Behind the Scenes of the BBC (The Archers, BBC Breakfast and BBC Radio 5 Live)

The new iPhone 7 has landed and thank heavens I had my (not new) iPhone on Sunday night because without it I wouldn’t have been able to video, photograph, tweet and navigate my way around Broadcasting House in an evening where I was listening live to The Archers down the pub with Dame Jenni Murray from Woman’s Hour for BBC Breakfast. Then me, Takbir and Ava went up to the studios to talk to Emma Barnett on BBC Radio 5 Live on the top news story of the week for The 5 Live Hit List. Amy x

BBC BREAKFAST

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It was surreal and fabulous in be listening to the radio in the company of other Archers Fans in a cosy pub round the corner from BBC Broadcasting House. As well as me, Takbir and Ava there was Dame Jenny Murri (Woman’s Hour), Claire Cohen (The Telegraph), Lucy Freeman (Radio 4). Polly Neate (Woman’s Aid) and other fans including Sandra Paul, Ursula Knight, Mike Jones and Tom Middlehurst and young listener Annie.

the jury

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We knew all along that Helen was innocent of course but it was rather fun and at times nail-biting to be giving our verdict on The Archers jurors which included Dame Eileen Atkins, Catherine Tate, Nigel Havers, Aimee-Ffion Edwards, Cerith Flinn, Tam Williams and Graham Seed who was formerly Nigel Pargetter in the long running radio soap.

FINAL EPISODE OF tHE ARCHERS TRIAL WEEK

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When we heard Rob Titchener talk to Helen at the end of the episode we all jumped. This is what an Archers fan’s face looks like when they hear his insidious tones. It was a fantastic experience, I hope I get to listen with other fans down the pub again. The hour-long special really kept us on the edge of our seats hoping that Helen would finally be set free.

DR WHO MAGIC AT BROADCASTING HOUSE

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We then raced round the corner for my radio interview at the BBC. Ava skipped into the building (she’s been there before for my interview with Harriet Scott on being a working mum on BBC Radio London) but back then she slept through it in the buggy. Now she was eager to enjoy the sights of the Beeb especially the Tardis and Darlek from Dr Who (she does love that show).

INTERVIEW ON IPHONE 7 AND APPLE BRAND ON RADIO 5 LIVE

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5 LIVE HIT LIST INTERVIEW

You can listen to the interview on the 5 Live Hit List on BBC iPlayer Radio with Emma Barnett, Elinor Mills (Editor The Sunday Times) and author and Wordsby Brand Consultant Amy Beeson. But here’s the highlights. (From 1 hour 46 minutes into the show).

Emma Barnett presents 5 Live’s rundown of the top 30 news, politics, sport and showbiz stories of the week that are making the biggest impact across social media and online. The No. 1 Story of the week shared online was the iPhone 7.

EMMA: It’s the iPhone 7 of course! The latest version was launched this week in San Francisco with the company’s decision to ditch the headphones and socket. Apple says the move was motivated by courage which has brought mixed reactions from many former iPhone fans…Whether you love it or hate it Apple is now arguably the biggest company in the world. The launch of a new iPhone is a major global event but what is it about the company that has given it an almost cultlike following. Elinor Mills is still with me and Amy Beeson who is a brand consultant and author who has been watching the launch for us this week and has more on the most expensive iPhone to date. So, Amy, wireless headphones was it a brave decision or a way to make more money?

AMY: It’s a really tricky question. When I heard about the socket and the headphones I immediately thought not again. I’m going to have to go out and buy all new accessories. My initial reaction was quite a negative reaction. Using  a word like “courage” for this move, as a writer was maybe not the word I would have chosen. I went on watched the actual ad and I remembered the guys and gals who developed it in San Francisco really hold the development of seamless technology in their core brand values. So, on the one hand do we need it? On the other hand, as a brand having seamless technology is the next evolutionary step of the iPhone. It is at such a premium price but Apple is not known as a cheap product.

EMMA: It’s not, it’s a luxury product.  Elinor Mills, when you’re looking at something like this coming out, it’s never on a Sunday these launches. It’s kinda not like any other tech launch is it?

