Stuff I’ve written recently

I haven’t updated this blog in forever have I? Here’s some of what I’ve been up to:

I’ve been contributing a bit to the food section at The Pool here.

I’ve also written some bits and pieces for Betty Collective: a letter to my 14 year-old-self, the eternal stress of the post-PE shower and something about loving school dinners.

I wrote something funny about haemorrhoids for The Debrief a while ago.

And here’s something about being a parent and a Muslim in today’s Islamaphobic climate.

I also did a bit more lecturing at Sheffield Hallam University.

Yesterday I helped my kid design a book cover for one of her first ever pieces of homework — creating The Big Book of Bears involved both cutting and pasting. I’ve never felt so much pressure. I don’t know what I’ll do when she’s doing her A levels. Someone pass me the beta blockers.

Things that will happen if I eat clean

  1. Every morning I’ll write down my goals in a journal made of hessian and recycled toilet paper while I rub baobab oil over my hands and sit out on the balcony eating chia seed pudding and wearing a black polo neck.
  2. I’ll skip towards my organised pantry to retrieve a batch of peanut butter energy balls I made the night before, stopping midway to collect a single lily from the many vases full of delicate flowers found in my KonMari’d apartment to stroke over my cheek.
  3. My hair will smell like the limitless dreams of small children.
  4. Punctual, efficient and systematic, my bowel movements will begin and end at the same designated time period each day.
  5. My wardrobe will be colour coded and my bed will be buoyant with a thousand pillows.
  6. I will complete a 20 minute session of Ashtanga yoga in the nearby park on my lunch break before returning to my desk to eat a bowl full of home-made cauliflower rice and a single sweet potato brownie, which will easily satisfy my craving for refined sugar.
  7. I’ll bathe in a mixture of oat milk and goji berry juice on the weekends to cleanse and clarify my pores.
  8. I’ll make notes on the plot of my first novel in the most graceful of handwriting (in my hessian notebook) as I feast on a selection of seasonal crudités dipped in baba ganoush.
  9. My farts will smell of potpourri.

Continue reading

Antonio and Dolph

An Italian boy named Antonio was sick in the hood of my coat while we sat on the school bus in Year 6. I was on the seat ahead of him and my jacket was slung over the back of my chair. Although I heard his retching I didn’t notice that my hood had been used as a receptacle for his vomit until we’d reached our destination, by which point it had partially dried into a crusty smear with a wobbly interior (mmmm delicious).

I took the soiled hood to my teacher and I found her response to be simultaneously disgusting and perplexing:

  1. She dabbed the crusty surface with her index finger and proceeded to lick it. She did this, I can only gather, to double check that the substance on my coat was indeed Antonio’s vomit.
  2. She moved her tongue around inside her mouth as if she was trying to hone in on the specific flavour notes in the throw up.
  3. She scraped off the sick with her satsuma-coloured acrylic nails, which just happened to be the same hue as the veggie specks that were suspended within the upchuck.
  4. She handed my coat back to me and said “there you go, ALL CLEAN”.

This teacher was actually a parent volunteer who had come along on our journey to the local swimming pool to act as an extra pair of hands. She was tall and skinny (and was the mother of one of the girl’s in my class who I remember to be very freckly and petite). She also had a hairstyle that was short and stiff, like Dolph Lundgren’s in Rocky IV, and spoke in a broad Yorkshire accent. Sometimes I dream about this teacher scraping the vomit off my hood – she repeats the same phrase to me in her Northern drawl and it gently echoes away into the distance: “If he dies, he dies.”

As for Antonio, he was a nice boy. His black hair was always slick with oil and had a gentle wave to it that made him look like a 1920s flapper, except fatter and with ruddier cheeks. I’ve just looked him up on Facebook and he is now skinny and has many tattoos. His hair is spiky, like a villainous hedgehog, and he’s written a post about being happy and in love.

Novels and commissions

I’ve written a couple of pieces for Refinery29 that I keep meaning to link to so here they are…this one is about my wedding and this one is about Muslim women and the call for more English lessons for immigrants.

I’m doing a little more lecturing this year and I’ve been writing a fantasy novel about the afterlife. I’m a very long way off from finishing it but I’m completely invested in it now. I found it hard to give myself a license to write my own book. So it took me a while to make a start. But I’m on route now!

Impactful influences

I sometimes wonder whether the people who have affected us the most know that they have done so.

Today I’m thinking about this a lot because I just heard news that the kind gentleman who used to help me read the Q’uran and taught me countless prayers for many years passed away last night. And I don’t think he knew how much he influenced my life. Continue reading

Short story – Munchies

I wrote a short fiction piece for Munchies! The editor sent me seven Flickr images to choose from and I had to create a story with five of the photos within five days. Really interesting premise and such fun to write! My story was about death, dads and canapes. Read it here.

There’s also this really weird one on there written by Brian McMullen that combines cake, toothpaste and feet. Sounds gross but it’s a great story! Read it if you can.

Life update

I’m having some renovations done on my house so I’ve been forced to shift my desk into my daughter’s bedroom. It’s been almost two months and I can’t take it anymore! Plus I’ve had way more work than usual and lots of last-minute requests (nothing super interesting but lots of content writing for some new clients).

I’ve also been invited back to do a couple of lectures at Sheffield Hallam Uni, which is lovely seeing as I was proper bricking it last time and wanted to jump out of the window when I saw the students.

And……..I passed my Masters (thank God!) and have my graduation on Friday! So all is well!

 

Dissertation done!

I’ve done it! I finally finished my dissertation after two years of deferrals and a year of hard work! Fingers crossed I pass it and get my Masters in Journalism so my daughter can attend my graduation with me.

Balancing work with parenting and study was very challenging. I’m so pleased I can finally relax and just get back to pitching and writing again. I was also contacted my an amazing literary agent who liked my work and invited me down to London for a coffee and a chat. It was the most exciting thing I’ve ever done in my life. So the next challenge is to plot my first novel and write it!