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Florence on a budget

May 18, 2015

View of the bridgeExperiencing Firenze as a tourist can be an expensive experience.  With the big sites of the Uffizzi, Accademia and cathedral duomo charging upwards of €10, even doing the must-sees can set you back.  Not only that, but the whole city seems at times to be dedicated to relieving tourists of their banknotes: wherever you go there are enticing cafes and restaurants, and if you’re not careful you can end up spending much more than you budgeted for.

So after a recent four-night trip to Florence, I’ve penned some ways to enjoy the sights at Renaissance prices – well, almost!

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Promoting your writing – or in fact, anything!

January 21, 2014

Books on a shelfLast week’s Foyles talk by a self-publishing professional and her impressive author client was as much of a lesson in self-promotion as self-publishing.

I reckon their top tips for being a successful author can be whittled down to just three key pointers, which also apply to marketing any creative work.

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Six tips for new homeworkers (published on How to Work from Home)

October 8, 2013

desk picWhen I start a new job, it usually takes me three months to get ‘into’ it – to get to know the people and understand exactly what’s being asked of me.

But going freelance as a writer was a whole different story – so much to learn, in a short time period, and alone.

I’ve translated my experience into some tips for newbies over on  the site How to Work From Home.  Come and join the conversation – I hope you find it useful.

Favourite UK campsites for getting away from it all

October 5, 2013

IMG_6590After a long working week there’s nothing like escaping to the countryside, and for me it’s even better if I can wake up under canvas.  Whatever the weather, I get an incredibly restful sleep in my tent and the escape from home clears my head quicker than anything else. So I’ve compiled four recommendations for UK campsites that offer a rural retreat.








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Dowry Tradition Prevails in Sri Lanka, Preys on Women (

September 27, 2013
Image of Tamil wedding in Sri Lanka

Tamil wedding in Kandy, Sri Lanka

Whenever I complimented anyone in Sri Lanka on their beautiful country, they always murmured that the islanders themselves hadn’t been so lucky.

A bit morbid you might think, until you consider that within living memory of every 16 year old in the country there’s civil war, a freak tsunami, and countless miscarriages of justice.

I delved into one issue for the Women’s Independent Perspective, or WIPNet, in my article Dowry Tradition Prevails in Sri Lanka, Preys on Women.

Thanks must go to all those who so openly discussed this sensitive and, at times embarrassing, topic with me.  I hope I have done their stories justice.

The Book Synopsis

September 19, 2013

IMG_6573It is almost exactly four months since I got the email, squeaked a lot and then settled down to work. In the middle of May, the journalist and author David Wickers and I were introduced by a mutual friend. Four months later, I’ve finally sent off a synopsis of his bestselling book that I’ll be updating, to the first potential publisher. Read more…

Seaweed in the garden

July 4, 2013

seaweedComposting is great fun and any wacky ‘ingredient’ I see, I tend to scoop up in the hopes of improving my heap. And that includes seaweed, nature’s fertilizer, which I gathered on a recent trip to the beach.

Here are five uses for my slimy pile… Read more…

Culture shock Sri Lanka

May 30, 2013

elephants around

It’s easy to be a tourist but much more difficult to understand the people in your destination. There’s a dearth of information on the everyday challenges of this fascinating island, from which hand to receive your change in, to giving appropriate gifts to your hosts. A friend is off to Sri Lanka shortly so I thought it was a good opportunity to pen a few pointers about the culture that I learned during my four month stay. Hope you enjoy them, and I look forward to hearing your tips and experiences, too. Read more…

Can we plant out yet, please?

May 16, 2013

Windowsill plantsI went on a reassuring walk this week.  Feeling slightly guilty for my non-gardening housemate about the compost overflowing from every windowsill, I suddenly discovered a whole forest of plants crammed into bay windows on neighbouring streets.  Every other house overflowed with nasturtiums, sweet peas, lettuces and other annuals all bursting to get into the garden.  I could almost feel the anticipation.  But it made me wonder: when is it too early to plant out?  Read more…

Books for days when you want to be…. somewhere else

March 6, 2013

IMG_5232Some days, you want to be far away.  And it doesn’t really matter where.  I’ve now embraced the fact that I will always have itchy feet, so I love finding books that take me places without me needing to pack a bag.  Here are three books I’ve read recently that really encapsulate that feeling for me.  Have you read them too?
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