Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Misfit Firsts

This week I’ve been tagged by Older Single Mum (@mumoldersingle)  See her blog here.  My task is to reveal my ‘Firsts’.

Bit of brain wracking needs to go on here, so bear with …

My First Boyfriend
He was called Matthew and I met him at church youth group - the place to go to meet boys in those days and not because I was particularly religious.  Matthew was dark, deep and broody.  He liked to look at the moon and say profound things. A bit of an arty-farty with a family to match, so I was bored with him within a fortnight and we said our goodbyes.  We’d often meet at parties and have a chat and on a couple of occasions he’d try to get back together with me but it wasn’t to be.

The First Person I kissed
His name was Andy and it was at a party at a friend’s house.  I can remember thinking, “Oooh, I don’t like this very much.  His tongue feels like a hedgehog!”  We never went on a date but ‘got off’ with each other (in the 70’s, this meant kissing only) at a couple of other house parties then went our separate ways.

My First Job
I had the dream Saturday job for a young teen - working in a sweet shop with all the chocolate I could eat and all the magazines I could read, for free.  Plus there was a chemist next door so I could go and spend my wages on eye-shadows and lipsticks before my big night out.  The downside to this job was that whilst working there I was also in Grange Hill and had been called for an audition for a Disney film.  On the day I was due to attend, the sweet shop owner’s wife called to say that her husband had had a heart-attack and she needed me to open the shop for him.  I never made it to the audition - too nice or too stupid?  You decide!

My First Paypacket.
Oh don’t ask me stuff like that!  It would involve figures and numbers and I don’t do those.  However much it was for it would have been spent within an instant.  Miss Selfridge and Jane Norman would have been calling.

My First CD
This would have been jointly owned with my husband - yes we were behind the times.  ‘The Best of Talking Heads.’  We’d dance around our little one bedroom flat (pre-marriage) playing it over and over again.  It’s the CD that was responsible for a rather dramatic smashing of a glass light fitting!  Hubby was doing an over-enthusiastic impersonation of David Byrne and jumped just a little too high.  We were finding bits of that light for months!

My First Holiday Abroad
This was with my first serious boyfriend when I was eighteen and we went to his family’s flat in France.  It probably wasn’t the wisest move as my dad had died two months before and I spent the whole time miserable and missing my mum.

What age were you when you moved out of your parents’ home?
Ah a tricky one.  I moved out in my mid twenties to share a house with the above mentioned boyfriend.  A couple of years later I was lured away by my now husband, so I moved back in with my mum while hubbie-to be and I searched for a flat.

I now tag Donna Trinder (@Donna_Trinder)  Her blog ‘Lost and Found’ can be seen here and next week I’ll be tackling a set of questions set by her.

Not tried the Mummy Misfit books yet?  Why not?  At Amazon and Lulu.  Join Libby’s gang now!

Friday, 24 February 2012

When Kids Need To Talk

An extra blog post this week for a very good cause and on a subject close to my heart which I feel needs to be brought to everyone’s attention.  When Sarah at ‘Talk To Us’ accepted my piece on school refusal, I was delighted to be involved in promoting this new initiative.

Today, RELATE are launching a video, (see link below) together with brand new survey findings, to promote the fact that more young people than ever are experiencing mental health problems.  The charity wants to raise awareness that they offer counselling to young people and encourage them and their parents, carers and those who work with them to 'Talk To Us.'

The new issues that young people have been bringing up in the counselling room are:

- Being depressed / suffering with mental health conditions (64%)
- An increase in family break-up (41%)
- Parents having mental health conditions (23%)
- Pressures of social media (21%)

Here's my son's story:
Counselling and endless talking was the only solution when my son moved from primary to secondary school, six years ago.

A boy who had previously enjoyed school, he suddenly developed ‘school refusal’ (AKA ‘school phobia’).  Within a fortnight he was quite simply unable to get himself through the classroom door and would cry every morning with stomach pains, headaches or other inexplicable symptoms.

Peoples’ initial responses would always be "Well, surely it’s just naughtiness and he’s trying it on?  Why can’t you just put your foot down and make him get on with it?"

