Monday 30 July 2018


Reader and blogger COCOA & CHATS tells us all about her fab blog, what inspired her and how she came to write it!

I've wanted to start my own blog for the longest time now. I've been inspired by influential vloggers such as Zoella, Tanya Burr, The Anna Edit etc for about three years now. Then recently I found out that all these amazing people started their journey from their own blogs! It's crazy to think how far the media has come from people writing about their favourite lipsticks to vlogging their everyday lives. As I am embarking on my GCSE journey I wanted to document all the things that I get up to during this time and that's when it hit me - why not start a blog?

So on a cloudy day during half term I wrote my first ever blog post! I've been blogging for about a month now and it's been a crazy journey already! I have made new digital friends and learnt so many new skills and tricks! I wanted to share my own tips that really helped me out when starting my very first blog!

1) Choose your blogging software - choosing the software you actually write your blog posts on is super important. I chose blogger because it is free and after doing a bit of research I found out it was also the best for newbies because it is the easiest to use but there are others out there too. It is just about finding what works for you!

2) Choose a name that represents you - I personally think that choosing your blog name is the hardest part of it all because this is what people will remember your blog as and it also forms the main name in your blog URL. To choose mine I just thought about what my blog represented. I love chocolate, hence the name cocoa... and I wanted my blog to be a place where people can come to chat with me and other people in order to make new friends - hence the name chats. Bam - put it together and you are left with Cocoa&chats!

3) Choose the vibe - It is important to think about what you will write about on your blog as this can really help in choosing colours, fonts and backgrounds. For example if you are food crazy there is a background choice on blogger of different foods! You need to make sure your blog is clear and easy to read. It needs to engage your reader so make it colourful and interesting!

4) Steady your blog posts. Be consistent - it is easy to get carried away when you first start your blog. I remember wanting to write five posts on the first day! But having a schedule can really be good as it means you don't get too addicted to your blog but it also means that your readers know when they can expect a new post - for example you might state that you publish a post every Wednesday and Saturday. I have found that spacing out your blog posts really helps your creative mind as it means you are giving yourself a bit of space to think of new ideas.

5) Publicise your blog as much as possible - I think everyone thinks their blog will hit it off like Zoella within an hour of your first post, but in reality this won't happen! I remember sitting there hitting the refresh button over and over hoping someone would miraculously find my blog but of course they didn't! I find going on to the comments section of blogs that you love and leaving a link to your blog can really help to start it off. I love connecting with other bloggers who have a small audience and that way we can support each other. Being patient is key!

6) Make accounts on other social media platforms - again this is a great way of helping more people to find your blog. I have a Pinterest and Bloglovin account which is linked on my blog that way my readers can easily find me on other platforms. It is important that you link these platforms on your blog. You could also make an Instagram, Twitter or Youtube account!

7) Be unique - people will read your blog because they find it interesting. There is no point in copying someone else's style or posts because people won't engage with that. Be yourself and write about what you want because no matter what your interests are there will be someone out there in the world who loves that too!

8) REMEMBER - blogging is not about gaining a massive audience. I blog because I love to connect with people. If you are doing it for the follows you will soon find yourself falling out of love with your blog. I love it when even one person comments because it means that I can reply back to them and that starts a friendship!

Just be happy and do what makes you feel comfortable because if you are positive then this will show through your writing! I hope these have been helpful tips for anyone out there who wants to join the world of blogging. And if you are thinking of doing so - you should! It's amazing!
thank you for reading! Oh and one last thing- please check out my blog at
You can find a link to my Pinterest and Bloglovin account on there too!

Be sure to click the blue FOLLOW button on the right of my blog to get notified every time I publish a post!

I love these tips for budding bloggers! Cocoa&chats may be new, but it's also awesome... do check it out and give it a follow! Have YOU ever thought of starting your own blog? COMMENT BELOW to tell us more! 

Saturday 28 July 2018


Reader Marti tells us about a fab fundraiser she's a part of, raising awareness for mental health issues...

