Illuminate my arrow. “In This Boat” live from Lightship95 (2011)

Illuminate my arrow. “In This Boat” live from Lightship95 (2011)

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“In This Boat” performed live on the Lightship95 music studio boat on the River Thames, November 2011.



This song appears on my 2012 album “Little Battles”, released under the name She Makes War.

At the end of 2011 I assembled a temporary band of superstars in their own right to showcase four songs from my upcoming second album “Little Battles”. We spent a whole day filming on the Lightship95 music studio inside a pink boat moored on the River Thames, and this is one of the songs we played.

Band members:
Annie Gardiner – bass / vocals
Tom Gardiner – drums
Dana Jade aka Ms Mohammed – guitar
Milly McGregor – violin
Bass – backing vocals

Video shot so beautifully by Ed Christmas, edited by Laura Kidd.
Audio recorded and mixed by Jarrad Hearman, mastered by Ian Shepherd.


🎶 Browse my entire back catalogue – She Makes War and Penfriend – here.

Join my mailing list for free songs and stories, subscribe here for future videos and get involved from the start of Penfriend album #2 by joining The Correspondent’s Club.

Have a lovely day! xo

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I quit social media for 30 days and slept better for a WHOLE YEAR

I quit social media for 30 days and slept better for a WHOLE YEAR

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In June 2021 I quit social media for 30 days…and it helped me sleep better for a whole year.

When I released my album “Exotic Monsters” in May 2021 I was burned out. Musicians can end up spending a lot of time online promoting their work, and I needed a rest.

Social media has been a really great space for me to meet music fans and make all sorts of interesting connections since I started blogging in 2004 and tweeting in 2007, but in recent years it feels like it’s all got a bit too much. Do you agree?

The tactics of the attention engineers employed by those big companies to keep us stuck to our phones seem to have got more aggressive over time, and I’ve personally felt embarrassment, guilt and shame about my sometime phone addiction.

I decided to do something about it, and I’d love to hear what you think of this video.


Join my mailing list for free songs and stories, subscribe here for future videos and get involved from the start of Penfriend album #2 by joining The Correspondent’s Club.

Have a lovely day! xo

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With three little words you lied… – “Scared To Capsize” Live from the Archive (2015)

With three little words you lied… – “Scared To Capsize” Live from the Archive (2015)

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“Scared To Capsize” performed live on ukulele, vocals and loop pedal at Ort Cafe, Birmingham, 24th March 2015.


This song originally appeared on my 2010 album “Disarm”, released under the name She Makes War.

I dressed up as a unicorn in the music video and travelled in a paper boat across East London.

Recorded by Dan Hayward, mixed and mastered by Jay Chakravorty. Video by Blacklight Productions.

🎶 Browse my entire back catalogue – She Makes War and Penfriend – here.



Join my mailing list for free songs and stories, subscribe here for future videos and get involved from the start of Penfriend album #2 by joining The Correspondent’s Club.

Have a lovely day! xo

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Obey Robots album countdown starts here

Obey Robots album countdown starts here

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Sign up here to receive exclusive early access to the Obey Robots album pre-order on October 4th and also be the first to hear the new music (existing mailing list subscribers don’t need to sign up again).

In 2019, I received an exciting email from Miles Hunt of The Wonder Stuff, asking if I’d be interested in writing some music with Rat from Ned’s Atomic Dustbin. Having first heard “Kill Your Television” on a mixtape in 1997, I was over the moon to discover that Rat had stumbled across my work on a YouTube binge – and a new collaboration was born.

Various roadblocks soon cropped up, meaning the journey between that first email and this exciting day has not been easy – but we made it.

In this new video I talk about the importance of keeping going, even when you want to quit (and oh, did I want to quit!), and how proud I am that we finished this record. I can’t wait for you to hear it!


🎶 Fewer than 30 copies of the Obey Robots 7″ vinyl “Let It Snow / Inside Out” remain – get yours here.

Join my mailing list for free songs and stories, subscribe here for future videos and get involved from the start of Penfriend album #2 by joining The Correspondent’s Club.

Have a lovely day! xo

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My new favourite earphones

My new favourite earphones

Creativity Homepage Feature Letterbox Live performances

As I reach the end of the mixing process for my upcoming Obey Robots album, I compare the Flare Audio E-Prototype earphones with my trusty Shure SE21 and Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro.

As a bonus, I always enjoy an opportunity to mention my life’s dream of collaborating with Liam Howlett / The Prodigy. Liam, let’s talk!

Here’s my affiliate link for all Flare Audio products.


Links to the other equipment mentioned:
Shure SE215
Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro
Focusrite Clarett
Headphone extender


🎶 Browse my entire back catalogue – She Makes War and Penfriend – here.

Join my mailing list for free songs and stories, subscribe here for future videos and get involved from the start of Penfriend album #2 by joining The Correspondent’s Club.

