Lyn Alderson

Copywriter, Journalist, Blogger

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Breakthrough treatment at Salt Cave Dudley brings hope to chest patients

A patient with the serious chest condition, COPD, says her life has also been turned around by the Salt Cave in Dudley.


Frances Clews was virtually housebound- she was so breathless she was forced to spend her life in an armchair.

Sixty- eight years-old Frances couldn’t even walk 100 yards, and was often unable to talk. She couldn’t shower herself or do any household tasks at all and had to rely on her husband Colin to do all of the housework.

But after a few treatments at the Salt Cave, Frances was able to stop using a reliever inhaler because she could breathe more easily. And soon she found she could have longer conversations without becoming breathless.

Salt Cave, Dudley

A new lease of life: Frances Clews (left), pictured with Salt Cave manager, Zoe Ness

Now Frances has improved so much she is able to go out with friends on day trips and walk for an hour without using a walking stick. She can do housework and has even joined a gym!

“I can go out on day trips to Bridgnorth with my friends and I can even do some housework now which has taken a lot of pressure off Colin”, she said.

“I’m also going to the Action Heart gym at Russells Hall Hospital, which would have been totally impossible before I started having salt therapy”.

Fantastic feedback

Zoe Ness, who runs the Salt Cave Dudley with her partner David Hetherington, said: “We are extremely happy with the number of people the Salt Cave has helped since we opened in May 2016. We’ve had such fantastic feedback and success stories from our clients. We hope to continue helping them and many more in the future. ”

Numerous studies carried out in Europe suggest that halotherapy is an effective drug-free treatment for asthma, chronic bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), sinusitis and many other respiratory and skin conditions, as well as the hereditary disorder cystic fibrosis.

Anyone who would like to try the therapy free of charge can contact the Salt Cave on 01384 686777. The clinic is located at Unit 26, The Waterfront East, Brierley Hill, West Midlands, DY5 1XJ.


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The magnetic pull of memoir writing

Memoir writing is an exploding genre. Creative writing courses are packed with eager students of all ages, poised to learn the craft of artful storytelling.

And phenomenal numbers of memoirs are being published as it becomes not just acceptable, but highly fashionable, to spill the beans.

image by Damian Gadal

Image by Damien Gadal

I see the current trend as a heartening one; a move away from the sound bite culture which really took off in the 1990s and has been dominating mass communications ever since. And although some critics of the genre say there are too many badly-written memoirs out there, there are a lot of good ones too.

So why this magnetic pull towards memoir writing?

Writing therapy

As a journalist for more than two decades, I’ve listened to a lot of people telling their stories- and I know it’s often very therapeutic. Telling your story at length addresses a deep human need to be heard and acknowledged, and that’s something that can’t happen on social media platforms.

Writing a memoir helps us to see the narrative thread in our lives, reflect on the consequences of past choices, and even find redemption or closure. It gives us permission to articulate feelings that we couldn’t express in the past, and writing about the trauma we have experienced has scientifically proven healing effects.

It looks very much as if writing therapy, whether in the form of keeping a journal, or publishing a full-length memoir, is gradually taking over from the talking therapies in Western culture. It’s not hard to see why. For some people, psychotherapy still has a stigma attached and has to be approached in a covert fashion, while becoming a writer carries societal approval but allows you to bare your soul in much the same way.

Connecting to like-minded souls

And writing, even if you are still honing your skills, allows you to connect to other like-minded people.

As New York Times columnist and short story writer Steve Almond so succinctly put it: “writing allows you to join a flesh-and-blood community of fellow writers, readers and critics, all of whom have chosen the rigors of narrative over the emotional fragmentation of the digital age”.

Publishing a memoir is more than an act of self-expression and connecting to others, however. Your story may help someone else who is going through similar issues and that is a great motivator for many memoir writers.

So if you’ve started a memoir, I’d encourage you to keep going. You could be doing yourself and other people a big favour.

For more information on the therapeutic aspects of writing, see The Write Therapy: How Keeping a Journal Can Make You Happier, Healthier, and More Productive : many of the benefits of journaling apply to memoir writing too!

To see more Damien Gadal images click here






Writing a memoir: what are the benefits?

woman-41201_1280Should you write a memoir, and what are the benefits of such a project?

I’ve been thinking this through while ghost writing two very different memoirs for ladies who both have fascinating stories.

These women are inspirational characters who have given a lot to other people, and they both have great insights: the world needs to hear what they have to say.

So think about whether you have a great story that will benefit others when they read it. You don’t need to be famous or wealthy, although you might be. But you do need an eventful life story, one that involves overcoming challenges, or triumphing over adversity.

