Life beyond London

Life beyond London

“Don’t bore me with that ‘Oh it’s all grim up North’ sh*t.” My first day as Nations & Regions Development Manager at Channel 4: Stuart Cosgrove briefing me in his own inimitable style. His remark sums up the role: tap into the rich vein of regional culture and deliver something different. A Glasgow beyond Trainspotting. A Belfast beyond the Troubles. Working from idea development and pitching to finance and marketing, I was part of the team that delivered £125m annual investment into creative enterprise outside of London.

 

One

One

Posted by: on Dec 4, 2013 | No Comments

 

The nights are once again drawing in, and winter is well and truly upon us. I freely admit that I love Christmas, but this year it feels particularly poignant for me, as we prepare to celebrate our daughter’s first birthday. This time last year she was just a tiny, wrinkly, newborn bundle, and it’s hard to believe that 12 whole months have passed.

Well, hard to believe it may be, but the evidence is clearly there in my woefully neglected website. I’ve been lucky enough to get a whole year off to adjust to being Mum, so haven’t posted here in a considerable time. As I pause for breath before the birthday party / Christmas / New Year melee begins, this seems like a good opportunity to write a little update and take stock.

In between the nappies, the sleepless nights, the nursery rhymes and the adorable onesies, I have squeezed in some freelance work. I helped Borders Sport & Leisure Trust with copywriting for their forthcoming new website. I’m getting my tree hat back on with some articles for the next issue of Tree News. And I unravelled, reassembled and polished dozens of fascinating academic case studies for the University of Glasgow. It was so refreshing to use my brain again!

2013 was an exhausting, exhilarating, rewarding and ultimately joyful year. In 2014, I look forward to returning afresh to some exciting new projects, news of which will follow soon.

Until then, I’ll be filling my spare time with one of my favourite tasks: writing lists. Let the geekery commence!

David vs Goliath: ding ding

David vs Goliath: ding ding

Posted by: on May 11, 2012 | No Comments

My latest post for Forth Metrics takes inspiration from the recent BrewDog/Diageo battle, and explores how even a small business can throw big stones with the right strategy in place…

This week saw provocative craft beer company BrewDog hit the headlines, as allegations emerged that Diageo had abused its position as sponsor of the British Institute of Inkeeping (BII) awards to prevent BrewDog from winning Bar Operator of the Year. Misguided Diageo executives are thought to have threatened to pull all funding for the BII should its fledgling competitor beat it to first place.

Tour of MediaCity

Tour of MediaCity

Posted by: on May 9, 2012 | One Comment

How important is regional diversity in media production? It’s a question close to my own heart for a number of reasons. First of all, I come from Wick – a small town near John O’Groats in the far north Highlands. This brings an extra dimension to the idea of the hyper-local, since we are not only removed from the M25 hub but also the Scottish twin engines of Glasgow and Edinburgh, and even the Highland ‘capital’ of Inverness.

Then there is my former job, as a development manager in Channel 4′s Nations & Regions department (as it was then known) – a team tasked specifically with boosting production in the English regions and the devolved nations.

So it was with great interest that I accepted a commission to write a lengthy feature about the BBC’s much touted move to Salford, dubbed ‘Media City‘. The article was for the magazine of the University of Sunderland, which is among many educators attempting to spearhead a cultural renaissance in the former industrial heartland of the North East.

Hot off the press

Hot off the press

Posted by: on Apr 9, 2012 | No Comments

I was delighted to receive Tree News hot off the press this spring. This was my first issue as editor of the member magazine for the Tree Council, and I’m really happy with how it’s turned out. There’s in-depth features on topics such as extreme weather, the endangered tree that’s harvested for chemotherapy medicine, cryopreservation and hedgerow habitats.

Is DIM the new enlightened?

Is DIM the new enlightened?

Posted by: on Apr 5, 2012 | No Comments

 I’ve hooked up with inbound marketing experts Forth Metrics to write a series of blogs exploring best practice in modern PR and online marketing. Forth Metrics has developed a fantastic new blogger discovery tool, InkyBee (currently in beta), which aims to cut out the pain of finding relevant bloggers for an outreach campaign.

My first post reflects on the range of new tools designed to measure a person’s online influence, and asks if it’s really a worthwhile approach? Taster below…

Pause for breath

Pause for breath

Posted by: on Mar 16, 2012 | No Comments

By Sztijoe on weheartit.com

It’s with a slight sense of guilt that I’m writing this post, a full two months after my last blog. Where have I been? Well, this year appears to be dividing itself into nice little quarters for me.

Early in the New Year I was readying myself for the busiest few months I’ve had since going freelance. The Christmas break gave me a welcome chance to prepare – wading through mountains of boring paperwork and thinking about just what I wanted to achieve in 2012. Then it was full steam ahead, and I’ve barely come up for air since. A few highlights:

Back to my roots

Back to my roots

Posted by: on Mar 5, 2012 | No Comments


This February I got the rare treat of writing about my home town, Wick. Wick is a small seaside town located in the far north of Scotland, a few miles south of John O’Groats.

CMYK Design, publishers of the award-winning Aurora magazine for Highlands and Islands Airports Limited, commissioned me to write a travelogue piece picking out places to visit and points of interest.

Fantastic new business cards

Fantastic new business cards

Posted by: on Feb 9, 2012 | No Comments


Oooh the excitement of ripping open the box and finding these beauties waiting for me! I finally got some business cards professionally designed, by the talented Adam Wilson.

Pulp fiction: two lovely new projects

Pulp fiction: two lovely new projects

Posted by: on Jan 14, 2012 | No Comments


2012 has got off to a delightful start, full of exciting new projects, a clean and organised office and a beautiful new diary just waiting to be filled.

I’m delighted to announce that I have accepted a position working two days’ a week with Canongate Books, one of the most exciting independent publishers in the UK. I’m joining the Canongate team to assist with their site canongate.tv. Over the next few months, the site will be slowly transformed with more inspiring films, exclusive offers and expert blogs. Watch this space.

I have also just been appointed editor of Tree News, the member magazine of the Tree Council. Don’t be fooled by the unassuming title – this multi-award-winning magazine packs a serious punch. The Spring/Summer 2012 issue is shaping up nicely and I look forward to writing more about the project in the months ahead.

As the year ebbs away

As the year ebbs away

Posted by: on Dec 15, 2011 | 3 Comments

I know writers are supposed to be highly original, but I’m going to indulge myself with the usual December cliche and take a moment to say “where the hell did the time go?”

As is always the case, my blogging, tweeting etc came to a quick halt the minute work became very busy. Do other freelancers note a pattern of not having time to promote yourself when you have things to promote? It’s very frustrating but I should really make the time.

So, suffice to say it’s been a busy couple of months and 2012 looks set to be a storming year.