Marti says:
Hello! I’m part of a team of young people taking part in the NATIONAL CITZEN SERVICE programme, lead by FLYING FUTURES. The programme has helped us grow in unimaginable ways and taught us skills we would never learn in school. Through YOUNG ENTERPRISE workshops and inspirational talks by social entrepreneurs, we believe we have learned what it takes to positively impact our local community. Having asked members of the public about important issues in the community, we concluded that mental health issues deserved our attention. Throughout the next week, our team will be planning and taking part in a fundraiser for HARROGATE MIND. We wanted to educate ourselves on the issues those with mental illness face. 

This has been challenging, but our team are so self-motivated, and are lead by an awesome team leader who is always going the extra mile for us. We’ve had lots of obstacles to overcome as a group, such as conflicting opinions and clashing characters, but we always overcome them knowing that our differences make our team even stronger! We have been overwhelmed by the generosity that has come our way - people are passionate about mental health and truly believe in the young generation of today, even if it sometimes doesn’t feel like it! We’ve had raffle donations from big brand names and have even been encouraged by the local police force! Our FACEBOOK PAGE has been steadily growing each day, reaching fifty likes after twenty-four hours, and eighty the next day! After all, Mental health is an issue that affects all of us, either directly or indirectly.

On Thursday morning, we were invited to a breakfast with HARROGATE MIND. The visit wasn’t easy - I spoke to one man who shared his story with the most beautiful vulnerability. He told us that he loves life and wouldn’t change his past for the world. I spoke to another man who told me that he liked magic, On the Buses and Barbara Windsor. I then got up to approach a woman sat alone looking lonely. I didn’t know whether she wanted company or whether she wanted to be alone but figured that the worst that could happen was rejection. As I told a worker at the centre later: I didn’t realise how much that rejection would hurt.  As soon as I reached her side and said ‘hello’, she picked up her plate and stormed past, muttering about me. I was hurt. I could feel her pain inside me. To feel so threatened and upset when others approach you is a circumstance I could only imagine. I went outside and prayed for that woman. I think being so highly sensitive was a struggle in a facility where others are struggling, but it made me feel so grateful for my own health. The man I originally spoke to came and sat next to me later and spoke the most truth I have ever heard. He told me that it was bound to be a shock coming to a place like this with no prior experience and that we were doing a good thing.

Our team is planning a number of fundraiser activities next week, including a live music event, talks by users of mental health facilities, a ‘Positive Mental Attitude’ wall, as well as a raffle and voluntary work with HARROGATE MIND. We’re hoping to raise funds to help refurbish a quiet space where members can take time out to talk and invest in facilities for their choir and art group. The people who use MIND drop in all seemed so grateful to have the facility and not one negative word was said about it. The project is run entirely on goodwill and donations, with no budget for materials. We are so honoured to have a line up of five bands who have agreed to play free of charge in aid of MIND and to have been encouraged by the local community. It would mean the world to the team and me for anyone reading to spread the message and share awareness of our FACEBOOK PAGE, where details of the event will be held. We are also in need of technical equipment so that our bands can perform, and of course publicity! Any help would mean the universe to us, and help us on our mission to lift the stigma from mental health!

Cathy says:
Wow, what a great initiative - I really admire the NCS programme and applaud what Marti and her friends are trying to do! I've already given their FACEBOOK PAGE a like... why don't you? Have you ever taken part in community service or a charity fundraiser? COMMENT BELOW to tell us more!

Wednesday 25 July 2018


I get some very cool letters and emails from readers all around the world... here are short extracts from just a few!

Hiya... Cathy... I love your books so much. I got to know you by your book GINGERSNAPS... I loved it. I am from Southern India where storybooks aren't that common, but I love reading. You have lot of fans from my school,  including me! Keep writing!

Couer Vanille (SWEET HONEY) is one of your books that I like very much... I have read others and I am always looking for more! I live in Dakar, Senegal, and I speak French, but not all of your books are available here yet! I love reading very much!
FATIMA, SENEGAL (translated from French)

Hello Cathy! I live in Barcelona. Yesterday afternoon I finished your book 'Heart of Vanilla' (SWEET HONEY) and liked a lot the whole story. I have to confess I cried a little when I read the book and I hope soon to read 'Heart of Cookie' (FORTUNE COOKIE)!!

