Handwrite to boost creativity

I recently enjoyed a blog post on the pros and cons of writing by hand. It got me thinking about how I like to write.

Many people find it beneficial to write by hand. They feel the connection between the pen and paper and their words flow more clearly.

As a teen, I always wrote my stories in a notebook. I liked to write my ideas in the back and then fill it from the front, chapter by chapter. I liked to write in bed and my sheets were covered in ink stains

It wasn’t until I decided to take writing seriously that I began creating at a PC. I have never quite found a digital way to develop ideas that works like the back of a notebook but I do prefer writing on a computer. It’s easier to read than my handwriting, and editing is neater. Once finished I can easily prepare it for submissions.

Since switching to write electronic I haven’t used my notebooks for writing until recently.

Recently, I had an Instagram challenge to write somewhere different. It was a challenge to also boost creativity and it worked.

In fact, I enjoyed writing in my notebook so much I have since used it again. It makes developing my story and exploring ideas so much easier. Moving forward, I think I will continue to use it this way. Perhaps, treat myself to some new stationery…

Who was the inspirational blogger?

It was Rachel F Walton from the blog Wordlander. Click here to read her blog post ”Can writing by hand boost creativity?

Rachel enjoys writes fantasy, horror and sci-fi. She currently had two ebooks published and is working on a trilogy that sounds like my cup of tea.

What to watch if you love mermaids!

Someone said that they can see my novel Jewel Of The Sea as a series on Netflix. That really would be a dream come true. I have so many ideas for the world I have created, I am sure I could come up with more stories.

On that note, I thought I would share with you my favourite TV Series that are about mermaids.

Mako Mermaids (2013)


This is the story of three mermaids that are banished due to an incident with a human boy. They have to adapt to life on land whilst tracking the dangerous merman before he discovers the trident.

The Australian shows off the beauitful country with a funny and entertaining show that you can watch with a little one around.

H20: Just Add Water (2006)


Three girls are transformed into mermaids when they visit the mysterious Mako Island. I like that they each have powers as well as the ability to shift.

When I was pregant I got emotional seeing Phoebe Tonkin and Claire Holt as young actresses in a series together because I am a fan of the Originals and they are in there together. It was sweet to think they have been friends from childhood to the present day.

Siren (2018)


If you want somethings a lot more edgier, check out Siren. The story is about the fishermen over fishing and causing the Sirens to have to venture further to get food. It results in one getting caught. Her sister then comes to land to find her but although she may appear human, she is anything but.

Tidelands (2018)


The main character is shrouded in mystery. She returns to her hometown where her family (especially her mum) don’t really welcome her back. She then gets involved with a group that are half-sire, half-human and starts to uncover the secrets around her life.

Bubble Guppies (2011)


This is a sweet cartoon about the guppies which are mermaids and mermen going to school under the sea. It is for young children so you can enjoy it with the kids.

Any more…

I really do love mermaids. If you know of any more shows that I might love please let me know and I would love to hear your thoughts on the above shows if you have watched them too.

If you like this, you may enjoy:

Happy #LittleMermaidDay – Check out these mermaid beauty products!

What to watch if you love superpowers!

Sample chapter from Drift

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Best books for a baby

Here are the books I have bought for my little girl and why I think they are great for babies.

Best books for babies

Tactile Book

I ordered this one from Amazon. She loves the crinkle sound and looking at herself in the mirror. I went with this one as the Black & White high contrast pictures have been specially designed to be stimulating for babies. It also has a strap to make it easier to attach to a buggy.

Bath book

I ordered mine from The Works. Babies dribble a lot, are sick and want to put everything in their mouths. These books are wipe clean. I choose this one as I liked the three detachable characters that can be used for matching games.

When she is older I will let her take it in the bath.

Wooden Book

I picked this up from Lidl during a baby event. Being wooden makes it really robust. She has thrown it and chewed it and it still looks perfect.

Not suitable for babies

I did buy these for my son and was sad when they got ruined. However, these do help encourage speaking so as long as you don’t leave your baby alone exploring the books, you should be okay.

Picture books

At this age you should take care with picture books as although they may love it they have a tendency to grab things and love scrunching up and tearing paper.

