I feel like I’ve been locked in my writing cave for the last few weeks, emerging like a thing from the deep, only to do a bit of radio or meet my publishers… Any thoughts about my personal appearance have gone out of the window. I have skulked around in pyjamas with my long hair in dreadlocks and dark circles beneath my eyes, with me creeping miscreant-like from sofa to kitchen and back again. I don’t mean to be dramatic, but when I enter this space, it’s as if nothing else exists apart from the story inside my head. I sleep a little at night, waking at 5am or even 4am – energized and with a need to hit the keyboard and write and write.

And now, I am happy to report that Heaven & Back is delivered. Whoop whoop! The hair has been washed and I even applied a slick of lip-gloss today. I think it’s a fabulous story, am I allowed to say that? If not then ignore, the last sentence or two.

It was lovely to do the late night show with John Govier on BBC Devon, BBC Cornwall, BBC Jersey and BBC Guernsey. We had a wonderful chat, interspersed with some awesome choons. He is an incredible journalist and presenter. I always leave feeling as if I’ve had a good catch up with a mate.

Right now, its all hands on the deck preparing to head back to Australia and then New Zealand. I leave the week after next. I shall be doing interviews and some telly. Exciting, but a little scary – I am in very good hands though as my publishers out there (HarperCollins) are a fab bunch. I shall be dragging the Major with me, can’t bear the thought of those very very long flights without him to cuddle up to.

Those of you who follow me regularly will know that when something gets up my nose – I feel the need to let off steam. Here are a couple of examples in my latest articles for the Huffington Post, A Quiet Word and Stepping Up - let me know what you think.

So how’s the new healthy regime going? Well, it’s going GREAT! My aim to be a little bit fitter and trimmer than I was yesterday, every day, is working. My exercise kind of fell by the wayside a little while I was engrossed in my latest book and stuck to the sofa, but the good news is, the healthy eating remained. Usually, I would be reaching for toast or pasta to see me through my marathon writing sessions, but guess what? Turns out I can write just as well when fuelled by vegetables, healthy home made soups and the odd avocado. Who knew?!

The great thing about this new regime is not only weight loss and glowy skin, but far more important, is how it makes me FEEL. I am faster; more alert and have a zing in my step… I always had a bit of zing, but now I’m double zinged. Yes, that is a word. So onwards and upwards. I can’t wait to reach my target and all the benefits that it will bring to my short and long-term health.

I had the pleasure of spending time with my two year old nephew this week, the ADORABLE Noah. As I arrived, he presented me with a large carrot wrapped in a hankie and told me it was a baby. He then gave it a bottle and rocked it to sleep. When Noah left the room, he handed it to me to look after. And so there I was, rocking this litttle carrot when the Major came in and asked me what on earth I was doing sat alone cooing over a carrot! I stared at him, not sure of where to start! …I think it must run in the family.

The boys were out on the town last tonight, which means I sat wrapped in a blanket until I heard their key in the door and then rushed up the stairs as though I’d been there all night. I couldn’t sleep until I knew they were tucked up safe and sound under my roof. I know they are big boys now, but I still picture them as little boys and to be honest I think I always will. The spare beds were made up on their floors as they inevitably bring a couple of mates home. Today I spy 6 pairs of shoes at the bottom of the stairs and the sleeping bag box has been raided. I get the pleasure of cooking fry-ups for them all when they surface. I bloody love it. I know that one day I shall look back on the noise, chaos, mess and banter and ache for these days.

And after a couple of days break, I am already well into writing my next novel and I’m really enjoying it. I might need to pop my pashmina on though as my heroine is in New York and it’s snowing, which is making me feel a tad chilly.

Mandy xx