Saturday, 25 June 2016


The taste of summer has arrived at our coffee shops HonestyInkpen and HonestyKingsclere where customers can treat themselves to a selection of seasonal family favourites like jams, chutneys and cordials.

Sourcing sustainable local products is part of Honesty's ethos and the team has been making the most of the seasonal produce available.
Throughout July, customers can purchase a selection of delicious produce including tomato chutney, gooseberry jam, fennel relish, strawberry and raspberry jam and rhubarb cordial.
For August, the delectable goodies comprise spicy tomato and sweetcorn relish, a range of fruit cordials and greengage chutney.
Customers can take comfort in the knowledge that they know the provenance of everything they are eating with the added bonus that it is healthy. All produce is made using home-grown fruit and vegetables, and is made without the use of colourings with as little sugar as possible – far less than anything that is available in the shops.
Romilla Arber, who runs the Honesty Group, said: “Our range of products can be purchased from our coffee shops and they have proved to be incredibly popular so far!
“Additionally, we’d be delighted to use any spare rhubarb in your garden, so please feel free to bring it in and we’ll happily exchange it for a pint or a treat!”

Athena speakers in July!

Prior to a summer hiatus, West Berkshire businesswomen can once again look forward to a line-up of practical and supportive networking events at the Athena Network throughout July.

The Hungerford group meeting takes place at Audley Inglewood on Friday 8th July where Clare Sheffield from S&T Design will be discussing how great brands use smart thinking and Athena regional director Debbie Miles will be talking about value propositions – encouraging the group to focus on what is unique about their business in terms of the customer benefits.

At the Newbury West meeting at The Red House in Marsh Benham on Thursday 14th July, Dale Campbell of Trademark Tribe will explain trademark terminology and give real life examples of why it is important to protect your brand while Debbie Miles will discuss creating connections in business.

The Thatcham group meeting takes place at the Regency Park Hotel on Tuesday 19th July where Sarah Bromham of Radiance Therapy will be running a practical exercise to help guests get the most from their one-to-one meetings, and Sheila Bond of Living Well Mindfulness will be explaining how mindfulness can boost business performance through enhanced creativity.

Lastly, the Newbury Central group meeting takes place at Donnington Valley Golf Club on Wednesday 20th July where Margaret McDonnell will speak on public relations for small businesses. Debbie Miles will be encouraging visitors and members to help each other find solutions to their business challenges.

Debbie Miles said: “It’s our last meeting before a summer break, so a good time to reflect on the ways that Athena can help small businesses with creating connections and providing support. All meetings take place from 12pm to 2pm and if you’d like to try it out, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.”

Friday, 10 June 2016

Smarter Travel

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Sledge Hammer

I reminisce about a favourite TV comedy that should have been more famous than it was! Perhaps I shouldn't have let LO watch it though!

Monday, 16 May 2016

Driving ahead!

Good news for these guys! Not only did they appear in this news piece, but they also had that there Peter Andre in the back of one of the cars this week too!

Sunday, 15 May 2016

How to find a story from your business


I was honoured to have given the talk to the inspirational ladies of the Athena Network at Newbury West last week where we had a quick look at ways you can find stories to share with the media from within your own business. I'm much better at writing than speaking, so I thought it would be useful to note down some of my tips. In my job, I often sit down with people that are keen to do PR and ask them what’s going on of interest.

Usually, they say something like: “Nothing! Oh, but we are going to be at the Newbury Show”.

The Newbury Show aside, with some gentle (well, I try), questioning from me, generally, people are able to find a suite of stories to keep them busy for the next few months.

Here are the tips that I shared with the Athena ladies in the 10 minutes that I had (that seemed to fly by!).

• Running a business is hard work and PR is something that gets pushed to the bottom of the list as we’re busy, well, running our businesses. However, set time aside to look at what you’re doing now that might be of interest to a wider audience and look ahead to the next few months to see what’s happening; anniversaries, special events, awards

• What events are coming up on the news agenda that you could piggyback onto? Perhaps you’re holding a customer event to celebrate the Queen’s birthday; perhaps your firm has something important to say about whether the UK should remain in Europe or maybe you are an artist and author who was inspired by Beatrix Potter?

• Chat to your staff. What are they up to that could help with a news story? Perhaps you have a talented cyclist in the team or some of them are doing the Race for Life? Perhaps one is approaching their 25th anniversary of working with you?

• Chat to your customers. How have you changed their lives? Perhaps you’ve sold them a special car that means they wouldn’t have been able to get around otherwise? Perhaps you’ve held an event where two of the participants have got married and wouldn’t have met if it weren’t for you? Too strange? Not really; these are both real examples that I have come across and written about in the past!

• Read the local news. You need to know what’s happening in your area and to understand the kind of stories that appear. They are a fantastic source of inspiration.

• Likewise, read the national news so that you know what the current talking points are. Can you put a trade or local spin on a story? For example, are you an estate agent who can talk about the effect of a forthcoming interest rate rise on the local housing market? Are you a pub landlord whose business could struggle when new legislation comes into play? Did you meet the Queen or David Bowie or Victoria Wood?

• Charities
It’s always nice to do good locally or to raise funds for a cause close to your heart. What are you and your team doing for charity and why have you chosen that particular one? Raising money in a fun way makes a great story as it makes everyone look good. Don’t forget that as well as your charities, there are also fundraising events such as Dementia Awareness Week (this week!), MacMillan Cancer Care’s coffee mornings, Children in Need and Sport Relief/Comic Relief which often get a double page spread in local papers.

So, block some time off in your diary and have a good think! Good luck!

*Pic from the brilliant Self Journal