Here are some samples of my writing for you to take a look at. If you have any questions or would like further information on how I can help you, please get in touch.
Here are links to some websites I have written:
(There are several more websites similar to the above for the same client for plumbers, roofers and other home services firms in different locations)
(I wrote some of the product pages for this website; a list of the specific pages is available if you’d like one)
(I wrote the above website copy – except the blog posts – on behalf of a website designer)
(This is a directory-style website enabling visitors to access the complaints and/or customer service number for many major household-name companies in media, communications and finance. I wrote each company’s information page)
(I wrote most of the copy for and helped coordinate the development of an all-new website for this large amateur theatre group based in Suffolk, and continue to update content)
Web & SEO articles/blog posts
The following articles were written primarily for digital marketing agencies providing content marketing for their clients.
(The below article was for a financial trading company providing advice and investment facilities in various markets – this article was to support their investing in films options)
The Top Five Grossing Films Of All Time And Their Effect
A list adjusted for inflation gives a truer reflection of cinematic success. Without it, the lineup of top grossing films would largely consist of titles released in the recent past.
For example, ‘Gone With The Wind’ – the most successful film ever – doesn’t appear anywhere in a top 50 list not adjusted for inflation even though it effectively grossed a staggering $3 billion plus (exact amounts can vary depending on the source of figures used).
So to the top five:
1.Gone With The Wind ($3.4 billion est.) 1939
Commonly regarded as one of the greatest films ever, this epic-historical-romance tells the story of Scarlet O’Hara’s romantic pursuit of Ashley Wilkes through to her marriage to Rhett Butler.
Set against the backdrop of the American Civil War, this story told from the point of view of wealthy white southerners is credited for changing the way African-Americans were portrayed on film.
2. Avatar 2009 ($3 billion) 2009
An epic science fiction film set in the mid 22nd century, ‘Avatar’ used cutting edge special effects that stunned audiences. The film broke all existing box office records and won three Oscars.
‘Avatar’ took filmic special effects to new heights; photo-realistic CGI and leading edge 3-D effects made it a technological watershed redefining what to expect when going to the movies.
3. Star Wars ($2.8 billion) 1977
An epic space opera written and directed by George Lucas, it was the highest grossing film ever for five years, won seven Oscars, and the seventh in the series is now in cinemas.
‘Star Wars’ was a pivotal film in establishing the US film making business model that focuses on high box office revenues from action and adventure with basic ‘high concept’ promises (big disasters, frightening creatures and so on) backed by heavy marketing.
Franchises like ‘Star Wars’ – with their spin-off revenue generators such as merchandising and theme parks – make them a good bet financially. In particular, investing in Disney with its strong stable of franchises makes for an “attractive risk-reward proposition” according to indices trading company IG.
4. Titanic ($2.5 billion) 1997
An epic romantic disaster film set on board the doomed RMS Titanic on its one and only voyage. Director James Cameron aimed to portray the emotional message of the disaster through an unlikely love story.
The latest in CGI (Computer-Generated Imagery), the use of scale models, and a faithful reconstruction of the Titanic itself contributed to huge box office success and a haul of eleven Oscars.
‘Titanic’ showed how true elements of a story can be fused with the fictional; amongst the special effects and models, there’s footage of the real Titanic lying on the ocean floor. This spectacular film left film goers touched by basic human feelings of living, dying, loving and being loved.
5. The Sound of Music ($2.3 billion) 1965
This adaptation of the 1959 Broadway Rodgers and Hammerstein musical blossomed to become a big commercial success. It was the highest grossing film for over five years and won five Oscars.
While it showed musical film could combine good storytelling with basic joy and uplift, it also inspired more attempts at blockbuster musicals all before the end of the 1960’s that were less successful including ‘Dr. Dolittle’ and ‘Hello Dolly’.
The best of the rest
Other top grossing films include two directed by Steven Spielberg; ‘E.T.’ from 1982 and shark attack classic ‘Jaws’ (1975). Others include ‘Doctor Zhivago’ (1965) and Disney’s famous animation ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’ (1937).
(The below article was for the same client providing financial trading expertise; this considers investing information in South Africa)
5 Of The Best Tech Brands To Invest In For 2017
The technology sector is an understandably appealing area for investors; developments continue apace with industries such as Big Data, the Internet of Things and virtual storage (the Cloud) and telecommunications growing every year. The key question is; which are the most promising companies to invest in?
While there are the big global brands offering usually a safe pair of hands such as Google and Apple, there are others worth considering and keeping track of through online information sources and the help of certain financial trading experts such as IG.
