Friday, 4 July 2008


An exquisite blend of music, art and talent from Italian group, Vick Frida, that I wanted to share.

Veloce is taken from the first album 'Cine_Pop' which has just been released in Italy. For the band which is headed up by Enrico Fridlevski, influences are extremely diverse hence the sound is wonderfully unique.

Sit back and enjoy this musical breath of fresh air...then go buy a copy!


Saturday, 23 February 2008

It's Just A Rock!

The song goes 'Diamonds Are Forever' ....the sad fact is that despite the Kimberley Process some still suffer horrendous agonies due to the pure vanity and greed of others. Consider what real value diamonds have in life and what their cost may have meant to others. Always check for a Certificate of Origin and check that carefully, the system is still abused.
I will let the pictures speak for themselves...Helen

Friday, 8 February 2008

Fly - New York Film Academy

Having worked in film and tv - albeit a number of years ago - I have to say I find Leo's work really inspiring. There's more, much more to see and learn each time to view his films. Paul Klerr is also a fabulously contemporary piece that can't help but captivate an audience. This is my favourite however, and with his permission, I am now sharing this with you. Please do check out his works on You Tube - and Nick Patten, get in touch I want to pick your brains.

Ciao for now. H

Thursday, 4 October 2007

Come And Share Some Passion...

Indulge me! After what can only be described as a 'slow and sluggish' flight back from Italy, I have to say this is the closest I seem to get to REALLY fly these days....sit back and enjoy the flight!

Sunday, 30 September 2007

Its A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Man's World!

As a business woman who works in a number of b2b sectors, I accept that you have to roll with the punches and learn to think twice as quickly on your feet. Women in similar situations will fully grasp where I am coming from as we still have to fight so hard to be recognised purely and simply for our abilities in areas that are male dominated. Even some women have the attitude that there are some things that only men are capable of doing and women should leave well alone. Is thinking one of them?

Where am I heading with this? well a few places really though whether in the grand scheme of things anything will change, I doubt it!

Recently on a flight home, the voice of the captain confirmed expected flight path, the weather conditions, expected time of arrival, other usual flight information and wished us a pleasant flight. Nothing unusual in that until this rather nervous elderly lady sitting next to me sighed wearily and said, "I do wish these emancipated women would leave these types of jobs to the men they were meant for".

I looked back at her and smiled, "Are you nervous?" I asked. She replied only of the fact that a woman was flying the plane.

"Don't worry, I said, "If anything happens to her or the co-pilot, I can bring it in, but the landing may be a little bumpy"

She initially looked affronted, then laughed nervously and we enjoyed a very pleasurable flight. COMPARED TO the flight I had back from a holiday with my children which was handled by the co-pilot! Turbulence I recognise as I do loss of control! It may have only been for about 10 seconds but during the descent the co-pilot lost control of the silver bird. Some short hops I appreciate are air mile building sessions - this was one of them....and I didn't appreciate being part of the livestock on a training session. Queue for the on-board loo whilst waiting for the connector was quite long - the first one in had been the male co-pilot! Need I say more?

Now don't get me wrong there are some jobs that due to their physical nature are just better suited for a male role. Firefighting would be one of them - not because women are incapable, but because it is so physically demanding and they are responsible for each other inside a 'job'. Going in in pairs they have to be able to pull the other one out 'deadweight' if necessary. There are few women I know who even with training would be able to pull a 17 stone man 'deadweight' from a burning building etc....however that's another story and I digress.

Recently I was at a major corporate event within a technical industry. I was one of three women in attendance - of course initially it was convivial. However, you could feel there was a hesitancy in the room, a questioning for those that did not know any of us as to why and how we could breach a male domain. As the evening flowed so did the alcohol and for some it was evident that they were not used to handling it. Handling what you may ask? Women on their territory. They became base, rude, crude and vulgar. Chilling to think some of these men were in extremely influential positions both corporately and politically. Even more bizarrely I was stunned at how threatened they felt by two female managing directors and one financial director. My one colleague is the joint chair of a large holding company that actually is a major customer to some that were in that room. Yes, start sweating boys, for boys you are. Suffice it to say, sharp verbal slaps soon re-established us - probably as frigid bitches but we left with our respect in tact. I am afraid to say they didn't.

Ridiculous I know, that I should feel so spurred by this particular event when there are many places on this planet where women can't even walk out of the door without being covered from head to foot in one form of shroud or another. There are women who are beaten into submission and raped in their own home, there are women born to servitude, prostitution the list is endless. However, in a world that likes to call itself civilised - those 'gentlemen' and others who continue to perpetuate the myth that females are the 'inferior' sex merely clarify that as a species we have barely left the cave. Totally crazy and how terribly sad.