ELINOR: I think it’s fascinating that it’s top of the list and we were all discussing in conference last week that we were going to have something on the iPhone 7 because we know everyone is interested. We know that’s because so many of us spend so much of our lives on these, it’s almost we spend more time with them than we do with our children and anything else, so I think people are very obsessive. On the headphone front I think it’s a disaster. The only way I can find my white headphones in my bag is by pulling the wires. Just two little tiny bits of plastic that sit in my ear I think I would lose them the whole time.

EMMA: You get can big headphones like we’re wearing too and they’ll be wireless.

ELINOR: I also think it’s weird in a brand way because the white headphones was so iconic it was in all their adverts. You’d have people in black with the white wire symbolising the iPod so I think that’s interesting because it maybe wireless technology but the wire they made a real fetish about.

EMMA: A big part of the Apple launches, Amy, are what Tim Cook the CEO has to say. It used to be Steve Jobs. What they seem like is important and him in a car with James Corden doing a bit of Carpool Karaoke to enter the stage. There has been criticism that since Steve Jobs passed away the brand has lost some it’s sheen. Where do you stand on that?

AMY: That’s very true. Where a brand is synonymous with a personality, like Virgin and Richard Branson, it definitely does some damage to the value of that brand. But Apple has never really strayed away from their core brand values that came with Think Different in 1997. Next year it’ll be 20 years since Steve Jobs launched that campaign and it set the bar for what brand is.

ELINOR: I think the problem is though that Apple haven’t really come up with anything new really since Steve Jobs went. He had already got in train the iPhone, iPods were a big success but you could argue that Samsung or those kind of people are doing more innovative stuff.

AMY: I think that’s because Apple have never been about new products, they’re reinventive. So, they’ve always taken someone else’s product and taken it to another level. They weren’t the first people to do MP3s but followed up with the iPod. They put the “I” into that technology, they make it their own and it’s very intuitive technology.

EMMA: There are conspiracy theories. I remember when I used to be a tech correspondent and Steve Jobs passed away there was this whole thing that he had left years of prototypes, that he had left years of what he wanted to come. So, do you think there’s a delay or do you think there’s nothing left in the tank?

ELINOR: I think they’ve run out.

EMMA: You think they have? Amy?

AMY: It’s really tricky. Are you a custodian of that brand or are you leading that brand? And which is worse and which is better? I really don’t know. Steve Jobs is an impossible person to follow, I wouldn’t want to have to do that.

EMMA: You wouldn’t want to have to do that? Now, how do you think people think about Apple apart from expensive?

AMY: Apple really has almost this rock star quality. When they release something like the iPhone 7 it made me think it almost has all the hype around it like Adele’s new album coming out. There’s all the build up towards it, it gets released and they’ll be people queuing up around the block to get one. I know for a fact from a branding point of view they look at music a lot in development. So, not only do we access music through our iPhones as a brand they really draw from music marketing.

ELINOR: I just wonder if the sheen’s coming off a bit? Because the products are really quite cool because Jobs had done them before he went but I don’t think they’ve really come up with anything new and a bit of wireless headphone isn’t really going to cut it. Where’s the new thing? Where’s the new iPad. His was all about creativity and design and giving us objects that we didn’t even know we wanted that would transform our lives in the way that we used technology. I don’t think they’ve had a game changer like that for a long time.

EMMA: The watch was meant to be a big moment wasn’t it?

ELINOR: That was a dud.

EMMA: I don’t see many people wearing them – it’s an anecdotal view. Technology is often very difficult to get right, we saw with Google Glass, somebody wearing something on their face as a glasses wearer that was never going to work out for me. Quick line on that Amy, the double lens camera does that feed into the culture of innovation at all?

AMY: It very key in how people want to use their iPhones. I don’t know how different it is, but in the way the iPhone has become integral in business and personal life it’s definitely going to make things better for them.

EMMA: Definitely going to make things better. Amy Beeson thank you very much for that. Elinor Mills as always a pleasure. That’s it from the 5 Live Hit List tonight.

