Journalling Down Under – Part 3: New Zealand

Click here to catch up with Part 1 and Part 2


Cairns to New Zealand

Pete’s cousins met us at the airport in Auckland, in the northern part of New Zealand’s north island, and we ate at a restaurant together. So nice to meet them after only knowing them from Facetime calls! After a night in a city hotel, Pete and I picked up the 6-berth camper van. This was an experience!


First stop was to visit an ex-workmate of Pete’s, who was on the TV show Wanted Down Under

Journalling Down Under – Part 2: Australia

If you’ve missed Part 1 and want to catch up, just click here


We were met at Brisbane airport by Pete’s cousin Beth who “ran away from home” and settled in Australia some 20 years ago! So far, of the 5 days since we set off from home, two whole nights have been spent on a plane, watching time zones slip past us, and trying to keep our body clocks in sync! Not easy when dinner is delayed by a couple of hours because of turbulence in the Singapore skies and you’re offered breakfast about 5 am so they can have everything clear for a 07.30 landing!

Beth and her family met us at the airport and took us home via the scenic route. They took us to breakfast along a coast road overlooking the waters of Moreton Bay, to Redcliffe where the eateries, although not grand, are full of locals who know what good food tastes like. After delicious cake and ice cream for breakfast (!) we strolled along the beach road to Redcliffe’s claim to fame, Bee Gees Way, where the famous brothers

Journalling Down Under – Part 1: Singapore

I recommend keeping a journal alongside your holiday photos. It really helps to keep alive those memories that otherwise can just disappear into “the cloud”. I think it’s a shame we don’t print so many of our photos these days – what will happen to those digital snaps when you are no longer around?

The great thing about having a freelance job is that if you choose to, you can take your work with you on holiday. (Or not!) So I decided to log what we got up to on our recent trip to Australia and New Zealand, but came unstuck when I was out of wi-fi. Next time I think I’m going to take a notebook and pen. If I can use wi-fi while I’m still away, I plan to send my best pictures to Free Photo Books and have them waiting on the doormat when I finally get home!

Three weeks really wasn’t long enough to be honest, and it wasn’t till I saw the picture of Europe super-imposed onto the map of Australia that I truly realised just how much we have yet to see in the world!

Read the first part of our Trip of a Lifetime below!

Will your children still read books?

I have an aching worry that my 3 and 5-year-old grandchildren might not grow up with the love of books that I had as a child.

Swipe or finger-lick?

They both spend some of their time on a tablet. They learn things on it, play games, follow pictures and stories, and no doubt their future education will rely heavily on online sources.

It’s true that technology is part of everyday life for most of us now, but does reading from a screen provide the same experience for children as the feel of reading from paper?

Content Polished for Contented People

Alex Gulland of ContentedPeople asked me to proofread her website content before the site went live.

She didn’t want to risk the embarrassment of discovering spelling errors or ambiguities after it had been published, or finding she’d repeated herself here and there – which could have made her website look unprofessional.

Alex is more than competent as a writer, but she knows that when you have been looking at your own writing for hours, even days, tweaking it here and there as you go, there comes a time when you can no longer see it objectively.

She wanted a fresh pair of eyes to give her writing the once-over so that she was confident to go public and celebrate the launch of her new business, not slink away in embarrassment.

Once a website is 99% ready to launch, it can be tempting to hit the “publish” button and sit back and relax, so I did my best to turn this job around for Alex as speedily as possible. I’m pleased to say that she was delighted and gave me a fab testimonial! I made suggestions to enhance the readability of the article, such as adding bullets to break up long blocks of text, and recommended adding hyperlinks where appropriate, to relevant useful external links or to the call-to-action page.

Alex has a very unique therapy service using horses

It was a surprise to me to learn that horses do have an awareness of human emotions and can even read facial expressions. Alex introduces this concept to families of vulnerable adolescents and to those facing life changes or crises; many have found peace and clarity and healing within themselves after a session with Alex and her horses.

I have no personal experience whatsoever with horses, but it was an unexpected pleasure to talk to Alex and discover the benefits to be found in Equine Facilitated Learning. Horses can teach us about emotional intelligence and add a wonderful new dimension into our lives – who knew!!!

Contact me today for a free 500 word sample of how I could enhance your website copy at the eleventh hour.

Freelance Writers Appreciaton Week

Freelance Writers’ Appreciation Week!

There seems to be a national holiday for just about everything – from the bizarre (World Toilet Day in November!) to the inspirational.

Surprisingly, the whole of the second week of February is Freelance Writers’ Appreciation Week, intended to draw attention to just how much content freelance writers are responsible for, and to give them a thank you.

What have you read today?

Do you find it hard to write blogs?

Do you feel self-conscious about putting your “voice” out there?

Blogging is one of many forms of communication, and something that is as much a part of life these days as face-to-face conversation. However, for some, it’s as big a challenge as public speaking, which is something many of us have faced. Although most of us don’t have any trouble talking to family and friends, when it comes to speaking in public, it can be a different matter.

6 DIY tips for proofreading your own blog

Ok, it’s not going to be War & Peace – you just want to get your blog out there! No reason why you shouldn’t proofread your own work before it goes live.  But a word or two of advice:

Interview with an Editor

Thinking about the next step towards publishing your book? 

Probably you’ve been advised to have someone cast a fresh eye over your writing to weed out any typos or smooth your grammar before it goes to print, but you might be hesitating because of the cost.


Is it worth it? you ask.

What does a proofreader do that the spellcheck can’t?

I’m going to share with you an interview I participated in a while ago: I was asked by a writer for my thoughts and experiences from this side of the laptop – looking at a new manuscript lovingly created by someone like you, now feeling nervous about entrusting it to a stranger with a red pen! (Well, red font I suppose).

♥ ♥ ♥

Question 1)

I would imagine proofreaders are easily able to put themselves in the shoes of a writer. To help a writer like me to see the process from your point of view, tell me some of the challenges you face as a proofreader.

I resigned from the 9-5 and then changed my mind!

When I first started thinking about setting up a freelance business, I signed up on a course to learn all the ins and outs of being self employed, finding my own clients and making money.

I had met the course tutor, found her to be very charismatic and clearly successful in her own business, and after attending a weekend taster course, I was ready to invest in myself. Parting with over £1000 for a 12 week distance learning course was a risk I was prepared to take, and I felt able to commit to it. Hadn’t I only recently completed a two-year degree course? Done the homework and submitted a lengthy dissertation?

It should have been easy. I connected with others on the course and made friends in the Facebook support group. I started on Module 1.

The first part was simple: it involved visualising and writing down how I saw my future, where I would love to be if money were no object. This was what the course would enable me to achieve.

But I found I had a huge handicap.

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