Sunday, 3 January 2016

Been A While..

As the title suggests... It's been a while, eh?!  

Well, I wanted to get back to blogging. It really is a fantastic release when words won't really do, with regards to how you're feeling, or what's been going on. 

Speaking of which... Just what has been going on in the Land of Emily (not a real place, though something for me to think about), you ask? Here's a quick recap for ya:

The latter part of 2014 was a real bitch, to be quite honest. It started off quite well: H & I started to look for a house together, which was both exciting and scary, all at the same time. We saw a right couple of stinkers at first. House-buying is stressful, y'all. 

Then in mid September, my granny got very ill. Truth be told, she'd been up and down throughout the year but took a turn for the worst in the autumn, and we lost her on 20th October. It was one of the weirdest, most difficult times my family and I had ever gone through, and we're still not quite over it - not sure we ever will be. However my mum - ever the rockstar - has managed to come out the other side and is the backbone for me and everyone around her.

Right at the end of 2014, we put in an offer in a house that could very easily be described by the term "fixer upper", which we - as green, dewy-eyed first time buyers - saw as an exciting project... Not taking in to account the fact that we both have busy, full time jobs and - having now just bought a house - a limited amount of funds.

After our offer was accepted - go Team Us - the top chain kept kicking us around, which was soooooo frustrating and loooooong. As it turned out, we had to move out of our lovely little 2 bed flat in Forest Hill, and put Mum and Damian out by moving in with them for the best part of a month, whilst we waited to close.
   Now, I haven't lived with my mum since I moved out in 2012, so naturally I was a bit worried about doing so again - except this time, with a boyfriend and a tonne of luggage / boxes. 
   However, I needn't have worried. It was actually really lovely, and H & I enjoyed helping around the house, *really* enjoyed the benefits of Damian's cooking (seriously, I feel bad for people who will never get to have any) and I baked every Sunday, as is my wont... Madeleines were a personal fave. 

We finally moved in to our house in 30th March 2015. Our mortgage providers, Nationwide, sent us a lovely Welcome Box, complete with tea, loo roll, anti bacterial spray... You know, all the essentials.

A big change also happened in my work life. After just over a year at my previous agency, working as an assistant, I joined BBA Management as an agent in my own right. It was daunting and scary at first, but I really enjoy it having got in to the swing of things. 

I've got some fab work colleagues, and lovely clients. Sometimes, I do find the business frustrating because - as some of you who followed my previous blog will remember - too many parts are being given to celebrities, or people who frankly can't do the job in hand. Also, I find this whole "I want it all, and I want it now" attitude that so many young actors have nowadays deeply unattractive. Personally, I couldn't handle the heat, so I got out of that specific kitchen (acting); however, if you're committed to stay in it, most of the time it takes more work, grit and determination than one could ever imagine. You will not be handed an opportunity on a plate - not often anyway - and it is an actor's obligation to work for said opportunity on said plate. 

Right, taking my agent hat off now. My thoughts on the changes in the industry can get a bit monotonous after a while...

Got lots of plans this year - stay tuned.

EG xxx

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Your First Novel

On Monday I went to the Southbank Centre for the Your First Novel conference which was being held in the Purcell Room. It was all very swish-looking and fancy - felt like a proper grown up attending a proper conference and everyfink!
   The panellists were Kate Mosse (Labyrinth, Sepulchre, The Citadel), Emma Healey (whose debut novel Elizabeth Is Missing came out last week), Felicity Blunt (agent at Curtis Brown), Charlotte Mendelson (When We Were Bad, Almost English) and Sarah Waters (Tipping The Velvet, Fingersmith). What a group of women to gain advice from, eh?? Even though I had bought and paid for a ticket myself, it felt like I'd been specially invited in to a secret group of writers who, for 90 minutes, were privy to some wonderful thoughts and anecdotes that no one else was allowed to hear! 

I managed to grab a sneaky snap of the Purcell Room's Stage before it started...

