Monday, 24 November 2008

Breaking news: London invaded by marshmallow men

I think the Christmas decorating fairy paid a visit to Carnaby street a week or so ago, but I’ve been on holiday and today was the first time I've walked down there in a while.

It was worth the wait. This year’s decorations are thirteen giant inflatable snowmen suspended above the street, along with huge snowflakes. Not sure if this was the desired effect, but they look like something from Dr Who – really sinister and freaky, in an excellent way. It’s like a festive Ghostbusters come to life.

Someone once told...

My younger brother! Check him out on the SOTM site here, or go to OneWorld365 to see his work, volunteer and travel website network.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

RIP Sony Ericsson K850i, I barely knew you

I had a new phone just under six months ago, the afromentioned K850i. We got along very well – the great camera made up for its weird little buttons. And the fact it would turn itself off a couple of times a week for absolutely no reason. And the rubbish battery life.

So I was quite distressed when I woke up some weeks ago in the middle of the night to find it flashing and turning itself on and off, like a phone possessed.
02 were very kind in promising to send me a new handset so I wasn’t too concerned. Needless to say, it’s over a month later and I’m STILL waiting for my new handset.

Fingers crossed 02 sort it out soon (02! Sort it out!) Using the old handset I cast aside for the shiny new model is frustrating but bearable. But I have to say it’s fairly shocking design if a phone won’t even last six months before going into total mobile meltdown.

Monday, 3 November 2008

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Someone once told me…

‘Someone Once Told Me’ is an internet photography project I’ve mentioned in a previous post…and as I said before, go and take a look for a proper explanation.

The theory behind it is that we’re all shaped by the things that people tell us. The idea of the website is to share these things, in a photo. There’s a different photo each day, and sometimes a backstory to add an explanation.

Last night me and my brother were photographed for the site with our ‘someone once told me’s (action shot above) which was lots of fun, so we should be on there soon.

Coincidentally, Mario, the man behind it all, also wrote the BBC article on the Cactus Kid I posted about earlier…small world!

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Three for three...for three

I’ve been tagged by Giles (who just got married, congrats!) in a ‘three for three’ meme, which was originally started here by Jed.

This consists of three top three lists, which you then have to pass on to three other people. This is fun because it’s the first meme I’ve been tagged in, and also it’s pretty random and fun anyway (which Minxology is all about). So, mine is as follows:

Top three non-work websites
  • Someone Once Told Me – can’t be described in a sentence and it's a photography website, so go and look at it. I LOVE this site, am going to be appearing on it soon, and will be blogging about it shortly
  • Holy Moly – Popbitch but better
  • Forever Amber – we have near-identical hairdresser pain – maybe it’s a ginger thing? - and also this and this post are possibly the funniest things I’ve ever read
PS – I’ve not included Twitter or Facebook, because I’d probably class them as work website, and using them is like breathing now, i.e. automatic.

Top three karaoke songs
  • Total Eclipse of the heart, Bonnie Tyler
  • You’ve got the love, Candi Statton
  • Two More Years, Bloc Party
Top three weekend cocktails
  • Belini - champagne and peach juice, yum
  • Anything with champagne in it really, or prosecco or cava - and I'm a big fan of all three by themselves
  • Ginger monkey - this was made (and named) for me by a nice bartender in a private members club in Soho. I’ve got no idea what it contained apart from fruit, champagne, and fresh ginger. It was unbelievably tasty.
So there you go!

I now tag Sandrine, Nick and Rax

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Don't worry

Spotted on a detour to green park - oxford circus was shut due to crazy commuter overcrowding. As I took this photo, an old man walking past muttered 'I dont!' in my ear.

Monday, 13 October 2008

Boo! It's Obama vs McCain

As someone who never celebrated Halloween as a child (my parents weren't keen – well, if you think about it, it is pretty sinister) it always surprises me when people make any kind of a deal out it.

However, what surprised me even more was this fabulously random politically themed Halloween greetings card, sent by Nick when he visited the US this month. Inside it says 'as if Halloween wasn't scary enough' - !

Also this month, The Economist and MSN are running online polls to find out how the rest of the world would vote in the US elections. The Economist poll shows that in the UK alone, Obama is winning by a landslide 87%. I've got no idea what the real outcome will be, but results like this kind of suggest McCain should have a lot more to be scared about than trick or treaters and his face on a greetings card.

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Nike pop-up store in Shoreditch

This is some cool art on the wall of the nike pop-up store in east london. Random things like this are why i love being around this part of the world.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

'Cactus Kid' dies of thirst

According to a report on the BBC today, the Oasis ‘Cactus Kid’ adverts have been ordered off screen by the Advertising Standards Agency. They found that the implication of underage sex and teenage pregnancy meant they were unsuitable for broadcast.

I have to say, I’ve seen those adverts, and the implication of underage sex and teenage pregnancy completely passed me by. Apart from being vaguely annoying, the ads always struck me as being as sexy as – well, a cactus.

