I studied a post-graduate NCTJ journalism course at De Montfort University in Leicester, which I passed with distinction in 2000.
Immediately after that I went into the heady world of free local newspapers as a general reporter in north-east England. I finished my trainee reporter years with an 18-month stint at The Sentinel in Stoke-on-Trent.
After this, I spent more than five years at the Newcastle Chronicle. Again working as a general reporter I covered all human life along with councils, a busy crown court and employment tribunals.
I left in 2008 when offered the chance to join the team that launched
The National, an English-language broadsheet in Abu Dhabi. This was an exciting chance to sample a culture completely new to me and work on a paper with staff from around the world.
I started as a sub-editor with reporters who didn't speak English as a first language (who were in turn faced with working with a Geordie). While getting a taste for travel, I also progressed to working on the online desk and - when not acting as a night content editor - had the chance to get into the field and produce a number of videos and multimedia projects (some of which, sadly, did not survive the site's relaunch).
After three years, I returned to the UK to be a sub-editor with Metro, one of the world's most-read free newspapers. I work on a range of topics including national and international news, business and entertainment and have contributed online.