Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Two Tickets to Discover Dogs at Earls Court to Give Away.

The other day I saw a man treating his small white labrador, really badly -yanking it into the air by its lead - then making it stop and sit for no apparent reason -  the scene haunted me for 24 hours. I felt helpless and pathetic, particularly that I didn't say anything. He was a horrible aggressive man, and I was wary, sure that if I confronted him,  he would hit me or something.

Luckily most people in this country love their dogs or their cats. Personally I am a cat person, but I know most people are passionate about their dogs. 

So I am offering two adult tickets (Worth £11 each) for the Discover Dogs show at Earls  court on either 12th or the 13th November - (Under 12's go free). There will be over 200 types of pedigree dogs to look at and meet and lots more to do and see. The event is now in its 16th year and is the biggest dog event in London - they are expecting over 3,000 dogs.


Highlights will include the Scruffts Family Crossbreed of the Year competition and the Rescue Dog agility competition. There will also be hundreds of trade stands selling products for dogs and dog lovers, and opportunities for children to try out different dog sports in the Young Kennel Club ring. 

There will also be a series of seminars throughout the course of the two day event, covering topics such as dog training using the Tellington Touch technique, which recognises the link between posture and behaviour and uses techniques to release tension and promote a feeling of calm and well-being within dogs. TV vet Marc Abraham, will be talking about dogs in war, and Lance Workman, psychologist from Bath Spa University, will be talking about the psychological benefits of dog ownership.


To apply for tickets answer the question: What would you name your dog? And follow this blog. Competition closes Saturday 5th at 12noon.





Monday, 31 October 2011

Bicycling 22 kilometres along the Canal

Me and the kids bicycling along the canal to Camden
This Saturday, we we were invited to  Proud in Camden for their new weekend kids lunch. My husband persuaded us all to bicycle rather than drive the car and at first I was reluctant. It seemed like a long way -  it was a long way.  We set off down the Uxbridge Road in Sheperds Bush, and then hit the canal, which is perfect to bicycle down with children. It wasn't all plain sailing, there were roads to cross, and hills to climb, but it was the best fun I've had for a long time. It took us an hour and a half to get to Camden(mostly along the canal)  but it was worth it. At one point we passed the Zoo, and saw birds in the aviary and some wolves prowling along in their enclosure. I felt happy and free as though we were in the country.
Belle being made up and entertained by Lucky
I don't think I've ever been to Camden Market before, despite living in London all my life, and wow it's busy. More LA than London, but without the good weather. We found the old Horse Hospital and then the Proud.  It's a music venue, bar and restaurant. On Friday evening they have burlesque, which is apparently really fun. The old stables are now separate lounge areas, where men were watching sky sport. At the other end is  'the Kitchen," a laid back dining space. We chose from a reasonably priced small lunch menu - £4 for a kids main course. My children loved it. They loved the food, the vibe, the entertainer, a plucky girl called Lucky, who kept my daughter amused. My son enjoyed the swing that hung from the ceiling and the sport that was on in another room. Huge  Success.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

