Writing For Fun

August 16, 2016 - 2:38 pm 207 Comments

When you write as part of your work – as every PR and Marcoms consultant does – it’s lovely to be able to write about things that you choose. So, Im delighted to be writing more for mode.com

This month I chose another eclectic mix of subjects: science, ballet and trees!

RichardHawkings

The science story, was inspired by my colleague Andrew and his love of science. He owns most of the books and often quotes them. We’ve seen Marcus Chown at the Cheltenham Literature Festival, and I have no doubt he will be seeking out more science writers there this year.
MarcusChown

The story is entitled: ‘Science Fiction to Science Fact – the Books You Should Read’. It includes Prof Brian (of D-Ream and TV fame), the Daddy of ‘The Theory of Everything’ (Richard Hawkings), sceptic Dr Ben Goldacre and the lovely Marcus Chown (who makes physics fun!)

The next story covers a subject close to my heart – trees! I grew up close to Burnham Beeches and have always loved them. So, ’50 Shades of Tree Positivity And Where To Find Them’ is about why you should get more trees in your life (the fact there is lots of research proving their benefits to both mental and physical wellbeing) and some great places to spend time among the trees, from Westonbirt Arboretum to Formby Nature Reserve.

BurnhamBeeches

My final story, ‘Why Ballet Isn’t Just For Posh Girls’, is about something I did as a child, and wasn’t keen on, but love watching as an adult, ballet. The story is angled around the fact that anyone can enjoy ballet – it’s not just for posh girls! So, I talk about films I love with ballet in, the comedy genius of Eric and Ernie, where to get lessons as an adult (or a child), where to see ballet and of course the wonderful music.

Ballet

I had great fun writing these three stories this month… hopefully people will have fun reading them!

Summer is here!

July 20, 2016 - 12:52 pm 1 Comment

Time seems to fly faster these days – some say this is due to age, we prefer to think it is because we are busy!

Anyway, Last month saw the publication of a few stories I have written for http://www.mode.com

My first foray into the world of writing for them included three stories – all of which might well be useful this summer (especially as this brief heatwave we’re having is set to end shortly with torrential downpours – sorry to be the harbinger of such gloomy tidings!)

The first of my three stories is: 12 Feel Good Movies To Cheer You Up On A Rainy Summer’s Day One of the films I feature is of course the ‘practically perfect’ Mary Poppins marypoppins
It also includes the rather lovely Dean Spanley and one that always makes us smile, Robin Williams and Nathan Lane in the fabulous Birdcage.

The second story is: Seven Therapies To De-Stress you this summer. With referendum and subsequent political shenanigans, this summer has started rather stressfully. So, here I talk about my favourite therapy, Equine Therapy, along with others including: floatation therapy and horticultural therapy.
Bowhayes_Greys

My final story is: How To See Art Without Visiting A Gallery. I love art – having studied fashion design for four years, there’s nothing I like more than wandering around a gallery or museum. But, I know some people are put off by galleries, so this offers seven suggestions of fabulous art that you can see without crossing the threshold of a gallery! One of my favourites is the Iron Men in Crosby or Antony Gormley’s Another Place

Now Im looking forward to my next adventure in writing… wonder where I will travel to next?

Wine, Women and…

March 17, 2014 - 3:29 pm 217 Comments

Yes, time has flown again! It’s March already! Spring has finally arrived at #GeckoHQ, we even saw sunshine yesterday!

Sometime ago at the LIWF (London International Wine Fair) we got chatting to the glamorous Winebird over a glass of Cava at the Drinks Business Awards

Well, they say that all good things come to those who wait… we are delighted to announce that Gecko Communications has been appointed to work with Winebird

Winebird and #Winedog

Winebird and Ludwig the #Winedog

The agency will be working to highlight Winebird’s unique approach to de-mystifying wine, while raising awareness of the Winebird brand and launching her concept of wine knowledge, which is recreated in her first book ‘Vinalogy – wine basics with a twist’, to a range of audiences. Activities will include a launch reception, events and partnerships, media liaison and social media.