There were some lovely flowers on either side of the panellist's seats, which were in aid of the Bailey's Women's Prize for Fiction which was to be held in the same venue later in the week. 
It was a fantastic evening with some sage words being doled out. Felicity Blunt's tips about approaching an agent were thus:

  • Give your book a catchy title
  • Be sure to have a well-written cover letter
  • Write an interesting synopsis
  • Don't rush over the letter & synopsis (!!)
  • Think about what inspired you to write the book in the first place

In order to be a writer, there were certain things you have to have in your toolbox, which all the ladies agreed on:

  • Hard work
  • Passion
  • Conserve your willpower (this was Emma's tip actually: so if you're thinking of starting a diet, have another project going on, either focus on that or the writing. It's too hard to do both and really commit / stick to it)
  • Once you've finished a project, leave it for a while before coming back to it and looking at it objectively
  • Have great plots (an obvious one but so important)
  • Be disciplined with your work (grammar, spelling, punctuation etc.)
Charlotte Mendelson is also an editor and answered a misconception about them, which was that they were not there to change your work but to point out any problem areas and let you get on with fixing them. Most authors can get nervous about sending their work off to an editor because they think it means they'll get their manuscript back with big red marks all over it. According to Charlotte (who was also so witty I found myself LOL-ing on more than one occasion), that isn't the case at all; an editor is purely there as a guide to make your book the best it can possibly be. It serves them for it to be as perfect as possible so there is little point in making their author feel like their work is crap by "massacring" it. The important thing is to approach any feedback the editor has with enthusiasm and an open nature. More often that not, your feelings won't be spared as there isn't really time. Just get your head down, and work on the things you need to in order to make your book as wonderful as it deserves to be.
   Likewise with agents, they are looking for new work and want writers to be successful. It serves them for their clients to be successful and are always on your side, even if it might not feel like that all the time. 
   If I'm lucky enough to land an agent one day, I hope that I can have an open and honest enough relationship with them where they can say to me "this is not working, it needs to go" and I can accept it and see where they're coming from rather than thinking they're just being unfair and not "getting it". 
   Kate Mosse was also very forthright about it and said anything that fails to serve the story or isn't telling anything needs to be taken out, simple as that. Harsh, yet true.

Then it was over to the audience for some questions. I was too shy to ask anything but there was one in particular that blew my mind. One lady mentioned that the winner and runner ups of last year's Bailey's Women's Prize for Fiction were all really pretty and "model-like". Her friend, an aspiring author, had therefore wondered whether or not it would be a good idea to get some plastic surgery to make herself more aesthetically pleasing to potential agents / publishers. The look on the panellists' faces was a picture: I think the best way to describe it would be WTF?! And rightly so. It's quite a thing for actresses to think that they need plastic surgery to break in to the showbiz world as their face is their fortune, but for writers? That's one of the best bits about it. Your work speaks for yourself, bollocks to how you look! Though it was a feasible question, because sadly people can be discriminating in every medium. 
   That is something I truly love about the literary world. Something that I could never quite come to terms with, with regards to acting. Having a strong to obsessive interest in reading and writing like I do, I find it incredible that I can have access to agents, publishers, authors on social media sites such as Twitter but with actors, it's a different ball game. They're "untouchable" somehow, whereas the these people, whose world I so badly want to be in professionally, I am able to reach out to and ask advice of them. Something I would never be able to do with actors, directors or casting directors, if I didn't know them personally. It's so much more down to earth and real. I love it. I'm not slating the acting profession in any way - it's just a very different world, and one where, as someone on the creative side as opposed to the admin side (like my actual job), I feel I belong. 

Before we finished, Kate Mosse asked each panellist to give their one top tip:
  • Emma Healey: fear is not a bad thing
  • Felicity Blunt: just have faith / be open to trying new things (she also said the fact that we were there and were writing already was something to be immensely proud of)
  • Charlotte Mendelson: guard against cynicism
  • Sarah Waters: show your work to someone you trust
  • Kate Mosse: don't talk about writing. DO IT.  
So there we have it! My time at the Your First Novel conference. It's one of the first times I felt like a real writer - I hope one of many to come. 

EG xxx

Monday, 26 May 2014

Last week would be the last couple of sessions we will have until the 5th June, which has left me feeling rather bereft! I suppose it's the half term or something (oh, how I miss those!) but what it does mean is that I have more time to write and polish my opening couple of chapters which are due in on the 5th so we can workshop them the week after on the 12th. Eeeep!

