Testimonials

I’m lucky to work with incredible people, PR teams, entrepreneurs and businesses and the Lifestyle Fifty audience is engaged and active – my readers write many emails to me and comment on Facebook and the blog.

Here are some selected testimonials and references from readers and clients whom I’ve either promoted on Lifestyle Fifty or The ZigaZag Mag, or whom I’ve helped in their lives via my writing and blogging workshops.

What people are saying

“We worked with Jo to develop a content program that would help drive demand for Princess Cruises’ increased capacity in World Cruise.  Jo was strategic, creative and collaborative and executed our plan without fault, producing content that was over and above our expectations.  Jo’s flare for storytelling and passion for developing content meant that not only did we have high-quality content that demonstrated what it was like to travel on board a 104-night cruise, but her audience were deeply engaged throughout the journey which had a positive impact on brand perception.  I have no hesitation recommending working with Jo as a strategic and creative content partner – she knows her audience, and they hang off her every word.” Lewis Shields, Touch Creative.

“I ordered the bangles from “Melzbeads” you were talking about in a spin-off from the blog. I intended to give them away as a present, but have fallen in love with them so it finished up as a pressie to myself! Thanks for the recommendation. That was a great purchase. Love the blog, too…Kind wishes for the festive season. S

I just love your blog (Lifestyle Fifty) – I think it is so needed at our age and I have already copied a photo from your website page to put on my Facebook timeline to get some of my friends to subscribe as I know they will be interested. Sandy

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Hello Jo, A very BIG thankyou for your post on Dryandra.
It would be close to the best publicity I have seen for the village and woodland.
Everybody says the same.
I will be working full time which will no doubt be challenging to start with as the last time I had a full time job was back in the 1980s!!  I have to thank you in no small way for this as your blogs are very inspiring for us ‘oldies’ to get out there and do what we really want to do. C

Just a quick note: I am following the blog for a while now. so it feels as if I know you! I ordered the bangles from “Melzbeads” you were talking about in a spin-off from the blog. I intended to give them away as a present, but have fallen in love with them so it finished up as a pressie to myself! Thanks for the recommendation. That was a great purchase. Love the blog, too… S

Over the endless heat of summer I will read more from you. Regards, Lisa

You always look fabulous and I have taken many of your tips on board. Also heading to Europe again in july so any on trend fashion tips would be appreciated. Karin

Having previously enjoyed a 22 day cruise to Japan with Princess, we are now looking forward to sailing with them again in September. (35 days Sydney – Hawaii – Sydney.) The 104 day world cruise you are on now is on our “To Do’ list for 2018 and I noticed that I will be celebrating my birthday as we cruise through the Suez Canal so a Champagne breakfast [like you had] sounds like the way to do it in style!!!!

I am enjoying following your [world cruise] journey ~ Thank you  Jolene

I just love reading your blogs about your world cruise and the places you have been so far. My husband and I are hoping to do a world cruise and was wondering if you could suggest a travel wardrobe for such a long period at sea, including outfits for “formal” or “theme” nights. Also, does Princess Cruises offer a drinks package (for alcoholic drinks) on the world cruise? Thanks Jo and in the meantime I look forward to your next post. Cheers, Marlene

We are visiting Boston with Princess in September and October – two separate cruises. Thank you, Johanna, for this wonderful insight. Thanks Rhona.

Absolutely loving your blog. I found it late and have been spending my lunch breaks for several weeks now catching up. I’ve loved reading what you have been up to and dreaming about how amazing it would be to experience it in real life.

I have enjoyed your posts over recent months; thank you. My husband and I head off from Southhampton to Sydney on Emerald Princess 28/9 – counting down now – and have loved your posts of common places we will be visiting- and revisiting places in South Pacific we cruised in 2013. Thanks for sharing your insights, advice and joy of your travels. Jeanette Lynde

Feeling almost sad as you come towards the end of your wonderful journey. It was great to read all about the fantastic ports, including my home port of Cobh! Hedrick

Amazing! I don’t want your cruise the end. Love it how you balance out your writing with photos.. It makes it such an enjoyable read. Jodie

I’m one of those cranky Baby Boomers who thinks awesome is a word way over used these days. However, your round-the-world cruise seems like it can only be described as, wait for it, awesome. This is a great Round Up post, so we can dip in and read about the places we want to see. Welcome back to the real world. I’m afraid it hasn’t improved any in your absence. Suzanne

All I can say is wow-o-wow! This round the world cruise sounds amazing. I would love to do something like this to celebrate my 60th birthday in a few years. Better start saving now. Also, can’t wait to read your post on Bruge. I’m headed there soon. Judy

Been following your blog since the start, it’s gone quick. Enjoyed seeing your photos and story’s from each port thanks for sharing.

