fiction Stories Writing


(a snippet of)

Chapter 4 Erin

Of course, I worried a little initially about the horror stories I had heard. The trolls, the glamorous accounts of false lives to make me feel awful about my own, the mass of uneducated opinions, the dangerously fast addiction and everything else in between, but I never thought much about it all. Besides being sixteen in 2019 meant that I had a firm grasp of what lay before me and I felt strong enough to cope with life on social media.

At the beginning I tried to remain strong anyway. It was more to prove a point to my mum but a fraction of it was fear of the inevitable. I could feel instantly the addiction looming. After two days of having access to the virtual social world, my phone was the first thing I went to pick up in the morning and the last thing that I put down at night. I spent hours scrolling and still do, but I don’t know why because after doing so I have never gained anything more or lost anything, my life remains exactly as it was.

On days when I feel bad about my own image, Instagram strengthens this sad emotion when I witness the accounts not of celebrities but of my own friends looking like celebrities. Their accounts fill my newsfeed with perfection and no flaws. The perfect brunch, the most exotic holiday venues, the prettiest new haircuts that look better than I looked that time when I had my hair and all my makeup done by a professional for a family wedding back in Ireland.

At the weekend I see friends and acquaintances out having fun. I always think to myself how they are doing the things that I should be doing when I am visiting Mummy or at work. Friends who have gone to places without even asking me so of course I feel totally left out and forgotten. Acquaintances who I don’t even care about doing things that make my Saturday night look so boring and suddenly I am deeply involved with care for the comparison.

On a more distant level, I see opinions all the time that I completely disagree with or that make me so angry that I can feel my face going red. I see people being horrible openly in their statuses or indirect Tweets and I laugh a little inside in agreement, but never would I say it to their face. I don’t wish to be involved with that kind of negative behavior, but it is too easy to get sucked in.

fiction Writing


(a snippet of)

Chapter 5 Jack

In the bathroom I have a stool to stand on to brush my teeth properly and wash my face thoroughly. I needed it to reach the sink when I was younger, but now I have grown a bit and only use it so that I have that extra bit of height because our bathroom sink is quite deep and higher up than a normal one.

Mummy bought me an electric toothbrush for my tenth birthday because she said that once you reach double digits you are old enough to have one and this made me very excited. I now brush my teeth better than I ever did before, but it means that now they know I am awake because they can hear me in the bathroom.

‘Oh hello Jack. I didn’t see you sneak in here! Did you sleep ok?’ Eileen says to me while putting her arms around me and squeezing me tight. I nod in reply.

My tooth brush buzzes three times quickly and that’s when I know it’s time to stop. Cleaning is finished for another morning. Now it’s time to wash my face with my new wash that Eileen got me. She said it will stop big spots coming early so that I will never get bullied when I become a teenager. I didn’t understand what she meant but I don’t ever want to get bullied, so I always use it to wash my face.

Finally, the screaming has stopped and I think Erin is ready to leave the house. I just have to put my clothes on but that won’t take very long at all because Eileen and I laid them out all neat last night before I went to bed. As I am getting dressed I hear the car doors open outside on the driveway and this makes me happy because it means that there will be no more waiting around before leaving the house for whatever it is we have to do and wherever it is we are going.

I get in the car and wait a few moments while Eileen locks up and makes sure that Flo is happy and won’t destroy the kitchen cupboards like she has done occasionally when she got anxious with us being away for a long time. Flo is my favourite.

As we drive out of our close along the busy road into York city centre, I think about all the happy times that I have had with Flo. I’m not allowed to walk her on my own yet, but I still enjoy walks with her because even if I am with Eileen or Erin or even Mummy sometimes then I still can feel like I’m all on my own.

Our drive keeps stopping and starting because of lots of traffic lights but I’m not taking too much notice because I am thinking about Flo and all the good times we’ve had. Suddenly our drive stops completely and I realise that we are here. The car park is busy and the signs suggest we are at a police station or a station where policemen go but I don’t know why this would be or why Erin would need to come here on a Saturday when she’s not at school.

Adulthood Non-fiction Observations Stories Writing

In a crazy world where good things happen.


Ever tried to write two novels at one time? I think I may have just taken on the challenge.

Initially I struggled to find the time to read during lock down, let alone write. Work has been so busy and my breaks were mostly spent coming to terms with what just happened. As if I’d been hit by something very hard and my whole perception knocked right out of whack.

Eventually I gave up trying to understand everything going on in the world and instead dedicated most of my time in my breaks to reading. That way my brain can shut off completely. It’s a great escape, particularly when the books I am reading are brilliant.

