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Just using this pic of me, faffing about @google last year in NYC, because I needed something to illustrate this little introduction.
A spate of new followers and some fascinating meetings have led me to commit these points to my feed; 1. My job is to cast social talent for brand campaigns 2. When I say casting (as opposed to connecting) - yes I’m making the comparison with how a casting director works for 🎥 and 📺 My clients are the brands - sticking with the above comparison then - the brands are the producers 4. And the social talent therefore are the actors 5. And it’s casting because for every campaign I like to think about not only who will the brand like, but who will the audience enjoy and how does the whole cast work as a whole 6. I’m not an agent - I don’t represent the talent 7. But I do nurture my talent relationships and I enjoy trying to understand from them (and their agents) where they want to work next. Eg let’s say a fashion blogger wants to move into interiors or a beauty blogger is now pregnant and so moving into family content 8. I’ve worked on lots of lovely projects for brands such as Miele, Warehouse, Oasis, B&Q 9. My prediction for 2019 is that more of the services brands (insurance, banks, mortgages, utilities) will look to social to bring their products to life 10. I’ve been called CJ all my life. Stands for Cathrine Jane. 💋
Rather than my #topnine most interactive, I’m talking about my overall top nine things I 💗
on here in 2018. 1) the social campaigns and strategy from @marksandspencerfashionpr have gone from strength to strength. Their casting is inclusive and consistent. If you don’t own one of their stripe down the side jumpsuits are you even on here? 2) Instagram users numbers swelled to 1Billion. Lots of network-y/mentor-y groups launched in response to all the fresh faces on here but my money is on @notaboutthekids and @antoniataylorpr being your go-to girls if you want to elevate your business. Their workshops offer hands on practical advice, not just inspirational chatter. 3) are we agreed that interiors broke Instagram this year? @_Lisa_dawson_ and @deecampling. launched a podcast together and held their first recoding at the @miele_gb showroom. I loved the mutually beneficial set up of this event; Miele hosting the girls with their absolutely delicious food and Lisa and Dee filling the showroom with their chatter and crowd of fans. 4) I predict that 2019 will see a wave of financial and service brands flock to Instagram for campaigns. 👏 to @scotfriendly for leading the way with this campaign with @vixmeldrew 5) I loved the way @superlativelylj storied from the #ORSsocial - felt like I was sat right next to her cribbing her notes! Lots of chat about what will be big in social next year; my fave tip was ‘people driving MSI will always do well’ MSI? Meaningful Social Interactions 6) converting success in store to social is no mean feat, in fact it takes a v particular person and Jo from @blackwhitedenim is just that 7) I loved all the hype and camaraderie that came with #worldcup2018 so was v happy to recruit talent for the @aball4all campaign especially to cast @domandink who is set for BIG things in 2019 8) small brand launch of the year goes to @mrsfroggyfletcher for celebrating her twin boys’ birthdays, having a daughter a month later and all the while launching @babybarebubbles 8) my personal highlight of the year; seeing #boardingboy graduate from prep and ready for senior school 💗
We are away for Christmas and my house is a building site so I don’t have the cosy festive scene to post.
And I’m well aware that this low budget vid of me in spin on a Sunday morning is not that interesting and let’s be honest slightly on the #smug side. But bear with.... In an attempt to stick to at least some basic Christmas traditions, I watched Love Actually last night and then trawled YouTube for interviews with Richard Curtis - I don’t care what RC is talking about, everything he says is wonderful. In amongst so many gems about writing and his inspirations and how @emmafreud made him rewrite Four Weddings 19 times until it was right and just exactly how he came up with wrote line in Notting Hill (“I’m just a girl”) he also said this; Love yourself, even if you think that 99% of what you’ve done is rubbish, 1% is brilliant. It makes me think about all those things we want to achieve, from long standing career goals to finding the perfect present or having just one harmonious afternoon with the family all happy and festive rather than harassed and falling out. I hate spin and I think I’m rubbish at it. But I go and I turn those wheels and that’s the bit I’m going to focus on. Try doing the same this Christmas, be more Curtis and Love Yourself actually.
Inspired by this beautiful piece from @rebecca_strickson_illustration commissioned by @hollytucker as part of her #campaignshopsmall I wonder if I can buy every single present from an independent this year?
