News and views

Intern takeover!

This time, our excellent intern Kelsey takes over, blogging about what makes a good internship…

From that very first morning, when 400 eager undergraduate business students bundled into the lecture hall, we were confronted with all the possibilities of our future. Our lecturer stood front-centre stage and preached about how important these next few years would be as a basis for our careers; that we should take advantage of every opportunity Edinburgh provided us; and most emphatically, threatened us with the consequences of failing to achieve that all-important… Internship!! *cue dramatic music

So you can imagine my relief when I heard that I had been accepted for a placement with Skylark PR. The prospect of having life-long unemployment was already starting to seem less likely! However, in the run up to my first day, I began thinking about what I actually wanted to take from this opportunity, other than an impressive paragraph in my CV and a couple of newly added connections on my LinkedIn page. It led me to wonder what the ‘ideal’ internship really is, and if you’re not lucky to have been offered this, how do you make the most of the work experiences you are given?

It wasn’t until I was in the car, en route to Skylark, that the nerves started to kick in. My dad, a businessman himself who has hired several interns over the years, began reeling off some basic tips for my first day: don’t be afraid to ask questions if you don’t understand something; don’t be afraid to approach other employees and ask what their job involves; don’t be afraid to take the initiative and put forward your own ideas…All good advice, but all requiring me to overcome those fateful words: being afraid.

As interns we are terrified of letting our employer down; of being a disappointment. No matter how many times we are told not to worry, that ‘’everyone has to start somewhere’, we hone in on our own lack of experience and expertise.

Perhaps it is this fear that ultimately prevents us from making the most of our internships; that it is our job to create the ‘ideal’ internship, rather than the employers.

I must admit, as I walked through the entrance into Skypark, my expectations were fairly low and perhaps a little cliched. I did expect to gain an overall understanding of what PR entailed, with the hope of achieving some insight into other fields such as advertising and branding, however, in simple terms, I thought my role would be nothing more than a glorified errand runner.

Oh how wrong I was! Not one coffee or tea did I make, nor did I spend any time at a printer, copying pages and pages of press releases that I would have nothing further to do with. From the get-go I was considered part of the team, given a desk, a Skylark email account and a cute little Acer laptop to work with. In fact, I got a shock when I found out my first task was to write the introduction for an in-house magazine. In my last two years at Edinburgh University I must have written at least 20,000 words for various pieces of coursework; yet writing this 100 word summary of exactly what I had in front of me seemed nothing less than daunting. It was my first chance to prove it wasn’t a waste of their time taking me on, so in my mind this piece of writing must rival the wording of Dickens and the poetic flow of Shakespeare.

After the task was completed, the fear of failure began to dissipate and I was able to relax into my role. My days consisted of both writing and following up on press releases, as well as communicating with clients and various media outlets. It was when I attended my first corporate event that I noticed a transition from ‘playing PR assistant’ to actually feeling part of the team.

Alongside Pauline and Lisa’s kind and down-to-earth natures, I attribute the benefits I gained from this experience, to the fact that Skylark is a relatively small company. There was ample opportunity for one-to-one time, where I felt I could ask questions without being judged. Personally, starting off in a massive corporation along the lines of your PwCs or KPMGs, would have simply overwhelmed me; put me off even.

The office presents a calm and informal atmosphere. As it is open plan, there were a variety of different companies that share the space. I was told at times they collaborated with one another and that I could speak to the other employees to find out what they do, and ask for their advice. It is these sorts of introductions that are invaluable, and cannot be taught in a textbook. Being given the chance to make connections is worth so much more than simply studying the theory; after all, nowadays it seems that to get a job it’s as much about who you know as it is about what you know!

Looking back on my time at Skylark, it’s quite clear that my expectations of being a lowly errand-runner were somewhat different to my actual experience as their Intern. We want a chance to learn more about the areas that excite us in business; to have that ‘Aaaah!’ moment where we can tie in what we’ve learnt in our lectures and actually apply it to a real life situation; to communicate with experts in the industry that actually seem interested in helping us along the way…

Lisa and Pauline have proved that this is not too much to ask for!