I finished Marian Keyes’ latest novel Grown Ups at the weekend and loved every page. Now I have started The Butterfly Room by Lucinda Riley and I am really enjoying it. It’s set locally to me in Southwold, Suffolk, so I can relate to the place (somewhere I’d love to be right now) and I can also relate to some of the characters as well.

While reading just now I came up with an idea for another novel. A total light bulb moment and a very cliche way to say my novel began if ever I am interviewed about my work.

I tried to find a way to entwine it into the novel I’m half way into writing, but it simply wouldn’t work. They are too different. So, I started a note page on my phone and when I next find time (difficult, but I will make it happen) I’m going to attempt to juggle writing two novels at once.

Lock down is doing wonders for my inspiration! Watch this space . . .

For links to all of my writing related stuff, my link tree is below. You can also find published work in my portfolio. My debut novel, Dear Brannagh, is available on Amazon along with the sequel Don’t Tell Jack. If you enjoy what you’re seeing here and are interested in following me on my writing journey, then please subscribe to my newsletter by dropping your name and email. There will be plenty of giveaways, news hot off the press and an honest insight into life as an author. Thank you x

Adulthood Non-fiction Observations

Isolation: best of a bad situation 1-3

As with all of my Covid-19 related posts, I am trying to keep things as upbeat as possible. While I feel I haven’t properly experienced lock down due to being a key worker and work being busier than ever, I fully understand how people can find it difficult.

Of course I miss things. I miss being able to pop out without purpose. To mill around the shops without anything urgent to buy and while away minutes, sometimes longer, just mooching. Allowing my mind to completely switch off from work and, and, well life.

I miss popping to the pub for a quick livener and then stumbling out however many hours later having chatted utter rubbish all afternoon and into the evening. Not remembering a thing with those I’ll never forget.

I miss going out for dinner and lunch. The other day my friend showed me a receipt from a place we have been quite recently, just before the lock down was enforced in fact, and we stopped for a minute just missing normal life. I hate to think of how these small businesses must be suffering.

I miss family and friends who I’ve not seen and the social plans that have been cancelled due to this awfulness. I feel so bad for those who have had to cancel or postpone big plans that they have eagerly awaited for so long and worked hard to make just right.

I have found, particularly on Saturday afternoons after a week of it (so tiredness probably doesn’t help matters), that I have been way more emotional. I have worried about everything way more. I have found myself feeling sad and then taking a nap so that the feeling can’t worsen.

I could continue but, as I said at the start, I want to focus on the good.

I have also found peace in many things and it has felt good. Here are just a few… finding the best in a bad situation ideas 1 to 3.


Podcasts are very similar to books in that they allow that same escapism while feeling like I’m doing something useful. I learn a lot from Podcasts. Currently I am addicted to Dawn O’Porter’s new series Dawn O’pod. I don’t listen as soon as they are released as I haven’t the time in the week but on Sunday’s I make a point of catching up and it’s lovely. Yesterday, I found the Dear Dawn very relatable and it made me feel so much better after hearing that other women think the way that I do.

Noticing things

Pre lock down I evaluated more than I noticed. I still do, but before this lock down I did it a whole lot more. Hear me out. I analyse my every move. If I didn’t say “thank you” at the right time I will beat myself up about it for ages afterwards. I assess how polite I was always. Judge how I held myself. Ensure I did everything correctly to the social norms. When I leave someone’s home. After every conversation. Every encounter. When alone and just thinking about my life, possibly comparing to others, possibly not. It’s exhausting.

Recently I have found myself still doing it, but being able to (mostly) shut my brain off and instead notice. Noticing the birds, nature, my surroundings. Noticing my life and what a huge bunch of beautiful souls I have in it. Noticing smells of flowers and the warmth of the sun. More than usual. I guess it’s the same practice as meditating and being in the moment. It really helps.

Red Wine

My drinking throughout this craziness has, like so many others out there, got out of hand. But, hey. Red wine makes me happy. I know drinking anything alcoholic has this effect after the first few sips. That buzz that fills you and the sensation of total relaxation, especially after a long day (my reason for drinking every day).

Isolation, or what of it I’ve experienced, has made me notice that the same buzz happens with red wine but on a heightened scale making me exceedingly happy and relaxed. You probably already know this but if you’re not already a red wine drinker, trust me and give it a try.

These certainly don’t exhaust my list of best bits during lock down and things to help those struggling, but they are some of the things I have found help in a positive way during these desperate times. There will be more so watch this space.

I hope you can take ideas from this new blog series and that they help you too if needed xoxo