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A single girl's guide to Amsterdam's NEMO Science Museum

Check it out - a building that looks just like my love life. A giant, sinking ship. (Sigh). Yes, yes, the dating game's a drag ...

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View from Dubrovnik city wall

Croatia: Getting around in Dubrovnik, Split and Hvar

So, if you're here, you're probably looking for information on travelling to and around Croatia? You're in luck' because I just got back. I can only ...

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Remembering Yemen...

I never did make it to Syria unfortunately, but I did visit Yemen in 2008, which I'm thinking about now in the midst of this ...

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Christmas in Prague...

I just got back from Prague - another new city for me. I love nothing more than heading off to a new place and just ...

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Tinder Diaries: Getting my Groupon...

Shamus's profile shots scrolled like some kind of Action Man calendar. In one photo the 39-year-old Irish-Canadian was hugging a goat on what looked like ...

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Tinder Diaries: Tempur-Pedic promises...

And another Tinder Diary for you, this one's also from last year in Vancouver.  Tempur-Pedic promises... 'I got you a drink!!!' the text message yelled at me. ...

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Tinder Diaries: The Burner In The Park

In trawling through folders on my laptop for some old work I've just come across some diaries I wrote about Tinder dating last year in ...

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I go to the gym a lot. And other things I never thought I'd say...

Once in Sydney I joined a yoga studio for $350 a year and went once. In New York I spent close to $600 and went to ...

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Things you should probably know before going to Burning Man

So, Burning Man. Hmm. How was it, you ask? Honestly. I can't even really tell you yet, and it's been three weeks. But I'll try. As a ...

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11 things you only ever say on WhatsApp when you're going to Burning Man...

I LEAVE TOMORROW!! Am I ready? Probably not.  I'm what's known as a Virgin, (this will be my first time at Burning Man) and in ...

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Thoughts about rainbows...

I cycled home tonight right under a rainbow - the kind of rainbow that smiles across the sky in every colour, and then more colours ...

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How to tell when you travel too much (and when you should stop)

Yup. That's how. That's a screenshot my friend just sent me, when I told her to add my new phone number in Amsterdam. "Another one?!" "Yeah, but I'm ...

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…Best Of...

It started with a boy called Matt: why I'm going to Burning Man (in 2 weeks!!!)

Going to Burning Man has been pretty high on the bucket list for years... ever since I started chatting to an American guy online back in 2003, who ...

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The Royal's idea of 'Indian street kids' is not quite right

I know I shouldn't read the Daily Mail because it always annoys me... but today THIS was ridiculous. Honestly. Been to India? Yeah, so have I. Met ...

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How to write a novel: 25 rules

This post is so inspiring, just had to share! Thanks to Matt Haig, who posted it originally. Sometimes us writers really need to read cool stuff ...

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Amsterdam, I love you! See you again soon.

I've decided to move to Amsterdam. Maybe not forever but definitely for a little bit, because, well.... this. And this: And this:  OK maybe not the last one... ...

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Free tsunami romance for Valentine's Day...

Winner of the TBC (The Book Club) award for best non-fiction, 2016.  Hey guys, I'm giving away The Day Of The Wave over Valentine's weekend in ...

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How to Create Titles to Hook Your Readers

This post is written BY JUDITH BRILES posted on February 10, 2016 on The Book Designer Are you sometimes stuck when it comes to adding a title to ...

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Yay, I won an award!

It's a super duper awesome start to the new year, because after a long hiatus during which I've been working reeeeeeally hard and not blogging ...

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Who's the Mills and Boon Man Of The Year 2016? Get your face on a book cover!

Here ye, all you amazing men - and women who know amazing men! Thought I'd spread the word about this. Mills & Boon are launching ...

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Pills that make you poop glitter...

Oh my! We should give these to ALL the pigeons in London until the whole city is a sparkly rainbow! Granted we'd be covered in shit, ...

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Know your strengths...