All the best for your last few days on Sea Princess and safe travels home. 🙂

Like so many others, I’ve been following your world cruise and enjoying the photos and descriptions of wherever you happen to be. My husband and I are on the countdown now as we board the Sea Princess when the world cruisers leave her in Sydney. This will be our 4th Princess cruise which is the Northern Explorer cruise from Sydney all the way around to Fremantle visiting many ports on the way, plus one stop in PNG. Such a wonderful way to travel and we’re seeing so many places we’d probably never get to on our own.

I have thoroughly enjoyed reading about your cruise experiences Jo and it has also been a great way to keep up with my parents who are also on the ship but with whom we have limited contact.

Thanks for a great read and pics. Have really enjoyed your big adventure⛴⛴

What an amazing blog I have enjoyed following you on every step of this adventure! Dreaming of @PrincessCruises  Paige

Hi Jo, have enjoyed following your reporting on your amazing journey – I am considering a cruise coming up in September it’s a round trip from Fremantle – treasures of Asia for 26 days on the Sea Princess. I am wondering what your thoughts are – as I may have to go alone – I am unsure of how much will I like it – and whether I’d feel too alone. Jane

NB – Jane booked this cruise

My cruise leaves tomorrow – I’m seriously considering the world cruise next year – will have to find a cabin mate – no single supplement doesn’t help matters. ⚓️   Jane

Fantastic piece of writing to conclude your epic adventure -loved following your journey and wondered how you felt coming home -great to see family and friends again and having your feet firmly on the ground ! Sue

Awesome wrap up Jo!  have been greatly enriched by your travel tales and let’s hope there’s more to come. 🙂 Jules.

What an incredible experience! No doubt leaving felt something like moving to a new city. This [A world cruise] is WAY up on the bucket list now. Gypsy Nesters

Jo, you did a great job with the number of posts you wrote. How amazing to be part of a world cruise. I enjoyed each and every photo you shared and the posts you wrote. I have enjoyed a few cruises and now eager to book another. We were on the inaugural season of Royal Princess and following your journey we can’t pass up on booking the inaugural season for her sister ship, Majestic. Lyn

Jo, we have really enjoyed following your adventure – “where are Jo and Dave today?’ I suggest your next trip is to Antarctica on a small expedition boat – you and Dave would love it!  Jenny

This is a wonderful post to complete your world cruise posts Jo. A behind the scenes, from the heart, a little of what the cruise did for you personally, along with seeing all those amazing destinations. I have enjoyed travelling with you Jo through your posts. You did an amazing job bringing all the destinations to us, and Dave’s photos were fabulous. I’ve just got back from 6 weeks in the Kimberley, and I’m yearning to get away again as soon as I can. I agree, it is too easy in our over 50….umm…over 60… age bracket to lapse into safe havens. There is so much out there to do and experience. I’m not done yet that’s for sure. Thanks Jo for keeping us on track to health and vitality. Jill

Jo I honestly followed you vicariously throughout your epic journey and I kept wondering how being cooped up in a cabin with your husband for such a large stretch of time would go. I found all of the places you visited to be extremely interesting and you did a great job of bringing them to me with your fabulous photos and commentary. You should be exceedingly proud of completing the voyage writing as you went. Such a mammoth effort. It is also wonderful that it gave you time to reflect on your life and make plans for the future. I will be interested to see what is next for you! Kathy

What an epic adventure. I look forward to my voyage next year around the pacific, taking in 10 countries. Thanks for blogs, I found them most interesting. Kim

What an epic trip! I really enjoyed following along and reading about all the fascinating places you visited. When I was struggling with long winter’s days in Victoria, it was nice to read about your adventures and imagine myself in an exotic location just for a bit! Carolyn

Hi Jo, we were on the cruise with you and I came to your wonderful lectures. Thanks for a great blog and interesting tips on how to do my own blog. I was wondering where you got the postcard templates from – I think they are a wonderful idea  Maybe you can do a blog on how to get back to normality after been away for 3.5 months.  Angie

Thank you Jo for enabling me to live vicariously through your adventures and amazing destinations these past few months. I’ve enjoyed every single post. Hope you settle back into your every day life without too many hurdles. Welcome home xx Tania

This is a fabulous resource Jo. What amazing places you have visited over your trip. Incredible. We’ve loved every minute of it with you and your wonderful blog posts. I’m almost tempted to go cruising now. Enjoy being back home and catching up with family and friends. Jill

What a great adventure and a fabulous resource of information Jo!

