Entries Tagged as 'Inspiration'

Why you should take the train to Cornwall (in 22 seconds)



Cornwall, you are lucky you are so pretty. Because traveling to you by train and back in under 26 hours is brutal.

But gorgeous. I’ll be back…

Tip: Make the video full screen and sit sideways and its almost like you are on the train yourself…

Captured from my seat on the train at sunset on Sunday evening with my iPhone

The writing process blog tour: behind the scenes at Jess-On-Thames



Blogging with cats

I am faced with a conundrum. I have been asked to describe my writing process. And I have been asked by the loveliest ever Emma, otherwise known as the Adventuring Kiwi. (You just can’t say no to her, she is that sweet.)

But I’m going to have to divulge that there isn’t any real process.

Not a conscious one. But I am curious to hear how some others approach their writing process, so I will politely ask Annie of Montgomery Fest, Jacintha of Urban Pixxels, Amanda from Rhyme and Ribbons and Jerusha from This Red Lipstick if they’d like to take part, either through answering the below questions or by sharing their favorite posts they’ve written in the comments below (so that I may read them again, purely for my own selfish future writing improvement purposes.)

1. What are you working on?

Everything. And by everything, I mean posts on South Africa, Lisbon, London, Brussels and Amsterdam. I’m working on finding my writing style, on being honest and remembering who I am and why I started this blog in the first place (see question 3).

2. How does your work differ from others of your genre?

I try not to compare to be honest but I love to be complementary. One of my favorite discoveries with blogging has been to experience the same thing as other bloggers but watch the very different ways in which our discoveries appear online. Both in writing and in photography. I love learning from the talented people I’ve met through blogging. In the meantime, if someone has smiled, been inspired to travel or discovered something new by reading this blog, I’m a happy camper.

3. Why do you write what you do?

I started blogging because I hadn’t realised I needed a distraction from the world of Brussels politics where I used to work. I loved my job but realised I didn’t love politics quite as much as most people around me. I needed a creative outlet and a fellow co-worker turned me onto blogging. At first it was just a rather embarrassing curation project of other people’s work I admired but as I grew more confident, I started putting my own thoughts and photography out there. And its been fun to see where it has gone.

Moving to London has upped the ante as there are some serious bloggers in town and so much on offer to explore and engage with. While I still can’t say I’ve chosen a determined direction for the blog (though I would love to delve further into anything travel related), I have found my voice so to speak. I love writing here (which was hard having a talented writer for a mother!) and increasingly, love sharing my photography here (which was hard, having a talented photographer for a brother!)

4. How does your writing process work?

Usually I will mull over an idea for hours in the back of my brain while doing other things, never feeling quite happy with it. And then suddenly the idea will come together and I’ll have to whip the post up all in one go. I don’t have a blogging calendar (though I should). I don’t often compose several drafts, (though I should). I will dwell over the photos.

My posts often start with a picture or a memory, or something funny, touching or poignant that I’ve seen or experienced. Its definitely all anchored in emotions (for better or worse) but I’d like to think that keeps the posts authentic.

The scene? There’s often a cat in my lap and there is usually a Spotify playlist blaring in the background. Like this one – a little bit of everything:

If you have trouble playing the above, try playing on Spotify online.

Summer reading list



What I should have done yesterday: left my flat and been cultured. What I ended up doing yesterday: binge-read Gone Girl.

I have a summer reading list I’m desperate to pile through before park-reading weather takes it leave. Here are a few I’ve already tackled and others still to come:

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

For years I’ve walked past it in airport gift shops and yet for some reason, it never grabbed me. Then, as is sometimes funnily the case, I picked it up one day and was immediately hooked. Thought I didn’t always love the voice, I whizzed through the story and had to know what happened. It is hard to talk about it here in any detail (because its definitely one where spoilers will take away half the fun) but I am interested to hear what others thought of it. The jury seems out, with half those I know who read it loving it and the others rather put off. Opinions? And who’s excited for the movie?

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton

I LOVED this book.  When 18 yr old Nella marries into a wealthy family in 17th century Amsterdam, she hopes she is going to find love. Instead, she finds an up-tight, ornery sister-in-law, an absent husband and an odd but endearing pair of house servants. Her husband presents her with a doll’s house that mirrors their home and things start to get mysterious… the chill of the wintery Dutch canals almost leap off the pages at you sometimes. Its like nothing I’ve ever read before but a real craft of storytelling.

The Deaths by Mark Lawson

Picked this one up during my holiday with Mom in Bath because I loved the cover (yes, I am one of those people). Its the story of four privileged families in the English countryside whose precious little worlds are rocked when a murder hits them. I think it was this description on the back that got me: “The Deaths is a dark and brilliant social comedy about how the other half live – or how they pretend to…” It opens with a few pages on how the ordering of Nescafe capsules has taken up importance in their lives (and it is the Nescafe capsule delivery boy who discovers the murders). Love it.

The Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan

Every once in a while, you just need an epic book. This one takes place in turn-of-the-century Shanghai. Violet has been raised in the city’s most renowned courtesan house by her American mother. When revolution comes to Shanghai, Violet is forced to become one of the courtesans herself. It sounds like a story full of heroes and villains and far-away lands. Sign me up.

Moranthology by Caitlin Moran

I have already been reading this for months and, once again, I’m years behind everyone else in discovering the magic that is Caitlin Moran’s writing. The problem with this book is that I just don’t want it to end. A collection of essays, I’m reading one at a time. More like one story a week. Whether it be her tale of making her husband come up with a nickname for her or how she first attempted to get a job in journalism (it involves baking a cake for editors at the Observer), reading Moran is nothing but wonderful. Hilariously funny but incredibly sweet. I’ll keep this book going as long as I can.

The Shadow Catcher by Marianne Wiggins

I don’t know what to make of this one, but its on the list anyway. Wiggins is an English professor at the University of Southern California who has lived in Brussels, Rome, Paris and London. That alone had me curious. This novel won all kinds of awards when it was published in 2007 and is described as an old-fashioned detective story. And yet it opens with an essay on a sketch by Leonardo that the narrator saw in the Queen’s Gallery in London years ago that continues on into beautiful thoughts on how writing works. It starts in modern day Hollywood and jumps back to an artist in the turn-of-the-century West. I’m not sure where this book is headed but I’m curious to find out.

Any other recommendations? What are you reading?

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