So who, amongst the tech brands, are worth investing in moving forward to 2017? Here are five candidates.
Brand Africa found MTN to be the most admired African brand at the end of 2015 for the second year running. MTN plays a pivotal role in Africa’s connectivity as the region relies significantly on the company for its mobile communication that provides payment, business and healthcare facilities.
That said, the company has suffered a major blip as a Nigerian law suit has seen it tumble out of the top 500 most valuable global brands as its market value has taken a hit. They could be worth keeping an eye on – if and when they recover, a well timed investment in stock could pay off in the longer term.
Despite a slowdown in sales – primarily due to users upgrading their iPhones less frequently of late – the consumer electronics household name is regularly one of the world’s most valuable brands with a strong presence in South Africa.
For some time now and likely for the foreseeable future, investing in Apple is likely worth considering.
3. Gijima Group Limited
This South African information and communications technology services company has clients in diverse commercial fields including manufacturing, mining and financial services.
They number several clients in the top 25 of companies listed on the JSE (Johannesburg Stock Exchange) and employ over 2,200 skilled professionals helping clients make the most of the cloud and connected Internet devices amongst other services.
4. Business Connexion Group
A South African company at the vanguard of information and communications technology with a presence throughout Africa and offices in the UK and the Middle East who can trace their origins back as far as 1979.
With various acquisitions over the years, the company operates provides a raft of technology support and infrastructure systems and offers their expertise to many worldwide corporations. Their list of partners reads like a directory of famous tech names including Microsoft, HP, IBM and Cisco.
Like Gijima above, Business Connexion Group offers a strong combination of an established player operating in a growth industry.
5. Dimension Data Holdings
Headquartered in Johannesburg, this Japanese-owned South African firm is a true global company offering IT services in the areas of network security, data centre solutions, converged communications and a range of professional consulting and support services.
The company was founded in 1983, listed on the JSE Securities Exchange in 1987, and over the years has acquired a string of companies worldwide before being acquired itself by Japanese Nippon Telegraph and Telephone in 2010.
They’re another example of a company combining an established presence with involvement in a cutting edge, high growth industry.
Keeping abreast of news
There are many newer tech companies of course. Unlike the organisations above, they represent more of a calculated risk as they’ve much shorter track records, but keeping appraised of new developments in tech can point the way as to possible companies worth following and perhaps investing in.
(The following article was written for the same financial trading company as the above, this time aimed at the UAE investment market)
Is Now A Good Time To Invest In Dubai?
Dubai is the business hub of the Middle East and very much a global city. With a tax free economy, ongoing major construction projects, a strategic location, a healthy property market and strong basic infrastructure, the seventh most visited city in the world could well be worth investing in.
While oil revenue helped fund the city’s early growth and development after it started to flow in earnest at the end of the 1960s, revenues are now derived from real estate, financial services, aviation and tourism. Oil nowadays accounts for less than 5% of the total revenue.
Headline construction projects attract attention to the city. Following the construction of the world’s tallest building with the Burj Khalifa, ambitious plans are afoot to build the world’s highest residential building, the highest Ferris wheel, and the largest water canal amongst other ambitious projects.
Dubai is the most expensive city in the Middle East and the 22nd most expensive in the world, but with very low (4%) employment and a generally high wealth population, there’s plenty of money circulating which is good news for business and investment.
If it’s stocks as opposed to real estate investment you’re interested in, then knowing what sectors and what specific companies to invest in will obviously be key, so keeping abreast of Dubai-related activity will be important. The services of a sound markets expert to research and buy stock through such as IG is a sound start.
Some reasons why Dubai is a strong investment option:
Real estate and construction
Real estate and construction are the largest contributors to the city’s economy. There’s no shortage of construction projects; along with the particularly ambitious ones, there are any number of malls, residential structures and others being added to the city’s infrastructure.
This offers good opportunities to investors as there’s either entire developments, a share in same, or a stake in a business on offer as the city continues its expansion.
The property market is considered to be in a good state for investing; prices and rents dipped from the peak of 2014 leaving them ripe for recovery from late 2016 or early 2017. The predictions for the Dubai property market is that it will follow this cyclical pattern for the time being, so timing is all.
Fireworks lit up the Burj Khalifa when the news was announced that Dubai had been awarded the right to host Expo 2020. This six month long exhibition of trade, innovation and products from around the world will be an extravagant showcase for the UAE and will be held on a specially constructed site on the perimeter of the city.
