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IS WI-FI ON THE MENU?



“How will you cope?”

That was the main question I was asked when I announced to the rest of the Refresh PR team that I wouldn’t be taking my mobile phone on holiday. In fact, that was the question most of my friends asked me too.

Despite the fact that I am always found within millimetres of my iPhone when I’m at home, for the past five years I have left my phone turned off and in the UK when travelling abroad.

I do this for a number of reasons:

1.       Surprisingly, it is nice to have a break from: texting, whatsapping, imessaging, tweeting, facebooking and instagramming – after all I do this all day every day, so why would I want to do it on holiday?

2.       I find that I actually enjoy myself more by not having my phone glued to my hand and I’m not worried about losing it, damaging it or having it stolen

3.       As an aside, I think  people will like me more for it, as it saves me from boring my contacts to death with holiday photos and updates

4.       Crucially, it means that I don’t run up extremely high phone bills and roaming charges too

However, this year for the first time, I realised how much we really have come to depend on the smartphone.

To begin, it didn’t occur to me to take a watch on holiday in order to be able to tell the time as I always rely on my laptop or mobile to do that for me. As a result, I spent most of the week living life in the dark ages, trying to use the position of the sun as some kind of guide.

I also realised how much I rely on social media and apps to provide me with the latest news. It wasn’t until Monday lunchtime that I found out that Andy Murray had become the first British man to win Wimbledon in over 77 years. How did I find out? By reading the front page of The Sun of course!

Now, as you can imagine the friends that I went on holiday with most definitely did not leave their phones at home and were glued to them throughout the week. Rachel phoned home on a number of occasions in order to speak to her dog! Meanwhile Natalie and Nikki were busy uploading photos to Facebook and Twitter.

In fact, such was their need to go on Twitter, Facebook and Whatsapp, we could only eat at restaurants that had free Wi-Fi! Their desperate need to connect to the internet meant that they asked for the Wi-Fi code before even looking at the menu.

All I can say is that I am quite relieved that Kate Middleton didn’t go into labour during the past seven days, as I would have been a bit disappointed if I had missed that.

Tagged with: Andy Murray, Facebook, Holiday, Instagram, iPhone, Kate Middleton, Leisure, Manchester, PR, PR Agency Manchester, Public Relations, Refresh PR, Smartphone, Social Media, The Sun, Twitter, Whatsapp, Wimbledon

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Leave Pippa Middleton alone- she's perfect for Waitrose



Waitrose has faced a lot of criticism in the last few weeks in its decision to replace the ‘godmother’ of British cookery, Delia Smith, with Pippa Middleton. Food writers and journalists are up in arms that the legendary chef (who taught millions how to beat eggs ) is to be replaced with the Duchess of Cambridge’s sister.

But it seems to me that Pippa is the perfect fit for Waitrose; she’s pretty, posh and thanks to her sister, practically a princess. Isn’t that Waitrose’s dream customer?

And she has a vested interested in cooking and entertaining – she publishes her own online party magazine and debuted her guide to entertaining before Christmas 2012.

True, the book was badly received; the tips were mocked for being too obvious and launched a parody Twitter account called ‘Pippa’s Tips’ which posts such advice as “If your guests are thirsty – give them a drink” and “As it’s Christmas, why not serve turkey?”.

Although it’s easy to mock Pippa’s writing, as a brand she is in step with Waitrose. Many a young Waitrose customer no doubt dreams of having Pippa’s glamorous life, glossy hair and perfect derriere. It makes absolute sense for her to be a part of what is perceived as a ‘posh’ supermarket.

I’d like to wish Pippa good luck with her column - apparently the first one is an Asian themed supper for friends (my friends aren’t especially fond of Thai curries etc though, so I’ll be giving that one a miss. Sorry Pips).

And Delia has no need to worry about losing her crown. She’ll always be Queen of the Kitchen so long as my mum keeps making her fruit cake and sticky toffee pudding.

Tagged with: Delia Smith, Duchess of Cambridge, Food & Drink, Kate Middleton, Party Pieces, Pippa Middleton, Pippa's Tips, PR Agency Manchester, Public Relations North West, Twitter, Waitrose

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Royal Wedding fever hits Refresh PR



Ok, I’ll admit it: I’ve caught the Royal Wedding bug. Big time.

I honestly didn’t think I’d get swept along in the national excitement in the lead up to the big day, but whether it’s because we get an extra holiday, because Kate Middleton is a becoming the epitome of a style icon before our eyes, or because all the Royal Wedding merchandise flooding the high street and online stores is so wonderfully kitsch, I can’t seem to get enough of it.

 

I also have a lot to thank the Royal Wedding for; Refresh PR’s clients are thriving as a result of the event that’s captured hearts the world over. Online retailer www.find-me-a-gift.co.uk has seen sales soar as people prepare for post-War style street parties with streams of bunting, flags, commemorative kitchen and homewares, and even some rather fetching Kate and Wills masks (modelled here by my good self and the lovely Laura):

 

The national papers have really got into the swing of things, adorning their pages with fabulously patriotic merchandise. www.find-me-a-gift.co.uk’s Royal Family Celebrity Masks have gone down particularly well with journalists at Grazia, the Daily Mirror and The Sun, and we’re hoping the This Morning sofa will soon be sporting a Union Jack cushion. And with The Royal Collection launching a Royal Wedding app – “the only app one needs” apparently – even our phones aren’t safe from infectious Royal Wedding excitement.

Another of Refresh PR’s clients, Photolink Creative Group, has also been able to make the most of the ever-burgeoning popularity of our future princess, producing video tutorials for its high fashion hair salon client, Regis, on how to get Kate Middleton hair. And what self-respecting young lady wouldn’t want Kate Middleton hair?

http://www.haveagreathairday.co.uk/2011/04/kate-middleton-hair-royal-wedding/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bUcoWpkcXJE&feature=player_embedded

So, how will you be spending the day on 29th April? Are you avoiding the Royal Wedding at all costs, or street partying with the best of them? From a PR point of view, the Refresh PR team is really looking forward to the BBC’s clever take on covering the ceremony – they’re going to be filming at Grazia’s offices to capture the live reaction of a newsroom and its journalists as the day unfolds. I for one can’t wait!

Tagged with: bunting, Celebrity, Daily Mirror, Facebook, Gifts, Grazia, Kate Middleton, merchandise, patriotic, PR, Prince William, Royal Wedding, The Sun