YouTube help, the chocolatier Shard and a motivating Wii Fit trainer

Social media is full of videos on tips for weight loss, feeling better, looking younger,  I’ve never been interested in any of those; in fact, in the past I’ve pitied the firms that paid Facebook for me to be shown their ads based on an assumption that I fall within their target market demographic.

Since my birthday, however, I’m wondering whether I should start paying attention.  The chocolate and cheese tour of Switzerland, afternoon tea with champagne, the many delicious dinners I’ve enjoyed in the past couple of weeks, celebration wine, cocktails, more chocolates…  It’s added up.

And there’s more… Next week I’m booked onto a chocolate walking tour of London with my friend and fellow poet, Nina.  And this week I’ll be cloud-bound on the ear-popping 72nd floor of the Shard for chocolatier Paul Young’s evening of deliciousness.  Whilst on the 32nd floor last Monday, enjoying my baby squid stuffed with octopus bolognaise at the AquaShard, I did say on Facebook that I like this new age – the food is definitely better in this decade.

So my question then, is at what point should I start to take care of myself?  In photos from Jackie’s party this weekend I look like a person my Wii Fit trainer would tell off.  I’m half a stone heavier than at the start of the new school term.  Not that that means anything.  I bunked off school on PE days for a job in Woolwich market selling broken biscuits.

Imaginative Training | social media blog | social media training | Plain English training | Plain English editing | copywritingUp until now my Wii Fit trainer has been very lovely to me: polite, encouraging, gently motivating.  He doesn’t tell me off for skipping the odd month (or year!) and he doesn’t seem offended if I switch him off before my 25 minutes are up.  He wasn’t helpful when I had trouble figuring out how to remove someone from my Wii Fit Plaza though. I’d added a previous boyfriend whose avatar looked incredibly like him and it annoyed me to see him bobbing about and yawning each time I switched on.  We never even played the Wii games together, as  he took exception to the software telling him he was slightly overweight – yet there he was on my TV screen whenever I logged on to swivel my hoola-hooping hips.

Thank heavens for social media.  YouTube helped me determine how to remove his character before I punched the TV or gave up on any hope of getting fitter.  Incidentally, YouTube has been named as the world’s third mostly widely used search engine, so Marion is drawing up a strategy for us to include more videos.  I do tell businesses this when delivering social media training but, in this case, I haven’t practiced what I preach.  The new videos certainly won’t be of anyone hoola-hooping!!

When I was invited to the Paul Young event at the Top of the Shard I immediately thought of the other Paul Young.  As snow was forecast for London on the day I wrote this, these lyrics seemed somewhat appropriate.  “Tryin’ to keep your hands warm, when the hole in your shoe lets the snow come through and chills you to the bone.  Now you’d better go home, where it’s warm.”

Social media doesn’t care whether you’re hot, suited and booted in an office, freezing on the street or nice and warm, working from home.  You can get your message across wherever you are.  If you’re not sure of the best way to do that, ask me here: @WeekendWitch.


Songwriters: Ronnie Stephen Wilkins, John David Hurley
Copyright: Tideland Music Publ. Corp., Tideland Music Corp.

An unexpected honour, my first hangover and falling off a cloud

It’s been a whirlwind couple of weeks and my apologies (again!) to those of you who emailed asking where last week’s blog was.  I just didn’t write it.  It’s only the second time in four years, so I think that’s acceptable.  My birthday weekend was amazing and waking up on the Monday morning I liked the idea of working even less than the thought of facing another fruit-filled Pimms…

Partying aside, the fortnight was full 12243650_10153767550426255_1016937403_nof excitement, and I did share most of it on social media.  It began with the Stroke Association’s London Awards on the Monday.  When they asked for inspirational nominees, Oli was a natural choice!  He received his certificate from weathergirl Sian Lloyd, a lovely lady who laughed with me on stage at my lack of skincare regime and shared the secrets of her favourite cake shops.

Receiving my own certificate was an honour that I feel is undeserved but, I have to admit, the Stroke Association had written some very lovely things about my work.  My sincere thanks to the team that found my work worthy of an award.  The work I do surrounding child stroke is bittersweet – I’m glad to help other parents find comfort in their terror and confusion, but – obviously – we’d all prefer to never have been thrown into that awful situation.  Anyway, that Monday was a lovely start to my celebrations.

cocktail nightThe working week ended with a night out with my favourite accountants. At Kanaloa, an extremely lively cocktail bar near Chancery Lane we were adorned with paper flowers then taught the shaking and shimmying techniques for a variety of delicious drinks that didn’t really seem alcoholic at the time, but provided my first proper hangover the following morning.

