Friday, 28 December 2012

Year End

I'm following a bit of a tradition here and using my last blog post of the year to provide an overview of some of my favourite things from the past year (in relation to films, books, music). If I tried to write all of my favourite things from the past year I'd be here forever... Overall I really enjoyed 2012. I visited some interesting places, met inspiring and interesting new people (top of that list being my gorgeous niece) and it turned out to be quite a creative year.

A while back I wrote that I felt like there was a sense of ‘change’ taking place in 2012. Nothing major changed for me (no matter how much I maybe tried to instigate that – a lot of it was unfortunately outwith my control!) but I feel like this year has set a platform for hopefully greater things appearing over the horizon...

I received some great Christmas presents this year - one of which is the necklace in the photo above (thanks Lorna for selecting such perfect charms!). I really like the quote 'She believed she could, so she did'. I think I'm going to use that as my 2013 mantra.
After completing my sketchbook project a few weeks ago I've been feeling a bit sad as it was a great creative focus...but thanks to another great present (thanks Leona!) I've acquired something called 'This is not a book' which has pages of creative tasks, some of which I am sure will pop up on my blog throughout the year...
Hours of fun!

So here's some of my 2012 highlights:

Top Films

Cafe de Flore
I wrote a bit about this earlier in the year after seeing it at the cinema. I’ve now seen it twice more and still love it. It’s such a clever story, with the interconnecting parallels of two different families and times playing out in a dramatic and sensitive way. I love the acting; love the way it’s shot and love the soundtrack. Watch it!

Inside I’m Dancing
This film has been out for years but just got round to watching it this year and cried probably for a good ten minutes after the credits had rolled. Engaging and real characters with superb acting. If you don’t already love James McAvoy you will after watching this- guaranteed!

(This was out in 2011 but I just saw it this year). If you’re female and reading this you may have heard other females refer to the ‘Ryan Gosling effect’ and wonder what they’re going on about. It’s taken me a while to get there, but once you do, you’ll understand and this film might help you on your way... He is the king of broody coolness (that’s the best way I can think to describe him for now) and plays 'the driver' character perfectly. 'The driver' in some ways is like an old fashioned hero, doing anything to protect the woman he loves and her catch yourself at the extreme acts of violence and wonder why you’re finding his heroics so god damn attractive. It left me feeling very confused about my reaction to it, which I think it probably set out to do. True tenderness, mixed with such extreme violence must have been such a hard story to capture but the director did it well...and to a really perfect soundtrack.

The Hunger Games

Loved reading this trilogy and I thought the first of the films was a really great adaptation, though was surprised with the casting of Peeta - good acting, but visually is nothing like what I had pictured the character to look like in my head which is slightly annoying. The rest were cast really well.

Breaking Dawn Part 2
I’m a proud Twilight fan (you can slag me all you like) and this year marked the finale of the films. Awww. The first one still remains my favourite (due to the understated indie style) but this one comes in a close second. Lots of drama and a perfect little ‘Edward/Bella’ montage at the end. Which I might have cried at...

I’ve realised this section could go on forever so I’m going to stop there

Top Books

Just a few::
Two amazingly imaginative and quirky stories: The Boy with the Cuckoo Clock Heart and The Night Circus

Room took me a while to get into but once I did it was totally gripping. The author did an amazing job of capturing the ‘voice’ of the young protagonist.

Before I go to Sleep This was a really great psychological suspense novel – really cleverly written

The Perks of Being a Wallflower
I just read this recently and loved the way it was written - it seemed so simple and yet so full of depth. It reminded me a lot of Cather in the Rye, one of my favourite books.

I've just started to read Beautiful Creatures, before the film adaptation appears on screen in February. Loving it so far...

And finally I really loved reading my Mum's children's book Summer of the Eagles, published earlier in the year. It was a really sensitive, uplifting story and you can download a copy here
(and her Victorian Novella 'Mischief at Mulberry Manor' is out now so check that out too!)

Favourite Music

Once again been listening to a lot of Evanescence this year - I find it helps me draw so I had their latest album on a constant loop when I was working on my sketchbook.

