Wednesday 14 December 2016


The countdown is on - only ten days to go until Christmas!
I don't know about you, but even if I'm feeling miserable and low, tired or in pain, there's something about Christmas-time which lifts my spirits. It's the decorations; it's the buskers in the street collecting money for charity; it's the lights, the dazzle, the trees, the sparkle...It's hard not to feel uplifted when you see it all. And what about the shop window displays? I was on London's famous Oxford Street a few days ago and was incredulous at how creative the window displays were - think animatronics and singing Santas!  I managed to capture some of the spirit of London at Christmas and turn it into a short, two-minute film, designed to make the viewer feel all warm inside and to make even the meanest of Scrooge's smile!
Please do take a look:

Wishing you all a very merry Christmas and a happy, healthy 2017.

With peace and love

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Monday 12 December 2016

Do you believe in spirits? If not, take a look at this!

Hello everyone

I hope you are all well and not getting too tired/stressed in the run-up to Christmas.

Christmas is always a difficult time of year if you've recently lost someone and find yourself lonely. I remember that after my mother died unexpectedly six years ago, the first Christmas without her being around was horribly painful. And then as the years pass it gets a little easier, but she is never forgotten and there is a constant sadness that she isn't around to watch her grandchildren (and children!)grow.
Talking of my mother, despite passing away six years ago, she is very much present. In fact, it's her to thank for the book I have just written - A Call to Heaven - which is being released at the end of January, 2017.
Find out why/how she inspired me to write the book here:

Whenever I tell people this story, they get goosebumps on their arms - and so do I whenever I think of it!
I really DO feel that my mother is still around and this belief gives me a sense of peace.

Be well and safe as you get ready for Christmas and speak very soon!

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Tuesday 6 December 2016

Why do they say you should never work with animals or children?!

Hello everybody
I'd like to talk about two things: animals and filming!
Before I had children I used to work in television and within the world of TV there is a saying: NEVER WORK WITH ANIMALS OR CHILDREN!
Why do they recommend this, I hear you ask?!
Well, it's because neither animals or children can be relied upon to do what you want and when you want - however docile, amenable and perfect they might seem to be.
I once made a film about babies and how much raising them into adulthood costs. I filmed a set of six month old twins. Did they do what I needed - i.e. smile for the camera/gurgle and look cute? No, they tried to sleep the whole time I was there with them! Did I get what I needed? Yes, eventually, but I had to stay much longer than planned. I can laugh now, but I nearly ended up missing my deadline!
Now onto our furry friends. I once made a film about how much 'model' animals could make (that's to say the animals that appear in films or TV dramas, or adverts or on the covers of dog and cat food etc!) And for that film I went to meet several fabulous animals (all divine) who were 'top models'! Did they do what I wanted? No. Well, actually, yes, in the end, but the whole process took much longer than expected.
So now I know to be prepared.
At least, I thought I did, when I set about making a cute video with my kitten! Others have done it before me and it all looked like plain sailing, but whenever I wanted to film, my kitten showed no interest. Did I get what I wanted in the end? Yes, but I had to change my plans and film over a longer period of time than anticipated. However, I'm delighted with the end result - which is a short, fun, cute video about me doing yoga with my cat. Take a look and let me know what you think!

Happy viewing and if you want to return to Jo's website just click on the link below:

Monday 5 December 2016


Hello everyone
I've been busy beavering away writing my fourth novel. This one is a little different to the others, with a broader appeal. The storyline is utterly unique and guaranteed to make you laugh and cry and to wish for a universe where the impossible is possible. I really hope you like the look of the cover. Here it is:

To find out more and to enter a competition to win a paperback copy of it once it's published on January 27th, 2017, click on this link:

In the meantime, be well and be safe!
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Tuesday 8 November 2016


About two weeks ago I was in Jamaica for the day. I'd heard that the exclusive Half Moon Hotel in Montego Bay (whose concierge let slip that a certain Usain Bolt had been there just two days earlier) has an equestrian centre which offers something to the public which nowhere else (apparently) in the world does. And that activity is: swimming with horses.
My daughter and I snapped up the chance to have a go and booked up the Surf and Turf experience. First we rode the horses through fields towards the beach.

Then we stripped down to our bikinis. 

Saddles were removed from the horses (big yikes - riding a horse bareback is petrifying!) and then we rode the horses out in the sea. When they got out of their depth and started swimming it was scary, exhilarating, surreal and darn hard to keep holding onto our horse by the mane. Eventually we were told to shimmy down the horse's back until we were holding onto their tails (they promised it didn't hurt) and they were tugging us along. It was amazing, unlike ANYTHING I'VE EVER DONE BEFORE! Yes, utterly memorable. 

We came back, drank coconuts which had been picked straight from the trees and even did some acrobatics on the horses. I don't look at all scared, do I?!

