Exclusive 2020 PR Club

Exclusively for members: Sign up for 12 months for just £20.20 a month.

Ideal for small businesses who want to do a bit more PR themselves, but need a couple of pointers and ideas so they can get going. Perhaps you’ve made PR one of your new year’s resolutions, but aren’t quite sure where or how to get started?

I’d love to help! I often manage the whole PR process for people, but can offer support and guidance when you need it.

You’ll get:

  1. An hour of bespoke PR ideas and strategy – which titles you should target; how we can send them relevant content and put you forward as an expert in your field.
  2. PR support and the chance to brainstorm and bounce ideas around.
  3. Advice on stories and opportunities.
  4. You’ll hear about relevant media opportunities first.

Mushroom ketchup!

For those in the know, Geo Watkins’ Mushroom Ketchup conjures up that popular, rich umami flavour bringing to British cooking a flavour inspired by the 19th century Far East. Mushroom Ketchup is made with real mushrooms to give it that taste with a hint of Worcestershire Sauce and soy sauce – it’s a far cry from the thick, sugary tomato sauce we now call ketchup. Geo Watkins was established in 1830 and still makes its signature Mushroom Ketchup and Anchovy Sauce in the spirit of the original recipes.

Laurence Henry, award-winning chef, said: “Mushroom Ketchup is something I’ve used in the kitchen for as long as I can remember. It’s got an incredible umami flavour and goes with so many different dishes, from vegan ramen to a marinated steak. I’ve always got a bottle or two in the cupboard.

“There are some great traditional foodie secrets out there and I want to help people both find out about them and appreciate how they’re relevant today. We all love a good tomato sauce, but Mushroom Ketchup is the real ketchup as far as I’m concerned.”

Food historian, cook, lecturer and broadcaster Dr Annie Gray added: “There’s a 19th century author who states simply that ‘mushroom catsup is by far the most useful of all sauces: indeed, it is the base of nearly every kind of sauce which is made’. I agree, and I add it to a lot of things, whether historic or modern. It’s my go-to for pepping up gravies, bechamel, veloutés and hollandaise, and I also add it when I’m basting roasts and often to my salad dressings.

“I love it for its heritage, and I discovered it through historic recipes, but like anything amazing from the past, it’s totally relevant now. Mushroom ketchup always wins for sheer versatility – and in a modern context, it helps that it is vegan as well.”

Hoarding Disorders UK launches support group to help Reading-based people affected by hoarding issues.

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Hoarding Disorders UK is set to launch its third support group for people affected by hoarding issues after Reading Borough Council approached the organisation about providing an accessible support offer in the borough.

The free group will take place on the last Tuesday of every month from 7pm to 9pm at the offices of homelessness prevention charity, Launchpad, at Ajilon House in Friar Street, Reading, with the first meeting taking place on Tuesday, 29th October.

The Reading group will be run in association with Launchpad and will follow the successful formula of the two other support groups in Newbury and Bracknell which provide safe, confidential spaces to enable participants to help each other and listen to talks from external speakers on a variety of subjects such as grief counselling, mindfulness and how to avoid scamming.

Jo Cooke co-founded Hoarding Disorders UK after her work as a declutterer revealed the extent of the hoarding problem, and she has since written a book called Understanding Hoarding which is a comprehensive and practical guide to the subject.

She estimates that the condition affects between 2 and 6 per cent of the population and although the true number of people with hoarding issues in Reading is not known, Mrs Cooke believes the figure is on the rise.

She said: “We’ve noticed that the number of those affected by hoarding who are asking for help seems to be on the increase as people seem to be more anxious at the moment. This can manifest itself in hoarding as people hold onto things for comfort.

“Anyone affected by hoarding or who knows someone who hoards is welcome to attend. The group is non-judgmental, confidential and supportive, giving advice and practical solutions.”