A Five Star Pampering Alternative to Botox

About a year ago, I looked in the mirror and saw an angry, tired, face staring back at me. I wasn't actually angry that particular morning, it was just the two lines between my eyes resembled a furious frown that made me look stern. I took the plunge, did a bit of research and booked botox with a trained doctor at a clinic. It was expensive, clinical and quick. The botox in my forehead felt tight and strange for at least six weeks. A couple of friends noticed that my face looked 'fresh' but I haven't been back. Maybe I will, but for a more gentle, approach I decided to try a brand new package, that has LITERALLY just hit the market.
The initial three hour package consists  of facial acupuncture, facial massage and nutritional advice from a pair of lovely ladies, who are working in tandem, just moments from where I live in West London.  They work in rooms above Kite Studios and the whole atmosphere is much less exhausting and trying than rushing to town, and waiting in a room filled with back copies of Tatler, Harpers and some wretched flowers trying to survive in a vase filled with not quite enough water. Star Gifford is an experienced acupuncturist who used to work at the Zita West Clinic, where she met Melanie Brown who was working there as  a nutritionist.  They both left Zita West to pursue independent careers and together they have come up with a unique pampering package to enliven your skin.
First you see Melanie for a nutritional talk, (She will give you a form to complete before you visit), she also gives you loads of notes with delicious recipes and wise suggestions on how to live well.  She advises on anti-ageing skin nutrition and the best supplements for you and all kicked
off with a fantastic skin restoring diet, (I have tried out both the recipes she gave me, and they were both delicious.) Next you go to see Star, who will address your face, with fine needles, that don't hurt at all. The atmosphere is gentle and soothing, restful and peaceful. The acupuncture session ends with Star rolling a jade roller across the skin which feels so soft and smooth its as if she is massaging your skin with the best oils money can buy. I was zonked after my session with Star and you get to keep the jade roller, to use when your skin is feeling puffy or tired.
Next Melanie gives the best facial massage I have ever experienced in my life. It literally takes your breath away and it feels as though it's definitely doing good, for the tired and/or stressed skin. She ends the treatment by giving you a little pot of bespoke facial oil, that she has made herself. Divine. I give this treatment 10 out of 10. My skin is literally dancing for joy!!!
Need to Know:
First appointment will be nutrition, acupuncture and massage of an hour each, which can be booked separately and the whole package is £170. Subsequent treatments of the massage and acupuncture  are 45 minutes, costing £45 each and can be booked together or separately.
Phone numbers for appointments Mel 07968 369 076,

Friday, 7 October 2011

Disney bag of Goodies

A rucksack of pens and stationary, a dvd, au audio tape, and lots more!!!

 Disney Junior Channel are turning Disney memories into cash for Great Ormond Street Hospital.  I wrote about going to see the Jungle Book at the cinema, it was the first film I ever saw and I absolutely loved it, particularly Baloo the bear. I also read and reread my Mary Poppins book which had little flaps which you lifted up to reveal tiny stories about Mary Poppins. Each memory is worth £1 for Great Ormond Street hospital and when a million memories are recorded they will turn it into  £1million for the hospital. You can post your own memory on the link - Then duplicate in my comment box or on Twitter KateMorris1 so I can choose one to send a goody bag to.  

Friday, 9 September 2011

Science Festival

My ten year old son loves science and can talk eloquently about black holes and electricity, seeming to fully understand what he is saying. I am ashamed to say I am pants at science, and did extremely badly in biology GCSE. We had an inept but rather nice biology teacher and we run amok, when she was in the classroom. I remember one incident when we all ran out of the lab screaming, when she produced a rat or something to  dissect. 

The British Science Festival takes place in Bradford this year. Where is Bradford exactly?

Sadly we can't make it this year, but I urge anyone living anywhere near to go. It runs from  September 10th to September the 15th and will include workshops for kids including meeting birds of prey, to learning about stargazing and the solar system. If only Professor Brian Cox was going to be there I'd be sprinting up to learn about the stars.

There will be talks by Professor Robert Winston and Sir Ranulph Fiennes though and also the cast from BBC's Bang goes the Theory. Sounds fun and entertaining and I know my kids would love it.  





Sunday, 21 August 2011

A little bit scary

I have been neglecting this blog for a while because I was invited to be a featured blogger on Mumsnet where I'm writing about beauty and health.  We returned from a sunny holiday in France nearly a week ago - we left in the middle of the riots, and I was terrified our car would be smashed or house set fire to - we live near Westfield and I'd heard that it had shut early and was barricaded against potential rioters!  We've been back a week and I've been told that my marriage column in The Times, will not be running from the beginning of September because they are losing a page in Life.  My editor said it had been a dream to edit, and had been running longer than any other column (18 months) but I am sad and a little scared too - perhaps they were just bored of it.  I loved writing it and the monthly income was good too. It's scary to suddenly lose it. 

I would like to write it somewhere else - Just putting that out there and holding that thought! 

