Friday, 29 April 2016


I'm going away.

This is nothing new. It'll be the third time that I've left my children already this year. After all, two of them are adults and the other two are biddable and happy to do what their big sisters tell them. And I have lots of family and friends around in case of disaster. And this time my husband will be here.

Why is this a subject worthy of a blog posting I hear you cry. So you're going away. Big deal. Let's get on to something more juicy.

But you don't know the whole story...

I am going away to Devon. Devon is a a jolly long way from Ilkley. There'll be no popping back if someone cuts their knee or needs a bedtime story. And here's the crux of it. The place where I am going to stay has no internet and almost no phone signal. 

I will be entirely cut off!

Now do you see my concern? Just thinking about it in any depth makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. There'll be no cheeky texts, no quick snapchat shots of what I'm up to, no Facebook and definitely no end of the day skyping. There is a landline payphone 'for emergencies only'.

Those of you who are of a similar vintage to me know that we have spent the greater part of our lives without any of these newfangled modes of communication and have survived to tell the tale. Do you remember when, if you wanted to get hold of someone, you rang a building and hoped that they were in it? Well, it'll be just like that. 

So why am I so uncomfortable? Having thought about it, I'm not sure I really like the answer. Basically it all boils down to the fact that I am not indispensable. I will be gone for almost a week, incommunicado and life here will continue perfectly happily without me. There will be no checking in on them all to see how their days went or whether they have remembered to do their homework or if they have cleaned their teeth and I don't suppose they'll mind. They might miss me a bit but basically their lives will continue without me (surely the lynchpin, the glue that holds it all together??) being there.

I'm not sure I like that feeling which is ironic because I spend a fair chunk of my time dreaming about what I'll do when they've all gone and I am left to my own devices!

Honestly, there's no pleasing some people...

This is where I'm going so watch this space for more news on what it's all about.


Friday, 22 April 2016


'You never stop worrying,' my Mum said to me once. I think I just sighed at her and thought privately that she was being mildly ridiculous. I'm an adult. I have lived a happy and successful life for nearly fifty years and have never given her cause to worry about anything. Well, that's what I thought anyway. But now I understand.

I really wasn't a worrier until I had my kids. I breezed through life. To every problem a solution and if the solution wasn't immediately obvious, I was always pretty confident that it would show up soon.

Things are a bit different now. I have evolved into a worrier - at least as far as my children are concerned. I worry about their health. I worry about their exams. I worry that they aren't getting the right kind of food, that their teeth will rot and that they'll get sunburn. I worry about their friendship groups and that they'll fall in with the wrong crowd. I worry that they do too much or too little. I worry about their screen time, their homework, that they've never been to Wales.

The trouble is, I just want their lives to be charmed. I want things to come to them easily so that they never stop smiling. I want to absorb their problems like blotting paper on ink so that they can continue in life without missing a step. I want to protect them from anything that might do them harm. Of course I do. I'm their mother.

But this is where it gets tricky isn't it? Because it's only by taking the knocks and having things not go to plan that they will develop the resilience that they need to see them through the hard times. They have to make mistakes so that they can learn by them and grow. They need things to be tough sometimes so that they can empathise with those who are following a bumpier path. I will do them no favours by cushioning them from life's sharp edges.

I know this. And so, as I have to let them wander into the lion's den with barely a shield to protect them, I worry. I'm sure I have more grey hairs and wrinkles by the day as my mind contorts itself around the endless connotations of any one situation. In fact, dear reader, I have become like my mother....


Saturday, 16 April 2016


I've been a Twitter virgin. Oh, I've flirted with it, tossed my hair in its direction a couple of times but whenever we've got anywhere near some kind of relationship I've scampered back to the security of Facebook.

But now that I've promised to try a bit harder with this writing malarkey, I decided that me and Twitter really needed to get it on. So I rewrote my bio, twice, took a deep breath and headed over to the party with my lippy on and a bottle of wine under my arm.

You know what it's like when you don't know anyone and can't work out what the vibe is. I slinked around the edges, smiling wildly at anyone who looked like they might want to say hello. I spotted a few celebrities and that made me shyer still. I didn't recognise myself. I love social media. I'm up for a chat with anyone as long as it's my fingers that are doing the talking. So why couldn't I get this going?

The trouble is the party is just so huge! By the time I'd followed a few people who looked interesting, my feed was groaning with posts and my little smile was completely lost. And what is all this terminology - @ and # and lists and collections? I tell you, I nearly turned tail there and then and fled like Cinderella.

Then yesterday something great happened. I signed up for the Independent Author Fringe event at London Book Fair. I cleared the decks so I could spend all day trying to follow what was going on, with TweetDeck ( which I also don't understand) open at the ready.

And that's when the party began for me. I tried to join in although I was still feeling a bit lost but people spoke to me. Nice, like-minded people who seemed interested in what I had to say or at least polite enough not to ignore me.

