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SEMrush Content Marathon – Assignment Three

By 26 June 2019 Fiction

Today’s task is all about character development. Here’s a letter written from the perspective of the main character in my short story The Secret that I wrote for yesterday’s assignment.


Dear Beth

Long time no see! I hope you’re doing well. It’s been a bit of a crazy year for me.

Graham lost his job last month. It came as a huge blow to both of us. The swine didn’t tell me anything until after it happened. Turns out there’d been a merger at the bank and he’d had to reapply for his job. He says he didn’t want to worry me! Men, eh?

Paying the mortgage has been a bit of a struggle. We’ve had to really cut back and I’m hating it to be honest. I might even have to go and get a ‘proper’ job soon – his words. He has no idea how much I enjoy my part-time job at the salon, especially since I passed my level three. I might have to find myself a new husband – hahaha!

Sadly, I’m only partly joking. It hadn’t been going well even before Graham lost his job but now he’s so down it’s really hard to keep this marriage going. I know I can tell you this in confidence, Beth. I’ve been unhappy with Graham for so long now. But how can I knock him when he’s already down? Plus, Mum and Dad would never speak to me again if I get a divorce; they’d be ashamed of me. I’ll just have to carry on as if everything’s ok.

Let’s catch up soon, ok? Sorry to just dump this on you. It would be great to chat in person. Let me know when you’re free.

Take care,

Emily xxx

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SEMrush Content Marathon – Assignment Two

By 26 June 2019 Fiction

The Secret

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

“Oh, what a tangled web we weave…when first we practice to deceive.” – Walter Scott

Will he ever shut up? I had to turn away to hide my bored look. When I asked about his game of golf, I really didn’t want a shot by shot run down of the whole 18 holes.

“…And on the 15th green I was so close to a birdie but the ball hit a divot and went off course”, continued Graham despite his wife’s glazed eyes and wandering mind.

It was our eighth wedding anniversary last month. We celebrated with a bottle of wine in front of the TV. Who said romance was dead? When people talk about the ‘seven year itch’, I definitely know what they mean. What I’d give to simply walk away from this marriage. But my family would never forgive me. The thought of being ostracised is enough to chain me to Graham until death us do part.

His name is Shaun, the scratch to my itch. The opposite of Graham, he’s a refreshing change. We met in a bar when I was on a work night out. He actually chatted me up! Just being approached like that – out of the blue – made me feel special. Wanted. Desired. I hadn’t felt like that in a long time.


Graham rolled over and a warm hand snaked around my stomach. “Morning, sweetheart,” he nuzzled my neck and went in for a kiss.

“Morning breath!” I clamped my hand over my mouth and made my escape to the en-suite. As I shut the bathroom door, I heard Graham sigh and sit up in bed. By the time I’d finished in the shower, he was already dressed for work and heading downstairs.

“No shower this morning?” I queried, puzzled as Graham’s normally a twice a day man.

“Got to get into work early. The boss has called a breakfast meeting,” he rolled his eyes. After a quick peck on the cheek, Graham dashed out the door.

As I watched him drive away, the relief I felt was huge. I don’t know how much longer I can cope with the lies. I know I should end it with Shaun but just the thought of it turns my insides in knots. He’s my shining light in a grey world.


After a sandwich in front of Loose Women (guilty pleasure!) I dashed upstairs to make the bed and freshen up. I was expecting Shaun any minute. Usually we meet in town and go back to his but this morning he had a meeting just down the road so he was coming to the house. The naughtiness of it all added an extra frisson. Once he arrived, we headed straight upstairs…


“What was that?” I whispered in a slightly panicked tone.

“What?” mumbled Shaun “I didn’t hear any…”

“Shit! That! Did you hear that? He’s home.” I jumped out of bed in a frenzy, picking up the clothes strewn around the room and throwing items at Shaun.

“Get dressed! You have to leave. Now!” I hissed at a now grey-faced Shaun.

I wrapped myself in a dressing gown and slipped out through the bedroom door.