I guess it may have been naïve to birthday blogimagine I could get to this age without ever experiencing a banging alcohol-fuelled headache…  Yes, I got drunk.  I stand here in the spirit of full disclosure and admit it.  So I attended my own birthday party with a hangover, but that didn’t detract from the fun.

More Pimms followed at Karen’s party on Sunday, after a family lunch that included more wine.  Then a pre-theatre champagne dinner at The Savoy on Tuesday… then a pink champagne afternoon tea with Debra to close the week.  You can see why not much social media work got done… With all those beverages I barely had time for chooclate!!

This final deliciousness followed a wander around the Tate, making the most of my recently-acquired membership. As a teenager I could frequently be found in the Pre-Raphaelite gallery, so it was lovely to explore the vast halls with a friend who’d never been before.  I used to think that this wonderous enclosure, once the site of a penitentiary housing female convicts on their way to Australia, was my spiritual home. I don’t think that now, of course, but a green tea in the members’ room does leave me feeling calm and grounded.

I’ve been told that 50 is the new 25.  We’ll see… it’s certainly the time to tackle everything on my list that I’ve dreamed of doing but couldn’t afford/couldn’t be bothered/couldn’t be brave enough – starting with a cross-country motorbike ride.  Well, no point keeping a nice leather jacket purely for fashion reasons, right?!

This is my birth song, number one on the day I made my first appearance, scarily half a century ago.  In a world where everything has changed, really not much has changed…  The telephone is ringin,’ I say, “Hi, it’s me, who is it there on the line?”  A voice says, “Hi, hello, how are you?”  Well, I guess I’m doin’ fine.  It’s three a.m., there’s too much noise; don’t you people ever wanna go to bed?  ‘Cause you feel so good, do you have to drive me out of my head?  (Sing it together now…) I said, “Hey, you, get off of my cloud!  Hey, you, get off of my cloud!!”

I’m as happy to share my cloud as I am my pink champagne.  Still, I’m off the cloud and back on dry land now – in fact, I’m right here: @WeekendWitch.

The chocolate train, a passionate dance and the LinkedIn man on the street

Switzerland.  Wow!!  Gill and I spent four days on the edge of Lake Geneva and absolutely fell in love with everything: the atmosphere, the mountains, the architecture, the food, the man on the street… (Not every man, just one in particular.)

studioBeginning in Montreux, we headed straight for the tour of Mountain Studios.  Queen owned this, their recording home until 1996, and their last seven albums were recorded here.  With a plethora of memorabilia and the original studio almost intact, it’s a must for any hard-core Queen fans. We saw them live in Marbella in 1986, so we count!  The studio exhibition is free, with a donation to the Mercury Phoenix Trust.

The main reason for our holiday was a trip on The Chocolate Train.  Can’t tell you the number of people who thought we meant a train made of chocolate… as great as that would be, the early winter sun was beating down and the heat of our thighs on praline seats just wouldn’t be pretty.

We boarded the vintage train in Montreux12107996_10153734076151255_3336874778334004252_n and climbed for 90 minutes through thickly forested mountains, being fed a constant stream of chocolately goodies.  The tour began at Maison Cailler in Broc, the true home of Swiss chocolate.  After a Disneyesque journey through its history, learning about how this food of the devil leads men to do bad things to giggling ladies, we ended up in a tasting room with an unlimited supply to sample.  Delicious.  Fantastic.  Nauseous.

We travelled on to Gruyere, a gorgeous medieval village with an imposing castle, where we ate a traditional Gruyere fondue in the sunshine.  As if one dish of melted cheese wasn’t enough, we also managed to put away raclette, tartiflette and a pack of free Gruyere in three matured states, a gift from the cheese factory.  (Not all at one sitting.)

A night at the casino produced an extra 200 Swiss Francs to spend on more chocolate before we headed back to Geneva for a couple of days of culture.  What a gorgeous city.  Hilly though, but the little Petite-Train took out some of the hard slog of traipsing upward to the cathedral at the apex.  I’m always happy in a cathedral, and this one had the added benefit of an archaeological exhibition deep underground.  Gill was less pleased about that than I was.

unFrom Roman rocks to 21st century politics, our tour of United Nations was inspirational, educating and awesome.  We’re both ready to change the world now.  (Just need to finish this stash of Swiss chocolate first…)

The aforementioned man in the street was called Michael. I asked him, in a schoolgirl dialect of French that seemed perfectly acceptable to me but was probably shocking to him, for directions to a cashpoint.  You’d think in a city of banks that there would be a proliferation of them, but no.  Michael replied in perfect east-coast American English then proceeded to take us for a tour of the old city in search of an ATM.

