Sad songs, happy days and so you win again

It’s always a pleasure to write a winning award application, as the clients I work with are awesome and I totally believe in the services they provide. So I can write from the heart, with passion and, of course, knowledge.

18485663_10208699780441789_90201385747404553_nNordens, the fabulous accountancy firm that I always recommend, won yet another gong this week: ICAEW’s Accountancy Firm of the Year (Essex). It’s the Chartered Institute of Accountants for England and Wales, so it’s a pretty big deal.  They’ve won it before, along with various other prestigious accolades, including the British Accountancy Awards Practice of the Year for London.

I joined the team for a black-tie dinner at Stock Brook Manor Country Club. There was no dancing, but a lot of champagne and surprisingly delicious pork belly – which I’ve always steered well clear of, but my son highly recommends – so I tried it, and now I’m a convert.

18556413_1460548417342827_1240640762771653331_nWe spent the following day on a trip to Ramsgate, a small Victorian seaside town in Kent. Another lovely meal followed our walk along the beach (with brollies). Again, there was no dancing, although I was one of the first up for the coach karaoke on the way back to London. Sharon and I have a long history of duets, so we sang a couple of ‘popular numbers’ together – not our usual repertoire of 1970’s cheerful hits: Billy, don’t be a hero and Seasons in the sun. (For some reason we always sang really sad songs about people dying!!?!)

Back at the office, Nordens have displayed their latest trophy along with their many other shiny, crystal awards. I don’t have an awards table in my own office. My recent CEO of the Year Award sits alongside my Inspirational Woman trophy on a bookcase filled with art books. My collection of social media and business books are nestled onto a shelf on another bookcase (you can get some of the them here) next to trusty dictionaries and thesauruses that were staple tools of my Plain English Business Writing before the Internet made everything available without the need to reach out even a glossily painted fingertip to grab a book.

IMG_0597The bookcases overlook a garden that’s disgracefully full of weeds. I’m slowly cultivating a beautiful outdoor space but it takes time. I’d really prefer a garden like the one I visited yesterday at Ayot St Lawrence’s Manor House. The Tudor property is my dream home, set in my dream garden – complete with azure pool (now I can swim!), tennis court (it’s been a long time), an orchard, vegetable gardens and the most exquisite displays of flowers all around.

When I got home I googled to find out who lives in such a glorious home.  Such a small world – the first people I spoke to about the garden said, “Oh yes, they’re our friends. They used to live next door!” Now, I’m not normally an envious person, and I don’t hashtag anything unless it’s in the appropriate place (Twitter, where relevant and useful, and Instagram, where expected) – however, just for today… #jealous.

This is the Terry Jacks song I was talking about earlier; please note that I didn’t choose the lyrics ‘too much wine and too much song’ even though they are probably more appropriate this week! “You gave me love and helped me find the sun., and every time that I was down you would always come around, and get my feet back on the ground.”

I can help you get your business feet on the ground, if that’s what you need – or I can help you spread your wings and fly. Without social media, who knows you’re there? (Are you there??) I’m here: @WeekendWitch.


Seasons in the sun: Writer: Brel, JR, Copyright: Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Carlin America Inc.

A degree in plain English, dirty Diana and an intimate moment with Chris Tarrant


On Tuesday I found out that I passed my exam and I now have my Masters Degree.  Yaaay – very pleased with myself.  Thank you for the many Facebook messages and tweets.  The results came out a week early, so actually, I discovered this only due to a posting on the Facebook group page – got to love Facebook!! 

Masters DegreeI admit that in the author bio of The Colours Inbetween I already said I have the degree – thought it was worth the gamble and, luckily, it paid off.  So I’m the proud holder of an MA Ed (Applied Linguistics) – validation of my ability to recognise plain English and jargon!  But will it help me?  Probably not.  I have the option of university lecturing now, but in terms of my regular work it really makes no odds.  My seventeen years’ experience in copywriting, editing and creating website content that is clear and dynamic surely counts for more than a piece of paper and a graduation party.  Although it’s any excuse for a party in this house… [Read more…]

Wet, diamonds and plain English training

Would you like to hear about my three days in Edinburgh?  Very different from last year’s Baileys-filled week with Maz. There’s actually not much to tell you apart from four sessions of plain English training which resulted in such feedback as 100% rated it as good or excellent, 100% would recommend it, engaging, interesting, informative blah blah.   But I met some super people there, had gorgeous candlelit dinners – alone, watched a team of football players in kilts being snapped by passers-by as they joked around on the hotel steps… I didn’t bother asking who they were.  They were obviously famous, but as I once spent a whole lunchtime with Mel eating carbonara and garlic prawns at the next table to the whole Spurs team [Read more…]

Making videos, time out in London and gifts arriving from happy clients

This is a typical day working in London, as mine panned out last Wednesday.  Travelling into town on the underground… The guy on my left was playing with a DJ mixdeck app – loud tinny bass and backbeat pounding in my ear for 40 minutes.  One woman sitting opposite was eating something I didn’t recognise, and the Amazonian-looking lady next to her suddenly got up, stomped up and down the aisle, screamed at her about making the train stink then jumped off at the next stop, still ranting.  Oh… and the bloke on my right was reading the bible.  Out loud. [Read more…]