Last week came the news that, for good and positive reasons, the publication date of my and Clara’s book is being shifted back from June to September.

Having a book come out is often compared to having a baby. And I’ll admit this does feel a little like, having completed the first trimester and reached the 12 week ‘safe to tell people’ stage, being sent back to the beginning for another bout of morning sickness and endless needing to pee.

But I am rebranding it to myself as even MORE pleasurable anticipation time. I am not too bad at waiting for things. Once upon a time I was a midwife and that involved a lot of learning to be patient. Babies tend to arrive more happily if they are not jostled about and rushed along. Sitting in a corner of a room watching for one to make an appearance in the small hours of the night generated some of the funniest, most memorable discussions in my life.

Then my most successful cooking tends to be the put-everything-in-a-pot and leave it alone for hours, heat it up a few days later sort. And whilst I cannot claim to be a great gardener, the handful of times I have managed to raise something from seed to (snail-nibbled) fruit have felt TRIUMPHANT.

So September will be just fine. Marvellous in fact.

But what to do while I wait? There would be plenty to fill an equivalent 9 months of pregnancy: Classes and appointments to attend. Equipment to shop for. Magazines and instructional books to swot up with. There should be similar checklists to occupy the Expectant writer. Preparing a room with an empty bookcase? Choosing the right pen for signing? Coaching in how to have a book ‘naturally’ without being sucked into continuous electronic monitoring of Amazon/Good Reads?

I could knit I suppose. I made a very small cot blanket when pregnant with my first child. Perhaps now’s the time to finally put these crochet squares together and make a little welcoming book nest.


Or I could distract myself with a new hobby- Beginners Japanese, Tae Kwondo or French Patisserie perhaps?

Not after a bikini body; but could I work towards better buns?


Hang on.

I know how I’m supposed to fill the months waiting for a book to be published.

I’m supposed to write more books aren’t I?


Tummies are tricky. Especially in January when they have a way of escaping from waistbands and wanting to pop out the top of trousers or from underneath jumpers to wave hello in person. “Look at me! Haven’t I done WELL over December?” they say cheerily. And we hiss and poke them crossly and try and squish them back into pants or tights or skirts or all three at once. Only to have them pop out all over again happily a few minutes later.

My tum is a bouncy Jack-in-the-Box surprise made out of marzipan, pastry and sausage roll at the moment.

Oh dear.

But tummies can be delightful on other people. My sons use the soft, deep squidginess of mine as pillow or play doh substitute with great satisfaction. In turn their baby tums were endlessly delicious for me to plant raspberries on or tickle.

baby tum
Helen Oxenbury always draws a lovely tum. These are exactly the sort of trousers I need at the moment.

There is satisfaction in the cup-of-tea-ledge stage of a pregnant tum too.

But the best tummies must be furry ones. Time for today’s gratuitous Jones pic. He is never shy about showing off his delightful belly.

mmmm. Good eh?
He certainly thinks so.

Which recalls another excellent furry, if occasionally-troublesome-when-trying-to get-out-of-a-hole, belly-


In fact, maybe, rather than the fasting, juicing, bending and wrapping in Lycra that we are all exhorted to undergo at this time of year in order to get our tummies to hide away in decent fashion, furring might be a much better way to go. One could acquire a lovely soft pelt around the middle to stroke softly on a winter’s evening. What do you think? What fur would you favour? (I’m choosing mid-length striped butterscotch I think)

And do you have a different favourite literary tummy?

Happy New Year!

A new year and a new blog. In 2014 I wrote and sold my first book. June 2015 will see it published by wonderful Walker books.

*pause whilst I shout WHOOPEE! for the 456th time and dance a little jig around the room*

There’s a limited amount I can tell you about my book at the moment- except that it will be BEAUTIFUL because it’s crammed full of wonderful illustrations by Clara Vulliamy. You can read a little bit more back at my old blog here or at Clara’s here.

It felt the right time to stop reviewing other people’s books as I become more involved with my own- although I dare say I shan’t be able to help jumping up and down enthusiastically when I come across a particularly special one. In this new blog I’ll be sharing some of the adventures of becoming a published author. There won’t be ‘writing tips’; I still have my learner plates on. There will be book news, biscuit news and gratuitous pictures of our cat Jones.

In the meantime I’m just beginning to settle in: Selecting some scatter cushions, putting up a few pictures and keeping the kettle on for any visitors. Current biscuit status is GOOD- please- help yourself, it’s still the holidays after all-


Current cat status is Sitting On a Bag Looking Winsome-



But- hang on… THIS is neither biscuits nor cat. What could it be? Hmmm.