order.  It’s good, you know, when you got a woman who is a friend of your mind.” – Toni Morrison, from Beloved

G is for grief. Never forgotten. Never belittled. Always respected. Always grateful.

H is for home. Im such a homebird these days.

I is for independence. Up until the age of 32 I had always been in a romantic relationship. I set up home with my first boyfriend at 18; I didn’t know myself without another standing by my side. The last seven years of total independence have been the best years of my life.

J is for journalling. Or writing-in-my-diary as I’ve always called it. I wrote my first diary entry aged 11 and I haven’t stopped since. Life saving. Life illuminating.

K is for kale. These days I crave kale like I crave chocolate. Specifically the dark mysteries of cavalo nero, steamed or added to soups. Even juiced. Sometimes it pains me that kale is so de riguer these days. I prefer to distance myself from the paleo-fasting-gluten-avoiding-cayenne-pepper-adding crowd. But kale and me, we’re golden.

L is for laughter. My sister is the person who makes me laugh more than anyone else. We’re very close, so I guess it’s inevitable that we’d share a sense of humour — we can make each other laugh even when there’s nothing to laugh about. A few months ago we were sat in her car, parked outside her house — my nephew was asleep in his car seat, and we didn’t want to wake him up just yet, so she turned the engine off and we sat quietly for a while. About five minutes into our quiet time one of her neighbours walked up to the front door to drop a leaflet through the letterbox — she didn’t notice us sat in the car, and as it was the middle of the day she probably wasn’t expecting to see anyone at home. I whispered to my sister that we should beep the horn to make her neighbour jump. And just the thought of that poor unsuspecting woman jumping out of her skin was enough to set us off, and we laughed and snorted and then started wheezing, all the while trying not to wake up my nephew. The more Abby laughed the more I laughed, and the more I laughed the more she laughed. It was one of those ridiculous moments when you’re both tired and hungry, and sitting in a stationary car outside your own house, trying not to wake the baby. We still laugh about it to this day. BEEP!!

M is for mum. The stars aligned when my mum fell pregnant with me. I wasn’t the easiest teenager. In my 20s I was off in the city, doing my own thing. But it’s here, at the end of my 30s, that I truly know how lucky I am to have a mum like mine. I love you, Mum. x

N is for nephew. I just don’t have the words to describe how much I love this little boy.

O is for originality. Everything I do I try to make mine. The very worst thing you could ever accuse me of is plagarism.

P is for photography. I don’t know what my life would be now if I hadn’t picked up a camera again. I had so many plans at art college, so many photography dreams that never came to fruition. But it simply wasn’t the right time. I had to live another decade before I was ready to dive as deeply into my visual world as I have done. I was scared back then — I didn’t believe in myself. Didn’t believe in my fledgling talents. But the passion never went away… it waited inside me, until I was open enough to see again. And then everything changed for the better.

Q is for quiet. I like the peace and quiet of my solitude. As an introverted soul working from home suits me just fine.

R is for Robert Downey Jr. He just keeps getting better and better and better.

S is for sister. There are some pretty shit things I’ve had to endure in my life, but i like to think that it all balances out because I got to be sisters with Abby. So close we could be twins, there is no one in this world who knows me better. She is my everything.

T is for technology. I’m so happy to be living in a time when technology enhances our lives in the way it does. iPhones, laptops, Skype, Instagram, MP3s, True Blood DVDS, email and blogging — how lucky are we?

U is for Unravelling. Of course.

V is for vagina. I’m glad I’m a woman. Despite the PMS and the mood swings, the growing layers of fat around my middle, the competitiveness and the maddening concern over our looks, I’m grateful for my two X chromosomes.

W is for writing. Writing is one of the three great passions in my life (photography and my family the other two) but sometimes, oh boy, I detest it. Writing turns me inside out and shines a light on the darkest dirtiest pieces of me. Writing asks me to be truthful. Writing never lets me get away with anything.

X is for SX-70. In 2008 I found a Polaroid camera in a market stall and the love affair began. It’s a tactile thing as much as an eye thing — i love the feel of my SX-70 camera in my hands, the glassy smoothness of the film. I see the world in squares, now, and for every shot i take i first consider if it would look better on instant film. I dusted off my DSLR for faster memory-catching over Christmas but it felt alien in my hands. I missed the click whirrrr of my SX-70. I learned my lesson.

Y is for yellow. Everytime I wear yellow I feel better. I’ve just ordered a yellow cotton dress — it’s much-needed sartorial medicine to cure the January blues.

Z is for zen. I am not a religious person, but I’m always fiddling with my mala beads when feeling stressed ;-)

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What would you include in your ABC of important things? Leave a link to your list if you write one

Eight books to read while you’re sick

Actually, the title of this post is a bit misleading — these are simply the books I’ve been dipping into while I’ve been sick. It’s been an unseasonably warm bank holiday weekend, and those are the ones that tend to make me a bit maudlin, as if i can hear the laughter of happy couples and families frolicking in the spring sunshine while I’m on my tod. I’m definitely on the mend… just bored of being cooped up at home. Thank goddess for books, eh?

Decorate by Holly Becker & Joanna Copestick – I’m so proud of Holly! Her book is filled with super-inspiring homes and ideas, all shot by the fabulous Debi Treloar; it’s interiors porn for the likes of me!

Modern Vintage Style by Emily Chalmers – also shot by Debi Treloar, also super inspiring.

Bossypants by Tina Fey – I’ve only watched a few episodes of 30 Rock and I don’t know much about Fey, but, my goodness, her book is fantastic! Worth buying solely for the chapter devoted to her dad, Don Fey – hilarious!

Do the Work by Steven Pressfield – if you have a Kindle* you can download this for free from Amazon, which is exactly what i did. I’ve read Pressfield’s The War of Art countless times, and this new offering from Seth Godin’s Domino Project doesn’t disappoint.

Super Natural Every Day by Heidi Swanson – I love her recipes and I love her photographs. Fact.

Crazy Sexy Diet by Kris Carr – Kris is reminding me I need to start juicing again. Lots to think about…

The House by the Sea by May Sarton – this one is by my bed. Love me a bit of May when i’m feeling my solitude.

The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obrecht – I hadn’t read any of the reviews, just followed a link and downloaded a sample to my Kindle. And now I am hooked. In fact, I’m going to read some more when I’ve finished this post. Delicious magic realism.

* I’ve had my Kindle for a few months now, and I must admit I’m enjoying using it; being able to download a sample of a book is definitely encouraging more fiction purchases. But I’m still buying just as many real books, in part because most of the books I want are not available in the Kindle format, but mainly because I prefer to have the actual book in my hands. I like being able to skip ahead and flick through the pages, something I can’t do easily on a Kindle. I like writing with a pen in the margins, and turning down the corners of pages… I like the physicality of books. But for travelling and purchases I don’t feel the need to have on my shelf (Tina Fey’s book, for example; I’m loving it but don’t need it on paper) it’s ideal. I just wish more titles were available.