There will be huge investment in the infrastructure by the government to the tune of some $7 billion so benefiting the stock of companies involved in providing it. Analysts expect it to provide a significant boost to the property market which is already on an upward curve since the lows of 2007-8, and some 277,000 jobs – some 20% of the current workforce figure – will be created.
Tourism – already high in Dubai – should surge during the time of Expo 2020 and it’s all-round very good for business and thus investing even once the event is over.
Dubai: a good investment?
Overall, Dubai has a lot going for it and more so with the exciting growth that events like Expo 2020 will provide. Timing is important of course, so careful tracking of the property market due to its cyclical nature would be worthwhile if that’s where you’re considering investing.
(The following article was for a digital agency’s car leasing client)
7 Of The Most Expensive Cars Ever Sold At Auction
You might think that a gorgeous Aston Martin DB4/GT Zagato fetching nearly £9.5 million in 2015 would be one of the world’s most expensive cars ever sold at auction. In fact, it didn’t even get into the top ten; it did become the most expensive British car ever to sell at auction, but even this record was smashed this year by a 1956 Le Mans-winning Jaguar D-Type that changed hands for over £16 million.
In the rarefied air of classic car auctions, millions of pounds have changed hands on a succession of world famous and extremely rare cars.
The highest selling at auction list is dominated by one manufacturer, Ferrari, with no less than five cars in the top seven selling for huge sums. Leasing a new one might seem a bargain by comparison.
7. Jaguar D-Type 1955 (£16,650,000)
This is the D-Type discussed above that became the most expensively auctioned British car this year. This stunning Scottish blue coloured beauty with classic wooden rimmed steering wheel is set off with its white stripes and racing roundels.
It won the 1956 24 Hours Le Mans race.
6. Ferrari 275 GTB/C Speciale 1964 (£21,600,000)
Extremely rare model with aluminium bodywork and a tuned V12 engine built to homologate its new 275 GTB race car, Ferrari built only three of this model.
It was built to challenge the Ford GT40 and the Shelby Cobra (the first one ever built became the highest selling American made car at auction this year).
5. Ferrari 275 GTB/4 NART Spider 1967 (£22,550,000)
One of only ten in the world when it changed hands at auction in 2013, this car made a film appearance in ‘The Thomas Crown Affair.’
The ‘NART’ part of the car’s name stands for ‘North American Racing Team,’ and these Ferraris appeared as a result of importer Luigi Chinetti realising there was a demand for open-topped cars in America.
4. Ferrari 290 MM 1956 (£23,000,000)
One of only four in existence, this racing Ferrari broke various auction records when it sold in 2015. It became the most expensive car sold in New York City and the most expensive one ever sold by auction house RM Sotheby.
3. Mercedes-Benz W196 1954 (£24,272,000)
This Grand Prix Mercedes was auctioned by Bonhams at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in 2013, and was apparently sold in realistic racing condition with a few blemishes and a layer of dirt as if it had just finished a race.
2. Ferrari 335 S Spider Scaglietti 1957 (£29,300,000)
The curvy 335 has a formidable race history including the fabled Le Mans, and only four of them were built. Ironically the new owner can’t drive his purchase on the roads as it can only be used for racing.
1. Ferrari 250 GTO 1962 (£31,277,000)
A famous model name, only 39 250 GTOs were ever built, so when this immaculately maintained example appeared at auction interest and therefore bids were always going to be high thus making it the most expensive car sold at auction to date.
It was specially built to contest the 1963 FIA World GT Championships; it won as it did the following year.
Further up the list – still dominated by Ferrari
To date, the Aston Martin mentioned above appears seventeenth in the most expensive list. It’s a list still dominated by Ferrari with no less than eight out of the ten places from eight to seventeen occupied by a model from the Maranello-based manufacturer.
(The following article was for a digital marketing company’s US-based property rental company client)
What You Should Look For When Viewing A Rental Property
There’s plenty to check for when viewing a property, so plan ahead. You may be pressed for time – perhaps you’re moving to a new area and only have one day for multiple viewings – but do make sure the property measures up to your requirements.
If you’ve yet to find a suitable property, or shortlist of several, to consider renting in your chosen area then resources such as forrent.com can help you identify suitable properties.
One tip for double checking the location; if time permits, perhaps pay a visit in the evening to see what it’s like at a different time.
Check out what the financial arrangements are regarding deposits, administrative fees and what you’re expected to pay upfront in terms of advance rentals, for example.
