Wednesday, 19 November 2014

I feel desperately sorry for Nick Conrad.

It doesn't sound to me like he's had the sort of sex most of us treasure.

The cooperative, lusty, loving and mutually orgasmic kind that comes from a place of communication, tenderness and sharing.

When misguidedly speaking for all men is Nick calling from his own experience of physical relationships?

A horrifying thought.

I hope his hugely generalising comments are enough to get men a plenty fired up and joining the debate that so far is saturated by middle class social commentators, feminists, columnists and politicians.

Surely his comments are damning and offensive enough to get dads, traditionalists and average blokes down the pub berating him.

All loving partners, husbands and generally respectful, sexual males should be furious that their healthy desire has been aggressively likened to a dog with his tail being yanked.

It's time to stand up to the idiots like Nick Conrad who really believe that men are just dicks on a stick waiting to dive into the nearest willing (or unwilling) vagina.

The producers of his show should have cut him off mid rant. There is no way that such damaging rhetoric would have been acceptable if he were talking about any other controversial topic - race, religion, immigration etc.

But because it's consent he is willfully poo pooing he was allowed to continue spouting damaging and hurtful generalisations that don't paint either sex in a light that even exists as far as I've ever seen.

What he has said is an extension of so many conversations I've heard in relation to the topic of consent and in particular the Ched Evans' rape conviction:

"What was she doing with him at that time of night anyway?"

"If she didn't want to have sex why did she go back to his hotel?"

"What was she doing wandering around drunk on her own?"

"If she was that drunk how does she know whether she consented or not?"

The fact is that a court of law determined that she was too intoxicated to consent but Ched Evans had sex with her anyway.

That is rape.

And apologising or justifying his behaviour away is not only disrespectful to victims of rape and sexual assault it is damaging to people's faith in our justice system.

Friday, 10 October 2014

My ebook has had its first legit unbiased review.

I'm so chuffed to see that it's reaching an audience that isn't just my mum and mates.

Not that I don't appreciate their bountiful reviews and support - I'm so lucky to have them but an organic review from a reader in America feels different.

And I want some more!!

I am passionate about a girl's right to be squishy.

With summer safely over and the beginning of jumper season just around the corner most women I know are breathing a sigh of relief.

No more sucking it in at the poolside, no more agonising choices between "clean" eating or juicy burgers.


I don't usually get involved in this kind of diet chat but more recently I've found myself pinching those extra inches around my hips and fretting about my rounded cider belly.

Not because I'm upset with my body (it works just fine) but because I'm getting married this month and every where I go people are asking me about my "wedding diet."

Which leaves me pondering other people's view on my squishy bits... Are these friends, colleagues and acquaintances asking about my diet because they think I'm CHUBBY?

But it's not their fault of course.

What we're all fighting against as women is this general attitude that for your body to be worthy you need to be toned - you need to have a tight tummy and long muscular legs and you certainly can't have two chins in photos... even if you are smiling your hardest.

And it's my wedding day so I'm supposed to want to be the most perfect princess bride, in the best shape of my life, sauntering down the aisle.

So it's not rude to suddenly ask me about my eating/dieting habits - it's the norm.

But the reality is I wouldn't be me if I wasn't looking forward to lunch whilst still full from breakfast.

And it's certainly not like me to fret about my lumps and bumps.

I'm not big by "normal" women's standards. I'm a typical UK shop bought size 12. And the magazines tell me I'm an apple shape, which I'd agree with... Mostly because they said Scarlett Johansson is one too.

I like to think I'm a toffee apple, with sticky thin legs and a sweet, delicious round middle.

I like having 'curves,' I think my body is soft and feminine and does its job of carting my soul around day-to-day just fine.

Thankfully my career isn't reliant on me having toned abs or pronounced cheekbones which is why I'm all for mayonnaise on my chips and chocolate with my wine.

My heartfelt sympathy goes out to anyone going hungry for their art (if they'd rather not.)

I was lucky enough to grow up in a house where my mum encouraged and nurtured my positive body image.

And thankfully it's a gift that I carry with me today.

I truly never even once heard of mum going on a diet or moaning about her weight.

And if I dared mention my size or anyone else's she would be quick to correct me.

- Is this person smart, funny, nice to be around?

- Are they doing well at school, are they respectful, are they kind?

- What are your favourite things about them and why?

These questions were always so so much more important than what do they look like or how much do they weigh?

And ultimately that is how I need to look at myself in the run up to what I'm anticipating will be one of the best ever days in my life.

Will I be any less of a bride for not being a size 8? No.

Will I be loved any less, promised any less? No.

So next time someone asks me if I'm on a wedding diet I'll stop lying to fit in.

I'll stop pretending that I'm "trying to cut back" and "eating healthier."

Because there is so much more to my life than numbers on a scale or tape measure.

I've got a bangin' party to plan, with a killer buffet and booze on tap!

No room for calorie counting at our wedding.