Have a lovely day! xo

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Stranger. Lover. “Minefields” live from Lightship95 (2011)

Stranger. Lover. “Minefields” live from Lightship95 (2011)

Creativity Homepage Feature Letterbox Live performances

“Minefields” performed live on the Lightship95 music studio boat on the River Thames, November 2011.



This song appears on my 2012 album “Little Battles”, released under the name She Makes War.

At the end of 2011 I assembled a temporary band of superstars in their own right to showcase four songs from my upcoming second album “Little Battles”. We spent a whole day filming on the Lightship95 music studio inside a pink boat moored on the River Thames, and this is one of the songs we played.

What a dream – three fierce solo artists and a brilliant drummer sharing a stage. I’m so glad we captured these memories.

Band members:
Annie Gardiner – bass / vocals
Tom Gardiner – drums
Dana Jade aka Ms Mohammed – guitar

Video shot so beautifully by Ed Christmas, edited by Laura Kidd.
Audio recorded and mixed by Jarrad Hearman, mastered by Ian Shepherd.


🎶 Browse my entire back catalogue – She Makes War and Penfriend – here.

Join my mailing list for free songs and stories, subscribe here for future videos and get involved from the start of Penfriend album #2 by joining The Correspondent’s Club.

Have a lovely day! xo

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This is your invitation

This is your invitation

Creativity Homepage Feature Letterbox Music News Process


This is your invitation to directly support the creation of new music.
To join a genuinely supportive online community, to receive thoughtful, lovingly made limited edition art and music bundles, to be part of shaping the future of my Penfriend project, and to be treated like the VIP music fan you already are.

As I embark upon the writing and recording of my second album as Penfriend, I’ve just opened up some new tiers in my Correspondent’s Club membership – and I’d love for you to join us.

Visit this page to browse all the options, and keep reading to find out how this incredibly supportive group of people have completely changed my life as an independent artist.


In 2009 I started tentatively sharing my music on the internet – and I was immediately blown away by the generosity of music fans around the world, people who were excited to sidestep the corporate music industry and directly support this independent artist.

Are you familiar with the term “patron of the arts”? It’s nothing new; artists have been funded by patrons for centuries, and it makes sense – we all have something unique to bring to our communities, offline and online, and it was a real turning point in my life when I realised that being an artist, making music and videos and podcasts and zines and whatever else – that could be my worthwhile contribution to the community.

I funded the recording, mixing, mastering and manufacturing of my first four albums through pre-orders and crowdfunding campaigns – and then, at the end of 2018, a company called Pledge Music folded, taking £6000 of my money with them.

I was furious. Not just because I needed that money to make my next album, but because the whole thing was so disrespectful to my supporters.

(I fulfilled all the pledges anyway, obviously.)

I grew up really resisting the concept of rockstars, those people we’re meant to put on a pedestal and treat as the super special ones. That never resonated with me. So, realising there was another path, a path I could make for myself where I could be a normal person – well, sort of normal – realising that I could flip all that on its head and find more ways to contribute to my community? That was huge for me.

Instead of saying “look at me, aren’t I great, shiny shiny ads, buy my music!”, I could say “here, I made this with love, I hope it helps in some way”. That’s what music does for me, whether I’m processing my thoughts and experiences through making it, or when I find music by other artists that tips my world upside down.

Music = magic.

So, at the start of 2019 I launched my Supersub Club, and in 2020 I renamed it The Correspondent’s Club. It changed my life. From juggling freelance video and social media jobs with comment moderation shifts at a national newspaper (hi trolls!), I was suddenly free to spend all my time making music and videos and podcasts and zines and whatever else. Over and above making music, I could finally spend my time encouraging others in their own creative dreams.

I went into overdrive, producing 50 episodes of my creativity podcast Attention Engineer, completing my debut Penfriend album “Exotic Monsters”, delivering quarterly art and music bundles to my dear subscribers and starting my YouTube channel in earnest.

I’ve always been a grafter, and I’ve never thought that producing 12 songs every 18 months was enough of a job for me.

There was a time around 2015-2017 when I flirted with the idea of teaming up in some way with “the music industry”, bringing my music and my community and my knowhow onto a bigger stage. All that resulted in was money wasted on PR companies who didn’t stand a chance of getting coverage for an indie upstart like me, radio pluggers who get paid whether or not they get your songs played, and time and energy wasted on a manager who didn’t seem to want to do any actual work.

Giving up on that industry mirage was empowering. No more waiting around. No more crossing fingers. No more hoping someone would come along and make everything bigger, better, easier.

I already told you, I’m not afraid of hard work.

In 2021, my first Penfriend album “Exotic Monsters” went to number 24 in the UK Official Albums chart – without the help of any of the things musicians are told are essential.

I didn’t even post on TikTok.

This momentous thing, this lifetime dream come true only happened because people who like real music about real things chose to buy my album on vinyl, CD, tape and download. And the album only exists the way it does because my Correspondent’s Club members funded it right from the start of its creation in early 2019.

