Category: literature


Once upon a time in a land far away, there lived a young, but vertically challenged maiden by the name of Monica.

Monica was fairly content with her life, but she could not suppress the feeling of wanting more from it, of discovering new lands and going on magical adventures. She forever daydreamed about going on enchanted quests so much so that one day she decided she had had enough of daydreaming; she wanted to turn her dreams into reality.

So she set off on a long and toilsome journey far away from home. After much time had passed, she finally arrived and settled in a strange, but wonderfully enchanted land, where the people seemed to speak in an unknown, but charming dialect to her ears.

She found a job at a mill, where many humans and dwarfs worked also, and although it was challenging, she quite enjoyed her time there, so far.

She had been working there for only a short while, when she was mysteriously approached by a damsel in distress, who also worked at the mill.

“In three days time I will have nowhere to live,” the fair damsel cried. She explained that her landowner had suddenly decided that she no longer wants her to live in her property.

“Never fear,” Monica replied, “if you have nowhere else to lay your head, then I have a spare room in my humble abode.”

“Thank you for your generosity!” exclaimed Amelia, the young damsel. “If I can find a place to stay at a friend’s house then I may not need to take up your generous offer, but I will confirm soon.”

Three days later while Monica was exploring the land, she received a message on a magical device from Amélie, saying that she desperately needed to stay in the spare bedroom, but for one night only as a room was available at a friend’s house the following day. After going back and forth with many bags in tow during the day, Amélie finally arrived and settled down in Monica’s small abode after dusk.

The two maidens met with two other workers at the mill, Melvin and Zora. They conversed until the early hours of the morning, which was a little strange because Amélie had never spent so much time with the trio up until this point.

Since Amélie had worked in the foreign land for some time, she jovially gave them anecdotes and advice about living and working there. When she recalled times when she had not had anyone to share her adventures with while she had been living there, the band of friends said that she now had them to share her experiences with. She just smiled in response.

After that night’s jollifications, Monica and Amélie went back to Monica’s house and they both slept peacefully.

The next morning, the two maidens arose early with the rise of the morning light for the tasks that lay ahead of them that day. Monica had to embark on her next sea adventure, while Amélie had to wait for her friend to take her to her new place of residence.

Monica helped to bring down Amélie’s bags down the stairs. As soon as the last bag was laid on the ground, it began to rain. Monica asked if Amélie wanted company while Amélie waited, or at least if she wanted to bring her bags back upstairs. However, Amélie insisted that her friend was only minutes away and that Monica should not be late for her adventure. So they embraced and then parted ways.

The next day at work, Amélie was nowhere to be seen. This was not so unusual, Monica thought, because maybe she was just ill or needed some time to settle into her new place. The day after that, there was still no sign of Amélie.

Monica started to worry when their fairy godmother boss, Eliza, asked her if she had seen or heard from Amélie recently.

Monica’s mind raced back to the last image she had of her, of Amélie standing in the rain waiting for her friend to come for her. Her boss told her that Amélie had not been in contact, when she usually would, if she was sick.

Immediately after work, Monica tried to send many messages and talk to Amélie through her magical device, but to no avail.

The next day, Amélie’s workstation was still empty. Monica tried to contact her again, but to her dismay, her magical device was no longer connecting to Amélie’s device at all. Monica’s mind began to think of the worst. She had heard horrendous stories of brutal gremlins kidnapping defenceless damsels for profit in the strange land that she now lived in, but she had not heard of anything as terrible as that happen in her area, until possibly now.

Monica noticed that Eliza seemed strangely at ease with the situation, in a very disturbing way. She smiled brightly and even chuckled, and said that she thought Amélie was ok. Furthermore, to Monica’s shock and surprise, Eliza offered her Amélie’s job. Monica felt very uneasy. Monica asked if Eliza had contacted the guards about the situation, and Eliza said that she would do. Even though Monica would have preferred to work in Amélie’s position, she did not feel comfortable with the way that it was happening. So Monica said she would think about it, and insisted that she was more concerned about the well being of Amélie. After all, she had potentially been the last person to see her. Furthermore, she was disappointed about the response from the mill. Were the bosses concerned about the workers there? If Monica herself had suddenly disappeared, then would they just smile and ignore the fact that she was missing? Monica didn’t really feel easy with the whole situation, at all.

