The Wilds book cover

Book PR – The Wilds

I’m excited to be working with author Sarah Pearse again, this time for The Wilds, the third book in her trilogy featuring Detective Elin Warner.

I first supported Sarah with PR for the publication of the paperback of her second novel, The Retreat in 2023. Book PR was a new specialism for me, but I quickly got going and we had lots of coverage in the local press and glossies, including Devon Life Magazine. We also ran competitions with Visit South Devon and Torquay magazine The Beach Hut.

The Wilds storyline is set in two locations, the Devon coast and Portugal’s remote National Park, Peneda-Gerês. Central to the plot is the disappearance of Kier, who escaped her hometown and twin to live her life on the road. But why did she leave, and what happened to her? The theme of coercive control runs through the book, highlighting the issues of gaslighting and trauma.

For me, this time round there’s another layer to the PR, as Sarah has teamed up with a domestic abuse charity. Still early days, but I’m busy working on collaborative PR opportunities, as well as securing local PR and organising events.

The Wilds is published on July 16th and is available to pre-order from all good booksellers!


Group of people at the National Camellia Trail

Otter in the Spotlight!

This year is Otter Garden Centres 60th anniversary so my foot is on the gas working on a variety of stories, for press, website, socials and local news.

Last week, I was asked to see if I could spark interest in the news that Otter’s exclusive camellia, Claire Hannah, was being added to the National Camellia Trail at Mount Edgcumbe in Cremyll, Torpoint. I have to admit to having never heard of the Trail, but I thought the story was lovely, considering it’s the time of year when camellias are in full bloom, and the timing, perfect to encourage visitors to the Trail for Mother’s Day and in a couple of weeks, Easter.

After ascertaining that Otter’s MD Jacqui Taylor was happy to take the plants to Mount Edgcumbe, I contacted BBC Spotlight. They loved the idea, but we all looked at the weather and decided the next day was the best option. Not much time to sort everything. Cue multiple emails with Spotlight and reporter Johnny Rutherford, frantic calls to Mount Edgcumbe to make sure they were okay about the filming, and to their Camellia Curator Lee Stenning who was also to feature in the story, to check his timings. Then a hair raising hour trying to track down Jacqui to pinpoint when she could get there. I eventually found her at the Taunton garden centre, and finally, everything was sorted.

Despite windy conditions, the sky stayed clear and the sun even came out. The National Camellia Trail did its job by looking very beautiful, Johnny and Lee made an entertaining double act for the broadcast, and Jacqui looked suitably delighted that the exclusive bloom was being added to the collection.

And I’ve learnt all about the National Camillia Trail collection! It was started in 1976 with a gift of 70 camellias from the International Camellia Society. There are over 1000 camellias in the collection and as many camellias tend to be in full flower in the early Spring months, it’s a great time to visit. If you do go, see if you can spot Claire Hannah!

Mount Edgcumbe National Camellia Trail

PS I realised recently that I first started working with Otter for their 50th anniversary. So I’m very proud to have such a long-term client who I have a great relationship with. Long may it continue!

Awards round up

I’ve had a busy old time recently, supporting clients with awards nominations.

Family Law Awards

Two sets of finalists in this for The Family Law Company – the Costings Team in the Legal Support Team of the Year and the Children Team in the Team of the Year.

I was particularly thrilled that the Costings Team won their award. They’re a team of three who are never in the limelight. Their expert work in undertaking admininstrative tasks for legal aid cases and providing training for their colleagues cannot be underestimated. Well done Polly, Maureen and Kim. The Children Team didn’t win this time, but there’s another bite at the cherry coming up for them!

Rory Bremner, Kim May, Polly Hall, sponsor by Telling Photography

The Notty’s

A new awards event in the Exeter area. Optix Solutions were in the top three of two categories, Marketing Maestro and Fearless Leader. A real shame that they didn’t walk away with one of the unusual bow-tie trophies, but with so many nominations they should feel proud. And there’s always next year!

Westcountry Women Awards

Two different clients in the finals. It was amazing for them to get there as the awards received thousands of entries. So in the top three were Carrie Laws from The Family Law Company for the Diversity & Equality Award, and Beth and Andrea from Coldharbour Farm Field Kitchen for Women in Food & Drink.

