I took part in the Children’s Writers and Illustrators Joined up Reading Conference, this weekend, organised by the Society of Authors.
I was there to talk about writers’ websites, alongside Sarah Benton, Sales and Marketing Manager for Hot Key Books, the Guardian’s Julia Eccleshare and author and History Girls’ blogger,Celia Rees. The session was chaired by author John Dougherty, who’s also part of a group of writers blogging at An Awfully Big Blog Adventure.
It was a great session (you can read more about our discussions on the Booktrust website) but hands down the most exciting thing about the day was being drawn by illustrator Sarah McIntyre who created this brilliant illustration of our panel. I love how she’s even managed to capture my favourite red clogs!
I’ve just returned from a much-needed holiday in Italy where I spent a week staying in a beautiful cottage in a small hillside village in Liguria… a week of walking through sunwarmed olive groves; handfuls of wild cherries straight from the tree; views of a bright blue sea; befriending local cats; discovering tiny sun-faded churches; meadows sprinkled with daisies, wild sweet peas and butterflies; eating spaghetti scoglio, stuffed courgette flowers, local figs, foccaccia and torta verde; drinking prosecco and homemade grape juice; and by night, watching fireflies and hearing owls hooting to each other in the dark.
Spitalfields City Farm is one of my favourite London places to visit at the weekend. Just a few yards from the crowds and chaos of Brick Lane you’ll find this lovely urban farm, with a whole host of animals to visit from donkeys to pigs to hens.
Being a proper country girl, I can’t think of anything nicer than to pretend I’m escaping the city and enjoy some farmyard activities: befriending goats, stroking a very new lamb and enjoying the lovely spring flowers. This being East London, it also comes complete with a weekend market featuring vintage things to rummage through, fresh produce and impromptu music.
Here’s a few pictures from our cycle ride there last weekend (including one of me with my beloved bicycle Rosie!)
I’m spending the next two weeks on holiday in Dunbar, Scotland – this is a picture I took there for this blog over three years ago! It’s difficult to believe this blog has really been around for such a long time.
It’s been ages since I had such a big chunk of time off work, and I’m looking forward to a chance to relax, including lots of blustery walks along the cliffs and across beaches like this one, curling up with a book and a cup of tea in front of the fire, watching seals from the window, wearing wellies, eating delicious fresh fish from the local fish shop, and most importantly, catching up on a long-standing writing project which it is high time was completed! And who knows, maybe there will even be time to fit in some overdue blogging too…?
Just a quick post to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas. See you in 2011!