The Book Project: a tale of motherhood, careers, and expired passports

MSTCBook_CovercopiaOn Monday, a book is being launched in London that has my name on the front cover.

This book is not a novel, but it does tell a story; in fact it tells two stories.

On the surface, it is the story of how the global aid agency, World Vision, came up with a new way of analysing politically unstable contexts using local perspectives, along with sharing what that method is (that’s the boring bit for most of you).

But the other story, what you won’t know by reading just the book, is the other, deeply encouraging story behind it: how 14 years ago a woman with a career in the aid sector got this participatory conflict analysis project started. She soon became a mother and gave up that career. That project grew and developed and became something so useful that 9 years later it was thought a book should be written to share those learnings. The mother was sought out, and asked to help write the book. That woman is, of course, me. Continue reading

Our Mother & Daughter trip to Dublin – in 5 Funny Facts

This last bank holiday weekend, I took my daughter to Dalkey, a Georgian gem of a place just south of Dublin city, on the shores of Dublin Bay.
We stayed with my godparents in their stunning Georgian terraced house that overlooks the bay, and which they are about to move out of after 40 years.
This is the place where my family spent our summer holidays most years, my father being from Dublin and wanting to come ‘home’ whenever he could.  It is a place that holds a very special place in my heart and so this trip was a kind of ‘fond farewell’.  It deserves a separate blog post when I get a moment after half term, but in the meantime I wanted to share with you some Funny & Fascinating facts about our time there this weekend:

Continue reading

Seeing Red about Turning Blue – election results



They say a week is a long time in politics. Make that 3 days: you know, those 3 days before, during and after the election.

The morning after the night before, we woke up to the surprise of an easy (though narrow) win by the Conservatives; the SNP turned Scotland (and much of Westminster) yellow; voters turned out in unexpected droves; UKIP gained 3.8 million votes yet only 1 seat; and 3 of the top leaders resigned…..the list goes on.

Possibly the biggest surprise for me was the huge wave of what can be called at best ‘debate’ and at worst ‘vitriolic mudslinging’ on social media by those who didn’t vote for the triumphant Conservatives. The latter were remarkably quiet, at least on my twitter account.

All through the election campaign, uncertainty, cynicism and passivity seemed to be the order of the day. The sheer number of parties and policies to chose from and the predicted ‘no clear winner’ lulled us into apathy. But as the clock struck 10pm on Friday night when the exit polls showed a likely Tory win, twitter went mental and people saw red (well, Blue actually). Continue reading

Ladies, let’s vote!


This Thursday in between pick up, drop off, a meeting with clients, hockey, ballet, swimming and cooking the dinner, you have one more job: casting your vote.

I know, I know. We’re all sick of the election campaign, of too many parties to know which to vote for, of white men (mostly) “making it quite clear” about the economy and “balancing the books“, of last-minute manifestos and general lack of ideology.  Continue reading

Glamping it up in Dorset with Featherdown Farms

The TentThis Easter we finally got to do something I’ve always wanted to do: go ‘glamping’ with Featherdown Farms on a farm in deepest ruralist England.

You see, I love the outdoors. My whole family do. But I’m a terrible camper as I need my peace and quiet at night and something soft for my bones to lie down on. I don’t sleep a wink if I’m sleeping in a tent next to someone snoring or playing their ukulele, and get woken at 4am by the dawn chorus.  And if there isn’t a loo or tap within a few metres, constantly taking my kids to the loo or making trips to fill up on water doesn’t constitute a holiday for me. So my long-suffering husband has sworn never to go camping with me.

But then a few years back a friend told me about Featherdown Farms where B.  It was love at first sight. Continue reading

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