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A shaw thing

Annie Shaw is a freelance financial journalist
To the Chelsea Flower Show as a guest of HBOS, where the flowers were fab and I met Jamie Oliver – no, not that one. The one enjoying Halifax’s hospitality is the author of sundry books about death and sex (separate titles) and also writes about entrepreneurs and other financial things for the Daily Telegraph.

The launch of Oliver’s book on death was held in a crypt and, he discloses, the publication party for his new book on sex is being planned.

Oliver is fed up with witnessing the manifest disappointment on people’s faces when he walks into a room and fellow guests realise that he is not the front man for Sainsbury’s.

He is seriously considering adopting a pseudonym for his books because his works get listed on Amazon alongside a load of recipes. The poor man is also thinking of setting up a website to commune with others similarly blighted with the names of the famous.

At the weekend, I was off to Oxford for the final day of Eights Week to cheer on my son who rows for his college. I immediately found a shedload of recruits for Oliver’s putative website, as it turns out my son’s academic mentors include Barry White, John HY Briggs and Pamela Anderson and he has been known to attend lectures by Dr Kate E Tunstall. The last is not at all amused by being confused with the Scottish chanteuse.

The bank holiday was spent working on my CashQuestions website, getting it ready for its imminent relaunch. Support from the industry has been gratifying and we are busy recruiting IFAs to join the 11 journalists that we have signed up.

On Tuesday, my co-conspirator, freelance journalist Laura Howard, and myself spent most of the day travelling between London and Leeds, where we had appointments to discuss support for the site. We caught up with Halifax’s Paul Fincham, who turns out to be an avid internet user and, since his wife has recently had a baby, is a frequent reader of Mumsnet and other baby-focused websites.

Number of times I referred to Jason “42PR” Wyer-Smith as “Scott” this week, mixing him up with the lovely Scott Mowbray, head of PR at Virgin Money: an embarrassing number. The Ant and Dec of financial PR live on, in my addled memory at least.

Esther Shaw is a freelance financial journalist
First to the What Mortgage awards at the Pompadour Suite in Cafe Royal, where I quaffed a glass or two of champagne in the company of Lynsey Sweales from The Money Centre (the pair of us just about recovered from the antics of the previous night at the St Martins Lane hotel) and Lynsey looking resplendent in her sweeping off-the-shoulder dress.

At dinner, I found myself seated next to David Shortt from GoldSmithWilliams solicitors, who admits that he is a “big fan of the Shaws”, describing us as “a bit like Sex And The City but not quite”.

He certainly kept me entertained as the awards progressed and joined me as we applauded Stafford Railway Building Society several times as its team went to collect their ever growing clutch of awards.

And while my slowly recovering knee kept me firmly in my seat, I am pleased to report that Moneysupermarket’s magnificent Louise Cuming did a sterling job of managing to drag a host of unsuspecting men on to the dancefloor.

Elsewhere this week, the girls of the PF world were rather excited about the prospect of a night at Jo Malone courtesy of the IMA and, in fact, some of the candle-loving PF contingent were so keen to be first in the queue that they were spied sitting outside the Royal Exchange long ahead of the advertised start time.

But the enthusiasm seemed to pay off for The Observer’s lucky Jill Insley, who went home with a smile on her face after winning the prize draw – a bulging box of fragrant goodies tucked under her arm.

The girly gathering did not end there, as many of the same faces were spied sporting heels and high fashion at Park Lane’s Taman Gang the following night for a screening of Sex And The City.

Press teams from Norwich Union, Friends Provident and RBS were all spotted sipping Cosmopolitans and making the most of the “substantial canapes” although many of those present were rather more preoccupied by the dashing young Butlers in the Buff who were serving the aforementioned refreshments.

In fact, one young blonde hackette was seen deep in conversation with one of the tallest, darkest – and arguably most handsome – butlers. I can only imagine that she was talking about the credit crunch.

Number of Telegraph staff who are now proud new parents: two. Congratulations go to both Mel Wright and Paul Farrow.

Number of celebrity encounters had by Holly Thomas: one – with Chris Eubank in a cafe in Cardiff.

Number of ice cubes slipped down a butler’s trousers: one.

Any Out of Contexts or Diary stories? Send them to Diary editor Helen Pow at helen.pow@centaur.co.uk telephone: 020 7943 8038

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