Cllr John Ennis, Reading’s Lead Councillor for Housing, said: “The problem of hoarding can be far-reaching for the individual who hoards, their family and the wider community and we have been identifying increased incidents of hoarding behaviours in Reading. As part of our approach to intervene early in preventing homelessness we want to work with Hoarding Disorders UK to raise awareness and help people who hoard where they can often feel overwhelmed and too embarrassed to ask for help.

“There’s no quick fix, but the support group is a great place to start and offers a better understanding of why people hoard and a supportive environment for people looking for help.”

More information can be found at www.hoardingdisordersuk.org




Beat the Street Swindon enters final few weeks


Swindon’s six-week long Beat the Street challenge has reached a grand total of 192,000 miles as the game enters its ‘Go Active’ week.

Beat the Street is a free walking and cycling game taking place across the town and some villages until 6 November with prizes of sports, fitness and book vouchers for the teams that travel the furthest.

Currently, the teams at the top of the Total Points leaderboard are Haydonleigh Primary School, Orchid Vale and Ruskin Junior School, while the Average Points leaderboard is led by WHSmith; Centurion Wolf Explorer Scout Unit, and Swindon Striders.

Having encouraged more than 25,000 people across the town to get more active, organisers now want to build upon that momentum and encourage people to try different sports and fitness activities across Swindon during ‘Go Active’ week.

This includes a selection of free classes including trampolining with BETTER at Haydon Centre & Gym on Monday 29 October from 11.30am – 1.30pm. Details of how to book these can be found on Beat the Street Swindon’s Facebook page.

Last year’s Beat the Street game shows that the initiative has significant long-term benefits for inactive adults helping families and whole communities to get moving and keep active.

In Swindon, six months after the game took place in 2018, physical inactivity had decreased by 8% in adults and 44% in children.

Councillor Brian Ford, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Adults and Health, said: “With half term taking place and the end of the game in sight, we’d ask anyone who hasn’t yet registered to pick up a card and get involved – you’ll find the game and its benefits addictive! We’re delighted that the evaluation shows that participants are likely to continue doing regular activity even once the game has ended.

“Don’t forget that as well as doing great things for your health, you’ll also be in with a chance of winning prizes for your team or for one of the two charities, selected by the mayor Kevin Parry –  CALM (Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Movement) and the North Wiltshire Deaf Children’s Society.”

Beat the Street is delivered by Intelligent Health and is funded by the National Lottery on behalf of Sport England, and Swindon Borough Council.

More information, as well as rules, maps and a list of card distribution points, is available on the new Beat the Street website at app.beatthestreet.me/Swindon as well as on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Nine points for business success

If you’re a journalist who’d like to speak to my PR client about how to redress gender balance in the boardroom or would like to try out her nine point audit to help with promotion and confidence in the workplace, please email me magatha28 at hotmail dot com

Hungerford Food Festival – Sunday 6th October

The annual Hungerford Food Festival is back for 2019 and the date to put in your diaries is Sunday, 6th October.

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The event is gaining a reputation across the south east as a must-visit day of foodie fun which takes place from 10.30am to 4pm at the Hungerford Town Hall where there will be live music, exhibitors, stalls, talks and live cooking demonstrations – entry is just £1.

The High Street too will be filled with the aroma of more than 50 stalls providing everything from pizza to curry to gourmet burgers to vegetarian specialities.

The festival is a real family event and there is a lemon eating competition for kids, plus a chilli eating competition for adults, and children are invited to make their own healthy food creation with staff from Hungerford Nursery. Plus, there’s also a kids’ cook off event where children will be invited to cook with Wiltshire chef and author Lucinda Miller.

Sustainability is also very much a theme of this year’s event and visitors will be able to buy food in bulk in their own containers from the Lonely Lentil zero waste stall and a new company inspired by last year’s Hungerford Food Festival, called Beer, there and everywhere will be selling refillable three-pint beer bottles.

There will be information on how to use less plastic and how to make your own compost to the benefits to health, the countryside and the climate from eating venison. Attendees can learn how to avoid cling film and other plastic disposables by making beeswax eco wraps with Little B, a local maker of beeswax food wraps, an eco-friendly, plastic-free way to keep food fresh.