“What are you doing back so early?” I asked Graham as casually as possible as he hung his jacket up in the hall cupboard.

“Meeting was cancelled so thought I’d escape on time for once. I’m going to play FIFA for a bit before getting started on dinner.”

Graham looked up at me briefly and noticed my dressing gown, “Just got in from the gym?”

“Yup,” I replied a bit more high pitched than usual. “Just about to get in the shower.”

Graham nodded absentmindedly and headed into the lounge. As I padded back upstairs I heard the familiar sound of the PlayStation firing up.

Back in the bedroom, Shaun was fully dressed and pacing. “This is such a mess! What are we going to do?” he questioned hurriedly.

“Give it five minutes and he’ll be so engrossed in that stupid game of his that you’ll be able to go out the front door.” And right enough, the volume of the TV downstairs crept up and we could hear Graham shouting over the din, “Pass it!”

“Now.” I ushered Shaun down the stairs, out of the house and, not that I knew it yet, out of my life.

Over dinner that evening, Graham was quiet. Unusually so.

“Is everything ok?” I asked softly, sensing something was the matter and dreading his response. What if he suspected something?

Graham looked up from his dinner with worried eyes, “I’ve been fired.” He burst into tears.

“I’m so sorry.” I ran over to my husband, “Come here,” I wrapped my arms around his chest and rested my head on his shoulder.

“Everything’s going to be ok.”

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SEMrush Content Marathon – Assignment One

By 25 June 2019 Life, Lifestyle

If you look through my website you’ll see that nothing’s been published for over three years! Let’s just say, life got in the way. To try and get back into the groove, I’ve signed up for the SEMrush Content Marathon.

Over the course of this week, I’ll be having a lesson per day and be following it up with an assignment. The first task is to just get writing. So here goes!

Just an average evening in the Birchley house…

Yesterday, my poorly one-year-old spent the day chilling with Granny while Mummy was at work. She had her 13 month injections last week and they’ve really knocked her for six.

Bubba was clearly tired so once we got home it was time for bed. We’ve been following the same bedtime routine for about six months now. Bottle, pjs, teeth, stories and then I turn on her Ewan the Dream Sheep and rock her to sleep while breastfeeding. This used to take about half an hour. But recently she’s started to fight sleep. The rocking becomes more like trying to wrestle a, a… well a toddler that weighs nearly two stone! On too many occasions it’s taken me over an hour to get her asleep and into bed.

Last night she went down too easily. I was back downstairs by 7.15pm and sat down to watch my SEMrush video. Within 15 minutes, she was awake and crying. It took me until 8.45pm to get her back asleep. My arms were killing me, my back was sore and I was feeling pretty emotionally exhausted.

I thought she’d now be settled for the night, so I sat back on the sofa ready to get the video watched and the assignment written. I managed to write the introduction paragraph to this post before she woke up. Cue a heavy sigh.

The next couple of hours consisted of crying, rocking, feeding, crawling across the sofa, thrashing about in bed and finally me clambering into the baby’s cot bed and falling asleep with her feeding. I woke up a little chilly to the sound of my husband coming home from work after 11pm. All that I had the energy to do after that evening was go to bed!

Motherhood is hard. But it’s also the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. Her needs will always come before mine but I really hope she feels better soon! That cot is too small for me.

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Folkestone Harbour Arm

By 12 August 2015 Lifestyle, Travel

For fifteen years an increasingly dilapidated concrete arm has jutted out into the English Channel from Folkestone harbour. Once upon a time it was a railway station and passenger port with the steam trains stopping beside the steam ships departing for the continent. In 1891 it was possible to travel from London to Paris (via Folkestone and Boulogne) in just 7 hours 30 minutes.

During the First World War, Folkestone harbour was known as the ‘Gateway to the Trenches’ as millions of troops headed for the front line. With the last ferry leaving in September 2000 and the harbour branch line officially closed in 2014, Folkestone harbour is now waiting for development.