The answer is very simple.  School phobia isn’t petulance.  It's crippling and very real, like only those who have suffered panic attacks can tell you.

As any parent who has ever dealt with this condition knows, when it first hits you have absolutely no idea what you're dealing with.  In fact, you think the very things that others have asked.  Is he playing up?  Am I being too lenient?  And in the beginning you try everything - punishment, bribes, coaxing, shouting, crying - you name it, you give it a go. Then come the darker thoughts ... is he being bullied?  Or even abused?

Once he was properly diagnosed, it was a question of baby steps - with me constantly in the background.  First to enter the form room, next an hour of a lesson, a half day, a full day etc.  This took the best part of three years and I was fortunate enough to be in a position where I could be there to support him (mainly in the car park - through all weather!).  My heart goes out to those kids who never conquer the fear and, indeed, never return to school.

There isn’t enough talk about school phobia and certainly not the sort of support students get in Japan, which has the highest incidence of this condition in the world. We had to pay for a child psychologist but were lucky enough to have a fantastic counsellor on site at his school.  The teachers were also incredibly supportive and I couldn’t fault the school's pastoral care.

My son conquered his fear and looks back on it now as if it happened to a stranger.  He’s just started his A levels at the same school and has never been happier.  Unfortunately, it’s not such a happy ending for many children and I hope that, by raising awareness, Relate can go on to help change those children’s lives.


Advice for Parents - 'Worried about your Child?'

Advice for Young People - 'Think you need some Advice?'

Amanda Egan is the author of two novels - Diary of a Mummy Misfit was written in the car in the school car-park as she nursed her son through school phobia.  The Darker Side of Mummy Misfit was written in the comfort of her home once her son rediscovered his confidence and was able fly solo.

On Amazon for Kindle and in paperback at Lulu.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

The A-Z of Things That Bug Me

Last week we had the A-Z of me.  This week I tackle the A-Z of things that bug me - a kind of extended version of my ‘Room 101’ (see HERE).  Some of my bug-bears will have featured in other posts, which only goes to show how much they really annoy me!

 A - Agents.  Bitter?  Me?  Yes!  I’ve been pushed from pillar to post by literary agents and had my hopes raised and dashed - sometimes over a period of months, sometimes overnight.  If I’d been a celebrity who’d written a shopping list they’d have bashed my door down but I was just a nobody - although I’ve written (so my readers tell me) two cracking books and am currently working on a third.  I’m now at the stage where I would never approach an agent again.

B - Bicycles in London.  Sorry Boris, but this is not the place for bikes.  They are everywhere!  I spend the whole of my driving life absolutely paranoid as I negotiate the streets surrounded by them.  Half of them don’t bother looking out for me and the majority of them take no notice of traffic lights.  Get them off my roads.

C - Clingfilm.  It comes from the tube like a flirty little minx, doing everything my husband tells it.  But the minute I touch it, it shrivels into a ball and becomes totally uncontrollable.  A line that can often be heard in our house is from hubbie to me, “You’ve been at the clingfilm again, haven’t you?” 

D - Dust.  Come on!  The minute I’ve got rid of you, you’re back again.  It’s not a game!  Or if it is, let’s make it Hide & Seek - you hide and I won’t seek.

E - Eggs.  Now I love eggs but the boiled variety that really don’t want to take their clothes off just make me so mad.  I want to eat you when you’re a hot, full sized egg, not when you’re stone cold and looking like you’ve been put through a mincer.  Get ‘em off!

F - Flying.  I know it’s a necessary evil to get to where you need to go but … well, it’s just not natural is it?  As a writer, I like my head to be in the clouds - never my feet.

G - Grey underwear.  You buy pristine white or cream knickers or bras and within weeks they’re only fit for the bin.  I now know why most of the underwear I buy is black.

H - Hanger-uppers!  Not a real word, I know, but I’m sure you get my drift.  Usually call centres who have you in a queue.  When I’m hit by ten in a day I start to see red.

I - Inconsistency.  People who say one thing and then do another.  Stories that get changed along the way.  I’m not stupid, don’t insult me.

