Special Occasions

Perception is deception…

What’s in a name?

“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet “said Shakespeare in Romeo and Juliet. But what really is in a name? Well in Wilmslow the difference between an apartment and a flat could start at £100k.

That’s the thing as I was once told “perception is deception” it was on the first proper date with my now husband. This always sounded peculiar to me but as I’ve got older this saying really has gained huge significance.

You can gain a lot of wisdom from speaking to people young, old, black, white any creed or religion, footballers, hairdressers etc. everyone has a piece of wisdom which is useful. That was why I loved working at Gusto in Alderley Edge and Knutsford.

East Cheshire Hospice Fundraiser. Credit: Slice of Pie Designs

Meeting and mixing with people from lots of different backgrounds gave me a significant insight into life. This was a time pre-recession (and before the smoking ban) where people were much happier and relaxed. I’m yet to find any significant data on the effects of e-cigarettes but anecdotally I was told that doctors are saying they’re 95% less damaging to your health than a cigarette.

When you walk the streets many people do smoke them but I suspect there is some reluctance to smoking them until the full facts are presented. We don’t want to be told that things are safe and further down the line find out that they’re not, we’ve been there before.

The government’s policy of raising taxes on cigarettes has worked as people have started to look for cheaper alternatives.  So back to Gusto;

When I worked as a Business Development Manager for Living Ventures I once turned George Osbourne away for a table. There was a massive queue of people waiting and there was physically no tables free anywhere. The way he approached me suggested that he was in a rush so I thought there was no point lying as he’d get more agitated than he already was.  It was just before the General Election and I’ll never forget a customer approached me afterwards and asked me;

Suzanne Neville dresses. Credit: Slice of Pie Designs

“Do you know who that is? It’s the future Chancellor of the Exchequer!”

I knew exactly who he was, that was my job to be well informed but that didn’t mean I could magic up a table. That’s the thing even though I was only on the face of it a host there was a lot of work going on behind the scenes to make things happen as Tim Bacon (former Living Ventures Managing Director) always used to say it’s the ‘swan theory’.  Tim was great at making celebrities feel special and he built his empire up from exactly that. I’ll never forget the time that the 50% sale was on and Wayne Rooney came in for a meal. He used a 50% voucher and people didn’t stop talking about it there was even an article in a national paper (we got sent some fan-mail from his biggest fan!) But why should he pay more when everyone else is paying half price?

Many restaurants have cottoned on to the same idea and in January everyone expects to eat half price. It used to be busier than Christmas which is insane when you think about it.

Nowadays, lots of restaurants allow dogs in but at this time Tim always said “no dogs allowed”. Funny really one day Roberto Mancini former Man City manager came in with his whole family including his family dog. I spoke to them and apologised that they wouldn’t be able to have a table but they refused to leave the dog outside and so I set up a giant table outside for them and put the outside heaters on. It was a cold evening in fact I think it was winter if I remember rightly.

 The whole family ate happily outside including the dog, who I did some lamb chops for. Hilarious really when you think about it. As Orange once said in their marketing campaign “It’s good to talk”. “A problem shared is a problem halved”.  I could rattle out hundreds of other clichés but they are true. It was nice to make people feel they could talk sometimes that's all we need to feel better.

When did we stop being so caring? The pressure we put ourselves under now to succeed is unbearable. You want to do better than the generation previous but there is a whole generation of young people that this country has failed. It’s time we got back to basics. Walking our children to school rather than rushing around in expensive cars congesting the roads. Tim always used to say if you’re running late pull over make a phone call and carry on your journey. That’s the thing there’s nothing wrong with being late sometimes, safety should always come first.

I read in the Guardian on Friday that “The NHS prescribed a record number of antidepressants last year, fuelling an upward trend that has seen the number of pills given to patients more than double over the past decade” (Guardian, Friday 30 June 2017). The headline was “Antidepressant prescriptions on NHS at a record high” the whole country is stressed out and looking for someone to blame. Minimum wage staff having to deal with an irate customer who forgot to bring a carrier bag. I was told by a member of staff at a national supermarket that a woman left her entire weekly shop because she was so annoyed she had to pay for her carrier bags. It feels as though the whole country is angry and agitated but who do you blame?

This is when pack mentality kicks in and you pick someone different to yourself of course. It’s no good blaming one of your own kind that would be far too difficult. By blaming someone else we have failed to embrace our multi-culturalism in this country. People always thought I was the host “the hostess with the most-ess" but what they called me didn’t matter so long as I got the job done.

If you want to talk about your Business Development opportunities feel free to get in touch 01625 533102.



Wedding April 10th 2012

As Icon Marketing Communications' company ethos is ‘skilful, affordable and approachable’ I thought I’d share a bit about me. I love to organise events there’s something quite rewarding about bringing together various elements for a special occasion. I’ve previously worked on car launches, birthdays, restaurant openings and charity events. Here’s a little bit about the biggest event of my life…

I met my husband in a bar in my home village of Alderley Edge. I was out with the girls having a great time and he was out with a group of friends/colleagues. I accidentally knocked a full tray of drinks over him (they were his drinks). It was one of the most embarrassing things I’ve ever done. As his back was turned I did what any self-respecting woman would do and denied all knowledge.

Unfortunately, or should I say fortunately the bartender knew me and called me out for it. It’s quite an unconventional way to meet someone but we got chatting. We were stood underneath a stag light fitting (the reason that Icon’s logo is a stag’s head). He later told me he was trying to find a way to strike up a conversation with me well I certainly broke the ice and a few glasses if I remember rightly!

We started dating and found we got on so well. No arguments ever, just a lot of fun times. He proposed to me just before my 30th birthday I couldn’t have been happier. We set about planning our wedding. My idea was to get married outside but where in the UK could we guarantee good weather? We decided to get married in South Africa at Belvidere Manor  a beautiful hotel in the tiny village of Knysna. South Africa is a stunning country the food is fresh, the roads are relatively quiet there are amazing safari parks and there are exceptional vineyards to visit. We set about making our plans which was surprisingly straightforward considering we were organising it from the UK (South Africa is part of the British Commonwealth).

Credit: Motion Pixel Weddings

We invited all our friends and family but due to the distance we ended up with a small guest list of just 16. We hired a lodge for everyone to stay in and had two days of chilling out before the wedding day and enjoyed a traditional ‘Braii’ (South African BBQ) on the first night. On those two days it rained non-stop, quite unusual for SA *insert joke about the weather following us from Manchester*. But on the day of the wedding the Sun shone so brightly. We arranged to have a traditional African choir to sing and I rewrote a poem from Sex and The City to fit with how we met. It was an exceptional day.  

Wedding Poem - SATC

 I often think about the traditional African choir we had singing at our wedding. One of the singers was due to get married the next day. I wonder what her wedding day was like? I would have loved to see it.  If you have a special occasion coming up and need some help feel free to get in touch kiesha@iconmarketingcommunications.co.uk or 01625 533102.