Thanks for taking us all with you on your round the world voyage ~ Loved reading about all the ports of call and what you got up to in between times while on board. Linda

Enjoy the last days of your cruise Jo. It’s been absolutely fabulous tripping along with you.

Congrats Jo on a wonderfully written piece on your recent World Cruise, which we had the pleasure of sharing many moments with you and Dave. Meeting with you both on shore excursions and around the ship particularly in the Nook of an evening before dinner. We would advise anyone to embark on an adventure such as a World Cruise and would strongly recommend Princess as their onboard activities and wonderful production shows are simply the best. As people who flew everywhere at first and said we would never cruise, this latest cruise was our ninth and not our last, with the Circle the Pacific planned for 2017. Jill and Rod

 

Wonderful photos, Jo. I’ve never been on a Princess Cruise, but your post sure has me wanting to go. Thx so much for sharing. Doreen

Hi Jo, glad to see you made it home safe and sound after your amazing adventure.   I really miss reading your blog every day.   I couldn’t wait for my lunch break each day during the working week just to see where you were both at and what you had been up to In the previous 24 hours.   Thanks so much for taking time out every day to post for us, it would have taken a lot of dedication and we all appreciate your efforts.

Thanks again and All the best, and I’ll pop on to your website from time to time, even though I’m only 40 :-). Jodie

Great tips, Jo. You have great fashion sense. I’ve just bought a few things via your Katies link – look forward to receiving some new summer fashions – Carolyn

Just love your blog, it really entertains me as well as answering questions mature fems have. Bron

Today I received a call from a lady who had been researching our Adventure Wild tour vs the Kimberley Wild tour, as well as the other options available to her.  The lady, Alison was skeptical of (company) websites and the ability to ‘write what you want’ on them.   Alison subsequently found the link to ZigaZag and your stories regarding travelling with us… SOLD!  Thank you for adding credibility and humour, and continuing to sell Adventure Wild through your fantastic anecdotal, well written and well photographed diary.  We love you!!  Simone, Adventure Wild.

Thanks Jo, I love it.  You have captured exactly what it is we do.  It is the most thoughtful and professional review we have received.  I look forward to having a read of more of your site. Regards, Sandy (Legend Charters).

Jo Castro joined us on a media famil to Broome hosted by Mantra Frangipani Resort in conjunction with Qantas.  Not only was Jo a joy to travel with and a thorough professional throughout the famil, her follow up and attention to detail post-famil was exemplary.  She understood the needs of Mantra and Qantas and balanced it perfectly with the desires of her readers to produce a bounty of articles and photographs that engaged her community.  Her communication throughout the process was excellent, consistently keeping us updated with the work she was carrying out so that mutual sharing between our communities could take place.  I would not hesitate to recommend Jo for any tourism initiatives. Yvette Peverell, Media Relations Manager – Australia & New Zealand, Mantra Group

Thanks so much for sending this through. Love the article (on Lifestyle Fifty).   Laura Brown, Senior PR Account Manager, Niche Marketing Group, Sydney.

Hi Jo,  Thanks for you email. Wow, the post looks fabulous and you look stunning! Thank you for approaching us for this opportunity. I will pass this on to Debbie as I’m sure she will be thrilled to see this. Claire Laffan, and Suzie Dunn, Brand Manager, Airflex Shoes

Hi Jo, You are awesome!!  I was just accessing your Blog to read Day Four.  We have had a huge reaction through potential / pending and post guests who are all LOVING your blogs.  We continually request that they comment, however I note that this is not occurring as frequently as your blogs are being read..  still, we hope that the continual hits and ongoing referrals will assist. We had some friends visiting last night & we showed them Dave’s DVD of Adventure Wild, EVERYONE loved it!  We truly appreciate your continual support, promotion and effort regarding Adventure Wild, it is so much more than we anticipated.  Thank you!!!! Simone Kapiteyn, Adventure Wild, www.adventurewild.com.au

