Alternative CV – A creative writer type

Craving creativity.

A trained journalist with a degree in English and a little bit of Philosophy.

Passion for books and reading and words. A logophile.

A love of listening to people’s stories.

Social media bug arising from a desire to connect and reach out to people.

11 GCSES with a smattering of starred A’s.

3 solid A Levels.

A need to avoid retail.

Six years experience in a busy Opticians which was customer orientated, retail and reception and more.

A hard worker, a friendly face, a good team-mate.

A keen learner, a curious discover, creative minded.

Appreciator of beautiful things. Clean designs.

Fan of old fashioned snail mail for correspondence.

Volunteered happily at children’s book festivals ( a volunteer manager!) and children’s summer schemes.

Six months placement experience at a busy local newspaper. Plenty of by lines I could show you.

An award for excellence in Journalism.

Three years solid creative blogging.

Genuine person with a lot to give!

Confidence newly blossomed in the last few years.

Give me Journalism. Give me publishing. Give me a book review job. Give me means to write a novel. I might break my retail rule to sell books for now. The wishy washy Arts have my heart.

Let me use my strengths and loves to earn a wage and be dignified. Allow me to grow and find my way and feel fulfilled.

Half tongue in cheek. Half serious. Get in touch allusive UK creative head hunters!

References available on request. Also normal CVs.

Picture from here.

Picture from here.



Derry, Ireland


Ode to 15 fellow Journo students

1 Professional Newspaper Journalism Diploma

16 hopefuls

19-46 Age range

9 Months

23 Words per sentence

17 Vox Pops

5 Exams (at least)

20 Editions of iNews

3 lost and legendary classmates

8 Newspapers for Work experience

1 Pair of Grey Trousers

173 Scones

10 Shorthand Notebooks (me only!)

13 interesting video pieces

About 5 wonderful drinking sessions

1 Amazing BBQ

13 Survivors and Friends


This may seem very strange, but I feel that I need to put into words how much the wee motley crew that I spent the last 9 months working with trying to obtain an NCTJ in Newspaper Journalism have meant to me. It really was a life changing year, and I know it has a lot to do with these guys.

There were originally six women and ten men. Journalism is male dominated, after all!

There were other large media classes starting at the same time and we all speak of our relief when we weren’t placed in the class with all the 16 year olds who seemed to know each other. (I was 24 starting off and I had a fear everyone would be 18).

An early video journalism class. I think we were going drinking after this...

An early video journalism class. I think we were going drinking after this…

We seemed to spend loads of time in ‘the newsroom’ in the college at the beginning. We shyly made tea and coffee when it was there and crammed some current affairs on Monday nights so as to have something to talk about when we were singled out. The tables are all pushed together and we sat around as one big table. 3 days a week of class time were enough to get to know people.

Early on people learned to bark ‘stop worrying!’ at me when I verbally whimpered and fretted about everything and anything. As I do!

Learning the frustrating but weirdly enjoyable art of Teeline Shorthand were probably the most enjoyable classes. Or at least the one where most banter happened. The boys were wonderfully immature and we usually ended up in fits of giggles when we should have been practising this psycho-motor skill. A tub of chewing gum was thrown from person to person. There was cake one time. The passages dictated to us held all kinda of hilarious innuendo. Someone started drawing male body parts in people’s notes or dropping cut-outs into people’s bags. People got slagged for being good and slagged for being bad at it. In Derry, if you’re not being slagged off it’s a bad thing.

We took turns editing the student newspaper in pairs, and it was a stressful experience especially the first time. But looking back at us working together and trying to delegate, it was really beneficial, and brought out the best and worst in us. Editing when I did, and I wasn’t cracking my shin bone off a bench, I found great quality journalism from them all.

I think our eyes were opened to a lot in Reporting class. We learned tips that we will never forget and we heard many amazing stories. We were always able to remind each other afterwards of the right way to write copy throughout the year.

I have to say sometimes during Public Affairs, Court Reporting and Media Law I was ready to tear my hair out.However the quick humour, how we gelled with the lecturers and the general atmosphere in the class was key in getting me through, usually with some enjoyment.

The three who had to drop out in mostly mysterious circumstances kind of became revered celebrities between us. W, I and L – we will never forget you!

Oldie from Halloween!

Oldie from Halloween!

In true hack style, there were many excuses like Halloween, Christmas and any exams going for a drink. We had a few memorable all-day ‘seshes’. The college in in my home town, and as the only girl from the city I’m kind of proud to say I was usually there to the last. Not my ususal thing, drinking for hours on end, I swear, but the company was the best. Everyone a bit more comfortable when the beer-wine-gin started flowing (usually in the Ice Wharf!) and I think we all really looked forward to having some time to chat.

I don’t think I was the only one worried about it coming to an end. We had a final night out on the 25th June last week, and it wasn’t the best organised, and I got a few hugs in but we mostly kept it light. Enough of us are based in Derry for now to try to reel the others in, I really hope it happens.

I’ve had fascinating discussions about all manners of things. We all have come from largely different backgrounds and chapters in life but with a similar interest in stories, including each other’s and this has meant a lot.

I know that a few of us have had personal upheavals and trials in the last nine months. I don’t mind saying that the class was a support and also a welcome distraction. I became very close to the four other (remaining) girls, we bonded quite quickly. There was a day I stood crying my heart out for an entire lunchtime to these girls in the newsroom and nobody judged! I am really grateful for their support. And to all the people who made me laugh when I didn’t feel like it.

Not to diss the boys. I definitely became close to a handful of them, too. I have had excellent relationship discussions, life comparisons, life lessons learned and I’ve walked away feeling better after some chats to people I really look up to.