END. You can listen to the interview 5 Live Hit List on BBC iPlayer Radio

AMY BEESON

Amy Beeson runs Wordsby Communications and has a successful writing partnership with her mum Sarah Beeson MBE. Their new book Our Country Nurse is set in a country village in 1975 and is bursting with stories of mums journeys during pregnancy and motherhood.

Is Mumpreneur a dirty word? Five pearls of wisdom for mums who want to run a business from home

Over the weekend I was featured in an article in The Telegraph on the ‘Rise of the Mumpreneur.’ Here’s what I had to say:

‘Childcare is a huge expense, but setting up a business is a struggle, too’

Amy Beeson, 32, from west London, is mother to two-year-old Ava. After leaving her job in communications for maternity leave in 2011, she decided to spend her time at home co-writing a book with her mother [Sarah Beeson MBE].

It wasn’t straightforward: before the book, The New Arrival, was picked up by a publishing agency [HarperCollins], she had to return to work. Only now has she decided to stay at home working full-time for her business, Wordsby Communications. “Working from home and becoming your own boss is empowering but it can be financially difficult,” she said. “While going to work and paying for childcare is a huge expense, starting up your own business from home means you are likely to struggle financially to begin with as well, so it is important that mothers enjoy the business they are starting up and are able to be adaptable.”’

Telegraph MumrepeurWho am I?

Six months after returning to work from maternity leave I waved goodbye to my full-time Communications Civil Service job after getting a three book deal with HarperCollins to co-write two memoirs and a parenting book with my mum, Sarah Beeson. I started up Wordsby Communications at the beginning of 2013 which provides communications, design, writing and branding services. Our first memoir ‘The New Arrival’ is a top-selling book and tells the heart-warming story of a trainee nurse in 1970s London. Working from home gives me the flexibility to do a job I love and take care of our Little One.

So, some days I’m doing what Reviewers have called “beautifully written and moving memoir” and others I’m developing brand language for Kali Theatre Company or a new brand for Notting Hill Vets. Life as my own boss is certainly never dull. It’s full of highs and lows but it feels like I am living my life.

Mumpreneur?

The label “Mumpreneur” causes ontroversy. The first time I had it applied to me was when I was asked to tell My Mum Story by Pippa Best at Story of Mum, she told me it was great to have a Mumpreneur’s story. I thought that’s not who I am. Yes, I’m a mum but I just work freelance and run a small Creative Communications business Wordsby. I’m hardly Alan Sugar or Richard Branson material.

To some “Mumpreneur” is a dirty word but for me in a world of hashtags I now see it as a tool. Because in social media words are tools. Find the right word and it will open up your digital world to networks and communities, fans, friends, peers and clients; and if you work from home it’s a lifeline.

The hashtags I most often use are #Freelance #Copywriter #London but the support and opportunities I’ve discovered by connecting with other women (often mums) on twitter constantly amazes me. When we have our #TheNewArrival #Twitterparty and #Quiz I just love the community of readers who gather together – it makes writing and communications a two-way street and that’s so much more rewarding than broadcast media. #Mumpreneur is just a tool to make connections in a world filled with buzz.

Here are my five Top Tips for mums who want to be their own boss and look after young children.

1. If you don’t value yourself no-one else will.

A lot of people out there want something for nothing. Know what you’re worth and be confident and clear about what you are offering. I regularly trade services with other mums in business where we are each getting something out of it, but don’t let people pick your brains for the price of a coffee.

2. You can’t do everything.

I bring writing skills, creativity, energy and serious graft to any project. When you run your own business time is money and for me doing my own accounts is a false economy. I use an e-accountancy service called Crunch meaning I don’t waste those precious working hours trying to work out my own tax.

3. Be realistic about what you can achieve in a day.

Most mums could run military operations they’re so organised. Flexibility, reacting positively and proactively to change and planning ahead – no problem! Transfer those skills to your business and you’ve got a winning formula. But most women are very hard on themselves – we put enormous pressure on ourselves to be great at work, as a mum, as a partner, to be a domestic goddess and look well-groomed and in control. If you can achieve 2-3 of these things in one day – you’re a superstar!

