Monday, 23 September 2013

Displaying creativity, targeting the energy and juggling it all

I’m very excited this week that my poetry is being exhibited as part of a collaborative artwork with my talented friend and colleague Martyn Royce.  The ‘Art of Writing’ exhibition opened on Saturday in the Cornish town of Redruth where it will live for a month before making its way along the south coast back to London.  It will then be on display for a further month in Highams Park, North London, where you may be able to join me for a glass of wine and a private viewing.

Mine is a short and simple poem – just 33 words – that Martyn has handpainted across two canvases.  Together, we have personified the trauma of passionate love turned to ashes.   It depicts two people who once loved each other, but that love is now lost.  The breakdown of their relationship is reflected in the finality of the words, written in the most basic language to defy misunderstanding.  The sharp colour contrast acts as a metaphor for the polar emotional landscape between a lovelorn woman and man.  But who wrote to whom?  You can decide.

Imaginative Training | Social media blog
The Juggler

I’ll let you know when the exhibition reaches London and, if you can come along and view our creativity, that will be fantastic. In the meantime, Martyn’s painting of me caused a bit of a stir on Facebook.  It’s called The Juggler – and I am that, for sure!  Life, business, emotions, family, creativity, charity, the balls go on.  My ability to juggle everything has led to my new Time Management training session.  It focuses on achieving more effective use of business time, personalising for each individual a system that’s been proven to work.  The next session available to small- and micro-businesses is in November and I can’t wait!  I love helping business owners to achieve their goals, so if you fancy sharpening up your business strategy, this is a great place to start.

Something else that made me smile this week was an independent review of my book that appeared on Twitter: “The bright, breezy tone and diary style mean it all flows quite naturally and even when RenĂ©e touches on more serious points, it remains a thoroughly entertaining read.  An added bonus is that this book also comes with its own eighties-oriented soundtrack!  A quick yet engaging book which is bound to raise a few smiles as you read, but which will also get you thinking about your own approach to business and networking – and maybe a few other things too!”  Thank you, @ClairOverThere.

I attended a lecture on Pranic energy on Thursday – it’s not woo woo!  It reminded me that my daily meditation has lapsed a bit. Well ok, a lot.  Alright… completely.  We took part in some group meditation, right there in Euston, closing our eyes and filling our bodies with white light.  It would have been so peaceful if my friend hadn’t kept giggling. It was very funny.  I’ve long since acknowledged the energy we can harness from the environment, so it was awesome to learn about how to target it properly from a Grandmaster and his disciple.  Whether you believe that Eastern (and, sometimes mystical) therapies work to keep us healthy and energised – or you don’t – there’s no denying the huge world-wide following that finds comfort and pain relief from its powerful teachings.

With this week’s lecture and the excellent review, I’ve been well and truly motivated to get a move on with my social media book.  I’ve challenged myself to publish it by Christmas.  (Nice pressie for someone you know?)  So I’d better get writing…

‘Just close your eyes, again, until these things get better.  You’re never far away, but… we could send letters.’  Still love that.  We’re more likely to tweet, so here I am: @WeekendWitch.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Accountancy superstars, a Guinness world record and copywriting with love

It’s been a week for celebrations!

Firstly, I entered one of my clients for a major industry award and they’ve been shortlisted in both of the categories I submitted.  Nordens  has been named as one of the top five independent accountancy firms in Greater London.  I wrote them a brilliant application, even if I do say so myself!  They’re my accountants and I’ve worked closely with them for a long time so I wrote it with love.  One of the team – Joe – has been named as a top New Accountant in the UK – pretty impressive, huh?

They are a fantastic company – dynamic, innovative, completely customer friendly and absolutely the best at what they do.  In their bright, modern offices they have a dreaming room – how cool is that?  Their clients can lie back in deckchairs while the team comes up with creative ways to help their business grow.  I’m dreaming of lying in that yellow deckchair right now.  And best of all, they have a big bowl of chocolates on the table when you go in.

