Fluid plans, overcoming challenges and multi-tasking in the loo

I’m feeling very pleased with myself this week.  Here I am in Dorset, sun streaming through the French doors and a light rain drumming a lulling beat against the roof lights in my little writer’s cottage.  The view of Wimborne Minster looming from where I’m sitting and logs sizzling nicely in the grate make for a an ideal winter’s retreat.

So why am I pleased with me?  Well, I don’t usually drive.  In fact, I’m a rubbish driver; the furthest I travel alone is an hour to Gill’s on a non-Bailey’s day.  I become transfixed by motorway lights and veer off course; I can’t judge the lights of oncoming traffic in the dark and I panic on zig-zaggy country lanes.  I also get exhausted.  So a six hour drive to this beautiful part of the world was a huge challenge for me, and an adventure.

Imaginative Training | social media blog | social media training | Plain English training | Plain English editing | copywritingThe idea, as I’ve mentioned before, was to come away to this lovely home from home and write the book I started two years ago.  That hasn’t actually transpired.  I set the goal alright: it was specific, measurable, achievable (to a degree) and the timing was right.

It’s my second purposeful attempt. This time last year I ventured up to Scotland to Marion’s isolated historic cottage with my laptop, notebook and a pocket full of ideas.  That didn’t happen because the lure of lovely days out with her was too overwhelming.  Village tea shops, ancient churchyards, cathedrals, museums and one of my favourite places – Holy Island – naturally took precedence.

Which is why this year I’m away on my Imaginative Training | social media blog | social media training | Plain English training | Plain English editing | copywritingown.  Only… some lovely people have found me.  Wayne, Lydia and David each arrived at varying times with invitations to dinner, lunch and tourist attractions.  Friends on FaceTime distracted me with scrabble and chat, and the opportunity to do nothing but eat locally grown organic food and watch Netflix surged forward in my unfocused mind.

Imaginative Training | social media blog | social media training | Plain English training | Plain English editing | copywritingI talk a lot about planning, especially with my clients.  Business planning is essential, of course.  But on a personal level, a good plan doesn’t always have to have an ending… It can lead to more plans, different plans, better plans, more challenging or easier to achieve.  There’s no use beating ourselves up about plans that don’t make it to fruition; we have to accept their fluidity.  My plan was to come to Dorset and work… it evolved into a nicer plan to enjoy a holiday.  So that’s what I’ve done.

Wimborne’s quaint cobbled streets, craft mill, village tea rooms, antiques shops and the largest bric-a-brac market in the south west…  What else could I do?  And added to that, venturing further south to Christchurch I found the obligatory monastic ruins and the ivy-covered gravestones that I so love.

I’m really not used to relaxing, so all this taking time out is new and wonderful.  It’s nice learning the beauty of simple pleasures, like reading the paper over a cup of mint tea rather than catching up on the news on my iphone app while on the tube; or applying my lipstick in front of a dressing table mirror rather than multitasking in the loo!!  So you’ll understand why I’m staying a few days longer than planned.  This means there may be some writing in the offing.  Who knows?  Right now Astrud Gilberto is playing on Spotify and my paperback is calling from the sofa.

The original girl from Ipanema says (in a different song): “Quiet thoughts and quiet dreams, quiet walks by quiet streams.  And a window that looks out on Corcovado.  Oh, how lovely.”  My window looks out on a quintessential English small town, but equally as lovely as anywhere immortalized in a lyric.  (Thank you Wayne; I love you!!)  I’m here for another week, but I’m also here, as always: @WeekendWitch.

LinkedIn one-to-one, passion fruit tarts and keeping a poker face

I was invited to my first poker night on Friday. I’ve sat in on some before when the boys have been round; watched, been confused, provided snacks – but this was a proper invitation from one of my clients.  I arrived late with my £10 for the pot, a box of chocolates (some missing – oops) and a handwritten list of the order of good hands.

It was such fun!  I learned as I played and managed to keep (I think) quite a good poker face.  A lesson with Ben shortly before I headed out had ended with the advice to wear a scarf wrapped around my face.  Yet, even without that suggested attractive fashion accessory, I won a few rounds (or is it hands?).  I also messed up on a couple, but I finished fourth out of eight which wasn’t too shabby for my first go.