Friday, 29 July 2011

My Brit Mum Post on tips to writing a novel

When Susannah invited me to write a blog about novel-writing tips, I sat down and wrote a list. What this list perhaps doesn’t convey is how it has to be something you really want to do - you can’t imagine life without writing a book. I know this sounds extreme. It has to, because the whole process of writing a novel is hard but even harder perhaps, is getting published. Inevitably you will have to face rejections from agents and then later publishers, before your novel is accepted. If you don’t manage to find a home for it, you need the strength and will to dust of the rejections and persevere. If the first novel doesn’t sell, then perhaps the second one will, or even the third, or fourth. Even after all of this, it will be competing with hundreds of other books and for all this effort – it is quite likely that you won’t make a fortune. Of course there is always a chance that your book will be one of the tiny minority snapped up at auction! And go on to be bestseller. There is always that hope. If you are still determined then go ahead, and good luck. Here are my tips to help you on the way:

·      Make a commitment that you are going to write a novel.
·      Just start
·      Decide a time of day/night to write and stick to it. Give yourself at least one hour daily- two would be better.
·      Write at least five times a week if you can.
·      You can’t write a novel half-heartedly. Take yourself seriously or no one else will.
·      Don’t answer the telephone or make appointments during your writing time.
·      Join a writers group, where you can get feedback and support.
·      Go on a writer’s retreat or a good writer’s course.
·      Research.  Talk to people, interview them if you need to, read, make notes.
·      If you find writing dialogue hard, say it out-loud to see if it sounds real.
·      Don’t worry if it’s not an excellent first draft; just get it down on paper.

·      Don’t read back and despair. Or if you do despair, don’t give up; persevere.  All writers I know go through the idea of thinking their work is crap.

·      Keep going to the end.

·      After every 20,000 words or so (or whatever works for you) print out and read to retain a sense of all the strands of the novel.
·      The secret of novel writing is in the rewrite. Don’t be afraid to edit, cut back, rewrite.
·      Note places where it doesn’t seem to make sense, or where you need to add information. Cut out anything superfluous. Cut again.
·      When you think you have finished and are dying to show someone, wait          and do one more rewrite.

·      After that you could show the book to a few choice friends and get their feedback


My novel, Seven Days One Summer is out now with Short Books.  Please buy it and take it on holiday with you!

Friday, 8 July 2011

Author Interview

My novel, Seven Days One Summer has been out for 24 hours. Yesterday the official launch day, felt quite flat, it was raining and my husband was away. I had expected some kind of fanfare - Penguin sent me some flamboyant flowers for my last novel that came out in 2009, but not a squeak from Short Books. I went to Waterstones in Chiswick and found my latest novel in the 2 for 3 offers, displayed on a back table. I asked the nice woman behind the till if I could sign them and she was thrilled. I cheered up a bit and went home! Hoping and praying that someone will buy a copy!!

Lovely David from Paragraph Planet, did an author interview with me and here it is!

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

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 aboutAcem 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.

Monday, 4 July 2011

Mumsnet

I've got a new health beauty mind blog over at Mumsnet. It's one of the featured blogs which is great, as I'm there along with some great writers. Go take a look.

Monday, 20 June 2011

Book Launches and Girls in Red Dresses

This is the cover of my book, Seven Days One Summer, which is coming out on the 7th July!   At first I didn't like the headless woman, but I've got used to her now.  In fact I've grown rather fond of the lady in the Red Dress. So far there is a great review in Tatler magazine, which described Seven Days, as the ultimate summer read. Right now, I'm dithering around wondering whether to have a book launch. I don't want to spend a fortune as I'm not getting a contribution from the publishers. 

Friday, 10 June 2011

Seven Days One Summer


This is us almost exactly a year ago on holiday in Connemarra in Ireland - We'd just climbed to the top of Diamond Mountain, which took two to three hours. I love my husband's holiday beard! Can't wait to be wild and free again,  hair blowing, children a bit feral. 