See you on the other side ! xxxxxxxxxx

Friday, 29 August 2014

I write every day for a living.

Which is something I only ever dreamed of as a graduate - or even as a kid playing pretend.

When I was a student I scoured the internet for first hand accounts from writers and journalists, hoping for tips and info about how they made it.

So now that I've bagged my dream job writing features for women's magazines I want to pay it forward and jot down some notes about my experience.

Hopefully it will help someone else trying to break into the industry & provide an honest insight into the realities of the job hunt - the set backs, rejections, shitty jobs to keep you going and when to stop working for free.

I think my love of the written word started out as a love of reading. Not just books and magazines but scribbled signs in shop windows and notes under windscreen wipers.

So with a combined motivation to read all the things and collect all the stories I developed a bad habit - nosiness.

I wanted to know why the shop was closed, was the owner's mother ill? Or perhaps an electrical fault or staff shortage?

And why would someone leave a note on an empty car? Were they annoyed? Was it badly parked?

It was this thirst for knowledge and a love of stories that helped me in deciding a career path.

I started to take my ambitions seriously aged about 14 - motivated by a miserable meeting with a careers adviser who told me I should be a social worker because I was "friendly" and journalism was a "very competitive industry."

Which it is, of course. But he underestimated my teenage drive to prove the grown ups wrong.

I thanked him for the dream crushing advice but reckoned I had time on my side. So I decided to at least have a punt at my chosen profession.

From there I blagged a space on the GCSE media trip to the local paper. Not an easy feat when I studied drama not media and my tutor thought I was skiving.

But my tenacity eventually paid off... a year after the trip, following 6 emails, 3 phone calls and a visit in person:

So as well as being a nosey parker I was also a joiner - the worst kind of teenager.

And facetious too: "Eventually passed on to your PA" (!)

Anyway my hounding worked and I was rewarded with a week at the local paper.

Then yadda yadda, I went to college and studied English Lang/Lit (B) , Media (B) and Communication Studies (C) - completely average grades because I discovered the pub and boys, well one in particular actually but we'll get to him (Darren) later.

In between studying and pub ventures I worked at Pizza Hut and a posh hotel as a receptionist.

Then I chose a university - University of Glamorgan in Treforest, South Wales - and studied Creative and Professional writing.

(More here if you're interested:

While at uni I worked as a toilet attendant, a promo girl (flyering) and a waitress.

Then I graduated with a FIRST. Which blew my mind because I spent three years thinking everyone around me was brilliant and I was treading water.

I decided to stay in Cardiff after graduation because I was settled in a flat with Darren and I had a job already which was a lot more than most people leaving uni in the recession. I was doing O.K.

Then the fun began: A Full Year of Dodgy Work Experience

I was a plasma TV copywriter (20p for 100 words or something) , a pets fashion blogger (next to no money), a 'grassroots positive newspaper' intern (free), a student guest blogger on Student Noodles (free) and a writer for *The Sprout and *CLIC too (free).

(*Not dodgy)

All the while I was waitressing and applying for jobs I was totally under qualified for and getting some rejections but mostly just being ignored.

Every time I didn't hear back I took a week off from worrying & feeling dejected. Each time I would dust myself off (usually in a bar) and then with a renewed sense of purpose I'd get back to it.

Then came the dream role:

FYI if you are in Wales and a graduate in a creative subject you should absolutely be signed up to Go Wales - go and do it right now if you aren't.



I can't explain how much I felt I needed to get this job as I applied - I just knew it was right.

My waitressing job wanted me to progress and be a manager, I was on the brink of accepting when this position flashed up in my inbox.

I sent off my application and spent the next 72 hours refreshing my inbox and hassling Go Wales for anymore info:

When I then showed up for my interview I was prepared but SO nervous.

I thought I'd messed it up with my weird nervous jokes.

Like my answer to a reasonable question:

Editor: "What do you know about Take a Break magazine?"

Me: "My Nana says their crossword is the best around."

But thankfully they love a weird joke at Wales News and I was going to fit right in.

So I have been here ever since as a feature writer, writing for most of the weekly women's magazines and features pages of the national papers too.

Every day is different and I've met all kinds of diverse and interesting people.

The lessons I learnt in trying to break into the industry still stand now.

1. Don't give up,
2. Make a polite nuisance of yourself to get noticed,
3. Don't get deflated when the answer is no,

(I know 1-3 are basically the same but they're really important.)

4. Make crappy (but appropriate) jokes all the time (or inappropriate depending on your employer)
5. Fake it till you make it.

And now that I'm a salaried, bona fide journalist I can afford to tell you to only work for free when it benefits you.

I spent far too long agonising over crappy copy about products I didn't care about for a fee of £1.25 when I was starting out.

And now no one cares that I spent weeks writing in a "Vogue style" about pet accessories. It did nothing for my future, my bank balance or my sanity.

So if that's you now and you're sat in your jammers working on something for free that you hate - that won't help you achieve your goals... Stop it and go to the pub.