4. Do something you love.

Running your own business means working whenever and wherever you can. To find the energy to do that, your business needs to be something you love doing. It’s unlikely you’re going to strike it rich straight away and there will be times when it’s nail-biting, that’s why it’s got to be something you really want to do.

5. Be kind to yourself

Getting a little R&R for yourself is usually the toughest challenge for any mum but it’s essential. Your children and your business depend on your well-being, so be a good boss and give yourself a break, whether that’s going to the gym, a movie or the night-off from dinner and bedtime. It’s amazing the boost just having an hour or two to yourself can give you.

London Writer and Communications Strategist would like to meet…

  • New Clients. To work on copy, creative content, brand development and communications.
  • Account Manager. I would love to meet another “Mumpreneur” who would like to be her own boss and work with me to win new business and manage client relationships and projects.

Email amyibeeson@gmail.com

 

Finally here…The New Arrival publication day charity book event photos

Boglarka Apostolne Haui, Sarah Beeson and Violetta Finta enjoy the party

Boglarka Apostolne Haui, Sarah Beeson and Violetta Finta enjoy the party

Sarah and Amy Beeson would like to thank all the lovely people who turned up at our charity book launch event on publication day of The New Arrival (27 March 2014). The Star Cafe at St Andrew’s Church is a venue very much at the heart of this West London Community. Guests ticket money was entirely donated to the Homeless Project at the church and we raised £200. Thank you so much to everyone who came.

New Arrival book launch at Baron's CourtQuestions to Sarah Beeson MBE about her memoir were expertly chaired by former Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons. Sylvia Heal who summed up the young Nurse Sarah Hill in the book as; “a very determined young lady who at the age of 17 knows she wants to be a nurse and she wants to train in a hospital in Hackney East London. Her middle class parents didn’t approve of either of her decisions, so that was her first battle. Her story shows how supportive and valuable womens friendship is. From her early days as a student nurse, throughout her working and family life that solidarity has been a constant thread. Her nursing career politicised her making her aware of the impact on health of peoples social and housing conditions, the importance of employment rights and womens lib. Sarah works hard but also enjoys trying the latest Biba fashions, having boyfriends and generally having fun.  A very enjoyable read that will appeal to many women.”

New Arrival book launch at Baron's Court

Sarah Beeson MBE and Sylvia Heal

The Revrend Lesley Belinda who is the Curate at St Andrew’s said they were; “Delighted to host the launch of this amazing book, and very grateful for Sarah and Amy’s generous support of our homeless project, helping us to provide hot 3-course lunches for up to 100 homeless men and women every Saturday.”

New Arrival book launch at Baron's Court

The Revrend Lesley Bilinda

Amy Beeson who co-wrote The New Arrival with her mum read a couple of extracts to give everyone a taster. She said; “It’s a bit nerve-wracking when you have friends in the audience. I much prefer reading to a room full of strangers, but I think everyone enjoyed it – they laughed in all the right places.

New Arrival book launch at Baron's Court

Amy Beeson

Kelly Henderson the Children’s Advocate at St Andrew’s said; “A charming evening celebrating The New Arrival with two remarkable women, Sarah and her daughter Amy.

New Arrival book launch at Baron's Court

Kelly Henderson

The New Arrival is out now and available in paperback and as an ebook. Find out about the latest deals and upcoming book events.

New Arrival book launch at Baron's Court

Sylvia Heal, Amy Beeson and daughter Ava

To work or be at home? Talking motherhood with Harriet Scott on BBC London 94.9

I was very excited to be asked to join Radio DJ Harriet Scott and Olympic Gold Medalist Anna Watkins on BBC London 96.4 to talk about going back to work after having a baby. In truth, I was slightly star struck to chat feeding, sleeping and shopping with an Olympian and her lovely baby William in the Green Room at Broadcasting House while a very obliging Ava slept in her buggy because I didn’t have any childcare.

You can Listen Again to the interview and here are a few of the highlights from what I had to say on my working life after having a baby.

