I am one of the "skeleton" staff working over Christmas at the7stars – a first, as I usually make sure I'm somewhere hot for Christmas.
However, it's important to be on hand over the festive season and make sure that a couple of people from each team are in, especially with all of our travel and retail clients, like HMV and Sandals.
So, I humbly take one for the team and work. As I’ve been lucky enough to qualify for the7stars' seven-week sabbatical having worked here for over seven years (can you spot the theme here?).
I am banking on a quiet week, to, well, sort out my holiday. It was non-stop in the run up to Christmas, with lots of new business work for James Villas, Gala Interactive and Save The Children.
There was also 2015 planning on some great and challenging briefs coming in, such as The Art Fund.
The only downside of time off is making sure you tie things up as much as you can before leaving. So I start the week with that intention – clear my inbox, write my holiday notes, tie any loose ends, and answer copy calls.
I find out we've been shortlisted for final pitch on a client I was working on. The pitch is in the New Year, whilst I’m off, so the week suddenly becomes very busy.
I spend most of the day getting to grips with the new brief and re-reading pitch work. I also arrange a brainstorm for tomorrow, to get as much inspiration from the team in the office.
So Monday is a late one for me, with zero holiday shopping achieved.
The agency is buzzing. The phone does not stop ringing – mainly with last minute copy calls. After trying to make headway, I spend most of the morning structuring the pitch deck, thinking about the most engaging way to answer the client’s brief and "tell our story".
This helps me prep for our agency brainstorm in the afternoon, so I can get the most out of the session.
We ordinarily have about ten people at agency brainstorms, but with this number doubled I decide it wise to hold it in the7stars’ private bar.
Our resident barman makes everyone an Old Fashioned. Well, we have lots of oranges to use up.
I get plenty of ideas from the brainstorm that are really helpful. As our team grew to more than 100 members in 2014, it's more important than ever that we keep to the agency rule of giving everyone's voice equal merit.
So brainstorm over, warm from the Old Fashioned, white earphones in – head down. I work until about 8pm to get the deck in a good shape. I can’t stay any later as I have drinks with friends moving to New York.
Still no holiday shopping completed…
So after nailing the pitch deck last night, I spend most of the morning writing up my holiday notes – a modest ten pages. Not a control freak at all.
I am keen to check out the overnights as we have some really exiting campaigns running. I check the figures for HMV, who had a fantastic year and a very busy December with both Christmas and the lead-in to January sales.
I pack up my desk as we're moving offices whilst I'm off – so it all feels quite strange and final. It's been fantastic seeing the agency expand in Dean Street but we've outgrown our offices and are on to bigger and better. I'm only away for seven weeks but it almost feels like I’m retiring. Very odd.
It's a half day in the office, so I take advantage by meeting up with my friend Cath for lunch. First things first, I drag her around holiday shopping. I panic buy a whole new wardrobe, spending a fortune – just to sit on a beach.
Our late lunch is boozy and a clear start to an afternoon/evening celebrating the New Year. I meet with friends in the evening in Soho, ending at a house party. I celebrate as though I will never see my friends again.
Shocking hangover...then relief that I don't have to go to work.
Surface. Finish packing. Order Thai. Return to bed.
Arrive at the airport at 8am for our flights…see you in February.
Age: A lady never tells
Favourite media: Native, of course…
My biggest inspiration: Mark Jarvis (his rugby skills are second to none)
Dream job: Shark biologist
One thing not a lot of people know... My middle name is Denise