Eventually, it transpired that Amélie was fine. Amélie had sent a short message to Eliza informing her that she was fine and that she was sorry for her sudden disappearance. It also came to light that Eliza knew that she was most probably fine, because some days before Amélie left, she asked for a letter of recommendation. So in the end, rather than the fairy godmother possessing a sinister streak, it was Amélie who used her charm to get what she wanted.

Amélie never returned and Monica worked in her place, instead. From time-to-time, you can still hear the dwarfs at the mill wondering about Amélie…

The end



FEAR! That nauseating, choking feeling- that niggling sense of dread that you feel in the deepest, darkest corners of your mind. It makes your hairs stand on edge. It causes your heart to palpitate to abnormal proportions, causing you to feel your pulse resonate around your entire body. You are left with shivering with shockwaves of emptiness.

You feel numb, cold and alone.

You feel your blood pumping to your head, while sirens resound around your body. Your muscles stiffen. You feel sick to your stomach. Your pupils dilate to trace the location of your attacker. You can’t see anything- but you KNOW something is there, lurking in the shadows to get you, to bring you to your impending doom.

Your mind breeds these monsters, and the monsters thrive and feast on your fear. It’s claustrophobic, and you can feel yourself free falling into a bottomless pit…

Monique Simpson


We all suffer from it at some point in our lives. It’s that feeling that you get when you step out of your comfort zone and into ‘the unknown’. We know it’s an irrational feeling, as we’ve all heard Franklin D. Roosevelt’s statement: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

But still, that fear is a beast of a thing, and it stops us from living our lives to the fullest and from experiencing new things. The ‘what ifs’ keep popping into our heads, and as Samah Khan, a poet, aptly states: “The fear of fearing fear is overwhelming.”

How are your New Year’s resolutions coming along? You’ve probably left behind in January, right? Well, ditch the unrealistic fads and try something different, today. Face your fears.

It’s not easy, believe you, me. I’ve actually just realised how much of a scaredy cat I am. You’ve probably realised this in a couple of my blog posts.

Up until a few years ago, for the life of me, I used to veer away from getting contact lenses because I feared anything going anywhere near my eyes. I just couldn’t do it.

I eventually took the plunge to get them, and I kid you not, it took me, and the optician, two whole hours, to put in and take out one pair of lenses. I just couldn’t allow the lady’s finger near my eyeball. I blinked her, and my, efforts away. I had to grip and dig my nails into my hand to stop myself from blocking her with my arm.

I screamed in my head: ‘What are you doing???? Noooooo, stop it. Stop it, right now!’ My eyes were wide open and they blinked furiously, as if I had an eyelid spasm. I’m sure I made a right spectacle of myself, and I’m sure that the optician wasn’t a major fan of me by the end of it. But I did it.

Now I can’t imagine what all the fuss was about, although from time to time my contact lenses do ‘play up’ (e.g. it takes me longer than usual to put them in) and I do make that funny face, because I panic a little. But’s it’s all part of the process, I guess.

I have to say, although I am making progress in some areas in my life, there are some things that still send a shiver down my spine. Bees/wasps are one of them. I can’t stand them, and I really do blame the film My Girl for making me feel like this. I used to be fine when I was a kid until I saw that film. How do I know I’m not allergic to them, and will die a horrible death like the boy in the film? I have no idea how I’ll get over them, apart from maybe being stung, but that’s something I do not deliberately want to happen. Don’t suggest that I go to a bee farm either, thanks.

