Planner Meet

Last month, I attended a local meet up for Planner Girls. I’ve never been to one before so had no idea what to expect. I simply hoped to get some tips and inspiration on how to use my planner.

We met at Oaks Tearoom in Felixstowe for afternoon tea. We were spoilt with a generous selection of mini sandwiches, scones, clotted cream and mini mason jars of jam. We were so full after eating the spread that we thought the owner was joking about there being more! But sure enough, he topped up our tea pots and brought out a selection of deserts including creme brulee, chocolate cake and macarons.

The cafe was adorable with its pretty cottage decor and real plants. We couldn’t help but take lots of pics. The cafe owner was such a gentleman and always there with what we needed before we even asked.

I was nervous meeting new people but they were all so lovely and it boosted my confidence. Not only that but all the women there were so lovely. They were hardcore planners and chatted about their busy lives and love of stationery and crafts. It felt like a day out with my best friends but I had never met these girls before.

The hostess of the event had made every attendee a personal gift bag based on our favourite colours. She also personally handmade items for each of us. It was such a thoughtful gesture.

In addition, Ellen of Etsy Store Ellen Bee Makes had also created us each a personalised goodie bag to showcase what is on offer in her store. I especially loved the Felixstowe theme stickers. This video showcases what I got.

Meeting Ellen was inspirational. I’ve been jotting down ideas for my own planner aimed at writers and it made me more hungry to do it. If only I had the time.

If you are in Suffolk and want to know about the next event join the Facebook group Suffolk UKPA.

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How much development do you give you Secondary characters?

Day 18 of March’s Instagram photo challenge by  #womenwritingfiction #wwfchallenge2019 was “Tell us about your secondary characters.”
Personally, I spend quite a bit of time developing my secondary characters.  I like to know what makes them tick so I can ensure they remain true to who they are.  Often, I fall in love with a character so much that I want to write them their own story, like Kya – currently writing Diamond in the Sky about her.  
I decided to spotlight Denny.  One of the stories about this character is below.  I hope you enjoy this snipped into her background and I would love to hear about whether you enjoy developing your secondary characters as much as your primary characters.  
Image from Unsplash artist Kinga Cichewicz of how I picture grown up Denny


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Unpack (Denny)

Gwyn had been a mother and best friend all rolled into one neat package. I picked the sticky tape off another cardboard box. Packing up had been a difficult chore but unpacking was a never ending task.

Revealing the contents, I realised this would be no quick task. At the top was a powder blue photo album with white writing ‘My Baby’. I can’t resist the urge to look at pictures of my son. I clutched it to my chest in the same manner I had when he had been small enough to do so.

The first page was a photo of him only hours old. Gwyneth had been my only visitor at hospital and took the photo for me.

Gosh, I look so young. Too young to be a mum!

I pulled the rigid board of the front cover free from the slip to retrieve a picture I had hidden there. It had been taken in a photo booth, a sketch of us together in black and white. Dean believed pictures looked better like that. Now, it was disappointing as the picture didn’t show the kaleidoscope of golds his hair had shone that hot May.

The Easter fair had been in town, we were down for the holidays. Mum had given my brother Greg and I some money to go ‘treat ourselves’.

“What ride do you want to go on first?” Greg asked as we walked along the closed off road.

It was dark and the rides were lit up by brightly coloured bulbs and painted with images of seductive looking women with large breasts and glossy lips.

“I don’t know,” I shrugged. “They all look lame to me.”

Image from Unsplash artist Gabriel Matula of how I picture a teenage Denny:


There was the familiar crashing of bumper cars and the rotation of horses on the carousel. There were the more dangerous rides for older kids like Rock City where a row of chains rotated up and down getting faster and faster, Metropolis where everyone put their faith in centrifugal force as they stood in the cage of a spinning wheel tipping on its side as they stuck to the wall. There was Niagara Falls which consisted of two carpeted tubes that spun in different direction causing you to fall to the ground. Last time we were here it gave me carpet burn. All of them looked like they would either make me sick or cover me in bruises.