OMG I just finished 'Les 5 Lettres Du Mot Coeur' (BROKEN HEART CLUB) and it was so emotional! I like more and more what you do! I am sorry for my English, I am helping and translation application. I love your books!

Hey, my name is Lerato and I just turned nineteen, I live in South Africa. I love your books, especially DRIFTWOOD!

I absolutely LOVE hearing from my readers, wherever they may be around the world! Have YOU ever written to a favourite author? COMMENT BELOW to have your say!

Saturday 21 July 2018


Readers tell us what makes them tick when it comes to writing. Where does the inspiration come from? Let's find out...

Soumia says:
Writing is everything to me. it is my escapism and my therapy, I write to heal my wounds, to share my thoughts and feelings with the paper and to be a better person, I also write for others to make them feel better and to let them know that they aren't  alone. At a very young age I knew that writing is my passion but I haven't thought of making of it a career until few years ago and I still haven't made a step because I am waiting for the right time

BeeBee says:
I feel most complete when I'm writing, I can pour a bit of my soul into everything I write and there is nothing that compares to comfort it gives.

Blue says:
I write in a journal every night but that's mainly just a way of tracking whether I've had my medication and my mood in general so, overall, nothing too exciting. Although I've been experiencing a bit of a creative block recently, I write short stories on occasion, as you all know. Writing can take me out of my head (it's not exactly a 5 star resort in here) and it makes me feel good about myself when I get compliments. I shouldn't be ashamed to admit that I like to receive praise and validation - I'm only human! Since I was five, writing has been my main talent and one of the only things I ever received compliments on so it made sense to practice now that I'm out of school and writing fiction is no longer required of me. Don't want to get too rusty. The more people say they like my writing, the harder I try to live up to the expectations. Although it can be stressful at times, it feels like a feasible goal. It feels like writing a little piece of fiction is something I can achieve and one of the things I like about writing is that I get to choose. I get to write about the people and animals and otherworldly creatures that I want to write about. Sure, I'll always be able to pick out flaws in my writing but I'm sure even Picasso saw flaws in his artwork. Not that I'm comparable to Picasso or anything! Unlike the other writers here, I don't want to write a book. I don't have the attention span, the imagination, ambition or enough of a grasp of the world of publication to go through with that. Rambling short stories are the best I have to offer. But as long as people think my stories are worth reading, I'll consider them worth writing.

Katie says:
Writing is different to reading in that suddenly my creativity is in the spotlight. I use it as an outlet, and write short stories and poems, mostly. But one day I hope to write a book. Writing is my thing, a space for me to be creative. It’s very similar, in my opinion, to reading and acting, they all use words, and I think words should be studied carefully. You never know what they might do!

Olivia says:
Although I haven't written much I love writing stories. Once I start it's as if I can't stop until I reach the ending. I hope to write my own book in the future and have it published.

Amanda says:
I write poems and I've taken to writing a diary. It helps me to get through a difficult period. My feelings flow from my head into the pen and onto the paper. Then I feel better. I write about positive things as well. I love writing. Writing is different to reading in that suddenly my creativity is in the spotlight. I use it as an outlet, and write short stories and poems, mostly. But one day I hope to write a book. Writing is my thing, a space for me to be creative. It’s very similar, in my opinion, to reading and acting, they all use words, and I think words should be studied carefully. You never know what they might do!

Cathy says:
It's always fascinating to find out how and more importantly why people start writing. It is such a release for the emotions, turning them into something beautiful. What makes YOU pick up your pen? COMMENT BELOW to have your say...

Friday 20 July 2018


Reader Isobel shares what it is like to be a twin in this fab twin questionnaire!

1. What is it like being an identical twin?
Being an identical twin is mostly amazing - you always have someone by your side and it gives you a best friend for life. You never need to worry about being the only one to go somewhere as you’ll know you’ve always got your twin with you.