You just keep on giving! This is fabulous: http://zigazag.com/riding-camels-on-cable-beach/ Thanks again, Yvette Peverell, Media Relations Manager – Australia & New Zealand

“I completed the Introduction to Blogging Workshop with Jo from Zigazag and thoroughly enjoyed it. I didn’t think learning how to create a Blog would be so much fun and so interesting. Learning all the ‘blog speak’ was also fun and made sense when you knew what it meant!! I found Jo to be very informed about the subject and any questions were answered well and in a way us ‘oldies’ could understand. I recommend this workshop to anyone who wants to use the internet to promote their business or just explore the amazing world of the ‘web’. Thank you Jo.” Kerry

“Fantastic blog to follow with stacks of south west content!” Cory Gale: Marketing and Digital Specialist at Augusta Margaret River Tourism Association

Camille Shirley : A glimpse into a writing and blogging workshop:  Lesson of the Week

Hi Jo! I’m loving your posts and FB fan page 🙂 and so are some of my friends!  I genuinely enjoy your work and also your generousity in reciprocating. Aggie

Love discovering all these beautiful areas in Western Australia. It’s a state one really doesn’t hear much about (at least not here in Europe), you’re doing a marvellous job of marketing it. Sophie (commenting on What everyone should know about the Ferguson Valley)

It’s been a huge pleasure working with you and I look forward to working together on more projects in the future. I’ve been meaning to write to you for a while now. I’m editing your chapter and it looks great! You really did a great job in terms of updating the content and documenting your contacts and impressions. It’s all very professional. Thank you so much! Maggie. Editor, Fodor’s Travel Publications, New York.

“Love this Jo!! So awesome. I love Jeff’s site. Great guest post. Thanks for sharing it. I actually saw that headline somewhere today and thought I must go and read that post and then here it is, it was yours! Never worry about contacting us with a post you want us to share. We love to help out and your work is always quality.” Caz Makepeace

The Free Ebook giveaway on Zigazag for subscribers is great, Jo – lots of wonderful and very useful information and tips and triggers in only 20 pages! Excellent. And a great website. Thanks! Jill.

Today’s “Writing for Publication” workshop was really inspirational! What a lot there is to know.  And how well was the information presented! A big  thank  you to Jo for a really inspiring session. What a well-prepared and in-depth workshop. Denise.

Relevant information, professional knowledge and manner. Great workshop – C.

It was great to have another session with you…….I progress that’s for sure. You certainly do move me along the blogging path:) The points list is a great summary for me……really helpful:) Kim @ Peppermint Lane Lodge

“Kalyra and I are up to chapter 2 in your book and we love it! Such a great story so far, you are a really great writer. “ Caz Makepeace (YTravelBlog and Mojito Mother)

“Thank you so much for your delightful blog post about Donnelly. It really captures everything we love about Donnelly, very much no frills but with a charm of its own. You certainly put in a lot of work, it is very comprehensive” Lee Wallis

Hi Jo, Many thanks for the blog post which I think is excellent. You’ve done a great summary of my talk, together with some interesting anecdotes. Maree Wrack, Champagne Lifestyle on a Beer Budget.

The Caring for our Country Case Studies are great. I’m happy with all the finals and the fantastic work you’ve done. Thank you so much for all your hard work, enthusiasm and professionalism in delivering these case studies, you’ve been brilliant to work with, and I will definitely recommend you for future projects.You have been very thorough in the preparation of the case studies, and your rate is very reasonable for the quality you deliver. Your estimation for the writing of the case studies was pretty spot on. Thanks again for all your hard work! Lauren Lane, South West Catchments Council.

We loved having you at the library and everyone agreed they got a lot out of the introduction to blogging workshop and some people are now talking about doing the next step in blogging. Karen Dennison, Acting Deputy Regional Librarian, City of Bunbury.

I just wanted to thank you for the article on Nannup in the Travel section of the West Australian this week. It was great exposure and well written. Louise Stokes. Shire of Nannup

Yesterday I was battling on with doing the Festival programme brochure and was surprised at the large number of hits on the web site.  I suddenly remembered – this Sunday morning – the Travel section of Saturday’s West and looked it up and there it was. A lovely article with good information in it and enough to tempt visitors into this neck of the woods. Thank you very much. The article has definitely created interest out there and has increased awareness of the Festival. Peta Townsing – Chairman Blackwood Country Gardens Inc.