Again, one win and one slight disappointment! Carrie won her category, and I have to say it’s about time her amazing work was recognised. Beth and Andrea were pipped at the post by the Cotley Arms, but top three in the region, that’s not to be sniffed at.

Carrie Laws photo by Poppy Jakes

British Family Law Awards

Early days for this as the finalists have only just been announced, but congratulations to Shreya from The Family Law Company for being in the finals of the One to Watch category.


The Exeter Living and DASLS Awards are now open, so it’s head down once again for nominations. So more legal awards, but also a mixture for Exeter Living. I’m looking at Retail, Bar, Restaurant and People Services. Lots to do in the next few weeks!

Cocktails, cocktails everywhere!

I’m over the moon to be working with a new PR client. It’s two businesses in reality; Wishes is a wellbeing centre combining treatments, retreats, spa days and a huge crystal retail space. Aquarius Bar is a fabulous bar/restaurant that has three seperate areas – the bar, Amazon Lounge and Atlantean lounge – to enjoy great food and drink. There’s a lot of PR possibilities and I’m just starting to get my teeth into it!

Dominic Jones, who runs the bar, is obsessed with cocktails! I took part in a cocktail making workshop he ran, and the result was delicious. He only uses the very best ingredients and, believe me, he certainly knows what he’s doing.

Recently he devised a brand new range of cocktails based on his family. What an inspired idea! With their blessing, he’s designed cocktails for mum Sandie, who runs Wishes, dad Howard, the practical force behind the business, his brother Zach, as well as his auntie and grandparents.

For example, for Sandie:

Pretty Woman
“Here, have a strawberry.” “Why?” “It brings out the flavour.”
An all-time favourite film, this classic has been held in high regard in the family since it was released and is loved today. Many a rainy day have been spent watching Pretty Woman with quotes making their way into everyday chit-chat. It wouldn’t be a Sandie Jones cocktail without a bit of Glitz and Glam and this cocktail takes a riff on the famous champagne and strawberry scene, featuring Della Vite small batch Pink Prosecco with homemade Strawberry Caviar and Edible Gold.

And for Howard:

Insert Cricket Reference Here
Dad used to play cricket a lot, I sadly never got into the sport, but there are countless memories watching him play whilst we were growing up. This cocktail isn’t based on cricket, more the summer afternoons sat watching and Dad’s love for cider, so here we have a Cider based Mojito with a Lemon and Lime Gin twist, to make it extra zesty and all the more refreshing.

Devon Live

Rise and Shine

Devon Daily

I have yet to have had the chance to fully indulge, as I’m always driving when I visit. But with new eco lodges almost ready I figure I’ll have to book in for a night of cocktail tasting, stone circle meditation – followed by restful sleep!

Find out more here: WISHES and AQUARIUS BAR

The Extreme Team for Devon Life

I’ve been working with World Extreme Medicine for around a year with my PR pal Sharon Goble.

We’ve had some fantastic success getting the organisation featured in the likes of Reader’s Digest and People’s Friend, as well as regional press and local radio. We got a good amount of coverage for the ongoing Medics4Ukraine initiative, which has raised around £2.5M in medical training and supplies for medics work-ng on the frontline and beleaguered hospitals in Ukraine. WEM was highly commended at the Exeter Living Awards, and I put founder Mark Hannaford forward for the LDC Top 50 Ambitious Leaders – watch this space.

Earlier in the year, I was delighted to put my feature hat on and interview founder Mark Hannaford myself, for an article for Devon Life. Mark sent me his CV. It ran to many pages! We talked for ages, he’s done so much, he’s truly unstoppable. From kayaking past a glacier on his 21st birthday and working in the most remote areas of Australia to arranging for Tom Cruise to make a virtual appearance at WEM’s annual conference, Mark is always looking ahead to the next challenge. Luckily he’s also a lovely chap!

The resulting feature for Devon Life was published in the June issue, and I have to say I’m really pleased with it. Helped of course by a fantastic array of photos.