“I’m gonna get some candy floss.” My brother said irritated by my lack of adventure. He had been bored at the caravan and the fair was all that had kept him going.

I begrudgingly followed him whilst he flirted with two young girls in the queue. He allowed them to steal bites of the blue fluffy cloud of sugary sweetness. My brother was terrible with his cheesy lines ‘are all the girls around here as gorgeous as you?’

One of the girls, who had slicked her hair back into a ponytail eyed me with her dark lined eyes, “Your girlfriend?”

“Sister.” My brother quickly corrected her but his grin clearly read ‘I’m in there!’

The girl rubbed her arms to brush off the cold. “Wanna game of pool?”

Obviously my brother said yes. He had lost all interest in the rides now his sole attention was on this girl, who to me looked like a slapper. Sadly, that was probably what he liked about her.

Her friend was chewing gum and seemed to be eyeing everyone up for a fight. Even when she smiled at my brother her eyes were half closed and she almost looked as if she was snarling, so I was surprised when she said, “You want to play?”

I shook my head. “I’ll just watch.”

I felt a little like a gooseberry standing on the side lines watching my brother tickle this girl every time she tried to take a shot. She giggled and blushed, “Stop cheating!”

I saw a pinball machine and decided to give it a go. The popular theme tune to the Adams Family started up. I pulled back the lever and let it go. The spring raced forward, smacking into the round silver ball and spinning it onto the table. The ball bounced off some bells and was heading down towards the bottom. My hands leaned over the edge of the table ready to hit the buttons to cause the flickers to stop the ball from being lost.

“You’ll never beat my score.”

I jumped and hit the button too late. Angrily, I searched for the person responsible for my loss, only to be taken back by the most beautiful eyes and gorgeous smile I had ever had the pleasure of meeting. As if moving in slow motion, I blushed as I watched the ball bounce and roll down the middle bringing the game to a halt.

“Dean.” He said confidently.

All I could see was his cocky grin and cool blue eyes. He had long blond hair that swept across his face in rebellious waves. He looked like he had stepped off the set of some Californian beach surfer movie and I couldn’t take my eyes off him.

“You’ve still got another ball.” He said with a thick Suffolk accent that killed my Mr Muscle Beach fantasy.

My hands shook rapidly to the beat of my heart and it was more difficult to pull the bar back the second time. I let it go and tried again to keep the ball on the table but I was all flustered. I managed to hit it back into the game twice more before it disappeared for good.

“It’s your last ball. Do you want my help?”

My throat was tied up in knots, pretty much like my stomach and I couldn’t speak. I gave a nod. The next thing I knew, he was standing behind me. His hand clasped over mine and we drew back the lever together. “Never go all the way.” His hot breath tickled my neck like a forewarning my body wanted to rebel against. “Otherwise the ball will be too fast to keep up with. You need it to be just enough to put it on the board and get stuck behind those bells. Then you will get the maximum points.” He let go of my hand and I released it. I let it go and as my hands fumbled for the buttons, I felt his fingers guiding me into place, finally resting gently over the top of mine.

That was how my romance for ‘Hugo Boss’ had begun.  The scent surrounded me in the same way his arms were. It was intoxicating the way it gripped my senses and spun my world like the little silver ball. From that day forward, it became the smell that I associated with summer, replacing the uplifting fresh salty sea breeze and lashings of sun lotion. I no longer hungered for the tantalising sweetness of a ninety-nine vanilla ice-cream and chocolate flake; I just wanted to taste Dean. That was the start of the holiday romance that broke my heart and changed my life eternally.

Looking at the photo, I was surprised to discover how similar Dean looked to Jace. I shouldn’t have been surprised, after all Dean was his dad. The last time he had come to mind had been when I met Dave, my fiancé. The first thing that caught my attention was the heart capturing scent of Hugo.

