Monday, 26 December 2011

Grays of Westminster Invitations

This year, I was very pleased to be invited to two highly prestigious events by the exclusive Nikon dealer, Grays of Westminster.

In July at a luncheon at the Goring Hotel, London, Nikon UK awarded Grays of Westminster a crystal trophy for 25 years of outstanding contribution to Nikon users. It was quiteLink an honour to be invited to this highly prestigious event.

Earlier this month, I was also invited to the Grays of Westminster Grand Christmas Dinner at the IoD with guest speaker, royal photographer Julian Calder.

My ticket

The royal menu

Monday, 5 December 2011

Models of Diversity’s 'Curves in Couture' in Aid of Advance Centre was a Smashing Success

left to right: Miss Trinidad & Tobago, top British designer Zandra Rhodes, host of the event and founder of Models of Diversity, Angel Sinclair and Velvet d’Amour.
Photo by

This was the first plus-size catwalk show of such prestige to have ever taken place in the UK

London – Models of Diversity’s history-making catwalk show Curves in Couture of healthy, curvy models - all in aid of Advance Centre for The Scotson Technique - on 17 November 2011 at Tabernacle W11 in Notting Hill was a great success. Celeb presenters Natalie Cassidy and Pamela Stephenson wowed the crowd with their wit, beauty and support of the campaign. VIP guests such as CEO of the British Fashion Council Caroline Rush, top British designer Zandra Rhodes, America’s Next Top Model winner Whitney Thompson and the dance group Flawless were knocked out by the designs and the models.

Pamela Stephenson - one of the two MCs of the show.
Photo by

Major media partners were The Dish Network in North America and fantastic German plus-size clothing company navabi. Press who covered the event include Sky TV, The Dish Network and Positive TV; Grazia, Hello, More, OK, We Are HQ, Slink, Beautiful, Evolve, Flynet, The Aspen Business Journal, Fresh Fashion Faces, Just As Beautiful, Prima, Lela London, Women’s Views on News, Fab and Heat magazines; Vogue Curvy, Big Pictures; and newspapers The Mail, The Daily Mail and The Voice.

EastEnders star, Natalie Cassidy - one of the two MCs of the show - with the Catwalk Professor.Photo by

Celebs and VIPs who attended include Zandra Rhodes, John Swannell, the dance group Flawless, Nick Ede, Equalities MP Lynne Featherstone, Eve Pollard, the Countess Sondes, Velvet d’Amour, Whitney Thompson, CEO of the BFC Caroline Rush and her guests, Em McCleave, Eve Pollard, Leee John, Mark Summers, Brenda Edwards, Miss Trinidad & Tobago, Catwalk Professor, Stuart Phillips, reps from the London Diplomat Association, and brand managers from Harrods, Marina Rinaldi, Evans and Debenhams.

Founder of Advance Centre for the Scotson Technique, Linda Scotson, with Cllr Liz Bennett, deputy mayor of East Grinstead.Photo by

First came The Diversity Show featuring MoD’s professional models of diverse sizes, shapes, heights, ability levels and races, sporting the latest in ready-to-wear fashion from different retail lines as well as independent designers. Debbie van der Putten, star of BBC 3’s Britain's Missing Top Model walked in the show, which featured designers like Eve Pollard, Jose Hendo, Tina LoBondi, Ramil Makinano, Scarlett Black, Aaron Ray Dowie, and Pepe Jeans.

