Questions I ask my clients before I start copywriting | Simply Marcia


Shortcuts and top tips to a more healthy, mindful, positive and energised you!

Questions I ask my clients before I start copywriting

Having written copy for many years now, I know that the key to copywriting success comes down to finding out and understanding as much as possible about a client’s business, their product or service, their customers and competition.

My fail safe way of doing this (beside my own research), and covering everything needed to get started involves an in-depth client brief –
based on a number of key questions. So before writing a word, these are the questions I ask my clients:

BACKGROUND
Tell me about your business. What’s the story / background?
What do your produce / what service do you offer?
What do you like most about your product or service?
What’s the main objective(s) for this project? What are you looking to achieve?

TARGET AUDIENCE
Who is the target audience? Tell me about this audience and what their needs are.
Who is your ideal customer? Tell me about them.
How can your product or service help solve a problem for your audience?
What’s the main call to action? What do you want your audience to do?
Do you have testimonials?

PRODUCT / SERVICE
Describe your product or service. What’s your USP?
What are the key benefits of your product or service?
What are the key features of your product or service?
Tell me about pricing.

COMPETITION
Who are your main competitors?
What do you do better or differently from your competitors?
Is there another business you’d like your business to emulate?

WEBSITE
How does your audience find your website? What are the main sources of traffic?
What is your preferred writing voice? What is the tone and style? Friendly, formal, casual, fun, informative …
What are the key words or phrases you would use to describe your product / service?
Walk me through the purchasing process.
Final question – is there anything else your audience should know about your products or service?

I hope this helps! Do you have other questions you ask your clients to find out about their business, products or service?

Thinking about going freelance? Here are my tips!

If you’re thinking about hiring a freelance copywriter (like myself!), have a read of my blog post BENEFITS OF USING FREELANCERS. You can also find me over on LinkedIn – maybe we could work together?


My 2017 round up – some of what I’ve learnt!

As 2017 draws to a close, I find myself making final Christmassy plans, catching up with family and friends, and pondering a little on what this last year as brought me. So I thought a little round up to remind myself of some of the positive things that have made 2017, for me:

Moving to Cornwall

The biggest decision made this year. My partner and I have five children between us: he has two older boys, I have three younger ones who live with us. Uprooting my three and moving us all 2 1/2 hours drive from Bath to south-east Cornwall might have seemed a little crazy but you know, sometimes, when the opportunity strikes, you have to grab it and just do it. There was a lot of soul-searching, head-scratching, umm-ing and ahh-ing of course – the biggest worry I had was how this move would affect my children. But kids are resilient; there have been tough times of course, but, they’ve started new schools and made new friends. They still see and stay with their dad once a fortnight in Bath so those ties are still strong – and thanks to social media, they now have the best of both worlds with friends both here in Cornwall and back in Bath.

What I’ve learnt: The move has highlighted the fact that I’m a hoarder- I had too much ‘stuff’. Thankfully, the move meant scaling back and giving back to charities. I’ve also learnt that I really, really like to be away from the crazy rat-race. And that this part of Cornwall is not that far from Bath (hooray!). The novelty of doing up a new (but very old) house wears off once the Cornish sun shines and the beach calls – it’s a tough call – beach or DIY? That kids are hard work no matter where you live. And that I really, really, really love living in Cornwall – but equally, being so close to Dartmoor (my spiritual home I think).

Freelancing

I wasn’t sure how the big move would affect my freelance marketing. All my strong, client links and networks were back in Bath and Bristol. This is where most of my freelance work came from until our move. Thankfully, proving true that location is (mostly!) irrelevant when it comes to working as a freelancer I’ve a) managed to keep hold of projects and clients I was working on back in Bath and b) I’ve built up some lovely, new contacts here in Cornwall and have new clients and exciting projects taking me in to 2018.

What I’ve learnt: Communication is key. Whether that’s keeping conversations running with existing clients or networking and meeting new potential ones. And that you can’t rush or force these things – I’m all for natural chemistry! Oh, and sometimes heading to the beach to clear the cobwebs away and work stuff out! Keeping my LinkedIn profile updated and fresh has helped too.