As well as having a range of her wax wraps for sale, Little B Founder Claire Black will be offering hands-on demonstrations where participants can choose from a selection of fabric prints and sizes and make a wax wrap to take home.

Visitors can bring along their own apples to make into juice, and also watch rapeseeds get pressed into oil.

Hungerford Food Festival is a family-friendly community event that has been celebrating local food producers and artisans since 2009. The event supports  Hungerford Environmental Action Team (HEAT) and is sponsored by Doves Farm, Blandy’s at Inglewood and the Media Marketing Co.

Committee chairwoman Penny Locke said: “This is the ninth year of the Hungerford Food Festival and we’re still finalising all of the entertainment to ensure that it is the biggest event so far, so please keep checking the festival website to see what’s been added.

“We’ll have something for everyone from serious foodies to people who just want to get a flavour of the local produce that’s available from smaller producers. Add in some entertainment, demonstrations and live music, and you have the ingredients for an exciting day out.”








Hungerford Food Festival is a family friendly community event that has been celebrating local food producers and artisans since 2009. The event supports Hungerford Environmental Action Team.


Get Christmas wrapped up with a new eco alternative to paper waste

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Christmas can be a time of huge wastefulness with wrapping paper alone causing an environmental nightmare.

A OnePoll survey from 2017 found that the equivalent of 108m rolls of wrapping paper are sent to landfill in the UK every Christmas. More than 75m trees are cut down to be made into wrapping paper every year and most cannot be recycled due to the use of dyes and plastic laminations.

Determined to do something about this, designer Hema Kumar has recently set up FabRap, a sustainable and stylish fabric alternative. Inspired by the Japanese art of gift wrapping called Furoshiki, FabRap makes even the simplest of gifts something distinctive. There is a range of beautiful designs including two Christmas motifs that come in either single or double-sided.

The reusable 100% Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certified organic cotton gift wraps make any gift complete whether it’s for a birthday, an anniversary or Christmas and both the giver and recipient can enjoy the knowledge that each wrap is produced in sustainable and fair methods.

As a young child, owner and designer Hema Kumar wrapped her gift in fabric before even understanding that this was an ancient Japanese tradition called Furoshiki. The mother-of-two has always nurtured a love for natural fabrics and reusable gift wrapping and is passionate about reducing waste.

She set up FabRap in November 2018 and drew on her Indian heritage for inspiration with the gorgeous designs and vibrant colours. She also works with a company in India that manufacturers the wraps to her specifications.

Hema said: “I was always fascinated by wrapping gifts and took immense pride in the task. So much so, that I became the designated family ‘wrapper’. Being of Indian origin, I was surrounded by luscious textiles of silk and embroidered cotton with beautifully illustrated patterns. This filled me with a passion to design and create anything and everything using this wonderful medium.”

She adds: “FabRapping is easy and does not even require sticky tape or scissors. You do not need to know anything about gift wrapping to make your gifts stand out from the crowd. Our deluxe double-sided and our elegant single-sided fabrics are timeless and reusable. You don’t need to get it right the first time, as with paper and sticky tape. You can wrap anything in these amazing FabRaps and be certain that the result will always bring a smile to the recipient’s face.”

How to wrap a gift using FabRap:

  • Lay a FabRap cloth on a table or flat work surface. Place your gift in the centre.
  • Fold over diagonally one corner of the FabRap to the opposite side of the gift
  • Bring the opposite corner of the FabRap to fold over the other side of the gift
  • Fold in the sides of one of the loose corners to create a point
  • Do the same with the other loose corner
  • Bring both points of the FabRap and tie them across the top of the gift at the centre
  • The corners remain loose for a beautiful bow effect

Or check out this video for inspiration! https://www.instagram.com/p/By23LgfAQSP/?igshid=ld2gd11puofp

FabRap is available online at https://fabrap.co and prices range from €7 – €25 including UK delivery.

