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‘Thrive: the Bah! Guide to Wellness after cancer’ is out in September and available to pre-order

Amazon reviews for the Bah! book are making me blush/cry…

And I’m a proper novelist and everything. Look!

A thank you

I’m not in the habit of blowing my own trumpet, but I’ve had a ‘thank-you’ that I want to share with you. It came from someone who asked me to speak at their W.I. I did: I talked about my dance with cancer to a group of about 30 women, I answered questions, I signed and sold books. It was a lovely event. I wrote about it here.

And here’s what the organiser wrote to me afterwards:

Dear Stephanie, a huge and heartfelt THANK YOU!! from all our members for your inspiring and memorable talk. We were all touched by your zest for life and honesty in sharing your experience of breast cancer. Some of us were particularly grateful for your do’s and don’ts when approaching friends and family who have been diagnosed.
Your emphatic statement “Life is Good” has remained with me, I even have the words on a little wooden wall hanging with a yellow campervan on it in my kitchen, to remind me each day.
You had a tremendous impact on us all and we hope you enjoyed your time with us.
Every blessing be yours and may the beauty of spring refresh you and renew your joy and delight in life.

The reason that I’m sharing it is this. This email made me happy not simply because it says nice things about me, although obviously that’s gratifying, but because everything that this lady is thanking me for doing is everything that I am setting out to do. Sometimes, when I load up the car with books and head off, then wrangle another projector into talking to my laptop, then look at the faces in front of me and try to balance the reality of cancer with a positive message, I wonder whether I’m really spending my time well: whether I have anything to offer, whether the people who have given up an hour and a half to hear me talk will feel that it’s time well spent. This email has made me feel that it’s worth doing what I’m doing.

Also, how lovely to be blessed like that.

So today, if someone has done something that you’ve grateful for, please let them know. A thank you will probably mean more to them than you imagine.


I was going to start this post by saying, ‘here’s my favourite joke about writers’, but actually it would be more honest to begin with, ‘here is the only joke about writers that I know’. (Please feel free to add yours to the comments section.)


Why don’t writers look out of the window in the morning?
Because then they’d have nothing to do in the afternoon.

I know, I know, hardly worth the wait. But writers will grimace with recognition when they hear it, because it is oh, so easy to procrastinate. I don’t suffer from writer’s block, but I do suffer from writer’s faff. I’ll get on with the book when I’ve cleared my inbox. When I’ve taken all of the dead knitting patterns off my hard drive. When I’ve audited the contents of my makeup drawer. It’s crazy, because I love to write: it satisfies me, it makes me happy, and even though every time I finish a project I promise myself a a month off, I rarely last more than a fortnight before I’m back at the keyboard.

I try to spot when I’m procrastinating, and then I take a deep breath, sidestep the distraction, and head for the page. But when I went to the studio in the middle of last week with the rewrite of ‘Surrounded By Water’ in mind, I realised I had some none-procrastinating tidying to do.

Here’s my desk, Before.

And here’s After:

Time well spent, I think.

My plan is to be finished by the end of June, so I am eschewing spinning and sewing until then, and writing 1500 words per day.

And looking forward to looking out of the window, in the afternoons.

A Saturday morning mooch

Let’s see what the interwebs have to offer this morning, shall we?

You can catch up with another of my giggly sessions as an ‘Angel Of The North’ on the Jonathan Miles show, here. I start about 80 minutes in. It was lovely to meet Susan, my fellow Angel and inventor of the , and to discover what a Tray Of Pleasure is.

Someone has taken a bit of my favourite love story ever – Dorothea and Ladislaw in ‘Middlemarch’ – and put it on the side of a mug. This pleases me a great deal. It’s here.

Some knitters have been knitting picture books into life. Not sure what it has to do with the Diamond Jubilee, but it’s marvellous! Look.

I’m not sure I could carry one of these off, but I’m tempted to try. A dragon ear cuff – I’m wondering how any of us have managed without one for so long.

Here’s a recipe for an utterly delicious date cake – I made it for the first time a couple of weeks ago and couldn’t quite believe how lovely it was. Especially when I added the fudge icing from this recipe.

And finally, as so many of you have said how much you enjoyed listening to Philip Larkin reading his work here of late, I offer you Brian Patten. The older I get, the more I love this poem.

Enjoy your Saturday. I’m off to teach sock knitting at Treacle Wool Shop: one of my favourite ways to spend a day.