The highlight of the event was Curves in Couture, with top international curvy plus models such as Sophie Sheppard, Lizzie Miller, Robyn Lawley, fresh off the cover of Vogue Italia, and Toccara Jones, in sizes 14-18. The models sported couture, from both up and coming designers like Danielle Liane and Miss Lacy, and established design houses such as Anna Scholz, Carolyn de la Drapiere, Jill Alexander, Ilda Di Vico Couture Milliner, and The House of Scarlet. Kelly Knox, winner of BBC 3’s Britain's Missing Top Model, wearing Renaissance Couture Brighton closed the high-fashion show. A fantastic After Party was donated by Luigi Consoli of Queensberry Club in South Kensington. A full list of sponsors, designers and media partners can be found at

All proceeds from the show benefit East Grinstead-based Advance Centre for The Scotson Technique, a unique charity that teaches parents of brain-injured children how to deliver The Scotson Technique (TST), a drug-free respiratory-based exercise to help nourish the brain with extra oxygen that it needs for more normal development. The technique, developed by Linda Scotson after 15 years of research into breathing and recovery of function after brain injury, helps children diagnosed with cerebral palsy, autism and other neurological conditions. The charity was founded in 1996 by Linda Scotson who is the pioneer of The Scotson Technique. Registered Charity 1026049

Thanks to The Advance Centre for The Scotson Technique, 18-year-old Tatijana Hall-Roberts from Thurston in Suffolk, whose life was previously restricted by epilepsy and other neurological problems, is now a talented student of fashion design. Tatijana was present at the event, as was Cllr Liz Bennett, East Grinstead's deputy mayor.

In the middle of the proceedings, in between the catwalk shows, Linda Scotson said a few words about her charity and played a short video on the wonderful work it does. It showed that some children with cerebral palsy who are unable to sit at age 2 can still gain full walking ability as a result of The Scotson Technique. This was illustrated by footage of Alex Newton's first independent steps, aged 6, and Linda's son Doran, who now runs half marathons. It also showed Sam Perkins who has hemiplegia, using his affected arm and leg with increasing ease and normality.

"I am enormously grateful to Angel Sinclair for her passionate support of Advance, which is helping to raise the charity into the public eye and to bring hope and encouragement to so many more families with disabled children," said Linda Scotson.

Advance would also like to thank the family of Sebastian Burger whose company L'Isola Buona in Brighton donated their delicious Mediterranean-style sandwiches for the models. Sebastian, who has cerebral palsy, has also greatly benefited The Scotson Technique.

Models of Diversity, founded by former model Angel Sinclair (also the founder of Sinclair Management) is a London-based non-profit organization which advocates for more diversity in models, and demands that the fashion and marketing industries recognise the beauty in women and men of all races, ages, shapes, sizes, abilities, genders and sexual orientations. Their mission is to change the face of fashion and modelling! Their campaign was founded to stand for equal rights and opportunities within the modelling and fashion industry. MoD is officially backed by the British Fashion Council and has joined with Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone for the government’s campaign on body confidence.

For more information, please contact:
Linda Scotson
Advance Centre
..for The Scotson Technique

The Bradbury House
6 Station Road
East Grinstead
West Sussex
RH19 1DJ
United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)1342 311137

See additional coverage by:

Congratulations to Nick Robertson, CEO of, on his OBE

One-time client,, used to take advantage of's online press release service. As far as I understand, the company has now taken this service in house.

So we would like to congratulate Nick Robertson,'s CEO, on receiving his well-deserved OBE from the Queen last month, and for the astonishing success of ASOS over the last 11 years. We are very proud to be able to include ASOS in our client list.

Many congratulations Nick Robertson, "one of the greatest entrepreneurs of the Twentieth century" - not bad!

Thursday, 7 July 2011

School Play: Greenfields Theatre Company 2011 Presents 'The 39 Steps'

GTC (Greenfield Theatre Company) is dashed pleased to announce that this summer we will producing a bally exciting adaption of Alfred Hitchcock’s classic spy thriller, based on John Buchan’s gripping whodunnit, The 39 Steps.

The show follows the incredible adventures of our handsome hero, complete with stiff upper lip, British gung-ho and pencil moustache as he encounters dastardly murders, double-crossing secret agents, and of course, devastatingly beautiful women in a bid to clear his name and solve a murder he did not commit.