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We Don’t Need no… Motivation

On pondering what my latest post would rail against (I do ponder these things, in a rare moment of quiet) , the office radio plays We Don’t Need No Education. Kanken No.2 Baratas Which, in my internal jukebox – which probably needs to go to a jukebox therapist – always seems to come out as: We Don’t Need No Motivation. It’s funny how your internal jukebox can be a sneaky little barometer of your opinions. It often occurs to me as I go about my daily business that I’ll be humming a bit of Pharrell (Happy) or, more regularly, We Are Never, Ever, getting back Together. Depending on how that day’s going, clearly. More often than not, our internal karaoke machine reflects what’s going on in the darkest recesses of our brains. (This is, obviously, backed up by my Very Scientific Indeed Research) So back to, We Don’t Need No Motivation. This refers to something that irritates the hell out of me on social networking sites. “Yay! You are the strongest person you know!” “Life is what you make it! Live it!” “Don’t be a copy! Be the vest version of you!” Whit?! I often seriously wonder whether the people who post these things actually read and digest these trite Clinton Card sentiments. Adidas Shop van Nederland But that’s not really the point. If people enjoy reading these things, good for them. Cheap Fjallraven Kanken No.2 If it makes you feel good about your day, good for you. goedkoop nike air max 2016 You’re less of a cynic than I am, and your day may well be filled with rainbows and pixies. But why do you assume that everyone you know (or at least, everyone on your Facebook page), needs an equal dose of motivation; and feel the need to inflict your virtual Prozac on everyone else? Here’s the thing – when one of these little gems pops up on my timeline, I feel a little offended. Comprar Nike Air Max Why do you think I need motivated? Do you think I need some help to get through my day, in the form of a misspelt, badly executed PowerPoint meme generated by someone who’s clearly never learnt the basics of grammar? Do you think that unless I see a CGI of an angel with an affirmation badly superimposed on it, I might just stay in bed all day eating spaghetti hoops and forget how to get dressed in the morning? Will the meme suddenly result in an explosion of enthusiasm, Green Goddess style motivation and a whole new Go get ‘em attitude that might make me apply for Big Brother and run up Sauchiehall Street hurdling plant pots and getting selected for the next Olympics? Maybe it would. Maybe I need to spend a day not reading memes just for the hell if it, and see what happens. Or are you just projecting? Feel the love.

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Patrick’s view: the ‘No’ camp – throwing good money after bad

A few weeks ago I was idly surfing Twitter when an advert popped into my timeline from an account called @youdecide2014. Fjallraven Kanken Big If you take a look at its profile you’ll see the words ‘Scottish Referendum’, along with a cool blue colour scheme and some rather neutral language on an often feisty debate. nike air max 90 homme pas cher It only takes a few minutes of reading the content, however, before you discover that rather than there to simply inspire debate, this account is representing the UK government’s view that Scotland and the rest of Britain is stronger united. air max pas cher This rather disingenuous Twitter account is pretty symptomatic of the perceived failures of the ‘Better Together’ campaign. While the ‘Yes’ camp has seen a groundswell of grassroots support, with many disparate groups who differ on countless views coming together on the point that matters, the ‘No’ camp seems to have focussed on the strategy of government-funded Twitter mouthpieces and official-looking people standing in front of cameras repeatedly telling the people of Scotland what a disaster self-government would be. sneakers blanc Homme Asics Someone ought to tell them that chief executives of financial institutions and mortgage-flipping politicians do not quite hold the same authority and respect that they did several years ago, and that rubbishing every idea that comes out of the ‘Yes’ camp is a not a particularly inspiring cause to get behind. As the campaign becomes increasingly bitter and desperate it’s hard to shake off the feeling that behind every new pro-UK group there is a big-money businessman with vested interests – for example, the recently launched Vote No Borders website, which aims to be a platform for ordinary pro-UK supporters, was funded in part by a millionaire business investor from Greenock (its media fanfare might also have had something to do with its ties to a London-based PR firm). Fjallraven Kanken Mini The positivity and endless possibility of the idea of a ‘Yes’ vote in Scotland was always going to appear on the surface a more attractive option, but in accentuating the negative and not focussing on what makes us ‘British’ the ‘No’ camp might have committed a communications calamity that will be difficult to recover from. Never mind the fact that both camps seem to be making it up as they go along: when it’s a straight up choice between the dour negativity of Alistair Darling and the ‘jam tomorrow’ smiles from Salmond et al, it’s not surprising to see the ‘Yes’ vote creeping up in the polls. Soldes Nike Pas Cher Of course, viewing the debate through the distorted prism of Twitter can be rather misguided. Young left-leaning people dominate Twitter and young left-leaning people are largely positive towards independence, so it’s easy to come to the conclusion that the ‘Yes’ camp will eventually win out. Older Scots and those who decline to get involved with ‘twibbons’ and ‘hashtags’ will be the ones who really decide Scotland’s future on 18th September.

