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!).



Quiet summer? Not here!

The summer months, particularly August, were once a slightly quieter time workwise  – but this year it has been rather the reverse! Every client has been busy which, in the light of the economy and energy crisis, is a good thing.

  • Coldharbour Field Kitchen which opened in June is going great guns. They benefitted from the heatwave with lots of customers taking advantage of the decking and enjoying the stunning sunsets across East Devon (I was one of them!).
  • World Extreme Medicine has continued to send convoys to Ukraine with medical supplies thought the Medics4Ukraine initiative – the fifth convoy recently went and the sixth is due in late September. Meanwhile I’ve organised a photographic competition for them, a feature with Reader’s Digest – and together with Sharon from If Media we’ll shortly be ramping up PR for the upcoming conference in November.
  • The Family Law Company has continued to achieve success in national awards, which is a personal satisfaction for me as I work on the nominations for them. Lots of press releases and blog writing over the summer too. And a networking event to look forward to in October.
  • Very excitingly I’ve recently been working with Chilcotts Auctioneers to promote the sale of the Lawson Rudge Studio. More of that soon, but Lawson is a renowned ceramicist who was at the Royal College of Art with David Hockney. I interviewed him last week for a Devon Life feature, what a wonderful and varied life he has had. His flat cows are a favourite of mine and I might well make a bid for one in the November 5th sale!
  • Meanwhile I’ve been beavering away for Optix Solutions with a variety of news stories which have had some good local and national traction. They’ve recently rebranded and their website is looking really smart.

I head off for my own summer holiday tomorrow, just one week on the beautiful island of Corfu. This really will be a time to recharge my batteries – I won’t be answering emails for a whole week!

Samples of coverage:

Coldharbour Field Kitchen launch


World Extreme Medicine in Beer

Grace Bradley wins Legal Aid Family Solicitor (P53)

Optix clocks off at 3pm

Extreme PR?

I’m delighted to add two new clients to my portfolio – the fabulous Optix Solutions and the amazing World Extreme Medicine.

I’ve known the team at Optix for some years, and I’ve been chatting to MD Rob Stevens about providing a PR service since before the pandemic. Of course it all went on hold when Covid hit, but Rob came back to me this year when Optix began to rise like the proverbial phoenix, with an impressive growth of around 43% in the past 12 months. Much of this it attributable to the implementation of a Shadow Board – and I’m pleased that this was the first piece of PR I managed for them. You can read about it here. We’ve much more in the pipeline, as they have many interesting stories to tell.

Next up, World Extreme Medicine. WEM is the leading provider of education, conferences, consultancy and medical cover in the specialist field of extreme medicine – in locations such as polar terrain, jungles, oceans – and space. Plus increasingly humanitarian situations such as war zones and environmental catastrophes. WEM is just about to take a fourth convoy to Ukraine, both to train medics on the frontline and provide much needed medical supplies. I was approached by their brand strategist Bruce on LinkedIn – he still won’t tell me how he came across me! After a few Zoom meetings I met with Bruce and WEM founder Mark Hannaford in Exeter and I was delighted to be offered the account. I’ve brought fellow PR guru Sharon Goble in for this account. Her sharp end news skills are a real bonus. Our first pieces of work are around the Ukraine convoy and to promote a photography competition on the theme ‘Extreme is Everywhere’ – which has master photographer Perou on board as one of the judges.

It’s always a thrill to secure a new client, and both Optix and WEM fit perfectly with my own ethos of transparency and trust. Exciting times!

Introducing Coldharbour Farm Shop

I’m delighted to be working with Coldharbour Farm Shop in Ottery St Mary as they get ready to open their fantastic new Field Kitchen in May.

Most people know of my commitment to supporting smaller, independent, local businesses – these are usually run by people like me, who work hard and want to achieve the best results possible. At Coldharbour, that’s Andrea and Beth.

There’s always a great back story to an indie business; Coldharbour Farm was first farmed by Andrea’s great grandfather, Harry, in the 1930s. The farm has been handed down the generations and during that time has changed and diversified, particularly in recent years. Where once there were dairy cows and chickens (the farm shop was once the dairy parlour), Andrea now keeps sheep and pigs.

Andrea was joined by business partner Beth in 2016 when the farm shop and cafe first opened. In fact, I came across them not long after, when I judged for Taste of the West awarding the cafe a well deserved gold after enjoying a fantastic smashed avocado brekkie. We’ve bumped into each other over the years, but it was their plans for the new Field Kitchen that prompted them to get in touch to see if I could take them on as a client.

The Coldharbour Farm Field Kitchen is a natural progression from a small venture they started during the pandemic, serving food outside from a cabin to keep within government guidelines. No lockdown parties here, PM!

This new cafe is going to be fabulous. It has stunning views across Ottery and beyond. It has a tranquil setting. It’s a wonderful new building that is both quirky and welcoming. Andrea and Beth are devising a new menu – all firmly grounded in local produce including meat from the farm (sorry lambs). Plenty of job opportunities for chefs and front of house staff – hard to fill perhaps, but anyone who joins now is in at the start of something special. I for one, can’t wait.

I’m currently building up their social media presence and quietly getting the word out, because they really want a soft start rather than a big launch bash. Maybe we’ll have that one year on. In the meantime, show your love and like their Facebook and Instagram, and come along from mid-May to enjoy the views and eat some great grub. Just at the top of Slade Road in Ottery. Fabulous farm shop too.

Big thanks for the recommendation to The Recycled Candle Company x