Production for this fast-paced and thrilling comedy is now well underway with costumes being made, sets designed, computer animations and of course, actors' rehearsals – all organised by the children themselves in liaison with the teachers.

Costume making in full swing

The pictures show Richard Hanny (the star) played by Alex Gramman, and various other actors along with Mrs Bird, Head of Drama, during a read through.

Alex Gramman rehersing the lead role, Richard Hanny

Directions from Mrs Maria Bird, Head of Drama

Actors running through the scenes

Stay tuned for updates soon….

Call 01342 822189 or 07905 189165 or email:

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Been told that you don’t need to defragment when adding a SAN environment into your network estate?

With massive electronic data growth occurring today, there is now a much greater need for storage. SAN is at the forefront for most storage solutions and providers such as HP, IBM and NetApp, to name a few, are providing the necessary platforms to cater to this. Virtualisation and cloud solutions are promising less hardware in this respect, but data storage if held locally, will inevitably mean acquiring more hardware. This additional hardware is where the problem will lie in terms of cost for many companies today.

Diagram of Disk I/O as it travels from Operating System to SAN LUN

It stands to reason then that making full use of your SAN potential is vital. A common misconception related to SAN storage environments is that they don’t suffer from fragmentation related issues. This is the “party line” being handed out by many of the storage providers. There are plausibly a couple of reasons for this. Firstly, that each SAN provider will have their own propriety logic when it comes to arranging blocks within the SAN environment, and secondly, which is more likely, is that they get to sell more hardware to their customers.

To understand this a little better, every file system is a "virtual" disk, stacking one virtual component over another (i.e. one file system on top of another). What the vendor of a SAN file system does at their SAN file system level is irrelevant to what the Windows file system does underneath ― all Windows file systems fragment, regardless.

SANs typically employ a clustered/SAN file system to pool disk arrays into a virtualized storage volume. This is not Windows NTFS, but rather the proprietary software, provided by a SAN hardware or software vendor. Claims that "you do not need to defragment" may be misunderstood and incorrectly implied to mean "Windows NTFS"― NTFS always needs to be defragmented. It is very possible that you do not need to defragment the "SAN file system". Tips, best practices and SAN I/O optimization methodologies should always be gotten from the respective SAN vendor.

SANs are only ever block-level storage, they do not know what I/Os relate to what files. Therefore they cannot intelligently spread the fragments of a file across multiple disks. A whole mass of separate I/Os writes/reads for fragmented files (which will most certainly be interspersed with other simultaneous data writes/reads) will non-optimally be spread across the disks in the SAN storage pool.

As for NTFS, it still fragments and causes the Windows OS to "split" I/O requests for files sent into the SAN, creating a performance penalty. You can measure this using the Window's built-in PerfMon tool and watch the split I/O counter. You can also use the Average Queued Disk I/O, given that you account for the number of physical spindles.

The only solution offered by SAN vendors to address the split I/O problem is adding more spindles. This solution would mask the problem by dispersing the I/Os across the additional disks. This would mean you will need to add more disks as the I/O bottle neck increases, which would, over a period of time.
The actual problem lies at the NTFS level, for every fragment of a file is a separate I/O that has to be generated to access it. The less fragmented a file is, the less I/Os are required to access the file, compared to when it is heavily fragmented.

For more information see Windows IT Pro whitepaper entitled “Maximize the Performance of your Windows SAN Infrastructure”.

Monday, 9 May 2011

The Secret to Maintaining SSD Performance

HyperFast SSD Optimizer

Why your Solid State Drive is not as fast as it used to be

By: Mandeep Birdi, Technical Consultant

SSD hard drives are becoming increasingly more popular. Many portable devices such as laptops, PDA's, Tablet PC's and Netbooks are being used with SSDs. Although prices are still astronomically high - a 1TB SSD setting you back a mere £3000 - sooner or later the prices will fall into a more accessible range and they will become far more widely used.

