Hello Champs!

meet me at mikes

Hello! I just wanted to pop in and give you a little wave. I have been very busy researching and writing a new book – and I am liking doing that very, very much.

I am 11 000 words into the current work-in-progress non-fiction book and 28 000 words into a novel and 22 000 words into a different non-fiction book. I’m all over the book-y shop, but I’m focusing on the one that I am burning to write and pushing on. It’s writing itself pretty nicely, with a bit of back-up from the researcher in me, so that feels great.

Apart from the writing, I’ve also been reading a lot (I just finished H is for Hawk and I loved it so much!) and crocheting a little and planting a windowsill herb garden and watching some late evening Netflix. Have you watched ‘Big Dreams, Small Spaces’ on Netflix? It is brilliant and I love it A LOT. I’ve also been watching Home Fires Season 2 (the jumpers! OMG!) and Unreal (brilliant!)

I’ve been roasting cauliflower and tomatoes (scattering some turmeric and paprika and oregano over them in a wildly inclusive spice sprinkle – plus olive oil and garlic) and eating it with a big splodge of hommus and some fresh mint.

And making pumpkin soup (pumpkin, potato, carrot, stock, garlic, onion – simmered until squishy, blended and then returned to the pan with a slosh of cream, black pepper, a bit of dried, crushed chilli and some freshly snipped chives.) And eating pumpkin soup, obviously.

I’ve been having a birthday (on Tuesday it was my birthday!) and going to see Tea with Jam and Clare (with Zoe Foster Blake and bonus cake!) at the Town Hall. Doesn’t that sound quaint? The Town Hall. It’s not quaint, it’s very grand, but I like it that it sounds like a rickety wooden building tucked under some trees on a well-trodden lawn.

Clare (of Tea with Jam and Clare) and I are good pals and I haven’t seen her for a while, due to my new staying-home-and-not-seeing-people hobby, so it was excellent to spot her cute face and remember that it’s quite nice to go out and do things sometimes (even if you are feeling like a total emo catastrophe and think everyone is side-eyeing you, wondering what your problem is!)

I have been popping into second hand bookshops and looking for wilderness memoirs, bird books and OLD books about growing herbs (I like the old stuff better than the new stuff). I’ve also been reading about  the different kinds of Ayurvedic body types/person types and it’s very interesting and making me very hungry and a bit confused because COMPLEX. * nods *

PLUS – I’ve been enjoying the RAIN. It’s raining today!!! Is it raining where you are? This is perfect weather for a bit of platypus spotting, I reckon.

There’s been tea and toast and lots of work and seeing my kiddos too. But not much blogging. Which is okay because that’s just the way the cookie crumbles some of the time. Sometimes you want to be out there doing your life instead of slowing down to write about it, you know? Just sometimes. I promise it’s only sometimes.

What have you been doing? Any fun or interesting things? Do you have any nature/herb/bird/soup/cauliflower related news? Tell me now. Plz.

x Pip

PS: There are more Tea With Jam and Clare events planned, so keep an eye on CB’s Facebook page for news of those. The next one sounds AMAZING and features a very excellent woman as special guest!!


  1. Oh my, I am still spinning about your word counts! I have a few word counts going too but whoosh, you are on a roll! So exciting. Your little corner of the interwebs (as my nana called the internet) is one of favourite places to be. Thank you for that. x

  2. Belated Happy Birthday. Can’t wait to hear more about your books your writing. I’m currently 8000 words into my first novel plus writing a short story for a competition. Town Halls always sound like grand places to me

  3. Wonderful to hear from you Pip. I always enjoy your blog posts so much.

  4. I’ve been making tomatoey things lately too, from our never-ending tomato crop from this summer – pasta sauce is filling up the freezer. And I am catching up on The Crown on Netflix – it’s SO good!

    I’d like to read H is for Hawk (it’s in my bookshelf) but the subject matter cuts a bit too close right now (my dad is seriously ill).

  5. I’m glad you’re doing ok Pip – have you read Ruby Wax’s book Frazzled? It’s a marvellous read – I think you’d enjoy it.
    I’ve been –
    – Turning 40, hooray!
    – Hunting for and finding a beautiful vintage 1950s Singer sewing machine – my 40th birthday present.
    – Reading the Ann Granger, Inspector Martin crime novels, set in 19th century London.
    – Listening to Desert Island Discs podcasts – loved Sue Perkins, Jo Brand, Sarah Milican, Davina McCall and Matt Smith
    – Eating Easter eggs (Cadbury only, oh Red Tulip, what have you done???)

