My PR Playlist

Days running a PR agency are eclectic and I have a playlist to match. For the good weeks and the bad, these songs always feature on my seven-day playlist. The days of spin are behind us so I'm giving it to you raw and un-cut. 

Joy Division Oven Gloves - By Half Man Half Biscuit 
A new entry for me. I recently, and accidentally, crashed the local Ukelele society get together at my favourite Sunday night haunt… the Balham Bowls Club (a pub!) They played everything from Price Tag to Wonderwall, but this song stuck in my head. 

Frank Sinatra - One For My Baby (And One More For The Road)
A great way to end the day and the guarantee of a good night's sleep. I saw the show at the Palladium recently, an amazing way to experience Ol' Blue Eyes as if he were still here. 

Blur - Coffee and TV
I was in Chicago for a friend's wedding a couple of years ago and this was the soundtrack to my summer. It also happens to by my favourite song from Cruel Intentions. Don't judge me. 

Wailing Souls - Wild Wild Life
The best song in one of the best films of all time, Cool Runnings. If you watch this movie and don't feel better for it, you have no feelings. 

Paul Simon - Call Me Al
Did he ever think this song would make for a cheesy nightclub anthem? Did I ever think I'd spend a birthday at South London Pacific listening to this song? No and no, but how well it worked! 

14 reasons why your work friends are your best friends

At some point during your work life you’re likely to come across someone who becomes more than just a colleague.

If you’re really lucky they’ll become one of your BFFs and be in your life forever more.

It’s a pretty cool thing to have your mate by your side for the best part of eight hours a day – and, even better, you both get paid for it!

So, what makes work friends your best friends?

1. You spend more time with them than anyone else

You spend around 40 hours (if not more) a week with your work buddy … you talk everyday and probably have more conversations with them than you do with your partner or any of your other friends.

2. Work ‘bantz’

The banter is what gets you up in the morning!

3. Diet talk

You help each other ‘be good’ but you also help each spectacularly fall off the wagon – Yorkie anyone?

4. You share each others' inner-most secrets

Those after work drinks that turn into a night of secret sharing – they know everything!

You were the first person they told when they got engaged and they knew before anyone else that you were pregnant.

5. Relationship counsellor

Going through a break up and facing work can be torment for many but having that someone there to cry with at break time makes the friendship one of the strongest you have.

6. They see you at your most stressed and still like you

Under pressure to meet a deadline can turn even the nicest people into a ‘work-zilla’ but, despite all that, your work wife will still want to be your friend afterwards.

 7. You know each others' habits – good and bad

Never drinks coffee after lunch, only writes with a blue pen, cleans the phone with an anti bacteria wipe every morning and always has a sausage roll if they’re hungover – you know each others' every move.

8. No judgement

They don’t judge you for moaning about work, they get it and, more often than not, join in.

 9. They entertain you every day

You look forward to going to work to hear their latest life story – tinder matches, embarrassing gym stories, latest shopping dilemma, drunken antics – they always entertain you.

10. They know how you take your coffee

They don’t even have to ask.

 11. There are no boundaries to your chats

They know everything from what your partner does in bed to your standpoint on pooing at work.

12. They know what you’re thinking

With one glance in an important meeting you know, that they know, what you’re thinking – and they’re usually thinking the same!

13. You have a daily WhatsApp chat

From the minute your working day ends you switch the chat to WhatsApp. By the time you’re on the train home you’ve got something to share.

14. They make work a pleasure

They make work fun and because of them you love your job.

You call yourself Fat Amy? Owning the counter-story...

Over the festive break we got a Pitch Perfect reminder of how to own the counter-story, and of the surprising strength in vulnerability. Before we go any further and to make sure we're starting from the same place, let's run VT. 

Fat Amy owning her own counter story 

So the hero of our story, Amy, gives a live, early-stage audition for university A Cappella group the Baden Bellas at the freshman's week activities fair. 

For her part, the story she's telling in audition is strong. She shows she can sing, confidently matches a pitch and explains that she is Tasmania's finest songstress (with teeth).

However, in Hollywood's teen America, skill alone is not all that matters. In that fickle world, an angelic voice requires the looks to match for an aspiring campus chanteuse. 

Having finished her on-the-spot skills test and facing clear unease at her 'look', Amy is asked her name. 

By replying, "Fat Amy" and explaining that it means, "twig bitches like you can't say it behind my back," she makes the counter-story part of her own. Her story becomes immediately stronger, and the counter story of her audience become weaker. She makes it to the audition, and sails through into the group.

To take another lesson from the Seymour PR Christmas play list, albeit one close to real-life, The Queen contains a warning for us all. It's an example that Gavin Esler cites in his excellent book on the importance of storytelling, Lessons From The Top.

Following Princess Diana's death, the Queen took the decision to stay at Balmoral in Scotland rather than returning to England and Buckingham Palace. 

The intention here was to manage the counter-story that Scotland was somehow less important than England for the United Kingdom. 

In reality, the palace misjudged the mood of the country and failed to manage a more damaging counter story, that the royal family was emotionless and dysfunctional. 

On her eventual return to London, pictures of the Queen taking the time to look at the floral tributes left at the palace gates were broadcast around the world in a turnaround of counter-story management strategy. 

Telling the wrong story is clearly a bad plan, but so too is managing the wrong counter-story.

When it comes to counter-story management, Amy has a big advantage over Helen Mirren's Queen. Her counter story is so personal that she presents a vulnerability that is difficult to resist. For any individual, counter-stories present a natural opportunity to demonstrate vulnerability.