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Marissa with her winning hand

I won’t name the client as some of their clients might not be impressed with the staff running a gambling den on a Friday night.  (It wasn’t really that, it was a few members of the team playing a game and having a lot of fun.)  Well done to Marissa for winning the pot, and thanks to Joe for inviting me to join them.

It’s always good to do something fun at the end of the week.  Although I have to say, my work week was particularly enjoyable.  I always love one-to-one training sessions, and this week I had three.  The first was in Canary Wharf, helping the owner of a small business to use social media proficiently – especially LinkedIn as he is targeting a professional audience.  He runs a company that encourages organisations to improve team performance.  Not sure if that includes poker nights, but any team activity that makes people laugh and bond has to be good, right?

I spent the whole day on Thursday at London Bridge – I’m quite familiar with that area now, with three clients based within a ten minute walk of Borough Market.   One session was a Plain English training follow-up, and the other was a soundbite workshop for effective communication.  I covered some neuro-linguistic programming techniques in that one too, which always goes down well.

That client caters beautifully and I greedily helped myself to two delicious passion fruit meringue tarts ten minutes before the session ended.  It would have been acceptable apart from the fact that I was due to wander off to meet my friend in a cake shop.  We ended up having real food (beef stew), but stayed in the restaurant until I’d worked my way through an oversized chocolate and pear cake.  Enough said.

I’m going to pack now for my week’s retreat in the cottage by the sea.  As Kenny says, “You’ve got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em; know when to walk away, know when to run…”  Well I won’t be running along the beach at sunrise, that’s for sure.  It’s more likely I’ll be in an old-fashioned tea shop with a large toasted teacake, butter melting and jam dripping onto my laptop.  Mmmmmmm.  I’ll be out of wifi for most of the time, but you can still find here, as always: @WeekendWitch.

A writer’s retreat, Richard & Judy and Holborn: a magical nightmare

For some time now I’ve talked about writing my book.  As my tiny mind has wandered around future dreams and possibilities, I’ve considered how to wave a copy of the eventually completed script under the noses of Richard and Judy.  Their famous book club launches new authors and places contemporary novels in thousands of bookstores throughout the world, so getting their approval would be quite something.

I’d been thinking this just the other evening, so how excited was I to be enjoying a delicious lunch in the private members’ club at The Ivy, only to have Richard and Judy walk in and sit at the next table?!  Timing is everything, we all know that.  We also know that opportunity is not to be missed.  So did I grab that opportunity?  Did I tell them about my story, still in its infancy?  Did I? Did I???

No, I didn’t.  There is a time and place for everything, and while they were in a place where they’d paid for the privilege of not being disturbed by celebrity stalkers or wannabe authors, tucking into their double cheese soufflé (I also had that!) and Cornish crab hors d’oeuvres, that wasn’t it. (I put it on Facebook, obviously.)

It has inspired me to get a move on though, so I’ve booked a beautiful cottage by the sea for later this month to spend a week writing.  Or walking…  Or curled up alone eating chocolates…  It’s a perfect writer’s retreat and I can’t wait to pack up my laptop and head off.  Have to be patient though; this week there are blogs to write, tweets to tweet and training sessions to deliver: Canary Wharf, London Bridge and Holborn.

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As if by magic… (Who remembers that?)

I found myself in Holborn three times last week – my trip to The Ivy being one of them. The weird thing was, I also found some ‘lost’ people.  Not tourists; I mean people I hadn’t seen for ages but had coincidentally been thinking about only the day before.  Just like with Richard and Judy!  Suddenly, as if by magic, these long-seen, recently remembered people mysteriously appeared in front of me.  Holborn is like a portal to a parallel universe where missing – or missed – people suddenly turn up, from thought to reality.

Firstly, I’d been looking at some old photos and wondering what happened to the young boy who I used to drop home from school.  The following day, as I was heading to Holborn station on my way home from the Fortune Theatre, I literally bumped into him.  He’s training to be an architect now, a career I would love – and might consider pursuing if I didn’t also love social media training.

