Adulthood Non-fiction Observations Seasonal

Happy Love Day

Valentines day can be lovely. Huge bouquets of flowers, champagne for breakfast and a celebration of the many strong relationships out there. #couplegoals

It can also be sad, lonely and make you feel sick to the stomach. I have heard people in long term healthy relationships wretch at the gushy messages they see or extravagant presents for this commercial celebration.

I’m pretty chill about being single because for the past few years I’ve been working on myself. I now can say I feel I’m better at being me than ever. I’m happier in my own skin and not relying (too much) on others to make me happy – the healthiest way to be. Yet on valentines day afternoon I found myself avoiding social media due to the constant stream of soppy status’ and displays of perfection.

While scrolling and inwardly weeping – mostly due to the fact that my car battery was flatter than a flat thing and I had spent my entire weekend trying to fix it – I found a few gems hidden among the gush. One was from Fearne Cotton. Another from Dawn O’Porter. A third from Charlie Mackesy and all were expressing the same, wonderful idea.

‘Today I’m celebrating all the love in my life,’ said Fearne. ‘The family, the friends, the special people who turned up later down the line, the ones I can’t see or hug.’

This is just it. Everyone has a little love in their hearts. Some more than others but everyone has something. Even, heaven forbid, those who are ‘on their own’ at valentines. And this year this notion is more important than ever. I’m going to celebrate love on valentines day for years to come. Even when I’m in a relationship I will continue to think of it as a day to celebrate treasured relationships that portray, Charlie Mackesy’s words, love in all its forms.

Happy Love Day for a week ago to you all. Love wins, always.

All blog posts can be found at and to read my published work visit my portfolio. My debut novel, Dear Brannagh, is out now.

Adulthood Non-fiction Observations

Social Media

Social Media is really strange.

It is an information overload, there is so much to take in. All the time. A constant feed of news and stories. Peoples thoughts and feelings. Other peoples thoughts about those thoughts and feelings. It never stops. Ever. Time differences make this happen. And insomnia.

This morning I planned to spend an extra hour sleeping but I have used half an hour of that hour up already staring at my screen. Scrolling. Catching up on everything that I missed while I was asleep for eight hours. EIGHT HOURS. I’ve only touched the surface. In half an hour. So much information.

There are, of course, really good bits. There are lovely photos of people doing lovely things. Inspirational posts about records of achievement or important life events that people are really happy about and wish to share with the world.

They also want to share what they had for dinner. What they are doing each moment in time. What they are thinking. Their view both politically and of a field near their house. Bizarre. We all do it though.

There is so much love on people’s birthdays. Couples anniversaries. Births of new born babies. Deaths.

When selling items or tracking down dogs or posting a job vacancy in a small business or notifying of a community event, it is a brilliant brilliant tool. There are few better places to promote than on the social.

It never stops. This fricking world never stops spinning. Sometimes you want it to. So bad. For just a minute. Sixty seconds.

Letter writing is almost extinct. Visiting a friend’s Facebook page allows you into their life, what they are doing, where they are living, whether they are married, have any children. A like is deemed contact. A love is even more. A virtual wave, a handshake, a thumbs up. You’re doing great.

Memories daily reminding you of the past and reminders to tell you about the events in the future. Making you realise how, maybe, you should be living. How you used to be. The moment just whizzes by.

It is good. It is bad. It is a voice, a platform, loving, dangerous, cruel, unkind, kind, helpful, useful, boring, odd.

Social Media is a really strange thing.

Adulthood Non-fiction Observations Writing

Social Media – a false existence.

On a personal level I find social media both brilliant and destructive.

It enables me to keep in contact with more friends than I would ever be able to without it and from all corners of the globe. It gives me an insight into the exciting travel adventures of others, let’s me read about inspiring people doing wonderful things and provides me with ideas about how to better my life.

However, it also gets me down on mundane days when I’m going about my quiet little life and others are dining with celebrities, climbing mountains and looking drop dead gorgeous.

I think we all know not to compare ourselves with others and that what people post on their social accounts is a warped view of reality. I like to think of myself as very real on my personal Facebook and Instagram accounts, not worrying too much about what I look like to the rest of the world, yet I can understand how people easily get swept under the false carpet.

Since I have become a part of the literary social world using my accounts as tools for writing inspiration, motivation and also (I hate to admit) publicity, I have had a very different experience of the virtual social world.

I started my writing Facebook page first on which I plugged my blog. This is still very much the case and an extremely useful tool in doing so. It is also linked to my fairly new Instagram.

This was started after a conversation with my sister who is a photographer about how to build a social following in attempt to promote my work in the future. All very innocent and necessary.

