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High & dry

feet-under-duvetHappy New Year everyone. It’s been a funny old start to 2014 – mainly because I can’t actually believe it’s 2014. My monster Millennium hangover feels like just yesterday – not a staggering 14 years ago. But one thing I did learn from such over-indulgence was that, contrary to popular belief, it IS possible to feel wretched on champagne. What idiot said you can drink it until it comes out of your ears, and still bounce out of bed the following day? I felt blessed to still have a pulse…

Anyway, with that in mind, I’m attempting the Dryathlon this year (cue much hilarity from friends and family) and am therefore expecting to spend most of January sobbing under a duvet.

Come February, however, I shall emerge, blinking triumphantly into the daylight. And when I do, normal service will be resumed – and all offers of a swift half in The Grapes gratefully received…

Anyone for cricket?

b Crispy CrittersIt’s been so long since my last blog but, hey, I’ve got a great excuse. Actually, I’ve got several. The first was the small matter of the summer hols, during which my own children exposed me as a shameless liar –. We’d spent months telling the boys that we were heading to Egypt for our two-week break – then revealed the truth at the departure gate. We were, in fact, heading to Orlando. Thankfully, the lies were quickly forgiven.

We had a fabulous time but despite the fact we landed back at Gatwick in mid-August, I’m not sure my feet have really touched the ground since.

I’ve been incredibly busy with work and now, before I’ve even had a chance to edit the hundreds of holiday snaps and four hours of video footage, it seems we’re hurtling headlong towards Christmas. Not great news for those of us who are in denial about how fast the festivities are approaching, but a fabulous chance for me to remind you all that we can’t have Christmas until we’ve had I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! And that gives me a great chance to shamelessly plug the revoltingly irresistible goodies offered by fellow Kent company, Bush Grub – a fabulous family-run company and a new client of mine.

Check out Gary and Ben Bartlett’s full range of culinary critters at www.bush-grub.co.uk

Anyone for cricket? A salt and vinegar one, that is….

Lovely Rita…

Rita-HanksSorry for such blog-tardiness of late – or should that be tardy-blogness (I think I prefer the latter). I have no great excuse or explanation other than the fact I’ve been working hard. Sorry if that sounds dull, and I know you expect more of me, but what can I say…

However, you’ll be pleased to know that I’ve not been entirely deskbound. No sireee.

Last Friday I ventured up to London for the leaving bash of a former colleague at Woman’s Own. She’d been with the company for 35 years, and therefore felt unable to sit on her hands when volunteers for redundancy were being sought.

So it was, I found myself in a bar with a number of erstwhile colleagues.

We were catching up over some welcome bubbles courtesy of the editor (not the type you blow, of course, although current budgetary restraints wouldn’t have made that entirely out of the question) when in wafted a vision in orange.

Now those of you who know me well will know that orange is my favourite colour. But it wasn’t just the colour of his shirt that attracted attention. It was the flawless flounce followed by the full-on whirlwind persona that is Richard Arnold – GMTV soap queen (am I allowed to say that?) and one-time Strictly contestant.

Wow. The crowd parted before him, as did the waves for Moses.

Then he plonked himself down. Grabbed a glass of fizz and proceeded to hold court. As he did so, however, he cast me more than a few sideways glances.

Strange, I thought. I’m sooo not his type.

Then he could contain himself no longer.

‘You’re the image of Tom Hanks’ wife, Rita,’ he blurted.

‘Is that a good thing?’ I replied.

All the girls quickly assured me that it was.

And when I later checked out Google Images, I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised. If only I hadn’t then checked out Wikipedia. The woman’s 13 years older than me!

So I’m either looking pretty rough right now – or by 2026 I’ll have bagged myself a film star husband, right?

I don’t Bite…

teethThe eagle-eyed among you may well have noticed that Bite has, erm, bitten the dust. But fear not as, like a phoenix from the ashes, www.michellemaynard.co.uk has risen in its place.

‘But why?’ I hear you all cry in unison. The answer is quite simple. A lawyer’s letter from a global organisation, with a not dissimilar name to that of my company, gently pointing out that his client wasn’t happy with the similarity.

I, in turn, gleefully pointed out that I was deeply flattered that an organisation with offices in London, Glasgow, Paris, New York, Hong Kong, Singapore (yawn… you get the idea), thought there was a chance that little ole me – sitting here in my front room in suburbia rather than Sydney or San Francisco – might be mistaken for them. But hey ho, I think they may have just done me a favour.

You see, being forced to reconsider the name Bite PR made me realise that it could be misleading for visitors to my site, who may believe (wrongly) that it’s only for those involved in food and drink.

In the meantime, and as luck would have it, the domain name michellemaynard.co.uk had become available (it never has been before) so here we are. You all know who I am. You also know I don’t Bite (get it?)

How’s that for turning a potential negative into a positive…

Onwards and upwards, eh.

Park life

Park-benchWell, week one of working for myself is almost up. And dare I say it? I have no idea how I ever had the time to hold down a full-time job.

The past few days have been a delightful mix of work, networking and, of course, the occasional pub lunch.

Anyone who’s ever walked away from paid employment to set up on their own will not have done so without the odd wobble, moment of self-doubt and several blank stares from those who can’t fathom why anyone would do something quite so ridiculous.

But remember, an entrepreneur spends a few years of his life as most people won’t so that he can spend the rest of his life as most people can’t. Apparently.

Come back and check the blog next week (if only to make sure that I’m still living by that mantra – and that the mortgage company hasn’t taken my house and offered me a park bench in return).

Having a Ball

ChampagneCorkPopI would now like to declare Bite officially open for business. In true launch style, I’ve smashed a bottle of champers against my computer and look forward to welcoming you all aboard.

My morning started with a networking breakfast and, thankfully, copious amounts of orange juice which heroically battled to dilute the wine still coursing through my veins from the previous day.

My leaving lunch was both raucous and lengthy (is there any other type?) and culminated in a truly wonderful discovery – that being, a Michael Ball track on the jukebox in one of my local hostelries, The Three Daws.

Now I realise not everyone in the pub considered this such a joyous revelation but, thankfully, most were too comatose to protest.

For those who weren’t, I apologise.

 

Take it as red…

Red grape skinsI’ve been in Milan this week for an exclusive tour of Sensient Food Colours Italy – the largest European producer of natural red colours (both liquid and powder) for food production, using grape skins and black carrot.

The site processes more than 1,000 tonnes of materials per day during the grape harvesting season, and extracts 90 per cent of the colour content in less than one hour. Not surprisingly, it’s an impressively slick operation and one in which managing director Imerio Bortot and his dedicated team carry out with both pride and precision.

But while food companies are no doubt grateful for the company’s efforts, and rightly so, I think I may be due a little praise here too.

After all, if I wasn’t a regular imbiber of grape juice (okay, wine) I know for a fact that Sensient’s pile of discarded skins would be several kilos lighter…

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