Health

I’m very lucky; I’m not someone who thankfully suffers from illness very often. However, this move has made me recognise that as I get older, I want to become stronger and do what I can to live a happy and healthy life for as long as possible – it must be the sea air! This year I’ve upped my exercise game. Not quite a runner, I would class myself as someone on the cusp of super-fast walking/jogging – is that a thing? Point is, come rain or shine, uphill and down dell, I’ve been out there – my heart rate has been seriously pumping and working hard this year, and as a result I’m more toned and without a shadow of a doubt, so much fitter. I’m also a fan of kayaking – it’s perfect for all the family, it brings you so much closer to nature, it’s great for your core muscles and it’s easy! It’s also been a year of ‘in with the veg’ and ‘out with the meat’. I’m not quite ready to go full vegetarian (pescatarian is more likely!) but we’ve certainly had far more meat-free days than carnivorous ones. If you fancy joining me, Meat Free Mondays have some brilliant advice and recipes.

What I’ve learnt:
I’m really, really not a naturally sporty kind of person and didn’t think I could move as fast as I can – but with support and encouragement (and gentle nagging from other half when all I really want to do is slouch on the sofa with a bar of galaxy and a good box set, rather than head out in the torrential rain and fast walk up that bloody hill again) – I’ve made massive progress . I’ve also discovered a genuine love of lentils and legumes – my meat free substitutes.

Environment

Coming from a family of small holders and grow-your-own’ers, nature and the environment is a massive part of my life. Living in this part of the world, close to both the glorious beaches and breathtaking moors has brought us even closer to nature. Being able to spend so much time this summer literally touring the Cornish coastline, swimming, rock pooling and kayaking has been wonderful. And which is why, watching the recent Blue Planet 2 series has had a massive impact on me. We’re a family of re-users and recycle’ers but had no idea the scale of the plastics pollution of our oceans. It’s such a huge and dreadful problem but there are loads of brilliant initiatives we can all be a part of such as Surfers Against Sewage and One Less Bottle. Also this year we acquired a new allotment which a) I love, b) don’t quite know where to start with, but c) am determined to fill with edible plants for us, a wildlife haven for insects and small creatures and a penned off space for our lovely rescue hens!

What I’ve learnt
Ok, this is blindingly obvious I know, but we really do only have one planet. One environment. If a species becomes extinct, that’s it – game over for that species. It’s surely our duty to look after all creatures and all environments on this amazing planet. More than anything, it’s left me feeling passionate about doing my bit. That means buying locally, massively reducing our plastic consumption in this family, joining petitions and lobby’s, joining in with local beach cleans. That also means looking after and nurturing our small patch of land to help preserve it and the insects and creatures that visit it for future generations.

Food (and more importantly, gin!)

I’ve always loved ‘growing my own’ and having grown up in the era of ‘The Good Life’ and with parents who ran a small holding, it can come as no surprise to learn that food is a genuine source of joy for me. From keeping bees and hens to growing window sill herbs or hours spent on my allotment, I’m still a massive fan of the GYO movement. Life though, has been pretty hectic since our move to Cornwall – so we’ve kid of cheated and our GYO produce has come in the guise of Tamar Valley Grow Local whose philosophy is ‘Grow, Share, Cook’- if you can’t grow your own then buy and support local businesses who do! We like think we’re also doing our bit for local gin distilleries here in Cornwall too! It’s my tipple of choice and thankfully we’re lucky that there are some brilliant independent distilleries here which we’re gradually working our way around …

What I’ve learnt
Beside the fact that gin is my thing (nothing new!), supporting local farmers, small holders and independent producers via local schemes such as Tamar Grow Local is the next best thing to growing your own. It’s also great for the local economy and the environment. My intention next year is to combine a bit of home growing with local produce purchasing … first things first though – I need to get my house (allotment!) in order …


Benefits of using freelancers

I’ve been freelancing for a good few years now. It works for me and I love it! I’m very grateful I can work in a flexible way, on a variety of projects and can pick and choose the hours and days I want to work. I quite like being the ‘boss of me’! Obviously freelancing has it’s moments and sometimes it can feel like a bit of a roller-coaster ride in terms of continual guaranteed work. But, there are so many benefits of freelancing from both the perspective of the freelancer and the organisation they’re freelancing for, so I thought I’d put a little list together of why hiring a freelancer is a good thing:

Flexibility
Almost every freelancer I know, works in this way so that they can set their own working hours. It means they can pick up different projects and set the pace for their work load. Freelancers are also used to working irregular hours so therefore much more likely to log in and work after normal working hours, potentially helping to keep your business ticking over ‘out of hours’.