My ex-boyfriend Brian was also an accountant, but now he’s a high flyer in a software company.  I headed over to beautiful Berkshire to visit him last week.  We hadn’t spoken for a few months and it turned out that Brian has been in the press quite a few times this summer.  If you were one of the unlucky ones stuck on the M25 last month in a sweltering heatwave and seven car collision, you might remember the news reports focusing on one man, sitting alone amidst the turmoil, oblivious to the chaos around him and merrily carrying on his work in a makeshift motorway office.  That was Brian.
Imaginative Training | Social media blogIsn’t this a wonderful example of cup half full?!  While everyone else was moaning and stressing, Brian took advantage of the time he had to himself and got some quality work done!  And… his photo was picked up from Twitter and did the rounds on all the news outlets so he achieved his five minutes of fame!   Or so you’d think….

In fact, Brian’s fame spreads far further than the M25 boundary, for he is a Guinness World Record Holder!  Yes, the second celebration of the week: my ex-boyfriend is the world’s greatest achiever at a sport!!  It’s not athletics.  Nor is it cycling.  Or football.  (Although he did once punch another of my ex-boyfriends on the football pitch and laid him out flat!)  But no, it’s not for boxing either.  Brian is the world champion at Toad in the Hole, a little known game that originates in Sussex and mainly stays there.  But it’s good fun and I wasn’t too bad when I had a go last week.

And finally, today is my first born’s 21st birthday.  I’m not working this afternoon; I’ll be celebrating with a family party, a big pitcher of Pimms and a healthy selection of cream cakes.  Never mind Guinness World Records or British Accountancy Awards… it’s me that deserves an award.  My beautiful baby boy popped out after a mere 24 hours and 15 minutes of hard labour.  They say you forget the pain.  I haven’t. Happy birthday Ben, you’re an amazing son and I’m so proud of you every day.

At a huge celebration when Ben was 13, we started the dancing by whirling around the floor to this, together, mother and son – definitely a moment I treasure.  ‘I could stay awake just to hear you breathing.  Watch you smile while you are sleeping, while you’re far away and dreaming.’ 

Whether you’re dreaming in a yellow deckchair or anywhere else, if those dreams include making your business more visible using social media, call me today and I’ll make your dreams come true.

Monday, 9 September 2013

Facebook memories, training in Essex and hiding behind the music

Essex is a fantastic place to live and do business.  If all you know is what you’ve seen on Towie, believe me – that’s not representative of the people, businesses or language.  Well, not this bit that doubles up as ‘east east’ London anyway!   So whilst I consider myself more of a London girl than an Essex one, I was pleased to be invited to attend a day promoting the training venues around the county.

Stately homes, crumbling castles, high tech architecture – we’ve got the lot.  And Essex County Council organised a day that I loved… partly because it included really good food!  A hotel breakfast was followed by an afternoon at the end of Southend Pier – the longest in the world.  Crispy bacon with fruit platters, chicken kebabs, roasted vegetable kebabs, creamy cheeses, olive bread, salads, freshly baked afternoon tea…  Now that’s what I call a good day’s work!
imaginative training and development ltd | social media blogWe were serenaded all afternoon by The Gershwin Gang Jazz Band; I do love a bit of jazz in the sunshine with a Pimms in one hand and a clotted cream scone in the other.  A friendly photographer shot around 1000 snaps (thank you for my pics, Matt!) and we chatted and networked until the tide rolled out on the clear blue horizon.  Well, towards Canvey…

Being on the pier always reminds me of the summer I was 15 and supposedly studying for my end-of-school exams.  My mother ran a gift shop on Clacton Pier – further north along the Essex coast, tacky, tatty and gloriously kitsch.  While she was busy working I met up with two boys I knew I’d never see again.  One was called Mark, a blond builder from somewhere up north that I met in a nightclub (this was pre-ID days).  I got bored of him quickly.  If I had a shift in the gift shop I used to hide behind the stacks of musical wind-up novelty trash when he came searching for me.

The other worked in the pier bar.  I can’t remember his name, but he had an industrial hoover that I sat on for rides around the pier – while he vacuumed it.  We knew how to live it up in the eighties!!  I came home that autumn safe in the knowledge that neither of these summer fling people would impact my life again and would merely forever be ‘the Clacton boys.’