Anyway, here's a video of the adventure, in case you can't quite believe what you are reading!

Happy viewing and if you ever go swimming with horses, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. And I hope you get to see Usain Bolt at the Half Moon Hotel too - he lives not too far from Montego Bay. In fact, we passed his secondary school and the track he used to train on there en route to the hotel...

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Wednesday 2 November 2016


I travel so much for work, but this time I tagged a 24 hour stay in Miami onto the end of a working trip just for me and my pleasure/leisure!

And was I disappointed? NO! In fact, it's a resounding 'no'! I found a great new hotel - the Atton Brickell in a great up-and-coming neighbourhood - Brickell. The hotel was a steal - I only paid £120 (which is $150) for a fabulous double room for the night. Everything was brand new and the bed was DIVINE. It was the best night's sleep I'd had in ages.

The hotel doesn't look much from the outside:

But on the inside it's fabulous. And best of all, on the 12th floor there's a rooftop pool to die for: 
Not only is there a huge (and nice) Publix supermarket literally opposite (to stock up on provisions for breakfast if you don't want to have it at the hotel etc) the hotel is also brilliantly situated for seeing Miami. It's close to the beach, to shopping, to Little Havana (famous for it's Cuban culture) and it's so much cheaper than its much pricier neighbour, Miami Beach. And no less vibrant for it. 
I was so excited by this find that I had to share it with you - and if you want to see more about my trip then check out this short and colourful video:

Happy viewing and if you go to Miami then happy travelling too!

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Thursday 13 October 2016


Honestly, I never, EVER wanted any pet.
But this is how it happened. 
My daughter wanted a pet. 
I got her a hamster. 
She loved and looked after that hamster beautifully, all by herself. 
Then the hamster died. 
So I bought her another one. 
The same thing happened: she loved, she looked after and eventually the hamster died of old age. 
Then she wanted another pet - but not a hamster. 
Rabbits and guinea pigs are too hard to look after. 
Dogs require too much walking and looking after. 
And so we decided on a cat. 
Why a ragdoll?
I heard that they love cuddles, people and being handled, all things that I knew my daughter would want in a pet. 
I still didn't want one, but then I met Jerald. 
And I fell in love. 
Aren't ragdolls the just the cutest?! It's like having another baby in the house. 
He's cheeky and fun and loves to play: 
With empty boxes of any kind!
In the box below he's wondering if he's 'free range' or organic!!
He is officially the new man in my life and particularly likes my bed!
And recently he got in the way of my filming, but I didn't have the heart to cut him out because he looked so cute. So if you want to see him in action, check through to the end of this video to watch him make his first cameo appearance. Tell me if you can't take your eyes off him?!

Happy viewing!
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Sunday 9 October 2016


Sorry for my absence, but I've been busy travelling - this time to Peru! A film of this adventure can be seen on my new YouTube channel Go with Jo:

I’d been wanting to go there for ages, but because my husband had already travelled there pre-me (he walked the Inca Trail) he kept choosing to explore countries new to him. And so it was that I came up with another plan – to take my adventurous thirteen-year-old son Gabriel with me there instead. Not only was Gabriel up for it, he was ecstatic at the notion.

My dream was to visit Machu Picchu, but my son was keen to explore the jungle and eventually we decided upon a week-long itinerary which incorporated the two. A quick overnight in Lima staying at the J W Marriott Hotel gave us enough time to explore the capital’s chic, trendy Miraflores district before hopping on an internal flight to Puerto Madonaldo, gateway to the Amazon jungle.

The thrill I experienced as we sailed in a motorboat along a tributary of the Amazon towards our first hotel – the Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica – was huge. I kept pinching myself to believe I was really there, in the middle of remote jungle, far, far away from civilisation as I know it.  

We’d heard great reports about the boutique Inkaterra chain of hotels in Peru and particularly loved their eco-friendly credentials. And if you’re going to be in the jungle, you (or at least I) might prefer to do it in style, which is something else that Inkaterra does well!

We loved our wooden cabana which overlooked the river, with its beds draped in mosquito nets and its porch with two hammocks. Gabriel wasted no time hopping into one of them. I imagine that he would have happily stayed glued to his hammock for a whole week, but I pulled him out so that we could go on a twilight river cruise. We spotted the world’s biggest rodent (a capybara) as well as a posse of baby white spectacled caimans. Sailing along the river in the dark, listening to the jungle’s sounds of the night was both eerie and magical rolled into one.

Over the next two days one adventure followed another as we packed in excursion after excursion, all included in the price. There was great camaraderie and banter between fellow guests (we made a lot of friends) and wherever we went we were accompanied by knowledgeable guides who took great delight in having a joke at our expense. Their favourite line was: “Let’s go. The tarantulas are waiting for you.” We trekked through the jungle day and night and yes, we did see tarantulas – very scary for a woman that normally shrieks when she spots a common house spider! The only thing which matched in terms of scariness was seeing a toxic toad – their bites are fatal. Needless to say we steered well clear.