What actually got me reaching for my remote was the suggestion that a sugary drink could be used as a permanent replacement for ‘for people who don’t like water.’ What about your TEETH people? The ASA - and probably dentists throughout the land - agreed, concluding that this was ‘irresponsible and could discourage good dietary practice.’

The ad received only 32 complaints, which is hardly a landslide of outrage. But I really think you’ve got to question exactly what those 32 people had been drinking to make them complain about an inoffensive advert like this. Or maybe they were light-headed due to dehydration?

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Bag it up

There’s been a lot of coverage in the press recently about supermarkets getting rid of plastic bags, but I’ve yet to see much evidence of this. They remain as prominent as ever on tills, and I’ve never once been charged to buy one. Could this all this talk just be (gasp!) corporate greenwash?

However, while standing in the till queue at Sainsbury’s the other day, I read about a new text service they’re operating. If you SMS a number with the time and date you go shopping each week, the system will message you a reminder to take an old bag with you, in a bid to stop you having to waste a new one.

As food shopping in my house is random and sporadic, it won’t be that handy for me (unless the system becomes psychic). However, for people that are regular shoppers, it struck me as a handy and environmentally-friendly use of technology. Read more about it here.

Monday, 29 September 2008

He's Got The Look

I'm working in Shoreditch at the moment. It's a brilliant but confusing part of the world. Even Diet Coke cans here are different. Half covered in a variety of shiny patterns, this at first made me think they were perhaps Coke Lite – the poor man's Diet Coke – in disguise.

I'm sure the patterned Diet Coke can epidemic is the same all over London, but this is the first place I've seen it. The cans are branded with the tagline 'choose the look you love', which is aptly appropriate for the thing I really love about working around here: people's outfits.

Highlights this lunchtime include gold lame leggings (the shiny American Apparel ones) with a skirt, and my personal fave: a shirt, jacket, boots and tiny denim hotpants. And these were both on men…

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Human towers

As seen earlier in Barcelona. It's a Catalan tradition, real people, standing on top of each other.

So many questions: but who came up with this idea in the first place??

It looked amazing...but glad i was the one standing at the bottom with the cameraphone.

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Random tube poster #1

What the Winston Churchill is this advertising? It's an mysterious poster tease.

Friday, 12 September 2008

London through a lens, through a lens

The Getty Images gallery is currently running a photography exhibition – Time Out’s ‘London through a lens.’

It’s an eclectic collection of black and white images spanning the past 100 years in the city, from a time before everyone had a camera phone. The exhibition offers a portrait of the variety and diversity of life in London – from an photo of huntsmen and their hounds at an eerily empty early 1900’s Oxford Circus (virtually unrecognisable with only one car, a handful of people, and no H&M), to children rushing to a sweet shop following the end of food rations in post-war, 1950’s Acton, to an image of the violence and hostility of the poll tax riots in Leicester Square in 1990.

You can see some of the images on the BBC London website here. The gallery is on Eastcastle Street near Oxford Circus: no huntsmen were spotted there today, however.

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Anti-Green is in Vogue

The October issue of Vogue comes with a giant poster to advertise Marks and Spencer’s new range of autumn clothes. It is huge - about eight times A4 size. In between the photos of Lily Cole strutting about the countryside in tweed and cardigans, it also talks about M&S’s Plan A, which is its five year environmental plan to tackle ‘challenges facing our planet’ including raising awareness of eco issues and reducing carbon emissions.

So…a paper poster to talk about how ‘green’ the company is.

How can this have possibly seemed like a good idea?

It goes on to boast about all the planet-friendly things M&S has done so far including planting 20,000 tress to offset carbon emissions. But how many trees had to be cut down to create thousands of copies of this poster, which hardly anyone will read before throwing away? And how much carbon was wasted in producing it and transporting it? Shocking.

Monday, 8 September 2008

It's the end of the word as we know it...?

So the world may or may not be ending on Wednesday, depending on if you’re a glass half-full or half-empty sort of person.

This is the day that CERN, the nuclear research organisation, will switch on its Large Hadron Collider, which could either be the start of an amazing science experience to discover the origins of life, or the end of the Earth as we’re all sucked into a big black hole. As a former English Lit student who works in PR, I’ll leave it to someone qualified in physics to explain the ‘science bit’ better here.

In recent years the Nostradamus prophesises and the Bible Code have also predicted the end of the world, both of which turned out to be inaccurate and served no other purpose than creating a minor media flutter and selling some books - luckily for humankind.

Whatever the scientific theory behind the CERN experiment, it seems like there is a doom-prophesy scare like this every couple of years, as if someone decides we’re too comfortable being happy to be alive and need shaking up a bit. But for the CERN scientists, if it all does go wrong, at least there will be no-one around to remove their funding.

In other news, Andy Murray is through to the final of the US Tennis Open and will play Federer this evening. Murray recently signed up to Twitter, and microblogged last night after beating Nadal that he was ‘glad to get the job done’. Fingers crossed for him tonight – and according to some people, fingers crossed for the rest of us too, who may either have the rest of our lives or only until Wednesday to reflect on the outcome of his match. As a glass half-full person, I’m gunning for the former.

