Oprah Wannabe

Thursday, 3 December 2009


Screen grab of me - don't laugh I'm in the middle of talking hence the expression!

Three weeks ago (Monday 9th) I was asked by The Prince’s Trust if I would like to do a radio and TV interviews on Radio 5 Live and BBC News. My initial reaction was “hell yes” what brilliant PR this will be for the business (Emi & Ben) as well as for me as an aspiring business woman. Then moments later it started to sink in... “live radio and television”. Oh my god.
I had less than 24 hours to get nervous about it which I think was a blessing in disguise, had I had time to fret I probably would have drove myself crazy.

Anyhow the opportunity came about as a result of some research the Prince’s Trust had commissioned which showed young people were still setting up new businesses despite the recession, this is where I came in as they wanted me to talk about my experiences and the challenges (if any) I faced whilst setting up Emi & Ben during the current financial climate. There was also another angle to the story as one of the broadsheets had been privy to a leaked Labour document which stated the party were going to axe training budgets for young people. The Prince’s Trust Marketing and Communications Director Paul Brown (what a lovely man) was made available to comment on this aspect, so at least I wasn’t doing the interviews alone.

Morning came around quick, I was awake by 3am, ready for my 4.30am pick up from Add & Lee which was taking me straight to the BBC studio in White City. I felt quite alert and I wasn’t as nervous as I thought I’d be.

When I arrived at the reception I was met by one of the show’s runners and taken straight up to the studio area. The Paul soon arrived with the PR Manager (Lucy – again another lovely person – actually everyone I’ve ever met at the Prince’s Trust are genuine nice people, must be part of the hiring criteria). Within 15 minutes we were in the studio, put in our positions with our mics all set. We were being interviewed on the Monday breakfast show ‘Wake up to Money’, so it was no surprise that the two presenters seemed quite serious people, nothing like my usual breakfast presenters of ‘Choice’ Martin and Lucy.

The entire interview ended up being approx 5 – 7 minutes long with me talking for most of it and it was fine... I didn’t have anything to worry about. The presenters asked me general questions like why I started the business and how I found running a business during the recession, etc and they even gave me good plugs at the beginning and the end of the interview ; name checking the business and our locations of trading.

The presenter decided he’d like to wrap up the interview by asking me what advice I would give to any budding entrepreneurs out there who were listening, to which I commented on them going out to get experience in their field and that they should know their craft inside out. My mouth then continued to talk and I ended with some stupid, cringe worthy line saying “knowledge is power”. I thought vomit was about to fall on my lap as the word “power” rolled off my tongue. All I could think of was “twat, twat, twat”. I mean it may not sound like anything now, but if you heard it in the context of how I said it you would understand. I mean my whole family and friends cracked up laughing altogether when they came over to my house the same evening for a ‘surprise’ screening of both pieces (as arranged sweetly by my not so better half – just playing babe!), so I know I sounded like a complete moron.

After a few hours down time we were back in the studio this time in the television side of the building for the BBC News live interview. As we sat in greenroom having our make up done (yeah, I know I ain’t no superstar but yes I had it done and I’m glad I did as the guy who went in before me had a forehead that was shining for miles and he didn’t look like that seconds before he went in, so I now completely understand why make up is needed for TV). Anyway I digress, none other than the champ David Hayes walk in (he is still fine in real life)... as it was two days after he had won his fight against the beast (the opponents name escapes me) in Germany, so he was in to talk about his win. Nothing more to add about David except for he is fine.

When it was our turn to go into the studio, they called us in led us to be seated whilst the news headlines were rolling and then cued us that they’d start the interview once the Berlin Wall anniversary story was over. All I could see was my big head in the monitors in front; that really put me off! I nearly burst our laughing as all I could see was my boyf and my good friends Fiona and Delali taking the piss out of the size of my head (like they always do)... I had to re focus quick.

To close this story which seems to now be dragging out, the TV interview went well, I don’t think I appeared nervous and I said what I needed to say – well actually in all the talking I did I didn’t say the flipping company name! I even had a jar of one of the body butters on the table, but was concentrating so much on what I was saying that I forgot to pick it up to sneakily show off the branding! Cha... next time, I’m sure there will be many more, I don’t intend to stop there – no way.

