Category Archives: Book Updates

Do you need shutters or blinds for your gable end window?

If I was poetic I would go on about how beautiful the autumn leaves are, fluttering to the ground as we gaze through our gable end window. But I’m not going to as it won’t be any use to anyone thinking of building their own house. Instead, I’m going impart some useful information about a solution we found for blinds to fit our gable end window. (You won’t realise how important this is until you’ve got one causing you a problem). After years of deliberation, odd bits of curtain and drawing pins, we finally saved up enough money and opted for made to measure slatted blinds I am still in raptures about them, especially at night. I’m as big a fan as anyone of a lovely bright moonlit night, but when the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie at 2 am it’s not amore I can tell you!

Now to find curtains for the downstairs sunroom/dining area. There are a few big floor to ceiling windows to consider in our self-built house you see. It makes me and Mr Clark weary just thinking about it. Well, it’s a simple choice really – pay the mortgage or buy curtains. I fear another winter of discontent as we sit and watch the rain lash against the glass while it tries to sneak its way in through the oak beams and make leaky tannin stains, and most importantly we must try and not do anything untoward in that part of the room lest the new neighbours should see.

You can find more top tips for self-building in my book Mud and Marriage – Available from or from this website.

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Ready to roll!

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At last after a long self-publishing journey, I feel like Frodo eventually getting back to the Shire after braving the fires of Mordor. Luckily I have had not just one, but a few Samwise the Braves to help me on my way. Unlike Frodo I won’t be going off on a boat with Gandalf, I will be in the (Berk)shire awaiting orders for books and sending them off post-haste.

If you want an insight into building a house or even what to wear at a job interview, this book is for you. Perhaps you might like to know what a nogging is, or even the benefits of wearing salopettes in a draught.

Mostly you will get a frank look at life at the coalface of a self-build while all around is just life as we know it, of course with its funny side, but also its harsh side.

I’m very happy indeed to be able to set the book free into the world. I hope you enjoy reading it.

You can order the book here

Have you built in enough storage?

It’s been six years now since we moved into our self-built house. Seasons come and seasons go, and as I get my cold weather clothes out ready for a windy West Berkshire winter, I realise once again that we still need more storage. You might have thought that as Mr Clark and I had a hand in the design of our own house build that we would have come up with ingenious storage solutions. Sadly we haven’t as yet. Those built in wardrobes and cupboards still haven’t manifested but are at the top of my list. Mr Clark is thinking about upgrading his raised vegetable beds. I am thinking I would like to get my clothes off that temporary rail in the spare room.

Top tip* If you are building a house, think about storage and build it into your budget at the start. If you don’t ,you might find that a moth has eaten your best Karen Millen Jacket because it somehow found its way out of the clothes storage bag under your bed and has been decimated, or even in this case desiccated and has had to be put in the bin … or as Mr Clark helpfully suggested, ‘don’t have stuff’.

cropped-mudmarriage-book-cover-04The book is at the printers and will be available soon. Get the Launchpad ready!

Are you just about to embark on a self-build?

After three months of editing, proofreading and formatting, I am nearly ready to send off for my proof copy of the book –phew! Who knew the amount of work that goes into producing a book after you’ve written it?  Not me. I do now.

What colour paper to go for, cream or white?  Cream looks more like a novel and less like a text book. Cream it is then, but apparently it will expand my spine width.

My sister-in-law Catherine has been doing a fabulous job with formatting the text and pictures and guiding me through the self-publishing process, and my sister Kate has designed a magnificent book cover. This is my first blog, and is coming to you only because of the help of my good friend and social media guru Jenni Collins. I am really lucky to have such talented friends and family to help me on my way.

Are you just about to embark on a self-build?  If you are, I am truly envious. I would do it all again tomorrow, albeit with a limitless budget!  But for now I have to think about a venue to launch Mud & Marriage – A Housebuilding Adventure. Another dilemma, although not as tricky as choosing which tiles to buy for a newly battened roof.

Canapés and champagne, or cheese twists and chardonnay?  Yet again it’s a budget issue. We’ll see. I will just want to celebrate the fact that I have a finished copy of the book in my hand, and that I can share it with the world.

Happy days.