J - Jordan, Katie Price whatever you want to call her.  Grrrr!  She looks smelly and irritates the poo out of me.  Oh and she’s published books - say no more!

K - Know-alls.  You know the type?  They know everything about everything, tell you how to live your life and also what everyone else is doing wrong with theirs. 

L - Liars.  Lie to me once and lose my trust forever.  Yes, that’s black and white but that’s my choice.  Live your life openly and honestly and you’ll never need to cover your back.

M - Men who talk to your bosoms and not your face.  Shall I talk to your willy?  Enough said.

N - No smoking policy.  I’ve written about this before but I firmly believe there should have been an option for smoking clubs, pubs and restaurants.  Give us stupid people a choice!

O - Open House.  Our country is full to the brim.  We’re struggling and yet we still let immigrants in, often to claim benefits.  I’m not racist, as I’ve said time and again in my blogs, I’m merely practical.  We have no space, no money and no jobs.  It makes perfect sense to me.

P - Periods.  I’m 48, do I really need them any more?  And don’t get me started on the ad telling us to “Have a happy period.”  Just don’t go there!  Do you know any woman who thinks that’s a great strap-line?  Talk to your audience guys!  (see my letter to Mother Nature HERE)

Q - Queuing.  What a waste of time, eh?  But we have to do it.  Unless of course you are a queue jumper and they bug me even more.  What makes you think that your time is more precious than mine?

R - Rome.  A bit of a cheat here (and I’ve blogged about it in the past) but “When in Rome …”  If you choose to live in our country, live by our rules - simple.  And don’t try to inflict your views, religious beliefs or laws on us.

S - Size zero women.  If you’re size zero through ill-health, you have my full sympathy.  But size zero out of choice?  What is a size zero?  Do you not want to exist?  Come on ladies, get a bit of meat on you and live a little.

T - Technology.  I fully accept that technology is wonderful and has changed all of our lives but when it doesn’t work, or I’m stuck on something that I can’t do, I want to kick it out of the window.

U - Ugg boots.  Sorry Ugg lovers but they are just so UGGLY!  Along with Crocs, they are 100% sexless and make my stomach churn.  Why would anyone want to walk around looking like Bigfoot?

V - Vaccinations.  Or more importantly, the way parents are made to feel if they make an educated decision not to vaccinate.  Our babies should not be treated as social lepers, we are merely doing what we think is right and not lining the pockets of the pharmaceutical companies by pumping our offspring full of unnecessary drugs.

W - Wasps.  I shudder just writing the word.  The sound, the evil look, the sting.  I wish they’d all die and make my summers happier.  OK, I know they have a purpose and all that claptrap, but I want them gone.

X - X axis!  OK, it’s a little tenuous but I HATE maths and it hates me.

Y - Yummy Mummies.  Now there’s nothing wrong with being a mummy and looking yummy - I’ve been known to do it myself on occasions - but it’s the loud, designer-clad brigade who spend their lives trying to outdo one another.  Read my books, you’ll meet them all.

Z - Zippy from Rainbow.  Even as a child I knew he was a big headed know-it-all and I wanted to permanently shut his annoying zip-gob.

So there you have it, another side to Mummy Misfit.  Do you agree with any of my points?  Do you vehemently disagree?  Let me know here or on Twitter.

In the meantime, I tag a new friend @donna_trinder.  Find her blog HERE.  And an old friend @mummyontheedge1 HERE

You can find my novels at Amazon for Kindle, PC or Smartphone and at Lulu in paperback.  Go on, treat yourself to a laugh.  See my reviews HERE

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

The A-Z of Me

I’ve been tagged by the lovely Mandy @mummyontheedge1 - you know, the lady who did the great interview with me?

By accepting this tag, I need to reveal the A-Z of me.  That’s me in 26 words.

Here goes.

A - Amanda.  Also Mandy, Manda, Mindy, Mindus-Maximus! Oh, and I’m probably called lots of other names that are unprintable!

B - Bonkers!  Truly, I am.  You should see the daft things we get up to in my family.

