Fair enough September

1 September 2019

September started with a splash – a muddy one!

Sunday 1 September I was one of 15 from @ScorpionTrainingBootCamp led by trainer @IanHarrison wading through over 100 obstacles of green mud in @nustchallenge in the #SurreyHills countryside. That evening – battered bruised and still a bit muddy despite a shower – I headed over to the studio at @BBCSurrey to join Ian Jones @LLLHillHouse.

I had secured an interview for Ian with journalist/presenter @NickyPatrick1. Together with his teenage son Dylan he gave a great insight on #FieldToFork and the pork specialities he produces at his Dorking farm. It was a great showcase for the #community in @SurreyHillsEnt.

2 September 2019

A day at @SpecialityFair @Olympia_London gave me a chance to meet new food and drink producers and learn about new products reaching UK retailers. #Vegan-#Vegetarian was the big story with options such as plant and nut based alternatives to cream from Belgian #Pretexte, which was also one of the #freefrom solutions on offer. @ShadiaAl_Hili was there with her vibrant family team for @cuzenabrand. A joy to meet and their #Madamous dips, a Moroccan fava bean alternative to houmous, were delicious – loved Fiery Chilli Fava Bean Dip!

Among other taste highlights was @Sisserourum rum and coconut liqueur and amazing handpainted chocolate creations from sisters Yugna and Deepa @thepaintedpeacockcompany, who I’ve come across before and who deserve a lot more recognition. As a #chocoholic I also loved the fabulous ideas for Christmas from @ChocolatChapon and who could resist a stocking filler such as the cannabis flavour dark chocolate from #Mulaté – still I suggest a work in progress on flavour but a great novelty and brilliant artwork.

14 September 2019

I thought I’d potter over to Denbies Wine Estate outside Dorking to see what was on offer at the Surrey Hills Food Festival. It was a far cry from the world offering at Olympia but disappointing in the limited number of local producer stands.

That said a demo by @BeaverbrookH chef #TaijiMaruyama preparing #sushi and #sashimi was amazing with plenty of valuable insights – that said the big take-home were the #edibleants he used as a garnish which it turns out is more expensive than caviar!

16 September 2019

Binary Botanical 0.5%
Binary Botanical 0.5%

It was great to finally sit down for a chat with Danielle Bekker of the #GoodLivingBrewCompany having bumped into her several events, including the monthly market @RipleyFarmersM and just recently at @SpecialityFair.

Really hope she gets lots of support for her 0.5% option during @GoSoberUK as she’s offering to give a 10% contribution to @macmillancancer throughout the month. Both @BinaryBotanical the almost no alcohol and 4% beers are worth trying – they’re described as a #beer for #winelovers or #prosecco beer – and it’s all the above and more!

I can hardly believe that this incredibly talented woman lives in the same village as me in #Woking. A veteran of the brewing industry she has created a light refreshing beer that’s great with food, low in calories, is a good alcohol strength for beer at 4% Vol, which of course is a lot less than wine. Incredibly her 0.5% alternative is also very tasty! Though she only launched 18 months ago she’s already available through @Ocado and @HarveyNichols. Watch out for the feature I’m writing on her for our local paper @Woking_NewsMail.

#beer #Surrey #localbusiness #localnews

August blog – Summer fun

3 August

The first Saturday was a fabulous English summer’s day and perfect for BBQs but it made me appreciate how far I’ve come since setting my own business.

It can be a lonely experience starting up your own brand and even if you are prepared for the likelihood of ups and downs, it’s probably the ‘water cooler’ times with colleagues that you miss the most.

I’ve been fortunate that to have been able to work as a team with many of my clients but it’s my experience as a member of the @BNIWoking chapter that has given me the collegial experience: the downtime chats, the helpful advice and sometimes just the reassurance of shared experience in our weekly networking, 1-2-1s, training and social events.

As the Events and Social Coordinator I was delighted to bring the team together with their families and or partners at my place for a summer BBQ. A chance to have enjoy some silly competitiveness as well as reward winners of the summer games we had been running over the past few months just added to the fun and knowing we’re there for each other. Not so lonely after all!

#localbusiness, #startups, #SMEs, #Woking, #Surrey, #networking

24 August 2019

Having been to my first football match EVER(!) in April this year, I guess you could say that I’m a #latestarter. 

Certainly when @Wokingfc Manager Alan ‘Dowse’ Dowson suggested I go along to a match when we met through my clients @Woking_NewsMail, who sponsor the Woking FC, I thought it unlikely but if I did it would be out of courtesy. I say that because it’s been just over a year since Dowse has been managing #TheCards and he has completely transformed their fortunes. However, it’s probably the way he has given his support to the local community, personally and with his team, that has won respect in the local region.

So I find myself once more at the #LaithwaiteStadium, rooting for Woking. I’ve become totally hooked. I still have no idea what’s happening on the pitch some of the time but I am so into football! Today’s match at home against Solihull Moors was a 2-0 win and it was incredible. I can even see how the quality of the team has improved since my first visit. #COYC!

#Woking, #Community, @Nat_leaguesouth, #localnews, #communitynews

30 August 2019

August is my birthday month which means lots of delicious meals that are made all the more appetising because I’ve shared them with the people I love.

As a #foodie, I’m a firmly believe that the best ingredient in food is good company and this month I indulged!

That said, a visit to @BeaverbrookHotel was a wonderful gift from my lovely daughter @pippa.millerjennings and son-in-law John. We had a perfect #summerlunch at #theGardenHouseRestaurant and the #incrediblecustomerservice was #considerate, #relaxed and #attentative.