Folkestone Harbour Station

Old link-span at Folkestone harbour

The refurbishment of the harbour arm, a £3.5 million project, is presenting Folkestone with a pleasure pier for residents and locals to enjoy. The Folkestone harbour arm consists of a lit walkway that goes all the way to the lighthouse at the end, pop up cafes to delight foodies and live entertainment.

Lighthouse at the end of Folkestone harbour arm

The harbour arm lets you get a whole new perspective on Folkestone. My husband and I visited on the first day it opened and the weather was stunning.

Folkestone Harbour Arm Panorama

Folkestone cliffs viewed from Folkestone harbour arm

View from top level of harbour arm towards Folkestone harbour

Folkestone’s harbour arm will be open Friday evenings, Saturdays and Sundays all summer. Check out their Facebook page for the latest news.

Nearest station: Folkestone Central 1 mile – 54 minutes from London St Pancras International. Book online with Southeastern before 24th August to save 25% on off-peak tickets.

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Afternoon Tea at the Bull’s Head in Chislehurst

By 9 June 2015 Lifestyle

What better way to spend a Saturday afternoon than stuffing your face with yummy food? Last weekend my sister and I headed up to Chislehurst to check out the newly refurbished Bull’s Head pub. They’ve given their interior a brand new look and added their gorgeous English tea room complete with patterned tiled floor, tea cup light fittings and oodles of light flooding in through the glass roof.

English Tea Room at the Bull's Head Chislehurst

The pub also has B&B rooms and a function room. There was an event on when we visited, which made parking in the car park impossible. After a little bit of fun trying to get back out again we found a nice space just a couple of minute’s walk away in front of the church.

My sister at The Bull's Head Chislehurst

Once we were seated at our table we got down to choosing our afternoon tea option. The options are a most traditional afternoon tea which comes with a choice of teas or coffee, a most unusual afternoon tea that’s served with a Hendricks gin cocktail in a teapot or a most decadent afternoon tea served with champagne. My sister and I both chose the traditional afternoon tea, Sarah had the Bull’s Head Blend tea and I opted for Blue Lady.

Afternoon tea at The Bull's Head, Chislehurst

Tea cup for afternoon tea at The Bull's Head Chislehurst

It wasn’t too long before the food came and we got stuck in straight away. The menu says ‘artisan bread’. I’m not sure what makes the bread artisan but the sandwiches were very tasty and didn’t last very long as we wolfed them down. Our afternoon tea was at 3pm and all I’d had to eat all day was a bowl of cereal in the morning because I didn’t want anything to spoil this experience.

Finger sandwiches - afternoon tea at The Bull's Head Chislehurst

I felt I should have a break before moving onto the tiny cakes but that was never going to happen. We both eagerly tucked in and enjoyed every last morsel. My favourite was this cute cube that looks a bit like a custard with a sponge layer at the bottom. I don’t know what it was but the coloured bits inside tasted amazing! So fruity.

cake closeup

The other cakes were a sponge topped with jam and coconut, my first macaron, a chocolate tart with a fruit filling topped with chocolate ganache, and a fruit tart. All were delicious. The last layer was the scones, cream and jam. These beat us. I don’t know if it was the fact that we tackled the scones last but I wasn’t that keen on them. They seemed a little dry and there could have been more cream and jam but that’s because I love mine slathered in both! Had we not been so full I’m sure we could have asked for a little more.

Overall, we both really enjoyed our afternoon tea at the Bull’s Head in Chislehurst. It made a nice change and it was a lovely place to spend some girly time. I’d recommend the Bull’s Head as it’s the ideal place to linger while having a good natter. At £15pp for the traditional afternoon tea option, it’s not cheap so it would be ideal for a special occasion or treat.

The restaurant at the Bull's Head

I had to get a photo of the refurbished restaurant as it’s gorgeous.

Many thanks to the Bull’s Head and Roche Communications for providing my sister and I with a complimentary afternoon tea for review purposes.

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The Bull’s Head

Royal Parade, Chislehurst, Kent, BR7 8NR

Afternoon tea served daily between 2pm and 5pm

To book, phone 020 8467 1727

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