Search Results for: "for my daughter"

Notes for my daughter: my favourite words

words to add to your vocabulary

I love language. I’ve always been a word-nerd – collecting them up from Famous Five books (determined; kitbag) & my mum’s weekly women’s magazines (devastate; masturbate – a regular on the problem pages, although it was some time before I could really pronounce or understand it). I’d absorb them by osmosis – so sure that the imaginary land my soft toys hailed from – California – was my own wonderful invention. Playing with a puffalump in the garden one day, I was…

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quotes for my daughter: the fence


A Tim Minchin song might not seem like an obvious place to find wisdom, but I’m a huge admirer of his clever wordplay & humorously accurate observations on life. The Fence is chock-full of exactly this – ‘an anthem to ambivalence’ – taking a stab at the stream of false dichotomies we’re all living our lives by. We divide the world into terrorists and heroes, into normal folk and weirdos, into good people and paedos,…

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quotes for my daughter: Ani Difranco

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Alternative title for this post: everything I know about life I learned from Ani Difranco.   If you’re not getting happier as you get older then you’re fucking up. If you don’t like abortion don’t have an abortion and teach your children how they can avoid them. But don’t treat all women like they are your children. All I can say is if you stretch your mind all the way as far as it goes then…

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notes for my daughter: on jealousy


Ok, it’s not snappy – but it’s surprisingly true. There will be times when someone is inexplicably rude or mean or condescending, and you cannot figure out why. A girl at school who consistently picks on you; an older woman at work who does all she can to keep you down. “They’re just jealous“, people will tell you. This never sat quite right with me. I get jealous – jealous of other people’s success, ideas,…

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notes for my daughter: weak & strong

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Dear Orla, I have been strong and I have been weak, and I have learnt that these words do not mean what we think. Before you were born, I cried easily; a confrontation with friends, a passing criticism at work. I once cried at an episode of Supermarket Sweep, because I was just so happy for them when they won. I could no more contain these tears than I could hold back a sneeze; sobs…

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Notes for my daughter: books to read


Dear Orla, You might not enjoy them or even finish them, but the following books are all worth trying. These are the books that helped me understand the world – and possibly even myself – a little bit better.  If I get hit by a bus and turn into a tragic absent-mother-figure, I hope you can read your way down this list, and feel like you got to know me some more. Stargirl – Jerry Spinelli. Despite…

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notes for my daughter – Songbirds


You were born with a mind like a faiytale forest, filled with every imaginable species, and some even beyond that. A rainbow of feathers, a cacophony of song. & every day as you grow, we lose a bird or two. Like conservationists, we try to choose what is most important, to focus our limited resources for preservation. So we protect independence, say, but maybe creativity takes a hit; we nurture self-belief, but something quiet and…

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more notes for my daughter


Let her learn from my mistakes, please. Part one here. Be you. The world will adjust. Say no to the things you don’t want to do – you don’t need an excuse. Eat junk food while your metabolism is good. School is great, but educate yourself on the things they leave out, too; money, things that grow, gender issues, life hacks, health, and how to make dinner out of one bendy carrot and some old…

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Notes for my Daughter


  Not sure it’s really possible to fast-track wisdom, but in case it is, & in case I get hit by a bus, etc, an ongoing list:   Read! It doesn’t matter what – it will make your thoughts clearer, your mood lighter & your spelling better. Everyone thinks they are a good driver. Most of the time they are wrong. Perfection is not sustainable. Aim instead for ‘good enough’. Avoid black & white thinking…

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10 ways to improve your writing

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ten mistakes you might be making in your writing Not an expert, purely observational. Well, I did study linguistics at Uni but I’ve forgotten it all, so… 1. Over-using the thesaurus. It was drilled into many of us at school to look for fancy or alternative words. While this works as a vocabulary extending tool, there’s no point in building up a mental lexicon if you never just deploy it. Often the word that comes naturally…

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