Why Am I Ironing My Dress in a Cupboard? - September 3rd 2013

I am back at City Gateway’s conference this morning for a repeat of yesterday’s ‘Building Effective Teams’ session – I’m pleased to see the room is packed, 70 yesterday – quite a few more than that today.  Great response from everyone – I’ve really enjoyed being part of the conference and working with such passionate people.

This afternoon I’m being interviewed by Time Out for their Ministructures series and have to be photographed holding artist Lucy Sparrow’s model of the Gherkin. All very exciting. My dress is the problem, it’s my current favourite so wore it to the conference yesterday – can’t wear it again but have washed it and bring it in a bag (pressed but still slightly damp). Despite my efforts to hold it upright on the rush hour tube I get it out to discover it looks a crumpled rag. Help! I decide the solution is Jeeves one-hour cleaning/pressing service – arrive at Leadenhall Market and find they have closed – I’m horrified! How can they do this to me (well, alright I never did use it having a lovely family run drycleaners in SE3) but even so! Next I try M&S, maybe I can buy the dress again  (I wasn’t really planning to do the model trick of wearing it for the photo shoot and taking it back I promise) – but no chance, it was on the cover of their autumn mag and sold out in minutes. (Serves me right – I was planning to do the model trick). On my way to the Gherkin, despairing that I am going to be photographed in the non-suitable-for-photoshoot outfit I have on, I remembering I think I have seen the Searcys staff iron the tablecloths in the Private Dining Rooms. I’m right, I have – but they iron them on the tables, all of which are currently being used by people fine dining. I am saved by Searcys Club Concierge Yana who points out that there is probably just space in the coat cupboard to lay a tablecloth on the floor and iron my dress. There is (just). I do it. I wear it.

I later send Flo Wales-Bonner’s interview to Yana, she emails a congratulations back and then emails again ‘p.s nice dress.’


Ben Rowe's picture of me holding Lucy Sparrow's Mini Gherkin, part of her Ministructures series featured in Time Out. 

Ben Rowe's picture of me holding Lucy Sparrow's Mini Gherkin, part of her Ministructures series featured in Time Out. 

The CEO is Riveted and an Industrial Candy Floss Maker - September 2nd

Today is the first of two days that I am speaking at City Gateway’s conference to kick off their academic year. CEO Eddie Stride opens the day with a moving speech about his ten years with the company and announces, to loud cheers, he will become a Dad in the spring. Ahead of my ‘Building Effective Teams’ session Eddie tells me he will only be staying for five minutes but I’m delighted to notice at the end he has stayed throughout – ‘I was riveted he said and just couldn’t leave’. Job done! Thanks to Aspire Leadership for asking me to lead the day.

Popped into One Aldwych later to see the wonderful Mark Tucker (F&B Director) and was distracted from conversation by staff passing by with elaborate stepped arrangements full of the most delicious looking sweets and sherbets, topped by chocolate eggs and delicate candy floss on sticks. “It’s part of our Charlie & The Chocolate Factory inspired Afternoon Teas” Mark tells me “They’re a big hit”. I’ve just seen the piece de resistance arrive, served with tiny sandwiches and exquisite blueberry brioche. I find it impossible to match the five star One Aldwych with the mini Argos candy-floss maker Mark tells the chefs used to make these beautiful pastel clouds when they first launched the teas (sorry Argos). Now though, soaring demand for the Scrumdiddlyumptious teas has seen Mark have an industrial candy floss maker installed! Now I’ve seen the tea I must see the musical!