Category Archives: Events

Duck Talk

Last night I was incredibly lucky to talk at the inaugural Creative Duck Event at The Hotel du Vin in Henley on Thames. The Creative Duck are a new collective whose aim is to bring together the creative community in & around Henley-on-Thames – a place where people can exchange ideas & learn together, with regular meet-ups and inspiring guest speakers.

I was asked to come along and give a talk on Demystifying Social Media and Using Social Platforms to Help Build Your Business Brand. Over the course of the one hour talk I discussed:

  1. Who I am and what Hello Henley is? Screen Shot 2017-06-13 at 11.12.39
  2. The reasons why your business should use Social Media

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3. Where to start – it can all be so confusing…

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4. My Top Three Tips

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5. I also discussed Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest in great detail – while looking at the dreaded Algorithm – plus hashtag use, shadow banning, business accounts on the more visual platforms, like Pinterest – and much much more!

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It was absolutely amazing working with the Creative Duck team (Sarah, Joey, Jo and Nicola), who I would now happily call my friends! And Senior BBC Journalist Sophie van Brugen who asked me some great questions and kept my nerves steady (thank you Sophie!). It was also amazing to chat to so many wonderful women (and a couple of gentlemen) about their businesses and their social publishing problems to date. I’ve arranged to meet up with a large handful of people for a consultation, which is super exciting. We also gave away a free week of social posting as part of a draw – the lucky winner was Carolina Ballon-Forrester, who owns Kittyrama. I can’t believe my luck, animal businesses at my forte!

You can watch the talk in its entirety on the Creative Duck Facebook Page – see the link below. References of note: the book – Profitable Media Marketing by Tim Cameron-Kitchen and a fantastic Facebook Ad webinar I was lucky enough to attend, given by Author, Blogger and Social Media Guru, Natasha Courtenay-Smith. You should look her up, she is excellent!

Aspen is available for Social Media Talks and Workshops – email



With wags and a woof.

We are super proud to announce that we will be looking after this year’s Henley’s Top Dog Competition in conjunction with The Henley Standard. This competition woofed its way onto Henley’s canine scene back in 2010.

This barkingly brilliant event sees Henley’s dog owners going to paw-to-paw to win the coveted title of Henley’s Top Dog.

Every year this competition launches a new theme – and invites guest judges on to the panel for the all important judging process. In the past we have seen Olympic themed entries (judged by Olympic Rower Debbie Flood) as well as blooming wonderful entries in conjunction with Henley in Bloom. We’ve met rescue hounds, pampered pooches, characterful cairns, performing pups and much much more. We even had local artist Clive Hemsley donate five amazing portraits to our winning dogs in 2015.

2017 will see a partnership with the Sue Ryder Care Hospice and their fantastic dog -friendly Forget Me Not walk on Saturday 16th September 2017.

Henley’s Top Dog is given a huge amount of support by The Henley Standard and Editor Simon Bradshaw. It also has an amazing partnership with Erik D’Arcy Donnelly who works as a vet at The Henley Veterinary Practice, and steps up every year as a judge. Guest Judges have included – Town Mayor Jenny Wood, Olympic Rower Debbie Flood, Radio DJ Mike Read, Henley in Bloom Chairwoman Kellie Hinton, Artist Clive Hemsley and MBE Alex Gregory.

Hello Henley has been working on building Henley’s Top Dog a wordpress site and we will be publishing on Facebook & Twitter throughout the Summer as the entries roll in! We are very excited to be working alongside The Henley Standard to help promote this wonderful event – which is now in it’s eighth year!

Visit the website or follow all the goings on via Facebook and Twitter.

Partybags & Gladrags

I love a do. Even more so when it is mine. I recently left the ’39 club’ and plunged head first into my forties. So far, I quite like it. Weirdly, the best thing about turning 40 was having a do. As you might have guessed, I really enjoy event organising. In fact, I have always been involved in the craft of social herding since my days of hosting tables and talking fashion at TV Awards ceremonies (Craig Revel Horwood loves a party btw). But there is a reason I am telling you all this. The key to a great event is to source local. I held my event in Jericho, in Oxford (I’m not cheating on Henley – I spent a great deal of my childhood in the City of Oxford). The beautiful birthday cake was from Barefoot in Jericho. The cheese was from the Branca Deli, again, in Jericho. The decorations were from Orange Frog… you get the gist. All local businesses. On this occasion, this was a private event. But as a rule – if you support the businesses around you – you will grow and continue to grow well into the future, together.

The Southern Women of Achievement Awards 2017

I was thrilled to have been nominated in the Business category for the Sue Ryder Southern Women of Achievement Awards 2017. The awards were set up to recognise and celebrate women of inspiration. Whether it be succeeding against the odds, acting as a driving force within their field, breaking down boundaries or supporting others. I was invited to attend the event with my partner, and while there we met some incredibly fascinating individuals. The winner in my category was a lady called Mary Flavelle, who has been of service to the business community for the last 20 years. Also of note in my category were fantastic photographer Kathryn Fell and entrepreneur Charlotte Cavanagh who owns ‘Time for Tea Vintage’.

I feel incredibly honoured to have been name-checked alongside some amazingly brave and successful women.

Local events of the spooky kind!

Sometimes the quality of your service just isn’t enough (although it is very important!). As a business owner I realised quite quickly you have to keep people interested. You have to capture their imagination and get the local community involved in events that help increase the profile of your business, which in turn increases the footfall and eventually increases your profit.

A good example of this was the Naughty Mutt Nice Halloween Dog Parade. It was a simple idea, which started with lots of tweets, and Facebook posts. As interest snowballed, I put out a Facebook Advert (at £1 a day for 7 days). I also created a Facebook Event, and spoke to The Henley Standard who created a Diary mention.

On the day, I didn’t really have any idea what the turn out would be (if I am honest). ‘We might get one ‘ghost’ dog in a pillowcase’ I thought. That would, of course, have been better than nothing. However, the reality was very, very different. I had captured the attention of the dog loving community. Come 5pm, on Halloween evening, I stood outside the shop. Trick or treat bags in hand. And slowly, but surely, they came. Everywhere you looked, in every direction, were families walking down the road with a ‘peculiar something’ at the end of a dog lead. Bride of Dogcular, a huge tarantula, a hula girl, pumpkins, ghosts, convicts – you name it, the dogs were dressed up as it.

In a brave moment two days before I had tipped off The Henley Standard (with a readership of 30,000), and The Henley Herald. But my brave move paid off, and along with the dogs came two journalists with cameras in hand.

People talked about the Naughty Mutt Nice Halloween Dog Parade for months afterwards, and we made several new customers from the publicity. The new owner of Naughty Mutt Nice intends to continue with this successful event – and Hello Henley will be there to help!

A spooky success! 

Here are the links to the local press features: