Writing portfolio

Explore my writing portfolio to see samples of projects I’ve completed, including blog posts, website articles, magazine articles and case studies.

Click on the blue buttons to see the content.

Health and wellbeing content

Manuka Pharm

Manuka Pharm is an established New Zealand company that sells genuine Manuka Honey. They commissioned me to write 8 blog posts for their brand new website.

Veo

Veo is an earth-friendly online marketplace that sells a wide range of sustainable, eco-friendly and fairly traded products. I was commissioned to write a wellbeing themed blog post for their website.

Writing portfolio screenshot for veo

Courses Online

As well as commissioning me to write career-focused content, the team at coursesonline.co.uk asked me to cover a number of topics related to wellbeing and mental health.

Student Job

Student Job is a website that connects employers to candidates who are searching for part-time work, internships, placements and graduate positions. I wrote several blog posts for the site.

Education and careers content

Candlefox UK

Candlefox is Australia’s largest online marketplace for education marketing. For the last two years, I’ve been creating career-focused blog posts and other website content for their UK website-www.coursesonline.co.uk.

Writing portfolio blog post for Courses Online

QS Top Universities

Quacquarelli Symonds is the world’s leading provider of services, analytics, and insight to the global higher education sector. Working with Inspiring Interns, I provided guest blog posts for their flagship website, www.TopUniversities.com 

Kimichi-it’s school, but not as you know it.

I created this short promotional piece for a local independent school that does things a little differently.

Imagine a classroom where every child learns to play an instrument and music comes first.  Welcome to Birmingham’s Kimichi independent school.

When teacher Sally Alexander realized state schools were treating music education as an afterthought, she decided to set up her own school. Kimichi has enviable links with local orchestras, but there’s no audition process. This isn’t a school for musical prodigies.

How does this work in practice? It’s simple. Alongside the national curriculum, pupils study musical theory and learn to play at least one instrument. Even teaching methods are inspired by the orchestra, where more able players assist the less proficient.

Kimichi’s pupils also take part in a unique LIFE course, aimed at preparing them for life after school. DIY, cooking, budgeting, self-defence, scuba diving, horse riding and self-sufficiency are all on offer.

Sally aims to provide the high quality of education you would expect from a private school, at less cost.  Interested parents should contact the school to ask about scholarships and bursaries.

“It’s so easy for your child to get lost in the state system. Give us a chance and watch your loved one flourish.”

For more information, Call 0121 679 5298 or e-mail  enquiries@kimichischool.co.uk

Lifestyle and food content

Waltons

Waltons sells all kinds of garden buildings, from sheds to summerhouses. I was lucky enough to write regular posts for their popular blog.

Writing portfolio showing a screenshot of a web page featuring a dog in a garden

Rex London

Working with Cornish agency Alban Digital, I crafted a variety of blog posts that covered food, family fun, crafts and giftware.

Writing portfolio screenshot of a web page depicting a fresh Spring salad on a plate.

The Best of Sutton Coldfield

The Best of Sutton Coldfield is a website that promotes local events, businesses and news. I wrote blog posts and news articles for them.


Online and print articles

Jewellery that changes lives-Woman Alive magazine

I wrote a number of articles for the Christian magazine Woman Alive, including this one about Fair Trade jewellery.

An image of a bride and groom holding hands, showing a ring on the bride's finger.

This year the Fairtrade Foundation is twenty years old. It’s hard to imagine now, but in 1994 there were just three Fairtrade products; coffee, tea and a chocolate bar. In 2013, 450 companies sold 4,500 products, including cotton,  spices and fruit.

One of the most exciting but less well-known developments has been the availability of Fairtrade gold and silver. Set up by Fairtrade campaigner Greg Valerio, CRED Jewellery began as an enterprise project to support the work of CRED, a charity campaigning on education, poverty and human rights issues.

CRED had already begun trading in silver when Greg Valerio visited an Indian mine to see where some of their raw material came from. There he witnessed  “a horrendous parade of child and indentured labour and gender exploitation in 110 degrees of heat with no clean water.”

As a result of Greg’s harrowing experience, CRED commissioned independent research into the jewellery supply chain, confirming that the real ethical issue was the plight of the small-scale miner. Through partnering with Columbian mining co-operative Oro Verde, CRED was able to launch the first environmentally and socially responsible wedding rings in 2003. 

In 2005 CRED and Oro Verde were founder members of the Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM) and in 2006, CRED brokered introductions between Oro Verde, ARM and the Fairtrade labelling Organisation. Fairtrade gold was launched in February 2011 and CRED  became the first boutique jeweller dedicated to the sale of ethical jewellery.

 CRED’s aim is “to make it socially unacceptable to sell an item of jewellery that is not independently certified as socially and environmentally responsible.”

