Having worked in the media for most of my adult life (less a six month stint in Topshop in Oxford Street) I can honestly say that it is not as glamorous as some may imagine.
Working to deadlines, enjoying a pitiful salary (if any) and dealing with the old boys’ network of a leading publishing house occasionally left me yearning for the aching feet of life in a high street fashion store.
However, having said that, there are perks. When I worked at a publishers I could take home books either free of charge, or at the very least at a favourable rate.
When I was a magazine publisher I was able to visit many of the local attractions without having the ignominy of actually paying to get in. All in the name of ‘research’, ‘reviewing’, or what is more commonly known as ‘blagging’.
And sometimes now I get sent things without asking. Recently I was surprised to receive the Menopause Newsletter, with the aptly titled ‘News Flushes’ column.
Having sold my magazine business more than a year ago, though, the free tickets to attractions had dried up.
My blagging techniques have become a little rusty and my children have been asking awkward questions such as ‘Why can’t we go on days out any more, mummy?’.
All heart-breaking stuff, but with a new editorial role I spotted the chance for a bit of good old fashioned blagging to satisfy my children’s desire to go to a local attraction that would otherwise have cost us £100 for a family of five.
So with a carefully worded email to an old acquaintance I blagged a press pass for myself and the family to Paultons Park.
The downside was, though, that I would have to drag three children aged 13, 11 and eight around the newly-created Peppa Pig World.
My children, having been brought up on Teletubbies, the Tweenies and Monty Python (I know – please don’t judge) weren’t even sure of the characters in Peppa Pig.
So I threatened them, told them to act like journalists and at least pretend to enjoy themselves so that they could then visit the rest of the park and go on the vomit-inducing rides.
My children, initially embarrassed by the chore of being acquainted with Peppa Pig and having to advertise that fact by wearing a bright red lanyard with ‘Peppa’s Very Special Press Guest’ on, soon forgot their woes and happily queued for a ride on George’s dinosaur and in a cloud to the top of Windy Castle.
I may have overstepped the mark when I made them have their photo taken next to models of the characters, but it was all in the name of research. Honest.
We even did some celebrity spotting – Sporty Spice, David Baddiel and the cast of Eastenders were all there (although I didn’t realise that I had been standing next to an actor from the soap opera until later – I haven’t watched it for 20 years).
The children admitted that Peppa Pig World was alright and that the rides were actually quite enjoyable.
The younger children there were having a brilliant time and looked genuinely overwhelmed by the sheer Peppa-yness of it.
Not everyone can blag a ticket, but if you can find the money, it’s well worth it. Oink!