We started on Wednesday with another Visiting Speaker Session with:

. Katy Loftus (editor at Transworld - @katyloftus)
. Carrie Plitt (agent at Conville & Walsh - @PlittyC)
. Sarah Jasmon (author - @sarahontheboat)

What was truly lovely about this session was that each of these fabulous ladies are establishing their careers and therefore their passion and hunger for it was obvious to see. For instance, Sarah's first book, The Summer of Secrets is out next year with Transworld, so has been edited by Katy and she is also represented by Carrie; it was like a production line of how a book comes together. 
   Their interest in us was also very encouraging. I tweeted them a day or two before to say how much I was looking forward to the session and they responded by saying that they were too, and that absolutely came across. Near the end of the session, Carrie asked what our books were about, but because there are 15 of us and we'd run out of time, we weren't able to go in to it, but at the end of the course we are to submit our opening chapters to the agents at both Curtis Brown and Conville & Walsh to have a look at (though this is not a formal submission).
   What stood out as the most encouraging was that someone like Sheila Crowley a couple of weeks ago, who it's fair to say is at the top of her game, and Carrie, who is just getting started are equally as excited and passionate about their industry. There's no sense of disillusion, as with a lot of other professions - the joy their industry gives them was palpable.

Then came the workshop on Thursday with Erin. This week we worked on dialogue. I found this incredibly interesting because there was so much to think about and get my teeth in to. A lot of what we were told, when you hear it, is that thing things where you go "oh, of course!" because they're such obvious rules for good writing and yet they're broken all the time when drafting. I'm guilty for breaking every single rule and it's only now going back over it that I realise it. 
   For example, one big cardinal sin is to let the writer's voice come through your characters. So, if I'm writing dialogue for a character that is (first thing that came in to my head) a Cockney fishmonger, he wouldn't speak the way I speak or use some of the words I would use to describe something. Similarly, had I come up with the character of the Dowager Countess of Grantham in Downton Abbey (I frickin' wish), I would have had to adjust how I think and zone in to that character instead of just writing as I feel. TPB's main character is a girl in her twenties so I suppose I took the easy route there but I know I'll challenge myself in the future and write a character who is so far removed from me and force myself to do some real work!
   I also enjoy some "erm"s and "aah"s and really, you ought to have about three or four of those in the books tops - unless of course it's a crucial character point. 
   Dialogue is also a brilliant way of implying narrative so you don't spend pages and pages with big blocks of telling. This is something I've used while going back through the book and polishing. I noticed that I do love me a tangent or two, especially when it comes to exposition, so thank god for dialogue!

Our homework this week was to record a conversation that we hear (up to us whether or not we let the person we're recording in on this!), then go home, transcribe and turn it in to a scene. This is to establish the difference between how people actually talk and how we think they talk when writing. Should be an interesting one! So if you see me lurking around you, phone in hand, finger poised, be warned...! 

EG xx

Monday, 19 May 2014

Second Visiting Speaker Session and PO

Before I begin, can we just give a quick shoutout to this AMAZEBALLS weather we've been having?? Ugh. Just gorgeous.


Last week kicked off with an absolutely brilliant Visiting Speaker Session with Sheila Crowley, a literary agent from Curtis Brown and Maxine Hitchcock, a publishing director from Michael Joseph (an imprint of Penguin).
   I was already very much looking forward to meeting Sheila because as well as being an agent whose interests in the fiction she represents compliment TPB, one of her clients is Jojo Moyes, one of my favourite authors. I read The Last Letter From Your Lover when it first came out in, I think, 2010. I remember looking everywhere for it in the book shops in Ealing, where I used to live with Mum, and couldn't find it. Refusing to buy it online - as bookshops are literally my favourite places on earth - I ventured in to central London to the flagship Waterstones in Piccadilly and got one! Happy Days! 
   I remember buying it, settling myself down in one of the shop's comfy leather chairs and tucking in. As well as not being able to wait to read it, it was coming up to rush hour and I used to try and avoid that like the plague (though saying that, every hour is rush hour in London now isn't it?) so thought what better way to kill time than curl up with a book in Waterstones (which sometimes I like to pretend is my own personal library... *one day*). 
   In fact, this book was one of the inspirations for TPB - although I didn't know it until I sat down after I typed 'The End' and thought about what it was that had inspired me to start writing it in November 2012. 
   I would recommend Jojo's books to anyone and was utterly thrilled to meet her agent. So thrilled that I barely said a word for fear of looking stupid! 