“I’m really excited to be working with Gecko Communications to launch the Winebird concept of Vinalogy, replacing dry winemaking facts with memorable, visual analogies.” commented Helena Nicklin, The Winebird. “Wine should be a sexy subject. Many people would love to know a little more about it without having to wade through technical winemaking details. You simply don’t need them at first! Wine should be a fabulous voyage of discovery and I want everyone to know that the fun bit it is actually where you should start. Gecko understands the Winebird concept and I believe we can tap into their knowledge and experience of both the lifestyle and drinks arena to reach the growing number of people who want to enjoy the process of understanding what they’re drinking.”

Deborah Ingham, of Gecko Communications replied: “We are looking forward to working with Winebird, to bridge the gap between wine experts and those who simply want to know a little more about the wine they drink. With a background in buying and selling quality wines, as well as a ‘degree in booze’, Winebird is glamorous and knowledgeable. Therefore, the campaign will communicate a different perspective on wine, highlighting Winebird’s modern approach to the subject – watch out for Winebird’s Cowboy, Beekeeper and Ballerina!”

We are already enjoying working with Winebird. The appointment story has been posted on Fashion Monitor, The Diary and Gorkana:
http://gorkana.com/news/consumer/pitch-wins/winebird-chooses-gecko/
And, we are expecting editorial in several of the drinks trade publications in the near future.

Plans are afoot… and we are looking forward to events, editorial coverage and much more!

Festive Decos Help Fund Growing-4-All Charity

December 12, 2013 - 12:36 pm No Comments

We are delighted to continue to work with West Berkshire Mencap, especially at Christmas! The traditional time for for giving and receiving, this year West Berkshire Mencap is inviting everyone to give a little to charity as they receive their festive decorations.

How? Well every time someone buys one of the fabulous Christmas decorations created by the learners and team at West Berkshire Mencap Growing-4-All they will be giving a small donation to the charity.

Growing-4-All Christmas Decorations

Growing-4-All Christmas Decorations


Growing-4-All is West Berks Mencap’s horticultural therapy project. Here learners attending the project use a range of gardening abilities to improve their work and social skills, raise self-esteem and confidence – and anyone who visits the project in Cottismore Park will know that they also have a great time and enjoy themselves! During the year they cultivate plants from seeds, propagate shrubs from cuttings, grow young plants and produce a range of planted items, including their renowned (value for money) early summer and winter hanging baskets.

However, in the run up to Christmas, everyone at Growing-4-All is busy, like Santa’s elves, making a wide range of festive items, the full range of festive decorations includes: natural wreathes (with and without brussel sprouts or fresh red flowers) to willow and cane wreathes (from £5.00-£15.00), natural garlands (£5.00), table decorations (£5.00-£10.00), willow trees (£45.00), gift tags and lavender bags.

Julie Walker and the Growing-4-All team

Julie Walker and the Growing-4-All team


“This is a fabulous time of year at Growing-4-All, there’s such a fun atmosphere in the green house” commented Julie Walker, Growing4All Project Leader. “Everyone helps to ensure we have a wide range of items to sell, each is carefully created by the team, making them helps with dexterity and decision making. Also, it improves social skills and (of course) creates a happy, festive spirit. Anyone who has a specific request should speak to us, we love creating unique items for our customers.”

“Christmas is a very exciting time of year for us and our users, we have a wide range of Christmas themed activities, events and parties,” added Leila Ferguson, CEO of West Berks Mencap. “I particularly like Growing-4-All’s festive decorations, as anyone buying something is helping to keep this extremely valuable project running throughout the year.”

All the Christmas Decorations are available from the Growing4All Project at Cottismore Park, near Kingsclere, (off the A339) which is open from 8.30am to 4.00pm Monday to Friday. To find out more a make an order call 01635 297200.

From Small Acorns Mug Raises Funds For West Berks Mencap

November 19, 2013 - 11:50 am 198 Comments

It’s always great working with charities – particularly when local businesses get involved with a simple piece of csr which is picked up by nationals and internationals, raising funds for a great local charity….