My novel, Seven Days One Summer is out on July 7th but you can preorder on Amazon. Please do. It's a story set in a villa in Italy and it's a good read. I promise. It's the story of friendship, betrayal, unrequited love and ends with a mind-blowing revelation.  Slightly excited, slightly apprehensive. Can't decide whether to have a book launch.  


Wednesday, 25 May 2011

A Distracted Writer

writer2.jpg
I am meant to be working on a novel I am writing. It doesn't have a title yet, but it's about twin sisters. I am about 40,000 words into it,  which I consider to be about half way, probably a little less than half way. No one has looked at it yet, which is a little scary. I am still very much in first draft mode and quite stuck as to how the second half of the book should unfold. I am finding it just so hard to concentrate. The passage that I am meant to be writing about takes place in LA, so I am spending time reading blogs about LA, looking at clips of LA on youtube, and generally farting about. 

I would love to know if there are any bloggers out there who live in LA? 

Just another excuse to ask them lots of questions and not really get down to writing.

I have been watching Jamie's Food Revolution on television, partly because it's set in LA. He seems like a passionate, genuine guy on a mission. 


Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Neom Organics for insomniacs

During my role as Beauty and Health writer for International Life, I discovered a brand that I really love and use: Neom Organics.  At Christmas, I gave my friends and family their reed diffusers for making rooms smell wonderful; they are ingenious and really stylish and produce three subtle smells, depending on which one you choose. All the products are organic, but also luxurious and beautifully packaged. Their bath oil and skin cream is sensational and  is perfect if you want to feel gorgeous and pampered. They have just come up with a new concept -  a box containing a candle, bath oil, body moisturizer and pillow spray to help people like me, who have trouble sleeping. Magic. I really like to know that I am covering my body with something that doesn't contain synthetic smells and toxic ingredients. 




Thursday, 19 May 2011

Wicked Young Writers Award

This is a great writing competition for children, and the dead line is at the end of July. I've just been reading the anthology with all of last year's finalists and the standard is high.  So high in fact, it's hard not to believe that some of them have had some help. The youngest category is 5-11 and goes up to age 25. 

My son will be entering his poem about a made up monster!

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

75 Words

Creative writing website for authors and readers. 75 words, changing daily. Submit your
paragraph today.


The opening few lines (slightly edited to fit 75 words) of my new novel, Seven Days One Summer, posted on this site today (Wednesday)

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Street Party Competition -

Innocent Smoothies are hosting a competition to send their new orange juice and champagne, to street parties celebrating the Royal Wedding. Just send 40 words on why your party should win to Innocent Smoothies.  

Good Luck!

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Ten reasons why families should move to Sheperds Bush

1. The Park Club in Acton is a good reason to live in this area. You will never need to go away again because there are 27 acres of outdoor space in this fantastic family Health Club. There are adult classes, yoga, pilates, zumba, (anything you can think of) and if you have children you won't feel the pressure to get out of city  or move house, desperate for a bigger garden. It's all here. They have play equipment, sand pits, tennis courts, ping pong, football, tennis and the piece de resistance - an outdoor swimming pool. It's not cheap but your children will be happy. Really happy. And as you sit on the terrace or sunbathe by the outdoor pool, you will be too.

2. Excellent schools:  Brilliant state primaries -St Stephens Church of England School, run by renowned head Michael Schumm. He's an inspiration, loved by both parents and children. They had their own talent show this year judged by Davina McCall, Ollie Murs and Oritze from JLS.  My son Jude won with his stand up comic routine. Brackenbury, John Betts and Greenside are all in close proximity too. Also there are two new state secondaries opening in September - The Hammersmith Academy and The West London Free School.   Excellent private schools too -Harrodian, St Pauls, Latymer, Colet Court, Ravenscourt Prep are just a few.

3. Ravenscourt Park and Holland Park. Both have cafes and playgrounds for toddlers, preschool and older children.

4. Bush Hall.  Spent many years taking toddlers here for music time with the heavenly Emma Raworth. Also have groovy music gigs for grownups and music courses for children.