Along with outside and communal areas security discussed above, check the property itself is secure. Deadlocks, window locks and other security features such as burglar alarms (where fitted) should be assessed; this information on home security may help. If the property is in an apartment complex with communal doors and stairways, is security acceptable?
Along with your personal safety and protecting possessions, certain security standards will likely be required by your contents insurance company.
Are the various fire safety items present such as fire extinguisher and fire blanket? Are there smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors present? Do furnishings (if applicable) comply with the latest fire regulations? Are fire exits clearly marked and easy to access?
Does electrical equipment supplied work properly and appear to be in good order?
Ensure your furniture and kitchen equipment such as a washing machine will fit and measure where necessary. For example, if you own a desk will it fit in the room you have in mind as your study or office?
Don’t forget to check storage space, too. Make sure there’s enough space for specifics – for example, if you own a bike is there room for it somewhere?
If the property is empty (no existing renter living there) ideally the property should be clean. If not, it may raise questions as to your landlord’s attitude if they can’t make things presentable before your visit.
Condition and decorative order
Similar to above, the property should be neat and tidy with no obvious problems. If the paintwork looks as if it was shoddily done and little tell-tale signs of poor condition exist (such as loose door knobs for example) if may act as a warning as to your landlord’s property maintenance standards.
Are there any obvious signs of infestations? Signs of damp or mold? Any repairs required? If so, clarify with the landlord or property company what will be done about them and when.
If there is one, what condition is the garden in? Is it yours or the landlord’s responsibility to maintain it?
Heating and other equipment
Ensure the heating equipment works properly and inspections are up to date. Check the taps for leaks and that water pressure is acceptable by tuning on a tap or two.
Check power and telephone points are in suitable locations and there are enough of them for your needs.
While time may limited, don’t skimp on a thorough look round. Ideally take someone with you to act as a second pair of eyes – they may spot something you’ve missed – and don’t be pressured by the landlord or property company harrying you by saying there are “many more” people interested.
The following are editorials written directly for the client.
(The below was written for a fuel distribution company concerning a product enhancement and targeted to their trade press).
New and Improved Hytek ALPHA Pump Display
Faster configuration, improved legibility and personalisation are three key benefits users of Hytek’s improved display on their ALPHA pump range are now benefitting from.
Since April this year Hytek, an Essex based fuel and lubricant dispensing company with over 30 years industry experience, has been fitting the improved display to their popular ALPHA pumps.
Enhancements include a simpler and faster configuration and electronic configuration sequence, an easy to read display with improved viewing angles and LED backlighting, and larger 30mm high main characters and 12mm characters on the lower line facilitating clearer instructions and error messaging to be shown.
Customers also benefit from the ability to personalise the display to incorporate their company name and branding.
Hytek’s customers are pleased with the improved displays – in the words of one delighted ALPHA pump user: “the new look display is easier to read as its brighter and clearer. We love the fact that our company name, logo and contact details are added automatically to the display sticker so the end user knows who to go to for maintenance and servicing”.
(The following article was for a bulk fuel loading equipment supplier concerning their rapid response to a customer’s fuel loading equipment being submerged in floods).
All Hands to the Pumps in Lancaster
The flooding in Cumbria and the north west caused a major issue for a local fuel supply company when their bottom loading skid was fully submerged in flood water. Fortunately, one call to their fuel loading equipment suppliers saved the day as they were able to get the fuel flowing again less than two weeks later and in time for Christmas.
When Basildon based fuel loading experts IFC Inflow received a call from one of their long standing customers, Carrs Billington Agriculture, it was an emergency. The fuel supply company’s bottom loading skid at its Lancaster location was fully submerged in flood water after the persistent recent rainfalls left large tracts of the north west under water. At one stage parts of Cumbria and Lancashire experienced a month’s worth of rainfall in just 24 hours.
The possibility of fuel supplies grinding to a halt provided potentially dire consequences as many domestic and commercial customers in and around the area rely on Carrs Billington for their fuel supplies. The company has forged a strong reputation for the swift and accurate fuel supply to householders and many types of commercial businesses and agricultural customers.
Schools, educational and medical facilities also rely on this long-established fuel supplier serving parts of northern England and Southern Scotland, so as [NAME] the [POSITION] at Carrs Billington commented: “being unable to help our customers was not an option; especially with the flooding likely to mean an increased demand for fuels as drying out procedures got underway”.
As if this wasn’t enough, Christmas approaching added to the pressure to get fuel flowing again.