I'm sitting in the cafe. It's just me, two loud ladies who sound like they're from Essex, and a blonde with her boyfriend. An Essex ...

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Humans of Iceland...

This is Sverrir and the replica of his great grandfather, who was once the pastor of the pretty and remote herring fishing town, Siglufjörður. He was ...

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Adventures in Iceland (in brief because I'm VERY remote right now and WIFI is scarce)...

It started when we flew Fokker. Yes, Fokker. Oh come on, tell me I'm not the only child who finds this funny? It wasn't long before ...

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NOW FREE ON AMAZON: The Day Of The Wave

A moving, emotional romance based on real-life events. NOW FREE ON AMAZON! The Day Of The Wave follows Isla and Ben in the wake of surviving ...

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***FREELANCE PHOTO - POSTMEDIA NETWORK USE ONLY*** VANCOUVER, BC.:JUNE 24, 2014-- Pedestrian traffic in front of Canna Clinic on Commercial Drive, in Vancouver, BC, June 24, 2014.  Canna Clinic at 2223 Commercial Drive, has a doctor from 5 to 8 p.m. every day. Locals can get certified by an in-house  naturopath, and pick up some pot.  (PHOTOS by Don MacKinnon)

Comedy night at the Canna Clinic...

Today I learnt two things. The first is that penguins have knees inside their bodies. Yes. Knees. Inside. I'm not even kidding. The second is that ...

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Spalding School Reunion is Imminent...

I got a message today about a school reunion for the class of 96. My first thought was JEEEEESUS, did I really leave school 19 ...

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Best things to see on Commercial Drive in Vancouver. OK, maybe not the best...

I was just eating my sushi on a restaurant patio last night when a man seemingly dressed as a Mario Brother climbed a nearby tree ...

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Oh Canada, how I LOVE being in you...

And I think these photos prove why! I'm so inspired the more time I spend here, which is Vancouver right now, in case you were ...

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Fun on the Natchez Trace - recreating scenes from a novel in real life!

Yesterday a friend and I drove from Nashville, out past the famous Loveless Cafe (where we stopped to pick up some Peach Preserve) and onto ...

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Read and review 'Before He Was Gone' and get a FREE copy!

The New Adult Book Club on Goodreads are reading Before He Was Gone to review. Sign up if you want your free copy to review! "Sometimes, ...

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RIP Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran (an excerpt featuring their great work, from Balilicious)

How fuggin AWFUL to hear about the executions of these two men, and the others who were wiped out needlessly today in Indonesia. Don't people ...

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Boxing Day Tsunami book trailer (The Day of the Wave)

I made this today! One day I will give up trying to be a filmmaker (maybe), but it's SO satisfying when it uploads and I'm ...

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The Day of the Wave - Playlist

This is probably the most fun I’ve ever had putting a playlist together for a book. There were just so many great artists who inspired ...

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Aliens in the White House...

Just got a newsflash on my phone: 'Small one-person helicopter lands at White House West Lawn. Pilot in custody.' I know I should click on it ...

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Boxing Day Tsunami romance excerpt: (The Day of The Wave)

This is an excerpt from my latest new adult romance, coming May 2015. In brief... "Isla and Ben were just sixteen when the Boxing Day ...

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Uber in Nashville is interesting...

Me: 'So, what's the craziest thing that's happened to you since you started driving for Uber?' Him: 'Are you a shy girl?' Me: 'Er, I don't think ...

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Have I mentioned the Family Dollar Store yet?

Have I mentioned the Family Dollar store yet? It's my new favorite place here in Nashville. Contrary to the name, not everything inside costs a dollar, ...

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Lavenders, motorcycles and a feeling of deep uncool at Nashville's Barista Parlor...

There are some places in this world that will just serve to make you feel deeply uncool, no matter how young and awesome you previously ...

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Why Craigslist in Nashville is killing me...

Here's what this guy just wrote in reply to my post about looking for a room to rent in Nashville: "We are seeking a FEMALE caring nanny/care giver. ...