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A new viewpoint: guest blog from Patrick Douglas, new Skylarker

A new day dawns, and with it an exciting new career into the mad world of PR. For the first time in what feels like a lifetime I will wake up with birdsong in my ears, muesli in my mouth and my feet aboard a bus in the direction of a pleasingly unfamiliar destination: full-time employment.

Am I bigging this up? You might think so, with your pension and your sick pay and your daily commute. When you’ve spent as long as I have sending off CV’s and when a ‘thanks but no thanks’ reply arrives you’re not disappointed but just happy to have been acknowledged; when you’ve spent so long in front of TV game shows you begin to understand who their target audiences are and why their names are so (University Challenge, The Chase, Pointless); when you think of all the pretty things you could have bought with the money you blew on your fancy piece of paper you got from the nice man in the gown – no amount of exaggeration can overdo how great it feels to finally get a job.

After three months searching in the graduate job market it’s become clear that the system is not fit for purpose. Thousands of young people have been convinced that after three years of hard drinking and dozing off in lectures there will be a perfect, and exciting new job at the end of it. After endless applications, online questionnaires and assessment centres, if you’re lucky to be employed by the time you leave university be prepared to sit in the corner of a large room where nobody remembers your name and be left with a confusing, contradictory and unfulfilling workload.

Those who aren’t so lucky have to apply for unpaid internships where the criteria seems to be based on how much time you’re willing to give up and whether you have loved ones nearby with whom you can stay (even better if you have a loved one in the office!). Those who don’t have the option of free accommodation are frozen out of the market, as are those who think it’s a little bit rich of enormous companies to work young graduates to death for nothing with no guarantee of a job at the end of it. (Actually, it’s unfair to suggest all young graduates are worked to death – at a recent interview I was given the ‘practical exercise’ of typing up a letter. Thank God I spent all those years at university otherwise I’d be hopefully unprepared!)

Most of us get stuck in a rut of applying, feeling sorry for yourself, watching daytime television, receiving a rejection and then watching some more daytime television. Occasionally there’ll be a period of good fortune (two interviews and one phone interview in a week!) and you dream that this pointless existence is over. And then before you’ve even had the chance to consider where you might go for lunch at your new job it’s a ‘no’ from all of them, and you’re back where you started: depressed, desperate, and watching daytime television.

So that is why I’m inordinately happy to begin a new job with Skylark PR. Those who have not been unemployed for an extended period of time should not comment as if they know what it is like to be jobless in Britain in 2013. To all those still going at it, applying for jobs for which you are massively unqualified, retitling serving burgers at McDonald’s to ‘Senior Flame Operator’ and shouting at TV quiz show contestants for not knowing the capital of Peru, I wish you good luck. You’ll need it in spades.

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Real Women? Give me strength…

Anyone who knows me, and my tendency to have a bit of a rant, will no doubt at some stage have heard my Death to the Dove tirade; but for those lucky souls who’ve not yet been cornered by me and made to listen to my ire about (what I call) ‘Real Woman Marketing’, here goes:

Historically, beauty industry advertisers created the template ‘ideal’ woman for other women to aspire to. This woman was traditionally the ‘supermodel-type’ – think Cindy Crawford; or these days, the one with the big eyebrows. That is to say: completely unachievable. We were NEVER going to be her, but we aspired to being her. The gap between the ‘normal’ woman and the ‘fantasy woman’ was the space where product sales lay: buy our products and you will be on your way to being her.