2. Are there any downsides to being a twin?
Overall, having a twin is cool but there are a few things that can get on your nerves. For example, when people get you mixed up! This happens a LOT. I know they sometimes can’t help it but especially if they’ve known us for ages, it can become really irritating! Another reason is when people can only invite a certain amount of people to do something and because they don’t want to pick one twin and not the other (which is actually quite a nice thought) they unfortunately can’t pick you as the other twin might get offended.

3. Are you similar in personality?
To be honest, we are actually quite similar. Not only because we look alike but we also share the same interests! The only difference is how I’m much quieter than Lucy as she’s always so loud and crazy compared to me.

4. Have you ever dressed alike or played pranks pretending to be the other twin?
Sadly, we haven’t played any pranks... yet! It would be a great idea for the future - Lucy could pretend to be me during an exam (although we are both about as brainy as each other) so I could pass! When we were small though, we did sometimes wear cute matching outfits - we were so adorable!

5. Some twins have an almost telepathic understanding of each other- is this the case for you?
Actually - no, unfortunately we don’t, but we can sometimes think the same things- it’s quite creepy! Also, recently we have been starting  to have the same viewpoint on everything and once we had the exact same marks on a test with the exact same questions wrong - how weird is that!

6. Have you ever shared the same friends?
Lucy and I haven’t ever had different friends. Well, except for that one time where Lucy met this person in a soft play (which I didn’t go to) and haven’t seen each other since - I don’t think that counts though!

As you can see, me and Lucy are very alike - can you guess who is who?

So fascinating, thanks Isobel for sharing!! Have YOU got any cool twin stories? COMMENT BELOW to have your say!

Wednesday 18 July 2018


Readers share their personal reviews of new CC book SAMI'S SILVER LINING... have you got YOUR copy yet?

I think that Cathy Cassidy's new book SAMI'S SILVER LINING is awesome because at first the book is really sad but when you read it you have to remember that it will all end happily! Her book broke my heart and sewed it back together. The story of Samir is one that I will never forget. This Syrian boy who walked to England, the boy who suffered loss and the boy who still managed to smile. I would recommend it to anyone who has read LOVE FROM LEXIE, the first book in the Lost & Found series. In my opinion, it is Cathy's best book yet!

NICOLE SAYS: I loved SAMI'S SILVER LINING! It is now my favourite book. I found it sad, really sad, but at the end I cried happy tears! My favourite character was Sami, because I really liked his personality and his confidence... I liked the way he dealt with things and his strength. For marks out of ten I would give this book ten, because I liked the story. I also liked the way after each chapter there was a memory of what happened in Sami's past, in the camp or when the boat sank. I loved how the book ended. I can’t wait until Cathy's next book!

Always look for the silver lining... this is the motto Sami is constantly repeating to himself as he makes his dangerous journey from war bitten Syria to England. Life in England is getting better though, and together with the Lost and Found crew Sami finds happiness in the best of places. With an incredible ending, SAMI'S SILVER LINING is a story of love, hardship and hope, woven together with music. This book made me cry! (Tears of joy!)

SAMI'S SILVER LINING is the eagarly anticipated second book in The Lost & Found series, following LOVE FROM LEXIE. I got the book the day before it came out and was really excited to read it as we don't hear much about quiet refugee boy Sami in that first book. Sami tells the story of his family life back home in Syria and the traumatic,journey he and his family face fleeing from the conflict in Syria. I very quickly felt sad for Sami and rooted for him on his journey. It was eye-opening for me and it also made me feel really sad that this is what children have to go through to escape conflict in their home country. The news doesn't tell us specific, personal stories like these. It often tells me things I don't fully understand so the book brought the war in Syria to life for me. I enjoyed the symbolism in the book too (you'll have to read it to find out what Sami's 'silver lining' really means!) It was also interesting to see the band from Sami's point of view and catch up with the other characters. I loved watching Sami find his voice and his confidence within the band, as well as romance! There is a really shocking ending to the book, which I never saw coming, it was brilliant and made me love the book even more! The book made me want to find out more about refugees, particularly children, and find out ways which I could help them. If you haven't read LOVE FROM LEXIE or SAMI'S SILVER LINING, you have to read BOTH now!