There are an estimated 100 million families and dependants involved in small-scale mining throughout the world. Artisanal and small-scale miners produce just 15% of global supplies but provide up to 90% of labour in gold extraction.

 The majority of CRED’s gold comes from small-scale miners at the Sotrami mine in Peru, high up in the Andes. The miners are paid a guaranteed minimum price but they also receive an extra premium to invest in their community.

The Fairtrade premium enables them to send their children to school, put food on the table and develop their communities. CRED staff personally visit the mine to build relationships with the miners and their families.

CRED imported over 90% of total Fair Trade gold in the twelve months from launch.15 kg of this came from the Sotrami mine, which is the equivalent of 3, 750 average-sized wedding rings!

With their Fairtrade premium, the community invested in an extension to their primary school, computers for their secondary school, and a not-for-profit convenience store which means the 5000 strong community can buy food at reasonable prices. They are also improving their water supply and investing in health and dental care.

But the story doesn’t end there, as CRED launched the world’s first Fairtrade silver jewellery collection in February 2013. CRED also guarantees that their diamonds are conflict-free, which means that their sale hasn’t been used to fund armed conflict.  The company is working hard to make its dream of a Fairtrade diamond a reality.

CRED’s quest for Fairtrade gold has not only impacted families living in poverty, but they’ve gone from importing grams of gold into a dismissive market to importing kilograms of gold to industry acclaim. And yet, they remain modest.

“It’s about doing the right thing and enabling people to lift themselves out of poverty.  We want all jewellers to sell ethical pieces that benefit indigenous producers while mitigating environmental damage.  We continue to campaign because we want this industry to be as clear and as transparent as the gems they sell.”

CRED’s stunning jewellery collections can be viewed by appointment at their shops in London and Chichester.

Does God call Introverts to be youth leaders? Youth Work magazine

This article on the Youth Work website sparked plenty of conversation and resulted in an offer to contribute to their series about faith-filled characters.

Eighteen months ago, I would have laughed if someone had told me I was going to set up a youth cell at my church. My previous experiences of working with teenagers had been far from positive, and I’m a quiet, introspective person who prefers to sit at the back and observe.

The church I go to has a regular attendance of sixty, but the majority of members are over forty. Although we have three lovely toddlers in the congregation, my eleven-year-old daughter is often the only young person in her age group. As a result, she often complains about going to church. Who can blame her?

At one point, my husband and I thought about leaving our beloved church family and moving to a larger church, where our daughter could be part of an established youth group. However, she told us that she didn’t want to leave because she would miss all her “grown-up friends at church”.

One day, as I was praying about the situation, a thought popped into my mind. Perhaps I should look into setting up our own youth cell. I knew there were several teenagers whose parents came to church without them, as they found the service boring or were busy playing sport on Sunday mornings. I also had an inkling that although my daughter’s school friends didn’t often come to church, they may enjoy coming to a group aimed at their age bracket.

I didn’t tell anyone about my idea, but a few weeks later I was chatting to a friend over coffee when she shared that she’d been wondering what we could do for young people on the edges of the congregation. When I told her that I had been having similar thoughts, we realised that God seemed to be giving us a nudge and we decided to take action.

After meeting to pray about our idea, my friend and I decided that our group should be held at my home, as it would be more relaxed and informal than meeting in the church. We then spoke to our church leaders, who were very positive about the idea.

The process of setting up a group was frustratingly slow, as we had to apply for a DBS, do risk assessments, give out permission letters and present the idea to our PCC, which only meets every other month. 

However, during this time of waiting, my friend and I had a strong sense that God was completely in control. It felt right that we should take our time and do things properly. Amazingly, towards the end of this waiting time, we discovered that a major youth work conference was happening just five minutes away at a local church. The keynote speaker was Mike Yaconelli, an American writer and speaker who is known for his pioneering approach to youth ministry. We just had to get tickets!

The conference turned out to be hugely inspiring. Mike Yaconelli was a funny and passionate storyteller, who shared dozens of moving stories about his time as a youth leader. He told us how he moved away from needing to stuff every session with exciting content, and realised that the key thing is to be totally present with the young people in his care. He spoke about being real with the members of a group and allowing them to see how we live our everyday lives.

Hearing this confirmed that my friend and I were on the right track in basing our new cell in my home, as several of the young people who wanted to join the group had known me since the age of three.  They had already seen the real me plenty of times! They had baked cakes with me, slept over at our house, and eaten countless fish fingers in our kitchen. Hopefully, these young people had also seen that our family has a solid faith that we try to live out every day.

A month or so later, we held a youth cell barbecue and welcomed a group of shy teenagers into our home. There were plenty of awkward silences to begin with, but by the end of the evening (with the help of a few silly games), the ice had been well and truly broken! For our first few sessions, we simply spent time getting to know each other. We flipped pancakes, played truth or dare, made pizzas and chatted about what the young people wanted from the group.

