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Your guilty PR pleasures

I could spend this whole feature going on, and on, about all my guilty pleasures, from an addiction to reality TV (Made in Chelsea is my shameful favourite) to an addiction to chocolate (and not the healthy dark stuff). Sorry, I am indulging in my other guilty pleasure – going on about myself. So here are some confessions of much more admirable PR people whose guilty pleasures seem more like virtues. However, one brave person admits to some less worthy ways she spends her down time, even if she claims they aren’t “guilty” pleasures at all…

Admirable guilty pleasures of PR people

Exercising outdoors
For Adam Barber, managing director or agency Tamarindo Communicaitons, taking time out to exercise is vital for his sanity: “My guilty pleasure might sound a little odd at first, but I’m certain it’s an addiction. For context, and just like everyone else, I’ve got two young kids and a busy life outside and away from the office. I’ve also got all the usual stresses and strains that building a business brings. However, every week, for a little over 18 months now, I’ve ‘found’ anywhere between five and eight hours in my working week to either run, cycle or swim outdoors – all year round. I’ve never missed a week. Roughly speaking, that translates into anywhere between an hour or two committed to one of these three things each and every working day. During this time, I am uncontactable, usually not listening to anything and I don’t take my phone or any comms with me. I’ve also been known on occasion, to extend the session, which I’ve no doubt creates havoc with the rest of the day’s diary. 

“This might not at first sound like a guilty pleasure but honestly, having that alone time every day is a genuine pleasure – and it’s getting out of the office in the first place, that’s often the hardest aspect to overcome. It makes it feel like something to be guilty of – since we’re so attuned to that concept of constant contact and, to the concept that hours in equals hours out – that when you step away from a machine and from, email, the ‘guilty pleasure’ of investing time in yourself and your own body, can be all too easily be overlooked.”

Freelance publicist, Kristina Spionjak,, has a guilty pleasure I really wish I had too: ‘’I mostly work from my home office and my guilty pleasure is cleaning my flat – daily. I love cleaning, because it gives me a break from thinking, it is relaxing, kind of like a form of meditation and exercise. It doesn’t make me feel guilty for taking a break as it is productive and gives me a sense of achievement. Some of my best ideas for pitches and campaigns come to me whilst I’m cleaning. Recently I’ve been pondering why cleaning products are never directly advertised to men, and what could be done to change that.’’

In her day job Holly Pither is head of editorial at PR agency Bottle. However, in her spare time she is a mummy blogger, talking to working mums. She explains: “Blogging is like therapy to me. I started my blog as I was scared about going off on maternity leave and needed to put my fears into words. I had no idea it would be so therapeutic, but each and every blog I write has helped me no end. My goal with the blog is to reassure people that it’s okay to love your job and love your baby. There’s nothing wrong with being scared about going off on maternity leave and equally nothing wrong about being scared about going back to work. #mumguilt is normal, but don’t let it dictate what you do. I often worry about whether I might offend someone or say something others don’t agree with. I talk about issues that I suppose might be quite close to the bone for some, so I always fear I may upset someone. But then I remember that this is my blog, a personal account of my experiences and I have to be honest. If that goes against someone else’s views, then so be it. Writing a blog has helped me no end in my day job too as a head of editorial. Not only has it made me think about how to create, maintain and sell a brand, it also means I have to be at the forefront of digital PR and social media, trialling new things and pushing the boundaries. It’s the perfect test case.”

Reading magazines
At first, you might think spending a huge amount on magazines is rather indulgent, but then you find out how it helps Samantha Stonehouse, PR director at agency Fabulous PR, do her day job better, and again, it seems like more of a virtue: “My guilty pleasure is without doubt buying magazines, I spend in excess of £200 a month on magazines and publications. I seek inspiration for future articles for clients, but I also enjoy catching up on emerging trends within the bridal, interiors and luxury lifestyle world and what celebrities are up to. At the weekends, I love to read the weekend nationals in particular, the Sunday Times from cover to cover and save good articles, I’ve got boxes and boxes of old magazines in the office. I am a huge fan of a good magazine and newspaper article.”

Why I have no guilty pleasures
Madison Hughes, director at agency Fever PR, says: “I don’t have any pleasures I feel guilty about.

“I’m a flagrant food fanatic. I unashamedly eat chocolate spread out of the jar. Fingers or spoon. It doesn’t matter. I eat the icing off the cake and leave the sponge. I order all my favourite things from three different takeaway places and masterfully orchestrate the delivery times. I order two desserts if I can’t decide. I drink straight from the carton. I will eat the whole bar of chocolate and no I do not share.

“My self-approval game is strong. I buy myself flowers every week. I excitedly pet every dog I see. I’m a shameless beard and man-bun enthusiast. I order intelligent books and pretend I’ve read them. I haven’t. On rainy Sundays I build a blanket fort in my living room and watch films. I add all the high-brow documentaries to My List, and still only ever watch Orange is the New Black. I have a boxful of hotel toiletries – more than I’ll ever need. I play too-loud music and dance around my flat. I spend too long on social media, and I love watching a Lindsay or Britney meltdown unfold.

“Life is made up of small pleasures, enjoy them.”

If you want to be better at your job, or just be a better you, you may want to consider taking up one of the first four rather virtuous-sounding guilty pleasures. But if you want to have a bit more fun, then go team Madison!

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