During lockdown I created something I have dreamed of for at least two years. Inspired by my own love of coffee shop dreaming, The Woman at theNext Table celebrates women who dream and write in coffee shops, tea rooms and cafes. It’s a safe, welcoming space where women can learn to appreciate the value of their own life stories, feel more confident and explore their creativity.
The blog is up and running, along with the weekly online coffee shop. This is proving very popular! Please contact me if you would like to attend one (via Zoom) It is FREE.
My first online workshops – Pilates for the Pen – have been announced. I have written, drawn, filmed and edited two YouTube videos. You can check them out on the YouTube channel. There’s an Instagram inspiration feed.
Once cafes re-open, I will start the podcasts, featuring interviews with real women in real coffee shops.
I have been busy, busy, BUSY with all of this! It was a huge amount of work and enormous thanks go to Arjun Jain at the John Ruskin Manufactory in New Delhi for creating such a gorgeous site. I am very excited about where this project will take me in the future.
I am thrilled to announce the publication of a new paperback from Welsh publisher Gomer. Where Magic Hides is a collection of seven brand-new stories set in Wales, with a twist of magic.
They are not re-tellings of traditional Welsh folktales or legends. With the exception of one story, they are all set in contemporary Wales and show bold, imaginative children encountering magic – whether they want to or not!
Roald Dahl famously said there is magic everywhere if you care to see it. Can you find magic even on the A465 Heads of the Valleys road to Merthyr? Yes! Other tales are set in Hay on Wye, Brecon, Beddgelert and the Radnorshire hills, so Welsh children especially will find something to inspire them here.
Where Magic Hides celebrates imagination and kindness. Danny conjures an entire army of ice warriors to do his bidding on the snowy peaks of Pen y Fan. Rhiannon encounters a wild hill pony as glorious as a unicorn. Wil saves an ailing village with a generous wish. Other children encounter real mythical creatures – water leapers and trolls. It’s a magical mix, delivered with great warmth and heart, if I say so myself!
Although the stories are newly-written, the ideas have been with me a long time. For twenty years I lived on a remote hill farm in the hills of Radnorshire. The landscape seeped into my bones (along with the wild Welsh weather!) Although I now live in England, I was easily able to conjure it again while I was writing, and it was pure joy to do so.
I’m currently nearing the end of what has been a wonderful project –
UNFORGETTABLE: Stories, comedy and songs about Life, Death and Sticky Toffee Pudding.
I’m working with Ruth Graham, who is a comedian and musician but also a funeral celebrant. She has conducted more than five hundred funerals to date! Together we created a show and two workshops, and we’ve been touring them around various venues in the West Midlands.
The project is essentially about remembering unforgettable people. We’ve been teaching people how to shape and share a story that celebrates a life, and explore how meeting someone unforgettable can shape our own life. And it’s all been great fun!! Lots of laughter. The project was timed to tie-in with Death Awareness Week, and the mention of that on the publicity clearly put many people off coming, which was a great shame. But keeping that connection quiet would have gone against the whole point of Death Awareness Week, which is to bring it out into the open and encourage people to talk 🙂