C - Chocoholic.  Love it, love it love it.  Any type, apart from white, and I’m happy.

D - Dog-minding agency.  I run Digs4Dogs from home, part time.  Sadly we don’t have the dogs to stay with us (our cats won’t allow it) - we have a bank of minders who care for the dogs as an alternative to kennels.

E - ‘Eages’ - what my husband calls me, derivative of my maiden name Egan.  He NEVER calls me anything else.

F - Fussy.  There are certain things I like to be just so and if they’re not, it bugs me.

G - Goddess.  Domestic.  I’ll never be one!  My house is lovely, I can cook well but I hate cleaning - life’s too short.

H - Hostess.  I love to have friends for dinner and take great pride in my table settings and entertainment.  No, I’m not Mrs Bucket - but I do like a candle-lit supper.

I - Imperfect.  Aren’t we all? 

J - Jazz.  I love the standards - not the manic ‘rapist’s mind’ stuff but the smooth, sexy kind.

K - Kinky!  No, no that!  I’d love to have kinky hair - not curly - just kinky.  Mine is poker straight and drives me mad.

L - Legs.  I like mine.  There’s not a great deal I like about my body so I *high five* them!

M - Mum.  The best job in the world.  I also have the best mum in the world myself.

N - Number-phobe.  If it wasn’t a word, it is now.  I’m terrified of them.  Useless at maths and get worse as the years go on, yet I can double the numbers on car registration plates in a flash.

O - Overly protective.  In a massive way, of those I love.

P - Painter - I love painting and decorating.  I must get it from my lovely dad but give me a paintbrush or roller and I’m in heaven.

Q - Quick.  I do everything quickly.  This can lead to mistakes and hubbie often just shakes his head at me as I take short-cuts or stuff up (cake-decorating, cutting threads from garments etc.).

R - Regular back pain sufferer (OK, I cheated but it’s my blog and I’ll do what I like!).  I have a disc bulge that often plagues me for months.  Yoga seems to have sorted it.

S - Stubborn.  Very.  It runs in the family and I have passed it on to my son.

T - Tolerant.  It’s a talent I’ve learned over the years.  But I can only be pushed so far and then there’s no going back.

U - Unplanned.  I was a mistake - my mum started to feel sick and blamed the paint fumes from my dad’s decorating.  Nine months later, a little Mummy Misfit was born!

V - Vi.  My real life Fairy Godmother is responsible for an awful lot of what went into make me who I am.

W - Worrier.  I worry about everything.  If there’s nothing to worry about, I’m worried.

X - Xtremely in love with my husband.  I think he’s the best.  He makes me laugh, supports me in everything I do and is the fairest and nicest person I know.

Y - Yoga.  I do it reluctantly but I do see the benefits.

Z - Zen-like state!  I go into another place when I write and often shock myself.

So there you go, that’s me!

I now tag @michellebetham.  Here's her blog - go check her out.

The Mummy Misfit books are available at Amazon and Lulu - see links to right.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Never Trust a Misfit!

It’s confession time here at Mummy Misfit corner this morning.  Remember that promise I made to myself about not writing until Easter?  Well I broke it …

I’ve kept the part where I said I’d be doing lots of promoting - I’ve done guest blog spots and author interviews, sent my sequel out to be reviewed and sales have been encouraging.  So that makes me a good girl.

But promoting is BORING!  I know I have to do it to get the books out there and talked about, but it’s just such a constant slog - often with little reward.

So, when a tiny little seed of a book grew into something with roots, I found I couldn’t ignore it any more.  I told myself I’d just write Chapter One and see if I liked it.  The trouble was, 4,000 words in, I liked it quite a bit and the characters were determined to keep me going.