Of course solid state drives have several distinctive advantages. Faster access times, lower power usage and rather pleasingly, run completely silent. The main disadvantage, although possibly undetectable at first, is over time you'll probably start to notice the write speed slowing down - even slower than those of conventional hard drives.

Solid state drives can access any location on the drive in the same amount of time. This is one of the key features over hard drives. So there is no fragmentation problem with SDDs regard to "reading" files.

There is however still a problem with the fragmentation of the free space that will seriously affect the performance of SSDs. These drives have actually been designed to write data evenly in all sectors of the drive which the industry is calling "Wear Leveling". Each sector of a solid state drive has a limited number of writes before it cannot be overwritten anymore.

Unlike a magnetic storage device which can record new data directly on top of old data, an SSD must first erase the contents of a previously used memory cell to zero out its contents before the new data can be written. This slows down the speed and is what prompted both Microsoft and SSD manufactures to create the solutions known as TRIM and Garbage Collection. These functions can perform these types of clean up tasks in the background when certain conditions are met.

Unfortunately, TRIM and Garbage Collection doesn't have anything to do with addressing how the free space is allocated by the NTFS file system and most SSDs suffer from free space fragmentation due to inherent NAND flash limitations. This is where you need a method to optimize the SSD. By ensuring that the small sections of free space are better managed, you can cause files to be written in their optimum condition requiring the least number of I/O operations. This also benefits subsequent reads of these files and improves the overall access times across the board. SSD are without question extremely fast, but you will never get the full potential of the speed over time as promised unless you keep it optimized.

Optimizing your SSD - HyperFast Technology

HyperFast® technology only concerns itself with the fragmentation of files and free space caused by the NTFS file system and not that of the physical placement of data on the SSD. HyperFast reduces the amount of writing and as a result improves the write times and the life span of SSDs - therefore quite complimentary to the purpose behind wear-leveling strategies.

The HyperFast product (an add-on to Diskeeper) is designed to consolidate free space when it is needed, without "over" doing it. HyperFast is unique as you do not ever need to manually analyze or manually run, or even schedule it. It is smart enough to automatically know what to do and when. More information at

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

The Jive Aces at London's World-Renowned 100 Club

The "Bring Me Sunshine" video and interview with Ian Clarkson to hopefully appear in a forthcoming episode of On the Mike with Mike Sherman.

While The Jive Aces were setting up for their gig at London's famous 100 Club on 25 Apr 2011 (part of the band's never-ending world tour), trumpeter and lead singer of the band, Ian, was interviewed by Adam Hoffman for the prime-time Miami-based TV show "On the Mike with Mike Sherman" about the runaway success their new single "Bring Me Sunshine" which has had over half a million views in a little over a month, about their forthcoming album "King of the Swingers", and about their longterm involvement with the "Say No To Drugs, Say Yes To Life" campaign, supported by the Church of Scientology.

A poster by the front door of the club

Down to the auditorium (if you can call it that)

Setting up

The famous 100 Club stage

John Fordham and his 1952 saxophone

Getting ready for the interview

Ian Clarkson with co-host Adam Hoffman

The interviewee's POV

The interview for real

Here are a few photos of some of the many acts who have performed at the 100 Club. I can just make out Lemmy of Motorhead, top right. The Sex Pistols, Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Clash, Buzzcocks, Stranglers, The Damned and even The Rolling Stones are a few of the many other acts which have performed here.

More photos here:

Bring Me Sunshine:
On the Mike with Mike Sherman promo video:
Film crew: Stafford Wheaton, Nitsan Simantov, Serg Abramenkov

On The Mike with Mike Sherman” is produced by On The Mike Productions Inc, a leading provider in celebrity/music driven content for TV, Smartphones and the world wide web. The “On The Mike” TV show is syndicated nationwide on Direct TV and internationally all over the world on selected television networks. The show brings Miami, Las Vegas, NY and Los Angeles markets closer to exclusive interviews, VIP events, music, red carpets, concerts, and A-list celebrities to a worldwide audience. Creator/producer: Mike Sherman. Executive producer: Matthew Brenowitz

Monday, 2 May 2011

Styled and Frocked Fashion Show in aid of the Tree of Hope

Amazon Eve with Doran Scotson

On 28th April 2011, a fashion show with a difference was held at JuJu in the Kings Road, London to raise funds for specialist medical treatment and therapy for sick UK children.

