Dear Mrs Aquafresh: Bottling this girl’s confidence

30-minute New Voice Talk

I wrote my first bug report to Aquafresh aged 7 after my tube of toothpaste broke. This is the story of how I unleashed the spirit of my fearless inner child to gain courage and build confidence.


5:35 p.m. – 6:15 p.m. Wednesday 11th


Humans of planet Earth!


  • How I built confidence and strength by taking tips from my inner child
  • Using progressive overload to build confidence sustainably over time
  • The value of doing something that scares you every day
  • How mental health deterioration impacted my confidence and how I used the same techniques to re-build myself

How I succeeded as a sole tester by stepping back into the pink glittery shoes of my fearless younger self.

‘Dear Mrs Aquafresh, I would like to report a problem…’

I wrote my first bug report to Aquafresh aged 7 after my tube of toothpaste broke. I certainly didn’t sugar coat it and I demanded that it be fixed! Characteristics of my younger self included a love of glitter, fearlessly dancing at any occasion and confidence that my teacher cited would be worth millions if you could bottle it!

Fast forward 25 years and I re-ignited my passion for writing bug reports. Although I still loved glitter and dancing, a lot of the confidence that the 7 year old me had was lying dormant.

Early on in my testing career I found myself as the sole tester in an organisation that had never had a dedicated tester before. An exciting but equally terrifying prospect. I walked into an office of 19 developers. Ok, where on earth do I start? I wanted to act confident in order to reassure the team that I knew exactly what I was doing… now that was a challenge!

My confidence is often the subject of my focus as I wish I had more of it. I thought of my 7 year old self who was fearless. I wondered if thinking more like her would inspire me to be more confident. Act more like a child you say? Excellent news. Off I went to buy pink glittery trainers and take up ballet classes again!

This tale tells of my adventures once I’d stepped back into my pink glittery shoes. The twists and turns of encouraging myself to ignore fear and have the courage to challenge assumptions such as she is responsible for quality, she will stop all the bugs, if we clone her we can test everything! 

Having the courage to do things that scared me and repeating them increased my confidence. I learned that the more you practice being courageous, the stronger the belief in yourself becomes. My supply of courage was limited. I had to apply this technique gradually as I realised quickly that I had to take care of my mental health. When this took a turn for the worse I started to use the same techniques to pick myself up again.

I believe that successful people make their own magic and this requires courage and time. But we all have a fearless child inside us and we should unleash their spirit once in a while!

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