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Observation of the day...

Ubud cafes were full of middle aged women writing books on macs. Nashville cafes are full of cute young guys making music on macs. I know where ...

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Before He Was A Secret (Starstruck #3) Playlist...

http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLmhXXflqDQPAxUHvBiWosmLHWTd6sBM4Z I can't write a word without being inspired by every sound in the air around me, and I turned to music more than ever with ...

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Musings on a Nashville snow day...

No one told me flying south for the winter would take me somewhere colder than England. Then again, there's something so peaceful about walking alone down ...

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Fight your way through! A message to writers like me…

Fight your way through! A message to writers like me...

...and other creative souls no doubt! Someone sent me this video today by the amazingly inspiring Ira Glass, which I found very interesting. I can relate ...

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The difference a motorised bike makes...

I miss my bike in Bali so much that today I actually hovered outside someone's house in South Harrow contemplating whether I could justify spending ...

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Proving my roots: The nonsense that is taking the IELTS test in London...

"PUT YOUR PENCILS DOWN! PENCILS DOWN, NOW!!!" Dumbledore boomed. I almost jumped out of my plastic chair, nerves shot to sh*t. I have a problem ...

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There's nothing more sexist than The Sun pulling Page 3 Girls...

Yes... SEXIST. If only for what's being said around the decision to drop this whole thing! "Instead of bare breasts, the pictures will now show scantily-clad ...

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I SURVIVED: The Freak British Tornado (and the suspect still running loose)

A mini-tornado hit north west London this afternoon - causing damage to homes and cars. I think I summoned it. I was thinking very dark ...

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It's cover reveal day for Before He Was A Secret. Exclusive excerpt here...

Today's the day, whoo hoooooo! I can finally reveal another amazing cover by designer Jeanine Henning, for the third standalone romance in my Starstruck Series, ...

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The night Emma Watson stole my toothbrush...

WARNING!!! I feel like I should say something. I've been quiet for way too long... almost an hour actually, but about an hour ago I ...

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Vaginal smoking and the benefits of yoni egg insertions (note: there are many)...

I have recently become quite fascinated with vaginal treatments. The fascination began when I saw this tempting advertisement on a board outside a spa in ...

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The truth about 'Ecstatic Dancing' at The Yoga Barn in Ubud, Bali... (warning, this post may smell)

Everyone in Ubud knows the Yoga Barn. It's a sort of second home for eager expats, all of whom are quite happy to spend an ...

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Go to Bali for less than a quid! Balilicious is 99p, starting today.

Becky Wicks lifted the burqa on Dubai In BURQALICIOUS. Now she turns her attention to Bali as she hilariously navigates life as an adopted Balinese ...

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How do you handle negative reviews for your book on Amazon and Goodreads? And are readers actively LOOKING for bad books?

What didn't make me smile throughout my recent and ultimately successful free book campaign on Amazon KDP (and I'll tell you this, seeing as we're ...

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Musings from a wooden bench in Bali…

And so it is that I leave Bali, this stunning land that has somehow wrapped its fingers round my heart! I don’t remember feeling this sad about leaving anywhere since I left New York. I wasn’t expecting to love Bali so much, especially Ubud. But isn’t it funny how a place can win you over?

I’ve been trying to put my finger on why exactly I feel so connected to this place. Was I Balinese in my last life? Did I carry mangoes on my head, practice healing, cook with galangal and jackfruit and offer taxi rides to the relatively few tourists who poked their heads, wide-eyed and blinking into this magical kingdom? I know I’m not the first to feel this way about Bali. In fact, I’m possibly a bit of a cliché, falling in love with the hues of greens and knowing smiles and the peace that emanates from every tiny village and temple – the sort of stuff we only dream about as we squeeze and stress through day-to-day existence in a city.