Affordability
Whilst the daily rate for freelancers can sometimes seem costly, the reality is that actually, as a client, you really are only paying for specific work completed. If you’re a small business, using an agency would be incredibly costly but using a good freelancer means you can get the expertise you need at a greatly reduced cost (and usually means your project will be completed within a shorter time frame than using a big agency). Also, a freelancer doesn’t come with all the overheads that employees come with and hiring a good freelancer means you are freed up financially to focus spend in specific areas and can really keep track of project costs.

Timings and turnarounds
Freelancers recognise the importance of deadlines when set a task or project to complete. We may have other projects lined up or on the go for other clients, so time-management is key to a successful work flow – freelancers want to get on with the job, get it done and clear the path for new work. We’re much more motivated to complete the task to timings and within budget and in turn, give a project the sense of urgency and importance it deserves. Freelancers are motivated by their own desire to give the very best and get the job done and the fact that a freelancer works (usually) on their own, means distractions, corporate red tape, chains of command and office-politics are avoided – they can just get on with what needs to be done.

Experience
Working for different clients and on different projects means freelancers pick up lots of different skills and experience in their field. They’re constantly building and challenging their knowledge and most effective or new ways of doing things. Each project for a freelancer will be a learning curve and will help them expand their knowledge. Freelancers are also independent workers: no need to train them up. Once they’re up to speed on the requirements of your project and have access to all the assets they need, they can get cracking. For a client all of this can only be a good thing – plus, you’re paying only for the specific skills and experience a freelancer offers.

Communication
Working on your own and for yourself means freelancers not only become skilled self-motivators but also gain an arsenal of really good communication skills. Freelancers meet, and work with, a variety of different personality types and management levels. They have to be good at communicating with all sorts of people and as a client, you will have a direct line of communication with a freelancer (as opposed to using an agency). Freelancers are also able to speak more openly, though delicately and thoughtfully, than employees, which can be really refreshing – and is so important in terms of new and different perspectives.

Networks
Whilst freelancers do tend to work alone, from home, most will belong to some great networks. They will know people who may be able to help in other aspects of your business. Belonging to networks means freelancers are continuing to develop their profession – learn new skills, tips, resources. I belong to different networks that help in different, but always supportive and positive ways and means I’ve built up a great network of contacts (it also helps me feel like I’m part of a team!).

Ultimately, finding a good freelancer that you can use for projects on an as-and-when basis means you can build up a strong, reliable and trustworthy source of support for your existing team. A good freelancer can step in and help out when needed and also bring a fresh pair of eyes and a new perspective to your project – always a good thing, surely?!

Was this list helpful? Do you freelance? Are there other benefits I need to add to my list?

Find me over at LinkedIn to see what freelance work I’m up to …


Going freelance? Here are my tips!

Freedom. Going it alone. Breaking free of the red tape and boring company rules and reg’s. Freelancing and working for yourself is a growing industry – and I’m part of it! I love being part of a more creative, organic, flexible and relaxed way of working and have been freelancing in the marketing world for about 10 years (ever since my eldest child started school and the demands of trying to juggle full-time working, a school-starter, a toddlers and a baby seemed like way too much of a struggle …).

For me, the main joy of freelancing is that I have become the boss. I decide the hours I work. I decide the pay. I decide when to work and when not to. I work from home (or a cafe – one of the best perks obviously!). I choose to take school holiday’s off to spend with the kids. I am in control. And because of all of this, I actually think I work harder and am far more efficient in the hours that I work: my distractions are fewer – I have no one to gossip with or loiter with by the coffee machine – though of course, I can find 101 reasons why not to crack on with something – maybe the dishwasher needs emptying, or the dog needs walking, or Facebook needs checking … Procrastination can still be a thing.