After Carr’s Billington’s call, IFC swung into action immediately; they recommended the pumps be replaced and spoke to their pump supplier, West Sussex-based European Pump Services, who agreed to reduce their usual four to six week lead time for supplying pumps down to just two.
Experts from IFC headed north from Essex to Lancashire straight away to assess the situation at Carr’s Billington’s Lancaster depot. It wasn’t quite as bad as first feared; apart from the pumps and an air compressor stored in a cabin, remarkably everything else on the skid was still in operational order.
As [NAME] the [POSITION] at IFC commented: “a key reason why much of the equipment was still usable despite being underwater was because of its high quality construction – it’s something we’ve always been committed to and our customers clearly benefit at times like this”.
IFC even managed to get two of the pumps working again for the short term which meant Carrs Billington could quickly resume the supply of vital heating oil to their customers.
Pumps ready for Christmas
European Pump Services followed through on their pledge to supply the replacement pumps in a fortnight, and they were tested and installed on Monday 21st December, exactly two weeks from Carrs Billngton’s initial call to IFC.
A relieved and grateful [NAME/IFC CLIENT] said: “IFC’s rapid response to solving our problem meant we in turn were able to quickly get back to helping our customers – particularly important with the flood conditions here and Christmas fast approaching ”.
IFC, with over 25 years’ experience in the fuel supply and loading industry, helped Carrs Billington from 2010 to 2013 with a planned series of depot upgrade projects. The company supplied and installed new equipment for each site and project managed the work, and have continued to provide support and service since.
IFC in turn work with various carefully selected suppliers in the industry such as the experienced European Pump Services who played a significant part in helping Carrs Billington.
(The following editorial was a press release written to appear in City Dweller, a print magazine and website covering interests and issues relating to the city of Leeds. This piece concerns the release of a new album by my client – two band mates and record label-owning brothers – who required a piece written in ‘reportage’ style for City Dweller).
New Album by Leeds Based Brothers Spreading the Reggae Word
We caught up with Conrad and Michael Cruise on a mission to bring new and old reggae and roots based music to the people of Leeds
Leeds based music producers, label owners and band colleagues Conrad and Michael Cruise have released ‘Wisdom of Roots,’ an album with a varied collection of sounds with Jamaican popular music at its core.
Working under the band name DX1, Conrad and Michael have taken some music they originally wrote some years ago and combined it with newly penned work to produce ‘Wisdom of Roots’. Both brothers wrote all the material
and provide the musical backing between them in playing percussion, guitar and state of the art keyboards.
They’ve enlisted the help of two seasoned local vocalists; Rickey Smith
and Clifford Hughes who, between them, imbue the sung material with different feels and moods appropriate to the tracks they appear on. As Conrad explains: “our aim here is to make Jamaican music accessible to all and to show the breadth of styles and emotions this great musical form provides.”
‘Wisdom of Roots’ covers a varied range of subject matter from earnest love songs to moody and edgy city instrumental soundscapes through to more upbeat sounds with a ‘party style’ flavour, sometimes through adroit re-workings of a similar musical refrain that’s appeared elsewhere on the collection, to create different moods and emotions.
The album is designed to be enjoyed by those already fans of the reggae and roots sound along with those exploring and sampling this type of music for perhaps the first time.
The brothers’ desire to extend the appeal of Jamaican music isn’t surprising as they both work tirelessly to achieve this through their production and music making endeavours with their label, Cruise International. They champion music from both exciting newcomers and artists of longer standing; both brothers believe in giving a chance for hitherto older music to ‘live on’ through being released on their label.
As Conrad further comments: “so many people would enjoy music they may not ever get the chance to listen to, so we’re doing our bit to put people in touch with music they might enjoy and may even become passionate about.”
To achieve this, along with the release of ‘Wisdom of Roots, the Cruise International website is designed to be easy to navigate and download music from.
Working as music creators through their work with DX1, and pursuing their roles as producers and providers through running a label, puts Conrad and Michael in the position of seeing music creation from both a music maker and a publisher’s perspective, so giving them a unique take on the situation: “we can empathise with the artists we work with and they know they’re dealing with people who have been, and still are, in their position” said Conrad.
A wide and ever-growing selection of older and newer reggae, roots and related music can be downloaded from Cruise International; get in touch by visiting www.dx1music – bandcamp.com/releases DX1’s ‘Wisdom of Roots’ can be downloaded from popular platforms such as Spotify, Amazon, iTunes and Juno.
Interested? Like to know more? Let’s talk