Over the years, women got clued up and realised that, let’s face it, even Cindy Crawford doesn’t actually look a lot like Cindy Crawford. Mainly thanks to the Internet, us ladies realised that Cindy is basically the result of more airbrushing than a grafiti project and some very flattering soft lighting. So, we wondered: what’s the point of buying these products, when we’ll never reach that holy grail, because the holy grail doesn’t really exist?

Oh dear, think the ad execs. These little women are realising that, actually, the template woman is not real. This means they can see the lie in the way we are selling our products. What will we do to make them start worrying their pretty little heads again about looking like models in magazines?

I know… Let’s make that ‘template’ woman a little more achievable. Let’s use REAL women, so the gap between ‘template’ and ‘reality’ is narrowed (but still there of course). Let women think, hmmmm, actually, I CAN be like the template woman, because she’s real and she exists. If only I buy the products.

But HERE’S THE THING – the ‘real’ women they are using, are not really that real. OK, they might be a size 10 instead of a six 0. But that’s pretty much it. None with acne / deformity / remotely unattractive. So the gap between reality and fantasy still exists, we’re just having it sold to us that these are normal women. THEY’RE NOT. They’re just a size or two bigger and maybe not quite as structured. Many of them come via modelling agencies.

When we’re being spoonfed the ‘real women’ myth by advertisers, such as Dove, which is my real bugbear, it’s NOT being created by some cosy little network of ‘real’ ladies in a room. It’s hard-nosed, mainly male, marketing execs who want to maintain the existence of a template woman, with a gap between them and reality, in which products can be sold. Because without this gap, THERE WOULD BE NO BEAUTY INDUSTRY.

I liked the old style adverts, because let’s fact it, we all knew we were never going to look like Cindy Crawford. But the new advertising, whether it’s plus-sized mannequins (oh whatever, size 10) or Dove’s ‘real beauty’ is simply a ploy to re-package a template woman, move the goalposts and sell products. It’s insidious.

Dove, if you really want to start supporting Real Women, stop polluting the environment and pull your ads from Facebook until they stop content showing women and children being battered and abused.. Apparently you have been asked to do this, and have refused. Support real women, and then I might start buying your brand.

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Wonga and credit unions: the danger of publicity

It seems impossible nowadays to turn on the TV without chancing upon an advert for a new payday lender, usually involving eye-catching puppets, CGI characters and cartoons to distract attention away from their eye-watering APRs. bestellen schoenen nike air max 2016 goedkoop Mochilas Kanken España Likewise there’s been an explosion in golden balls appearing above doors on the high street as pawnbrokers take advantage of the ever-increasing number of potential customers desperate for quick cash. There are many reasons why Wonga and its ilk have grown so rapidly: the recession, the most uncaring Westminster government of recent times, banks’ unwillingness to hand out credit cards and people’s changing attitudes to payday lenders. Another reason is a simple one: brilliant advertising. Wonga, for example, has been arousing titters in cinemas across the country with its humourous depiction of sexed-up geriatric puppets. nike air max 2016 goedkoop Its soothing blue logo appears on football players’ shirts as well as on the sides of buses and TV screens. nike air max This charm-offensive is all in aid of gaining public confidence in its product: easy to get money that’s not so easy to pay back. Nike Air Max 2016 Heren Wonga’s cutesy advertising campaign sits at odds with the reality of debt collectors knocking at your door and the barrage of criticisms it has taken from public figures. Fjällräven Kånken Ryggsäck Earlier this year the Archbishop of Canterbury claimed he wanted to run Wonga out of town by setting up a loan company managed by the Church. Fjällräven Kånken Big Goedkope Nike Air Max 2017 Dame Just this week a news story appeared telling of a 12 year old boy who was mistakenly sent a letter by Wonga offering him a £400 loan. Goedkoop Adidas Schoenen With MP Stella Creasy staking her claim as Wonga critic extraordinaire, it seems like the legal loan shark’s public image couldn’t take much more of a battering. And yet profits are increasing all the time for the multi-million pound firm. The faltering economy is one explanation of the company’s success, as is the effective advertising. But even when Wonga suffered its harshest criticisms in the public sphere some have, perhaps rightly, claimed this has had an adverse effect on discouraging people away from payday lenders. If you’re desperate for cash and you hear that there are companies that can ping it into your bank account in a matter of minutes, you’re not going to think about what some shouty politician thinks. It’s a shame then that even in public debates a potential saviour of the situation gets little coverage: credit unions. Goedkoop Air Max 2016 Schoenen For those who haven’t heard of them (and why would you when they can’t afford the advertising?), credit unions are small non-profit financial organisations set up by members with something in common to benefit their community. Unlikely to charge the astrononmical APR rates of other payday lenders, they are run by local shareholders for the mutual benefit of their members. These organisations usually don’t maintain effective social media profiles or pay millions to sponsor football teams, but they are a more understanding alternative for those in desperate need of quick cash. It is unfortunate to see a supremely effective ad campaign used for such nefarious purposes. sac à dos kanken fjallraven pas cher If only credit unions could afford some London suit-and-tie to come up with a catchy name and logo.