I understand why you are an award winning writer. The article was really good, and I’m sure you’ll be hearing from me again soon. Paseka S wa Ka-Hlatshwayo – Inventor and entrepreneur.

I came across your article in People Dynamics magazine, “To earn more, be worth more.” I found the article most informative, thank you. Dr Mark Coetzee DBA, FICICE, FAIM, CMC, CIPC. Group Special Projects Manager, The Kelly Group

I wanted to SMS you last night about the Sales Pack. WE LOVE IT! I am excited all over again! Hannelie Hattingh, Business ETC.

10 out of 10. There could be no better. Thanks so much (for the Cape Times editorial) Jo, you are a star. Christel,  Celtic Manor & Spa

Jo has achieved amazing results in marketing me and my business. With the press, Jo has an amazing ablility to work out the right angle that would interest a publication, and submit an article, interview or idea to excite them. She has had a wealth of innovative ideas for promoting my books, cards and myself. After a year in working with Jo, I have been on TV twice and have had articles published in magazines and newspapers, as well as speaking at events that promote my work. That is what I call results! Thank you Jo, for your practical ideas, your structure and your encouragement. You have a magic about you in terms of getting things into the press. Mandy and I were discussing how professional you are. Thank you for all you’re doing. I’m so excited about Oprah Magazine agreeing to look at the book. Ruth Tearle. Author, Consultant, Motivational speaker. www.ruthtearle.com

I had a very interesting hour or so with Jo Castro and wish I had met her a long time ago! Immanuel’s Haven is fortunate to have such an accomplished writer helping them. Colin Vyvyan-Day

It was wonderful to meet you this morning. You have a quiet unassuming strength which is definitely reflected in your writing. Belinda Knight. Chief Executive Officer, The Graduate Institute of Management & Technology, JHB. www.gimt.co.za

Thank you for a beautiful, positively written article! Sharon, Gay Parent, Cape Town.

It’s a pleasure to work with you. It’s great to have found someone who is professional, focused, practical, that I can trust. Sandy Goldberg, Unique Lifestyle. www.uniquelifestyle.co.za

I found your writing workshops interesting, informative and inspiring. I learnt something new every time. The many articles, handouts and contacts have been very useful to me and will also be of particular importance when I go overseas and attempt to write there. Sharon.

I would love to thank you for the inspiration that is your course. I have long yearned not just to write, but to have the motivation to do something with my writing. Courage and a framework within which to exercise that courage, is exactly what your course has gifted me with. Maggi.

Thank you for so much for everything you patiently taught us during the Writing for Magazines workshops. I certainly feel far better equipped than I imagined I’d be. What an enjoyable course! Aneta Shaw, Psychologist

Thanks so much for a very interesting writing course (I feel I am really learning so much) and for providing such a non-threatening environment in which to explore our work. Sandy

Dear Johanna, Thanks for always being perfect. Will contact you soon. Tanya Jovanovski, CEO The Business Network, Greeff Real Estate Commercial Director.

Your marketing workshop was very informative and gave me lots of ideas to use to market my business which I would never have thought of alone. There was lots of detailed information and I now understand how important it is to have a plan in place for marketing, newsletters etc, and it’s all very clear. Deb Fearn, dVine Wine Vacations

Thanks a mill! What can I say. Great editorial! Jean Bulmer, Business Network franchise owner.

Thanks so much for all your help. You were a star and I am so happy with my brochure. Paula Bongers, Proactive Executors, [email protected]

None of this would be happening had it not been for you – you are, and continue to be an inspiration to me. Jane Otton, owner, Celtic Manor Guest House and Spa. www.celticmanor.co.za

It’s an excellent article Jo! I just know, yet again, that what we are doing is absolutely right and I am even more passionate about my job. You are making a difference, and I shall be looking out for your articles. Esna, Private Social Worker, Paarl.

So thanks for your wisdom and for thinking ahead. I am so chuffed how it came out, and how easy you made it for me and have already sold some books as a result. Ruth Tearle, Strategy and Change Management Consultant. www.changedesigns.co.za

I was very moved by the topic written in People Dynamics, Vol 24, No.6. I must say this is excellent and practical in the Corporate world and it also gives an insight about individuals and transforming organization. Khanylso Patrick Manjezi, HR Consultant.