Anyway, if you fancy this way of working, these are my top Going Freelance tips:

Small steps
Rather than jack in your current job, consider taking on some freelance work alongside your main job – at least initially. This will help you gain confidence and build clients without losing important income. Think about existing responsibilities and commitments, and more importantly consider possible financial implications. Be realistic about how much work you can take on.

What are your skills and strengths?
Really think about what your offering is and who your market is. Do some market research. How will you reach them and tell them about you? See what other freelancers in the same or similar field to you are doing – what can you learn from them?

Branding
Choose a company name that reflects what you do or that would work well in your industry sector. Get a logo. Create your image.

Social media/website
Setting yourself up with social media accounts is a brilliant tool for sharing ideas, telling your market about what you can do for the, engaging with prospective clients etc. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Google+ all have their place but get really strong in one of these platforms first. Share and post on all of them but see which seems to work best for you in your industry. Then put your efforts in to growing this social media stream. Consider crating a website to showcase your work and make sure to link to all your social media platforms. On top of this, keep up to date with social media trends in your industry and for your clients – the world of tech is always changing – keep up with it (this is also a note to self!).

Networking and support
Join local networking groups. Meet other freelancers. Get yourself on LinkedIn and create a strong profile. Work from cafe’s. Talk to people (it still amazes and quite frankly, delights me, how many marketing projects I’ve picked up purely from chatting to other parents in the school playground, mingling at parties or conversations in the local pub!). Make the most of all connections and introductions. Equally, the support of family and friends is so important – I would struggle without it. The downside of freelancing is that the work is not consistent – there will be lean times – so having possible projects or meetings lined up is always a good thing!

Be disciplined
Of course we all love the idea of working form home – but the reality is that it can be lonely and actually quite hard. Yes, you don’t have the usual distractions but equally you rarely have someone there that you can bounce ideas off, ask questions, discuss things with … (that’s where I’ve fund creating WhatsApp groups with like-minded freealancers is brilliant!). You do need to be focused. For me, the self-motivation comes in part from loving the industry I work in, and in part the fact that actually, no one else is going to do the work (that I enjoy) for me. I’ve found that mixing it up a bit in terms of where I work, works for me – so sometimes, I work from home but a couple of times a week relocate to, and set up ‘camp’, at a local cafe* and work from there.

How much will you charge?
Don’t undersell yourself but do be realistic. What do other freelancers of similar experience charge? You may have different rates dependent on the project. Work out your hourly rate but also a charge for a project-based piece of work.

How often will you work?
The reasons for the amount of hours you want to work each week will no doubt be personal. For me, I have a baseline in terms of the maximum hours per week I want to work, and what that means financially. I also try to work mostly term time only so that I can have as much time off as possible with the children, during school holidays. I’m happy to take the financial hit. But whatever works for you – just make a plan. And be prepared for those dreaded lean times (there are times when you think work is coming your way, then for whatever reason, it doesn’t. This can be hard but keeping a close eye on your finances can help).

Get organised
Working on different projects for different clients can be a minefield in terms of keeping track of everything you’re doing so, whilst it’s not very sexy, keeping a time sheet of daily tasks and activities per client can be a really effective way of ensuring no work (or money!) is missed. You want to invoice for everything you do after all! I also have an ‘old fashioned’ hard copy diary and a big notepad with dividers – so one section per client – for all my to-do lists, notes, scribbles, ideas etc.

Finances
Consider joining a local business network that offers free advice and support on all things financial – will you remain self-employed? Or set yourself up as a sole trader or limited company? Get a business banking account (most high street banks offer them). Consider meeting with an accountant (I have a fab one who helps me so much and although I have to pay for it, she sorts my self-assessment/tax issues every year – brilliant – she really is worth her weight in gold!). Finances is one area not to bury your head in the sand about! Also be hot on the case when it comes to invoicing. Ensure your clients know what your terms of payment are – I’m a stickler for both invoicing immediately at the end of each month and for chasing payment!