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I’m a Barbie girl, in a non-Barbie world

Last week was the week that, under severe social media pressure, Boots un-gender specified its toys; following an outcry that its chemistry kits were branded divisively, as ‘boys’ toys’. Nike Air Max 90 Pas Cher It was also the week that I stood in the Disney-esque (OK, my other mum pal calls it Disneyland because it’s got moving walkways, we like cheap thrills) Clydebank Asda with my three year old daughter as she stood transfixed by a whole, shiny department of Barbies and her myriad life accessories: palatial house, beach condo, cat, plastic husband and power-base Pentagon-style office. It’s also the week I mused as to where Barbie sat, exactly, within my mindset – how healthy, really, is it to introduce a completely symmetrical plastic blonde to a three year old girl, and should I even be allowing her to look at toys that are categorised as ‘girls toys’ – and realised that, if I’m honest, I’d spent a pretty vast chunk of my childhood obsessing over Barbie and all she represented; whilst ended up a Greer-loving feminist. Slight disconnect, no? Whilst other mums are thrilled at the happy reunion of so-called ‘boy’ and ‘girl’ toys, and I applaud that, I just ended up wondering why we automatically (read: depressingly and predictably) assume ‘girls toys bad, boys toys good’. Scarpe Nike Italia Thinking back, I lived a childhood that, let’s be straight, heavily involved a Stepford Wives-esque unblinking doll with fully unachievable statistics and candyfloss hair yet ended up a feminist, which actually, I don’t think is a dirty word. Nike Air Max 2016 Dames wit I do realise that there are plenty of other factors at play here; but I recall pretty much every girl in my class at the time having an equal fascination. Nike Air Max 2016 Dames Zwart (don’t deny it girls. nike pas cher You did. I promise.) And although the boys of the time were all about BMX and Super Mario, I have to admit that most of them haven’t really grown up into screaming misogynists who truly believe that every woman should be a plastic doll at heart. Not that I know, that is. adidas y3 pas cher Was it because our childhood-eyes view of Barbie was the that she represented women being able to achieve anything they frigging wanted? Business Barbie, Mechanic Barbie, Undertaker Barbie, Running the country Barbie?? Perhaps Barbie led us little girls to believe that having very feminine characteristics didn’t actually rule us out of anything? Can’t girls be attractive, smart, intelligent and fabulous? We seem to be told regularly now that feminist traits = Not Being Able To Do Much At All.