July blog

2 July

Carol and Matt at Masters Installation

It was another one of those – this is history in the making today – when I attended the installation of the new Master at Stationers’ Hall. Welcomed the company of my friend and colleague #MikeDaly of #GreatVideo who was responsible for getting me to join the guild.

12 July

The end of the second week in July and I’m still chasing my tail as I dashed across a good part of West Surrey to get to the #SurreyRuralEconomyConference organised by #SurreyHillsEnterprises at #CranleighSchool.

I was late but keen to attend as I believe the rural economy is going to be at the very heart of some of the key day-to-day aspects impacted by a looming no-deal Brexit and it was my first Surrey Hills event since become a member last month.

I’ve found fortune has a way of looking after us, if we’re prepared to meet it half way. Today a fellow late arriver was Professor Richard Murphy, whom I’d recently met with regarding the project I’m working on with the News & Mail. Amazing! We agreed to meet and chat in the break and then as we were given the nod to enter the conference I found myself taking a place in the seats reserved for press.

I fully intended to move in the break but then realised that Secretary for the Environment @MichaelGove MP for #SurreyHeath was saying some interesting things and certainly for the @Woking_NewsMail, especially its Chobham readers so I was back in reporter mode. Fortunately I’d come armed with my digital voice recorder and of course always have my shorthand. Cranleigh School’s a bit of a wifi dead zone it seems, so attempts to message the newsdesk for questions proved useless. Luckily @JackFiehn, whom I recognised from @BBCSurrey, let me know Gove was doing 1-2-1 interviews and I could pull out some of the touchpoints we’d been running in the paper to ask Gove a couple of questions as well – but pretty sure he realised I was pitching in the dark.

Gove talk

Great to touch base with some of the farmers I’ve either worked with or connected with, #TimMetson, who I’d linked into work for a catering client that has led to a field to plate write up in the showcase magazine for the farmers’ union, @NFUCountryside. Also after many emails and phone calls got to meet #BillBiddell who I sourced for reporter @NickyPatrick1, who wanted an interview with someone who could talk around field to plate. Also glad to say hello to #IanJones of @LLLHillHouse  who I’ve also introduced to Nicky and is now looking forward to doing an interview with her in September.

19 July

Never, ever underestimate the skill of TV presenters! Talking to a camera is not an easy job and reading from autocue as if you’re talking off the top of your head is also a skill. #MikeDaly of #GreatVideo spent the morning at my office doing the final takes for my website – I mean it all morning! Imagine how cross I was with myself when I had finally got through a take without a hitch and was so relieved I pulled a victory face at the end – too soon for us to edit it out! Thought I’d include one of the unrehearsed, non-autocue takes we did alongside a photo shoot with @MattPereira.

That A-Team moment

26 June 2019

It’s always satisfying when a client appreciates a good job but today I felt like quoting Col ‘Hannibal’ Smith: “I love it when a plan comes together.”

news & mail

The client on this occasion was the Woking News & Mail, which I’ve been working for for over two years and helped it to increase the volume of its sales by 20%. I had persuaded the Terry Tidbury the paper’s Managing Director to consider a new project and though initially very interested and supportive, I knew he was a bit anxious about the plan which saw us this morning at the University of Surrey. It didn’t help that we couldn’t find the office we were meant to be meeting our hosts in but I had put in a lot of preparation work so I was confident.

Read moreThat A-Team moment

No place like home

9 June 2019

Back in England and a train journey into Waterloo, London, surprised me because in comparison to my journey through the suburbs of Paris, I’m struck by how clean and pretty everything looks. Today I’ve been trying to do my bit as a Freeman of London by volunteering for my guild, Stationers’ Guild as it opened its courtyard garden on the City of London’s Open Garden Day.

Carol with Stationers guild

Being a member of Stationers’ is a matter of great pride for me. The day I was formally accepted and swore my allegiance I was asked to sign its huge vellum registration book. At that moment I felt I had become a part of history and each second felt timeless.

Read moreNo place like home

Back to France June 2019

Saturday 8 June 2019

Yesterday I found myself heading off for a flight to Paris, just three days after returning from my daughter’s wedding in the south near Carcassonne. This time my destination was just outside Paris at St Germain-en-Laye.

I had a slight feeling of trepidation as it was the first time that I was meeting the communications team for YRSA Communications, part of the newly formed business established by my client of two years, Yves Romestan. So it helped that having had breakfast at the very civilised Fortnum & Mason’s champagne bar at Heathrow’s T5 my lovely waiter slipped me a truffle I’d been eyeing with my bill.

view of Paris
View of Paris

Read moreBack to France June 2019

GTM wins best big business award

Toast of Surrey Award
Toast of Surrey Award

“Yet again Carol Miller’s support as our PR consultant has proved to be a worthwhile investment. Having ensured she understands the many facets of our business, she was able to combine that with her PR skills to evaluate the award criteria and then write entries that were relevant and made an impact. As a result we won the Best Big Business award and were shortlisted in the two other categories we entered.”

Congratulations to Carol Miller Media client Global Travel Management who won the 2016 Toast of Surrey Award for best business with a turnover above £5m.
Knowing the company’s high quality service and incredible enthusiasm, motivated by the very dynamic leadership of @GlobalTravelMgt Managing Director Scott Pawley, I believe GTM’s success was well deserved.
Entering business awards such as @TOSawards demands time and energy but they can bring high internal and external rewards, while the experience of winning is an incredible morale boost and has been a key part of the GTM PR programme.
Scott says: “Winning the award shows that, as a company, what we have is something special because winning this accolade was a team effort. For me personally, it was the most rewarding night of my life.
In addition, this year’s award success will be something of a kitemark on our business credentials within the trade as well as for stakeholders and clients.“