The best and the worst memoirs

In the best memoirs I’ve read, people have reflected on- and owned up to- their mistakes as human beings and found a positive way forward despite what life has thrown at them. The worst memoirs are the ones that people write to settle old scores, where they insist on blaming everyone else for everything that’s gone wrong.

True life stories are more entertaining than fiction, as long as they are courageously and honestly narrated. And memoirs can have many different angles. They can be about business or career achievements, traveling or hobbies, or family and personal relationships- or a mixture of many varied elements.

Many memoirs are about illness, or coping with the illness of significant others in your life. Memoirs don’t always involve high drama, because sometimes it’s not external factors that have the most impact on us, but what happens on the inside as we go through life.

The healing power of memoir

book-841171_1280So consider writing a memoir if you have something to say to inspire or encourage others, or if you want to record your experiences for future generations.

Telling your story often has a healing effect: we feel purged of negative emotions as we write them down. So it can be positively therapeutic to write a memoir. Psychologists say that memories of traumatic events are reorganised internally as we speak about them, and filed away more neatly in long term memory, so they become less intrusive and less disturbing in the here and now.

And it’s not just about coming to terms with the past. Don’t forget the joy you can experience again as you relive mountain top experiences of your life! At the very least, writing a memoir will increase your self- awareness and that’s a positive gain.

It also gives you something unique to pass on to family members, a treasured possession that helps them understand you and their family history.

The difficult part in memoir-writing is coaxing the story out, and deciding which bits are relevant to your narrative. Planning the central themes in advance is paramount. Work out what is important to you- it’s your story after all.

Help with memoir writing

You may have something important to say but lack the spare time or skills needed for a book project. In this case, don’t be deterred. You could employ a ghost writer to help you do justice to the story. They could interview you face-to-face or on Skype, and write the narrative on your behalf- I’ve used this process with clients and it works well. There are lots of people out there who can assist you with writing and publishing a book.

Remember that the process of story-telling is valuable for you, whether you write every word yourself or engage a professional to help you. Your book will be an accomplishment and treasured by those who love you. And you never know, it might be a best-seller too!

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Share the love with Project Linus

A quarter of a million children are admitted to UK hospitals every year- that’s a lot of sick and frightened youngsters wondering what’s going to happen next as they face medical tests and procedures.

One UK charity has a special way of showing love to children in hospital- it sends them a big “hug” in the shape of a hand-made quilt.

carter-quilts.jpegThe quilts are sent out as “security blankets” for needy youngsters, including those who are nearing the end of their lives in hospitals or hospices, and those hiding in women’s refuges away from domestic violence.

Project Linus UK is now sending out an SOS for more volunteers to help make these Linus quilts.

Could you share the love?

Perhaps you would like to combine your needlework skills with love and compassion to create something unique for sick and hurting children?

The aim is to give each child in need a bright and colourful security blanket to hold on to during times of stress. Children and even adults find soft fabrics very comforting- that’s why the quilts are also donated to emergency vehicles, to comfort accident and trauma victims.

Project Linus UK describe their quilts as “a hug you can keep” – and they need help to produce and distribute these ‘hugs’ in every British city and region.

Earlier this month they handed out 18 quilts to youngsters from inner city Birmingham who were visiting Shropshire on an adventure holiday organised by the Church of England’s Pontesbury deanery.

Last year they handed out a staggering 27,000 quilts to UK children of all ages, from the smallest babies to the tallest teenagers- and it was still not enough to meet the need.

How to help

If you would like to join the Project Linus UK network of love, it’s easy to get involved.

You can find quilt patterns (including easy ones!) on the website where you can also contact your nearest group co-ordinator.

Project Linus is named after the Peanuts comic strip character Linus, a little boy who liked to carry a security blanket.

Project Linus came from the USA to the UK in 2000, and grew quickly through groups associated with the Quilters Guild of the British Isles, and through the Internet. So far it has donated 239,000 quilts.

President of Project Linus UK, Mrs Lyn Antill of Church Stretton, Shropshire, said: “Caring for children is a natural instinct that we all have, and it is very rewarding to use sewing skills to bring joy to a young child or teenager”.

For more information about Project Linus UK visit or email Lyn Antill at

How an e-book can help your business

What’s your business?

Marketing? Landscape gardening? Selling beauty products? Fixing cars?

It really doesn’t matter what your profession is, writing an e-book can have huge commercial benefits, and all sorts of positive knock-on effects.

After writing my e-book The Write Therapy: How Keeping a Journal Can Make You Happier, Healthier and More Productive,  I gained a new client in the US.

She had read my book, connected with the subject matter, visited my website, and decided I was the right person to help her with some projects. It was a great experience to gain my first international client and I have had a brilliant time working with a very talented and inspirational lady.