It’s normal to feel disconnected from things these days, but just like your local independently run cafe continuing to stay open because you and your friends go back again and again, I get to keep making music and videos and podcasts and zines and whatever because people like you subscribe, or buy music and merch from my shop or, in the not too distant future, buy tickets to come and see me play in your town.

I do all of this all by myself, with full-time cheerleading and occasional camera holding from my husband Tim. There are no middle persons involved, no team, no manager, label, agent or anything else.

​It’s a lot, but I prefer it this way – I don’t have to try to become a supermarket in the centre of town and feel like a failure when I don’t “make it”.

I’m an artisan, small batch producer of music filled with love and care and hope, that I transmit to you in whatever form you prefer, be that vinyl, CD or digital file.

And now you can be part of all of it.

Visit penfriend.rocks/join to browse membership options.


If now isn’t the right time to subscribe but you like what I do, here are four other ways you can cheer me on:

+ Get two free songs and stories sent to your inbox by signing up to my mailing list at penfriend.rocks/hello

+ Click like on this video so it can reach more people, and leave a comment to let me know where in the world you’re viewing from today

+ Subscribe to my channel to watch future videos

+ Visit my shop to pick up limited edition music and merch, from t-shirts to vinyl to CDs to enamel pins.

It’s really tough out there at the moment, and I’m feeling it too – but alongside my paid offerings I will always keep making things that are free for you to enjoy.

You can pick up a bunch of free downloads from the songs page on my website, and I’m currently uploading here twice a week.

I’d love to welcome you into The Correspondent’s Club either today or in the future, but whichever way we stay in touch – I’m really thankful for being able to spend a bit of time with you.

Thanks for watching! See you soon xoxo

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Making my first music video – 2009 VLOG

Making my first music video – 2009 VLOG

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An historical vlog from February 2009. See clips of “snow day” in London and enjoy my very first music video!

“Eye Spy” is a straight-up anti-war song, and listening to the lyrics again now I feel sad that they’re always relevant. The video was shot by me in Brockwell Park, Herne Hill, and was the very start of my music video directing adventures. On-screen assistance comes from actor friend Melissa Dozois, in character as her silent movie creation Molly.

All the footage in the vlog and the music video was shot on tape – yep, video editing used to be quite the faff!

🎶 A similar but different version of “Eye Spy” was recorded at the end of 2009 as part of my debut album “Disarm”. “Disarm” and my second album “Little Battles” are available on limited edition coloured vinyl – for the first time EVER – plus CD/download from my shop.



Join my mailing list for free songs and stories, subscribe here for future videos and get involved from the start of Penfriend album #2 by joining The Correspondent’s Club.

Have a lovely day! xo

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Why I went to Lisbon and didn’t post about it on social media

Why I went to Lisbon and didn’t post about it on social media

Creativity Homepage Feature Letterbox Mindfulness

In October 2021 I embarked on a solo trip to Lisbon. After retreating into my home – first during a series of lockdowns between March 2020 and January 2021 and then, voluntarily, being super careful for the rest of the year – I tested the waters with my first trip abroad since touring Europe in 2019.

I’m a huge fan of solo travel, whether that’s close to home or further afield. It’s such a great opportunity to do, see, eat and drink whatever *you* want to, as well as to think deeply, appreciate your own resilience and plan for the future without any distractions, without making all those micro-adjustments we rightly or wrongly do when we’re with our loved ones.

In this video I also share some thoughts on the immediacy and addictive nature of social media sharing, whether that’s caring or, perhaps, wearing, and share some photos from my trip.

I’m very thankful for any opportunity to travel like this, and don’t take it for granted at all.

Lisbon is a magical place, I hope you get to visit some time xo

Join my mailing list for free songs and stories, subscribe here for future videos and get involved from the start of Penfriend album #2 by joining The Correspondent’s Club.

Have a lovely day! xo


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I’m in the wars… – “Paper Thin” Live from the Archive (2015)

I’m in the wars… – “Paper Thin” Live from the Archive (2015)

Creativity Homepage Feature Letterbox Live performances

“Paper Thin” performed live on ukulele, vocals, loop pedal and violin at Ort Cafe, Birmingham, 24th March 2015.


This song appears on my 2016 album “Direction Of Travel” released under the name She Makes War. The album version features the beautiful vocals of Tanya Donelly – watch the video here.

Violin by Simon Goff – check out his beautiful new album with Katie Melua!

Recorded by Dan Hayward, mixed and mastered by Jay Chakravorty. Video by Blacklight Productions.

🎶 Browse my entire back catalogue – She Makes War and Penfriend – here.



Join my mailing list for free songs and stories, subscribe here for future videos and get involved from the start of Penfriend album #2 by joining The Correspondent’s Club.

Have a lovely day! xo

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