To celebrate the birth of Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge’s first child, Prince George, L Interiors (the only shop in the village of Bucklebury where the Duchess of Cambridge spent her formative years) commissioned a limited edition mug to mark the occasion. The mug has been sold in the shop and online, with sales across the world! As a special celebration, L Interiors has made a fantastic donation of £500 to local charity West Berks Mencap from the sale of the mugs.

Lynda Tilotson of L-Interoris celebrates with Leila Ferguson CEO of West Berks Mencap

Lynda Tillotson of L-Interoris celebrates with Leila Ferguson CEO of West Berks Mencap


Designed by a British company, Doris and Co, the stylish piece of home-ware is set to be a treasured souvenir of a unique moment in time. A simple design, created in classic cream-ware bears the inscription ‘From Small Acorns’, making it perfect not only as a celebration of the birth of the heir to the throne, but a cleverly stylish gift for anyone expecting their own little ‘arrival’ or indeed new venture! With its simple depiction of a crown and acorn in charcoal, the design was created in collaboration with Lynda Tillotson, the owner of L Interiors.

“We were thrilled when we found out that West Berkshire Mencap would benefit from the sale of the ‘From Small Acorns’ commemorative mug at L-Interiors,” commented Leila Ferguson, CEO of West Berkshire Mencap. “Lynda Tillotson is so supportive of our charity, as are here customers and friends. They really understand that we are a local charity and need to find our own funds to keep providing great services for children and adults with learning disabilities. This £500 will go towards training our many teenage volunteers, who work on a one to one basis with the children with learning disabilities who come to the sessions at our centre. This is great for the volunteer, the child and the family who gets some much needed respite.”

Snowy The West Berks Mencap Therapy Dog (With Leila Ferguson) Receives A Cheque From L Interiors

Snowy The West Berks Mencap Therapy Dog (With Leila Ferguson) Receives A Cheque From L Interiors


“West Berkshire Mencap does fantastic work with people with learning disabilities and provide a highly valued service in our local community,” said Lynda Tilotson, Owner of L Interiors. “Our specially designed ‘From Small Acorns’ mug was extremely popular locally, as well as internationally. So, I am delighted that we are able to give a donatation to West Berks Mencap, which will help them to continue to train teenage volunteers to work with children with learning disabilities.

Albariño Voted Spain’s Best Wine

September 19, 2013 - 9:19 am 213 Comments

Produced in the Rías Baixas DO region in North West Spain, among others, Albariño has been a favourite here at Gecko HQ since we tried Freixenet’s Vionta.

Known as Spain’s seafood wine, our friend the Winebird calls it “The Mermaid: crisp and fresh but with citrusy curves. All about minerals, and lemon with a bitter kick.”

Albariño (image via BBC Good Food)

Albariño (image via BBC Good Food)

Now it seems its fabulous freshness is being recognised globally… as Lucy Shaw reports in the Drinks Business, Albariño has been voted Spain’s best wine.

Rafael Palacios Valdeorras Albariño Producer

Rafael Palacios Valdeorras Albariño Producer

Great Editorial Grows – From Small Acorns

August 6, 2013 - 3:42 pm 224 Comments

It was exciting to be asked by West Berkshire Mencap and L-Interiors to do a little work around a mug to celebrate the birth of the new heir to the throne – as Kate Middleton grew-up in a village close to Gecko HQ.

The L Interiors mug was created in conjunction with Doris & Co and really is a stylish and elegant piece. And, because it doesn’t say anything more than the words ‘From Small Acorns’ on one side and the year ’2013′ on the other, it is a subtle and attractive keep-sake of not only the Royal Birth, but perhaps your own special moment.

Classically timeless from Small Acorns Mug

The From Small Acorns Mug is classically timeless

With an extremely limited budget, we sent out a press release to a select number of journalists who we thought might be interested in the mug. As £1 from every sale of the mug is going to one of our favourite local charities, West Berkshire Mencap we were keen to ensure some good editorials in the media.