Although he lives in Geneva, he’s starting a business here in the UK – something to do with accounting and property consulting. Interesting… I do social media consulting for accounting and property firms.  A fortuitous meeting…  Street networking… Helpful, friendly, seemingly successful, very cute and no wedding ring…  I quickly handed over my business card and ran a LinkedIn search.  Well, who wouldn’t…?!

Back in London and continuing the theme of upping my cultural presence, I attended the ballet on Saturday afternoon.  I’d never actually seen the inside of the glorious Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, although I have popped in several times before to use the loo.

It was amazing; its contemporary production of Carmen is passionate, erotic and spell-binding.  I loved it!!  I did notice a degree of sex discrimination though. Whilst I appreciate the conventions of ballet, why does the prima ballerina receive flowers, but nothing for the leading man?  Surely someone should give him something?  I’ll volunteer.  I definitely wouldn’t mind giving him something…

This has been my favourite Queen song for as long as I can remember, but it’s the one I’d have chosen today anyway.  “I’ve been with you such a long time, you’re my sunshine and I want you to know that my feelings are true, I really love you.  You’re my best friend.”


I’m back in London for a while now, but wherever I am in the world I’m always here: @WeekendWitch.

Green politics, reverse position and my Tinder boyfriend, err… girlfriend?

Waiting for Brian in a bar in Shoreditch, I witnessed the first meeting of a couple who’d clearly never met before.  I pretended to be checking Facebook while really eavesdropping, as you do – they’d met on line, of course.

When he went to the bar for her glass of wine, I struck up a conversation.  She’s French, a teacher in a London school and it was her first date in three years.  I liked her – she was intelligent, funny and her orange cardigan was an exact colour match to her fold-up bike!  It couldn’t have been better chosen if she’d used a Pantone lightbox.

Imaginative Training | social media blog | social media training | Plain English training | Plain English editing | copywritingLike me, she doesn’t have loads of single female friends, so I gave her my number.  “Let’s go speed dating together,” I suggested.  “I’ve heard it’s fun.”  Brian arrived, less late than usual.  “You’ve pulled!” He said.

They’d met on Tinder, and she was wary, following all the bad press.  I reassured her with my story of dating my Tinder boyfriend for eight months.  I was perfectly happy.  Anyway, they got on fine and she texted me later to say hi.

Brian and I didn’t meet on line – there was no such thing in those days.  A green flashing blob on a computer screen fascinated us all back then but real people met in pubs, clubs or, like us, at work.  Green blobs aside, he’s recently become a [something important, can’t remember what?] in the Green Party.  He’d have got on well with the Tinder boyfriend, actually.

While Brian is changing the world – or Berkshire, at least – I’m starting to question my own politics.  Too wishy-washy.  Seeing Suffragette this week reminded me of the firm stance women should take, so I started writing a list of things I want changed over the next decade.  Then I got sidetracked by googling suffragette jewellery on eBay for an hour. Feeling shameful about how easily I get distracted from the issues, I emailed the council with my list of priorities.

My dinner with Brian was not a date.  He has a lovely wife.  But if it had been a date there might not have been a second one, as dessert was not included.  We laughed about this.  I haven’t heard from him since and hope he got home safely.  His last attempt at leaving London saw him fall asleep on the train and arrive in Oxford at 2am, way further than his required stop.  Rather than sleep on the station platform as he’s done previously, he wandered around a park, meeting up with a gang of teenagers who, for the sake of this story, let’s assume were over 18.  They offered to share their vodka and red bull with him, which he merrily accepted, and together they watched dawn break, heralding the arrival of the first London-bound train to take him back home.

Brian is clever, a corporate accountant turned software company director. His memory is sharper than mine and, over our gourmet burgers, he reminded me of how I once cleaned my car windscreen with hairspray.  That was powerful stuff in the 80s!!  The glass shone and sparkled beautifully but no one could see a bloody thing out of it.  It made us laugh a lot.

So my driving was a nightmare even then.  I can only apologise profusely to one of my favourite people for reversing into him this week.  (No, I’m not saying who it was.)  I think he likes me enough not to sue, but I’m behaving myself just in case.  (And I do mean him… not his car!)