For more tips and advice on going solo, have a flick through this GOV.UK advice 🙂

* I’m off to decamp to this place!


New Year, new you?

Not that I’m suggesting there’s anything wrong with the current you, it’s just that 2016 is almost over, the clock is ticking down to the New Year and it’s around about now that we traditionally reflect on what’s been and gone and all our achievements to date, and consider all our goals, hopes and aspirations for the coming year … what awaits you?

It can be easy to roll out those generic New Year resolutions, like: I’ll lose weight, get fit, get a new job, earn more money … but maybe it’s about the small steps we can all take – and setting small but achievable goals which in turn lead to small but brilliant successes, satisfying senses of achievement and the motivation and inspiration to keep going.

Instead of thinking then in generic big-change terms, maybe we ought to think about the smaller steps we can take to achieve some of our bigger goals. So, if for example, your bigger goal is to get fit this year, break this down in to smaller achievable and realistic goals such as joining a yoga class once a week, walking to work once a week and maybe finding out about something completely different to really challenge yourself – rock climbing anyone?!

Now is a great time to find out about new and different things to try and do – you’re never too old to try new stuff. I know it’s a cliché but it’s so true – sometimes you need to step outside your comfort zone – nothing crazy but maybe something a bit different.

This happened to me recently – I was offered a super last-minute opportunity to work as a body-double and extra for two overnight shoots on a film set – something I’ve never done before and was potentially going to turn down but instead, supported my lovely partner, I threw caution to the wind and (in the words of Nike) just did it! And wow, what a fun and brilliant and creative experience. I met some lovely, inspirational people – people I’d never normally work with or meet and they were fab – a breath of fresh air – and it gave me an ‘accidental’ confidence boost – my advice, just do it!

Whatever your ‘thing’ is for this year, some top tips I’m going to try and keep hold of myself to take me through 2017:

• Think positive and smile – make it a habit
• Set achievable and realistic goals
• Get back up if you have a setback (don’t berate yourself, ever if you ‘fall off your wagon’)
• Surround yourself with positive, inspirational people
• Stop occasionally. Breathe and take stock
• Have belief in yourself
• Don’t compare yourself to others
• Recognise the joy and pleasure in small and simple things
• Take care of yourself – that means mental and physical health
• Be kind and grateful
• Say ‘thank you’

I’m sure there are others, but for me, these are the important things to try and remember as we head in to 2017 and all it brings …

Happy New Year all – may it bring you happiness, health, peace and joy 🙂 x

mountain-298999_1920


Wardrobe stagnation saviours

I’m definitely no fashion expert and have certainly suffered from my fair share of FFP’s (fashion faux pas), in fact there are too many to give credit to individually (although one did comprise a neon pink jumpsuit, a snow-washed denim jacket, blue eyeliner and a perm – there are no words – thankfully no photographic evidence survives …). Having had my fingers burnt when it comes to all things style-related, I try to stick to keep-it-simple ‘classics’, steer clear of high fashion mini-trends and super-implusive shopping is now (along with said neon pink jumpsuit), a thing of the past. However, even I recognise when items in my wardrobe have been hanging around for so long that they’re in danger of ‘celebrating’ their decade anniversary with me.

So, whilst I might not be in the position right now to fork out on a brand new dreses for every occasion the sparkly party season throws at me, I can induldge in a teensy bit of wardrobe accessory updating 🙂 which makes me super-happy as accessories can totally change an outfit and give you a bit of current ‘on trend’ kudos without having to spend like a crazy woman – yay! Think: finishing touches, pops of colour and mixing up those textures.

My current top 4 easy-and-budget-friendly Christmas-ready wardrobe updates (my wardrobe stagnation saviours!) are:

1. New Look velvet boots – if I can’t have the dress in a luxurious fabric then by god, it will be the shoes – and these sexy ones are super on trend, dance-floor friendly and will go perfectly with your existing LBD 🙂

download-2

2. Clutch bag – I love, love, love a clutch bag – they make me feel a little bit grown up and help me pretend I could actually be a bit sophisticated … My fave are by Boden – they have a brilliant ‘party clutch’ in a mix of velvet and metallic – perfect party pairings for your LBD (again!). Look out for Boden offers – there will be loads in the lead up to Christmas!