Now Jace was wearing it thanks to Dave trying to bond with him “Wear this, the women love it.” I never told Dave why this woman loved it.

“Wings” by Birdy

This song has beautiful imagary that I feel captures the intoxicating feeling of first love and the magic of the whirlwind, followed by the crushing destruction when all is not as it was and all you have left is sweet memories that are painful to carry.  I think it captures the emotions of the scene above well.

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Thank you to my followers

This month my blog reached 250 followers.
I am really proud of myself for keeping it going. Life with a newborn is super busy but I just try to write one or two articles a week. I easily could have let this go but since starting my blog I love it.
My blog is mainly about writing, sharing tips and my journey to publication. I also share some personal posts on my other interests (being a mum, organic beauty and Netflix recommendations).
I am so thankful for everyone who has not only taken the time to read my posts but to also subscribe to my blog. I hope you continue to enjoy my content.
My blog picture is from when I was modelling and taken by Natalie Collins (Instagram @neotheartist) who I hope to work with again one day. She is an amazing photographer and this shoot was extra special as I am wearing my wedding dress.

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What theme is heavily portrayed in your story?

My work in progress, Jewel of the Sea, has romance, coming of age and friendship but one of the strongest themes is metamorphosis.
Mariah begins as a shy girl that hides behind her best friend but by the end she has matured and started to blossom into a young woman. In addition, she starts out unaware she is a mermaid. But, by the end she has mastered turning into a mermaid and controlling her emotions that trigger her weather manipulation powers.
Tell me about what theme is strongest in your story. 

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 This is my pic for day 15’ s prompt #womenwritingfiction #wwfchallenge2019
Image from #Unsplash by artist Karina Vorozheeva

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Do you keep notebooks of story ideas?

I use the Simple Note app for jotting down ideas as I always have my mobile phone with me. 

I do have physical notebooks but tend to use them more for development. For example when I sit down to flesh out an idea. This could be for jotting down research or for when I outline my plot or character development like their backstory. I also jot down useful tips I’ve picked up from reading blog articles or watching videos by other authors. 

How about you? Where do you keep you story ideas? 

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Image from Unsplash by artist Aaron Burden @aaronburden

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Does your story have an antagonist/bad guy?

I always feel that a well developed antagonist can be both good and bad. Most people have a reason for their actions. It depends of the perspective.

For example, Fallon is quite mean to Mariah. Some could accuse her of bullying. She keeps pushing Mariah until she triggers her weather manipulation powers.

However, in Kya’s story, Fallon is her best friend and she’s protecting her from the heart ache of seeing Jace and Mariah together. In Kya’s story she is more of a heroine.

Does your villain have a good side?

Here’s my pic for day 14’s prompt #womenwritingfiction #wwfchallenge2019

Collage made with images from Unsplash artists Becca Tapert, Riccardo Mion, Courtney Clayton, Kings Cichewicz.

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Do you use Pinterest?

This is a screen capture of my board ‘Story Inspiration’. It’s where I save stuff I’ve found on Pinterest that sparks story ideas.

I have loads of boards. I have boards for character development, cover designs, mood boards, etc. I save useful articles for tips on writing, blogging, vlogs, etc. I’ve got boards with useful crafts, recipes and hair tutorials. I have used it for my sons homework, party planning and decorating rooms.

It is quite clear that I love Pinterest and find it incredibly useful. I haven’t used it much for socialising although I hope to get better at that.

Click here to view my Pintrest board.

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Reflecting on Goals set in January

To start the year, I set myself some goals for the year ahead.  I plan to check how I’m getting on with that periodically during the year to check I’m on track.  If you set yourself goals it is important to check on yourself to make sure you are on target and to re-focus yourself.

On Reflection

Summary:  Considering these were annual targets I think I’ve kicked off the year with a really good start at achieving them.  I’m not sure listing my goals as bullet points was the best idea, so to re-focus I shall put my goals into a table.