Then, the next day as I wandered along Southampton Row by my favourite bookshop, I heard my former meditation teacher call my name.  She’s not on social media, so we decided it was the universe speaking when I told her I’d been thinking about her.  I’d been a bit lapse in my daily meditation of late and in need of a motivational boost.  So now I’ll take my moon shaped cushion to the cottage and return a calmer, more serene version of me.  Or I’ll use it to balance my Green & Black’s…

Have to say though, despite its seemingly magical powers, Holborn’s a nightmare since Tottenham Court Road tube station closed.  Crossrail will be fantastic, but for now it’s too bizzy wizzy for me.  That cottage by the sea is looking more and more appealing…

Former Tourist, Annie Lennox (or Lenny Hannox, as someone I know recently called her) said: ‘Sweet dreams are made of this; who I am I to disagree?  We travel the world and the seven seas – everybody’s looking for something.’  Well, I can tell you, if you’re looking for something or someone, you might well find it/them around Holborn!!  And if you’re looking for me, here I am: @WeekendWitch.

New year business plans, London thugs and wise choices

It’s strange how much we’re able to put away over the holiday period, isn’t it?   Food, I mean – not putting away in the tidying up sense.  I’ve gained about half a stone in the last couple of weeks, so a detox and chocolate abstinence is on its way.  Not yet though.  I’m also considering actually riding the bike I bought six weeks ago – it’s still messing up my kitchen but looking nice and lilacky, if rather useless.

In terms of tidying up, I’ll do it sometime soon…  Five hours of taking down trees and decorations yesterday was my limit really.  Although I have spent a few hours this morning tidying up my business plans for 2015.  Well, if we don’t plan, we don’t achieve – right?  In previous years I’ve written down my goals and ticked off each one with my purple pen as I completed it.  Book published, tick; masters degree, tick, develop training side of my social media business, tick, blah blah blah, tick tick tick…

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New Year’s Day London Parade – beautiful, musical and a little bit whacky.

But for some reason, last year started a bit topsy-turvey and I never put pen to paper to set those targets.  I did some wonderful things though, and reflecting on the list of what I achieved – or learned – makes me smile – so how much more awesome could it have been if I’d set my goals properly at the start?!  Ihelp other people set their busines goals, so it’s a bit like the shoemaker with the rubbish shoes… The shoemaker should have the sparkly shoes!!  (I have the sparkly shoes – they’re turquoise.)

So what are you planning for this year?  If increased marketing is on your agenda there are various social media strategies you can follow to gain excellent results. Facebook marketing is hitting hard and there is still a buzz around Pinterest. If you’re a hot shot with the camera you can pick up a strong following on Instagram.  Let me know if you’d like to find out more.

My Facebook friend Carol wrote this on new year’s day, and it pretty much sums up exactly how I feel: Take some time to reflect on 2014 and what you achieved, what kindness you bestowed on others, what lessons you learnt, and what challenges you overcame or are still struggling with.  Then take your confidence and self-esteem and use it to make the changes you want to or need to.  Move forward in 2015 with love in your heart and a smile on your face, knowing that you can achieve and change whatever you wish.

We all make our own choices; choose wisely and never regret the ones you make.

Amidst all the loveliness, the holiday season was almost ruined for my friend Sue after four thugs attacked her two sons on their way home from Christmas Eve festivities.  Six hours in A&E, x-rays, brain scans and a whole lot of bruising later, the boys went home in time to suck their way through their Christmas dinner.  I’m pleased to report that they’re fine now, but the insidious people who carried out this unprovoked attack are still at large and I wish them a horrible 2015.

To everyone else, I wish you peace, love, happiness and success.  Thank you for reading during 2014; I’m very grateful for your unswerving support and encouragement.  Once, when I was working in Hamleys, I served Phil Oakey; he gives good advice… ‘Take time to see the wonders of the world, to see the things you’ve only ever heard of.  Dream life the way you think it ought to be…’

Don’t forget to follow your dreams.  And you can follow me here, too: @WeekendWitch.  Have a wonderful, happy new year!!  Xx

Dream Factory, dining in the dark and finding Bowie in my stocking

Imaginative Training | social media blog | social media training | Plain English training | Plain English editing | copywritingInstead of sending Christmas cards this year I’ve made a donation to The Dream Factory, a fabulous children’s charity that’s very close to my heart.  Saturday afternoon saw me in my Cinderella dress with Karen’s bobbed blonde wig, shaking my collection tin at the end of the ‘ten items or fewer’ aisle in M&S.  I forgot that Cinders usually wears long white gloves, so my arms were goose-bumped enough that several people mistook me for Elsa from Frozen!!  The charity’s worth every shiver and tooth-chatter though, so I was very happy to help out.