The last night out! :(

The last night out! :(

There was even rumours of a secret romance late in the year. There was a super-injunction and everything. I can’t possibly comment but I hear Fiona is funnier these days? And seems happier coming from her friends…

The in-jokes are ridiculous.  The nurse who guards the scones. Gillian’s knickers. Flamboyant Ringo. Big arm freckles. The secret life of Noelle.  Immaturity abounds but that’s what was needed and welcomed! A year of laughing, stressing supporting. Heart-to-hearts in bars are my favourite.

After completing and so far doing well in my journalism qualification, I can’t see what’s next and I am terrified about the future. However, in the grand scheme of things – I know this course and this choice was the right move if only for thrusting these great and beautiful people into my life. I have said it over and over. These bunch of good journalists took up firm friend spots and I’m hoping it stays that way.

So Laura, Jacqui, Claire, Natalie, Gary, Gareth, Michael T, Steven, Declan, Michael K, Mark and Ciaran. What can I say? Every good luck, hope and happiness in all that you do. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for keeping me sane, and making me laugh and opening my eyes a little more this year. You’s have meant more than you think to this sometimes shifty Derry girl.

I was actually going to ask for your addresses and snail mail you individual cards, but maybe that would be even more strange.

Us after a mostly successful shorthand exam with our lovely teacher.

Us after a mostly successful shorthand exam with our lovely teacher.

Let’s not lose touch. Journalism Class of 2014 forever!

Interwoven Threads

The OCD writer in me is distressed that May 2014 is the only month that I did not write a blog post in my three years of blogging. Most disappointing. Well maybe it’s time to get back on the blogging and creative writing wagon. My Journalism course is coming to an end and there is once again a big question mark over my future. But I’m feeling ok. My wise Godmother often quotes the Quakers, ‘The way will open.’ And I have a feeling there is deep truth in that.

This year has allowed me to change my direction in life, perhaps take some control although it doesn’t really feel like it! I’m turning 25 this week, big quarter of a century. I really hadn’t been happy.  Lots of big things have shifted in last two or three months and now there are some green shoots that are putting a smile on my face.

One of the changes is losing some weight. I have been having a go at Slimming World since the beginning of the New Year and to date I have lost just over two stone. I have to say I had to change a lot and if my Mammy didn’t make the slimming world chips and good low fat food for me most days I would be lost! Still spoiled in a house full of children. My Dad has been enjoying having the healthy dinners too.

I’m feeling a bit more confident and people have finally started to notice, ha. This weekend my sister went away with her boyfriend and as I had some space I decided to have a clear out of some clothes. It might be counting my chickens but some of them are too big now, and I think they could find a new home through charity shops.

Picture from here.

Picture from here.

As I folded and pulled dresses and tops from the chock-a-block wardrobe I share with my sister I couldn’t help think about all the memories, all the places I’ve been and people I’ve crossed paths with while wearing these clothes.

My memory is something else that has been worrying me. My parents used to tease me and call me ‘memory woman’ when I was little as I remembered everything. Now it worries me the things I forget. I think that might be why I can’t choose a favourite book, but then again maybe I’m still searching. There is so much to read, why limit yourself?

But here I saw a nice brown dress from Next that did as Christmas clothes when I hadn’t remembered to buy something new. My friend L from Edinburgh and I saw a girl at a Suede concert in Belfast wearing the same dress, posing with no coat or anything. We shivered and tutted behind her in our layers in the ‘Norn Iron’  August!

This black dress with red roses I was never comfortable in. I had a night out after my friend Claire got married, her dog Shelby who has sadly passed away licked my false tanned legs at pre-drinks in her first martial home before we went to the Gweedore bar for some dancing.

A burgundy patterned ‘staple’ top that saw me through many days at the newspaper office before becoming a bit baggy and having a run-in with a too-hot iron.

Fun, dotty not-quite-denim trousers that saw many walks and sunny days, but were always too big so now at falling down status. Last worn on my first family outing in years to Ards Forest Park where I went on the tire swing with Ellen who’s seven and was delighted.

Vests and casual tops that served me well on ordinary, not remembered days that fill my life and make me who I am.

Outfits that have had beer spilled on them and tears dripped onto them.

Clothes are worn close, they protect and they say something about you. They’ve been tucked and squeezed into backpacks and wheely suitcases for university, and city breaks. They have probably identified me when I have gotten separated from friends. To someone I might have been the girl with the green dress and the smile.

Some items of clothing are worn in rotation, as much as I could this year with no uniform and a small class of people who might have noticed if you always wear the same thing on Wednesdays. It’s weird that they could be so much part of your life and then they rip or tear or get too small or someone says something nasty and they get discarded or passed on.

I did come across uniform pieces from my job in the opticians which I had for six years. It’s finally time to let it go, face the very uncertain future, but what to do with these emblazoned trousers and tunics? If they fall into the wrong hands we could have an imposter on the loose! Lots of laughs and lots of stress occurred while I wore these. I made some fast friends. I hurriedly changed into yoga gear or going-out clothes in the loo, cramming the uniform into a bag.

I’m not a material girl at all. I don’t own any designer stuff. Perhaps I’m judged for my mostly cheap and cheerful wardrobe. I just hope the two or three black bags of lovingly folded fresh and clean clothes go to good homes, and people do some good living while wearing them close to their hearts.

If I become employed I will slowly replace them with slightly slinkier threads that put a sparkle in my eye and help me feel up for taking on this strange and wonderful thing called life.

Picture from here.

Picture from here.