My retained contract with WEM is now finished, but it’s been a pleasure working for this amazing organisation and talking to so many inspirational medics and adventurers. And Sharon and I are now on call as WEM’s ad hoc PR support, so we look forward to continuing the relationship.

My next feature was about a violin maker called Kev based in Exeter, a very different subject to write about – but also totally intriguing!






Optix really is best place to work

I’ve been working with Optix Solutions for just under a year. It was a bit of a slow burn start as I got to know the business and the people involved. But now, there’s no stopping them!

It’s a fantastic mix of PR opportunities, including press releases, podcasts, contributions to leading business magazines and, of course, awards. Optix MD Rob Stevens asked me to help with the submission for Campaign’s Best Place to Work awards. Optix has been in the top 100 for two years in a row, but with the company increasingly focused on employee satisfaction, there looked a good opportunity for them to do even better.

I worked with Rob and the team to build the submission into something extra special. All the information was there, it sometimes just takes someone from outside of an organisation to point out that what a company is doing day to day is actually pretty impressive! That’s my skill.

Optix found out they were in the top 100 for the third year back in March. But then they were invited to an awards reception in London. And next, Rob was interviewed by a journalist. Lots of positive noises. Rob and colleague Xenia went to the reception and discovered that Optix had won the boutique agency category, and had been placed fourth overall in the top 100. Quite an achievement.

I’m really proud to have helped them with this success. I always say that I’m fortunate to have a client portfolio that features so many ethically minded individuals and businesses. Optix genuinely cares about its team, which is why they so deserve this award. Congratulations!


Return to the Malta Marathon

In February 2020,  I joined a team from natural stone and terrazzo client Diespeker to take part in the Malta Marathon, fundraising for  teenage mental health charity, stem4. With the race succesfully completed, I arrived home just before the pandemic created mayhem – we all remember what happened next.

So it was a real joy to return to Malta for a re-run (although if you know me, you’ll understand there wasn’t any running involved. Instead, very fast walking)! We were lucky with the weather, after the wind dropped it was pleasantly warm and the sun decided to come out.

The MD of Diespeker, John Krause was the only one of the team to take part in the full marathon. It was his 198th marathon, with just one more to go before his 200th which will be the London Marathon. In the meantime, I walked the half marathon with Terra Ferma Media boss David Fernando. We waved at John as he jogged past us on his second lap, barely breaking sweat. To keep up going, we listened to some banging disco tunes (sharing earbuds as my headphones had broken) and danced across the finish line to Daddy Cool.

Although of our team I came in last, it was a pretty fast walk. My average is 3 miles an hour and the 13.1 miles took 3 hours 25, taking my pace up to 3.83 miles an hour. I was happy to find out I was 18th in my age group (and there were plenty of people younger than me who finished later). All the dog walking obviously helps my fitness levels.

The best bit? The pint of Cisk (a local lager) afterwards.

It’s sobering to remember that as a consequence of the pandemic, teenage mental health is in need of even more support. In 2022 alone, 18.0% of children aged 7 to 16 years and 22.0% of young people aged 17 to 24 years had a probable mental health disorder. stem4 promotes positive mental health in teenagers and those who support them, including families and carers, education professionals, along with school nurses and GPs through the provision of mental health education, resilience strategies and early intervention.

Provided primarily through digital channels, resources include Head Ed, an innovative education programme, 5 pioneering mental health apps, a clinically-informed website and mental health conferences for young people, education and health professionals that contribute to helping young people and those around them flourish.

The combined team effort of runners and walkers from the charity have so far raised over £2,650. We’re still taking donations, so please follow this link if you would like to support the work of stem4.

Gold for Coldharbour!

On February 2nd the Devon Tourism Awards took place in Plymouth. I was thrilled that one of my newer clients, Coldharbour Field Kitchen, was a finalist in the Casual Dining category.

Being a finalist means you’ll win one of three awards, bronze, silver or gold. In the same category, the other finalists were theCary Arms & Spa, Babbacombe and the Pier Point Restaurant and Bar, Torquay. Both exceptional dining establishments. To be honest, I think we all thought Coldharbour, which only opened in 2022, would get bronze.