Tuesday, 24 July 2007

Savouring Regeneration.

I hardly know where to begin with this item being so personally attached. IVF creates around 6,000 babies per year in the UK to otherwise infertile couples. The techniques used often cause huge controversy and it has been said that it can raise the hopes of infertile couples with only a 15% success rate.

Issues have been raised regarding 'confusion' in the laboratories with the the wrong embryo being implanted in the wrong woman, leading to great concern about exactly how the entire process is carried out.

Since 1978 when Lousie Brown was born as the first test tube baby, there have been some 30,000 babies born through IVF with several different techniques used to help a woman produce more eggs.

More recently concern was shown regarding one of the most controversial advances in IVF, known as ICSI or intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection, where a single sperm is injected directly into an egg. Issues were raised in respect of genetic defects that could be passed onto the babies.

Many advances are currently being worked upon however which greatly increase probability factors in relation to IVF. These include a 3D ultrasound that can decipher fertility problems before IVF begins, which can determine whether a blockage in a woman's fallopian tube can harm her chances of having a healthy pregnancy.

On-going pioneering techniques could mean the end of hormone treatments and the painful retrieval of eggs from infertile women, by collecting thousands of immature eggs from the ovary and then developing them in laboratories before freezing them. This is proving a controversial issue in relation to a woman's age and the possibility that usage of the frozen eggs could be deferred as part of a personal agenda. Currently this is expected to be available within the next 1o years.

The politics relating to IVF remain clouded with only 15% of cases proving successful though statistics vary greatly across the UK.

There are many dark stories and personal illustrations from failed IVF implantations such mix ups during implantation, reactions to fertility drugs, trauma due to repeated treatment all in addition to the added high risk of multiple births.

Fertility experts in the UK say that procedures for implantation are exceedingly tight and mix ups are unlikely regarding implantation.

And To All This, I Say !...Come On ....there are so many decent, caring couples out there who deserve that chance for parenthood. It is something that many people take for granted....probably myself included. I made a choice and wham bam,....I was bloody lucky and was very blessed.

Tonight this writing is completely selfish....I admit it...this has absolutely nothing to do with work, pr, marketing or anything else happening on this planet, this is simply based on happiness and my love for Helen Louise Leigh.

For my oldest and dearest friend, ....who shared extremely personal moments, including watching my stomach twitch with 'baby kicks', counting foetal movements with me, helping me with visits from the 'grizzly' midwife as well as the hormone fairy, working with me on breathing techniques and driving the practice runs to the hospital during both my pregnancies - which to be honest all must have nearly killed her emotionally ....tonight, I am the happiest I have been in a very, very long while, for after 10 years she called me to tell me she is pregnant with twins.

Damn statistics and pondering.....this is a moment for just one thing....the celebration of life. Congratulations Helen and Matt x

1999 Helen Louise and my younger son William.


Tuesday, 17 July 2007

A Tragedy Relating To Tragedy

Recently, under a banner of 'fairness for all' I was appalled to read an article relating to the abduction of Madeleine McCann. In this article the author claimed to have an 'understanding' for the individual case but very clearly it demonstrated an inability to comprehend the reason for the focus behind the global message.

Whilst the heinous crime of paedophilia was not nullified, it was evident that the larger picture in relation to Madeleine McCann had been completely negated.

The perspective of 'many children suffer' was presented, however, when carefully reviewed this could clearly be interpreted as, "I care, ...but I care more about what I consider relevant." A personal agenda was evident in that it represented worldwide issues and yes indeed those issues all have a valid place under the phraseology 'worldwide attrocities'. However, the presentation seemed to diminish the abduction and it was evident that there was a criteria, a strategy that was trying to dictate where our social consciences should be directed.

For me the focus on the abduction of one, singular, innocent child serves all of us on a number of levels. Primarily to try to save ONE, just ONE, from this horrific strain of perversity, - by finding the perpetrators and punishing them accordingly WILL help to diminish this evil - for if caught it will help to serve as a deterrent. Secondly, it reminds all of us to remain vigilant on a worldwide level - abuse, war, famine, plague, disease, rape, servitude are ever present in many places throughout the world - some aspects being closer to home than we would care to imagine.

