Guest Post: Fiona Gibson

ALL WORK AND NO PLAY? HERE’S HOW I SWITCH OFF By FIONA GIBSON

I love what I do for a living. As long as I can remember I have wanted to write stories. All the same, it’s good not to do it sometimes, to get away from the laptop and take some proper time off, otherwise I have have a tendency to start acting oddly, muttering to myself and acting a bit MOL (Mental Old Lady) in oddly put-together outfits with my hair all askew.

Here’s what I do to restore some semblance of normality…

1. Go for a run. I loathed sport at school. Netball, hockey and all that terrible gym equipment brought only pain and the mortification of flashing of one’s knickers in front of sniggering boys. However, when I reached my late-thirties – by which time I was mum to twin boys and a daughter – it had become clear that my body needed a certain amount of maintenance, if it was to carry on functioning properly. I never want to go for a run – but always feel less deranged afterwards. I also participate in…

2. Yoga. Which also counts as exercise, although it doesn’t involve the same degree of sweating or facial redness. I started a year ago, and found all those poses baffling. If you’ve had a go and find it equally muddling, I’d suggest sticking with it for a while, as it takes ages to grasp where your various bodily parts should go (if you’re anything like me, and don’t pick up these things quickly). Now I’m at the stage where – although I still have masses to learn – I love all the deep stretches and am actually starting to feel quite bendy.

3. Have my hair done… superficial, I know – but come on. Coffee, glossy magazines, a head massage during the shampooing part, and a chat with my lovely hairdresser, James – plus, I come out looking less ‘crazed author who’s been trapped in a small room for weeks.’ It’s one of the great joys of life.

4. Draw. As an only child, I spent a vast proportion of my young years huddled over a pile of paper with my beloved felt tips. Then along came my teenage years, and life got in the way. I barely picked up a pencil for years. Now, with my three children almost all grownup, it feels like I have the time to do things purely for fun. And so I started to draw and paint again. Unlike during my 70s childhood, we now have social media so – tentatively at first – I posted the odd picture on Facebook and Instagram. Friends were incredibly kind about them, and I’ve since taken art courses and draw almost every day. It brings me great joy and is a wonderful visual antidote to my day job, which is all about words.

5. Loll about in cafes. Sometimes I read, draw or make notes and other times I just sit. There are tons of great cafes in Glasgow’s Southside, where we live. Current faves: Tapa and The Glad Cafe, both on Pollokshaws Road. Sitting there watching life going on all around me is one of life’s greatest pleasures.

6. Soak in the bath. I think this goes back to those early days of parenting when I could lock the door and be alone for a while, marinating in bubbles, while my sons poked their plastic swords through the gap under the door.

7. Read magazines. Mags have fallen from favour in the past decade or so, but when I’m feeling a bit frazzled there’s nothing quite like curling up one. I still read glossy fashion magazines occasionally, but it does niggle me that they are mostly filled with crazily expensive clothes (‘Nice dress. Oh, it’s £3,200!’). I’m now more drawn to artsy crafty magazines – Flow and Uppercase are favourites – which cost a packet, but are the kind you keep forever and leaf through over and over again. They are beautiful, full of inspiration and my treat to myself – and everyone is allowed one of those once in a while.

Fiona’s new novel, The Woman Who Met Her Match, is out now (Avon). Click to buy.

What if your first love came back on the scene . . . 30 years later?

After yet another disaster, Lorrie is calling time on online dating. She might be single in her forties, but she’s got a good job, wonderful children and she’s happy. This, Lorrie decides, is going to have to be enough.

That is, until she receives a very unexpected request from France. Antoine Rousseau, who had once turned a lonely French exchange trip into a summer of romance, wants to see her – after thirty years.

But Lorrie is a responsible woman. She can’t exactly run off to Nice with the man who broke her teenage heart . . . can she?

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