Monday, September 26, 2011


So the weather is still amazing, hot, sunny, but cooler at night. Definitely the best time of year on the Cote d'Azur. Sorry, am not meaning to rub my UK readers noses into this joyful fact but I did at least choose to write this on a day when you too are enjoying lovely weather.

I have a new writing project underway at the moment. It is a fairly sudden development, borne out of some unusual circumstances, and no more than that can I say at the moment. But what I can say is that I have been surprised to find that amazing material can come out of even the most negative of situations. It also serves to remind me of exactly why I became a writer, because apart from the joy of seeing something you have written read and hopefully enjoyed by millions of readers, writing is a very cathartic and personal experience.

I am reading a book called The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. It's about finding happiness and the writer's quest to devote herself to the pursuit of happiness for one year. Sounds fairly unremarkable doesn't it, except you start reading and it really makes you analyse how you live your life. It's also great to read bits and think, hmm I do x already, but actually I could start do y and see if it made a difference. It's not rocket science but sometimes we have to take ourselves back to the simple stuff to find a better way forward. On a far more shallow level, the picture above of my new Gucci shoe boots from Florence makes me quite happy, and I will be even happier when I'm wearing them.

I have decided to stop feeling guilty about the time I spend not working, and use it to enjoy my time without manically checking my BlackBerry for work emails/unimportant minutae. I started this new approach on Friday when I went to the beach on my own for the day. I had plenty I could have been doing, but nothing urgent, so I swam in the sea, ate a beautiful salad, drank lots of water and read The Happiness Project. The only irritation was a jellyfish sting....there were only a couple of the blighters in the bay but one found me as usual. The plagiste Steve arrived with vinegar and swabs so it wasn't all bad.

I also went for a long swim in the Bay of Cannes early yesterday morning with some of the girls. The water was like a millpond, so still and calm, and it was totally uplifting. Not even the headache of diversions all around Cannes extending my half hour ride home to 1hr 20 could take away from the loveliness of it all.

I also discovered a book called Surf Mama, which arrived this week, about a 42-year-old artist who discovers surfing, moves her three kids with her to Biarritz and sets up the surf mamas group. Wilma sounds like my kind of girl. We exchanged messages on her blog and her book is sitting alongside How To Be A Woman by Caitlin Moran (which Handyman found excruciating to ask for at WH Smiths much to the amusement of the queue behind him) Peter Kay's new comi-biography, Waterlog, about one man's swimming journey through the rivers and waterways of Britain, The Reluctant Fundamentalist and Elizabeth David's mediterranean inspired food eulogy A Taste of the Sun.

The book says find your own Happiness Project...and I am.