10 travel writing clichés to avoid

Travel writing is hard. Choosing the best words to describe a place, journey or experience takes skill.

Unfortunately, lots of writers fall back on crappy clichés when they are stuck.

This isn’t fun for readers. In fact, it’s really boring.

Here are 10 words or phases to avoid:

  1. Hidden gem
  2. City of contrasts
  3. Action-packed
  4. Diverse / exotic / multicultural
  5. Whistle stop tour
  6. Off the beaten track
  7. Up and coming
  8. Pristine / deserted / unspoilt beaches
  9. Thrill seekers
  10. People watching

Which travel clichés annoy you?

Frome: It’s not as bad as it used to be

Frome town centre

I find it difficult to write about my hometown.

As a child I hated it. There was nothing to do. I worked hard at school so that I could leave.

Now Frome is trendy. It has quirky secondhand shops! A mediocre festival! Flat whites! All things I like.

But you know what, I still hate it.

The changes mean that people “relocate” to Frome but send their kids to the good school in the next town.

There’s a monthly independent market but hardly any of the stalls are run by local businesses.

Lifestyle journalists go on about Frome’s celebrity residents (Pearl Lowe for a while, one of the McGann brothers) but don’t bother to research how to say ‘Frome’. ‘There’s no place like Frome’ is a rubbish headline regardless of pronunciation.

There’s a monthly independent market but hardly any of the stalls are run by local businesses.

But here’s the predictable twist to my rant: despite reducing me a West Country Holden Caulfield, I love Frome very much.

I am not sure if any of the following recommendations are of interest to visitors or whether I have written a nostalgic trip through my childhood but I hope you enjoy it. Continue reading

High SFP sun cream review

The UK is enjoying its annual 3-day ‘heat wave’ so now is an opportune time to review high SPF sun creams.

In case you are concerned about my level of expertise on this subject, let me reassure you:

I am pale. And ginger.

I don’t tan. I burn.

There is no one better qualified to talk you through the exciting world of sun protection.

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Ilfracombe superlatives quiz

Ilfracombe in Devon is a big on superlatives. All of the tourist information I read before my weekend visit was full of the kind of language that would make Roy Castle and the rest of the Record Breakers team hot-foot it down to North Devon.

In homage to the marketers of Ilfracombe, this post highlights the best things the town has to offer. But incase you think that’s a bit boring, I’ve made some of them up. Can you spot which ones?

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Exploring Totterdown: Bristol’s chilled out neighbourhood

A conversation I have with everyone I meet in Bristol…

Me: “I live in Totterdown”

Them: “Oh? I’ve heard of it but never been there”

Yep, just like London there’s north-of-the-river snobbery in Bristol.

What the residents of Clifton, Redland and Horfield don’t know is that south Bristol is lush.  If they ever crossed the Avon, they might find out. But until then, us south Bristol residents can have all the fun.

Here are my favourite places to eat, drink and hang out in Totterdown (a.k.a that hill with the colorful houses).  

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