Tuesday, 29 November 2016


Hi guys, I hope you're all having a good week so far. I'm feeling a little miserable - missing Finn a lot, to the point where I nearly burst into tears over a friendly dog in the street this weekend - so I'm going to make a change. Specifically, a hair change.

This is me now (apologies for resting angry face):

And this is basically how my hair has been for the last five years. I have been super lazy. For at least a couple of years I didn't even get it trimmed. At the beginning of 2016 my hair was long enough to sit on (and let me tell you, that's not as much fun as it sounds) so I cut a foot off to send to the Little Princess Trust, but that's the most dramatic change I've made in years. It's really been annoying me lately, though, and I'm hoping that a proper restyle might make my life a bit easier and cheer me up at the same time.

Here are some ideas as to what I could do with my hair.


The least extreme option - keep it long but cut another foot off the bottom, and go for a few subtle layers. This is the sort of thing I'll end up with if I chicken out on the day, basically. Pros: I'll still be able to braid my hair, put it in a bun, and can probably continue to use all my existing hair tools and products, which are geared for use with long hair. Cons: it's not a big enough difference to really excite me, and will still get caught in car doors and under my bag strap, not to mention tangling up with every gust of wind.


The Lob - or long bob. This is a blunt cut, one length version, which is the kind I like - I would hate to have one of the heavily graduated A-line ones because they prevent you from being able to so much as put your hair in a ponytail without those super-annoying snags of short hair falling down at the nape of your neck. Pros: Hopefully long enough for various updoes still, and long enough that I could still hide behind it, maybe play around with it a bit in terms of styling, and it probably wouldn't get caught in any doors. Cons: Would probably still be a bit tangly and would still catch under my bag strap. Without graduation, might end up looking like a weird square shape (my face is already square enough)?


The classic bob, sometimes now referred to as a clavicut because it's long enough to graze the collarbone. I like this version because you can see that it has subtle layering which would make it easier to manage, while still giving the impression of lots of hair. Pros: I think it would be a real, proper change for me and would hopefully be versitile and give me an excuse to play around with new straight and wavy looks. Would be unlikely to catch in or under anything, but ought to be long enough for that vital ponytail, if I made sure it was a low one. Cons: Updoes would be out. I'd definitely be unable to use any of my current styling tools - even my hair ties and bobby pins (all heavy duty ones designed for super long hair) would be useless.


The most extreme of them all - the chin-length bob! I've rocked this look before and I liked it, but at this length my hair can become super unruly and start to take on bizarre, physics defying cowlicks during the night. I had to use my GHDs literally every day (sometimes twice a day) just in order to get it to hang downwards instead of sticking out horizontally from the sides of my head. On the other hand, bendy, messy hair is in right now, so maybe I could make it work for me? Pros: Would take, like, five minutes to wash, condition and dry, would never get tangly and would not get in my way.... except... Cons: too short to tie back into even the most stubby of ponytails in order to put on/take off make-up and wash face/brush teeth, and would therefore be in my face pretty much all the time, even with a hairband. Would need to reinvest in all the specialist bits and pieces that girls with short hair must have, and would take at least two years to grow back to anything approaching long. Would probably, no matter how much I'd like to pretend otherwise, require some form of styling everyday if I was to avoid looking like a deeply eccentric person.

What do you think, Dear Readers? Any foolproof ideas for girls with unruly hair and square faces? Any stunning pictures of amazing hairstyles that I've failed to consider? Let me know! I will look at any suggestions and report back with pics when the deed is finally done.

Read you later, cupcakes.

Friday, 11 November 2016


Very quickly nipping in today because it feels right to let everyone who's sent good wishes and kind thoughts know: Finn died yesterday. He was at home, with me, and it was as peaceful as I could possibly have hoped. Now I have to somehow get used to life without my precious boy, which is already harder than I could possibly have imagined. I miss him so, so much. I can't imagine writing, or doing much or anything at all, for the next little while.

I'm pretty firmly agnostic, but for right now I'm trying to believe that he's out there somewhere, and that he and my dad are together.

Hug your dogs, Dear Readers, or whatever animals you might hold dear. Give them a kiss on the nose for me, and take a moment remember how lucky you are to have them.

Goodbye, darling.

Thursday, 3 November 2016


Hello, Dear Readers - happy Thursday. I hope everyone's having a good week so far?