I'm still not on the dance floor but I might have moved through to the kitchen so that's a start. And anyway, isn't that where all the best parties happen?

If you want to watch my Bambi-like attempts at finding my feet then go to @imogenclark or @lucindafoxbooks and say hello.

Imogen x

Tuesday, 12 April 2016


Guilty secrets? We've all got them. Mine is Gogglebox.

If you haven't seen it then you're missing a treat. The basic premise is that a selection of 'typical' British households are given some TV programmes to watch and then fixed cameras film their reactions to what they see. Genius.

I love it. I positively look forward to it being on and I'm disappointed when the series ends. I feel like I know the families personally. I saw the Tappers recently at a University Open Day and gave them a big beaming smile because I knew they were familiar. It was only afterwards that my daughter told me who they were. (To their credit they smiled back.)

So what is it about the show that I enjoy so much? Well, it's funny. Some of the people are really quick-witted whilst others make me laugh because they're laughing and it's interesting to hear a range of viewpoints on a particular subject. It's just really easy viewing.

But if I'm honest, what attracts me to Googlebox is the way it reminds me of what it was like to watch TV when I was a child. There were only three channels and no way to record anything so the whole nation watched the same programmes at the same time. Remember finding out who shot JR Ewing or watching Jason and Kylie tie the knot? It's hard to imagine now but back then what was on telly was a huge part of our lives. There were even power surges in the advert breaks because everyone boiled their kettles at same time.

it's not just that though. I miss the experience of sharing a programme with my own family. We have several TVs in the house and countless devices which serve the same purpose. My children consume endless reality shows that hold no interest for me and so we watch in separate rooms. If ever we do all come together to view something, there will always be at least one of us on a screen at any given time, dipping in and out of other things. No one just sits and watches any more.

And so Googlebox creates a kind of nostalgia for me. I can't even remember whether we used to shout at the TV when I lived with my parents but that doesn't really matter. In my head, watching TV was a group activity that you shared together and not something you did wearing headphones.

So I watch Gogglebox every week and when it's over, I go back to Facebook or Candy Crush or whatever it was that I can't leave alone for the length of a TV show - just like my kids...


Saturday, 9 April 2016


I love a good conference. Wandering around learning about things that you're interested in with a bunch of like-minded people with plenty of coffee and Danish pastries on the side. Perfect.

So imagine my delight when this popped through my virtual letterbox. A Conference for Indie writers just like me, In excitement, I checked my diary and was delighted to see that it was clear. (Well, it's my 21st wedding anniversary but you know what I mean.) The conference appeared to be linked to the London Book Fair so I'm almost clicking over to the Trainline to book my ticket when I notice the word 'Online'.

I do a little double take. Online and free too to boot! This all sounds too good to be true so I dig a little deeper. I've come across the Alliance of Independent Authors in my recent travels around Writerland and it comes highly recommended by some people whose opinions I'm starting to trust. When I look at the Line up of speakers I see a few familiar faces and some new ones but they all have things to say that I want to hear.

So I've signed up!

I've never been to an online conference before. On a scale of technical ability I'd put myself at an enthusiastic but average 5 so I'm not quite sure how these things work. But how hard can it be?  I'm sure I can master it.

So my diary is cleared - ( I told my husband that of course he didn't have to take the day off to celebrate our anniversary!), the coffee will be on and I might even buy myself a couple of Danish pastries to get me in the mood.

Why don't you come too? Sign up here.

See you there.


Friday, 1 April 2016


Goodness me - what a week it's been for me and my alter-ego Lucinda Fox! Her book Mummy's Girl is currently sitting at #2 in its category on Amazon and people have been so very, very kind downloading, sharing and saying lovely things about the actual content.

But let's not getting carried away here. Sadly, I am not about to become the next Jacqueline Wilson - or not yet at least! I've just been learning and putting my newly discovered knowledge into effect.

So, a quick potted history of what's happened so far.

1. I wrote some books.
2. I blogged one as a serial and got some lovely and constructive feedback.
3. I wrote some more.

Then I got stuck. I didn't really know what to do next.
'Publish' said my husband.
'Not on your nelly!' said I. 'All those people judging me. I'd rather die!'

But he talked me round and so I published in paperback and ebook. Despite best endeavours, my book was peppered with typos and the shame forced me back under my rock for a month or two.

Then I discovered The Creative Penn, a website packed full of practical tips and advice. I liked her honest style and decided that I had nothing to lose but my dignity and hey. I published a book with errors in so that was already long gone!

So I'm trying to make a better job of it. I've made lots of mistakes so far but that's Ok as long as I don't make them again. When my free book promotion ends, Lucinda's book will no doubt tumble back into the dark recesses of Amazon's lair but a few more people will have found it and hopefully liked it and maybe it will manage to crawl a bit closer to the light.

In the meantime, I'm building websites and teaching myself about marketing and writing and looking up.

Thanks so much if you took the time to buy or download Mummy's Girl. I'm so very grateful to you. Let's see what happens next!