Something a bit weird happened this week.  Thinking I knew all the major art galleries in London it was a complete shock to discover that Somerset House is more than simply a venue for London Fashion Week and a skating rink.  The beautiful building on the Strand surrounds a glittering courtyard dominated by a huge Christmas tree – which was surrounded by women giving out free samples of Fortnum and Mason Turkish Delight.  That’s the sort of festive welcome I like.

Martyn the Artist had taken me to view the controversial Egon Schiele ‘Radical Nude’ exhibition.  This lesser known expressionist genius shook up the art world in the early 20th century, albeit briefly, as the poor man, and his talent, died tragically at only 28 years old.  The exhibition charts his ground-breaking journey, distinguishing himself with originality in a significant genre of modern art.  That’s more or less the words of the gallery.  In my words: rude!

We then wandered into the East Wing – and stepped back into the 80s. Chris Stein/Negative: Me, Blondie, and The Advent of Punk is an outstanding collection of photos charting the rise of Blondie.  Gorgeous, iconic Debbie Harry is presented as she was in her heyday: Chris Stein’s girlfriend, world class performing artist and super-hot woman.

The exhibition includes other 70s and 80s icons and I love love love the print of Debbie and Bowie – it would look really good on my office wall!  (Hint, hint.) Our hour there provided a snapshot of a different world, but Blondie’s influence on music and fashion smoothly transcends four decades to be as relevant today as it was then.

I may not find David Bowie in my stocking on Christmas day but I won’t care.  My work on Saturday with The Dream Factory reminded me how lucky I am.  Not that I need reminding.  Something else that made me feel grateful this week was a visit to the awesome Clerkenwell restaurant: Dans le Noir?  (Yes, its name includes the question mark.)  If you’ve never experienced a sensory loss, tackling an unknown meal in a pitch black environment is challenging, fun and – I want to say ‘eye-opening’ but that is so inappropriate.

Our blind waiter, Jack, was the most attentive host imaginable.  He guided us to our table, joked with us as we attempted to pour drinks from the carafe to our glasses and served an incredible three course meal that I did, in fact, manage to get to my mouth without making a horrible mess!  We shared the table with four strangers – social networking in the dark.  To experience a dinner party without sight is really something else, and my absolute admiration and thanks go to the visually impaired team that make a visit to Dans le Noir a must-do for anyone in London.

Most popular Christmas song of all time? Loved her, can’t stand them, but it’s ever so slightly addictive… “I could have been someone; well so could anyone.  You took my dreams from me when I first found you.  I kept them with me babe, I put them with my own; can’t make it all alone… I’ve built my dreams around you.”

I hope the dreams you’re building come true this Christmas. Wishing you one that’s peaceful, safe and very happy.   And if Santa gives you everything you want, you can tell me about it here: @WeekendWitch Xx

Recruitment parties, GOSH and Diamond Lights at TalkSPORT

When my friend Robert wrote Diamond Lights for the football duo Hoddle and Waddle he probably had no idea that it would go on to be recorded by a host of celebrities over the next couple of decades.  The latest incantation is by two TalkSPORT presenters, Andy Goldstein and Jason Cundy, and aims to raise a whole load of dosh for Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH).

Imaginative Training | social media blog | social media training | Plain English training | Plain English editing | copywritingNow, not being a sports fan I hadn’t heard of the radio station’s dynamic duo, but I definitely know GOSH, having stayed there for a few weeks with my son following his stroke.  So I’m very pleased to help promote this fantastic single!  You can watch it here on TalkSport’s website   or go straight to iTunes to download it. It’s fab!!!

 

Robert and I met on Twitter.  We tweeted, we chatted, we facebooked, we linked in on Linkedin and finally, we met – and we’ve been friends ever since.  Long standing friends and family though I’d gone bonkers when I announced that a stranger I’d met on twitter was coming to my home for dinner, but he turned out to be not an axe murderer at all.

There is obviously a clear line that you shouldn’t cross on social media though.  After all, we’re constantly fed horror stories of dating disasters, professional-appearing businesses that turn out to be as dodgy as Del and terrifying stories from around the globe.  But, with a little common sense, it’s perfectly possible to create solid relationships on-line.  Just please stay aware…

Whether Robert thinks I’m completely nuts is another story.   He came over once to give Ben a masterclass in songwriting and I gave a rendition of Fleetwood Mac in my dreadful tone-deaf voice; it’s enough to make anyone retreat quickly into the relatively safer world of online chat.