Today's big news is that as of right now the new SHADOWS ON THE MOON with extra content is officially on sale - so if you've always wanted to know what happens after the end of the story... get in there because this is your chance. And BAREFOOT ON THE WIND has not only been recommended on this amazing list of Spooky Reads For Autumn and Winter Nights from BookTrust, but shortlisted for the Highgate Wood School Book Award (in two different categories, no less) which is sweet and humbling at the same time.

Now, before I do anything else, I want to say a massive thank you to everyone who left comments, emailed, facebooked or tweeted me with mesages of support after my news about Finn. Each message meant something to me, and it did - and does - help.

With that in mind, I decided to let you all know that I eventually had to veto the idea of chemo for Finn. I was really desperate to try it - it's carefully calibrated to cause minimal side effects and might have offered Finn between another six months to a year of life. But then the vet brought up an issue which isn't negotiable - the treatment itself takes six months, during which time it's a rule that owners must 'avoid direct contact' with their pet, due to the toxic nature of the drugs involved. Which means: no stroking or cuddles, no letting them up on the furniture with you or to sleep on the bed, no kisses on the snout, no absentmindedly patting their ears when they lie with their head on your knee while you read. No bathing them or grooming them, even, unless you can do it with gloves on. 

Finn has literally never in his entire life been treated that way. Not when he somehow managed to roll in fox droppings three times in one day. Not even when he stayed with my mum for the first time and chewed the ears off her limited edition Steiff Teddy Bear. He sulks when strangers on the street don't stop to give him fuss. If I suddenly cut off 90% of physical contact with him, he can't be expected to understand why it's happening, and I honestly believe it would break his heart. It would definitely break mine. I can't bear the thought of turning away and refusing to give him the love and physical affection he'd desperately need during a period when he would feel very ill and anxious. I do want him with me as long as possible - but only if he's happy and feels safe and loved.

So instead, he's on strong steroids, which will help to manage his symptoms for now, and some painkillers. He's perked up considerably, is enjoying short walks again, and is generally waggy and bright-eyed, which is what I want his last weeks or months to be like. It's his favourite season, and when I was able to watch him snuffling cheerfully through the fallen leaves, and then rolling around on the kitchen floor while I was drying him with a warm towel (another of his favourite things), I knew I'd made the right choice. The vet says that there's no way, with this course of treatment, to know how long it will work. So I just have to keep a close eye on him and make sure his comfort is my top priority.

OK, now that's out of the way - another update, this one on NaNoWriMo. As many of you know from the blog and twitter, I was gearing up for a massive NaNo effort this year and basically wanted to use it to both get my mind off worrying about Finn AND finish my current project if possible.

But the NaNo-Curse (which in previous years took the form of the NaNo-Virus and the NaNo-Slipped-Disc) struck again on Tuesday when I woke up in the middle of the night with a blinding migraine. The migraine didn't begin to ease up until late on Tuesday, and I still had a horrible headache, funny vision, dizziness and the ever-delightful nausea when I woke up yesterday morning (and everytime I started thinking about the words I SHOULD have been writing, my blood pressure went up and my eyeball responded with the kind of warning throb that made me strongly suspect it might just explode if I pushed the issue).

I'm feeling a lot better now, but still fragile and light sensitive, which means that squinting at either a backlit screen or even my own crabbed handwriting in a notebook for hours at a time isn't going to be a good idea for another day or two. And that's pretty much put the kibosh on all my good intentions.

Realistically, I know that I could still catch up if I went Hell for leather and really pushed myself over the next week. But I also know that my migraines tend to increase in frequency and severity when I'm stressed out - and I'm pretty stressed out even before bringing NaNo into things. I don't really want to turn National Novel Writing Month into Zolah Tortures Herself And Has No Fun Month.

HOWEVER. I was already being a NaNo Rebel, what with working on a WIP rather than a completely fresh manuscript. So even if I can't get to the official finish-line of 50,000 in November, I figure I can still be a part of NaNo and just try to write as much as possible this month.

I'm going to begin afresh this weekend - and my new plan is to try something a bit different for me, and write non-linearly. I'll pick any scenes from my synopsis that strongly appeal to me (without regard to where they come in the plot) start wherever I want to and finish when I run out of things to write. If I end up with a whole bunch of random scenes that need arranging into order and stitching into a whole, fine. If I end up getting carried away and writing from the middle to the end, fine. If I end up with a bit of a middle, part of an end, and some other random chapters that I need to sort out, also fine. Just as long as I end up with a nice fat chunk of words by December 1st.

I know some of you guys were tempted into NaNo this year - how are things going for you so far? Let me know in the comments. I'll update you again next week and we can celebrate or commiserate as appropriate. Take care, and read you later folks.
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