I’m specifically looking for gifts for tricky teens (the teens themselves not so tricky 😉 but gifts for this age really are), my parents who really don’t need any more stuff but I want to treat them and then my tribe of sisters who love anything beauty/homewares. If you’ve got products or recommendations in these areas please tag and I’ll thoroughly enjoy shopping 🤗
Parents of babes and toddlers scroll along now.
Because you’re going to find what I’m saying sooooo annoying. But man I’m enjoying my little trip back to kids tea - bath - bed time whilst babysitting my nephews. All the white food, scrummy bits of left-over pizza or a spaghetti hoop. And I’ve remembered that letting kids eat in front of the TV makes me a hero. Their absolute joy at me just suggesting they throw all the toys in the bath and mummy must have got the routine wrong because the boys said it was TV after bath and not straight to bed 😉 Definitely all the fun on #henryandmiloadventures Now can someone have a go at parenting my teen and remind me why that’s such fun 🙄 And @mamakenw0 I promise I tidied up afterwards 😂
These brilliant tumblers are such a clever find.
Typical of my lovely friend Jo and her Wilmsow store @blackwhitedenim. Genuinely a great gift for those tricky types - they’re £32 and Jo is excellent on DMs so if you want a purchase, she’ll sort you out. Even better if you can get to her actual store which is a Mecca for the Cheshire set. As for me I am firmly team Rosé - which is set to be the cool new drink this Christmas. I’ll be on the @mirabeauwine. What do you think? Can Christmas be pink?
Is this going to be the #ChristmasAd of the year?
Will it make record sales for Elton and @johnlewisandpartners? Did it break social as it spread gloriously across the networks yesterday? I don’t know. But I just have to 👏🏼 @johnlewisandpartners and all involved (especially my sis in law @ronanejessica who cast it) for continuing to push the benchmark for excellence in their comms. Not only did they create a beautiful piece of film but to THEN add the BTS experience AND invite all the social crew down to promote that. Well - my Christmas just came early! Gorgeous and brilliant and clever. 💗
I thought about not sharing it so as to not even give it air space.
But then if you read it here means The Times don’t get their petty little subscription fee. My father in law sent me a msg yesterday to ask if I’d seen ‘the Deborah Ross article about influencers?’ I replied, having not seen it saying ‘ha, I’ll have a look. Always find it slightly amusing when trad media write about influencers because they’re usually wrong and/or bitter.’ But this is the worst I’ve ever seen. Shame on you Deborah Ross and The Times. And 👏 to @katie.kalanchoe and her excellent response on her blog.
I’ve had mixed feelings about the #10yearchallenge - I’ve seen the melting glacier and empathised with @doesmybumlook40’s fringe regrets and nodded emphatically to @cherryhealey’s post about age shaming.
There are two ways I can describe what I was up to 10 years ago; We were in our 3rd year of living in France and as you can see I was fluent enough to start driving lessons. We lived in a thriving fishing village, with beaches at either end of the v pretty port. We had a small but super close expat community - @maisondelaroche for one - and we all massively supported each other with the challenges of living abroad. The French wholeheartedly invited us into their lives - including the sacred Sunday family lunch. We ran the business from our beachside apartment with lots of can-do attitude, pre recession budgets and the marvel that was the recently launched Skype. #boardingboy was as bilingual as 4 year olds can be and I still credit his incredible eating habits to his maternelle. Ten years ago we were lonely in France. The much longed for sibling was not happening. I started driving lessons as something to keep me distracted. Business was trickling along - we lived a v simple life so money wasn’t a priority but it was too easy to coast. I had started to lose my drive and feeling a bit out of touch. With each visit to the 🇬🇧 it because harder to leave. And so - we came back. It was heartbreaking leaving - because of course we had loved our experience, but it was time.
It took about 5 rounds of persuasion to get the teen to take this photo and absolutely no way he was going to be in it.