Cathy says:
The reviews for SAMI'S SILVER LINING are amazing so far... if you haven't already, get your hands on a copy soon! And if you'd like to add your own verdict, please email via the EMAIL CATHY link on or COMMENT BELOW!

Sunday 15 July 2018


We caught up with fab author Nicola Morgan, who's an expert on how the teenage brain works, and how life online can impact on this! Fascinating stuff... read on to find out more! 

A big wave of positivity to you, lovely Cathy’s readers! And thank you, Cathy, for asking me to come here and say something about The Teenage Guide to Life Online. The book should really be called Everyone’s Guide to Life Online. Your parents need to know this stuff as much as you do – maybe more! Adults often behave pretty badly with their phones and tablets, even while telling you to use yours less. Have you noticed??!

I’ve studied all the science behind our use (and over-use) of screens and I know that the risks and problems (as well as the positives) apply to all ages. We all need to understand this – so, tell your parents, especially next time they answer an email or text when you’re trying to talk to them or next time they’re suffering stress from being online too much…

The Teenage Guide to Life Online has stacks of fascinating science about all the positives and negatives but let me give you my four top tips here. (I have loads of free downloadable stuff on my website and anyone who orders a book from my site will get two signed cards, one of them with these tips on. You’ll find the free stuff and details here.)

Don’t compare yourself to the “perfect” lives you see online: it’s not the whole truth. People put their best stuff online and hide the boring, difficult or embarrassing bits.
If being online is making you feel bad, switch off, walk away and do something else. You’ll notice that you feel better – and the world didn’t stop just because you weren’t online for a bit.
Put your phone away if you want to do your best work. When we need to concentrate on something, we do better if our phone is out of sight and switched off. (Ideally somewhere we can’t easily get it – so, not in our bag or drawer but in a different room, or locked away.)

Make sure you spend enough time on things that we know are essential to well-being: sleep, physical exercise, face-to-face communication, hobbies and day-dreaming. If you’ve done all this, there’s no problem being online. (TTGLifeOnline has fascinating stuff about the power of day-dreaming and it’s something most of us aren’t doing enough of now, as we just get our phones out when we have five minutes of “empty time”. That empty time nourishes your mind, heart and creativity.)

Life online is wonderful and brings enormous benefits but we can have too much of it and it can start to dominate our lives. The Teenage Guide to Life Online gives the how and why – and how to have the benefits without the negatives.

If you’d like a chance to win a signed copy, add a 'pick me' comment below and one random person will be picked as the winner! The comp will run for just 14 days, so don't delay!

Btw, I have another new book: Positively Teenage. Both books are written for you, from me. I hope they help you have the best life possible. Take care, keep control and build the best life you can for yourselves, online and off-line. Because you’re worth it!

Wow... a book we could ALL use, and an amazing COMP as well! Thank you so much Nicola! COMMENT BELOW with 'PICK ME' to be in with a chance of winning a signed copy!

Saturday 14 July 2018


SKYE TANBERRY reads the stars for our summery month of July!! Read on to see how your predictions turn out!

LEO: Jul 22 - Aug 21
Feeling a little worn out? Taking too much on can sometimes leave you feeling drained… why not breathe into a new hobby such as yoga or meditation. This will do wonders to your anxiety and help you focus your mind on the present!

VIRGO: Aug 22 - Sept 21
The moon is especially bright for you this month. A Saturday night is a good night for moon and stargazing. Maybe camp in the garden with your BFF’s? Connecting with nature is good for the soul… you may not realise how much we need it in our lives!

LIBRA: Sept 22 - Oct 22
Your social scene seems a bit disjointed and scrambled right now. Focus on having low-key fun with those who mean the most...  and avoid drama and gossip, it will only bring unwanted negative energy into your life.

SCORPIO: Oct 23 - Nov 21
Sometimes you feel like you’re being overlooked… your ideas somehow get lost over louder, less clever ones. Well, this month it looks like your time has come. Make sure you articulate clearly what you have to say, as people will tune in with extra care! Go change people’s minds!

