Thursday 3 August 2017


I have been a novelist and journalist all my working life, with some success –columns in The Times, Tatler and Easy Living, and three novels published – but with my children now at secondary school and more time to spare, I need another hook to add to my monthly earnings. During the last few years I have grown  my Twitter, Instagram and Facebook platforms and idly thought about managing platforms for others.

I offered my services to a local gift shop who were not going far on Instagram, but soon realised I had no clue how do manage platforms professionally. I kept hearing about Digital Mums, (they are very good at getting themselves in front of their target audience) and finally made the decision to bombard a kind woman in admissions with loads of questions.  I chose the programme partner course, which is open to people with a background in journalism or marketing, because I was drawn to the challenge of being set to work with a client straight away.

Ekwy and her Girls

When I discovered who my programme partner was, I panicked and rang Digital Mums, to say that my PP's business was way out of my comfort zone - botanical products specifically for Black hair. I worried that  I had no knowledge  how to care for black hair. I was offered another client, but I decided I was, in fact, more in tune with Equi Botanics.  I liked the idea that the products are #natural #crueltyfree and #vegan and that they are for women who are transitioning from weaves and wigs to keeping their hair natural. The political message interested me, it seemed outrageous that black women’s natural hair, was sometimes frowned upon in the work place or at school as being too messy and not conforming to white people’s standards. There were a few bumps at first, as we tried to understand where we were respectively coming from - as a white woman I got a few things wrong at first - but I began to feel passionate about the products and respect the founder, Ekwy enormously.

We were focusing on Brand Awareness, but the products had not yet launched, and that proved quite challenging. We had to work towards a competition and when we realised that products were not going to be ready as prizes, Ekwy agreed to make up ten bottles in her kitchen. I then literally forced her to film the procedure so that we could use it on Facebook and Twitter. She was very reluctant at first, but bravely went ahead. The short film was a huge success in terms of reach and engagement. 

I have always worked at home, so that was easy, but it was more difficult to embrace the business world with tools like Excel, spread sheets, figures and analytics that the course demands, (I have never been good at maths). Also at times, it seemed that every waking hour was taken up managing Equi Botanics’ campaign, and there were weeks when it all seemed exhausting and I had some sleepless nights worrying that it was all going to come crashing down.

I think when I finally chose a scheduling tool (I don’t think it was a co incidence that all my cohort chose the same one – Buffer – as I think we wanted to help each other along) and learnt how to use it,  that I relaxed a little and decided that maybe it was all going to be all right. I don’t think the course would have been possible without the other four women in our cohort. Although I have still not met them face-to-face, without their support on  What’s App and  Google hangouts, where we could moan and support each other, it would have been very difficult.

I was exceptionally pleased when the first Facebook Live of Ekwy and her children discussing their hair journeys, did fantastically well on Facebook, with a little help from a Facebook Ad boost. I was also thrilled when three key influencers on Twitter Retweeted our competition post after I sent them a Direct Message on Twitter.

I have just handed in my final report to Digital Mums and it's now August and I am about to go away. I want to find clients in the beauty or health industry, and I am also interested in supporting authors with their book campaigns, actors, musicians, film and theatre releases.  At this stage though I am open to everything that comes my way. Bring it ON!

Tuesday 28 March 2017

Ava our Rescue Dog from Cyprus

It's been a while since I last wrote a blog post, and during that time, I have become a woman who lives and sleeps and walks with a dog. My daughter campaigned for several years (about six) to get a dog and we finally succumbed last August when we saw Ava's photo on the Instagram account of Cyprus Dogs, an arm of the #Wildatheartfoundation.  I had looked for a rescue dog, filled with the mantra, "Adopt Don't Shop" Belle was 12 at the time; she turns 13 this week - a teenager - wish me luck. Our 15-year-old son was adamant that he would never walk the dog and made that clear before we even got her. Ava was two months old when we first saw her cute little puppy face on the Rescue Dog Instagram Account, and four months when she came to us. We had to fight off the competition to be her owner, as lots of people fell for her charms.

As she grew older our daughter had become increasingly desperate about the business of owning a dog.There were weeks when she would ask for a dog on a daily basis, the sense of urgency getting stronger. At one point, she claimed that her childhood would be ruined without a dog. A dog? I had always been a cat person. We have two cats, one large and tabby-like and one small and dark who came from #Batterseadogshome. I worried about how a dog would  fit into our lives? (I still haven't figured out exactly what will happen when we go away)I knew as we all knew that I would become the leader of the pack, the picker upper of dog poo, the one who walks twice a day, even though my daughter, promised passionately that she would be the one to be the official dog-walker. She is here in the photograph hugging Ava and she has set up an Instagram Account called #Avathelittledog.

I am surrounded by dog people: I have friends who are besotted with their dogs, and treat them like partners. My Dad keeps about four or five dogs, and they sleep in a 'boot room' and sometimes I worry that they are cold.  I used to feel sorry for the owners who scooped up dog poo whenever they went for a walk, but no longer.  I am no longer scornful when I see perfectly sane adult throwing a ball for their dog over and over again. I am now that woman who throws a rubber ball about twenty times while walking in the park. 

It's the people you meet who are so entertaining. The other dog owners. Of course you only know the names of their dogs initially, but soon you find out who they are. There are gilders, and musicians, and actors and set designers, yoga teachers and magazine website editors, all people I have met and talked to in my local park. I have watched Ava turn from a very shy puppy into a happy and confident dog. I have walked all through the winter and felt better for forcing myself outside. 

I love our dog, passionately. I have become one of those people, those crazy dog people!

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