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“I’d changed as person during maternity leave…”

I was due to go back to work when my daughter was a year old. I did go back to work but I only stayed in my job in the Civil Service for six months because I definitely felt that I’d changed as person during maternity leave in what I wanted from work and what I wanted from family life. If anything I think I was a bit braver. I’ve always written but before I had a baby I needed the cushion of having that monthly paycheque.

“We didn’t get the book deal offer until three days after I handed in my notice.”

It was a real gamble leaving work. During my maternity leave I wrote a baby book with my mum [Sarah Beeson MBE], it’s a first year guide to a baby’s first year which will be published in 2015. We got an offer for the book from HarperCollins for that and two memoirs of my mum’s life [‘The New Arrival’ out on 27 March and ‘She’s Arrived!’ out later this year]. Which was amazing but, we didn’t get the book deal offer until three days after I handed in my notice. So, I’d definitely reached a point where I felt we had an amazing Nanny, she was doing an amazing job but I wanted to be the one painting with my child, I wanted to be the one taking her to the Science Museum. I didn’t want it to be somebody else.

And was very difficult. I worried about how we were going to pay the mortgage, even now it’s nail biting month after month but I feel more like myself when I am home with my daughter, writing which is a big part of who I am, rather than being away from seven in the morning until seven at night just to pay a Nanny and to pay the bills and keep my career going so we could have that comfort zone.

Amy opens up The New Arrival

Amy reading The New Arrival

Being a good parent isn’t easy

I don’t think any decision you make as a good parent is easy. Parenting isn’t about quick easy decisions – it’s about doing what you think is right for your child, and your family and yourself within the parameters you have. Finance really impacts on that. I think people’s expectations impact as well. I had a daughter, I didn’t want to send her the message that women just give up work when they have children, but I think if women do want to be at home with their children they should be supported.

There’s not a one-size fits all solution to childcare

What’s really sad is when it’s divisive and it’s Working Mothers versus Stay at Home Mothers. Actually, they’re all just doing their damndest and what they really need, and what all parents need is more support – whether that’s Wrap-around care or maybe more women should be enabled to work part-time which means Wrap-around care isn’t the answer. There needs to be more flexibility in the provision, it’s not a one-size fits all solution.

With our Nanny, she was really lovely and I spent the last two weeks of my Maternity Leave working with her side by side so the transition would be easier for my child and easier for the nanny. And in some respects that was a sacrifice but I think it did make a big difference and we always treated our nanny Elizabeth as part of our family, and even now we don’t have her anymore because I can’t afford it and because it seems like a bit of luxury when I’m only working part-time, she still comes and sees Ava all the time.

And for us it was cheaper to have a nanny than it was to have a nursery. London Nurseries are off the scale in how expensive they are so I worked compressed hours to afford childcare. I used to get in at eight in the morning and work solidly until six at night, and I did feel pressure to show that I was working when I returned to work. You feel like you almost have to demonstrate that you can still do your job.

Mums are so organised they could run military operations

I’ve found since I’ve become a mother that I’m so organised, I could run military operations I’m so organised, to get here today even. If you look at most women and dads, they are balancing a lot. One of the reasons our life works is that my partner is incredibly supportive. Everyday there is a lot of variables, and all you can do as a parent is influence what’s happening – you give up control when you become a parent. You cannot control the outcome of every situation, you just hope it works out – my child is asleep right now, I’ve walked round London Zoo all day to make that happen.

Ava at London Zoo

Ava at London Zoo

“It’s very political having babies”

I felt when I went back to work it’s like everybody jabs your wound, asking you if you’re missing them. You just want to say, ‘Yes, I do. Can you just be quiet!’ And everybody constantly asking you if you are having another baby, implying that’ll you be off again on Maternity Leave soon – people used to say that to me as a joke and I used to not find it funny. It’s none of their business. It’s very political having babies, it’s almost like you become public property in the things people assume about you.

You can listen again to the interview on the BBC website. The New Arrival by Sarah [and Amy] Beeson is available for pre-order in paperback and Kindle. Amy Beeson works as a Freelance copywriter through her limited company Wordsby.

Do you think good things are really worth the wait?

Why is it good things keep you waiting but bad things pop up all the time? Are you waiting for that life changing moment that will transform your life?