Nearly one year on, we have a lovely group of six members, with a number of other young people who come when their family circumstances allow. The members occasionally invite their friends and I often get enthusiastic texts asking me whether youth cell is on this week.

So far, we’ve introduced the Bible by looking at key characters from the Old and New Testaments, and we’ve looked at topics that reflect God’s character, including a session on buying Fairtrade chocolate.

We’re also beginning to build links with the rest of the church family, and we made a special video that was shown at the Mother’s Day service. This year we plan to invite members of the congregation to one of our sessions so that the young people can feel connected to the wider Christian community in an informal setting.

I feel privileged to welcome these young people into our home every fortnight. There’s nothing complicated about what we are doing. It is very simple; we eat, play games, share our stories and learn about the Christian faith.

Then again, isn’t that how it all began; gathered together in a home, sharing bread and faith?


Case studies

Over the course of 12 months, I created detailed case studies for the website Home and Build. This involved interviewing architects and requesting high-quality images.

21 Campden Hill Square: a fabulously eclectic family home

When Mr and Mrs Lloyd purchased number 21 Campden Hill Square, they knew the property would need a lot of attention, as it had been badly damaged by a World War Two bomb. However, the building’s dilapidated state also meant that it was never listed, allowing the Lloyds the freedom to create the family home that they really wanted.

An image of 21 Campden Hill Square, a four storey Georgian home.

Credit: Richard Brine Photography

Built in the 1830s, number 21’s four storeys and formal Georgian exterior are typical of most terraced houses in the area. The property also enjoys fabulous unobstructed views towards the Wembley Arch, as it’s situated in a square that sits on the side slope of Notting Hill. Project architects Adams and Collingwood describe this as one of the “treasure squares in London”.

Due to the damaged state of the Lloyd family’s new house, the project team had to begin by stripping out its “warped creaking internal structure”. They did, however; manage to keep the property’s badly sunken original staircase. The lower ground floor was dug out to provide extra room, the basement was underpinned and a glass structure was created.

The property's original floating oak staircase.

Credit: Richard Brine Photography

As the Lloyds wanted their home to reflect both the period when it was built and their own eclectic tastes, Adams and Collingwood worked with interior designer Max Rollit to achieve a balance between Georgian-inspired design and contemporary architecture. So, while the rear kitchen extension has a contemporary feel, the enormous drawing room has been carefully designed and furnished to resemble a Georgian room, even though it only contains two original features; the windows and the chimney-piece.

Campden Hill's spacious, contemporary kitchen.

Credit: Richard Brine Photography

Wherever possible, The Lloyd’s home has retained its original features, including the cornicing in the hall and the bathroom’s original basin. Extra period details such as an an18thc Mahogany card table, John Rocque’s 18th-century map of London and a Chippendale junior sofa also add to the home’s Georgian feel. However, because the owners love interior design from all periods, they’ve included plenty of non-Georgian items such as a French chandelier in the shape of a galleon and marble obelisks by Max Rollit.

Credit: Richard Brine Photography

Number 21’s second floor includes the main bedroom with its four-poster bed and the family’s main bathroom. The children sleep on the top floor and two half landings accommodate their parents’ studies. There’s also a large family room in the basement and a spare bedroom in what used to be the butler’s pantry.

According to Adams and Collingwood, the culmination of this ambitious project was a new garden room and children’s playhouse, which would be located at the end of the property’s long, narrow garden. The clients were keen to create a space that they could use to host garden socials and which the kids could use for playing, climbing and sleeping over.

The property's long garden featuring a newly created garden room.

Credit: Richard Brine Photography

The architects describe this room as a “joy to design” and it’s not hard to see why. Its roof acts as a platform for the family’s kids to climb up onto and they can either enter their playhouse via a skylight or monkey bars. Inside, there’s a bed, play equipment and a fully equipped kitchen.

The property's delightful garden room with a colourfully decorated chalkboard.

Credit: Richard Brine Photography

Number 21 isn’t just a comfortable and stylish family home, as it’s also impressively sustainable. The Lloyds are kept cosy in winter by their property’s heavily insulated external facades and the house also includes a greywater harvesting system, which enables the WCs to be flushed using run-off water from cisterns and baths. Inside the house, many of the dark mahogany doors have been recycled from antique table leaves.

Relationships between the Lloyds, the project team and their building control officer were excellent throughout the building process. So that less time would be required to carry out the work, plans for the glass structure and the garden room were kept well within permitted development planning regulations.

Architect Robert Adams is extremely satisfied with the Lloyds’ finished home, which combines the best of the Georgian period with “brand spanking new architecture”. The clients’ verdict?

“We love it and we live in every bit of it. There’s not a single redundant space.”