This week brings four parties – three for Christmas and one for Geoff, who is leaving his job after about 30 years.  We met in 1988 when I worked in recruitment and supplied staff for his enormous team at the local council.   He later employed me as the Plain English Consultant to train local government staff to write clearly, without jargon and in a way ordinary people could understand.  That contract set me on the road to starting my own business, so I have a lot to thank Geoff for! (Thank you Geoff!)

As I’m typing this I’m remembering a Christmas party where Geoff was recovering from knee surgery.  Forgetting about that, I dragged him onto the dance floor and, being too much of a gentleman to complain, he limp danced in agony.  (Sorry Geoff!)  Someone mentioned yesterday that my whole working life seems to have been one big party… can’t complain about that!

That particular party was many moons ago, but my delightful voice was on show there too, as I sang back-up for Carol in front of 150 bemused clients.  And I do still remember the song!!  “They say our love won’t pay the rent, before it’s earned our money’s all been spent…”

If your love’s not paying the rent and you’d like a business boost in 2015 to increase your visibility across the web, call me today for a chat. We can talk about running a sparkling social media management campaign for the new year.  My number is 020 8551 7077, or you can tweet me: @WeekendWitch.

More winners, social media heaven and rich, creamy things to eat

Having proudly told you about my accountant client winning two major awards last week, this week I’m thrilled to say that my client Vision Property and Estate Management has picked up THREE national awards!  The company manages apartment blocks around London and the south east, making sure landlords and tenants are well cared for, well serviced and well happy.  (Bit of Essex speak there!  I added that, not them – they’re a classy company and very highly recommended.)

The awards were presented at a glitzy ceremony at the Troxy in Stepney – a beautiful, hidden gem of a venue.  Black tie dinner, 3D 60’s theme, slightly eccentric band who kept the dance floor full all night – it was a fabulous evening from start to finish.

Imaginative Training | social media blog | social media training | Plain English training | Plain English editing | copywritingSpeaking of my accountants, it was such fun on Friday at their Christmas party. The theme was Frozen, with the golf and country club decorated in white, silver and turquoise.  Bit like my front room.   The Disney soundtrack played through dinner and I was the only one who didn’t know all the words.  I secretly suspect they’ve been playing the music  in the office, but either way, they knew it and I didn’t.

I felt culturally distressed and praying

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My own Frozen tree

for a quick blast of Madonna singing Santa Baby to put me back in my comfort zone.   Gill suggested that I buy the DVD for my mum and watch it first….. it’s a viable idea.  Aside from Disney princesses, the disco was brilliant with lots of drunken dancing following the delicious Christmas dinner.

Then, making it a hat trick of nights out involving dancing, red wine and rich chocolatey desserts, Saturday’s Celebrity Guild fundraising dinner was an opportunity to network, talk about social media and eat, eat, eat.  Meeting Charlie from Eastenders was a highlight, even though I’m really a Corrie girl.  He was charming, down-to-earth and funny – didn’t offer me a lift home in his cab though!

The excessive pre-holiday eating wasn’t restricted to evening events.  An afternoon’s late lunch in a tiny French cheese restaurant in Spitalfields introduced me to Tartiflette – the creamiest, richest, most delicious lunch that doesn’t involve chocolate.   And while running a social media training day for a self-storage facility in east London I was presented with the biggest glass bowl full of sweeties.  It really was a yummy week!

Driving home from that training session a wonderful thing happened. And it was weird.  Magic FM (yes, I listen to all the trendy radio stations) started playing Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s   reggae version of Over the Rainbow; I’d never heard this before but loved it…  As I looked up (always useful when driving along the A12) a huge rainbow appeared in front of me.  It wasn’t raining or sunny, it was just there.  Smiling down as if from a social media heaven.  I always take that to be a sign that everything’s going to work out well.