Madeleine's tragic case reminds us of the horror, tragedy and abhorrence that we as human beings MUST fully grasp and understand, in the hope, that vigilance against such dreadful crimes will help to find a way to erradicate this vile deviance.

To reduce this issue to an 'also ran' shows a deep lack of understanding and compassion for Madeleine, her family and all other parents who have lost children in similar situations.

I will not name and shame but hope that if my words are read that they ring home with the author and that they understand the reason for the dedication and focus on this individual case and will adjust their thinking accordingly - in respct of the article I say "Badly done!"

The agony of Madeleine's parents is evident - do all you can to the relevant authorities with any information, ...any information at all.

Monday, 9 July 2007

Keeping It Light

Refreshing Approach To Damage Limitation !

When it comes to marketing everyone is looking for that USP that will make them stand out from their competitors. They say that any publicity is a good thing but then you consider Gerald Ratner the former Chief Executive of the Ratner Group of jewellers who achieved infamy in his famous speech - then perhaps this view becomes more than slightly tainted.

In his notorious speech, Ratner stated:

We also do cut-glass decanters on a silver platter that your butler can serve you drinks on for £4.95. People say 'How can you do this for such a low price?' I say, because it's total crap.

Hmmm! That famous gaffe cost the company £500 million and Ratner his job!

However I do believe there are ways of looking at promotion from outside of the box - take for example this item on low fat food. Male and female will have remembered this for very different reasons - but I guarantee they will have acknowledged the product and its visuals in a 'different' and quite positive way.

This adds a new dimension to the phrase: Keeping It Light!

Friday, 29 June 2007

Arthur Brown - Fire it does...and so it goes on...spare a thought for those who have to deal with it on a daily basis and exactly what the torture of the flame means...(bloody great song though!) H


Arsonists may enjoy the 'eloquence, movement and sound' of the flame, but for those who live with the reality of extinguishing the associated pain, things are not quite so simplistic.

From a personal perspective I have seen the damage of the flame both externally and internally. It bores into the soul of each and every firefighter across the planet. They are unique and are united in an understanding that we in general, cannot hope to understand. Irrespective of the circumstance they bludgeon their way through adversity knowing it is quite simply a 'part of the job' over which they have no control, and ultimately they acknowledge that there is little recognition. But in the UK they are also responsible for RTA's (road traffic accidents) which can be gruesome to say the least - imagine cutting your wife and child out of a car that was crushed by the driver of an articulated lorry who fell asleep at the wheel- and yes that is a reality, one that was suffered by the colleague of a friend of mine.

Imagine hauling a bloated dead body from a canal, or scraping together the remnants of a human being after a bomb explostion. Hmm - not nice. Imagine that as part of your job remit!!

In life it is all too easy to bypass the everyday attrocities that are faced by those who take it as just part of their job. This can be those at war or those who are left to clear up the carnage of a bomb explosion in a civilian area.

All too often the heroism of the firefighters is negated.

Along with Fire Rescue, they are trained in CPR, RT rescue, chemical 'spillages' with the philosophy 'To Serve and Protect' - they stand above most. The pressures put upon them by the bureaucracy of governments is nullified by red tape - and it stinks.

When you go to work perhaps you systematically switch on your pc, upload information, dictate proposals and look for recognition in one form or another. THINK! Think beyond the boundaries.

There are those out there who wait for the sound of a klaxon, knowing that the call out may be their last. Sounds dramatic? Perhaps but it is very real. Every day repeats itself for these guys on every shift they run. Each and every firefighter faces this every time the 'bells go down'. They face it every day and not just once a day but every time that klaxon sounds. Think about it, - who else would put their life on the line not knowing you!?

The media platform in the UK has been extremely detrimental to the UK Firefighters...they deserve better. So much better!

The job takes so much more than guts - to each and every one of them - I salute and respect you.

For Larry and Foxy - H

Monday, 25 June 2007

Tout éffacer-Marie-Chantal toupin

Courage toujours en face de brutalite! La fortitude vivant. Hx

Saturday, 2 June 2007

The Human Condition

The idea of this write was to be focused on marketing aspects relating to the id - depending upon the platform it is a fascinating theme...many underestimate its power and many usurp it.

Today I wanted to write about the fascination with the 'self-profile' or the ego, people seeking fame, those seeking to emulate in the hope of pacifying the id whilst others drive themselves forward gaining purpose and knowledge - the likes of Elizabeth Hurley, Victoria Beckham and Arnold Schwarzenegger sprang to mind whilst comparing them to the likes of Dame Ellen MacArthur and Ernest Shackleton - self worth and achievement in two incomparable arenas. Undoubtedly the drive for all of them comes/came from something deep within, that from a marketing perspective can be translated into two areas, in short by craving attention and gaining attention - those who have to feed their ego and those whose id is their driving force to achieve so much from life without fear.

