MasterChef winner hosts Dine at Mine at room2 Southampton

MasterChef winner hosts Dine at Mine at room2 Southampton

It’s not often you’ll get dinner cooked for you by a MasterChef winner in an intimate setting like the world’s first hometel!

But, that’s what happened and I honestly had to pinch myself.

Continue reading “MasterChef winner hosts Dine at Mine at room2 Southampton”

Meet the Professionals 2017 at Solent University

Meet the Professionals 2017 at Solent University

The annual Meet the Professionals event at Southampton Solent is a valuable networking event for students. This year it was in the newly completed Spark building and attracted a much bigger crowd.

It is a fantastic opportunity for Southampton students studying public relations, advertising, marketing and creative subjects to see what’s available in the local area, network and pick up valuable advice.

This is my third year doing the event, the first as a student and the second and third as a PR professional. Read about the tips and tricks I picked up and gave out at this year’s event. Continue reading “Meet the Professionals 2017 at Solent University”

Cabana brings Brazilian street food to Southampton

Cabana brings Brazilian street food to Southampton

BOM DIA! Bang the drums, put on some Sergio Mendes and do the samba because newly opened Cabana has brought brilliant Brazilian street food to Southampton.

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The Southampton Showcase Cinema de Lux is a game changer!

The Southampton Showcase Cinema de Lux is a game changer!

The new Showcase Cinema de Lux in Southampton has just upped the ante. Watch out local cinema, Showcase really is a game changer! Continue reading “The Southampton Showcase Cinema de Lux is a game changer!”

RE:SO SHED vintage clothing launch – the benefits of hosting a blogging event

RE:SO SHED vintage clothing launch – the benefits of hosting a blogging event

The Retail Solent Initiative, RE:SO, hosted a special blogger preview event for the launch of the new SHED vintage clothing in Southampton.

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Meet the Professionals 2016 at Solent University

Meet the Professionals 2016 at Solent University

Journey

I went on a pretty long journey to get where I am today and a key part of that journey was sending myself back to university to do a PR Masters in 2014. I’m hugely passionate about PR and feel that the wonderful education Southampton Solent University gave me was an important contribution in my progression. It’s given me wonderful opportunities and still does.

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One of those opportunities happened at the start of February 2016, I was invited to attend the CIPR hosted Meet the Professionals event, to represent my current company Lee Peck Media.

25 media professionals attended to offer help and advice to current students in the creative industries at a speed-networking event. Yes, this is a bit like speed dating, all the professionals stay seated while every 10 minutes the students rotate around the room.

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I spoke to lots of students across the evening and even managed to network myself a little.

Lauren Witty, the current Wessex CIPR student representative, did an excellent job at getting a large mix of regional professionals to attend. 25 in total – the best turn out in the events history. It was easily double the size of when I last attended this event in 2014. Congratulations Lauren – your hard work paid off!

Laura Bradley, one of the students who attended, has written a great blog on her site The PR Girl  with five key points that she took away from the event. I am always interested to see what people find notable and the advice they gain from these kind of events and whether that information was useful or not. It’s great to see that Laura’s experience was very positive and the key points were useful ones!

Obviously, I am now on the other side, so I thought I’d give you my five key recommendations from the Meet the Professionals event. These were the most popular things that I said in response to students questions that evening:

  1. Be brave – This isn’t easy. It’s daunting out there but be brave, professionals and companies were once where you were. We all start somewhere.
  2. Grow a thick skin – You are going to get some knock-backs, but it’s time to man up and be more elephant! Learn what you can from these experiences, can you get feedback? As soon as you can pick yourself back up, dust yourself down and keep going, your opportunity is out there. No, seriously, put that Ben and Jerry’s down and grab yourself a Kleenex – you can do this!
  3. Never stop learning – Don’t be afraid to enrol yourself on courses, speak to your peers, ask for advice or shadow a colleague. The industry is evolving all the time, but don’t worry there are many ways to keep your skills together including your CIPR membership, you tube, the infinite resource that is Google, online courses, local colleges and universities.
  4. Find a way – If it’s your dream industry or company and you’ve tried and failed to get in through a direct application can you get another job with them and then side step in to what you want? This could be an option. I did, so can you!
  5. Dig the journey – Unless you are the luckiest so and so, and if you are count your blessings, don’t worry if your journey is the path less travelled. Don’t worry if it takes you longer than others to figure out where and what you want to do, you will learn so much that will contribute to your future, more desired, career (and life in general).

Here’s a selection of my tweets from the event:

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Thanks to everyone involved – I hope to see you there next year!

It’s anything but Dismaland!

It’s anything but Dismaland!

My five am start, two and half hour drive and four and a half hour queue time to ensure my feet were one of the first across the threshold at Dismaland paid off…

I was in!

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*Spoiler Alert: Go no further! I haven’t put many images up that are new and not in the press because I don’t believe in ruining it for others, but there are a couple. If you want to go and don’t want to ruin it for yourself, look no further!*

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The pre-opening ticket PR hype did nothing to quell my excitement, and I was not disappointed. Not one little bit!

The staff are purposefully rude, abrupt and non-responsive, but in such a humourous way that I got an exceptional fit of the giggles as we passed through the fake security entrance. Of course they had been told to do that, but the innocent childish laughter kept coming. Cardboard scanners and CCTV and other props were incredible, polished off by the outstanding performance by the staff who ‘interrogated’ you. After a hilariously impressive start I went through the door half-expecting it to end there but there were more staff to hand out leaflets, only they made it intentionally difficult for you to take a map from their hand, or just stood there looking at you blankly full of disdain. None of them broke character, not once and it totally made the experience.

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Don’t look now…

I found it a visual over load, with so much detail that I took a lot of time taking it all in. It was a magnificent triumph, Banksy had successfully curated a wide array of art and put the artists together to create one fluid and coherent installation. He created this from scratch in under six months, it was seriously impressive.

Having the PR ‘stunt’ fit in line with the event/attraction/installation (well, it is all three!) was the perfect way to promote the event and keep it in line with the mission behind the installation.

The art itself, predominantly installations, were deliberately thought provoking and challenged perceptions. Here’s a peek at some of the works…


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IMG_7753It’s a great place for creative thought, perhaps it suggests a way for public relations to come at things from a different angle too. The stakeholders in attendance were a large cross-section of society, some where there because of the hype, the attraction, the installation, to look cool, to be an activist, an anarchist, an artist…

Every sort of person was there and international languages rippled across the air. Stereotypes didn’t really work here, it had a strange mass appeal. Perhaps it’s because Banksy’s works aren’t aimed at one person, they are aimed at everyone, to challenge everyone’s thoughts and what is fundamentally right and wrong.

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With love from Dismaland! xxx  

It was anything but Dismal! We had a wonderful time, and I seriously suggest you go and experience not only the fun side, but the elements which make you challenge your thoughts and ideas on difficult topics.

Oh yeah, and don’t forget to Exit through the Gift Shop…

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