David Bowie was in my cassette player around the time I met Brian.  He was on the turntable frequently when I had one, in my CD player when I reversed this week and he’s playing on Spotify now.  He says, “Get off the phone, I gotta… Hey man, I gotta straighten my face; this mellow thighed chick just put my spine out of place.”  An appropriate song this week in more ways than one.  Really hoping I haven’t put anyone’s spine out of place…  (Sorry!!)

You won’t find me on Tinder now, but you will find me here: @WeekendWitch.

Lessons in red wine, acting quirky and being a Bird

I was lucky enough to share a box of chocolates with Pauline Quirk this week.  I’d been invited to her dressing room for a glass of wine after watching the penultimate episode of Birds of a Feather being filmed at Pinewood Studios.  You may think the show is funny, but the camaraderie between the cast is much funnier. Forgetting lines, sneezing, ad libbing, bursting into fits of laughter – the whole filming process was incredibly entertaining!

I’d gone along with Mark, Henry and Jane – long term friends and business associates of Pauline and her family – they’re her accountants, and mine.  (Thank you for the invitation Henry!!) We knew we’d be invited to an after-party in the Green Room but I hadn’t realised that it was Lesley Joseph’s birthday, and we were invited to celebrate with her.  I didn’t have cake but the prawn sandwiches threw themselves at me despite my aversion to bread…

Lesley Joseph’s character has a style all of her own, and she looked kind-of-amazing on the set.  70 years old in FM heels (extremely high and spikey!), satin leggings and crimson lipstick; the irony wasn’t lost on me.

Imaginative Training | social media blog | social media training | Plain English training | Plain English editing | copywritingAnyway, in Pauline Quirk’s dressing room, while I was not drinking wine and instead munching my way through her choccies, I asked the obvious question one would ask a British institution of an actress: can she get me Rob Lowe’s phone number??  Well, yes, she can, but no, he won’t want a date with me – he’s been happily married (allegedly) for over 20 years, but he does have a son….  Okay, but you can’t blame a girl for trying.  So that potential date is now crossed off my list.   Might set my sights on Damian Lewis next…

I also chatted for a while with Katy Imaginative Training | social media blog | social media training | Plain English training | Plain English editing | copywritingCavanagh, who played Julie in Corrie. Gill and I used to talk about her retro dresses with their gorgeous cupcake designs.  I saw them once in Camden, but they were too pricey to justify as a one-wear item.  Maureen Lipman, on the other hand, is not a one-time lady.  She was sporting an olive green cardi that her mother knitted in 1964 and which she had worn on her first day at drama school!  I’d have liked to have chatted to her, but it was that or grab a chilli chicken wrap from the diminishing buffet, and the chicken won.

I missed out on wine at the party, as I was driving part of the way home, but made up for that at a wine tasting evening on Friday.  The Barbican held this Virgin Wine event, and my friend took me as an early birthday treat.  I was careful!  Not being a seasoned drinker I realised that 162 ‘tasters’ are probably equivalent to around 40 glasses of wine.

It was very funny watching the people around the room.  They arrived after work, mostly dressed in professional clothes and sounding very knowledgeable about vineyard etiquette, oak smoking, autolytic bouquets with depth; flabby, grassy, jammy,  toasty…  As each hour passed the laughter increased, conversations became louder and more slurred, less wine-related, and people stumbled from table to table, forgetting which country produced which wines.  It made for some interesting networking…

Imaginative Training | social media blog | social media training | Plain English training | Plain English editing | copywritingI stuck with red and made my choices wisely, interspersing my alcohol with the nasty Italian crackers that are supposed to ‘cleanse the pallet’ and would probably be delicious spread with thick butter and a slathering of creamy brie.  I managed to stay within acceptable limits of giggliness.  My friend not so much.  I was chatted up by a charming and handsome doctor-turned-software developer, to whom I willingly gave my phone number in exchange for him seeing my friend safely onto his train at King’s Cross.

I saw UB40 several times at Hammersmith in the days when you’d go in clean and innocent and come out high on other people’s spliffs.  Not sure what Neil Diamond would have made of that?!  ‘I’d have sworn that with time, thoughts of you would leave my head.  I was wrong, now I find just one thing makes me forget.’

If you’re running a business you don’t want anyone to forget! On the contrary, you need to present a clear image that they’ll remember.  If you’d like to know how social media can help your brand awareness, ask me here: @WeekendWitch.