We all market ourselves in some way, whether we want to or not, we present our case and hope the reflections appear pleasant and acceptable - but then you throw the emotional element of friendship into the pot - and this twists the plot of my pen.

I am in the process of developing a profiling campaign for a unique and talented artist - the next Barbara Hepworth. As a very close and dear friend this has proven to be quite an intricate and unusual path - her work is so inspiring and so is her passion. I have worked for artists before so I should be objective - but am I? In knowing her so well will I be tougher on her or over-protect her by becoming subjective?, will I view things dispassionately? Emotion can be both so conspiratorial and inspirational - a strong friendship being 'put on the line' so to speak should either ego become 'affronted'.

As a professional I look to remove the personal - but today I was reminded how important synchronistic connections remain -.and here my theme weaves down another interlinked path.

Today ALL things paled into insignificance as I learned that one of my mother's closest friends was terminally ill. Literally hours left. 10 days ago she 'mentioned' a pain in her back at some community meeting where widows ruminate ...since then she has suffered two heart attacks and currently lies in an isolation unit, with only a nebulizer for company. Her family, now dictating the course of her last hours, have deserted her...despite her pleas to see my mother prior to the inevitable ...they remain unheard. Her children simply await the news and feverishly call the lawyer to prepare himself for the reading of her last testament.

My mother received the news and swallowed it as only she could, with incredible humility despite evident pain. "She expected it," she said to me tearfully, "they are driven by self"

It is incredible what we can 'market' about ourselves in times of real crisis and what we learn, even in the every day. In respect of my deliberations one distinct thing stands out to me, that I hope I have the foresight to remain constant - to my friend, my values and myself.
For Millie with love. Helen

Thursday, 31 May 2007

Hitting All The Right Notes

Joshuah Kalsi is a talented musician and lyricist. His ability to capture different musical styles, moods, atmosphere and the moment is clearly reflected throughout his work. A real 'force' to be reckoned with, he plays so many more instruments than the Grand Piano, and all brilliantly. Josh is committed to his dream and is in the middle of producing a new album....not for himself but for his daughter, Hannah. "This is her record of who I am, if anything happened to me this would be a way for her to know me," he tells me,which I think says so much about him - a personal reflection of the man behind the music.

Avant Rock is the style but I feel that it is difficult to restrict Josh's work to a genre - he is incredibly diverse - muscially and personally (in a good way).

The band is Joshuah, the music is great, go dip into listen to the snippets and you will hear what I mean.

I 'Wish' you would put my favourite on as the mainplay Josh.


Friday, 25 May 2007

A Winning Streak For Pilkington Aintree

Recently the glass industry was jolted by the purchase of Cervoglass Ltd by Pilkington Glass. In a move that bolstered the building products division an agreement between the two companies now places Graham Price as Commercial Director of Pilkington Aintree Ltd.

Previously Managing Director, Cervoglass, conservatory glass roof and side frame glazing products Graham has proved to be a man with great vision. The evolving IG market in respect of thermal, solar and self-cleaning properties remains a challenging concept to a man who saw so much more than the simple glazing aspects of a company he has reformed over the last 20 years.

As my client and friend he recently made some keen industry observations on the insulating glass sector as a whole.

A brief synopsis follows:

"Many procedural advances have occurred in respect of IGU manufacturers as well as some industry directives that have had a major impact on insulating glass manufacturing. Whether looking at a window or sealded conservatory roofr unit, these changes have been introduced to improve the market for the installer and ultimately the end user.