I had every intention from the beginning to keep the account as real as possible and simply portray a writer’s life. This went firmly out of the window almost immediately as I posed in Aldeburgh in front of my sister and her camera.

Elegantly reading my book on a wall, looking into the distance (as you do). Sitting on the beach wearing the hoodie from work and beside my dog pausing so well it’s as if I have told him to sit for the photo (which I absolutely had).

I was planning weeks of photos in advance. Putting them in order of which day I would post them and occasionally even writing out the caption that would go with them.

In fact it is very rare that I post a photo of what I am doing at the very moment I am doing it, no edits, reflecting my true writer’s life, warts and all.

I have heard well known celebrities talk about this on podcasts whereby they have such a strong presence on social media that there have been days when they post a feel good post while crying themselves silly on the sofa. There seems to be such pressure and no break that I can see how it could get intense.

I have backtracked slightly now (maybe because I am starting to get somewhere with my writing so no longer need to fake it), but still find it difficult to be entirely true yet remain professional.

Recently I have found putting a weekly theme to my feed gains authenticity because the photos are genuine recommendations of things I have genuinely done in the past and are clearly from the past. I am not claiming them to be me, now.

That all said though, for all the bad parts of social media, there are so many good things that it brings so of course I will still use it and hopefully become truer to myself every day.

It is an interesting topic of discussion in the modern world and why my main focus of book number 2 is both the damning and honest aspects to the vibrant social world!

fiction Stories Writing

Chapter 3, 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 after a while. Besides being sixteen in 2019 meant that I had a firm grasp of what lay before me and 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 behaviour, but it is too easy to get sucked in.

When it all began though, I didn’t and still don’t feel I got too involved. I always stayed back and never posted much on my own accounts. The last picture I posted on Instagram which I also posted onto my Facebook account was wishing Jack a Happy Birthday in May. I made a collage of photos of the two of us from when we were very little up until our holiday in Ireland last year.

I am finding it very hard to see how my involvement affected anything. I guess you never know what is happening behind somebody’s eyes. Their thoughts and feelings are totally invisible which is the danger when they don’t discuss anything going on inside their head. I have been over all our accounts since finding out, even hers which is hurtful to do, and nothing seems too awful, but it must have seemed awful to her.

Non-fiction Observations Writing

Keeping up with the socials

Being a young person isn’t easy. Being a person isn’t always easy. Particularly if that person is starting out a business or a new career through which social media is essential.

In this day and age many people can’t go to the toilet without announcing it on Facebook. They can’t go to the supermarket and bag themselves a bargain without a Tweet to say how fabulous they feel. They can’t sit and do some work without capturing the setup of their laptop, coffee and diary in a structured fashion. I am a huge culprit of this.

I would be lying if I said all of what you see on my social media accounts is the reality. Of course I edit photos from nights out, I big up scenarios to make them sound better than they were and I comment on other people’s feeds far more enthusiastically and witty than I would be if in conversation with them in real life.

Above all in the hyper-reality league table come my writing social feeds. Since aspiring to be an author and realising fast that a lot of the publicity would be up to me whether I self publish or get signed by an agent, I set up a Facebook page, a blog, an Instagram site and a Twitter account all dedicated to my life as an aspiring writer.

Instantly the followers crept in as did the supportive messages from other like-minded individuals. The trouble was that I soon realised I needed to be posting a lot more than I did (and that still needs to be increased).

After having my Instagram account for a week and posting every three days, I knew instantly that I needed to increase that to every day. My blog, Twitter and Facebook feeds are works in progress too as I desperately try to increase my activity (and find the time to do so).

This task sounds easy to some but trust me it is a lot more difficult than you would think. Firstly figuring out what to post about and which images to use is a tricky task, but being motivated and in the mood to post all the time is another thing altogether.

I have been known to post about my fabulously sunny afternoon (#Friyay) making me so happy while in floods of tears, severely hormonal. I have been known to post a sunny idyllic setup, when in fact I am in bed. I have been known to make my views about something sound exceedingly positive when I am breaking inside with negativity over it.

However, it isn’t all doom and gloom. I am getting the hang of it and trying to be ever more real with all of my feeds while also coming across so many other accounts where people are doing great.

Ultimately, I find social media a positive tool in business and careers. Judging by the accounts I follow and from talking to friends I think it’s comforting to people going through health issues and such like, writing about their situation, inspiring others and gaining a boost through those who are suffering with them. I think it’s encouraging to those training for a big event and using social media for advice, enthusiasm and good vibes. It’s also good to know that so many people support you and most only wish you well.

So, while using social networks for publicity of career aspirations, awareness around health issues, or support for a big event is a struggle, a full time job and difficult to increase a following when you’re a nobody, social media is (mostly) brilliant for this!

(In my opinion)