On the night, I couldn’t make the awards event but watched everything unfold on Twitter. I shrieked when I saw that Coldharbour had scooped gold! I Whatsapped Andrea and Beth at the same time that they Whatsapped me, clearly in shock!

Having worked with Andrea and Beth on the awards submission, their dedication to local sourcing, great service, accessibility and sustainability shone through – no doubt the reason they shone in their category. Congratulations to them both, and the rest of the hard-working team.

They’ve just reopened after a break during January, and their new, all-day Sunday breakfasts look sublime. Five fluffy pancakes topped with chocolate sauce, banana and toasted pecans sounds right up my street.

Feature writing way out West

In December I was commissioned to write my first feature for national title, Coast Magazine. It was a tough gig, a weekend in Marazion staying at The Godolphin exploring what West Cornwall has to offer to out-of-season visitors. I’ve visited Cornwall many, many times. It’s been the UK holiday destination of choice for my kids for years, even though its just a stone’s throw from Devon. But I wasn’t familiar with this particular coastline. A treat was in store.

The trip started with me taking the plunge, literally. On a freezing cold Friday afternoon, what else would you do but jump into an outside pool in Penzance? Luckily it was geothermally heated. From then on in, the weekend was a cornucopia of unexpected experiences, including an afternoon session lino-cutting under the direction of a softly-spoken, bemused Cornish artist. I might have been better prepared if I’d read the itinerary more closely (ie bring old clothes and an apron).

Retail therapy in Penzance, a gentle walk along the South West Coast Path to Long Rock, a trip to Mousehole to see the Harbour Lights. Food at The Mexico, food at The Hoxton Special, food at 2 Fore Street. The Godolphin was fabulous, with Insta-worthy views across to St Michael’s Mount. All the better when accompanied by stunning sunsets and complimentary local fizz.

My work life isn’t always like this. Usually I’m bashing away at the keyboard for hours on end, Googling madly, (politely) badgering a journalist, ticking things off my to-do list, adding more things on. So believe you me, this assignment was a real treat.

I won’t say too much as the feature will be in the March issue so you’ll have to buy a copy to get the full story.

As a side hustle to my PR service, feature writing will never make me wealthy. However, it does make me rich in terms of trying new experiences and meeting fascinating people. Result!

Happy New Year, may your 2023 be filled with stunning sunsets.


Whirlwind with WEM

It’s been quite a whirlwind since I started working with World Extreme Medicine (WEM). Quite an organisation, with an amazing array of skills, from training medics skills to use in remote locations (and closer to home) to providing services on location for the likes of Tom Cruise.

Then there’s the annual conference. Taking place in Edinburgh from November 19th to 21st, there are so many extraordinary speakers including Mensun Bound, part of the team that found Shackleton’s Endeavour earlier this year, three NASA astronauts, explorer Lucy Shepherd, ‘Hearts in the Ice’ team Hilde Fålun Strøm and Sunniva Sørby, RM Commando Paramedic Andy Hughes and many more.

In addition, the Medics4Ukraine initiative which is supporting frontline medics in the war torn country both by training them and providing critical medical supplies. There have been seven convoys so far, and some scary close calls. But WEM founder Mark Hannaford and his team are committed to continuing to help. WEM underwrites the cost of the convoys, and takes donations of funds and of medical supplies. To donate visit; Medics4Ukraine

For this account I’m more than ably supported by Sharon Goble of If Media. Sharon’s background as a journalist and news presenter means she has a nose for a news story and is a real pro when negotiating with the media.

We worked with WEM to run its first ever photographic competition with the theme ‘Extreme is Everywhere’. Judged by Mark Hannaford, master photographer Perou and  physician, speaker, martial artist, and citizen-scientist astronaut candidate Dr Shawna Pandya, it was a great success with an impressive 65 entries. Find out about the winner and runners up here.

All in all, we’ve had some great coverage so far. Several radio interviews with Radio Devon and Radio Manchester (and hopefully BBC Scotland soon), lots of local press – WEM is headquartered in Axminster, and national interest. I’m very proud of securing a feature with Reader’s Digest (as one of my friends said, soon to be read in many loos in the UK!).