So you can imagine how shocked I was to be walking around town and bump into Mark-the-blond-builder who had conveniently got himself a job in east London to be near me.  Umm… that wasn’t the plan.  I managed to detach myself from him and get on with my life with all thoughts of Clacton neatly filed away in my memory banks.  Until I met Marion.  Turned out the boy who took me for a ride on his hoover was her brother’s best friend!  Small world.  Small, small, teeny tiny world.
I’ve written before about the six degrees of separation and how it’s so easy to find people and reconnect using social media.  Had social media been around in the eighties it would no doubt have been Facebook that ensured I couldn’t escape the memories of vinegary fish and chips on the bumper cars, with a musical background provided by the incessant clanging from the amusement arcade against a backdrop of North Sea waves.

The Essex I visited last week was a far cry, and it was lovely to be out of the city heat, even for just one day.  I’m back in town this week for training sessions and meetings with new clients.  Underground tracks versus winding roads?  As Mr Essex himself says, ‘If that road gets weary, oh I love you.  Waiting here if you need me, ‘cause I love the things that you do.’

Wishing a sweet and happy new year to all my Jewish friends, family and followers – may the year ahead by filled with good health, cream cakes and sparkling success.  And if your road does get weary, follow me to a brighter one: @WeekendWitch.

Thanks for the photo Matthew Wherry :)

Monday, 2 September 2013

Private dancing, silver cups and entertaining real life Twitter friends

Last week I invited a man I’d met on twitter to my home for lunch.  Some of you may think this is strange, unwise or totally bonkers, but others of you will think it’s par for the course in our house.  I made friends tweeting with Robert Puzey last year and we’ve since chatted on Facebook.  He is a hugely talented songwriter with a stream of glittering awards and accolades.  If you’ve danced in a club, disco or at a school reunion, chances are you’ve sung along to lyrics written by Robert’s fair hand.
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His awesome musical talent impressed us all, and his advice to Ben was invaluable.  Wasn’t all good though… I’m sorry to admit that he beat me at table tennis!  I haven’t got over it yet!!  But I am still the queen of ping pong in this house, so it’s not too bad.
And speaking of dancing, a few of you know about my exploits this week and may be expecting me to regale you with x rated tales.  Well tough luck!  This is a professional blog (and not that profession)!  But needless to say, my eyes were opened to a different side of London life.  I thought I’d seen it all…. Well, now I’ve seen it all!

Yes, my meeting with a client and potential new client was held in a pole dancing club.  Not a tasteful one, so I’m pleased I’d had my lunch at the previous venue, where all the chefs and waitresses were nicely clothed.  Although I’d seen it on TV, I was shocked by the exploitation of the dancers in real life.  Even more stunned when I was outvoted in discussions with people of all ages and both genders that it’s the dancers doing the exploiting, and good for them to find paid work rather than claiming benefits.

Anyway, I’m not discussing the moral issues here.  I have attended business meetings in all sorts of venues – after all, every business needs social media.  But it was certainly an interesting afternoon.  And no, I didn’t join in…

While we’re on the subject of dancing, you may have seen on the news that the world Tango championships took place last week.  This elegant and passionate dance (my favourite, by the way) actually originated in the slums of Argentina – in brothels, in fact!  Probably not that dissimilar to pole dancing today, although I witnessed no elegance or Flamenco-inspired gowns in Shoreditch.
Obviously, I’m not interested in a moonlight career pole dancing, but I have always fancied flicking my calves for the tango.  We had one lesson once, and weren’t too bad.  I should be good – my grandparents were European Tango champions!  They were fantastic dancers – world Charleston champions too!  Now that would have been something to tweet about!!

I might not be winning any silver cups for dancing, but I did once win a London business award for my plain English business writing training.  So let me know if you’d like me to help you write more effectively.  Or if you’d just like to dance…

As the grand old lady of pop says, I’m your private dancer, a dancer for money; I’ll do what you want me to do.  I’m your private dancer, a dancer for money – and any old music will do.

I doubt anyone would want to pay me for dancing, but if you’d like a session in London (in a more acceptable venue) to discuss your social media strategy, please get in touch… @WeekendWitch.

(Photo courtesy of, with thanks.)