One thing I am working on at the moment is swimming. I am quite embarrassed to say that I am taking lessons at this stage of my life, when I used to have lessons at school. My excuse why I didn’t learn back then is because my swimming teacher used to scare the life out of me, for stupid reasons I can tell you later if you’re interested. I am noticing an improvement though. For me, progress is swallowing slightly less water than the week before. Well that was until this week’s lesson, when I swam for the whole lesson without floats and was attempting to breathe properly.

Do face your fears, you’ll find out that you won’t regret it, and you’ll feel a lot more liberated. Easier said than done, I know.

space jump

Felix Baumgartner talked about how his spacesuit made him feel claustrophobic

I don’t usually do this, because sometimes I think it’s cheesy, and it makes me cringe, but I thought I’d leave you with some encouraging quotes to spur you into action:

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

Nelson Mandela

“Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the ark, professionals built the Titanic.”


“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.”

Dale Carnegie

“Fear is a habit; so is self-pity, defeat, anxiety, despair, hopelessness and resignation. You can eliminate all of these negative habits with two simple resolves: I can!! And I will!!”


“We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face… we must do that which we think we cannot.”

Eleanor Roosevelt


A strong woman respects and values herself highly. When it comes to beauty she is content with herself and accepts what others may see as ‘flaws’. She doesn’t feel the need to conform to other people’s perceptions of beauty. She doesn’t need to follow the latest fashion trend, if it means it would put her out of pocket. She doesn’t need to eat, or not eat, in order to gain, or lose, weight to attain “that” certain body shape, if it means damaging herself inside and making herself sick. She doesn’t feel paranoid and feel the need to cake herself in makeup just to attract that guy, because she knows sooner or later the mask has to come off, so what will happen then?

Instead she knows her real beauty lies in her confidence- it’s alluring and she oozes appeal. It cloaks her with a sexy elegance that lasts far longer than that £12,000 à la mode red designer dress. She embraces her unique personality.

A strong woman is passionate about something- she loves what she is doing. Whenever you hear her explain it, or you see her in action, it somehow becomes infectious. She is driven and has goals. She has the courage to make things happen, to step out into the unknown. She knows what she wants and doesn’t listen to naysayers. But she also knows to listen when wisdom speaks, because those words help her to find a better path to achieve those goals.

She is always striving towards something. She is forever learning and expanding her horizons.

She learns from her past mistakes and uses her bad experiences to make her stronger. She realises it’s ok to cry and to get angry when she’s hurt- she’s just getting it our of her system, it’s a process- but then she also knows when it’s time to forgive, let go, and move on, because at the end of the day she is freeing herself from “mental slavery”.

A strong woman knows there is a season for everything- to cry, to laugh, to be silly, to be solemn, to lead, to be led, to stand up, and to hold her tongue.

A strong woman possesses an inner strength. It’s something she is not entirely aware of until it kicks in when her world is turned upside down. Against all odds, despite all the mess, noise and chaos that’s happening around her, she manages to find moments of peace. When situations rock her to her core, she still manages to push on, even if it’s just by barely crawling. Her faith in herself, or in something higher, is her foundation.

She knows that independence doesn’t mean that she is alone, that she has to be defensive or aggressive. She knows she is not an island. She opens up to people and makes herself vulnerable. She admits when she’s wrong, and asks for help when she needs it. She recognises that she needs friends- friends who are there for her, to help her, comfort her, encourage her, to build her up, to speak life into her life, to ignite her inner being. She understands the value in this, and does the same for others as well.

She is not headstrong, boastful, or proud. She doesn’t need to brag about her accomplishments, because her actions speak for her. She rises above petty situations, but in no way does it make her superior. In fact, these sort of scenarios humble her, because it forces her to draw strength from her reserves. She also eventually realises that everyone has their weak points, and falls. She is humble and there is a certain grace about her.

This specimen of a strong woman, I’m afraid, is fictional. She is, in fact, a combination of several women I am fortunate enough to know. But do you see aspects of yourself in her?

Happy International Women’s Day!