First up was our fabulous friends from online portal Beauty And The Dirt who wrote a great piece entitled ‘Royal Baby Wait Almost Over

Next there was a flurry of broadcast interviews with local and national TV news, who were on the spot and of course the regions radio stations who wanted a scoop from a local perspective. There were interviews on Breeze Newbury, BBC Radio Berks, Meridian TV and BBC South Today. We also received a flurry of editorial coverage in Newbury Weekly News, Reading Post and Newbury & Thatcham Chronicle

Newbury & Thatcham Chronicle, 25 July

Newbury & Thatcham Chronicle, 25 July

It was great when, right on target market, the bloggers ‘Country Wives‘ agreed to include a piece, which they entitled ‘Heir At Last

We were then particularly pleased when a freelance journalist (who we have known for some time) said she would include the mug on her ‘food and drink’ page in the Saturday Telegraph Magazine.

Saturday Telegraph Magazine, 3 August 2013

Saturday Telegraph Magazine, 3 August 2013

We are very excited for our fabulous local charity West Berks Mencap – and we hope they will receive a nice fat chat from Lynda Tillotson, the owner of L Interiors. As they say, From Small Acorns!

From Small Acorns

July 18, 2013 - 2:43 pm 769 Comments

How time flies!

It certainly has over the past few days we’ve been busy liaising with a local company called L-Interiors which is doing a lovely little bit of CSR.

Here’s the story so far…

As speculation mounts in Bucklebury regarding the imminent birth of Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge’s first child, the only shop in the village, L Interiors, has commissioned a unique keepsake – the limited edition ‘From Small Acorns’ mug – to mark the occasion. And, as a special celebration, to mark the occasion L Interiors will be making a donation from every sale of the mug to West Berkshire Mencap.

From Small Acorns Mu

L Interiors From Small Acorns Mug

Designed by a British company, Doris and Co, the stylish piece of home-ware is set to be a treasured souvenir of a unique moment in time. A simple design, created in classic cream-ware bears the inscription ‘From Small Acorns’, making it perfect not only as a celebration of the birth of the heir to the throne, but a cleverly stylish gift for anyone expecting their own little ‘arrival’ or indeed new venture! With its simple depiction of a crown and acorn in charcoal, the design was created in collaboration with Lynda Tillotson, the owner of L Interiors. The mug is available from the shop in Bucklebury Village or on-line at www.llifestyle.com for £19.95* with a donation of £1.00 being made to local charity West Berks Mencap from the sale of every ‘From Small Acorns’ mug.

“At the time of the Royal Wedding we were asked by many of our clients if we had a souvenir of the occasion that they could purchase, sadly we didn’t. So, when I heard that Kate was pregnant, I decided to create something unique to mark the occasion,” commented Lynda Tillotson, of L Interiors. “Kate spent her formative years enjoying the wonderful surroundings of the village, where the backdrop is the ‘Avenue of Oaks’, which were originally planted to celebrate Queen Elizabeth I’s visit to Bucklebury. Therefore, it seemed only fitting to mark this momentous occasion by including a little of Kate’s heritage perfectly balanced with an acknowledgement of royalty. I believe the ‘From Small Acorns’ mug we created is an exquisite, commemorative nod to the Royal Baby, which is subtle enough to endure as a favourite piece in any home.”

Classically timeless from Small Acorns Mug

The From Small Acorns Mug is classically timeless

Leila Ferguson, CEO of West Berks Mencap added: “Lynda at L Interiors has been supporting us throughout 2013, so we were particularly delighted when she said she would make a donation from the sale of every ‘From Small Acorns’ mug to help with our fundraising. It’s a beautiful piece and would make a lovely gift, whether to celebrate the Royal Baby’s birth or another special occasion, and you’ll be making a donation to a much-needed local charity too! We hope that this special gift sells out! West Berks Mencap works with people with learning disabilities throughout West Berkshire, as such this is a particularly lovely way to celebrate the birth of the Royal Baby”.