Other music I've loved a lot this year are Bat For Lashes, The Civil Wars (their cover of 'Disarm' gives me serious goosebumps) and Christina Perri.

I'm going to sign off with my favourite Christina Perri song. Hope 2013 is an amazing one for you all X

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

I'm writing two blog posts in one week (a record) thanks to my Mum, Rosemary, who has passed on the Very Inspiring Blogger award to me(she writes an inspiring blog herself here)

Accepting this award means I have to tell you 7 random things about myself. Had to think about this for a while and I'm sure I could have come up with better things but here you go:

1. A palm reader once told me that I'm psychic (she should know, right?) and that I've got the ability to communicate on the astral plane in my dreams. So if you have a dream about me and I'm telling you something important; listen!

2. I met the Krankies years ago at some 'celebrity' golf event and got their autograph

3. I was banned from being in the running for my high school Dux due to dropping Higher Maths (HATE maths)

4. When I was a wee girl I was really scared of dolls (my Mum had to remove any from my room and hide them due to my over active imagination when I thought they were coming alive during the night)

5. Apparently I've got a doppelganger out there due to several reports from friends (and this might explain why total strangers sometimes smile and greet me like they know me in the street)

6. Ewan McGregor's Mum once helped me clear away dishes

7. I don't really like following instructions; choosing to make up my own recipes when I was a kid (not great) and gave up piano lessons as I preferred playing by ear rather than reading music

I'm now going to pass this award on to Rebecca who has a fabulous website and blog showcasing her artwork, musings about writing and other great creativity (click on her name to see the site!)

and Charlotte, another writer, who has set out to achieve 40 interesting things before reaching 40, blogging about her experiences here

Monday, 17 December 2012


A couple of blog posts ago I wrote about setting myself two creative goals - writing 15,000 words of my new book by the end of November and completing my Sketchbook Project.

I managed to write 10,000 words of my novel (when I realised the competition I was entering it for only required that amount to be completed I stopped there so I could get on with the sketcbbook content!). I'm happy to report that I finished my sketchbook on Saturday and it should now (hopefully) be on its way to New York...

The sketchbook took four weeks to arrive so I wanted to get it sent back a good few weeks before the January deadline which meant an intense creative past couple of weeks and I have to say it was the best thing I could have signed up for. Even when I wasn't working on it I was thinking about it, excited to have the chance to get on with some sketching. It reminded me of creative projects I used to spend hours on as a child (like building a house for a collection of ornament frogs I had and illustrating 'novels' in jotters and blank notebooks).

When it did arrive my first thoughts were 'Eek, it's so small, how can I fit in what I want to do in this?' and then 'Eek, there's 32 blank pages...where do I start??' As soon as I silenced my inner perfectionist critic the enjoyment began!

The title of my sketchbook is 'Getting Lost' (divided into three sections, Getting Lost in Words, Getting Lost in Paris and Getting Lost in Art & Beauty). I chose this title to represent the feeling I get when I 'get lost' in drawing or art. I stop thinking and just 'do'. I found it really freeing working on a creative project that was just for me, one that wasn't for a competition or a submission for a specific publication. My day job also hasn't been the most enjoyable the past couple of months so this also helped keep me sane.

Working on this reminded me of the reasons I engage in creative things. It's because I love the process and even if the results don't turn out 100% perfect it makes me happy to have given it a go.

With this sketchbook project I also love the idea that complete strangers from a different part of the world will get to connect with my work - they might hate it but who cares; at least my writing will be getting read and my art work will be getting viewed rather than hiding in a drawer somewhere.

The image at the top of my post is a sneak preview of one of my drawings. As my blog is called 'Through the Looking Glass' I thought it was appropriate to include an Alice themed one! You'll need to wait to see the rest when it's digitised online sometime next year.

In amongst completing my goals I found out I won 3rd prize in a flash fiction competition. My story Stolen can be read at

All in all the past couple of months have been a happy end to 2012:) And now I can't wait to get back to writing the rest of my novel...