SAGITTARIUS: Nov 22 - Dec 21
A time to perhaps focus on good deeds. Even just one selfless act may bring in return a huge deal of good karma. Energy is rewarded in mysterious ways, but you may just find yourself with a big smile on your face as everything around you aligns.

CAPRICORN: Dec 22 - Jan 19
Make time for daydreaming this month, you may find the inspiration you have been searching for all this time. A time for finishing on going projects with a final burst of creative energy. Stay positive and go with your gut feeling.

AQUARIUS: Jan 20 - Feb 18
You find yourself with a lot of free time this month, this may be your cue to take up a new hobby. Something you’ve been meaning to do for months… JUST DO IT! What is stopping you? New experiences are an invaluable part of human existence.

PISCES: Feb 19 - Mar 20
You are glowing and your love life is too! Lots of attention this month from romantic interests, wanted or unwanted!! Don’t let yourself become distracted from those closest to you though, plan that adventure with friends, go to the cinema with your mum, have some ‘me’ time.

ARIES: Mar 21 - Apr 20
This is your opportunity to shine brighter than the rest. Crank up your engines and throw yourself into your projects! Impress, inspire, be fabulous. Confidence will be easy to come by this month.

TAURUS: Apr 21 - May 20
This is a month to have fun, so let loose and be free to express yourself in the best way you see fit. Realise your own power and project it into the world... leave seriousness for another day and let yourself laugh!

GEMINI: May 21 - Jun 20
You are peaceful, harmonious and at one with nature this month. Very little will let you stray from being outside. You are most yourself in the summer, a gentle breeze in your hair and a river to dip your toes into!

CANCER: Jun 21 - Jul 21
You are a deep thinker, by nature. Always with your head in a book. This month is no different… you are wired to the moon! It’s okay to be alone with your thoughts, spending time by yourself is healthy and can lead to some amazing creative endeavours!

Isn't it SO spooky how accurate these are? Do Skye's predictions ring true for YOU this month? COMMENT BELOW to have your say!

Thursday 12 July 2018


Reader Katie read SAMI'S SILVER LINING as soon as it came out... while on a visit to the UK from her home in New Zealand! Read her cool review...

Katie says:
While reading SAMI'S SILVER LINING, I was reminded that actually I live a very sheltered life. This book was the reminder I needed that there are people not so very far from home, who watched their friends’ conditions deteriorate, who only had a coat to remind them of their father and who constantly sought their silver linings in order to keep going.

The Lost and Found (save for one member brilliantly written by Cathy for SAMI'S SILVER LINING, you know who you are!) have become like friends to me. I didn’t want to put this latest instalment in the series down, to the point where in my first sitting I read eighty pages! Cathy’s writing is a brilliant mix of dynamic, feels-hitting prose, and the kinds of scenes that make you want to dive right in so you can hang out with your friends over and over!

SAMI'S SILVER LINING, as well as being the perfect summer read, depicts the heart-wrenching reality of Syrian refugees. My brain tends to get clogged when reading about these political-type issues, but not this time. From this book I have learned that the reality of Syrian refugees is Sami’s reality. The reality is that, for some people, 2018 is as hard to live in as 1918. Guys, you will love Cathy’s beautiful interpretation of this.

It is a special book, not just because of what a story it is (and I mean, what a story!), but because I actually got my copy signed!!! My first signed Cathy Cassidy book!!! Cathy actually took time out of her busy tour schedule to sign MY book! But go read LOVE FROM LEXIE AND SAMI'S SILVER LINING. You are in for a treat! Thank-you Cathy!

Cathy says:
It was amazing to meet up briefly with Katie and her family while racing through Victoria station in London on the way to the start of my book tour! I love Katie's review... have you read SAMI yet? COMMENT BELOW to have your say!

Tuesday 10 July 2018


HONEY TANBERRY sheds some light on reader Dana's tricky problem in today's problem page dilemma! Read on and see what you make of it...

