Everything’s ROSIE

I love my Galaxy Note II. I’m sitting on my hotel bed with my netbook tethered to the phone as a portable wifi hotspot and it took precisely 2 seconds to set up.

Anyway tomorrow is the LGComms Scottish Academy and I’m on a panel along with Leah Lockhart and Stewart Argo. Leah will be talking about her unusual career route and Stuart will be talking about Edinburgh City Council’s graduate programme. I’ll be talking about the LGComms Future Leaders programme which I took part in last year. It was the first year of the programme and I have found it invaluable both personally and for the team. The networking has been great and I have a great mentor in David Holdstock. In our one-to-one sessions he asked me some questions that really got me thinking about what I’m aiming for and what I want to get out of a career in comms. Not only do I have a great mentor but I’d like to think I have a friend I can call for advice or even just to go out for a drink with when I’m down in London.

The networking on the programme has also been invaluable. I have picked the brains of Neil Wholley at Westminster Council more than once and he’s shared ideas and research that will hopefully change some of the ways we do some things in the team and add value to the things we already do well.

On the peer review day I spent time working with Dan Slee and Darren Caveney at Walsall Council and hopefully they learned as much from me as I did them. The other working project we did on the programme was a campaign for Blackpool Council where the cohort was split into two teams to go head-to-head Apprentice-style. Our team didn’t win but it was interesting to see how other people work.

All in all I’d recommend the programme for anyone who wants to push themselves and think a bit further than press releases, posters and leaflets. The war cry from last year’s LGComms Academy in Birmingham was that comms is science not art and I agree wholeheartedly. It’s all about research, objectives, strategy, implementation and evaluation – ROSIE.

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So I’m just back from the pre-conference dinner which was at The Bothy in Perth – a fabulous surroundings, wonderful food and great company, although we did lower the tone by comparing Scots swearing with American – the outcome was the Scots do it better!

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There was also talk about last year’s epic dinner party game Cards Against Humanity which had us rolling about when we played it. It’s free to download but I have to warn you it’s completely inappropriate, irreverent and non-PC. Play it if you dare.

The glass ceiling in The Bothy's private dining room

The glass ceiling in The Bothy’s private dining room

Today I have learned:

  • the Glasgow to Inverness train has no sockets for charging phones
  • when really comfy shoes become uncomfortable it’s time to buy new ones
  • don’t go on to the pub when you have a presentation to prepare for the next day, even if you’re only on for five minutes

Today’s recipe

Rhubarb cupcakes

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Ingredients

For the cupcakes

300g rhubarb, chopped

3 tbsp caster sugar

another 200g caster sugar

2 eggs, beaten,

200mls milk

100g butter,  melted

300g plain flour

1tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

Demerara sugar to top

For the frosting

250g icing sugar

80g butter at room temp

the syrup from the rhubarb

Method:

Cakes – Heat the oven to 200C/Gas 6. line a 12-hole muffin tray with cases.

Toss the rhubarb with the 3tbsp caster sugar and bake for 10 minutes till just tender. Drain well but reserve the syrup.

Mix the flour, 200g caster sugar, baking powder and cinnamon in a bowl. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry, along with the rhubarb. Don’t worry about lumps – it shouldn’t be completely smooth. Divide into the muffin cases and sprinkle the tops with Demerara. Bake for 25-30 minutes till risen and golden then allow to cool before frosting.

Frosting – Put the icing sugar, butter and 25mls syrup into a bowl. Mix with an electric hand mixer, adding more syrup as you need it to get it to the right consistency. Either pipe onto the cakes or spread on with a knife. Devour!

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