Creepy dates, a golden Bentley and a morbid symphony of elegance

A cemetery is a funny place to go on a date, people said.  Morbid, creepy, unpleasant.  No, actually.  I’d wanted to visit Highgate for as long as I can remember.  It sat there quietly on my list along with Prague, the White House and a cool, grassy bank in Reykjavik, from where I can lie on my back watching the northern lights.

12122663_10153692132901255_1866986689725145105_nA friend and former client who seems to know me rather well, sent me a Whatsapp message regaling stories about all night gatherings he attended there in the 90s.  I would have loved that – atmospheric evenings around a campfire, capturing the fading light then waiting for sunrise, strumming Judie Tzuke songs on the guitar.

He told me – and I quote: “You would have been perfect – lots of classical English beauties looking very gothic and very witchy…”  I appreciated the compliment – and wished I’d gone along in a Stevie Nicks-style flowing black chiffon dress.  He then finished the sentence with “… and some very naked!”  WHAT???!  I didn’t ask about his attire in the 90s, some things are best left in the depths of wonderment.  I’ve been too busy to play Facebook Scrabble for a while but my naked scrabble buddy will be very interested to hear about this.

Witches and nakedness aside, 12043080_10153692125251255_649454283239578000_nthe cemetery is as beautiful as they come.  It captures perfectly the essence of Victorian romanticism.  Its ethereal atmosphere wraps itself around you as you wander along storybook paths among ancient, crumbling gravestones draped with ivy.  The sun of an Indian summer shone through filtered leaves, creating an effect that I find hard to describe.  So I won’t.  I’ll simply say, if you get the chance to visit, take it.

Also on the theme of morbidity, I was advised by various friends that McQueen is a dark, dismal play about the untimely death of the designer.  It’s not.  It’s a visual masterpiece that does, indeed, delve into the dark depths of a suicidal man’s mind – but in a dreamlike and mesmerising fashion.

The choreography was a symphony of elegance, and the stylish set created a perfect backdrop for the portrayal of one brilliant man’s alter ego to emerge and fan his obsession for creating the perfect garment for each individual customer.  He gained inspiration from their desires and inhibitions, their movements and their aura.  Spellbinding is the best word I can think of to describe my afternoon in the Haymarket Theatre.

I’ve spent a lot of time in the theatre recently.  As I write this, I’m thinking about tomorrow night when I’m in London again to see Dusty, the musical about Ms Springfield.  I’ll have to do my best to refrain from joining in with Son of a Preacher Man, as the soulful sounds I hear emerge from my mouth make others cover their ears and screw up their faces in horror.

11247970_10153233027453509_7922749688028057809_nWe’re driving up for Dusty.  I thought about booking Gordon to drive us – he runs a chauffeur business now as a sideline, driving brides and prom queens in his beautiful golden Bentley.  The car is gorgeous, deep cream leather and wood panelled doors – even Lady Penelope would be proud to travel in such style.  I’m not on commission here but I always like to help local businesses with a boost where possible – please do get in touch with Gordon if you’re planning a special trip.

This is what I’d have sung at Highgate, all those years ago when I didn’t yet know my ‘un-named friend.’  I’ll sing it now instead – cover your ears!  “It’s the same old situation; every word so finely placed.  Running around my concentration is the feeling that I’ve just got to break out and say…”

If you’re looking for words finely chosen and strategically placed, call me to talk about copywriting.  Or ask me here: @WeekendWitch.

Sunrise in bed, the Cheesecake Queen, and black lace in the fast lane

Like most people, I don’t love Mondays.  Last Monday was an exception though… My accountancy clients Nordens, the award-winning fabulous people who look after my finances, invited me to be head judge for their Bake Off competition.  How can a week possibly start any better than by being treated like the Cheesecake Queen and presented with a plateful of various cheesecakes to eat and remark on?  Well I’ll tell you: it can’t!

Imaginative Training | social media blog | social media training | Plain English training | Plain English editing | copywritingThe competition was deservedly won by Benjamin, one of the accountants in the upstairs office. His Ferrero Rocher cheesecake was outstanding. The rum and raisin American cheesecake and Banoffee cheesecake were also fantastic – so much so that when the competition had ended and everyone returned to work, I remained seated at the canteen table, quiet as a mouse, fork in hand, surrounded by half-eaten cheesecakes which accidentally ended up inside me.

To make up for my lovely start to Monday, Tuesday saw my alarm flashing and clanging at the ungodly hour of 5.30am.  I had to be at a nearby college by 7.30 to give a presentation on social media to the Redbridge Chamber of Commerce.  It was far too early for me, although the pain was tempered by the pleasure of watching the sunrise from my bed.  Actually, it was worth the early start.  I met some brilliant people who run local businesses and they gave great feedback on my social media tips.

Instead of rushing home to email them all, Imaginative Training | social media blog | social media training | Plain English training | Plain English editing | copywritingI ventured up to St Katherine’s Dock.  I sat in the sunshine watching the world float by, waiting to meet a tabloid news editor with whom I’ll be working on a social media project later this autumn.  He bought me a delicious lunch at the Dickens Inn, site of my first office Christmas party.  What a night that was…

It was 1983 and I worked in fashion buying, so the party was trendy, elegant and edgy in equal measures.  I turned up in a black lace ballgown, which would have passed as just about acceptable in those heady days of decadence, had the boy I’d invited as my guest not broken down on the A13 and instructed me to push his car for half a mile along the outside lane!!  So I arrived oily, windswept and shivering!

None of that this week though, as we enjoyed lunch and Rioja on the flower-laden balcony.

My confusion at inside/outside lanes and whether we drive in or on them caused a lively debate on Facebook this week.  I rarely get stumped by English usage, so querying a correct phrase always gets people involved in a big way.  Thanks to everyone who offered their opinions, apart from Amir in New Zealand who was somewhat critical of my driving.  (Possibly rightly so…)

Anyway, after lunch at the Dickens Inn I ended up in a jazz steak house for dinner, so this week I’ve had more than my fair share of food.  I’m actually thinking about applying for a job as a food blogger, although the publication would need a clear slant towards chocolate or cheesecake, to be fair.

I don’t know any cheesecake songs, so considered a 1983 hit to quote.  But this – apparently random – choice arose from the car lane conversation.  Gill knows what I’m talking about, even if nobody else does.  “Golden brown, texture like sun.  Lays me down, with my mind she runs.”   Run with me?  @WeekendWitch.

Flying in a Spitfire, the finest banquet in London and ladies in not many clothes

I do like an occasion to dress up posh!  And the Square Mile Salute was definitely one of those occasions.  This amazing evening saw the City of London come together for the finest banquet in town, in support of five military-related charities.

Imaginative Training | social media blog | social media training | Plain English training | Plain English editing | copywritingThe banquet was served in the splendour of magnificent Guildhall.  The raw beauty of its twelfth century crypt provided the setting for Monica Galetti’s caviar reception. The celebrity chef, presenter of Masterchef: the Professionals, provided an exquisite array of canapés – none of which, I’m pleased to report, ended up in my bra!

The elegant meal, served in the glorious Great Hall, was created by a team of chefs from the Birley Clubs and served in style with ambient lighting that reflected the medieval atmosphere enjoyed by kings and courtesans.

We ate in the shadow of rom_the_great_hallgargoyle-looking mythical giants, with gothic and Romanesque windows providing the colours of ancient stained glass. Monumental statues of British heroes peered down, possibly counting the bottles of carefully-chosen wine that accompaied each dish.

I didn’t meet a king there, but I did meet some charming senior military personnel involved with various charities linked to The Soldiering On Awards.  The event was organised by my friend and colleague Anne, and I couldn’t have been more impressed with the attention to detail, fabulous entertainment and flawless execution.

The evening’s after-party was held at Annabel’s, arguably one of the most elegant private members’ clubs in the world, with a three-year waiting list to buy your multi-thousand pound membership. Boasting a celebrity clientele over the past five decades that’s included Frank Sinatra and Elizabeth Taylor, I  didn’t get to meet any Hollywood stars, but I did manage to corner the evening’s very handsome host: Comic relief’s Come Dancing winner and former Royal Marine, Cassidy Little.  Or he cornered me, I’m not sure now.

Imaginative Training | social media blog | social media training | Plain English training | Plain English editing | copywritingWe share a love for Captain Picard and country driving – well, I don’t actually like driving, country lanes scare me a bit, but what’s a blind 70mph bend between friends..?  I do love Jean-Luc though, no question about that.  Martyn maneuvered Cassidy into agreeing to buy me lunch based on our conversation about sci-fi podcasts (lunch being a step up from champagne).  He wasn’t intentionally matchmaking; it was mainly because he wanted me to leave the club so we could share a taxi home before the 3am London cab rush.  We haven’t confirmed a lunch date yet, but I’m hopeful.  I’m recording his late-night TV chat show just in case!

Another charity evening followed on Saturday, when the gorgeous Hotties launched their raunchy 2016 calendar in aid of Soldiering On.  The launch party at Stringfellows in Covent Garden involved a steady flow of complimentary alcohol, teriyaki salmon served by hostesses in white fishnets and not much else, and an array of strippers, doing their stuff around the poles.

Imaginative Training | social media blog | social media training | Plain English training | Plain English editing | copywriting

Air Commodore Charles Clarke OBE and us

While you may be thinking this was not an appropriate place for a lady to spend her Saturday night, I should point out that I was, in fact, with my clients, so that was okay.  I was also with my sons, so possibly not quite so acceptable.  Although, we had a brilliant evening and they seeemed quite happy being there with me.  Yes, one of us danced around a pole on the main stage (and no, I’m not saying who it was).  No, no-one in our party took off their clothes.  Yes, we met some incredible people; yes, we helped to raise money for the charity; yes, I was the last woman standing that wasn’t a stripper or employee…  Tasteful? Some would say.  Tacky?  Not really.  Fun? Definitely!

The highlight for the four boys in my entourage was the honour of meeting Air Commodore Charles Clarke OBE, a war hero who survived being shot down over Germany and captivity at the notorious Stalag Luft III prisoner of war camp.  This awesome 92-year-old veteran has more charm and charisma than most men I’ve met, a razor sharp memory and a twinkle in his eye.  What a gentleman!  We sat together at a dinner a couple of years ago and have enjoyed various events to raise the charity’s profile together ever since.

Thursday’s auction saw someone SMS-SPITFIRE-PILOTS-DAY-FOR-TWO-Image-1bid £25,000 to meet Charles and take a flight in a spitfire, and another lucky person can win this in a raffle (email me please, if you’d like tickets).

I did think about closing with a wartime tune today, but this hit won out.  Tina Turner is a lady who’s fought and won her own battles, and this song can play in circles around your mind today, just like it did in mine during the furnace-like ride home on the London Underground.  “I’m your private dancer, a dancer for money – I’ll do what you want me to do.  I’m a private dancer, a dancer for money and any old music will do.”

I’m not a private dancer but I am a private ghost blogger.  If you’d like help to create a regular on-line presence and increase your website’s SEO, give me a call.  Or message me here: @WeekendWitch.


(With thanks for the Guildhall pic, courtesy of

War horses, men with chutzpa and nearly being a princess

Katja’s art exhibitions are always fun, both to visit and to participate in.  Her latest show, ‘Favourite Words,’ has spent the summer touring east London and now landed in its final home, Café Moka East @ The View Tube.

To celebrate the art show, this quirky café on the edge of the Olympic Park opened late on Thursday to host a cockney rhyming slang quiz.  Two Geezers (men from a Bow-based community group who live and breathe slang) presented the questions and the group of artists and friends wracked our brains to win.  Karen and I formed a tiny team with shamefully little knowledge of cockney slang for two born and bred Londoners.  We didn’t do too badly though! And, although we didn’t win, we got a chorizo and red pepper Spanish tortilla – so that was okay!
sept 1The words I submitted for the art exhibition were a set of three, framed in fuchsia and all beginning with ‘Ch.’  My point was about the fascinating linguistc disparity of the vocalisation of Ch – how the letters form different sounds (something I studied for my masters degree but boring to explain).  Anyway, when I started dating after 20 years of marriage, these were the three qualities I looked for in a man, all beginning with Ch: charm, charisma and chutzpah!

Mentioning a Yiddish word is quite relevant today as it’s Rosh Hashana, the Jewish new year.  A good opportunity to re-make the resolutions we failed to keep in January, before the end of this year’s Gregorian calendar. (And before the introduction of 2016’s chocolate advent calendars, as naughty people shouldn’t be allowed to have those.)

I spent Saturday afternoon making war horsea mess with melting chocolate while watching War Horse at the New London Theatre.  It was a stunningly presented production, simple and striking.  I am not a horse person, but I think they’re beautiful, elegant creatures (from afar), with hauntingly knowledgeable eyes.  Of course, Saturday’s horses weren’t flesh and blood, but I couldn’t have been more impressed with the way their personalities shone through if they had been alive and genuinely whinnying and snorting on stage.

Through my social media consultancy, I work closely with some military personnel and soldiers who’ve been wounded in action, but I give little thought to the animals who risk their lives to keep us safe.  I did meet one incredible dog in April though, who served on the front line in Afghanistan. It’s horrendous to think of what the war horses actually went through.