So I’m tempted to end with “the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true.”  But I won’t.  Dragging myself into this modern music age with Idina Menzel: “It’s time to see what I can do, to test the limits and break through. No right, no wrong, no rules for me – I’m free!”  When it comes to social media there aren’t exactly rules, but there is a certain etiquette to follow.  It’s a great way to test your business limits and definitely break through into unchartered territory.  If you’d like to know more, please ask… I’m here, as always: @WeekendWitch.

Celebrating awards, living the dream and a magical place to make money

I don’t know whether you’re one of those super-fans that immerse yourself in historical dramas?  I like historical fiction and I love Downton; the contents of Lady Mary Crawley’s wardrobe would look pretty good in my house.  Anyway, last week, I felt as though I’d fallen through the rabbit hole into a wonderful, opulent world of days gone by – in Trafalgar Square, of all places!  I was lucky enough to be invited to attend an elegant dinner party at a bank that was so posh it had crystal chandeliers in the banking hall and a doorbell.

Drummonds Bank is a 300-year-old establishment in Trafalgar Square where the Queen Mother conducted her banking transactions in a private dining room over a Victorian carafe of gin.  It’s where you’d expect to see the father from Mary Poppins taking tea with his employers floating above the cashiers.  It was a magical place.  And I was there.  Dripping my red wine on a £200,000 Adam table displaying a guest book with the Royal family’s signatures.  Who knew?!

A wonderful prospective client of mine invited 14 guests to share the evening around a dining table laid with hand carved hallmarked silver, sparkling crystal ware and the most perfect sirloins.  The host provided some of the funniest stories and anecdotes I’ve heard for a very long time, and I’m tempted to steal them for my (one-day-soon-to-be written) book!  And if it makes good royalties, what a lovely home this would be for my money to grow!

Imaginative Training | social media blog | social media training | Plain English training | Plain English editing | copywritingI met some  fantastic people that night, some of whom use social media effectively for their businesses and some who don’t. Yet.  One business that does use it very nicely is my accountants, Nordens.  So this week I was really, really happy to celebrate with them following their two fantastic wins at the British Accountancy Awards.

They’re a fantastic firm and thoroughly deserving of their awards for Independent Firm of the Year (East England) and New Accountant of the Year (UK).  I may be a bit biased about their award-winning applications though, as I wrote them…  My copywriting aside, Nordens provides a business service that goes way beyond boring accountancy.  They help people to live their dreams and make the money they deserve.  And who doesn’t like the sound of that??

If you’d like to live your dreams and make the money you deserve, let’s have a chat.  As Stevie reminds us, “You say you want your freedom; well who am I to keep you down?  It’s only right that you should play the way you feel it … Have you any dreams you’d like to sell?”  Well, have you?  You can tell me about them here: @WeekendWitch.

ExCel, the real Wolf of Wall Street and a pre-Raphaelite threesome

When Jordan Belfort published his memoir, The Wolf of Wall Street, and Martin Scorsese cast the very pretty Leonardo diCaprio in the starring role, the controversial stock market fraudster was exposed to a whole new global entertainment audience.

Imaginative Training | social media blog | social media training | Plain English training | Plain English editing | copywritingI don’t read the financial news and I have to admit to missing the film (a sin to be rectified this week if my eBay bid wins me the DVD).  I can’t stand the people sitting behind in the cinema who sniff, whisper and ruffle popcorn loudly.  So, in fact, I first heard Jordan Belfort’s name only a couple of weeks ago when a Facebook friend mentioned him in connection with a secret scandal involving Kermit – but that’s a whole ‘nuvva story….

In the stark auditorium of the ExCel convention centre, with the Hollywood glitter replaced by chilly grey air and surprisingly comfortable embroidery-branded chairs, the real man was laid bare. Well, not actually bare – it wasn’t one of ‘those’ weird conventions…

The provocative entrepreneur was in London to share his tips for making money.  Legally.  Along with his guest speakers he explored techniques for succeeding in get-rich-quick schemes in property and stockbroking – I’m sticking to social media marketing though.  If you’re lucky enough to find a niche you’re happy in and clients you love, why change your career on the advice of a charismatic multi-millionaire who reached dizzying heights of success but crashed horribly in a crime-laden, drug-fuelled disaster?!

Actually it was amazing to see hundreds of people literally run across the auditorium to sign up for his training programme, and good luck to them all!