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Blurred vision

Blur’s megamix at the 2012 Brits. Blast from the past? I was hit straight away by their complete incongruity against the hyper-produced X-Factor dross pumped out like slick sausage meat from the Simon Cowell clone school of dance. Rough around the edges and shouty – especially, and quite rightly so, Phil Daniels on Parklife – against the grain of the Stepford vocals and precise choreography that beams robotically from music channels and Sugar magazine these days. Blur was certainly ‘of its time’ and this time is sure not now, and that makes me dog-sad because Blur is about five hundred squillion times better than One Wanted JLS Direction. And I thought to myself, what’s happened to us? To music, to TV, to Blur, to me. nike air max 2017 pas cher femme Are we all just a little over-produed now? Life used to be a little bit more ragged round the edges. air max pas cher pour homme We live in a high-production-value, high-definition, surround-sound, 3D, hi-vis, high-perfection, highly pornographised world. Nike Air Max 2016 Dames Groen It’s all a little bit slick and managed and produced and we all work hell-hard make our lives look a little bit smoother than they actually are. My life? It’s often quite staged and reasonably well-produced, with the occasional bit of wonky scenery falling askew and the odd extra not reading their lines quite right. Just after I’d had a baby, the health visitors – visiting at first daily – told me matter-of-factly that with my immaculate baby and immaculate flat and immaculate return to work days after the birth, I would definitely have a nervous breakdown. I said I wouldn’t and I didn’t, but probably – although I didn’t realise it at the time – I walked a fine line. I was under so much pressure to create what I saw in magazines; a staged home, super-skinniness days after having a baby; a dust-free flat stocked with organic food. The pressure was all mine, but pressure so it was. Some of these things I achieved, but I nearly lost my mind doing it. In days gone by we were not expected to have an immaculate child; in fact conventional wisdom told that a pair of muddy dungarees and a grubby face meant that you’d had a good day. Times have changed and even now I feel my anxiety levels rising if I’m seen in public with a food-smeared infant. That’s not healthy but it’s part of the stage direction of modern life. I wonder whether we in PR are particularly susceptible to this. Kanken Mini Baratas Accustomed as we are to creating a smooth environment; negativity erased; positive comments rule; photoshoots showing glowing and healthy families and Photoshop wipes out our blemishes and our worries. We create scented synthetic little bubbles of a perfect life; these bubbles often drift slyly into our real lives. Sometimes the line between the ideal parallel universes that we manufacture for our clients and real life, are blurred. Scarpe Nike But Damon, you brought me back.

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Of myths and men

Once upon a time (September, to be precise) a lovely young lady stepped into Skylark PR’s tower (block) to find out about the world of PR, as she was considering it as a career upon graduating. We’d agreed to chat to her about the industry, and answer any questions she had, as well as dispel any myths about her potential future career. Which got me to thinking… (yep, we have a billboard so we’re allowed at least a little Bradshaw-esque musing)… what do people really think about the industry we work in? So this month, we’ve set to dispelling the top five myths about the life of a PR… Myth 1: We all drink Champagne. Every day. The truth: Champagne ceased to exist in about 2009. This pretty much coincided with clients telling us that money didn’t grow on trees, budgets were being made as skinny as the average fashion PR intern, and that sparking wine was a reasonable alternative. To be honest, in my experience, the majority of PR revelling and carousing was done by a certain age group who entered the PR industry when Edina Monsoon was considered the epitome of public relations excess. The younger generation, from what I’ve observed, take their work more seriously, don’t pull sickies, and don’t occasionally go straight to work in the morning from an event the night before. Goedkoop Air Max Nike Neither do we, of course. These days. Myth 2: You get passes for every glam event in town. The truth: Very occasionally, something exciting comes up and a ticket will find its way into your jammy hands. If this ever happens, don’t eBay it, be grateful, use it, make the most of it and enjoy it. Because these days, it’s all to rare. Once again, budgets for everything are at a premium. So if you’re ever lucky enough to get a ticket for something, don’t ask too many questions and never look a gift horse in the mouth. Myth 3: You spend most of your day getting shouted at indiscriminately by irate journalists The truth: Yes, it does happen, but if it does, it will probably, usually, be your own fault. Most journalists are lovely, rationale, normal people who are under pressure like everyone else. If you phone them up and tell them something incorrect or promise them an exclusive and can’t deliver it, chances are they will be p*ssed off and that’s noone’s fault but your own. But generally speaking, like every other industry out there, most people are pretty nice. Myth 4: Although lots of women do the day-to-day jobs in PR agencies, the majority are run by men further up the chain. The truth: Difficult one this, because there’s actually a lot of truth in this. At every big agency we’ve worked for, the CEOs / senior management team have been pretty much exclusively men. Nike Air Max 2016 Dames blauw Much of this is due to the usual and inexcusable reasons that this scenario happens in industries across the world… lack of childcare for women, career breaks to have kids, and so on. But – and this is a big BUT – there are a lot of agencies springing up run by women, and very amazing women at that. nike pas cher There are many formidable ladies in this industry who have broken through every barrier. They’re our inspiration, keep them as yours too. Which leads us nicely onto… nike air max 2016 wit Myth 5: Hardly any men work in PR. The truth: Weeeeeeelllll…..apart from the above (The Men who Run the Agencies), yep, there is a distinct dearth of boys working in PR. Perhaps it’s just not really promoted to them as a valid career choice at school; perhaps it’s a self fulfilling destiny whereby few men work in the industry and therefore few men WANT to work in the industry. But the men I have seen working in PR, in non-CEO positions, have been superb. They bring different qualities to the agencies and create a different dynamic in a very female dominated sector. Mochilas Fjallraven Kanken We need more men in the PR world. The end.

