A novelist writes about the mind, body and soul.

Archive for the tag “Seven Days One Summer”

What to pack for a Festival to make it that little bit better

It’s raining and it’s unseasonably cold, and we are meant to be going to the Port Eliot Festival this weekend. In fact there is no ‘meant’ about it, we are going to the Port Eliot Festival as I am committed to giving a workshop to aspiring writers at the Idler Tent. Last year was the second year I had ever been camping, but my first year at Port Eliot with the family – two children who are now 7 and 10. The ten-year-old loved it and begged to go again this year. We remembered the tent, the duvet and the mini cooker, but I had forgotten the ear-plugs and the eye mask. The sleeping pills were in my bag,  but where were the baby wipes? It was fun but I was dazed and confused for quite a few days afterwards.

My friend Za said to bring a bucket with a lid, for those emergencies in the night. Genius.

Here is my list of things to bring to a festival:

Tent, sleeping bags or duvets, eye mask, ear plugs, folding chairs and table, waterproofs, baby wipes, gas fire, sausages,bacon, baps, tea, wine, food-cooler, bottles of water, bucket with lid, towels, at least two torches (Make sure battery works), camera, warm pajamas, extra blankets, real pillows, sleeping pills, wellington boots or walking boots and a wind up radio and a really good book (perhaps my new book Seven Days one Summer she said immodestly) plus whatever your children need.

Also I’ve looked around and picked three new products that would be great for camping:

  1. Multi Vitamins to keep your strength up: Advanced Nutrition Programme Skin vitality 2  come in tear off strips so you don’t have to pack the whole lot. It’s also meant to help with energy and brain function!!
  2. Jane Iredale’s Magic Mitt a mitt that removes all make up using warm water only.
  3. Environ Moisturising Toner that hydrates skin and removes last traces of makeup.
  4. A really good dry shampoo – can anyone recommend one?
Just one last confession. We were going to camp right up to yesterday when I looked at the rain and chickened out and decided to borrow a friend’s cottage instead!


I am feeling quite low today – slightly suffering from an anti climatic feeling after the publication of my novel, Seven Days One Summer. It just feels so hard to compete with the what seems like millions of other books that are coming out in time for summer. There is  also a mix up over the bill at the place where I had the book launch, which involves a friend, which has still not been settled. I was sitting at my desk, brooding, when this popped into my email box from: updates@meditainment.com


Say out loud any of the following affirmations that seem to resonate with your life at this time.

• I accept life’s challenges
• I learn from every set-back and success
• I engage with the opportunities of today
• I live with passion and purpose
• I value the times of my past
• I treasure the unique story of my life
• I cherish the lives of others
• I give and receive friendship generously
• My life is precious and significant
• I defend what I know to be right
• I stand firm and without fear
• I see beauty in the universe
• I experience pleasure every day
• I permit myself to happiness
• I am glad to be alive
In everyday thinking, there is often a background chatter of negative thoughts which undermines our self esteem. Positive affirmations are a simple way of balancing this.

Acem Meditation

Breathe in, breath out, breath in, breath out. I have to keep reminding myself to do this as my heart is palpitating and there is tightness in my chest. I can’t sleep, can hardly eat, and am generally fraught.  My third novel,  Seven Days One Summer is coming out on the 7th July.  There is part of me that wants to hide, right now, in a hotel bedroom. I would lock the door, lie on the bed, and spend the day reading, writing and meditating.  I have always been an incompetent sleeper, someone who can’t sleep during a full moon, or after too much caffeine and so when my friend Rebecca told me about Acem Meditation a couple of years ago, I went along for a weekend course.

Acem has been developed  in Scandinavia over the last thirty years.  It is claimed that if you practice this form of meditation you will be more relaxed and have increased energy and that your immune system will be strengthened. Acem  is non religious and non profit making which appealed to me and the course was inexpensive. A group of us learnt the method of repeating a selection of meaningless sounds, returning to the sound whenever thoughts got in the way. By doing this repeatedly the body relaxes.  One woman shared that she had managed to solve a nagging problem while meditating. I found that I did relax deeply and its true that you do feel more energized afterwards.

Dr Svend Davanger, Associate Professor at the Centre for Molecular Biology and Neuroscience at the University of Oslo, co-authored the book Fighting stress. Reviews of meditation research.   He explains, “We all go through ….stressful situations every day. Meditation seems to be very powerful in resolving the tensions that are left behind in your mind and body… Meditation shifts the balance towards spontaneous resolution of tension and worrying thoughts, making room for rest and sleep”

This method of mediation is so much easier to  practice than the method I tried before which was based on ancient geometry and was really hard to remember how to do.  The difficult  part is committing to actually doing it. Acem suggest either one session of 45 minutes a day or two of twenty five minute sessions. At first I found that it was best for me first thing in the morning. I was sleeping well almost immediately.

I no longer practice every day and often when I do, I fall asleep for a ten minute nap, but always feel better afterwards. I never manage to do 45 minutes a day or even two lots of twenty minutes but it doesn’t seem to matter. Breath in, breath out. Writing this post has made me realise I need to meditate right away.

My new Book

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