Maxine was equally lovely and encouraging and gave us a brilliant insight as to what her world at Michael Joseph was like. It publishes highly commercial fiction (as well as popular fiction and non-fiction) and the few agents who have read the opening chapters of TPB have remarked that it has a high commercial appeal which is encouraging. 
So you can see that this was the week that really spoke to me and I took down tonnes of notes which I am trying to sit here and sift through (for the life of me I can't work some of them out, I must have been scribbling so furiously).

In fact, both ladies' enthusiasm and passion for the industry was a bit like a drug and I immediately went home, powered up Mac (that's his name - I'm so original and inventive, no?) and wrote like a demon, which I haven't done for a while because work has been so busy that I've just fallen in to bed when I got home. But this was something else - I was bouncing about on the bus, writing notes on what it was I wanted to get down once I got in, noting ideas for new books. I felt very refreshed (okay, tired but happy) when I woke up the next morning.

On to Thursday...

Last week's class was based around P.O.V (point of view). This was fascinating, and not because it was a lot to take in but because I had no idea that there were other ways to tell a story other than, really, first and third person. Yes, that can seem slightly ignorant but the books I read don't tend to come written in many other ways - not that that's a bad thing - and so it opened my eyes to a new world. 
   I actually really like writing in third person as opposed to first, not least because it allows me to see other things my protagonist may not if I were writing in the first. This was shown in the homework Erin gave us, which I actually found very challenging: we were tasked with taking a segment of our book and turning it from the P.O.V it was written in to the complete opposite. So, for TPB, I chose a part where my female lead meets a handsome jazz musician in Ronnie Scott's. It's all about her perceptions of him and how she feels in that moment, but from an outsider's view and doing it originally in third person allowed me to see the things Belle (my girl) may not take in to account when spotting a gorgeous, sexy acoustic guitarist. For instance, the third person may remark that the noise coming from Piotr's (sexy music guy) guitar were "caramel-smooth" but I know for a fact that Belle doesn't talk like that, so would have to use something else. It's quite difficult at first but once you get the hang of it, much easier. 
   Though I still say I like writing in third person, at least for this book, the point of the homework isn't necessarily because it will definitely work for us all but to provide us with an extra feather to add to our quill should we choose to use it and I am so glad to have these techniques to call upon if the need arose. 

Next week we have a three-person VSS with an author, an agent and an editor - exciting!!

Have a lovely rest of the week you scrummy lot.

EG xx

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Week 2

Happy Sunday everyone!

I hope everyone's had a brilliant week. I managed to have an outstanding one! I met up with an old bestie, who was over from New York for the week, and his wonderful girlfriend. We had a stonking great big curry and countless beers. He moved to NYC about seven years ago and worked his socks off to become the successful guy he is today; I am so unbelievably proud of him. I came away with a huge smile on my face - catching up with friends you've known for years can turn a decent week in to a cracking one!

Another high point of my week was the continuation of the Curtis Brown Creative course. Yes, it was week two already though it was the first "two-day" week we would have. What I mean by that is that from now on, as well as the Thursday workshops, we will have a visiting speaker session on the Wednesday, when industry professionals (ie. agents, publishers, authors) will come in and talk to us about the business and allow us to ask any questions we want. This week we had Karolina Sutton, an agent at Curtis Brown and Arzu Tahsin, a deputy publishing editor at Weidenfeld & Nicolson. 

What an eye opener!

I was a bit too shy to ask questions - hopefully that will change over the coming weeks and I'll open my usually gobby gob - so instead I just soaked up all the info that was flying about my ears - thank god for my vocal course mates! 
   We were told about the process from signing with an agent to having your book published. Sometimes, if an author is very lucky, they're will be an auction for the book from different publishers and that's if the agent and author have decided not to go with a pre-empt (an offer of money for the book put on the table with a deadline to accept / decline). Then, the agent and author will meet with the different publishers in a boardroom-type environment and watch each publisher's pitch of their "vision" of the book which includes, marketing, cover and so on. It all sounded incredibly glamorous and even though you know not everyone is that lucky, one can't help but hope that's what happens to you and your book! 
   One thing that really struck me about both Karolina and Arzu was the "no bullshit" factor. They were completely straight with us about what it takes and what they expected from authors to be able to make it in this brilliant, demanding and competitive world. Sugar-coating was not a word I would use to describe it and you can't really ask for anything else, given that the reason we're all there is to get a real insight. No one has time to gloss over things and make it seems easier than it really is - I respected and appreciated that so much.