Thursday, 14 May 2009


The start of this week was really good, work wise. I had made progress with some new business leads for the PR side of things, getting closer to contracts being signed off. Also one of the other ongoing projects was ticking over nicely and I was now beginning to see my ‘hard graft’ being worth it. Fast forward to today and I’m wondering what have I let myself in for. Leaving an extremely well paid job within a highly successful agency to go it alone and start up other ventures too? Was I stupid? Now I have to work every single god damn day if I want to see money a pay cheque at the end of each month, with no real holiday entitlement or sick pay arranged. Doesn’t matter if ‘boss lady’ may have interfered with my sleep, leaving me to survive on 2 hours or more (which has been the case twice this week and last), or better yet, if I’m not feeling well – I’ve got to still pick myself up, dust myself off and get on with it.
Cha’, I suppose I’m just feeling the strain and having a dud day? All I want is for the ‘stress’ to go away immediately. Not in a month, not in 6 months, just right now. I suppose I should just “Breathe slow, count from 1 to 10”? I’m so feeling your tune right now Alesha.

Tuesday, 31 March 2009


So, I’ve got a client presentation that requires my undivided attention. I have some fashion news for one of my clients which I need to pitch to ALL national fashion journalists, from directors to assistants and I have some legal documentation I need to sort for one of my other business ventures. To top it off, boss lady has caught some friggin’ eye infection so I’m having to keep her at home (as I don’t want my nephew to catch it if they’re both at my parents house). If that wasn’t enough I have a sick man home too and whilst he isn't 'asking' for me to do much for him, you know that is not what he is thinking or how he would like it to be.

Sick man is too sick to look after daughter so I’m having to do so, which just means plenty of attention, playing, carrying, playing and so on, whilst trying to balance getting ‘some’ work done. I would normally not bother attempting to juggle the two, as if she’s normally sick, as her mother I like to be the one to look after her. However, those motherly actions need to be dashed out the window this week, as it’s very important for me to complete these tasks ASAP!

So Lord, if ever I prayed I needed you to split me into two people – this is the time to grant that prayer please. Or you could just give me my red cape, (with an ‘S’ on my chest) and make me Superwoman, as it’s become apparent, so many people think I am already.

Which ever you decide please let it be done by 7am tomorrow morning… thank you.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009


Why is it I constantly hear myself moaning about how hard it is to achieve and maintain a quality lifestyle in the UK without killing yourself doing so? All I want is to be able to maintain a beautiful home (a la Grand Designs), enjoy at least one long haul holiday per year with my family (excluding the weekends away with the girls which I’m happy to do every six months or so). Enjoy regular spending sprees for things I desire and may not necessary need. I think you get my drift right?

I don’t believe I EVER heard either of my parents complain about any aspect of their jobs, whilst they raised my brother, sister and I, so why is it different with me and my friends now? We’re all hardworking, like I mean, really hardworking – as per my parents, but again I say, they never use to moan. Well never in front of us kids. If my 1 year old daughter could speak now, she would run her mouth about how I moan about ‘how hard it all is working and maintaining a decent lifestyle in the UK’… I’d probably have to slap her face to shut her up. So I ask, what’s the difference from the days when our parents were on the daily grind and now? Or maybe there isn’t any difference and we’re just not as strong as our parents were back in the day?
I ask this question as I recently found myself blubbering on the train home from working at a client’s office, solely for the reason of me finding the day so tiring as well as depressing (Watching people commute to work , rushing like robots seriously depresses me. Try watching people tomorrow from when you arrive at your home train station and I’m sure you’ll know what I mean). Granted, I was ill with a chest infection, however it didn’t warrant a grown woman sobbing (I’m not lying, I had tears rolling down my face), on a packed train, whilst making the journey to my parents house to pick up the little miss. I suppose it also didn’t help that a journey which should have taken 1 hour and 15 minutes, ended up taking 2 hours 30 minutes, due to parts of the Northern Line being suspended. But still I ask ‘was this a reason to cry the way I did?’

When I arrived at my parents, I was greeted by my older brother, Mum and my daughter. My brother took one look at my face and said ‘what’s wrong sis’, to which I replied ‘I’m tired. I’m just so tired’ then preceded to cry again whilst propped up at the bottom of the stairs in the hallway. ‘Oh, I forgot I failed to mention earlier in this post this was only my SECOND day working in-house as a freelance consultant for this PR agency; (you know the agency I mentioned in my last post), so what the hell was going on with me! I can laugh about it now, but I tell you, had you’d seen me on the train or saw me at my parents house, I was inconsolable, the whole of my chin was wet with tears.