If you go down this route, look out for nursery rhyme collections like those by Miles Kelly as babies love hearing the repetitive sounds and it can encourage talking.

Board books

Board books might look sturdy but they are made of cardboard. If you leave a baby unattended with one, they’ll chew the corners into a pulp and the picture will peel off.

If you go down this route, look out for stories that rhyme like those by Julia Donaldson.

Touch and feel books

Another good choice is tactile books like the “That’s Not My” line. These books are also useful for developing a child’s vocabulary of descriptive words.

Other touch and feel books will enable them to feel different textures and learn about a topic. The picture below is one about farm animals.

Would you recommend these?

I hope you found my suggestions useful. I would love to hear what books you have loved sharing with a baby too.

What is your genre?

Genre Classification

Classifying your genre will be one of the first things you do.  However, this may not be as simple as it sounds.  Many novels, scripts and other works of art will combine elements of more than one genre within the story that is told.  However, there will still be one main genre that flows steadily throughout your story (or series).

I watched Reign on Netflix.  This series is classified as a Costume Drama.  The main character is Mary Queen of Scots so some might say it is a Period Drama or Historical fiction, but to make compelling viewing the gripping storylines are fictional and I’ve seen it described as Fan Fiction.  In addition, there is a lot of Political Drama and Religious Conflict.  Many of the storylines are romantic making it Romance fiction.


Understanding Definitions

Sometimes the genre can be tricky to pinpoint as the definitions can be confusing and sound similar to each other.

I’ve had this issue trying to understand what is Magical Realism’? Or, what’s the difference between Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance?  Then, some genres are based on the target audience of the reader i.e. by age (MG, Tween, YA, etc) or gender (Chick Lit) or personal identification (LGBTQ, Multicultural).

To tackle this, I suggest looking up the definitions online from more than one source.  Also, check how novels similar to yours have been classified.  Read novels of the genres you are considering and see which feels most similar to yours.

It is important to get this correct to enable the right readers to find your novel.

What if it is many genres?

Say you’ve written a YA, Historical Horror with a cross-dressing African bi-sexual and all the genres remain strong throughout the novel?

Then you have to ask yourself how similar novels have been classified or which market you feel your novel will thrive most strongly (i.e. if there is a current demand for Horror fiction, perhaps place it there).

Target audience:

Write for Kids has an article that goes into more detail on this subject – click here.

  • MG (Middle grade):  For age 8 to 12.  Length = 100 to 150 pages.  The main character should be of a similar age.  These books often form large series as children of this age will bond with the character and form an attachment.
  • Tween:  For age 10 to 14.  Length = around 150 pages.  The main character should be of a similar age.  These books are for children who have outgrown MG but are not ready for YA:  
  • Young Adult:  For age 12+. Length = 150 to 225 pages.  The main character should be of a similar age, although due to the more mature theme the protagonist is often cast in their final year of high school:
  • Coming Of Age:  This fiction will deal with the struggles of the protagonist going from being a child to becoming an adult.
  • Chick Lit:  Literature for young women.  The story will relate to the struggles young women face in a humorous way (i.e. dating, health, careers, finance, etc).
  • LGBTQ:  The story will revolve around a character that is either lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender or questioning their sexuality.
  • Multicultural:  Books about people of colour and first/native nations.

Common Genres:

These are the main genres most people think of when classifying fiction:

  • Adventure:  Often involves the characters being in danger and going through a series of events on a journey to reach their goal.
  • Romance:  The novel usually follows a couple falling in love, often with lots of misunderstanding or barriers to give the story a journey.
  • Erotica:  The novel will have steamy scenes as this is what the reader is investing in.  Usually, there is a romantic plot to carry the story along but not necessarily important.
  • Horror:  The novel should be scary and make you want to sleep with the light on. The idea is to strike fear into the reader and the characters.
  • Crime/Detective:  Usually involves a murder but could be any crime.  The protagonist could be trying to catch the culprit or could be the criminal.
  • Mystery:  Involves following clues to solve a crime or to find out information.
  • Fan Fiction:  The stories are based on characters from other artists works (i.e. Film, TV Show, Book, Play, etc) or famous people (i.e. a boy band, a royal, or an actress).
  • Suspense/Thriller:  This story should have you sitting on the edge of your seat as you join the characters in evading whatever is lurking in the shadows after them.
  • Comedy/Humour: Written in an entertaining way with the goal of making the reader laugh.