Dana says:
You have to help! I think I am in love with a boy and I know he feels the same! The problem is, he is already going out with my best friend!! On the one hand I have no idea how to tell her and on the other I am overwhelmed with these emotions, I can’t get my head straight. I know he wants us to get together, but what if that means losing my best friend?

Honey says:
Alarm bells are ringing! OK, I know that when you fall for a boy you can fall hard, but let's be honest - teenage hormones are to blame for a lot of that, and teen crushes can be short and sweet. Would you risk a friendship for a flirtation that could be over before it's even started? I'll come clean here. I have been in a similar situation myself - before I met Shay - and I chose the boy over my friend. It was fun while it lasted, but it didn't last long, and to this day I miss the friendship I threw away far more than the boy.

Worse still, I've had this happen to me - if you count my step sister Cherry snatching Shay from under my nose. We've made our peace now, a few years on, but it was not the best of starts for me and Cherry. If this boy is serious about you and you are serious about him, he will do the honourable thing and finish with your friend. If you still feel the same way a couple of months on, by all means give it a go, but do NOT go behind your friend's back. You will only live to regret it.

Cathy says:
Strong words from HONEY - and I have to agree! What advice would YOU give to Dana? COMMENT BELOW to have your say!

Wednesday 4 July 2018


CC readers share their stories of how they managed to channel their self-confidence, even in the hardest of moments...

Soumia says:
In high school I used to suffer from a very low self-esteem, I was very insecure about many things in my body and face even though my friends and family used to tell me that I am beautiful. Something inside of me was not satisfied... I do not know how to explain it but it is like when you look in the mirror and like what you see for the first look but then the good and beautiful things start to fade and all you can see are the FLAWS. I do not really have any advice for it, but my insecurities disappeared with growing up. I went through tough phases and came out stronger. Today I can never hate anything about me, I still have some insecurities but I now know how not to let them ruin my day or my life.

Afroditi says:
Lack of confidence is my main character flaw. It stops me from actually achieving or even properly trying to achieve the things I long for. I always have this voice inside my head, telling me this isn't good enough. I need to work on that.

Hollie says:
I was always very confident being me - wore quirky clothes and wasn't scared to like what I like. You'd expect kids to have been nasty, but actually aside from the odd sarcastic comment or mention of the word 'weird' everyone loved me for it! If they asked why on earth I was wearing that or 'why do you have a Peppa Pig backpack, you're thirteen?' I didn't even falter in my response, and they had no choice but to accept it. They can't upset you over something that doesn't bother you! I was lucky to be very confident in myself, and didn't understand why others weren't. But when I was seventeen I started getting self conscious about how I looked and developed an eating disorder. It was only then I realised how important confidence was! Rather than looking at what you'd change, you've got to do other things that make you feel good. When I had anorexia I stopped feeling bad about buying myself things, and bought lots of clothes that made me feel really good! I didn't buy things that I thought I'd fit in if I was thinner, because otherwise there's reason to change! So I made myself love how I looked again, and it made me feel better about everything.

BeeBee says:
Confidence is like a mask - some of the most confident outgoing people are often the most nervous people suffering with low self esteem. Confidence in my opinion is a bit like attending drama class - you turn it on as a shield to protect yourself from people seeing your true self below the surface.

Marie says:
I am anorexic, and when I was in the hospital, I said I had faith in myself. But in truth, over time, I realized that I did not have faith at all. I thought I could control everything, so I had confidence and I was ‘proud’ of myself. But under the surface, I hated myself and found myself empty, lost and with no positive points at all. Anorexia is a poisonous disease that makes you believe in a twisted way, through the illness, that you're worth something, and that without it, you're nothing. It’s all a lie. You have to start from scratch, rebuild your confidence, learn to trust yourself and love yourself if you are ever to conquer it.

Cathy says:
Confidence is sometimes the hardest thing to channel, it takes time and doesn't always appear when you need it... it's something you build, little by little. Have YOU got any good confidence tricks? If so, why not COMMENT BELOW...

Monday 2 July 2018


Reader Samantha shares her wonderful, poignant story. Read on and be inspired...