An elegant design to mark a special occasion

The side view of the L-Interiors Small Acorns Mug

Flipping Egg-cellent!

March 28, 2013 - 2:46 pm No Comments

It doesn’t look like spring as we look out of the office window, and we don’t feel ‘full of the joys of spring’ when walking Chairman Charlie(Dog) and the other Board Members in freezing wind, sleet and snow. BUT, Easter is upon us – so here’s one of Shaken & Stirred‘s Easter Cocktails. Mix it up at home, from ingredients which you will find in most supermarkets… then light the fire, put a good film on and enjoy!

Shaken & Stirred's Chocolate Easter Flip

Shaken & Stirred’s Chocolate Easter Flip

Shaken & Stirred Chocolate Easter Flip
Shaken & Stirred’s Chocolate Easter Flip is a play on a classic ‘flip’, featured in the 1862 ‘Bon-Vivant’s Companion’. Created with delicious dark and intense chocolate liqueur and luxurious cognac, once shaken together with egg and cream the cocktail will have the froth that gives it the ‘Flip’ name. It’s a fabulously extravagant cocktail, perfect as a warming indulgence to sip over Easter – like drinking chocolate Easter eggs!

Ingredients
35ml Cognac
25ml Mozart Dark Chocolate Liqueur (or similar)
3 Dashes orange bitters
1 Whole egg
1tsp Caster sugar
25ml Fresh single cream
Orange zest
Grated chocolate

Method
* Shake the first six ingredients together
* Strain into a bowl or egg shaped glass
* Grate over dark chocolate and orange zest
* Garnish

Glass: Bowl or egg shaped glass

Garnish: Add a chocolate ‘matchstick’ as a stirrer

Shaken & Stirred's Chocolate Easter Flip (2)

Shaken & Stirred’s Chocolate Easter Flip

Photography, Cocktails and Mayhem

March 13, 2013 - 6:55 pm 216 Comments

It’s an old saying – but a true one – that a picture is worth a thousand words. This is why, whether the company we are working with is an internationally renowned brand, a small start-up or a local charity, we advise all our clients to ensure they have good photography.

The first step to good photography is a photographer you can trust! At Gecko we have worked with some great photographers, who have created eye-catching images, which have helped our clients to gain editorial coverage in all kinds of media from beauty and the dirt to The Wolverhampton Express and Star, and everything in between!

Last week, we were in Martin Cleveland‘s studio with some of our favourite people creating some fabulous images.

First Tom from Shaken and Stirred, who has created some delicious, new cocktails from simple ingredients, mixed up the first of his scrumptious drinks.

Tom, of Shaken and Stirred, Mixing It Up!

Tom, of Shaken and Stirred, Mixing It Up!

Next up Gecko was in charge of props, styling and art direction. The aim was to create simple, ‘clean’ and effective photography that could be used in both consumer and trade media.

Finally, it was up to our photographer to capture the essence of the new cocktails that Shaken and Stirred has created

Cleveland Photography In The Studio (Sorry taken on iphone and slightly out of focus!

Cleveland Photography In The Studio (Sorry taken on iphone and slightly out of focus!)

Working quickly and efficiently, we managed to shoot eight separate cocktails, for various uses (cut out, styled, quirky angle, etc) in just half a day.

Like one of Shaken and Stirred’s cocktails at times it was Mayhem… but good fun – with some fantastic final results!

Mayhem with Martin Cleveland

Mayhem with Martin Cleveland

Here’s one of the images we created for Shaken and Stirred, The Rhubarb and Custard Sweet Treat – it contains CUSTARD!!!

The Shaken And Stirred Rhubarb and Custard Sweet Treat

The Shaken And Stirred Rhubarb and Custard Sweet Treat

If you’d like to get your products into the media (or create images for your website, newsletters, exhibition stand or really any reason) and would like us to help you with your photography (we know some great photographers and stylists) get in contact, we’d love to hear from you.

For our next post – and our readers delectation – we’ll be posting more images and the recipes for some of Shaken and Stirred’s fabulous cocktails.