World Setting Genres:

  • Historical:  The story is set in a historical period of time – it is important to do your research to ensure you get your facts correct.
  • Western:  Set in the American wild west between the eighteenth and nineteenth century.
  • Ghost/Supernatural:  Story will challenge the fabric of our world.  It often includes elements of other genres but the main focus is usually ghosts, spirits, demons, possessions and witchcraft.
  • Fantasy:  Characters are set in an otherworldly setting.  The story would not work in our world.
  • High Fantasy:  The races and the world is made up.  The main character is often a hero on a quest, usually good vs evil.  Often includes battles involving combat or magic.  This is your traditional classification.
  • Hard Fantasy:  This involves heavy world building.  The story will have a thoroughly developed world with geography, law, languages and reasons for why things are or are not (think Tolkien)
  • Techno Fantasy:  Has the heart of fantasy but has a strong technology vibe.  This could be through using technology to create something or someone.  It could be where technology has come to life, for example, a car with a mind of its own.
  • Urban Fantasy:  The story is set in the real world (usually present but can be set in the past or future).  The story usually involves fantasy characters i.e. another race, species or paranormal or supernatural beings.
  • Paranormal Romance:  Usually involves a romantic relationship between a human and supernatural (i.e. a vampire, witch, shapeshifter, ghost, time travel or someone with psychic abilities).  Themes will mix with fantasy, science fiction and sometimes horror.
  • Magic Realism:  Story involves magic or supernatural but presented within a realistic environment.  The magic events are ordinary occurrences and not explained.  There is something deeper connected to enlightening your mind of conventional constraints.
  • Science Fiction: Often set in the future or on another planet.  The story is based on scientific ideas or imagined ideas.
  • Hard Science Fiction:  The story will be supported by scientific facts and theories making the story more realistic and possible.

Length Classifications:

More information on this can be found on Fiction Factor:

  • Micro Fiction:  Up to 100 words.
  • Flash Fiction:  100 to 1,000 words.
  • Short Story:  1,000 to 7,500 words.
  • Novelette:  7,5000 to 20,000
  • Novella:  20,000 to 50,000
  • Novel:  50,000 to 110,000
  • Epics/Sequels:  110,000+

Jewel of the sea

My novel Jewel of the sea (formerly Drift) is:

  • YA fiction: This is because my protagonist is a fifteen-year-old girl.  She does turn sixteen within the novel and there is scope for a series.
  • Coming of Age:  She starts her period, learns to wear makeup, has her first kiss, etc.  Then there are all the firsts with her changing body… like becoming a mermaid.
  • Romance:  The plot is driven by her crush on her best friend who is dating Kya.  Kya’s brother (hot swim team captain and Mariah’s nemesis) offers to help break the couple up if she’ll kiss him – let’s just say it gets complicated.
  • Paranormal romance:  She doesn’t know she is a mermaid and able to shift between her human and mermaid form.  And she has weather manipulation powers.  Plus the complicated romance (see above).
  • Urban Fantasy:  The fantastical elements are set in a real world environment – it is loosely based around my hometown.
  • Novel:  Currently it is 80k but I am constantly revising it.

I have classified it as a YA Urban Fantasy Novel.

What genre do you write?

Does your novel have multiple genres?

Please let me know if these descriptions helped you classify your novel’s genres.

This article was previously posted on my old blog and has been updated.

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A little post on how I am doing…

The past week or so I’ve been pretty low. Someone has been putting me down and that someone is… Me.

I don’t know if you experience it too but when I get down I can be very critical of myself. I am my own worst enemy.

I try super hard to not go there by looking for the positives in situations but after a few days where no matter how hard I tried little things went wrong, it got harder to find those silver linings. Those little things added up and before I knew it, I began to feel like an absolute failure.

Nothing major happened but the amalgamation of it got me down. In retrospect some of those things weren’t even worth getting worked up about.

I failed to get my blog post for yesterday ready in time, and I’ve been late with some of my Instagram pictures for this months photo challenge. I also changed my editing goal from three months to one month which caused the task to be too much and resulted in nothing getting edited.

