• Life,  Parenting

    Shut It, Chaka

    For as long as I can remember, I have been a ‘burn the candle at both ends’ kind of gal. Work hard, party harder in my teens and 20s. Work hard, mother hard in my 30s. For most of my adult life, I have had more than one job at any one time. I have run and contributed to online publications. I have done additional qualifications whilst working. To date, my qualifications include numerous GCSEs and A Levels, a BA (HONS) in journalism, a management NVQ, a qualification in residential lettings, an OU diploma in creative writing. In January, I start a BA & Higher Apprenticeship in Business Leadership and…

  • Life,  Mental Matters

    Far From The Tree?

    My name is Jemma. I am 35 and I am crazy. Not in like a “Wurrr! Mad for it! Drink 10 pints on a night out and streak down the high street” kind of crazy (although maybe in 2002 that would have been the case). I mean like neurosis, paranoia, depression, over thinking, anxiety kind of crazy. I have no memory of being anything other than bonkers, feeling different, out of place, even as a very small child. I have questioned who I am, why I am, my sexuality, my intelligence and, more often than not, my own sanity. I have made two attempts on my own life. Neither of…

  • Life

    Dear Boobs

    We have been together for most of my life. You arrived early. I was about 10 when I first needed a bra and I must be honest, I neglected you a bit. Didn’t get measured, wore a few dodgy Ethel’s specials (Ethel Austin for those outside Merseyside) The fact that I was a fat kid didn’t help either. The extra weight contorted your shape, affecting your development. I’ll be honest, I was bloody delighted you showed up. As a spotty, obese, geeky teenager, my tits were the only things I had going for me. Next to my undeveloped friends, I was busty and curvy (read ‘fat with big boobs’) Not…

  • Life

    To My Niece On Your 13th Birthday

    I always pride myself on being your cool Aunty. As the years go by, I am coming to the conclusion that this might not actually be the case. For example, I am about to say something that only deeply uncool old people say; “I don’t know where the last 13 years have gone.” You have grown up so quickly and I feel desperately sad that the cute, bonkers little toddler is now a sassy, bonkers teenager. Although I miss your little squishy face, the best thing about you growing up, is that you have become my best mate.  Often, I forget you are only 13 and I really need to…

  • Speak Up

    The Apologetic Feminist

    For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to write. I trained as a journalist for that very reason but it turns out, I am far too passive for journalism. I have messed about with pieces of pretentious poetry. All self-conscious imagery that just baffles the reader. I wanted to be Sylvia Plath. I wanted to write something with real gravity. Something important that would win posh prizes. I wanted to be brilliant and decorated. I have tried to write novels – pompous and wordy, with all kinds of metaphors. Something grandiose like a Song of Ice and Fire. Only my ideas were stunted, and I lack the…