It took me a year of soul searching to realise for the last fifteen years I'd done what I thought I was supposed to, what society wanted of me, my family, friends. The last time I'd revelled in what I'd done was at uni - reading novels and analysing them, and before that it was time as a little girl writing fairy stories.
Writer of The Ugly Little Girl trilogy
The flurry of wearing different uniform, packing a brand new lunchbox creates some excitement, but for many the overwhelming sensation is uncertainty. Will there be nice teachers? Who will sit next to me? Will there be more homework? Will the lessons be harder? Will the other children like me?
05/09/2017 13:05 BST
I overheard a mum in a coffee shop talk to her friend about her child's revision this summer holiday. The girl had to do minimum three hours a day. I assumed GCSE or A Level. But no it was the 11+.
29/08/2017 15:14 BST
Rather than being happy about the two As I beat myself up about about my failure. I refused to celebrate, my parents got the paper remarked (it still came back as a C) and I started Oxford, not exactly brimming with confidence.
22/08/2017 14:31 BST
The new anti-thin law is now being enforced on French couturiers. Doctors have to provide certificates that prove models are a certain BMI before they walk up and down their runway. Many are dangerously thin, some anorexic.
30/05/2017 15:26 BST
Getting professional help is the simplest and most rewarding thing anyone can do. The chance to open up, leave our bagage with someone instead of take it home, to understand why we react in a certain way. In fact I'd recommend everybody to have therapy, because it is the most enlightening experience.
09/05/2017 14:37 BST
<img alt="all women everywhere" src="http://i.huffpost.com/gen/5135874/original.jpg" width="300" height="35" /> These constraints are outside of our control but we have also created our own shackles that impede us every day. We freed ourselves from the obligation to stay at home, of being chained to the kitchen sink. Yet we are now slaves to another master - the mirror.
08/03/2017 13:03 GMT
As soon as the last Xmas decoration is put away, we are bombarded with red roses and hearts. Everyone jumps on the bandwagon - I even saw a heart shaped pile of doughballs outside Pizza Express - to max on the seasonal love fest.
13/02/2017 14:17 GMT
Christmas is a time of celebration, getting together but for many it's not as easy as that. You might be alone, suffering from an illness, going through a break up and so these idealistic images are the equivalent of a slap in the face.
27/12/2016 13:30 GMT
Women have shed some of the shackles of inequality, only to be bound my new ones of image obsession. Yet the investment is disproportionately high compared to their interests and desires. They claim that their confidence drops by 80% on reading a magazine and 60% feel that glam selfies make them feel bag.
06/05/2016 17:04 BST
The A4 challenge is paper thin, and will leave young girls feeling despondent, depressed and disgruntled this week as super skinny photos whizz are around the web. How many of them will turn to diet pills, excessive sport, bulimia even?
21/03/2016 17:03 GMT
Awards season is upon us, culimating with the Oscars on Sunday. Inevitably there is a rush of excitement: who will take best film, best director but what sends the media into an absolute frenzy is the best and worst dressed.
26/02/2016 15:37 GMT
Having role models that bust these perceptions is a huge step forward, but it is equally important not to single them out for being different. It's as if to say, if you don't look like the super skinny version, then somehow you're not normal. Most kids want to feel normal so will they really ask for the 'curvy version?'. Will they want to be seen with it?
01/02/2016 20:12 GMT
The media have coined the term 'Blue Monday' to describe the feeling that can overwhelm us mid-January. January is meant to be the first month of a blossoming new year, but for many of us it throws a spotlight on all the aspects of our life we aren't satisfied with.
12/01/2016 18:10 GMT
For at the end of the year there is a tendency for low self-esteemers like I used to be to look back with grey tinted glasses. 'I didn't go on that diet', 'I didn't get promoted', 'I didn't meet the one'. Social networks compound this by focussing on the glossy sides of life, making the gloomy crew feel even more useless, rubbish.
31/12/2015 11:11 GMT
Campaigns by parent-groups like Let Toys Be Toys have gathered momentum and the tide is beginning to turn with a few brands launching products that buck stereotypes. A huge franchise for Xmas 2015 will be the newly-launched Lego Star Wars range that prominently features the new female heroine Rey and her vehicles.
23/11/2015 22:51 GMT
Reading a beauty magazine can lower self-esteem by 80%, because all the ads, articles, images are of 'prettier' girls - they promote perfect hair, skin, fashion. Yet most are photo-shopped, so as in the Dove school workshops, mums can demystify these fake ideas.
13/10/2015 08:44 BST
Parents can inevitably struggle with this painful process. Many avoid talking about Back to School for fear of upsetting the present happy moment. It often gets left to the last minute or gets lost in the rush to prepare packed lunches and bags.
03/09/2015 14:31 BST
I couldn't see that exam success is not all defining. Resilience and how you handle life's knockbacks is, of course, far more important. That C was a warning sign that I never listened to, because if C stood confidence, that was a subject that I definitely had not mastered!
10/08/2015 16:49 BST
Fashion can play quite a complicated role in the lives of many women. It fills our media, acts as a social currency for chatting to our peers, and is a regular weekend pursuit for many yet how many of us are truly happy getting dressed? How many of us stand in front of a full wardrobe, feeling we have nothing to wear?
28/07/2015 20:39 BST
SUBSCRIBE AND FOLLOW
Get top stories and blog posts emailed to me each day. Newsletters may offer personalized content or advertisements. Learn more