Tuesday, 7 February 2012

And More Good News...

My book, The Elegant Art of Falling Apart, is to be published in the UK this Spring. Based on this very blog, the book tells the story of cancer, a bad boyfriend and good friends. Only with a lot less waffle.

If you read the papers or listen to cultural shows on the radio or indulge in any kind of communication with the big wide world beyond facebook, you may be aware that the publishing industry is going through seismic shifts at the moment with old monoliths of the book world crumbling at an alarming rate and new publishing models erupting all over the place.

Unbound is one such innovative venture and I am excited to be a part of it. Here is how it works: go to the Unbound website, there you will see pitches for a gaggle of books by a gamut of interesting authors. Select the book or books that grab you (I do hope that you will select mine), peruse the pitch, watch the video and read the excerpt from the book. Then pledge to the project that inspires you: £10; £20; £100; £10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000… it’s up to you.

In return for your pledge you will not only get the soul satisfaction of supporting a book that has taken two years of my life and a large chunk of my sanity to write, but you will be personally thanked by the publishers who will inscribe your name into the book for posterity. The more you pledge, the greater your rewards: signed hardbacks; bags of sumptuous natural beauty products; signed flower portraits and afternoon tea with the author are on offer (hey – why stop there?) Of course, your ultimate reward will be in heaven.

Please pledge and help to bring The Elegant Art of Falling Apart to British shores.

“More life-affirming (and funny) than any self-help book” – Grazia

Airborne Glamour

So now you know that I am in sometimes-sunny Sydney. Obviously I got here on 
an aeroplane but unless you’ve ever done it yourself you may be unaware of just 
what a long and arduous flight it is from the UK to Australia… even for brats like 
me who insist on spending every penny of their hard earned cash on a business 
class ticket (best deals: Trailfinders). Which was just as well because after 
Royston drove me to the airport at 99 miles and hour with AC/DC’s Highway To 
Hell blasting at five thousand decibels I needed a bit of a lie down.

But Lily is not one to be idle for long. After reading the in-flight safety card, the 
in-flight menu and the in-flight movie programme, I put my time on the twenty-
four hour flight to work on your behalf researching in-flight beauty. 

For several years now our travels have been blighted by airport restrictions on 
what and how much we can take aboard planes in liquid, gel or lotion form. So 
packing the right products for a long flight takes meticulous planning.

After a great deal of deliberation about what I couldn’t live without for a whole 
day I have devised the Chemo Chic In-Flight Beauty Bag:

Products classed as liquids that must be carried in a clear plastic zip-lock bag.
  • Pai Rosehip Bioregenerate facial oil: mix a few drops with the moisturiser for extra richness. Because of limited space I use the moisturiser/ rosehip oil mixture on my hands as well, rather than taking a separate hand cream.
  • Comvita Propolis toothpaste: try to save an almost exhausted tube so you can roll it up and it won’t take up so much space in your zip-lock bag.
Products not classed as liquids.
  • Silk eye mask (the aeroplane ones tend to be plastic backed and scratchy).

Friday, 3 February 2012


First bit of good news that I've been meaning to tell you about:

To: Canalily
Subject: Congratulations!


I’m writing with some exciting news, which is that Chemo Chic has made
it into 4Beauty’s round-up of the best health blogs:

We love your blog and are so pleased to be able to feature it on the

Congrats again and Merry Christmas from the 4Beauty team.    

I am beyond pleased to be featured on their site. Channel Four's 4Beauty isn't just any old beauty website. It is, if you like, the Delia Smith of beauty sites - a gold mine of really useful basic information: make-up videos; fashion tips; how to wear lipstick and guides to creating glamorous hair styles. This is the kind of stuff that fashion magazines just don't tell us, the kind of stuff that I spent years figuring out.

My pick of the day from 4Beauty is How to Apply Mineral Makeup, something I've been meaning to write about but haven't quite found the time to do. I suggest that you read it immediately and save me the bother of writing a similar piece.

Best mineral foundations:

Oh My Goodness Is That The Time Already?

I know! I have abandoned you and I’m sorry. Every day I intend to write a piece 
for Chemo Chic. And every day the beach and the sunshine beckon me away from 
my laptop. By the time I return with my hair full of salt and my brain befuddled 
with bliss it seems that the only realistic course of action is to lie on the couch 
and languidly eat a mango whilst Samantha makes us a nice cup of tea.

I’m in Australia, in case you hadn’t twigged. In a way, I’m having the holiday that I 
missed out on two years ago when Nick did the dirty and our 'dream vacation' all went lurching hideously sideways. I’ve spent time in Tasmania, visiting Mum, Aunty Noni and my cousins Fay and Matilda. The weather was sublime. We swam every day with the giant 
stingrays in the aquamarine water of the bay. Stingrays are gentle souls really, as 
long as you don’t step on them. They hear you coming and just glide ahead like a 
guard of honour. I spent a lot of time standing on Mum’s verandah watching 
them moseying around on the sand, doing their stingray thing. Tasmania is rightly 
famed for its food. We did all the usual being attacked by catching fish from Noni’s boat, collecting mussels and samphire from the rocks and raiding Mum’s garden every evening 
for salads, beans, peas, zucchini, potatoes, corn, kale…

Then it was back to the city to catch up with all my Sydney friends: Mandy and 
Tony, now deep into married life; Lulu; Jimmy and of course Samantha, Lyla, Lily
Felix the cat and Lola the one-eyed pug. Living in Watson’s Bay is as bonkers as 
ever. Thank the Lord.

And now so much time has passed by I’m at a loss as to where to begin the catch-
up. So I’m just going to start posting up snippets, going back and forth in time to 
try to fill in some of the details of the past six or seven weeks.