Contact details

As well as being a freelance writer I am also a qualified counsellor and I work for a low cost counselling service in Exeter and for the NHS Gender Clinic also in Exeter.

Simultaneously, I work as a Disability Member of the First Tier Tribunal, Social Entitlement Chamber sitting on disability benefit tribunals on an ad hoc basis.

As a writer I specialise in writing about disability and health.

My articles have been published in the Guardian, Times, OUCH! [BBC disability website], Disability Now, Broadcast, Lifestyle [Motability magazine], The Practising Midwife, 'Junior, Pregnancy & Baby', Writers' News, Able, Getting There [Transport for London magazine], Junior, Community Care, DPPi [Disability, Pregnancy & Parenthood International]. I have also had articles commissioned by Daily Mail.

For more information about me and for examples of my writing please see below.

If you would like me to write an article for your publication, about any aspect of disability, please do get in touch:

Monday, November 19, 2012

CEA cinema card / VHPs - Very Helpful People

Every now and then I come across a VHP - Very Helpful Person.

Take this weekend when I went to to cinema with a friend.  I casually asked the nice young man behind the desk if there was any sort of discount for disabled people and he asked whether I had a CEA card?

I'd never heard of it but it basically entitles a disabled person in receipt of DLA or AA, or a blind person, to a free ticket for the person accompanying them to the cinema. 

In spite of not having the card he gave me the discount anyway, how about that for customer service.

Now back at home I've printed off my application form for the card which is valid in all of the cinemas I've used in my local area.  See here for details:

What I like about this story is not only that I will soon have a very useful card but also how helpful the man was, there are some damn good people out there.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

"I do" - making 2012 a year to remember

There's no doubt that the Olympics and Paralympics left me on a feel good high and I managed to prevent any sort of 'October will be the month I come back down to earth with a bump' feeling by deciding that 2012 should also be the year that Mike and I get married.

Then I spotted that 20th October was a Saturday and all of a sudden it just felt like THE date to get married - as we met in October 20 years ago.  The timing was tight - we gave notice to marry with one day spare and the whole thing was organised in 3 1/2 weeks!

A friend recommended the hotel - the perfect Hotel Endsleigh, I already had a nice dress from Monsoon which I hadn't worn yet, the boys had bizarrely pointed out some suits in Next that they really wanted [but at the time we had no Big Event for them to wear them at!], Mike bought his own suit, I booked hair appointments, charged cameras, got the car cleaned and the dog groomed in preparation.  By sheer luck Mike and I had a weekend in London late September which gave us the opportunity to go to Hatton Garden in London to choose my wedding necklace [as I don't wear rings].  Sorted.

At the last minute we invited 2 friends to be witnesses and another friend to come along too, a total of 5 adults and 5 children. 

The day was faultless.  The sun shone as we drove across Dartmoor to the hotel and it just continued all day.  The ceremony was simple and perfect, the boys read The Owl and The Pussy Cat and it was a real highlight for me as they pulled out all the stops to read it brilliantly.  I didn't cry because I was just so happy and a friend commented after how happy Mike looked in the photos and he did too.

After, we sipped champagne in the sun, ate a fabulous lunch, had surprise wedding cup cakes organised by our witnesses, the meal was rounded off with impromtu speeches before having a wander in the grounds followed by an evening in front of the fire, more food and drinks.  Everyone pitched in taking photos which are a wonderful reminder of a wonderful day.

It doesn't feel very different being married but if I'm honest I do feel very happy about the fact we have done it and an increased sense of security which means I feel more relaxed and calm.  The boys are also delighted because as they put it I am now 'one of the family', not sure what I was before but heh I like being one of the family too.