My last post was about setting intentions for the new year, inspired by my recent reading, and the practice of choosing three words to help focus those intentions. Here, I reflect on the first word in the list of three: clarity. What role does it play in creativity, and how do we achieve it in order to best do the things we want to do? [click to continue…]


I love January, don’t you?  Crisp, sharp mornings and cosy nights by the fire.  I realise I’m in a minority as a fan of winter. But, at this time of year, I relish that feeling of emerging, mole-like, blinking in the dark.  It’s a time when we can reclaim and rediscover ourselves.  Everything can feel old-new. It’s a season for taking stock, and, of course, to start again.

This festive season was especially hibernatory for me.  It meant I took a proper midwinter holiday (as opposed to the trawl of travelling to visit lots of people).  It also meant the luxury of lots of time to read.  If, like me, you’re curious about the ways in which we can really engage with our purpose, then I highly recommend three of the books that were part of my Christmas reading diet: Brene Brown’s Daring Greatly, Mihaly Cziksentmihalyi’s Creativity and Grace Marshall’s How to Be Really Productive.  Each, in its different way, is full of wisdom and valuable insights; perfect reading for renewal and reflection at the point when the year turns from old to new. [click to continue…]


A comic, cross-cultural road trip: Tying Down the Lion by Joanna Campbell

June 9, 2015

Continental road trips – at least for a family like the Bishops, who live in a semi in Audette Gardens – are rare in 1967.  But Jacqueline’s mother, Birgit, is half-German and has long yearned to find her two lost sisters who live either side of the Berlin wall.  So her father, Roy, packs the […]

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Why 2 + 2 should never equal 5

December 29, 2013

To the future or to the past, to a time when thought is free, when men are different from one another and do not live alone – to a time when truth exists and what is done cannot be undone: From the age of uniformity, from the age of solitude, from the age of Big […]

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Sisterwives: the latest review

July 22, 2013

I’m delighted to receive another review of Sisterwives, over on The Puffin Review.  The last paragraph in particular makes me blush with pride, so please indulge my shameless self-promotion while I quote it in full: ‘The novel is tightly plotted, carefully written and scattered with brilliant imagery. I get the sense of Rachel Connor agonising at […]

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February 22, 2013

I’ve just finished reading Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain.  I feel like I’ve arrived at the party late – it was billed by many as the ‘must-read’ non-fiction book of 2012.  It was lent to me by a colleague, who urged me to read it, […]

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Connectedness and seeing the shape of the whole

June 12, 2012

Yesterday was my birthday, a good day if ever there was one to go and see a film.  In my town there’s a wonderful independent cinema, which serves homemade cake and Fairtrade tea and coffee.  Sometimes the film is incidental – it’s more about the cake and coffee and being out with friends than it […]

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For Books’ Sake: a review of Sisterwives

February 10, 2012

It’s been tough going in the past few weeks.  I’ve been struggling with a cough since the new year, but last ten days have seen me confined to bed with a severe chest infection they thought was pneumonia (turns out it isn’t).  Now I know how all those consumptive Victorian heroines felt.  Seriously, I’ll never […]

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The Why of reading

January 30, 2012

Last weekend, it was my turn to host our book group.  Earlier in the day, when flurries of fat, wet snowflakes started coming down in earnest, I worried whether anyone would actually make it up the steep, cobbled street into our village. In the end, the meeting went ahead: only one person cancelled and six […]

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New Beginnings – Publication Day

January 23, 2012

It’s a big day today for Rebecca Emin: it’s the official publication date of her novel New Beginnings.  I interviewed Rebecca on this site a couple of months ago (click here for a chance to re read it) in the pre-launch period.  But today, she’s having a websplash to mark the official launch of her book.  Join […]

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