From Leicester Square, we drove to Hyde Park for a wander around the Serpentine, as the early evening sun cast long shadows on the water.  At the Diana Memorial Fountain, we watched children splashing around and I told Brian about my meeting with Prince William on the day the memorial opened.  If you didn’t catch my embarrassing episode on TV at the time, you can read about it here.  It’s true, I could have been a princess if I’d played my cards better…  Oh well, who wants to live in a palace anyway?!

Whether you love the Queen, respect the monarchy or dislike what they stand for, who can’t admire a woman who’s worked solidly for almost 64 years?  And she’s still smiling about it at 89 years of age!  As they say, a woman’s work is never done…

So I’ll never be a princess, never be queen.  But…

“If I was king for just one day, I would give it all away.  I would give it all away to be with you.  If I was king for just one day, I had just one thing to say… You know that love is all we need to get us through.”    (Play it here.)

Love’s not all we need in business though.  If you’d like advice on increasing your social media visibility leading up to Christmas, please get in touch now so we can get the bauble rolling.  Call me on 020 8551 7077 or find me here: @WeekendWitch.

pooh and honey potPS… Wishing a happy, healthy and sweet new year to all my Jewish friends, family, neighbours, colleagues and clients.  And wishing a happy, healthy and sweet autumn to anyone who’s not celebrating that today!

Dating websites for cinema lovers, an apology and making a buzz

I don’t like injustice!  So here I am, righting a wrong…  Following last week’s blog when I reported that Simon (with the beard) claimed that Carole King was not a nice person, I have now had a first-hand account to the contrary.  Martine has actually met the award-wining singer-songwriter and has filled me in on why she disagrees with Simon.

Martine met Carole (we can be on first name terms now I am apologising) about ten years ago when Ms King (don’t want to overdo it) stayed on her kibbutz for a few days.  Apparently, anyone who came into contact with her thought she was lovely.  She even gave an impromptu concert. Well, not so much a concert, but a singalong night. Martine says she was very modest and friendly and really didn’t want to be the center of attention. She happily got up to sing with anyone who wanted to, leaving the kibbutz residents with some great memories from that evening.  So there you have it!

As you know, my work keeps me online for much of the time.  I’m checking people’s Facebook posts, uploading pics, tweeting, blogging on various sites, targeting new followers, connecting with prospects.  Well, this week I’ve been reviewing some dating sites too.  It’s not the first time… when we picked up a dating website client last year, Marion and I spent hours trawling the net to familiarise ourselves with the industry.  It was quite an eye-opener!!

This week has been a little tamer than some of the sights we saw during that project, that’s for sure. But I have one question: why does (almost) every man state that his idea of a perfect first date includes going to the cinema?  Someone recently invited me on a date – to the cinema.  Why, oh why would I want to sit next to a person I barely know for three hours rather than get to know them over a glass of rioja?  Why do they think I’d prefer to share our first encounter with someone behind me rustling sweet wrappers (and not sharing), a stranger next to me sniffing loudly and someone in front wafting their BO in our direction?  No, most women would prefer somewhere candlelit with a chocolate torte or authentic crème brulée and intelligent conversation.  Just saying.

Imaginative Training | social media blog | social media training | Plain English training | Plain English editing | copywritingI had an intelligent – and rather unexpected – conversation yesterday with… a beekeeper!  Patrick and Joe came to visit and we wandered around the local nature reserve.  The beekeeper was kitted out in the obligatory headgear but had his hands unnervingly bare as he rummaged around in a rather large hive.

Once he emerged intact, we wandered over (but keeping a safe distance from the little buzzers) to chat.  It turns out that John Dutney produces award winning honey just along the road in Woodford – and he very kindly gave us a jar!  Patrick proceeded to dip in his finger and eat almost half the jar of the smooth, lovely nectar!  Apparently, eating locally-produced nectar helps to reduce the symptoms of asthma – I didn’t know that.

Anyway, the pollen count’s probably dipping here in London now that autumn has intermittently breezed in.  This song is so out of context for today’s blog, but relevant to my meeting with Mr Beekeeper.  It’s not something I would normally include but, having reminded myself that it exists, the lyrics and tune flooded into my brain and now won’t go away.  “I’d heard about you before, I wanted to know some more.  And now I know what they mean, you’re a love machine.  Oh, you make me dizzy…”  If you don’t remember this you can play it here on Pinterest.

If you want people to hear about you – and then want to find out more, make sure you have a strong, visible presence on social media.  If you don’t have that it doesn’t matter how sweet your honey tastes. (That’s a metaphor, unless you’re Mr Dutney!)  To find out more about raising your social media visibility, ask me here: @WeekendWitch.