Category Archives: #am writing (and all things writing related)

The #Selfie of Marion Faye – #amwriting

Over Christmas I read The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde and I was not a fan. However I loved the actual concept so I got it into my head to do a modern YA retelling which I started last night.

Thought I’d share the start of Chapter One to see what you think.



Click, Click, Click. Fifth photo lucky.

I’m lying in bed, right arm extend above me trying to get a natural shot that captures my “just woke up” face. But the pretty version, after I’ve combed my hair and brushed my teeth. Of course I know that no-one can smell my breath in a photograph, but I’d just know. Every time I looked at my profile I’d feel icky thinking that that was the morning I had night before garlic bread breath.

I got it. That perfect shot where my hair is spread artfully on the pillow, there’s a slight blush in my cheeks; Max Factor Rose Garden, and you can just see a hint of my piercing blue eyes opening. Almost like that Sphinx thing in that old Neverending Story film dad made me watch this weekend. Part of my “Proper film education”.

If I upload this there’s no way that Ian can ignore it. He’ll be shot with my laser eyes, caught in my trap. I hope.

I upload it to my account and use the Lark filter – it seemed apt for a morning shot.

Status – urrgh weekday mornings

Hashtags – #tooearly #morningssuck #bedhead #nofilter (okay the last two aren’t entirely true but needs must).

Within 30 seconds of hitting the share button I have ten likes. All from guys from school, but none from Ian… yet.

“Marion, you’ve got fifteen minutes to eat breakfast before I drop you to school,’ mum yells.

Make that five by the time I’ve put my uniform on and it takes all of that to make breakfast look insta worthy. I layer seeds and fruit and yoghurt in my super cute Cath Kidston pink floral breakfast bowl, take a quick shot and upend it all into a plastic container to eat in the car, chia seeds and all.

I balance the makeshift bowl on my lap and spoon the contents in left handed as mum sings along to whatever old person station she listens to in the morning. I’ve had to resign myself to losing the battle of secretly tuning the station to Radio 1 each evening, especially as she now takes the car keys up to her room rather than leave them in the key bowl by the door.

Instead I use my non feeding hand to feed my soul and check how my insta posts are doing.

#breakfastbowl #cathkidston #eatclean #chiasuperfoodness has 102 likes and one comment which turns out to be some spambot selling diet pills. Blocked.

But this morning’s selfie has 327 likes and 20 comments. My heart leaps and I scroll through the commenters handles, nothing from Ian. Just as I’m about to check through the list of likers another notification pops up.

Whov-Ian liked your post.

Operation “Get Him Back” has commenced. I can even overlook the Doctor Who nerdiness because of THOSE abs, which his latest gym shot highlights. I don’t like his picture tho. I’m not that needy.

I now look back through the comments on my pic which are all a variation on two themes.

“Well jel – wish i looked like that first thing”

“Looking stunning as always hun”

“You should totes make this your profile pic babe”


“Fit as”

“I’d like to wake up next to that”


There’s one though that stands out, from an account called Duckfacersdie.

#fake #nofiltermyarse #getalife

I think – #potkettleblack but click on their profile anyway and up pops a feed of similar shots of girls with bubble font hashtags posted all over their pics and mine is the most recent. I don’t look at the comments here but report and block them too. Boy it feels satisfying.

I choose to follow the advice of babesunit8 and update my profile picture. I really do like how I look in this one, for once.


#FromDaughtertoWoman by Kim McCabe – Blog Tour Guest Post

Goodreads link

Guest Post – Social Media Safety

by Kim McCabe, author of From Daughter to Woman, parenting girls safely through their teens

My daughter’s phone died.  I braced myself for her panic at being disconnected.  It didn’t come, she quite liked having a social media ‘holiday’… for a few weeks.  Then she needed to get back in the loop, she was missing conversations, photos, gatherings.  But after not having a phone for a while, she was a bit more aware of how easy it was to lose time on it and how it didn’t always make her feel too brilliant.

Teen depression.  We all like to blame social media.  We’re a bit afraid of it when we see the hold it has over our kids.  We’re right to be cautious, it’s definitely having an impact on teen mental health. We don’t want our girls to be basing their opinion of themselves on how many ‘likes’ they can earn.  Or ending up exhausted before the day has begun because they were messaging until 2am.  Or doing things for the boys because that’s what they’ve all seen online.

Our children are growing up in a world that’s populated by digital delights that we never knew.  We’re going to have to learn about how they work before we can teach our kids how to stay healthy in this new culture.  This is nothing new, parents have always struggled with whatever’s the latest craze.  Kids love it and we tend to see the downsides of it.

If you want to be able to influence your child’s social media habits you can’t be completely down on it.  Think about it from your child’s point of view: if you don’t have control over your home, own a car, or have much money and here is a device which puts you in touch with your friends and a world that you don’t have easy access to any other way. What’s not to like?

Here’s the way forward:

• Ask her to teach you about the platforms that she likes.

• Sign up to some yourself so that you can see what’s going on.

• Find out what you need to teach her to stay safe (like turning off location functions, not giving personal details and not meeting people you’ve encountered online; there’s more, find out).

• Ask her what she sees online that bothers her and discuss it without being judgmental or she’ll clam up.

• Find out what happens to everything digital, so you can explain it to her.

• Give her the 1-second-check idea, suggesting she pause before pushing send to ask herself what would my granny or boss think of this?

• Show her videos of how photoshop changes what we’re shown.

• Reassure her that it’s normal to be curious but if ever she sees or hears anything she wishes she hadn’t, she can come to you, no blame.