We also had to do the briefest of poses because he’d only take 1 shot. Taken on Christmas Day 2018. Took another 9 days for him to get round to send me the picture, despite asking daily. Teen parenting - who’s got that down? Not us two, despite the smiles - although I do find smiling through it helps! Oh and the beach and a glass of fizz comes in handy too. 😉 I can also hugely recommend @nicolamorganauthor book #blamemybrain for some very clever insight into the actual science of what is going on inside a teenage brain. Helps when, for the life of you, you can’t understand why they don’t want to pose with you in your sparkly cossie and your Wham t-shirt on Christmas Day! ! 😂
You know when you read a book and you bore all your holiday mates about it? 🙄🤓 This has been me this week, but I’m not apologising because @crouchy’s autobiography has been an absolute joy.
How To Be A Footballer is full of witty and intelligent insights into the beautifully game and his whole chapter on Steven Gerrard is a real tear jerker. Can you all just imagine me nodding along with agreement when he describes how footballers and social media should mix? “You want real, a lightness of touch and the occasional hapless mistake.”
Who recognises these legs?
They’re more commonly seen clad in Lycra performing some incredible feat of strength or skateboarding next to the beaches on Australia. They belong to the body of an absolute warrior who lives and breathes the virtues of a healthy lifestyle. This is, of course, @shona_vertue on the loo, asking her tribe if they’re binners or flushers for a campaign with @fablittlebag. I cast this project last year, it actually took a long time fo find the perfect crew to talk about periods and the whole messy business of sanitary disposal. Shona, as it turned out was already a @fablittlebag user, so v well equipped to educate on how we just mustn’t be flushing and only, ever binning. I for one love this pic of Shona coz it’s the one pose of hers I can copy with ease 🤓
I know.
I know. The Daily Mail can infuriate with its content. But when just a few days ago The Times’ Deborah Ross slates the influencer industry in one breathtaking swipe, the Mail brings us this on @carolinehirons I just have to commend them. Unlike The Times, they’ve actually gone to the effort of understanding why Caroline is such a force to be reckoned with and explained how her business works. Who doesn’t love Caroline on here, I mean we all do right? I’m a huge huge fan and pretty proud that she once said she liked my sequin jacket - which I may have worn surreptitiously just for her 😉 There’s actually way more to Caroline’s story and why she is such a phenomenal success - and continues to break ground - but at least the Mail have scratched the surface and rather than just whine about it, have embraced her story and so for that 👏
Every morning I wake at 6am.
It's too early for me, especially since I don't have to get up for #boardingboy. I know I sld get another hour but then I reach under my pillow (yes that's where I keep it) and I do a merry dance from Insta 🔁 twitter 🔁 emails. This morning I was struck by @thestyleeditor post about authenticity being the new influence. Yeeeesss 💯. As someone who connects brands to talent increasingly I'm looking for people that really know what they're talking about and have an audience that listens. Less of the big follower numbers, more of the threads. I was about to make a stylised image of this authenticity quote but thought I should live it, rather than just say it. This is me, squinting coz I can't see the phone properly and worried I've wasted 2 hours of what should have been sleep by scrolling these squares.
Errrr spot the non-instagrammer who can’t just pull a normal pose for the #selfie?
Jesus CJ - what are you like?? My friends and fam will all say “well at least your eyes aren’t closed!” The reason I’m never in the pictures at these things is, not just because I don’t know how to pose (yes, really to you at the back who thinks I’m a show off), but also because as the ‘connector’ between brands and talent I don’t think I should get in the way. But if I’m never in the pictures - how will the Gram ever know what I’ve done. Because if it isn’t committed to the squares it never happened, right? So today that’s why I asked @tiatalula - the brightest star - if she would come and take some actual, proper, non 🤪 photos of me. And we did it and you’ll be seeing them shortly. Also managed to combine the day with the beauties that are @inpolife @ladyofthemanor77 and @spikey_mama and arranged #gift lunch for us all @stokepark. So I aced it on the work front, just need to work on my photo face. Watch this space
This is my accounts department paying an invoice 4 hours 28 mins after receiving an invoice.
We pride ourselves (not on just brilliant and creative casting and all that fun stuff) but on paying invoices as quickly as possible. For all of our campaigns we bill the client and talent invoice us and we pay. Straight away. Money money money. I know there’s some old fashioned rule about not talking about it because it’s #awkward but seriously not paying bills on time is not OK. Not acknowledging invoices and then being chased and saying ‘oh we’ve just processed that’ is not ok. 60, 90 day payment runs are not ok. Almost shaming people for chasing payment is not ok. Blaming your accounts department is not ok. I’m v grateful to @london_sl2 for running my accounts department so so brilliantly. I’m actually claiming this as the fastest ever paid invoice - can anyone beat it?