Once I opened up to friends and family I realised I’m not alone. A friend invited me over for a cup of tea. My son’s teacher offered support and advice to help with some naughty behaviour. My husband has been acknowledging my achievements to get me to recognise what I have achieved. And, family has helped give me a break from my gorgeous little girl who is non-stop.

Here is the little lady, just turned 6 months and already coasting around the furniture!

Just because I’ve had a busy week, I don’t stop being a writer. I attended an online course and worked on improving my pitch. I did write two blog posts (plus this one) and today I edited a poem and seven chapters! And, I’ve caught up on Instagram.

What changed? I took some time to take care of myself and my wellbeing. As a result, I came back energised. I was able to tackle my problems and get motivated to write.

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I did #JanWritersChallenge

The challenge was on Instagram and set by @marielipscombwriting.

This is the first time I have done a photo prompt challenge but I really enjoyed it. It got me posting everyday and gave me a range of ways to share my writing and passion through photos.

Here are the highlights:

Top three photos from the challenge

This pictures are the ones that recieved the highest engagement on Instagram.

Day 25 #AuthorSelfie

I have never had a photo do so well. I thing it was boosted by the increased engagement due to the daily activity but I got over 300 likes in less than 24 hours. This is ten times more than what I would get on a popular photo.

Day 9 #WhatMotivatesYou

I think my new writer following was able to relate to this photo as I regramed a photo from @gracethewriter8 that really resonated with my dream. It is that hope that one day I will make it that keeps me going.

Day 15 #BeProud

This was the day that I shared a picture of myself with my family.

My favourites

I couldn’t see how to share my writing online unless it was text. I really enoyed these photos as I was able to share with people my stories:

Day 17 #TheUltimateDream

I felt embarassed to admit my dream but then I thought “What the heck!” It turns out that a lot of writers share my dream.

Day 19 #MoodBoard

I decided to do the Mood Board for Jewel of the sea to give a feel of the novel. It was my first time creating one.

Day 4 #CharacterFlaw

It actually made me think about what makes my characters weak or unattractive.

Day 5 #CharacterStrength

I found reflecting on their weaknesses helped me to identify their strengths. It also made me want to go back and edit their weaknesses.

Day 6 #TheLoveInterest

I decided to focus on just Jace as he is the love interest in both the projects I am working on. It is a love triangle and I decided to write it from both girls sides as seperate stories.

Day 7 #TheVillans

I went for the villian that is the catalyst for the story. Even though she doesn’t feature in Jewel of the sea, her actions is what send the crows to go soul snatching on their doorstep.

Day 10 #FavouriteLine

I really enjoyed this as I have a few favourite lines in my project. The ones that I smile whenever I read and I hope my readers enjoy too.

Day 13 #Weather

The Brits love talking about the weather and my novel is no exception because in Jewel of the sea, Mariah has weather maniuplation powers.

Day 23 #YourMCsHands

For some, I guess this might not have been a very exciting prompt but for Mariah it was another excuse to show offer her powers.


I enjoyed January’s challenge so much that I am going to do it again!
@marielipscombwriting has created a new list of promps for this month.

Do you use Instagram to share your writing projects with followers?  Have you done a writing challenge?

If you enjoyed this post you may like:

NaNo Progress Diary (the end)

Reflecting on Camp NaNoWriMo (July 2018)

NaPoWriMo Wrap Up – Alison Aldridge

Literary dates calendar

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Great products for dealing with a teething baby

At about 8 weeks old, Aria was shoving her hands in her mouth and chewing anything she could reach. It was quite obvious that with the drool, she was teething.

Here are the products I bought and the stores I bought thm from:

I had a look online for some products to help her and found a lovely website called Amber Pumpkin. I bought the following products:

Lune Hand Puppet:  £15.47

I think this toy is cleverly thought out. It is a hand puppet whicd enables you to play with your baby. The material is super soft and the little bear has tags that babies like to fiddle with and explote. My little girl likes to chew his legs, arms and nose and finds it easy to hold.

Rooba Boo the Bunny – Natural Rubber Teething Toy:  £9.65

I was looking for a teether that is made from non-toxic materials, has plenty of textures for teething, easy for a baby to hold and not ghastly looking. This ticked all the boxes for me and I know my little girl loves it as one of the few times she stays in one spot is when she is busy chewing this.