To quote Brene Brown in her book Daring Greatly, “Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren't always comfortable, but they're never weakness.” 

For every story, there is a counter-story; the strongest stories contain the counter-story. On the basis that truth and courage are two of the most attractive characteristics, the very strongest stories contain a counter-story that demonstrates vulnerability.

Esler's book contains many other examples of counter-story management from Clinton, Thatcher and Jesus, to name a few - it's well worth a read.

To play us out, here's our good friend Amy and the other Bellas in the film's final performance. Yes we love this film too much. 

Happy New Year!

Testing the best: Because the January struggle is real!

As wonderful as the festive feastings have been, we’re feeling a little worse for wear having emerged from a haze of food and booze. To get our butts back in gear, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to test the best in fitness. The Seymour PR squad has had their paws on everything from kooky classes, to new glam gear over the last week. And as a result, here are our top tips on getting your gym mojo back.

Photo by IPGGutenbergUKLtd/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by IPGGutenbergUKLtd/iStock / Getty Images


Of all the days for modern tech to fail me it had to be today! A Sat Nav malfunction meant we missed the intro and walked straight into a darkened room with disco lights flashing and ‘Show Me Love’ blaring out.  After being handed a glow stick by a regular who took pity on us, we were ready to get into the swing of things.

The embarrassment of being late for our first Clubbercise class was soon forgotten as we got our groove - and sweat – on, to old-school club classics and current chart bangers. The choreography was easy to follow and the low lights helped to really let ourselves go - a great incentive for anyone whose confidence is stopping them attending fitness classes. Clubbing and exercise combined…what’s not to LOVE!


What caught our eye about KITBOX is how they’ve integrated their passion for functionality into a range of truly stylish clothing. I was lucky enough to put a selection of their gear to the test during a HIIT session and a cheeky run.

The design of the Innov8 sports bra meant nothing moved up front– not a millimetre - even while I got my burpee on. My chest can’t remember what life was like before and these bras are now a staple in my kit.

I absolutely loved both the vest and tee I tried, but the Stance socks were by far my personal fave!  Spun from moisture-wicking fibres that lift sweat to keep your twinkle toes dry and cool, these beauties are super durable…and they come in lots of funky, bright designs. These are a must when training outdoors this winter!


We heart the Noom Coach app at Seymour HQ. Not only because it’s a super easy way to keep track of food and exercise, but because it allows you to connect with other users and share the struggle…which to be honest…is real.

‘Noom Troops’ are grouped based on having similar goals, whether that be weightloss, training for a marathon or getting super fit. I found that sharing tips and being able to see others going through the same ups and downs really kept me motivated! Get it. Get it now.


Thank you Sports Edit…this is the kit of our dreams! We knew we loved the leggings before we even put them on, you just know they’re going to make you feel fit.

The breathable fabric of the vest means you stay cool and fresh throughout your workout while the jacket is lovely and warm - perfect for the cold snap predicted for the UK this week. 

The feel of the clothing screams quality and although it’s at the pricey end of the scale, if you’ve got the cash to spare it's worth every penny.

The Sports Edit has only been open for a few months and their stunning store in London is most definitely worth a visit. Otherwise, head online and start adding to that ever-growing ‘Wish List’.

Why does everyone think they know best?

Almost 13 years ago to the day, my friend’s career in communications started with a one-day course at the CIPR on St James’s Square. The one thing he always remembers is the definition of consumer PR given by one of the delegates: it’s about turning wants into needs through the power of storytelling.

For the purpose of this post, let’s agree not to debate that definition. Instead, let’s use it as a clue to an everlasting mystery for those in the profession: why does everyone think they know best?

Photo by shevvers/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by shevvers/iStock / Getty Images

You won’t find many people outside the legal profession giving their opinion on obscure acts of parliament and our friends in finance are not troubled by the outsider’s view on accounting standards. However, when it comes to communications, nobody holds back.

It’s a frustrating reality that we all live with but I don’t think the cause is a lack of professional respect, at least not all of the time. I also don’t think it’s a conscious decision on the part of our colleagues to condescend with an opinion on something they have never done, studied or considered.

To go back to our working definition, I think the temptation for everyone to offer their opinion down to the fact that we are storytellers. And storytelling is not the preserve of the communicator.

I heard a story once (probably apocryphal) that there is a tribe in Africa whose word for human being translates literally to mean ‘featherless storyteller’.  If you are reading this I can safely make two assumptions. Firstly, that you are indeed featherless. Secondly, that you can tell stories.

When we are growing up, we are told stories that help us to understand the world around us, show us how to make friends and inspire us to consider what we might want to become. 

The fact is, most of these stories are written down and read to us. Some are passed down through the generations. Very few are created.

Photo by Kontrec/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by Kontrec/iStock / Getty Images

Creating a story is not easy. The same friend, still in the profession, had his four-year-old niece to stay recently. He knew there were always three stories at bedtime. He was picking up the third book when she informed him that, “Story number three, you have to make up for me.”

Put on the spot, this felt like a new kind of pressure, an unexpected call on his professional skills.  A couple of moments to gather his thoughts and by the time the handsome prince had made it past the dragon and into the enchanted woods, she was fast asleep. 

In this, I think we have the answer to our question. Yes, all of us have the ability to tell stories. However, the professional contribution that we make is to create a story. Not just any story. We tell the right story, at the right time for right audience.

So, perhaps we shouldn’t be frustrated with the assumption from colleagues that they know best? After all, that assumption comes from a very natural and human instinct that we all have to tell stories.

Instead we need to be confident in explaining the difference between telling a story and creating the right story.