March 2018 goals

Blogging Goals Review

  • ACHIEVED:  I migrated both my blogs into one blog and I am using categories to split the content up from ‘writing’ topics and ‘beauty topics.
  • ACHIEVED:  I planned to post at least once a week and I have been exceeding this – posting two to three times a week.  Sometimes as often as four times.  Taking the pressure off has increased my productivity.
  • ACHIEVED:  I’ve reduced my scheduled posts on LoCal so that they only run for two weeks so if I run out of time to change them, I am not Constantly spamming people with the same things for weeks with no end.
  • ACHIEVED:  I have started including some personal posts on my blog such as my son’s World Book Day and What I’ve Been Watching.
  • ALMOST ACHIEVED:  I wanted to start vlogging.  This has involved researching how to do it and plucking up the courage.  In addition, I need the house to be quiet for recording which doesn’t happen often.  However, I have posted a video on YouTube reviewing Agent Hunter (see below) and I have a scheduled blog post about this coming soon.Wri
  • NOT ACHIEVED:  I haven’t approached any brands to see if they’d like me to represent them. However, my Instagram pics of my The Pip Box won and I got my March box free (review of the free box coming April).

Writing Goals Review

  • ACHIEVED:  I have stopped editing Drift and started querying.
  • NOT ACHIEVED:  I have not started work on finishing Glide. I have been really busy with my course at college and work.  However, I have three weeks off for Easter break and hope to re-visit this project over the coming weeks.
  • NOT ACHIEVED:  I have not started a new story idea – not that I’m not full of ideas.
  • NOT ACHIEVED:  I’ve not had time to read the programme for Felixstowe Book Festival but intend to buy tickets and go. I have decided to miss YALC this year (will explain more soon).
  • NOT ACHIEVED:  Completing a writing course is on hold until I finish my current course at college.
  • ALMOST ACHIEVED:  I have been reading more since getting my Kindle.  I have almost finished The Gender Game and will review the title and my Kindle once I have.  I am a slow reader with only a few chances to read.
  • NOT ACHIEVED:  I have not found out more about how Twitter queries work.  However, I have been networking more on Instagram and meeting lots of writers online this way.

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Goals for the year ahead – 2018

If you read my earlier post from today, you’ll know that I’ve reflected on how 2017 went.  This inspired me to set my goals for the year ahead.

Making 2018 even better


I now absolutely love blogging.  I’m addicted.  It is has raised in my ranks of importance.  Here are my goals for 2018:

  • Categories:  Currently, I am running three blogs.  One for beauty review, one for anything related to writing and books and another that shares the posts by both.  It is very time consuming and exhausting!  I shall now be migrating them all to this blog and using categories to present content relevant to the readers interests.
  • Schedule:  
    • I was trying to post two articles a week and did pretty well but sometimes it was hard.   I need post regularly but once a week is sufficient and I can schedule posts.
    • I’ve been using loCal (free online calendar) to schedule my tweets.  I was unwell in December and never updated my tweets!  Aghh!  My poor followers had the same tweets for another month *cringe*.  Setting an end date is important.
  • Personal:  Keeping to my categories has meant that when life is busy I haven’t anything relevant to post whereas if I start sharing more about me (like being a mum or working in education), I could have more content and make my life easier.
  • Vlogging:  I did my first video blog this year and I was really impressed at how easy it was. I know I have more to learn to make my videos better but you’ve got to start somewhere.  I’ve also done some ‘unboxing’ videos on my instagram.
  • Product reviews:  I need to not be shy to contact brands that I love to see if they’ll support me reviewing their product.  I hope that in 2018 I will get the chance to review more products as I really enjoyed my experience of reviewing Saal Digital’s photo book.


My dream is still to be published and I still would love to go down the traditional route but not found an agent (or publisher) but some of that is my fault as I don’t query enough.