The Tree of Hope Children’s Charity joined forces with JuJu and Models of Diversity to create a unique experience for all who attended.

Hosted by Sally Farmiloe-Neville, the guest list included:
The Fashion Show featured creations by:
Najlaa Jabri was the stylist for the evening and make up was by BellViso Global

Entertainment included:

Leee John with Jeremy Marris of the Tree of Hope charity (photo © Mark Gibson)

Cerrie Burnell (photo © Mark Gibson)

One of Tony Pickles' corsets, modeled by Candice (photo © Mark Gibson)

Leee John with Linda Scotson (photo © Mark Gibson)

Linda Scotson with Angel Sinclair, founder of Models of Diversity (photo © Mark Gibson)

John Wood of being pleasantly 'squashed' by Amazon Eve!

One of the models (photo © Mark Gibson)

One of the Tree of Hope hostesses (photo © Mark Gibson)

Leee John with John Wood

Doran Scotson, the model (photo © Mark Gibson)

More photos by Mark Gibson:

Make a Donation here:

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Porsche and the Legacy of Genius by Laurence Meredith

When Ferdinand Porsche was born, Europe was peaceful, developing, capitalist and largely feudal. Britain was the world's only true 'superpower', and America would not emerge as an economic giant for at least forty-five years. Motor cars, aircraft, television, computers, ballpoint pens and other modern conveniences didn't exist.

Ninety-five years after Porsche's arrival in the world, cars bearing his name were in action at Le Mans, their 4.5-litre 12-cylinder air-cooled engines propelling them to speeds of 240mph.

Conventional wisdom dictated that air-cooling was unsuited to high-speeds. Under the inspired leadership of three generations of the family, Porsche proved, and continues to prove, that traditional rules are there to be broken.

With more than a score of books to his credit on the great German marques, Laurence Meredith brings a unique authority to this, his eighth Porsche-related work, and the first to examine the prime movers and master engineers behind this most hallowed of motoring icons.

Porsche and the Legacy of Genius is written by Laurence Meredith and published by Bank House Books.

Price: £ 20.00

Saturday, 30 April 2011

Diana Ross, Queen of Motown


Diana Ross Queen of Motown, written by Ian Phillips and published by Bank House Books, is not simply an homage to the Queen of Motown; the book delves into every album she made and charts her career to date.

It contains a complete examination of her work and exclusive colour photographs, so the devoted fan of Diana will definitely want this book in their collection.

The collector's edition is exclusively available from the Bank House website, so get your copy ordered now and it will be shipped on publication.

Foreword by Sharon Davis.

Price: £ 25.00 in Hardback

Royal Wedding Memorabilia

Limited Edition Commemorative Coins:

  • Royal Wedding commemorative silver plated coin.
  • Available in a beautiful gift box.
  • 4cm in diameter, weighs approximately 1 oz.
  • The front bears an image of HRH Prince William and Miss Catherine Middleton.
  • The back features the HRH Prince Williams Coats of Arms.
  • RRP £7.99 (Inc. Vat).

Also available is the Gold Royal Wedding Commemorative Coin.

  • Royal Wedding commemorative gold plated coin.
  • Available in a beautiful gift box.
  • 4cm in diameter, weighs approximately 1 oz.
  • The front bears an image of HRH Prince William and Miss Catherine Middleton.
  • The back features the HRH Prince Williams Coats of Arms.
  • RRP £9.99 (Inc. Vat).

Also available is the Silver Royal Wedding Commemorative Coin.

