Cup of Toast is a lifestyle blog, with a little bit of something interesting and a little bit of something useful. And I’m Jo: author; editor; blogger; writer. Call me what you will, words are my thing.
I grew up in the heart of Warwickshire. My childhood was spent mostly outdoors, wandering over local farm fields or making dens in the orchard of our garden. We shared our home with many pets, from guinea pigs, rabbits, hamsters and gerbils, to dogs, cats, cockatiels and rescued hedgehogs and pigeons. After one of my GCSE exams I discovered a bird nest that had been knocked to the pavement, completely destroyed and one dead chick on the remnants. Nearby were two more chicks. Extremely young, not yet with feathers, they were still alive although had been abandoned by their parents. I carried them a mile and a half home where my mother immediately set to work nurturing what turned out to be two very cheeky, intelligent magpies.
When we weren’t saving creatures, we loved to travel. The budget may have been tight, but from wet camping trips in Wales to drier ones in France I developed an early passion for adventure and learning foreign languages. The school timetable only had time for two – French and German – but I taught myself basic Italian and Spanish and, later when at university, I studied Latin at an introductory level. In my later teens and early twenties I made solo trips to Italy, and since then I have had the opportunity to explore further, soaking up landscapes in Peru, Switzerland, New Zealand and Ireland to name a few.
Writing has always been a huge love of mine. When I was younger I dreamt of being a writer (or an English teacher). I could almost always be found with a notebook and pencil tucked somewhere nearby. I wrote my first poem when I was 7, and I recall with great fondness the time my father brought home a typewriter and I typed out some of my work. In my teens I started a lifestyle magazine as an English project at school and dreamt of turning it into reality. Classmates read and enjoyed it which spurred me on. I was encouraged by my parents and my secondary school English teacher to develop my writing too, and with this support I applied to the University of Liverpool to study for a degree in English Language and Literature. I loved every minute of the course, from learning Old and Middle English (where my side interest of Latin came in handy) to Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL). Here I developed a keen interest in diachronic linguistics which combines my love of language and history. Perhaps my favourite work though was my dissertation through which I focused on the autobiographical nature of works of fiction, specifically those of Virginia Woolf. I have long continued this interest and lately it has been informing my first novel which is a work in progress, with more words being added and edited regularly.
I first started publishing my work on a website that I created in 2001 whilst at university. I imagine now it would be called a blog, but back then the word hadn’t been used. It was packed with a mix of my travel writing and poetry, and I kept up with it until a career in Human Resources took off and squeezed my time for personal creativity.
Now a mother of three, still living on the edge of the Warwickshire countryside with our family pets, I have turned once more to writing. You can find my life ponderings, advice and research on this site, or join me on social media to keep up to date with the progress of my fictional work. I would love to hear from you!
Thanks for reading,