• Have a night-time parking place downstairs for phones.  No phones at bedtime; buy an alarm clock.

• Suggest a ‘mood check’ after time spent with social media so she’s aware of when it’s doing her good and when it’s not.  Encourage her to notice what feels positive (the connection, the fun) and what doesn’t (comparing, mean comments).

• Set a good example yourself.

Our duty as parents is to take care of our children and gradually to hand that job over to them.  So, when she’s little you install software safeguards and set rules.  As she gets older, the safety filters are going to have to come from inside her, so your job turns into how to help her do that.  First. She’s going to need to understand why she’d want to.  Then, you’ll need to guide her how to use social media safely.

If you think she’s running into difficulties, you need to show that you’re on her side.  If she’s not having a nice time online, chances are she’ll feel like it’s her fault and shame will make it harder for her to tell you.  If she seems to be relying on ‘likes’ to feel good, and then feels low after the high, help her to notice that.  If you think she’s got a bit hooked and you judge her, she’ll just get defensive.  Telling anyone of any age that they’re addicted to something is the last way to get them to stop.  Never make her wrong.  If you want to get through to her, the two of you have to be able to talk to each other without accusing or criticizing.  If you want an easy way to get these conversations going, go on a Mother-Daughter Date once a month.

It’s the way to get real-life ‘likes’ from her!

Wow. What a great post. Thanks Kim. Some useful pointers for social media using adults here too!


This book aims to make the adolescent’s journey just that bit safer, kinder, and better supported – so parents and teens can enjoy the teenage years more.

The teen years are tough – for teens and for parents. Many parents dread the moodiness, dishonesty, preference of friends over family, exam stress, and the push for greater independence. Mothers have a pivotal role to play; this is a guidebook for parents and mothers of girls in particular as they navigate the rocky teenage landscape with their daughters aged 8 to 18. It aims to help them embrace the potential of their child’s teenage years by marking this time of growing maturity for girls and celebrating it with them. We celebrate birth, marriage and death, but this important life-transition from child to young adult is nowadays rarely acknowledged within an appropriate community.


Kim McCabe is the founder of Rites for Girls. As the originator and facilitator of Girls Journeying Together groups, she offers guidance to preteen and teen girls and simultaneous support for their mothers. In training other women to facilitate these groups, her dream is that every girl grows up expecting to be supported and celebrated in adolescence. Kim was commissioned to write a section in Steve Biddulph’s latest best-selling book, 10 Things Girls Need Most: To Grow Up Strong and Free.

Kim is a home-educating mother of two boys, one girl, two cats and a colony of aloe vera plants; she is wife to a Kiwi, daughter to itinerant parents, friend to a cherished few, and lover of time alone, too. She lives in the Ashdown Forest in Sussex. She sometimes shouts at her children, accidentally steps on the cat’s tail and forgets to water the plants, but she loves her work, her family and her life. She has always had deep affinity with teenage girls, and by sharing her wisdom and compassion she infects the reader with her enthusiasm for this life stage.

From Daughter to Women is out July 18th published by Little Brown and is sure to be invaluable for those raising teenagers. It includes topics such as puberty, periods, relationships and wellbeing and I love the concept of Mother-Daughter dates.

Do check out the rest of the blog tour.

Thanks to Faye Rogers for also proving a PDF which I’m looking forward to reading.

Writing Retreat – Guest Post

Have you ever wanted to be whisked away somewhere remote to get that book inside you written? And do you wish that you had expert guidance and support to help you while you did it?

If you answered yes to the above questions then you should definitely continue reading this post which is going to tell you all about the Atelier des Ecrivains (Writers’ Workshop) retreat.

Becky and Sarah who are co-hosting the writing retreat, and are both writers themselves, know that there are lots of people who harbour a desire to write a book but may either lack the confidence, the skills or the headspace to actually do it. They also know from experience that removing yourself from your daily life, with all of its pressures and interruptions, and coming together with like-minded people can be a great way to overcome those barriers. Where better to do that than in a beautiful 18thcentury manor house outside one of France’s prettiest villages, Aubeterre?

Helen Cross, author of My Summer of Love, which was turned into a Hollywood film starring Emily Blunt and whose other novels, screen and radio plays entertain people all over the world will be leading the workshop. She is an experienced teacher of creative writing and currently teaches on the MFA in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia, UK. The combination of skills and experience offered by Helen, Becky and Sarah will be invaluable to authors at all stages of their writing journey.


Getting started – Thursday 20 to Monday 24 September, 2018
For people at the beginning of their writing journey, this workshop will help you develop your writing skills, find your creative voice, thematic material and literary style: create credible characters and reveal them through dialogue and active, dramatic scenes: and build your world – structure, point-of-view, and narrative voice. With a small group of up to 10 writers, we are promoting an environment of creativity and support with one-to-one feedback sessions and time for questions and answers.

Keeping going – May, 2019
For people who have already started their writing journey, this workshop will enhance your skills even further, help you overcome barriers and enable you to shape your words into the brilliant piece of work you know it has the potential to be.

Getting published – September 2019
For people reaching the conclusion of a writing project, this workshop is designed to support the final stages of writing and editing, and will contain lots of useful information about how to get published and successfully market your book.

You can find out more information about the hosts, venue and workshops here. To book your place or to contact the hosts, you can visit the website here.

I don’t know about you but I would very much like to go on this writing retreat. Maybe I should start doing the lottery.

Have you ever been on a retreat of any kind? How was it?


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