Prince William is the elder son of The Prince of Wales and the late Diana, Princess of Wales. He was born on 21 June 1982, at St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington, London.

Catherine Middleton is the oldest of three children born to Carole Elizabeth and Michael Francis Middleton. She was born at on 9 January 1982 at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading, Berkshire.


  • Royal Wedding commemorative gold plated coin.
  • Available in a beautiful gift box.
  • 4cm in diameter, weighs approximately 1 oz.
  • The front bears an image of HRH Prince William and Miss Catherine Middleton.
  • The back features the HRH Prince Williams Coats of Arms.
  • RRP £9.99 (Inc. Vat).


  • Royal Wedding commemorative silver plated coin.
  • Available in a beautiful gift box.
  • 4cm in diameter, weighs approximately 1 oz.
  • The front bears an image of HRH Prince William and Miss Catherine Middleton.
  • The back features the HRH Prince Williams Coats of Arms.
  • RRP £7.99 (Inc. Vat).

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Buzz Local Networking and Chocolate

Emily Smith addressing the group, holding one of her revolutionary hot chocolate dunking devices. That's @suzymiller, host and founder of Buzz Local Networking (and, let's face it, local celebrity) in the far right of the picture with @candidandy (Andrew Downing) in the background centre of pic. Other attendees included Mlke Grenville, Rebecca Lawrence of Innocent Vitamins, Dale Bulbrook of Village Cow and Matthew Knights of wiredthing.

Emily with her basket of chocolate wares (with @candidandy in the background)

Had a good time today at this month's Buzz Local Networking event at the Swan in Forest Row.

On this occasion, it was all about chocolate. Very good timing, what with Easter just around the corner. Emily Smith enlightened us on her yet-to-be-named chocolate company that specialises in hot chocolate with a difference. Instead of powder or syrup, her company sells chocolate on a stick that is dunked into hot milk. She told us the idea was inspired from the way she happened to be served hot chocolate when in Luxembourg.

Buzz Local Networking events are fun local business networking opportunities that I would recommend for all businesses in the Forest Row/East Grinstead area, and beyond. Often with business networking innitiatives such as this, one tends to bump into the same faces each time, but I am happy to report that every time I've turned up (I think I've been to all of them), I've met new people.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

GT Recycling: A unique combination of green initiatives and human rights

I was lucky enough to be given a tour of the Aylesbury-based firm, GT Recycling, by its founder William Souvatzoglou last Friday (1 April). The company's history and its activities are literally awe-inspiring. Not only is it of great benefit to the environment by preventing books, DVDs, clothes, metals and other item from going it landfill, but it is also of great benefit to the community with its numerous and generous donations to local charities. In addition, it has a heart-warming human rights success story to tell, as described very well in the 22/11/10 edition of the Business Herald, excerpted here:
"Most of the staff come from the same town of Slovakia, called Levoca. According to William, they were being exploited by an unscrupulous employer based in Berkshire, until he took them under his wing. He said his staff are now fitting in well into the Aylesbury community and are embracing British culture.

“Some of these people had been over here quite some time and had not been encouraged to learn the language and they were getting exploited because they did not know what their rights were. “They now have language lessons and are repatriating into the UK side of things. They are establishing bases here, providing an income for the tenancy market and strengthening the retail sector as they have money to spend. “I have also helped a couple of them get mortgages.”

He went on: “They work very well together as a team, they are from the same towns and we have a lot of families here, mothers, daughters, brothers, sisters, uncles and aunts. “They work very hard for the company and are equally rewarded for their hard work.”
Here are some photos from my visit:

Some of GT Recycling's warehouses

Textile sorting

Books ready for sale on Amazon, ebay and other sites

William in front of the book scanning station

More books!

Yet more books!

One of a growing number of GT Recycling-managed high street shops that sell the items collected by the company

Most of the items have never been used, yet were destined for landfill

Just a few of the cheque presentations to charities that William has made on behalf of GT Recycling