Wednesday, 26 September 2012

You'll be a Press Officer my son

IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise.

You’ll be a Press Officer my son.

I’m convinced that Rudyard Kipling wrote the opening lines of that most famous poem after spending a week in a council press office.

I’ve got 13 years experience of working in (or managing) an in-house press team of some kind. So I feel I’m (only) just about qualified to comment.

I’m not talking Public Relations, I'm talking about good old fashioned Press Officers here. In-house, fire-fighting, crisis averting, blamed for everything, double-shifting, on-calling, dogsbodies.

It’s one of those jobs most people think they can do, but in my experience very few are actually any good at. By good I mean they can please people on all sides of the job. People with big egos and tight deadlines. The boss, the reporter, your colleagues and indirectly, the public.

It’s not just about good copywriting (but boy that helps) and it certainly isn’t about being super organised (we have systems for that). For me, it’s 90% personality and attitude. To be a great press officer you need to be wise beyond your years, positive, have strength of character, know and trust your journalists, have sound judgement, honesty, integrity, a sense of humour, and very very broad shoulders.

Most of all, you need to be willing to take the blame.

That shit policy that no one ever thought would see the light of day? Well it did, and it’s getting hammered all over the front pages. Yep – your fault for not getting the Editor on-side. Unhappy residents campaigning against service closures? That’s your fault too.  

But with the blame comes the honour of doing the job well. You might not be saving actual lives or facing danger – but you do get to play a big part in giving people accurate information at the most crucial times. From flooding to fires, from snow to pot holes. From school closures to public health scares, from MRSA to crime scenes. It’s a never ending job of long hours and often long nights. If the emergecy services are awake, and the media is awake, then so are you. And it’s a great thing to be part of.

If you can keep your wits about you, you’ll be a Press Officer my son.
UleyGirl retired from being in-house 3 weeks ago and is now seeing it all through rose-tinted spectacles.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Real REN reviews - Camping Collection

Back in August I started using REN skincare products, all natural, all British and used by my local (ish) spa at the Montpellier Chapter Hotel in Cheltenham.

After a good 6 weeks of use I'm posting my reviews. I'm focussing on practical day to day use. I'm 37, I work, I'm a Mum and I like the outdoors. I look after my skin but I don't do high maintenance.

Going camping? Which skincare essentials would you take?

The true test of any decent beauty products is whether you can be bothered to travel with them. Packing to go away always separates the men from the boys and I tend to select the ones I really can’t live without. If you opt for travel sized cheaper products on the essentials when you go away, then your expensive ones aren’t serving you well. It’s probably time for a change.
The brief: The weather’s going to be hot, I’m using shared showers at odd times of the day and I might be accompanied by two kids under 5. I will have easy access to a sink and I don’t have space for extras. Bedding, food and having fun are my priority on this trip.

I chose to take three essentials:

·         Ultra moisture day cream
·         Photoactive sun veil SPF 15
·         Ultra moisture cleansing milk

I left behind the Tonic Moisture Mist, which I regretted, but it’s a heavy glass bottle. 

Ultra Moisture Day Cream

I have been using Dermologica Skin Smoothing Cream for a number of years now, and sometimes interchanged with Clinique Dramatically Different moisturiser (cos my sister-in-law picks it up cheap in the states!). So how does this compare?

Packaging: Small 50ml bottle is plastic and very light. Fits easily in a cramped cupboard
Practicality: you just rub it on! Pump makes life a lot easier.
Travelling: Secure lid, small enough for flying (not that I did) 
Results: You don’t need a lot and it lasts me all day. It doesn’t have the rich feel of the skin smoothing cream I’m used to, but does have the same results. Seems to be lasting for ever.

Photoactive Sun Veil SPF 15

REN believe that you shouldn’t mix your moisturiser with your sun cream, so they don’t do a 2-in-1 product. According to REN the skin gets confused with the two products and doesn’t really know how to react. So moisturise first, then apply a sun protector.

Packaging: Small 50 ml bottle with pump, plastic
Practicality: Slap it on once you’ve moisturised then whenever you need it.
Travelling: Light, secure lid, small.
Results: I was concerned it was only factor 15 so topped up often, and still put unsightly kids 50+ sun block on my nose cos it always burns.Worked well but I think having two products might put some people off, who has the time or the space??

Ultra Moisture Cleansing Milk

I wanted a face wash and I have two REN options. One is for general cleansing, the other for make up. So I opted for this one which is a cleanser. I also chose it cos you rub onto a dry face then wash off with water, no flanner required. Perfect for sink washing, or even tent washing with a wipe/bottled water.

Packaging: Large 150ml bottle with pump, plastic.
Practicality: Squeeze onto hands, rub together, massage onto face, rinse. Quick and easy. (even when pissed or in the dark – that's another post)
Travelling: as big as a bottle of shampoo, but light enough. Secure lid.
Results: I really like this product. I’m used to cleansers that leave my skin like they need a good slap of moisturiser on top, but this doesn’t leave me with that tight, dry skin feeling at all. It’s not complicated, it’s just simple and effective and makes you feel clean. One of my top REN products.

Next review will be the best products when you've had too much to drink and then a hangover the next day.

To read out about my first REN facial, click here

The Gower - empty and beautiful
 By the way, the camping was wonderful, four days, hot sun, large empty beach, cold beer, nice wine and happy kids playing til dark.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Stop child abusers using Twitter - Sunday Mirror campaign

As a twitter user and a parent, I've signed this petition. Click through, sign up and please RT

The Sunday Mirror is running a campaign calling on Twitter to clean up its site and prevent paedophiles using it as an open platform to trade child abuse images, videos and information.
For every image that is viewed and exchanged on Twitter a child is being abused so your support is crucial to make sure this stops NOW.
Could you help us by retweeting this link and ask your followers to open the link and sign our petition, then retweet it to their followers.