So back to the question, I don’t think it makes me weak having this mini ‘drama queen’ moment. I just think our parents were more tolerable back in the day with the BS life threw at them. I also think these two days in particular, took me back to a place where I don’t EVER care to be again. I think the most important lesson I learnt was that it made me realise how lucky I am to live the life I currently live. Being self employed comes with its own negatives; however after stepping back into my old world for only 48 hours, I know the positives out weight the negatives by far. For those two days I had been hit in the face with a reminder (which actually wasn’t at all harsh), of how my life ‘use’ to be. If that’s not enough motivation to get me refocused when things start looking a bit blurry (and believe me it gets like that sometimes), then I don’t know what is.

I know many people have responsibilities and are not in a position to quit their jobs in order to pursue their dreams, but how about you try to make ‘mini’ changes into shaping your life to what you ‘want it’ to be as well as to help make the ‘job’ more bearable if you haven’t already? Something one of my close friends said to me the other day ‘if you continue to live your life a particular way, then your path will continue to be the same’. Even though I feel fortunate in terms of my working life, I know there are probably other aspects of my life where I could benefit from reciting this sentence at least once a day, in order to get to exactly where I want to be. Watch this space, I’ll let you know when I get there.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009


As regular readers will know I’m a self employed publicist/PR manager as well as working in a freelance capacity for various PR agencies. This week I was hired to work with an agency on a high street consumer retail account as they had a big story to publicise to the national press, which was to be supported by a big advertising campaign launching the same day.

The agency is relatively small (under 10 people) and on arrival, those who greeted me (the managing director and new business manager) appeared to be nice. I was shown into the boardroom where I was told one of the team would come over to brief me as the lady who I was to report into was out of the office all day, overseeing radio interviews with the client.

Rewind to 2004 – 05 when I worked for my ex employer, where it wasn’t abnormal for me and my colleagues nick named Gay boy, Asian chick, Filipino gal and White G to have a ‘Christina Aguilera’ break each day for probably two months or so, to watch her video to the single ‘Dirty’ as we thought it was the hottest music video ever! We'd be running around the office, striking a pose, attempting to recreate the video as much as possible - it was so much fun. Your probably thinking, ‘you used to do this at work? Well... yes! We used to piss around so much it was unreal. Don’t get me wrong, it was and still is one of the hardest working PR agencies I’ll probably ever work for; however we did know how to enjoy ourselves whilst getting the job done. Fast forward to today and I’m currently sat in an office of silence. This may not be a big deal to some of you, but this is unheard of in ‘my world’ of PR and its uber hard to adjust to this type of working environment. Listening to music helped to zone me into the world, mindset I needed to be in to get my client work done, whilst working hard at my desk. Total silence, distracts me and for the past two days I’ve spent quite a bit of time looking around the office at everyone else, staring at them – for no apparent reason, while my mind tells me how dull it actually is here and how I desperately wish I was with my old colleagues, Gay boy, Asian chick, Filipino gal and White G. Hey guys, if you're reading, Black G misses you and the rest of the crew.

Tuesday, 17 February 2009


First post for the year… sorry it’s been so long. I’ve been deliberating about whether I should continue with this particular blog, as I have another one which works as a weekly e-zine and was contemplating combining them… I’m yet to decide. Probably won’t do it, but hey this is my excuse.

Anyhow, I’ve been a bit of conundrum in regards to work. Before the New Year came about, I felt a bit in limbo, as I have several projects which I’m trying to start up/ as well as run at the same time. Combine these with the PR business which has several individual clients under it and you may begin to see what I saw; I was spreading myself waaaaay too thinly. I was hiding behind the excuse that once upon a time when I was working with my ex employer, I used to have to manage several different clients and teams of employees at once, but the two situations are TOTALLY different. Plus, I wasn’t caring for a baby (now toddler) at the time.

So… I’ve decided to put a few of the other projects on the back burner and concentrate on developing three for the time being. I plan to update you on them shortly; however I just need to make sure I have certain processes in place before talking about them.