5. Kite Studios . Good holiday and term time art courses for Children, run by magical Auriol.

6. Westway. Love it or hate it, it's here to stay and is really convenient.

7. Proximity to Chiswick and Turnham Green, packed with specialist food shops and good restaurants and cafes.

8. Arts Educational School - runs really good drama and music Saturday school. 

9. The Lyric Theatre in Hammersmith offers free first nights to residents.  The Bush Theatre  is moving to bigger and better premises on the Uxbridge Road, and is opening this year. 

10. Easy to get to M4, M3 and M40, Heathrow and the central line to town. 

Friday, 1 April 2011

Hop

We were lucky enough to see Hop in preview the other day. It comes out today and is a great Easter Holiday film.  I was worried that my 9 nearly 10 year old son would find it babyish but he really enjoyed it and he also appreciated the fact that there was no love story, no kissing or smooching or boring old romance. My six year old daughter, who is actually seven tomorrow, said it was her 'best film ever." As an adult, I found it charming but was irritated by Russell Brand's kind of mockney/estuary twang doing the voice of the cute EB the reluctant teenage Easter Bunny. I loved Hugh Laurie voice as EB's Dad though! 

  James Marsden plays the live action lead of Fred, the lazy twenty something who won't get a job. And ends up doing guess what? Becoming the Easter Bunny. Totally unconvincing, but the kids didn't care! 
http://www.hopthemovie.co.uk/

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Leibster Blog Award


Was just sitting down this morning, contemplating another day of looking at a screen and trying to think of things to say, when I checked in on my blog and found that I had been given an award!

Am thrilled it's called a LIEBSTER AWARD and it was given to me by one of blogs I really enjoy reading There are Cuckoos in My Nest - which is a lovely, quirky, honest  blog about being a "reluctant stepmother," amongst other things.

Part of the award involves nominating 3 to 5 blogs with less than 300 followers which you enjoy reading.
If you get the Liebster award you should link back to the person who gave it to you.
It's a great way to share blogs that might not otherwise be seen or ones you want to share with others.
As a recipient you must share the love and pass it on by:
1. Creating a post where you blog about the Liebster award & reveal your 3 - 5 blog picks.
2. Let them know you chose them
3. Copy & Paste the blog award on your blog or as in my case make it into a photograph and attach it.

My Awards Go To:

My 9 year old son The City Boy

My lovely neighbour  who writes the Bush Babies Blog  - love her blogs.

I Heart Natural Beauty always has something wise to say.

And last but by no means least. Older Mums Are Fun....

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Friday, 4 February 2011

RSS FEED

Help! How do I get a RSS feed? Anyone

Thursday, 13 January 2011

On a Snowy hill that looked like a scene from Narnia, I crashed into a Tree!

On Christmas Eve we went tobogoning (still can't spell that word) and I crashed into a tree with a huge thud on my right thigh. I lay there for a moment, unable to get up and wondering if if was broken. I broke it once before aged 16 in a car crash. I hobbled back to my room and went to bed with a painkiller. But when it was time to get up, I couldn't walk.  It's hard to describe pain, but when I accidently knocked the top of my thigh the agony was unbearable and shards of pain went shooting through me. I began to cry and my 9 year old son who was with me, burst into tears.  I sat on a chair, unable to move forward or back. An ambulance was called and the drivers gave me gas and air which momentarily dulled the pain but not enough to get up from the chair. After two hefty doses of morphine,  they managed to carry me to the ambulance, while I tried not to throw up. The nurses were in festive mood, covered in toy antlers and coiled with glitter. Thankfully nothing broken but a huge hematoma (like internal bruising) and three weeks later, I'm still limping. It hurts at night and some nights more than others. It hurts in the day and going downstairs. In fact now both knees hurt going downstairs. The whole incident makes me feel so old. I was just trying to have fun with the children, but am too heavy and not lithe enough.

Today my lovely friend STAR gave me acupuncture and tomorrow will have a bit of physio, got to remember to be pleased that my femur isn't broken again. Last time was in hospital for three months!