On helping to judge a writing competition

As an example, I hate Moby Dick with a passion. It’s just so tedious. But I can still objectively see that it’s A Good Book. If I came across that in my pile of entries, I daresay I’d recommend it for the longlist, just as soon as I’d dried my tears of boredom. It’s all about objectivity, which I don’t think we’re always very good at as writers, and therefore we assume that anybody who reads our work is looking for reasons to ‘mark us down’, as it were.… Read More On helping to judge a writing competition

The last normal day

I met a friend I hadn’t seen for years for lunch. I was nervous about it. What if we had nothing to say to each other after all those years of Facebook likes, Instagram comments, and no proper, spoken words? I needn’t have worried. We passed the time like we were still at university together, not realising how weird it would soon seem that we were definitely less than two metres apart, shouting over the noise of a cafe that was packed to the rafters.… Read More The last normal day

Fuckin’ imposter syndrome, man

I knew the article I wanted to write, but I didn’t really expect anybody to want me to write it. I was just happy to say I’d tried. So, imagine my surprise when I got a reply to say ‘this sounds great, go ahead and write it for us’. Or, more accurately, imagine the panic attack I had. I was not ready for a ‘yes’. I was only prepared to spend a couple of evenings watching Schitts Creek, pounding Lidl pinot grigio, and cursing The Establishment. Or, The Man. Or some other faceless entity I could blame my dissatisfaction on that wasn’t myself. But that wasn’t to be. So I freaked out.… Read More Fuckin’ imposter syndrome, man

The Jump

Everybody enthusiastically agreed, so I had no choice but to pretend I did too, because I am nothing if not a follower.

Before I gave myself too much time to think about it, I’d stripped off my leggings and the Hamilton T-shirt I always wear to exercise in because I’m cool. Underneath I was wearing bikini bottoms and a sports bra. And not, like, an attractive, yoga bunny sports bra. Like a scaffolding-based sports bra that is designed to do a lot of heavy lifting and never ever be seen out in public. My legs hadn’t seen an epilator for a couple of weeks. I was looking my best.… Read More The Jump

This is what a beach body looks like

hen I used to pick up the Jubilee Line from Green Park everyday, I’d hang a left on the platform and stand opposite lady Beach Body.

I never thought about her too much, if I’m honest. She was just another poster whose aim was to make me part with my money by making me feel bad about myself. But I think about her all the time now. Because when those people made that ad, I don’t think they realised what ‘Beach Body’ truly meant. Neither did I, because I lived in London, and the beach was very far away both geographically and metaphorically.

But now I’m here to set them straight. Because oh boy, do I know. This is what a beach body looks like:… Read More This is what a beach body looks like

How to make friends in a new town

As adults, I feel like making friends is something we think we’ve forgotten how to do. Like, for the most part we definitely know we have had the ability to make friends at some point in our lives, because we have friends to prove that hypothesis. But who can honestly remember how they got there?

This is starting to feel like the build-up to some life-changing advice that’s really worth something, so I should quickly confirm that it absolutely is not that. What I did is exactly what the thousand other articles you’ve probably already read have already told you to do. But sometimes it helps to have something super-obvious reiterated one last time.… Read More How to make friends in a new town

Saying goodbye to St Piran

Having recently embraced maxi skirt life and, as a result, having experienced a newfound inability to take big enough steps to do anything, I even let the nice boat man hold my hand as I climbed aboard, which I assume means that we’re married now.

Upon boarding, I was confronted with three vicars and bishop. I’d conveniently forgotten the whole ‘blessing’ part of the deal, so focused had I been on the serious business of having a pint on a boat.… Read More Saying goodbye to St Piran