  6. I adore reading your updates, and can’t wait to hear more about these books you’re working on! May the writing gods be with you!
    I’ve been tending to my family, working (i’m A book designer) , sewing some things (with mixed success), looking forward to a seaside break in a few weeks which will coincide with my birthday! I’ve just finished clearing away dinner (a very lovely pumpkin ricotta cannelloni situation), my two lads are out helping the neighbours walk their dog – the neighbourhood has a power blackout right now. Also looks like a storm is about to hit. Exciting times! Hope a good, productive week lies ahead for you!

  7. * Earlier this week, in New York City, we had our fourth “Nor’Easter” storm in three weeks. We got a foot of snow, and everyone in my office chose to work from home. I am always able to get a little housework done when that happens, and made major progress in getting a hall closet sorted before my new roommate moves in.

    * Last week I made two big pots of stew – both involving cooked beans, which I made with my Instant Pot because MY GOODNESS does that cook beans fast. Both are crammed with vegetables and have been feeding me for bag lunches for about a week now, and will also feed me all next week.

    * There are two radio programs that happen on weekend mornings where I live – one on Saturday, one on Sunday – and I’m getting into the habit of sitting down and knitting while I listen to them. I focus on the radio better and I get more done.

    * This morning a whole gang of brave kids are marching to protest the absolutely ridiculous state of affairs regarding guns in my country. I am so proud of them. I’m also a little bit guilty that I’m staying in.

    * I did, however, write about the thing that made me most scared when I was seventeen, and the action that I took against it (that post is here – https://kwadswords.wordpress.com/2018/03/23/fragile-threads/ ) . I wrote because my government is starting to scare me into thinking that the demon of my Cold-War teen years is actually about to come back, and I cannot let that happen.

    * I need to be a little cautious with money this week since I have a big dentist visit this week; usually trying to budget makes me very anxious (the way my parents and grandparents handled money, I joke, “has given me more money issues than a subscription to FINANCIAL TIMES”). But I’ve not only been able to pull things off, I’m actually feeling PRIDE instead of deprivation, for successfully doing what needed doing and mastering it.

    * It is sunny today, it’s due to rain a little tomorrow. It may be too cold today to venture out further than to the grocery store for the two or three things I need. If it is, I may try making some candles today (a friend who used to make candles is preparing to move and is giving me all her candlemaking things because I was whining about how expensive buying them was).

    I feel like I should say “That’s the news from Lake Wobegon” here, but I won’t.

  8. I enjoy reading your blog when it pops up in my email. Yes, “H” is for Hawk is a good read. What am I doing? Well, I am looking out of the window at a lovely spring day and getting ready for a walk in the sunshine.

  9. Isn’t the rain lovely? And the thunder! It is making me look forward to cosy days at home, and scarves, and soup! What a powerhouse writer you are, Pip! So many words!

  10. Nice to see you at Tea with Jam and Clare ??

  11. A happy belated birthday and here’s to many more words written, many more lovely adventures to town halls and many more things sloshed with olive oil and herbs and baked.

  12. Oh pip how perfectly lovely to have you pop up in my feed and to read that you are well just busy. I have missed you and been a teeny bit worried about you. But now I’m excited, a new book from you, can’t wait to learn more about it.
    Yes it’s rained here most of the day and it’s been lovely. My 90 yr old dad is visiting, so we went for a road trip to his childhood town, listened to his stories (again) and drunk many cups of tea. Everytime I spend time with him I’m reminded how important it is to do lots of things while you can so you have lots of stories to keep you going when you can’t do the things anymore.
    I’ve been pondering how to create the homely feel in my house that I remember from wet weekends when I was growing up.
    I’ve been knitting a little, looking at my phone a lot sigh and walking. I wish I could see a platypus, think I shall go out tomorrow to a local spot and see if I can see one.
    Happy birthday for last week. Hope it was a lovely one and is the start of a great year for you.
    Cheers Kate

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *