What to write when someone’s child has died

I will never, never forgive myself for once writing an email to a couple whose premature baby died just a few hours after he was born. In it I wrote, “never mind, you’re young. You can have another one.”  Stupid, ignorant, idiotic cow that I was.

what to write when a child dies

“We need your support, patience, understanding, love and friendship…” Dawn Allen, bereaved parent

At the time, I hadn’t become a parent. And unless you are a parent, it’s hard to understand just what agony the loss of a baby can cause – whether via a miscarriage (even an early one), via an actual birth, and of course later on through childhood and beyond.

It was only once I had a child of my own that it dawned on me what a vile, thoughtless and cruel thing that was to say. Here’s what I have learned that may stop you making similar mistakes… [Read more…]

Business jargon and slang: now for the right answers!

Seems you all need to work harder on your jargon and slang … no-one got them all right, so I am awarding first prize to the talented Yasmin Ali who scored highest with 9 out of 10! (Only #10 was wrong…) Full answers are below.

Winner of business slang quiz

Making polymer clay beads that Yasmin turns into beautiful, bespoke jewellery

Yasmin, founder of jewellery company Beadeze, is an incredibly talented jewellery designer working mainly with polymer clays, creating hand-made beads, pendants and other pieces to her own designs and also bespoke pieces to match wedding outfits, as bridesmaids’ jewellery gifts, and other special occasion work.

Business jargon quiz

She also shares her skills with people who want to learn this amazing craft [Read more…]

Writing names for new weed products in Stonetario, Canada…

With recent news in Ontario, Canada that manufacturers of drinks and other products are keen to get in on Canada’s incoming legalisation of fun-filled weed, here are some suggestions for bespoke brand names that will take the new market by storm…

Let's all get high in Ontario

Not to be smoked with a pinch of salt…

Names for new cannabis drink and food products: some ideas

Doctor Potter

A & W Cream Stoner [Read more…]

U.S. English vs. British English – What’s the Difference, Anyway?

“Two countries divided by a common language” … so said, allegedly, the great George Bernard Shaw. But is it true? San Francisco based freelance writer Laura Buckler shares her take on this evergreen debate, this time from an American’s point of view (rather than mine!) Here’s Laura…

US vs British English

The Brits are not the only ones to blame for changing the English language.

I spent a month in London. They mocked my English. In fact, a few people said I wasn’t speaking English at all. They said I spoke “American.”

Hey: I’m not angry. It was actually funny to see them laughing at my accent just as we laugh at Brits over here. [Read more…]

Write me une lettre if you plait…

There are bilingual countries, and then there are bilingual cities, and then there is Ottawa. (Canada.)

Writing in Canadian English - or Frech

Writing, reading and speaking in Ottawa, Canada is a muddle of French and English. Bonne luck…

Even though it’s situated in Ontario, just (a predominantly English-speaking province but with Québec just across the river), being the federal capital and therefore holier than thou, everything in Ottawa happens in both English and French.

All the same, Ottawa is surprisingly unstuffy. [Read more…]

Mini writing tips: your summer menu on HTWB

I’m off home to Canada soon (August 8th) so will be corresponding with everyone from there, until I return to the UK early in September.

And in case anyone’s wondering what happens to my crazy house here in the UK full of rescued dogs and cats? While I’m away my friends move in with even more crazy dogs. So I pity any poor burglar who tries to get through about seven pairs of snapping jaws. Anyway:

Right now I’m working on some handy mini writing tips for you to use…

what do you want help for in your writing

What can you write to help a friend who is seriously depressed?

[Read more…]

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