  • Drift/Jewel of the sea:  Stop editing and start querying!
  • Glide:  I know how this story ends and I need to finish it.  Readers who loved Drift (on Wattpad) want to read the next book in the series.  I have had so much support and encouragement and one user even sent me pictures of Scotland to help me.
  • Start a fresh new story:  I don’t want this to distract from the above goals but I’ve got lots of new story ideas and I really need to start something fresh.  I hope to make a start on this later in 2018.
  • Conventions: I love attending YALC and Felixstowe Book Festival last year and I would love to be able to go again.
  • Writer courses:  I’m very busy at the moment with a course for work but once that is out of the way I’d like to continue my studies with Write Story Books for Children and Write Romance fiction.  I’m enrolled on both these courses ready to complete when I have time.  I also would happily do another Curtis Brown Creative course online.
  • Reading:  I got a Kindle at last!  I plan to start reading more in 2018 and hope to discover some amazing reads to review on my blog (and Good Reads).
  • Twitter queries:  I need to learn when these are running so ~I

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Reflection on 2017

The year began by creating my first Word Press blog.  At the time, I had no idea what I was getting myself into but I’ve really enjoyed my crash course in learning to use the site.

Making 2018 even better.png

Here is what I learnt:


  • Schedule posts/tweets: You can schedule posts so can write ahead of time and space posts out.  Use LoCalendar to schedule tweets (but make sure you set an end date so you don’t spam people).
  • Make it visual: 
    • Canva is a great site to create images for blog titles and other social media sites.
    • Google Drive Photos is an app you can download onto you phone and it  backs up images you have taken. You can then access these online from wherever  you are working to use them.
    • Instagram links can be added into articles and enables you to share pics from your own account and other users images.  I’ve used this to share professional brand images when I forgot to take a pic of the product I’m reviewing before it got all grubby.
  • Support others: 
    • You can share other people’s blogs on Word Press via the reader.  This helps support them and improves your content.  Follow people who write on similar subjects.  Can help when you are busy and hit a dry spell to keep your blog current.
    • As mentioned before, you can share pics by others posted to Instagram.  The image will have a link to their account so if a reader likes their pic they can choose to follow them.
  • Categorise posts:  It puts posts into collection of subjects and helps readers navigate your site or enables you to create pages.  I still have more to learn on this but I think I will be utilizing this in the new year.
  • Brands:  
    • Review brands you love to demonstrate the market you are interested in and to gain support.  Follow their social media accounts to be aware of blogger offers.
    • Offer to review brands you are interested in and you may strike lucky.  This year I got a free photobook from Saal Digital in return for my honest review.  I love the product and will cherish it forever – so happy!


  • Do courses:  If you can find time to do a writing course they are really good.  I did the Curtis Brown – Starting to Write your novel course.  This covered a lot of stuff I already knew but made me think about it again.  I really improved the start of two of my novels using what I learnt. See my review from earlier in the year here.
  • Enter competitions and query:  Take time to put your stories, poems or manuscripts out there.  Even if it is just a friendly competition – I won a few awards on Wattpad and it got me more readers and valuable feedback. I managed to enter one national competition but I am annoyed I missed the deadline for the one I really wanted to enter because I was taking too long editing – I edit too much!
  • Don’t over edit:  Guilty!  I am so guilty of this. I am my worst critique.  Every time, I think I am done editing… I start again.  I don’t even enjoy editing.  I must stop myself.  I wish I could afford an editor to do it for me.
  • Make time to be creative:  living a busy life can make it hard to find time to write but if you make time and do a little a day (even if it’s just plotting or researching), then you will keep making progress towards your goals.  I try to make sure I sit down at my PC/Laptop at least once a week to actually write.
  • Don’t force it:  If you force yourself to write you can cause yourself to burn out.   I think this was a side effect from NaNoWriMo.  I feel the writing bug coming back – phew!

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