The jungle floor was covered with creepy crawlies, including an army of leaf-carrying ants. There were fire ants too, one of which bit poor Gabriel. Their bites aren’t dangerous, but they REALLY hurt for ten minutes or so. Higher up monkeys hopped from tree to tree, several different species, many of them endangered. And way above the treetops (we followed Inkaterra’s canopy walkway - a series of suspension bridges 30 metres high) countless exotic, brightly –coloured birds soared overhead.

For two days we laughed, we shrieked and we lapped up every second, with other highlights including paddling a native canoe along a lake as the sun set. Oh, and the food. We expected little in terms of jungle cuisine, so it was a pleasant surprise to eat so well. Everything’s made from local produce and my favourite was paiche – a large white-meat fish – which comes served either in a palm leaf or in a spicy stew. Delicious. 

The jungle had been Gabriel’s choice, not mine, but I was so pleased he insisted we go there because it was enthralling from beginning to end. We transferred for our third night to Inkaterra’s smaller hotel in the Amazon – the Hacienda Concepcion – where we slept in a cabana on stilts, went piranha fishing (and caught one would you believe!) and found the plant that viagara is made from in their botanical garden.

Then we were back on a plane, flying over the Andes to Cusco. To acclimatise to the high altitude we stayed a night in nearby Sacred Valley (which is en route to Machu Picchu) in what can only be described as a dream hotel, the Hacienda Urubamba. Not only is its setting high in the Andes spectacular, so are the hotel’s interiors – think log fires and leather sofas draped with Peruvian rugs and cushions.  

The next morning we breakfasted on sensational quinoa pancakes and afterwards a guide from our tour operator Aracari drove us to Ollantaytambo, where we boarded a train which took us to the town of Agua Calientes, gateway to Machu Picchu.

We dropped our bags off at our hotel (more of which later) and wasted no time in heading up to the ruins of the ancient citadel, otherwise known as the lost Incan City.

Sometimes when you’ve dreamed of something for so long, when it actually happens it can be an anti-climax. Seeing Machu Picchu for the first time, however, was everything I hoped it would be. The magnificence and the improbability of such an advanced city like this being built six hundred years ago at the top of a jagged mountain 2,400 meters high, took our breath away.

The Incans were geniuses, building walls without cement which endured several centuries and earthquakes. Our guide told us how they worshiped the mountains and sacrificed girls as young as fourteen. Llamas roam free around the ruins and Gabriel had great fun trying to take selfies with them. Needless to say, the llamas did not behave!

The next day our breath was taken away quite literally…on a hike from the ruins of the citadel up to the summit of Machu Picchu Mountain, climbing the original steps carved out of the rock by the Incans. It took two hours (less to get down) but the on-top-of-the world view was worth every ounce of effort. 

My only regret was not to have longer to enjoy all there was on offer at our final Inkaterra hotel, the Machu Picchu Pueblo. It was set in glorious cloud forest, with its own orchid garden, bear sanctuary (they rescue the endangered spectacled Andean bears of Paddington Bear fame) and tea plantation. 

Oh well, it just gives us a great excuse to go back again…very soon!

 To see a film of our trip, click this link:

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Thursday 23 June 2016


OMG - I can't believe the day has finally arrived! Today the UK votes in the referendum on whether to stay in or leave the European Union. For me, the decision was easy. In fact, to date I have never been as politically passionate or motivated by something as I am by this. In fact, I couldn't wait to cast my vote!

After school I read Law with French at Sussex University. The reason I chose that course is because it combined the minimum of law together with European Studies, and it was the latter (and the French!) which was really enjoyable. I learned all about the EU - about why it was formed, which countries started it. And what makes me so sad is that the reasons for its beginnings are being forgotten in this whole heated debate. The European Union was created after the Second World War and the reason it was created was to provide a PEACEFUL union for all countries involved. It was to prevent a World War Three; it was to create a peaceful world; and in that respect it has been HUGELY SUCCESSFUL! 
All the 'Leave' campaign's arguments (which I disagree with by the way) about an improved economy, more jobs etc don't even bother me. Even if they were right, it's irrelevant. What matters is that we stand together. United we are strong. Isolated we are weak. 
I have told my children that I don't want to live in a UK that isn't part of the EU. I consider myself European. I have studied in Belgium. I have lived and worked in France. I travel constantly across Europe. I enjoy that freedom and don't want it to stop. I'm now just praying that the majority of my fellow countrymen and women feel the same way. I don't want to have to leave my country. I would like to stay here. But only if it's a Britain that stays in Europe.  
Deep breath.   
Fingers crossed. 

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