I’m living in a screensaver here, a desktop wallpaper scene of amber butterflies and bicycles leaning up against bamboo scaffolding. I’m walking through holiday brochures, trekking from page to page across rice fields, waving at women in pointed straw hats, getting my hair wrapped in banana leaves, stopping to chat with men carrying machetes at the end of their shift in the sunshine. Maybe it is just magic – the hold that Bali has on me. A magic spell that invokes a sort of innocence that would be dangerous and frowned upon in a city.

I feel like nature reaches out to you here. We are at its mercy and never is that more obvious than when you’re standing small in the middle of a giant grassy staircase, trickling with water down a mountainside. Is that the magic, perhaps?  The possibilities offered by all those fascinating things I can’t see, hidden in the cracks? The world holds promise. My days are sprinkled with purpose and peppered with mystery… not like in a city. The little things get lost; at times the life we should be breathing in gets sucked straight out, don’t you think? We lose the blue of the sky through a tinted window, to an office partition. We lose the sound of rain on a roof made from leaves and straw, suffocate it with bricks and insulation. We lose human connections. Glued to our phones we type instead of talk, we forget the utter joy that comes with sitting on a street corner, talking to a stranger and hearing a story. Two souls connected for the briefest moment in time. A new friend with no notion of Facebook.

It’s hard to know what’s convenient and what is inconvenient anymore.

A thousand eyes are watching you from everywhere in Bali. A thousand voices are whispering, drawing you closer to the person you forgot, waking you up… there are voices in the treetops, the cracks in the temple stones, the frangipani offerings on doorsteps and walls and piles of sand. Skyscraper bars and fancy cars are the nightmare, instead of the dream. You’re never alone, and yet you are, because the world has finally stopped to let you think. The world has finally given you some time to step inside your own mind.

The more I think about going back to Sydney, the more a little voice in my head starts panicking and shouting, resisting. I was pretty happy there, wasn’t I? But maybe I wasn’t. Maybe I was just telling myself I was. Hmmm. It’s hard to tell. I’m worried I’m sounding like a hippy again. You know, one of those silly people who goes on holiday somewhere and comes back thinking she’s changed? But the more I think about it, the more I think, what if I did come back here, to Ubud more specifically, and stay longer? What would happen? Would the world end? Would anyone care except me? Probably not. Life is short, after all.

I want to live in a villa and spend three dollars a day on food and not drink wine for three months. I feel better, not having drunk it for three and a half weeks! My head feels clearer. In Ubud, I met people who are clear about what they want and where they’re going. And by that I mean they’re clear about the day-to-day stuff, and they’re happy just to see where they end up. You can’t be like that in a city, really, can you? Everyone expects you to have a plan, and people don’t understand you when you tell them you don’t really have one. You end up feeling like you don’t fit in, and then you feel like shit because everyone wants to belong. But maybe you just don’t belong there, where you are. It’s the reason you can’t concentrate at a desk, working under someone’s thumb. It’s the reason you cloud your brain with expensive alcohol and food-fuelled opportunities… to stop the thinking. What if you discover something you’re not ready for?

The optimist, and possibly the child in me is romanced by freedom. I am charmed and re-charged by the notion of flying through life on the wind, like a bird against a rainbow. And now I know I’m not alone.

In the writing group I’ve been a part of for the last few weeks, we practiced writing from the heart, just letting the words flow without stopping, which is kind of what I’m doing now. I think maybe I’ve always done this, but I’ve always edited myself too. Maybe it’s time to stop editing so much. Our whole lives are edited versions of what we really want, anyway. Whatever happens, first I must go to Thailand, and Cambodia and Vietnam, and Malaysia and Borneo. And then I must decide whether chasing a job in a city, just to belong there according to the system, is really for me. I thought it was, but maybe that’s because I didn’t know any differently.

Maybe I really am just a hippy, floating through Bali on a cloud of self-discovery, little realising she’ll be lost to the land of mobile-phone connections and city wine bars as soon as she leaves.

Or maybe, just maybe, something really did just change.

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