She was all alone, staring at the moon, hoping that someday soon she would rescued from this rut she was once again trapped in; hoping that her dreams would one day come to pass. Would they? She could not figure that out no matter how hard she tried. She could not stop herself from trying as hard as she possibly could every single day, no matter how many times she would fail.

How could this world be so cruel, she thought to herself... she had no idea what this world had in store for her and was not looking forward to it at all. She knew that something was not right, but she found herself at a fork in the road. She truly had no idea what direction to choose, as it felt as if everybody was pulling her a different way. She knew that if she did not get the help she desperately needed then pretty soon she would just give up and end it all…. and she knew she did not want it to end so badly, as she had a bright future ahead of her. On this journey it was just her and her dreams.

So she would pour her heart out on each page of her diary as the tears made their way down her cheeks, until the pain she felt inside would finally begin to fade away so that you could eventually no longer see the scars that marked her heart and arms. After a while, new ones would appear each time she let her guard down only to be disappointed.

She never really escaped them, but only dragged them along for the ride all these years. If you believe in yourself, slowly your dreams start coming, one by one, depending on how much work you put into making them become a reality. You can do anything you put your mind to, even if it means facing your deepest fears.

She had no idea that she possessed that much strength and power all along to help her face her many trials and tribulations… she was only one girl with a dream in this big crazy world, but she could make a difference in other peoples lives, too. Yet she still had no idea what to do with the gift that has been given to help her cope with the upcoming storms. She is tired of sitting on the fence watching bad things happen to good people and just simply doing nothing. It is time for all of us to make a stand and work together, to make our futures brighter.

Cathy says:
Shivers... such beautiful writing, Samantha! Did YOU enjoy this week's five minute fiction? COMMENT BELOW to have your say!

Sunday 1 July 2018


Reader Kristen channels the life of Audrey Hepburn as her source of inspiration. Read on to find out why!

For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.

Audrey Hepburn. History remembers her as one of the most beautiful women ever to grace the earth, which is no small praise but I want to remember her as the amazing, caring woman she really was. Looks only go so far in my book, it is the actions and personality of a person that really matter. And she was special.

Audrey Hepburn was born in Brussels, Belgium in 1929. Her father was an English banker who, in the run up to the World War II, became very involved in Nazi politics. To avoid Audrey becoming mixed up in this, her mother sent her off to England to a boarding school. Here she developed her life-long passion for ballet. We wont mention her father too much more, because he deserted the family when Audrey was only eight, leaving her and her mother to fend for themselves.

After boarding school, her mother took her to live in Holland where they waited out the harrowing years of World War II. Here, they struggled just to stay alive, often going hungry. They were forced to hide in cramped conditions with lots of other people and it is said she used to dance in the basement of their crowded building to earn money towards the Nazi resistance. Even back then, she was fighting the good fight! Unfortunately malnutrition and poor health left Audrey too physically weak to dance, crushing her dream to become a professional dancer. It was at this point she looked into the world of acting! Her first real hit was with Roman Holiday starring alongside Gregory Peck (I highly recommend this film!) She was an instant hit, going on to star in films such as Breakfast at Tiffany's, My Fair Lady, The Nun's Story, Sabrina, and many more.

In 1967, Audrey stopped acting for a while, focussing more on her family and started work for the international children's relief organisation UNICEF. She travelled the world, nursing sick children, teaching them to read and write. She visited an Ethiopian orphanage to help send food to impoverished children; went to Turkey and Vietnam for immunisation and clean water campaigns; Central America for aid efforts; and so much more. She remained so dedicated to her work with UNICEF that they made her the goodwill ambassador in 1988.

Despite her obvious fame and wealth she chose to live out her later life helping others. Choosing kindness over Hollywood exclusivity. We all have something to give but often it is those who are the most capable who ignore this. Be Audrey!

I LOVE Audrey too! She was so much more than just a pretty face, and her films are still iconic today. Who is YOUR female role model? COMMENT BELOW to have your say!


Reader Emily, aged ten, explains how a Cathy Cassidy book inspired her to raise money for a refugee charity... Emily says: The Cathy Cassidy...