The introduction of new industry regulations will continue to have far reaching consequences for many manufactuters as production methods must accommodate BS EN 1279 and other European directives. This mandatory legislation affects IGU production on a number of levels but in particular in relation to gas filling and retention.
New guidelines from the European Union dictates the European standards that must be adhered to in respect of CE markings. This now places additional pressure on manufacturers in particular regarding Low-E glass and IGU production methods. According to the dictate by the CEN most glass products that are CE marked and sold in the European Union must now conform to the directive.
According to Graham particular attention should be focussed on Part 3 of the legislation as this refers to the measurements of gas concentration and gas leakage within a units. This requires that performance data for certain high performance products must be presented at new levels.
With nearly all glass processors using Argon gas as standard to improve the overall U value, manufacturers have previously made technical calculations based upon 100% gas filling with a glass unit.
With the introduction of EN 1279 the European Union has declared that a gas filling level of 90% must be used. Obviously, this has an impact on the declared U value of most high performance, low-E products despite the fact that physically they have not changed.
Graham concluded,
The insulated glass unit industry has seen radical transformation in the UK in recent times and the new directive will undoutbtedly ensure the highest results regarding performance and stability of all IG units. The industry however, is facing hard challenges if steady growth is to continue in such a fiercely compeitive market. With consumer awareness increasing the industry marking and production methods will have much more meaning in relation to profit margins for those who fail to recognise their value!"
Prior to the buy-out Cervoglass was recognised for innovative development by winning 'Best New Product' at the leading UK glass industry event - Glassex.
Graham! Congratulations! continue with your vision, values and 'flare' Helen :)

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Help Madeleine

For those who read this blogspot please pass the picture of this child onto anyone you know ...every single thing helps.

Abducted during a family holiday in Portugal, this innocent child remains missing. As a parent I can only imagine the anguish her parents and family must be feeling.

Please help find a way to return this child to her family and relay her picture to everyone you know. Should anyone have any information please pass it on to the Portuguese or English Police. Thank you.

I pray for her safe return.


Tuesday, 8 May 2007

How to market yourself right?

Hi there Helen and thanks for your invitation! OK, first, the difference between marketing and advertising has to be stated clearly:

Marketing is one of the terms in academia that does not have one commonly agreed upon definition. Even after a better part of a century the debate continues. In a nutshell it consists of the social and managerial processes by which products, services and value are exchanged in order to fulfill individual's or group's needs and wants. These processes include, but are not limited to, advertising.[1]

Advertising is paid and/or sometimes free communication through a medium in which the sponsor is identified and the message is controlled. Variations include publicity, public relations, product placement, sponsorship, underwriting, and sales promotion. Every major medium is used to deliver these messages, including: television, radio, movies, magazines, newspapers, the Internet, and billboards. Advertisements can also be seen on the seats of grocery carts, on the walls of an airport walkway, on the sides of buses, heard in telephone hold messages and in-store PA systems. Advertisements are usually placed anywhere an audience can easily and/or frequently access visuals and/or audio, especially on clothing.

So as an example: What is this Video? Marketing or Advertising? Of what?

Monday, 7 May 2007

Marketing! ...Hype or Happening?


Welcome to HSC talks - an open forum regarding all aspects of marketing, for those who understand its relevance as well as for those who want to learn more. I put myself in both categories, as marketing is an ever changing, creative medium that constantly teaches.
Depending on the company, in my experience there appears to be three main categories of understanding when it comes to the importance of marketing. i) those who feel it is an expensive commodity that is required but fundamentally that it is hype which is not understood; ii) those who want to utilise its benefits but cannot develop a strong on-going foundation strategy either through fear of expense or the lack of resources and iii) those who grasp it!...with both hands!... knowing that marketing can make things happen. It does not have to be expensive. It does not have to be complicated ....and with a little professional, creative expertise and structure...quite simply, marketing works.
A good colleague recently reminded me of the familiar story associated with RJ Wrigley, former CEO of the famous chewing gum company. When asked on a transatlantic flight by another passenger why Wrigley's contintued to invest in high profile marketing and advertising campaigns, when the company was in leading market position, he replied:
"I continue to support brands with consistent marketing for the same reason the pilot keeps this plane's engines running even though we are in the air."
Astute man, but I guess as the then CEO he would be wouldn't he? He grasped that marketing maintains a presence, for whatever the size, budget or perception of the company it is imperative to stay ahead.
Now think of Golden Wonder. Who? Exactly. They were the main brand challenger to Walker's crisps and were pretty much level pegging in the positioning stakes, until they decided to drastically reduce their marketing strategy a number of years ago. In 2006, the adminstrators were brought in....and the company was bought by Tatyo.
In April 2007 it was announced that the Golden Wonder range will have new packaging and flavours that will be supported by a new advertising campaign. Press, tv and a deal with a newspaper group - all to raise awareness. I rest my case.
Not everyone can afford a huge advertising and pr campaign I know. I know! But....not everyone needs that...the key to working marketing is tailoring and structuring according to budgets through effective and innovative creative campaigns.
Quite simply, without it or with makes things happen.
Thank you for taking the time to stop by and I look forward to receiving your views.
Helen Stanley