The view from Ashley's retreat: stormy skies and a turbulent lake. The perfect place to write

Sometimes, we all need a moment away from our busy lives. We need to step out, breathe different air, and refresh our view of the world. Somewhere peaceful to reconnect and inspire creativity.

Well, at least I do.

I’ve been trapped in the big-smoke for several weeks now. And with Covid-19 under control (mostly) in New Zealand, my life is back to its usual hectic self. Where squeezing in time to write, and finding the energy to be creative is a challenge.

So, I’ve taken a long weekend away with friends. We’ve escaped the hustle and bustle of the city to relax. Maybe play some board games. Hit up the spa. Wander the quiet streets of small-town New Zealand−Find my way back to whatever inspires me.

Luckily, one of my friends who’s joined our retreat shares a passion for writing. And just this morning, we had a great discussion about the ups and downs of the creative process while standing in the kitchen, over an impromptu coffee and making eggs. It’s made me suitably inspired to get some words on the page.

As I sit and write this, a storm is raging outside. A furious wind whips at the lake outside the window, and rain lashes the tin roof, unrelenting. But there is something cosy about it. The gas fire roars inside, and I’m curled up with a mug of steaming hot tea.

This is my ideal setting to write, write, write.



My week in that lab has been frustrating. One of those weeks where a lot of work is done, but you make no progress. Instead, you end up worse off than when you started. These sorts of weeks are the worst.

So, rather than complaining to all of you, I’ll leave you with a picture of my friends’ cat that’s here on holiday with us.

The life of a cat. An orange-haired friend to accompany Ashley as she settles down to write