16wwin_am269_blk

3. Statement earings or necklace – I’m a massive fan of big old Bet Lynch style chandelier earings – sometimes, bigger is better. H&M have LOADS to choose from and they’re all super-affordable – I mean, you could go crazy and buy more than one pair? They also stock some fab party-perfect necklaces including velvet (yup, more velvet) chokers as sported by the younger Kardashians – just saying.

hmprod

And finally,

4. A cosy, sexy, shaggy jacket – sometimes sensible outerwear is a no-no and glamour must rule instead – especially at this time of year. There are actually loads of on-trend super-sleek, silky bomber jackets out there right now, but having done that look back in the early 90’s and not being sure it worked back then, I’m just not sure it’s a look I can pull off this time around either … (it’s a no from me). Stick with what works for you I say, and for me, that means a shaggy, fake-furry jacket as my wintry wardrobe update – hooray for H&M – they have this fab grey one – it’s on my Christmas wish list 🙂

hmprod-1

So my advice, forget a new dress and instead, hit those shops (literally or online) and treat youself to a wardrobe update – because obvs, you’re definitely worth it!


Beauty on a budget (for less than £20!)

This time of year it’s all about the sparkle and all things Christmassy! It’s all about gift and perfect present purchases – which I love. It’s also about the lead up to the office Christmas party, and that means (obvs!) wrapping ourselves up in a new dress and definitely new make-upy bits.

Buying new make-up is such a lovely treat and whilst my budget is (sadly) on the low side, I’m a huge believer that these days, budget make-up is something to be celebrated (as it’s actually, mostly, very good!).

So, my top 5 cheap and cheerful but super effective and not-to-be-scoffed-at make-up finds – totalling £19.95!!! – for the sparkly season are:

Mascara – glossy, full and super-black lashes – Collection Big Fake Curves Mascara Ultra Black WP 17WP £4.99

Lipstick – the perfect red – Maybelline Color Sensational Lipstick 530 Fatal Red £6.99

Brows – for face-framing brows – Rimmel Professional Eyebrow Pencil Black/Brown £2.99

Eyeliner – for Claudia Winkleman inspired panda eyes – Collection Kohl Eyeliner Black 1 £1.99

Blusher – get glowy – Miss Sporty Insta Glow Blusher 006 9G £2.99

With change from a £20 note, you won’t be breaking the bank (hoorah!) but you will be party-ready 🙂 which makes me super-happy! Mwah x

kiss-1294972_1280


It’s a wrap …

Hooray for the beautifully sunshiney Indian summer that’s hit our shores this week. I love the warm and balmy days we’re having right now, followed by the cool evenings (and earlier and earlier nightfalls) … clear and starry skies! There’s definitely ‘something in the air’ though. Yep, in the words of John Snow (Game of Thrones fans will know what I’m talking about), “Winter’s coming”.

Which I equally love. If it’s possible to be a ‘fan’ of the changing seasons then count me in! (Is that a thing?) I love everything about this time of year but especially (and the most important bit of all) the buying of a new winter coat. Think big, cosy, soft, wrap around, enveloping, comforting, protecting …

And whilst today is definitely a flip-flops kind of day, my focus in the shops has been on the autumn update. Umm, obvs. So I’ve recenty discovered the ‘too cool for school’ poncho/wrap (I already have three (overkill?) – thank you H&M. These beauties are perfect for when you just need a little extra layer. You can wrap them around you a la comfort blanket style and they give a bit of a carefree but cute edge to an outfit (not that I’m over-thinking this or anything) 🙂 I realise that they have been around for a while but you know, I’m finally jumping on the wrap-and-go bandwagon! M&S have a lush range too – really nice sludgy, autumny colours (and no more expensive than H&M – just a bit more choice!).