Had the most fascinating meeting today, thanks to a very clever piece of connecting from @notaboutthekids and @antoniataylorpr about future proofing.
I’m excited about casting talent for campaigns in 2019 that really scratch the surface of some bigger topics; climate change, healthcare, education. Talking of which I’m off to #boardingboy’s school (although let’s be honest and just call it #holiday/sports camp) to talk to the 6th form about their futures. I’m wearing my ripped jeans and Christmas jewels to try and make me look less ancient 🙄
My favourite line ever from the original is ‘Ready to face the enemy?’ What’s yours?
Here’s your chance to face the entire cast of the original Four Weddings - @emmafreud and her boyfriend are at it again and doing a bloody sequel for @comicrelief. There’s going to be another wedding and it’s going to be just glorious and you can be there. Prize draw to be at the actual filming. Link in my bio And whilst you’re here, who thinks Richard should be a permanent feature on Insta and do a sort of weekly ‘what Richard says’ type piece?
I’m not too proud to admit I’ve had an absolute girl crush on Anna @mother_pukka since....forever.
🤓 At first she got me with her witty banter about #parentingtheshitoutoflife and then, well....then she really starting pushing my buttons talking about #flexappeal I won’t even dare say I ‘cast’ Anna for this @oasisfashion event (November 2017), because truth is I sort of whispered it with a bit of hope 🙏🏼 and 🤞 Of course she accepted and arrived at the Oasis flagship to a packed room - because it’s not just me who thinks she’s wonderful. Anna asked me what she should talk about - this was 12 months ago - and although her book was just out, what Anna really wanted to get into was helping people work to a timetable that suits them. There is masses and masses and masses of eloquent, intelligent, head-nodding info about #flexappeal on @mother_pukka’s feed - anyone under a rock not following, go there now. In this particular clip, Anna is talking about how she made that decision to quit work after just saying ‘sorry’ to everyone; most of us can recognise that feeling, when in an attempt to do everything, you’re actually getting not a lot of it right. Now Anna is on a UK wide tour with @mcdonaldsuk offering amazing advice and insight on flexible working - if you get the chance to hear her speak, please go. You won’t be sorry.
For years I never admitted that my legal and finance department was in fact my husband.
It felt unprofessional somehow, and now I can’t even think why I would have thought that. Maybe when we started out (working together as opposed to being together) I didn’t have the confidence to admit my biz partner was also my life partner. We started our own thing back in 2005 and without realising it have been champions of #flexibleworking and breaking the mould of what a business looks like. We’ve never had an office, we’ve moved the business to France and back again, we’re happy to work on holidays but never on the afternoons #boardingboy has a match and bumper or difficult year I’ve learnt to just go with it. Anyway, back to Jimbo, for all those that have been on the receiving end of one of his v fair contracts or v speedy payments - to misquote my song of the year This Is Him 💋
Did the event even happen if you didn’t get a shot of the influencer doing a shot of the food?
This is @the_colour_file and this is my little #whatinotice about Martha list; • Martha is the first (and she won’t be the only) but the v first person to have written a whole book about the #shelfie • Martha is a journalist and like lots in her trade started to feel the impact of social and it worried her. Did she winge or complain about it? Nope she wholeheartedly joined in and used her skill to write a book on a rising social phenomenon • See the little knot to the side of her jumper - cute and cool way to cinch in (she’s happy to reveal she stole this from @doesmybumlook40) • Martha talks about #shelfies as a form of mindfulness and that really appeals to me and I guarantee this is going to be a huge topic for 2019 • Martha loved her food so much at the @miele_gb interiors dinner she took this photo to remember it forever
Fish bones.
That’s all the flesh taken off the fish. The bit you’d throw away. Deep fried and served on a plate. Partly wondering if we’re being served a portion of the Emperor’s New Clothes - but always keen to try something new - we went for it. Turns out it really is a delicacy and rather rare as you have to have absolutely the freshest bones. It was absolutely delicious - especially dipped in a bit of chilli ponzu. Marvellous @chisoulondon 👏🏼 Who fancies taking on the deep fried fish bone challenge - who’s coming with me next time?
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