The next day, the Thursday, I had my one on one with Erin. I'd sent her a section of TPB to look at as it was a part that I wasn't sure worked. My book is quite high concept so ultimately I need it to be real and believable - as much as high concept things can be anyway. 
   It went so well!
   Erin really liked my idea for the book and says that I have a very clear voice that comes through in my writing which was nice. The best thing was that my story is believable - huzzah! This is apparently down to the fact that my bottom line is a very simple love story. So the higher the concept, the more grounded my story's bottom line needs to be, and I achieved that which is very encouraging. Erin also loved my male protagonist's name - I remember researching for a really unusual name that wouldn't look out of place in the time my book is partly set. I was very chuffed that that had gone down well! 
   As well as having thirty minutes with her, Erin had taken the time to make a page of notes that I can refer to and use to adapt my work accordingly. As expected, my "showing not telling" needs a lot of work. When examples of it were pointed out to me, I was like "duh!". It's so obvious when you get down to it and actually PAY ATTENTION. I tend to to write like I speak: without thinking. I don't plan anything, my fingers sort of just fly over the keyboard and then I hope for the best. 
   I was also given an idea for what to use when it's my turn to submit material for the workshop, so that's sorted! It's what Erin would call The Crunch of the story. When that week approaches, I'll explain in more detail.

In Thursday's class, as well as focusing on exposition, which I touched on last week, we also had to bring out the three extracts we were given from course mates the week before and give them our feedback. How scary, you ask? Very! For everyone, I think. No one wanted to give feedback first because, as I said before, it feels odd doing so to people you don't know well, but over the hour it got easier and people began to feel they could speak more freely and honestly, and I hope it was helpful for those who submitted work. 

Well! I've got to run as there's homework to do and another three extracts to read and make notes on. I never thought I would have this much fun doing homework - I told you I'd change my attitude, Miss Murphy (I'm just sorry it took ten years...)!

EG xxx 

Sunday, 4 May 2014

First session

So! Thursday was my first session at the Curtis Brown course and it was fantastic!

Starting at the beginning, the weather was absolutely disgusting and so I had to battle down Regent Street with my umbrella, yelling "oi!" at people who whacked me in the head with theirs. Holding an umbrella, carrying two bags (one of them a "Books Are My Bag" bag, the material not being the most rain proof...) and stuffing noodles in to my mouth (which turned out to have a shitload of coriander in it and was therefore inedible) is NOT the one!
   Is it tourist season at the moment? There were so many of them all stopping in the middle of the street and you have to bite your tongue to avoid snapping, "This is NOT the way we do rush hour. Move!!!".


As some of you know, I won a coveted place on the Three-Month Novel-Writing course at Curtis Brown Creative and started this week. The first session was about 'getting to know you' and one of the first things we did was go around the table and introduce ourselves stating our name, age, profession, book title, a brief 'elevator synopsis' and how far through we are. 
   Being a total dumbass, I managed to get myself in to the position so that I went first. It was absolutely terrifying, but almost like ripping off a plaster so perhaps not such a bad thing. For those of you who aren't familiar, an 'elevator pitch' is briefing the others about your book in about sixty seconds. SIXTY SECONDS. My novel doesn't possess the most straightforward of story lines however I think I just about managed it. As one of our course tutors Erin remarked "Imagine pitching Cloud Atlas in sixty seconds!", so I didn't feel pressurised. It was just rather nerve-wracking.
   What was also a total trip was being in the Curtis Brown offices! I snapped a picture before going inside to Tweet:

   It was hard to believe I was standing outside these offices where so many amazing pieces of literature have been worked on, moulded and polished to become the bestsellers we know today. 
   In the foyer of CBC is a big bookshelf stacked with lots of new releases by authors represented by either Curtis Brown or Conville & Walsh (who have recently merged with CB). If you're a member of staff there, I don't imagine you'd be stuck for something to read very often. Though I'm certain the same could be said for every literary agency!