Adjustable Unpolished Honey Amber And Rose Quartz Anklet / Bracelet:  £12.60

When ordering, I was unable to find a tape measure. So I went for the design that has a clasp and you can use this to adjust the length. Every anklet on the site has a warning that it is not suitable for children under 36 months so I messaged customer support. They confirmed this is true and that some sites don’t make this clear or purposefully mislead consumers. They explained that although care is taken to reduce the risk by knotting every bead individually there is still a risk a bead could come lose and that is a potential choking hazard.

Now, don’t judge me but I decided to take the risk because her legs are usually covered by tights or a sleepsuit making it difficult for her to get her anklet. I also check her anklet everytime she has a bath to make sure there is no wear or tear.

It’s taken a little adjustment to get the knack of putting her anklet on her wriggly leg and making sure it is tight enough she can’t rub it off.

Sadly, the bracket broke just before I got to take a picture for my blog. As you can see only one bead came loose. Luckily she was wearing tights so she never had an opportunity to get the bead. The day it broke was before her third jabs and she was more upset than usual. Now she is over her vaccinations she is back to normal so I’m not sure the braclet did much, or anything at all.

Amber Pumpkin (the store)

I was really impressed by their customer service. They took their time to answer my questions and gave me information to make my own decision. I don’t feeel like they lied to make a sale.

After my purchase they sent me a code to share so my friends can get 10% of their purchases. In return, I earn money off future purchases. My friend also bought a bracket and they sent me some money off.

Here is my code so you can get 10% off and if you get a code too, you can share your code with your friends: http://amberpumpkin.refr.cc/alisonaldridge

Weleda Chamomilla Teething Granules:  £5.50

I also bought Weleda Teething Granuals from Naturismo. This can also be used to treat colic. It’s a really bizare product. The little granuals look like grains of salt and you give it to your baby on the tiny spoon provided or mix with cooled boiled water.

Like most babies, her tongure tries to push the granuals out but it does seem to calm her down when she gets really grizzly about her teeth. It either works or effectively distracts her from the pain. Either way, it’s a winner.

I’m annoyed that I lost my box as it had piece of paper inside saying I could request sample of their other baby products. I am already a fan of their baby facial moisturiser so I had intended to fill in the form and send it to them after Christmas. Hopefully, the form will be in the next box I purchase. 

Weleda Chamomile Baby Face Moisturiser

I ordered this as a treat for her after her injection. She had some redness on her face which I suspected was caused by the dribble and cold air but the Health Visitor and GP said it was normal.

I didn’t want anything harsh for her delicate skin or risk making it worse. So, I looked for a product with natural ingredients especially for babies.

I hadn’t expected it to have such a pretty smell but it is lovely. When she sees I am about to apply it, she gives me a lovely toothless grin. It think massaging her cheeks helps soothe the pain from teething as well as healing the baby acne. Very quickly her skin healed and I began recommending it to other mums.

Naturismo (the store)

This is one of my favourite online shops as it always has great deals of organic beauty products and free delivery with no minumum spend! There is also a wide range of samples to choose from.

Akamuti Petroleum Free Jelly

I bought this direct from Akamuti’s website. I love their organic products and this multi-tasker is a favourite.

I often use it for my son who gets chapped lips when he gets a cold. The extra saliva caused by teething also can result in a sore bum. Although Akamuti do a happy balm, I had this in my house and it cleared it up over night!

It’s like Vaseline but chemical free and allows the skin to breathe.

How is teething going?

Aria is now almost 6 months old and still has no teeth. She loves to chew stuff and doesn’t get too upset. She gets a little grizzly before bed and that is when her teeth bother her the most but if I give her Rooba, she is able to soothe herself.

My favourite products has been the Rooba natural rubber teether, the Weleda face moisturiser and Akamuti’s jelly. I did love the braclet until it broke and I might use my discount to get a new one but I’m not convinced it made a difference to teething.

What products have you found work for your little one?

If you have enjoyed this article, you may also enjoy:

My baby girl. This post contains cute baby pics!

What’s in my maternity hospital bag?

Naty Ambassador

How to get free baby stuff

Review: Good Bubble Gruffalo

Review products from my Naturismo box

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