I made it to the end of January without writing but now I think I’m on a path where there’s no going back.  This has got me thinking about what I’ve learned about myself as a writer in the past few years:


  1. I’m fickle.  I make promises to myself I can’t keep.  I am never to be trusted again!
2.      When I need to write, I need to write.  No point trying to stop me.
3.      When I don’t want to write, I can sometimes push myself - not always, sometimes.
4.      I’m amazed by how a germ of an idea can turn into a fully rounded story if you have the right characters.  Three plot-lines have literally popped into my head from nowhere for this new book, just because they were the right things for the characters as they developed.
5.      I don’t argue with my editor (husband) anymore.  I’ve told him nothing about the plot of this book so he’s discovering it as a reader would.  If something isn’t clear or doesn’t ring true, I need to listen to my ‘reader’ and address it.
6.      I know (I hope) when a book is ready to be written.  I’ve cast aside a 35,000 word work in progress to write this new novel because it just wasn’t the right book for me at the time.
7.      I now know, for sure, that I can’t over-plan.  If I already know the whole story I get bored and I don’t want to write it.  I like to be surprised as a writer as well as a reader.  I listen to my characters really carefully now and see what it is that they’re trying to tell me.
8.      I’ve stopped looking at writing a book as a mammoth task.  It’s a journey from A to B which involves getting a certain amount of words down on paper every day.  Simples!
9.      Teenage sons are incredibly useful when you need to know slang words used by their generation.  There are 19-year-old twin boys in this new book and my son’s input has been invaluable.
10.  I’m terrified of breaking out of the Mummy Misfit mould.  I know that my readers have enjoyed Libby and her adventures.  What if they don’t want me to leave the diaries and write a novel with new characters and plot?  Also I’d got the seal of approval from an agent and major publishing houses with Mummy Misfit - I knew I was on to something that could possibly pass muster.  This ‘Book Three’, as it’s called, won’t be afforded that luxury.  It will go out into the big, wide world, virgin-like and exposed.

So there you go.  Heart on sleeve time.  Watch this space and I’ll keep you posted on the exciting and terrifying birth of a new book.


My first two novels, Diary of a Mummy Misfit and The Darker Side of Mummy Misfit, are NOT my mad musings - they are novels with characters and plots!  Give them a whirl!  On Kindle at Amazon and in paperback at Lulu.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Casting my Dream

With so many of my readers saying that the Diary and the Darker Side would make a great mini series, I’ve decided to spend today in Fantasy Land and announce my dream cast.

We’ll kick off with the obvious - LIBBY. Now what do we know of our main character?  She’s feisty but insecure, attractive but lacking in confidence and intelligent but ditzy!  Oh and she has a fantastic pair of bosoms! So I’d award the lead to JESSICA HYNES (formerly Stevenson) of Spaced and Shaun of the Dead fame:

As Libby’s husband, the very gorgeous NED, my first choice would be DAVID TENNANT.  Yum!  He’s got the looks and the easy-going charm needed for Ned - and, of course, he’d rake in the female viewers:

FENELLA, Libby’s affluent and mad-cap side-kick, proved to be slightly trickier because although the lovely Joanna Lumley would be perfect, she’s just a tad too old (sorry Jo!) so I’ve opted for CAMILLA SIMSON of ‘Crabbie’s Ginger Beer’ ad fame, purely because of the voice  but I also think her looks are quite fitting. “It’s only for grown-ups, Sweedie!”:

And so we move on to the eccentric and loveable MRS SENGUPTA.  I’m sure there must be many a talented elderly Asian actress who would be just perfect for this part but, in the absence of any hitting my radar, I’d opt for a very toned-down Ummi from The Kumars at No 42 played by MEERA SYAL.

I have my friend and loyal reader, Moira, to thank for the excellent suggestion of casting the cheekily handsome PRITESH.  Thankfully she must have envisaged him exactly the way I intended because her idea of NAVEEN ANDREWS from The English Patient and Lost fits the bill just perfectly.  It’s amazing Libby manages to resist!

So that’s the stage set with the main characters.  Have you read the books?  Would you agree or do you have any suggestions of your own?  Go on, let your imagination run wild!

If you haven’t read the books, maybe my fantasy cast has whet your appetite?  Diary of a Mummy Misfit and the sequel, The Darker Side of Mummy Misfit can be found at Amazon for Kindle and in paperback at Lulu (20% discount on all Lulu books for a limited time if you quote: CHERUBUK)