Going back to the boardroom, after everyone had pitched their books (which I have to say, sound so exciting!) we had a chat about the beginnings of a book coupled with exposition. We looked at an extract from Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty - funnily enough I finished this book two weeks ago and tweeted Louise to say how much I'd enjoyed it. If anyone is thinking about reading it, my advice to you would be DO IT. It's so exciting, but in an understated way that keeps the anticipation bubbling away inside you until that moment that makes you breath a sigh of what is either relief or horror and then makes you tumble head first in to the pages so that putting it down is not an option until your Kindle says you are 100% done. 
   The way the opening is written is so subtle and yet so exciting. We talked about any hints that were given about where the beginning is set, as in what is shown as opposed to told. This is certainly something I have a problem with so was brilliant to be able to see exactly what that meant right in front of me. I had an inkling before, sure, but now I know.

Before I knew it, the time was up. Gutted. Even more gutting was the fact that one of those evil headaches some of you know about was threatening to strike. 
   We were set some homework (homework!! If only the fourteen-year-old me had been as excited about homework, I may have obtained a decent number of GCSEs) which was to extract all the exposition from our opening chapters (background, history, basically anything that isn't happening in the here and now of that chapter). Then we were to do it with a novel we had read. Although not an inspiration for The Phone Box, the book I chose to work on - Unraveling Oliver - was a bit of an eye opener in turns of taking all the exposition out. Some of it is necessary, without a doubt, but it's amazing how much it changes the direction of the chapter and story in its entirety. 
   Lastly, we were given three extracts written by three different course mates. Our job is to constructively critique their work so that way they have fifteen peoples' feedback. I've never critiqued anything and feel funny about doing it to people who are relative strangers but hopefully it will be a help to everyone, as each week we will be receiving three extracts from each other. I think mine is due at the end of June *brings on frantic nail biting*!!

Well, that's all for now. I hope you enjoyed the first 'proper' blog post about the course. 

I am so excited to see what will happen in the next three months - keep having to remind myself how lucky I am to be in this position. 

Speak soon friends!
EG xxx  

Wednesday, 30 April 2014


Oh my! I start the course TOMORROW!!! 

I can't believe it's come around so quickly. I wanted to look back at my first three chapters - as that's one part of everyone's books we will definitely be discussing - and spruce them up a little bit. Get rid of any unnecessary words and useless information and so on...
Over the last few days, I've been reading On Writing by Stephen King and that in itself has been a huge help. I haven't read any King for a while and it only served to remind me what a fabulous writer he really is. 
   It isn't a novel as such, more a collection of thoughts and advice on writing. He was mowed down in 1999 by a car and while he was recuperating he wrote this book, which is also part-autobiographical. What I love most about him is he completely cuts the bullshit and gives it to you straight. If you want to be a writer, you need to read and write as much as you possibly can. At one point he said something like

I'm a fairly slow reader but I get through about seventy or eighty books a year.

This threw me slightly, not least because this is him reading SLOWLY! I'm on my twenty-fifth so far for 2014, therefore I'd better hurry up, eh?? Saying that, we'll have to read and critique each other's works during the course, so maybe I can count them as another fourteen books...? #WishfulThinking
   Seriously though, if anyone out there is thinking of getting in to writing, I would highly recommend this book. He talks of grammar, what you need in your "toolbox" and also suggests other books to help you. It's made me want to read The Shining  and Carrie all over again!!

This week I entered a competition run by Grazia magazine - the First Chapter Competition. Rachel Joyce (The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry) has started the first chapter of a book, just a paragraph or so, and my job was to complete it in under a thousand words. I've spent the last couple of weeks doing that and I'm pretty happy with the finished product. I sent it off first to my lovely mentor Miranda Dickinson who gave me some brilliant constructive notes, so I edited away on Sunday evening and sent it off first thing on Monday morning. I was so nervous putting it in the envelope - like sending my baby away to University, possibly to be drawn all over with red pen! 
   I'm glad I did it though. Even if I don't win (prize is story published in Grazia magazine and an invite to the event at the Royal Festival Hall where I'll go on stage to collect my award, oh and £1,000 but balls to the money, I'd like the award!!) I'm really pleased to be pushing forward so strongly with the writing. It makes me feel like I'm doing something productive. 

Well, that's all for me for now! No doubt I'll blog after the first session tomorrow (gaaaaah!!) - wish me oodles of luck if you can! Seriously, so nervous.

EG xxx