The Wall Street superstar certainly made more money than most of us could ever imagine, and achieved greater infamy than we may ever want.  Blowing his millions on a sumptuous lifestyle of cocaine and debauchery, Jordan found himself in jail as a result of fraud, scams and stock market manipulation.  But he clawed his way back to success.  He had stories to tell, that’s for sure!!

Back in the day, William Morris also had stories to tell.  For a special treat, I was taken to his exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery on Thursday.  Widely known as the premier textile and wallpaper designer of the Victorian Arts and Crafts Movement, it’s less well known that he was a busy social activist with a circle of friends to put today’s craziest rock stars to shame.

I’ve mentioned my love of

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My favourite pre-Raphaelite painting

Pre-Raphaelite art before, and Morris was friends with all the artists whose work fills my study bookcases.   Yet although imagining the dreamy, floral-minded designer as a key figure in Romanticism is true, it’s equally far from the truth; he embraced anarchy, founded the socialist league and was seemingly happy about some free-flowing threesomes going on around him.  Hey ho – makes for an inspiring art project, I guess.

Haven’t quoted my favourite Jim Steinman for a while, so I have a good excuse to indulge myself now:  “On a hot summer night, would you offer your throat to the wolf with the red roses?”  Jordan Belfort’s women did, so did William Morris’s muses….

If you’d like me to ‘take the words right out of your mouth,’ I’ll happily help with your copywriting, blogging or tweeting.  Email for more info, or ask me here, as always: @WeekendWitch.

PS… Thank you to Mark at Nordens for the photo of Jordan – he has a better camera than me and I was busy eating a flake when he snapped it! (And thank you for the invitation!!)

Paddington Bear, a magical store and naughty days before social media

I first stepped in to Liberty when I was 11 and had bunked off from school with Angie.  We were oh so brave and naughty, catching the central line to Oxford Circus and spending the day wandering around.  That was before the days of social media of course… and oyster cards!  It was the same day I first walked down Carnaby Street, with its then psychedelic orange and yellow pavement and weird and wonderful people.

Liberty is a magical store.  The carved wooden atrium balconies, sparkling chandeliers and beautiful mystique make it a wonderful place to spend an afternoon.  It really is a charming place: eccentric, indulgent, flamboyant.  Much of the inspiration came from Mr Liberty’s collaborations with two of my favourite pre-Raphaelite artists: William Morris and Gabriel Dante Rossetti, so it’s no wonder I feel at home there.

Imaginative Training | social media blog | social media training | Plain English training | Plain English editing | copywritingI shared a lovely afternoon tea with a graphic designer who illustrates amazing little characters – many of which you would recognise, but I don’t know if I’m at liberty to name them. (See what I did there?!)  He was charming too, and very knowledgeable about art and etiquette; So much so that I had to apologise for eating my cakes in the wrong order – more naughtiness.

Just like that naughty day when I should have been doing double maths, I walked the length of Carnaby Street.  Liam Gallagher’s Paddington is a new addition!! He’s the first one I’ve seen actually, and very cute.  (It really was a day full of whimsical characters!)  Have you spotted any of the marmalade loving bears yet?  I’m invited to dinner at a posh private bank on Tuesday so I’ll be able to say hello to Boris’s bear too – he’s keeping guard outside the National Gallery.

Right off Carnaby Street, on

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Choccywoccydoodah Christmas cakes…

a movie set type street corner in Fouberts Place, stands the unobtrusive and shy looking shop and café that has become my new dream home.  Because inside Choccywoccydoodah is chocolate heaven!  Extravagant cakes with rich, thick, deliciousness can be eaten amid an environment that I really can’t describe because I was too focused on the giant creations on my plate.

Kevin took me for a post-birthday treat and we were very greedy whilst laying down plans for a new website for his charity.  Naturally, obligatory cake photos were posted on Facebook.  It’s all so different to the days when I worked in the street and got arrested…… (Ssshhhh… can’t mention that now with Paddington Bear possibly reading this, but you can see it in this old blog here.)

I dance around the room to Donna Summer in an attempt to de-calorie some of the cream-tea-chocolate-cake-cream-trifle-more-chocolate-week-of-celebrating.  The queen of disco sings out in my bedroom, “Someone left the cake out in the rain; I don’t think that I can take it, ’cause it took so long to bake it.”  Feel free to dance along with me, or follow the trail of chocolate buttons… You’ll find me here: @WeekendWitch.