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A shaw thing

Annie Shaw is a freelance financial journalist
The Ant and Dec of personal finance are no more. Jason Wyer-Smith is to fly solo, leaving Scott Mowbray to look after the media relations shop at Virgin Money. The signs were ominous when Virgin sent out mouse mats to members of the financial press with just Scott’s name on as contact. Now Jace has formally announced that he is launching an enterprise to be known as 42 PR.

We celebrated the venture’s imminent launch at Gary Rhodes’ Tower 42 restaurant in the City – the name of the venue being a complete coincidence, he swears – and shed a few tears with Scott. The scene on the pavement outside the eatery as we went our separate ways was a tragic one as Scott stood there forlornly wringing his damp hanky, a lonely Robin-like figure as Batman prepared to fly off into the night. If I know chirpy chappie Scott, he will not be glum for long.

After spending the afternoon catching up with emails at Shoreditch House – an easterly redoubt of central London’s Soho House club – I was off to Below Zero, the restaurant which features the Absolut Icebar. The event was the launch of Abbey’s new Zero credit card, a huge statue of which had been carved out of ice. It really was very impressive and – forgive me, Abbey – was only surpassed in my experience by an ice sculpture prepared for Royal Bank of Scotland, which featured its entire Edinburgh headquarters carved out of ice – although not actual size, I might add.

Since I was already snuffly with a cold, the Ice Bar was not very alluring but the Abbey company supplied some good banter. I understand that Old Carthusian Charlie Ansdell was in a right old lather last week when he read the headlines that Charterhouse had gone into administration, at first mistaking the benighted financial magazine empire with his alma mater, Charterhouse School. Number of successful job applications made by friends this week after a suggestion by me that they apply: two.

Esther Shaw is a freelance financial journalist
After a few blissful weeks of island-hopping in the Philippines, soaking up the sunshine in Sydney and dressing up as a “sexy Ghostbuster” to watch the rugby sevens in Hong Kong, it was back to earth with a bump when I flew back to London on the 22-hour flight on Monday morning as, with characteristic Shaw timing, I had a work commitment at 9.30am.

As a result, I pretty much stepped straight off the plane and slipped effortlessly back into my personal finance persona. Without so much as a shower.

But the day improved significantly over lunch at Bertorelli in Covent Garden with the ebullient Niki Bolton from Esure , who reliably informs me that she will be bringing the Sheilas Wheels’ Sheilas along to the Headline Money Awards to sit on the Esure table. I suggested that a bonzer way to while away the slightly less exciting parts of the evening might be to instigate a game of “steal a Sheila” but Niki seemed less inclined to agree.

As we talked women drivers and ID theft over our gnocchi, Niki slipped into the conversation that there was a space in the Esure box at Stamford Bridge. Given that I was not, perhaps, in my best state for making such decisions, just a few hours later (having nipped home to shower), I found myself sitting on the edge of my seat next to Esure’s Adrian Webb, yelling “Come on, you blues.”

While almost all of those present were firmly fixed on the match, there was one noticeable exception who spent a significant proportion of the match neither in the stands nor supping wine in the box.

When asked at half-time where she had disappeared to, the personal finance doyenne confessed that she had been reading her book in the toilets or at least that was until she had realised she had caused a queue to form right out of the ladies and a fair way around the stand.

Elsewhere this week, Virgin Money bid farewell to Jason “big fella” Wyer-Smith, who is leaving his long-time partner in crime, Scott “er… smaller fella” Mowbray to strike out on his own with a one-man band PR outfit.

Jase tells me that he is counting on me, among others, to “take care of Scott once I am gone”. He says: “I feel like Anne Margaret in Who Will Love My Children looking for someone to take care of her kids as she pops her clogs,” before adding, with a gulp: “I’m sure he’ll be fine.” That said, he, along with the Sheilas, will also be putting in a guest appearance at the Headline Money Awards for, in his own words, a “last hurrah”.

Bottles of champagne sunk by ex-Chase de Vere PR cad turned Sydney Sunday Telegraph financial editor Nick Gardner and myself at the Opera Bar: several. Bar staff who, as a result of aforementioned champagne, refused to serve me more drinks by the end of the night. at least one.

Sam Shaw is on holiday

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


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