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Cruel runnings (2)

First session today with The Personal Trainer. Let’s call him Nick, because that’s his name. I have to confess that pre-session, I’d already worked myself into a combative mood. Chaussures Under Armour Probably because literally everyone who has ever tried to instruct me in anything – driving, scuba diving, maths – has ended up in a combative situation with me. I don’t do well taking orders (even when I’m paying the person to GIVE me the orders) and I have a low threshhold for not being able to achieve things the first time round. So going into a first training session with a Bianca Butcher attitude didn’t bode well. chaussures nike pas cher It was also scorching outside which meant that all the people who don’t go to work (can’t really think of another way to put that) would be in the park, cracking open either the Superbrew or the rose wine depending on which side of the park they came from, and doing squats in front of people who already locally think I’m eccentric (another story) wasn’t really appealing. I also had to hand in my homework (aka food sheet) for the last week, which although I thought I’d done quite well, included ‘full bag of liquorice allsorts’, pasta pretty much every night (yep. I’m adventurous) and a whole meal that comprised sweetcorn. air max pas cher Bless Nick, he hid his bemusement well. So off we set, to a stunningly hot park. adidas uk for sale Nick breaks into a gentle jog (for him) and I huff and puff but just manage to keep up. I can tell he’s being kind though. First sessions, he says, are about assessing fitness levels and trying out the equipment, not pushing yourself to vomiting / heart attack levels. We get to a nice, quiet sunny spot (luckily pretty devoid of beer-swigging onlookers) and Nick rolls out his equipment – a ladder, a tension belt that ties to a tree (no doubt I will come to learn the proper names of these things in time) and some boxing gloves. And off we go. It’s fair to say that my fitness levels are pretty diabolical, but Nick found a good balance of encouraging me but not pushing me too hard. To my surprise I wasn’t tempted to strop around, take umbridge or huff off, and I have to say that he is due a fair amount of credit for this. Fundamentally for me, he didn’t pass one comment on how I looked, or should look, or could look, the focus was on the exercise. This was absolutely vital for me as it bypassed my body anxieties and I didn’t even feel the demons rising. Boxing was the best. adidas pas cher THE BEST. I want to do it all the time now and I think Nick may have created a monster. Although he did tell me several times to raise my arms and elbows to his level and I had to mutter that actually my bloody arms didn’t actually GO any higher because I’m only bloody short. I learned that boxing is awesome. I learned that exercising outdoors is actually ok and noone really looks at you. Goedkoop Adidas Y-3 I learned that I don’t really like worms (where were they all coming from?!) and Nick doesn’t really like dogs but that the park’s the best place ever in the sunshine anyway and you don’t have to be a member of an expensive gym to get fit. I learnt that you can get really buzzing from boxing. I’m going to go again.

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