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Say hello to the 'Twiller'

New York Times author microblogs thriller book via Twitter, the ‘Twiller’. One-off social experiment, or death of the novel as we know it…..?

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

The world is your Oyster card

As someone who grew up in the country, I love living in London. I’m a big fan of all the advantages that this brings (like living right next to shops, restaurants, or a Hot Bikram Yoga Studio). I’m even like things other Londoners detest – like public transport – as to me it’s an easy way to get home after a night out, when growing up the only choice was to ring my mum to come pick me up.

One thing that does drive me crazy about London and public transport is slow people - my pet hate is people standing in front of the tube ticket gate slowly rifling through bags for misplaced Oyster cards, when there’s a queue of people behind them.

However, this could be thing of the past according to an article on The Guardian Online yesterday about the successful completion of a trial by 02 and TFL to turn mobile phones into Oyster-equipped ‘mobile e-wallets’. 500 testers spent six months using a specially modified phone handset, to make tube journeys and as a bank card to pay for small items under £10. It’s by no means a new idea – similar types of schemes have been implemented successfully over the past few years in other countries such as Japan.

The mobile technology behind the UK trial is near field communications – which can also be applied for other uses such as mobile gig ticketing, or to create electronic house keys out of your phone (so you really could ring your keys if you lose them).

As it’s likely that mobile travel cards will be rolled out to all users in the next few years, I’m not sure what the security implications for having this type of information on your phone are - especially in light of the recent Oyster card bug and outage. And considering how long it takes to replace a handset, how do you get to work if you lose your phone?

In theory though, the TFL/02 trial sounds like a positive and convenient use of technology, and I like the sound of something that requires me to carry less stuff around in my bag. Plus, anything that could help to speed up slow people on the tube can only be a good thing.

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

The Human Race

I took part in the Nike Human Race on Sunday – the annual Nike 10k run, but this year with a twist. People in 26 different cities ran on the same day, with the aim of competing to find the winning city with the quickest average race finishing time.

The London race started on rainy Sunday evening in Wembley Stadium, with all 20,000 participants in red t-shirts (which matched the seats, and co-incidentally my hair). There were four waves of runners – yay wave 3! – and a random but fun pre-run concert with Pendulum and Moby.

A couple of techy things I really liked about the race:
* Each runner was given a chip which measured times at start, finish and various points throughout the course. This information was constantly fed back to big screens around Wembley to show London’s overall position versus the other competing countries. London finished fifth overall, ahead of France and Australia
* Receiving a congratulatory text immediately after the race with my time and average speed per kilometre - I finished in 1.07.01
* Being able to log in to the website to see my pace across the course, position overall (135668th – go me!) and via city (11320th in London)

I’m not the world’s biggest fan of exercise (apart from Wii Fit, which I LOVE, because it tricks you into thinking exercise is fun – and where else can you run round a park with ‘celebrities’?) but despite the pouring rain, hilly track, and the ‘scenic route’ round the back of Tesco car park, I really enjoyed it. Although judging from my muscle-ache, it might take me a whole year to recover in time for the next one…

The official post-race Facebook group is here, with personal photos and video clips participants have uploaded.

Thursday, 28 August 2008

On holiday...

Here's me and nick on holiday in our own city. Ok, so basically we're in the pub, but it is a pub neither of us have been in before, which is a rest in itself we think. Cheers!

Friday, 22 August 2008

Ben nevis not where i am right now, but it's where nick is. Or was, untill he realised prada shoes were less than ideal for climbing up a mountain. I, on the other hand, am at the bus stop, waiting for a bus to shoreditch. As illustrated by the photo.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

View from the afternoon

Photos are here

Thursday, 14 August 2008

The weather in balham today

About an hour ago there was torrential this!

Sunday, 10 August 2008

The writing on the wall

Favella chic, in shoreditch, is where we ended up on friday night. It was pretty cool (apart from being too packed, and massive bar queues) but i was loving the the toilets.

Saturday, 9 August 2008

Ironic, considering the weather today

I took this photo on the one day this summer when it wasn't raining...look, people are wearing hot weather clothes and everything.

Thursday, 7 August 2008

Shhh...PR Week wispas

I'm in PR Week today, talking about the Cadbury's Wispa campaign. Full version (including the final line they missed off) below:

Children of the 80s rejoiced this week at the permanent return of Cadbury's Wispas thanks to an "independent" fan campaign on a number of social networks. This shows how brands can and should harness public support by tapping into nostalgia and helping to generate "talkability" via digital media.
Chinese Wispas in cyberspace questioning the extent of the involvement or otherwise of the brand (and their agency) could be deemed churlish. But as a rule, when using social media, brands should be transparent to avoid backlash by cynical consumers. However, credit where credit's due – the sheer numbers involved with the campaign as it progressed reflects genuine engagement with the product.
PR-wise, it might smell fishy...but it sure tastes sweet!

Tuesday, 5 August 2008