You may not think of yourself as an author, but an e-book might be just what your business needs.

Enhance your reputation

why not enhance your business reputation with an e-book?

Writing an e-book can establish you as an expert

One clever chap wrote about the best way to construct swimming pools, and he has since acquired a huge reputation as an expert in this area. He’s been asked to manage projects, act as an expert witness in court cases, and do many other things  as a result of his book.

Unsure what to write about? Think about a problem you have an answer for. Then turn the answer into a book; it really is that simple.

If you’re not great at writing, just come up with the content and let someone else knock it into shape for you.

Writing an e-book need not cost much if you work on it in your spare time, and it’s free to publish on Amazon and many other platforms.

An e-book can be considerably shorter than a novel. Around 50- 100 pages is a good length, but it could be even shorter depending on its purpose.

Reasons to write an e-book

Here’s four good reasons why your business really needs an e-book:

 To establish yourself as a leading authority in your field

Don’t under-estimate the value of your expert knowledge to people outside your profession or trade. Writing an e-book will raise your profile and help you reach your target audience. You may end up learning even more about your specialist subject as you research your chosen topic. Don’t be afraid to explain your vision and say why your approach makes sense

To earn a passive income

You only have to write your book once. After that it will potentially keep on earning you money. Of course, you will have to publicise it to maximise sales, but you can do that virtually cost-free through social media and press releases.

To grow your email list

You can use an e-book as a modestly priced or free-of-charge incentive for potential clients to join your mailing list. Make your book available for download on your website, and get people to sign up with their name and email address. Don’t abuse this privilege by bombarding people with constant messages, but send out timely offers on your products or services.

To increase traffic to your website

Promote your book through Facebook, Twitter, and other SM channels, and provide a link to drive traffic to your website. That’s likely to lead to further sales for your range of products or services

Integrate your e-book into your business strategy and you will add value and growth to your business. So what’s holding you back?

If you need help from a ghost writer, email

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Celebrating the small successes

So many of us work hard at our jobs and businesses, we always have our eye on the next task or goal ahead of us. But sometimes we need to stop and just savour our achievements from time to time. So please forgive me for this indulgent blog post to congratulate my husband.

He’s worked like a Trojan all winter and has just completed the installation of his new cattle handling system. He’s also received a High Health Status award for his beef cattle herd. This award is something usually pursued by pedigree breeders, so Pete has done very well to achieve it.
Charolais stock bull and calf

Our Charolais stock bull Emphatic and one of his calves

I tease him a lot about how he “pampers” his beasts, but I’m secretly proud that he puts everything into caring for his animals, and he really deserved this certificate.

Congratulations to Pete and all those hard-working farmers who go the extra mile for their animals, whatever the cost.


I had a little heart-warming experience myself last week, when I received a phone call from one of the local libraries, to say my book The Write Therapy: How Keeping a Journal Can Make You Happier, Healthier, and More Productive had been used as a text in one of the library’s study groups.

So ever since Christmas local people have been learning how to improve their health through journaling, which gives the immune system a boost and helps relieve stress. And I’ve been invited to go and meet them later in the year, which I’m really looking forward to.

So that’s us, what about you?  Give yourself a pat on the back for whatever you’ve achieved in the past few months, whether big or small, and savour your success.


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Jane spins a yarn for Coco Alpacas

Jane Potts with her alpacas

Jane Potts with her alpacas

A Shropshire woman has launched a blog about life with her herd of alpacas and the beautiful products she creates from their wool.

Jane Potts from Leebotwood used to be a farm secretary but fell in love with alpacas Phoebe and Eliza at the Royal Show in Warwickshire back in 2007. She now has a herd of 17 animals.

Coco Alpacas offers a range of hand-knitted and hand woven scarves, shawls, hats, snoods, mittens and throws and sells alpaca yarn for knitting. Continue reading


Get Well soon Fred the Ted

Shropshire copywriter loves snowscapes
My inner child loves snowy walks!

January is usually a quiet time on the farm, when Pete and I chill out in the evenings in front of endless log fires and fall asleep watching boring  repeats on the television.

But it didn’t happen this year as we were both caught up in big projects. Pete was working hard with contractors on a new cattle handling system, and I was glued to the chair in my office for hours on end collaborating with a new client on a ghost writing assignment.

Now sitting at my desk for too long doesn’t suit me anymore, and I need regular short breaks. So every day I take at least one short walk with Flossie the sheepdog, and it’s an opportunity to let my inner child go out to play.

Walking in a winter wonderland

This is the part of me that enjoys walking through deep frozen puddles crunching ice under my feet, taking macro photographs of snowdrops and throwing sticks for a very muddy Floss.