For journalist samples, more info or an interview, please tweet me @newburymummy



And that’s a wrap – Hungerford Summer Festival concludes for 2019

This year’s Hungerford Summer Festival has come to an end after a truly eclectic range of events packed into its two-week programme.

The Hungerford Summer Festival (formerly HADCAF) concluded on Sunday night with the Hungerford Town Band performing Movie Magic at the Corn Exchange.

The town has enjoyed a wide range of performances over the past two weeks, including singer-songwriter Boo Hewerdine, Ada Campe, Vanessa Kisuule, The Red Stripe Band, Opus2 Choir, Guy Masterson, Uncovered, The Derek Paravicini Quartet, Adam Winslet and the Magnificent Seven, Phoenix Brass, the Kennet Accordion Orchestra and the Hungerford Town Band.

Nick Lumley at Hungerford SUmmer Festival launch.jpgConstable of the Town and Manor Nick Lumley introduces the festival

There have been much-acclaimed theatrical performances from the Community of Hungerford Theatre Company plus their Children’s Theatre and Youth Theatres, as well as free events, workshops, walks and the opportunity to view a showcase of local art at the Hungerford Summer Festival exhibition at the Hungerford Hub and Library.

Hungerford Summer Festival chairman Fiona Poole said: “What a busy couple of weeks it’s been! We’ve had a fantastic festival this year which is due to everyone who supports us from all of our sponsors, to performers to our wonderful volunteers, the superb venues around the town and of course the audiences who come out and participate.

“We’d love to hear your feedback on the events of 2019 as we’re already planning next year’s festival!”


PR for beginners – Hungerford workshop 12th Sep

back to school pr workshop 12th sepI’m so excited to hold a “Back to School” workshop in September for any small business who’d like to know more about how to get started with PR.

It’s being held at the Hungerford Hub and Library and attendees will be able to ask questions on how to make the most of the story-telling opportunities in their business, know which publications to approach and how to speak to a busy journalist.

Just £22 on Thursday, 12th September:


Boo! Boo Hewerdine coming to the Hungerford Summer Festival Wed 3 July

Boo Hewerdine – Hungerford Summer Festival on Wednesday 3rd July

Boo Hewerdine.jpgThe Croft Hall Hungerford

Tickets £10

Pre-show supper option £9

Boo Hewerdine’s forthcoming album, set for release in September, does not contain a single guitar.

The Ivor Novello award-winning singer-songwriter has been collecting unusual instruments ranging from a Dulcitone to an Indian harmonium and a Vibraphone, and combined them with an old piano to create a sound that his record company considers to be the best thing he’s done in years.

Hewerdine is widely considered to be one of the best songwriters in the business and has written songs for kd lang, Mel C, Marti Pellow and perhaps most famously – Eddi Reader from Fairground Attraction.

However, Hewerdine’s gig at the Croft Hall, Hungerford, as part of the Hungerford Summer Festival, will see him perform solo with his guitar.

“I was going to struggle to get the harmonium on the train,” he jokes. “So it’s just me and my guitar on my own which is my favourite type of gig. The Hungerford audience can expect lots of chat and stories.

“I’ve got a new album out in September so there will be some songs from that and favourites from the past 30 years, but I can’t tell you what I’ll play as I like to react to the space and the people and let that influence what songs I play. Sometimes you look down at the set list and think that the next song isn’t quite right for the atmosphere so it’s good to respond to the room. While it can add a little bit of extra pressure, it feels really good when you pull it off.”

When Hewerdine arrives in Hungerford, it will be part of his fifth consecutive tour of 2019. His busy schedule has seen him in this week alone in Cornwall, Scotland, Yorkshire and London, combining a tour with Darden Smith with teaching the art of song-writing through his unique workshops.

The pair’s album Evidence was released 30 years ago and they’ve marked the occasion with an anniversary tour.

He said: “We didn’t know if anyone would remember this old album from 30 years ago, but we put on a couple of gigs and they kept selling out. It’s been mindblowing.”

Boo Hewerdine plays Hungerford Summer Festival on Wednesday, 3rd July at 8pm.