However, for when the weather finally takes a chill-pill, I’m thinking that a cute new non-expensive cuddle-up-in coat is definitely on my autumn wish-list and so far, I have three contenders:

A gorgeous M&S olivey/khaki green brushed unstructured beauty; a super-simple but classic and sexy H&M pale grey felted coat or my fave (and typically the more expensive out of the three, but totally love, love, love), a beautiful leopard print from Boden. They’re all so different, equally lully, but differing in price (!) – umm, could I justify all three?!

I’m thinking it’s time to get desperately rummaging around online for lots of discount codes …

Happy cosy-weather shopping 🙂 x

winter-690395_1280


A ripe old age …

There’s a cute little village (Acciaroli if you’re interested) in Southern Italy with more centenarians than anywhere else in the world! Lots of healthy old folk living a lovely long time and generally not suffereing many of the ills that befall the rest of us (think heart diesase and Alzheimer’s).

Apparently, these guys and gals put their longevity down to a mash-up of the following:

  • keeping active – walking is best for longevity according to these wise old birds – no gym bunnies here
  • physical pleasures – sex – and lots of it!
  • good sleep – but set that alarm early – this lot properly get up and go!
  • being sociable
  • fruit, veggies, fish, olive oil – think Mediterranean diet but no loading up your plate – these guys eat small portions
  • occasional fasting – apparently cutting back can help you live longer, and reduce the chances of developing nasties like heart disease and cancer
  • very little added salt and sugar in their diet – ditto processed foods – these guys and girls like to make their own – even in their 90’s!
  • red wine (no Friday night binge-drinking though) – think balance and moderation
  • simplify your life to reduce stress – no mod-cons or high-tech stuff for this lot – they like it pure and simple – and sloooooow – and it clearly works!
  • regular health-checks – think occasional check-ins with your GP.

I guess the message to take away from this is that we don’t have to be pounding away on the treadmill at every given opportunity, that fad diets may come and go and that actually, the key to a good, happy, healthy and (possibly) long life is probably about simplicity. Stripping back and cutting out (some of) the crap. Giving ourselves a bit of a break. Stepping away from the rat-race (when we can).

Instead, taking pleasure from life’s simple pleasures … and in the process, finding contentment (and good health!).

med

Caio! x


I think I’m an addict …

to tech. Think: smartphone, laptop, iPad, emails, texts, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram et al.

I mean, I need these techy things in my life: they keep me organised and in contact with everyone and everything, and quite frankly, as I freelance, they’re my lifeline to work, networking etc. I totally, absolutely, completely, without question need these things in my life …

However, these brilliant techy aids come as a double-edged sword. When you have 24 hour access to all these sources of information (and things to keep up with), there’s quite literally no end in sight. It can be exhausting and stressy trying to keep up with everything and these techy bad boys love to lie around, tempting us to do yet another (little) ‘check in’. Which for me, usually equates to yet another half an hour wasted by pretty much just re-checking updates and statuses, scrolling through junk texts … whilst explaining to my eight-year old (tugging at me to sit with her on the sofa), that mummy is actually really very busy with work stuff (such a fibber!).

A recent week away (Scotland) in a lovely house with no wifi or TV (sounds very eeeeek – but actually was bloody great) has taught me that it is possible (yes, possible) to spend chunks of time without endless techy and social media check-ins. The world won’t have moved on too much and to be honest, a load of the stuff we spend scrolling through is a bit like wading through other people’s crap.

In terms of my addiction, I’m getting there, however it’s a bit like being in some kind of recovery; if I’m not actually ‘checking in’ or being tempted by Mr Google to look something up, then quite often I’m thinking about it (umm wtf?!). A bit like a big, fat slice of chocolate cake, I do find it totally hard to resist these terrible tempters but, a good compromise, I’ve found, is to leave my phone, laptop, iPad et all in a different room to me when in non-worky mode. However, it’s not easy and to be honest, a lot of the time, these techy tempatations prove, well, just too tempting (and of course, sometimes I do actually have real and proper work to do) – but baby steps I say!

Live by example is a great motto to apply here I think; if we want the young people in our lives to step away from their own techy addictions, then we have to make ourselves available to them by stepping away from our own 🙂

techy