My inner child also loves to dance in the office to YouTube videos and do a bit of Karaoke, strictly for my own ears!!  Currently my favourite song is Dolly Parton’s Jolene after hearing my daughter sing it beautifully at the weekend in preparation for a solo performance. Yes, I am quietly becoming an English eccentric, and I don’t seem to care a jot.

Undercover Florence Nightingale


Farmhouse blog: Fred the Ted

Fred the Ted has a secret nurse

I realised yesterday that another inner child had also been let loose in the farmhouse when I discovered Fred the Ted (a beautiful teddy bear from the shop at Ironbridge) had been tucked up on the sofa with a tea towel for a blanket and a giant packet of Beechams All -in-Ones in his paw.

When I challenged Pete about nursing cuddly toys back to health and the harm it might do to his manly image he just laughed and said he was free to connect with his feminine side.

So you can send the Get Well cards here to Fred the Ted and we’ll pass them on with your best wishes for a speedy recovery!


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Owning up to Aga addiction and going cold turkey

Did you miss my blog post in December? You were probably too busy flying by the seat of your pants in a bid to beat Santa’s sleigh to notice I’d gone AWOL.

Actually I was the one on the bike with ET flying across the sky, trying to get to the M & S food store before the doors closed. Sorry I didn’t stop to wave.

So here’s a brief update on our quiet, non-eventful festive season……

The Alderson household had to go cold turkey all over Christmas and the New Year- and I don’t mean what we ate for our Christmas dinner!

No, our beloved Aga was the problem.Aga.jpeg

Now, despite the fact that she needs a facelift and dates back to the 1930s, we’re very fond of the old girl, and so are all of our visitors. The first thing they do is park their bottoms in front of it, and then they luxuriate in its warmth, loathe to give up their prime position in front of the oven door.

The Aga is the heart of our home, so when it suddenly went cold on us, a shiver crept down our collective spine. We were forced to admit our long-standing addiction to opening the oven door to toast our derrières (I thought I’d use a polite French term as it’s a cheeky topic).

The festivities didn’t seem quite the same without the baking warmth of the Aga, though luckily we have an electric oven to use as a back-up and still had a nice turkey dinner. It’s not very good for derrière- warming though!

I won’t say anything else about Christmas, except to pass on a tip to anyone who lives in a big old house. Don’t use last year’s Christmas crackers unless you want to pull them and find a dead spider inside! My son-in-law’s face was a picture when a mummified arachnid popped out instead of a paper hat!

And on a lighter note…. when Floss the Sheepdog took me for my daily walkies this week I noticed how the days were lengthening again. Another few weeks will see an easing of my SAD symptoms and I might come out of hibernation for more than just another snack.

Happy New Year dear Follower. Thanks for reading my blog and I wish you all the best for 2015!Jan2015 view.jpeg





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My defective season….

A winter scene on our Shropshire farm

A winter scene at our Shropshire farm

The weather may still be relatively mild, but the light is fading fast, and I find myself dogged by that familiar grey spectre, Seasonal Affective Disorder.

While I am managing to rise at a semi-respectable hour of 7.30am, it’s a little bit late for a farmer’s wife and self-employed professional, and directly reflects my sluggish winter metabolism.

The SAD syndrome kicks in every year when the clocks go back, and my heart takes a nosedive into my boots, much like Tom Daly making an Olympic gold medal attempt. This unwelcome seasonal change has now become 100 per cent predictable.

Cravings of a couch potato

As winter sets in, I develop a craving for lots of carbs and feel sorely tempted to live as a couch potato. Apparently this is a biological condition related to falling levels of light which affect the brain’s neurotransmitters, reducing the feel good chemicals.

Floss the Sheepdog has a new vocation

Floss the Sheepdog has a new vocation

My SAD is not as bad as some people’s SAD and I am glad! I can fight it by getting outside for a daily walk when the light is at its brightest. I am accompanied by my trusty personal trainer, Floss the Sheepdog. Floss has been given this new title since her semi-retirement from farm life when Pete sold the sheep a couple of years ago. Getting outside on the farm is the best antidote to SAD I know.

State of the art gymnasium

Years ago I was forced to exercise indoors, in a state-of-the-art gym across the road from my office at the Stourbridge News. Three times a week, ultra-fit, lycra-clad ladies kept me working flat out on the treadmill and cross training equipment, in an effort to avoid middle aged spread and dinner lady arms. (Apologies to any dinner ladies reading this; I am sure your arms look just fine and you ought to sue the Oxford Dictionary for unfair discrimination!) Anyway, enough of this empty talk. My personal trainer is here, and she wants to give me a woof time! She will round me up and put me through my paces, and she won’t let me paws for breath…..