In a modern world where so much is instant I’m starting to wonder if the expectation of instant gratification is preventing us from recognising that over-night success isn’t just unrealistic for most of us it could actually be detrimental.

On 17 October 2012 my mum (Sarah Beeson – baby expert) and I got a three book deal with HarperCollins. It’s been a year since we jumped up and down and cracked open the champagne. We know a lot more about the publishing world now than we did then – but how can it be there are still five more months until our book hits the shelves. It’s longer than pregnancy!

But some things are worth the wait – like seeing your debut book cover for the first time just last week!

THE NEW ARRIVAL medium cover image‘The New Arrival’ is £7.99 available for pre-order ahead of UK publication on 27 March 2014.

Sometimes I do find it hard to go at someone else’s pace – my energy is often one of the things my clients most value, but it can make me a little impatient. One thing motherhood has taught me is how to go at another person’s pace. It can literally end in tears if you don’t learn the cues of when to push ahead and when to calm down and guide your Little One in the right direction.

What have you learnt over the past year that’s helped you determine when to put your foot on the accelerator and when to let things develop at a steadier pace? I’d really love to know.

Could you pick ten photos to tell your mum story so far?

It’s a bit funny where twitter can lead you. A few weeks ago I was casually browsing on twittersphere while waiting for my nails to dry (let’s face it, the invention of iPhones means a lot of us do social media in the bathroom to pass the time!) Any-hoo, I came across a twitter party by @givemumsabreak and I ended up chatting to Pippa AKA @storyofmum about just that – ten photos that would show my journey over the last 2 years and 4 months – and boy oh boy, do I have a lot of photos! My iPhone is my diary.

After taking part in The Motherhood Exhibition a few months ago where I’d had my portrait taken by Juliana which became part of the virtual and touring exhibition – I’m a mum and a....(mine was Lion Tamer – see below) I’d wanted to meet Pippa. I’d hope it would be at one of the summer events but I couldn’t make any of them as I’d been chained to my laptop writing ‘The New Arrival’.

photo (16)Pippa asked me if I’d do My Mum-Story – a video of about 3 1/2 minutes which told my story using ten photos for a fab event she’s organising at The Photographer’s Gallery in London on 18 October, if you haven’t booked; book now – it’s free and an excuse for an evening out. I don’t know about you but evenings out are few and far between for us these days.

I’ll be one of five mums (the others are Sue Atkins, Lorna Hauff, Shelina Janmohamed and Emma Murphy) sharing their short video self portraits. There’s also a Britmums networking event at 6.30pm before the exhibition kicks off from 7pm. Plus the very talented Hollie McNish is curating the mums’ poem and performing, which I’m excited about as I’ve only seen Hollie on YouTube and you can’t beat a live performance.

It’s free but do book with The Photographers Gallery…it would be lovely to see you there. Do tweet, email, Facebook when you book so we can look out for you. And if you’re now feeling a bit inspired to do something creative or tell your own story then scoot on over to Story of Mum and get involved – there’s still time.

Hope we see your at Story of Mum: Mum’s making an exhibition of themselves on 18 October…my mum’s coming to babysit! I might even venture to Wardour Street afterwards, it’s so close, it would be rude not to.

Amy Beeson is a Freelance Writer and the Director of Wordsby Communications working with many women running a small business on a limited budget who need affordable solutions for their communications needs. Amy’s currently busy working away on three new books with baby expert Sarah Beeson MBE (Amy’s mum) for HarperCollins the first of which ‘The New Arrival’ is now available for pre-order and will be published in the UK on 27 March 2014.

@amyibeeson

@wordsbycomms

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Busman’s holiday

I’ve been at my mum’s in the countryside with nothing to distract me for just over a week. Downside no cafes, no trips to holland park or the science museum, no mums and toddlers…so no gossip either.

Upside I got lots of work done didn’t have to do any housework or cooking and got to see my mum.

Managed to get quite a lot of work done on the 1970s East End Nursing memoir, which is v. good as the hand in date is looming.

Also spent all day Saturday finally doing a website for our communications business. So back to the smoke.

Visit our business website Wordsby Communications.

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