right now – February

Orval Abbey

I know February is only two or three days shorter than the other months but it always feels about a week less. February has raced by but I am ready for March. Ready because I’ll be taking off to the UK for a blissfully long three weeks to see friends and family and spend a few days retreat at a Celtic monastery (as you do). I need this break. I need the break from the familiar to give me space to catch up. Catch up not so much on emails and work (because they’ll just pile up while I’m gone I’m sure) but to catch up on the current state of my heart and soul. There’s a massive change coming in four months time. I want to do all I can to be ready.

In the meantime, here’s what I was in to this past month, and linking up as always with the wonderful Leigh Kramer, whose current series on the Enneagram and Blogging is fascinating me (I’m a 2)…

This month I’ve been…

reading. Wild by Cheryl Strayed for my bookclub. It’s an interesting memoir of her walk as a 26 year old single girl along the Pacific Crest Trail through 1500 miles of wilderness after her life has fallen apart. It’s funny and moving and a very honest portrayal of where she was at mentally and physically on that trip. I enjoyed reading it – and the film version comes out later this year so another excuse for a cinema trip with the girls!

Found Micha BoyettI’m also reading Micha Boyett’s wonderful book, Found. It releases in April and I only get to read it early because Cara has an advanced review copy and brought it with her while she’s visiting this week! I love this book. It mirrors so much of my own journey this last few years. I’m about 4/5 of the way through with three days left before Cara takes it back home with here… think I can do it!

I’ve also started The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, and on the bookclub list for next month is The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom.

watching. Saving Mr Banks at the cinema last night. I’d been anticipating this one for a long time since the gap between its release date in North America and Europe was so massive and everyone there was raving about it. I enjoyed it a lot. It’s very moving and beautifully acted. It did bring up questions in my mind about how we tell “true” stories when they’re not ours. Mrs Travers is dead, and I know enough of her story to know this film is a hugely “disnified” version. And I liked it – it gave such meaning and redemption to her story. But I wonder whether she would liked it? And if that’s even a good question to ask?


visiting. The sweet Cara Strickland has been visiting the last ten days and so I’ve reshuffled my days to show off the surrounding countryside and towns to her. It’s so lovely to revisit some of my favourite places, walk the cloisters of churches I love, see the sun break through the fog as we’re driving through very familiar countryside. We’ve been to Vianden, Trier, Maastricht, Orval Abbey, and Metz later today.

meeting. Proof this month that online friends can be “real” friends. Cara is staying, and we drove over to Maastricht on Monday to meet up with Saskia who took the train down from Amsterdam. Saskia is one of “my” writers over at SheLoves (I’m the Thursday editor and she’s a Thursday writer) and so it was entirely wonderful to sit across a cafe table from her in a sunny square, hearing her stories in person.

writing. My writer’s group gave out the assignment to plot the synopsis of a novel idea that’s been floating around our head. So I did. And now I can’t stop thinking about it. I’ve so little experience of writing fiction but I want to read this story. Maybe I have to try writing it then?!

listening. To podcasts. My friend Kate introduced me this month to the Stitcher app and now I have found a bunch of fascinating podcasts on books and religion and foreign culture to listen to. Things Unseen is perhaps my favourite discovery so far. I’d love your recommendations…

cooking. Chocolate cake with coconut icing for Cara’s birthday last week. Roasted butternut squash and chorizo risotto. These Moroccan turkey meatballs.

Hill Tribers Earringswearing. These Hill Tribers earrings and a similar necklace. They’re made by refugees in Austin, Texas so I get to enjoy both looking pretty and supporting a cause very close to my heart!

feeling. tired but happy. The baby has been kicking a lot these past weeks, and yesterday we went for the “big” scan and got to see it moving and jiggling. It has ten fingers and ten toes, and everything looks in working order. We’re overwhelmed in a good way – it’s entirely surreal but wonderful.

enjoying. My aunt and uncle passing through on their way south to ski in Switzerland and then north on their way home again. It’s so precious when childhood relationships transition well into adult ones, and you realise you really enjoy each others’ company.

preparing. to travel to the UK. I am so looking forward to this trip. I’ll be in Newcastle, Northumbria, Leamington Spa, Bath, Oxford, London, Edinburgh, the Isle of Mull and the Scottish Highlands. In that order. It’s a roundabout route but it feels just what I need to take a break right now and find my balance again.

beginning. to feel signs of Spring. I sat in a sunny square drinking hot chocolate without a coat on, on Monday. Spring is coming people, believe it!


And finally, here’s your irregular reminder that you can connect with me in a frankly ridiculous number of ways if you so please – facebook, twitter, instagram, goodreads… or just do the old fashioned way and send me an email!