Mental Health Awareness Week – An Interview with Beth French

May 17, 2019 / Jas  / 

As Mental Health Awareness Week reaches its climax, we talk to inspirational Ocean Swimmer, Beth French about how body confidence should be uppermost on our agendas.  Taking time out from her busy schedule, Beth spoke with the Spring PR team on how swimming and a new perspective on body image changed her life and why we should follow suit.

So Beth, what do you think about the focus on body image for Mental Health Awareness Week this year?

It’s a double-edged sword for me. On the plus side, it’s a vital conversation we need to have as more and more people are naturalised into the world of social media, click bait, tinder- swiping where image is all. The pressure to look a certain way, presenting only a happy, healthy appearance is damaging on so many levels. Integrity and honesty are lost in the clamour for likes and follows.  It’s dangerous.  But that’s well documented. Depression and anxiety are on the crazy incline with eating and exercise disorders being a massive problem. It’s been a long-standing problem for women and it’s increasing for men too.

BUT! I have a massive issue with the body confidence message that is going on. I’m all for embracing yourself and loving yourself but we need to separate body confidence from image.   Whilst we are still focusing on feeling good based on how we feel about how we look we are doomed. Body confidence should be based on appreciating what your body can do, rather than what it looks like.  Feeling powerful about the relationship you have with this amazing vessel that gives you access to experiences and adventures is something that cannot be shaken.  It’s not based on a tenuous notion of how we look in a mirror. Self-image is still focusing on image – style over substance. We need to encourage finding confidence in ourselves that causes a positive relationship with our body; confidence from the inside out. The onus is on feeling good about ourselves rather than about looking good to others. 

How has swimming affected your body image? Has it had a positive impact?

Swimming has literally changed my life. I developed body dysmorphia as a pre-teen having undiagnosed ME from the age of 10. I lost trust in my body, and by 13 hated being trapped in it. Bulimia with episodes of anorexia, self-harm and suicide attempts ensued and all because I lost trust in my body. I wasn’t safe even in my own skin. I was trapped in it. And that wasn’t because I thought I was fat. It was such a hard battle to convince anyone that not eating had NOTHING to do with how I looked! Swimming allowed me to find a way to feel positive. I need to look after my body so I can swim. It’s that simple. I loved feeling the freedom of the water, spinning, diving, playing in the water – I felt good. And so I fell in love with what my body could do. I still struggle with body image.  I stand on stage in front of people with larger than life sized pictures of me in a swimming costume and I don’t relate to that body in the image but rather to the experience of swimming and the feeling of invincibility.  Knowing I can self-propel myself from England all the way to France! And that is a knowledge that cannot be shaken by something as meaningless as dress size.  Accepting that I do things to make myself feel good, not to attract others, is also key. I wear what feels comfortable and makes me feel good and has nothing to do with attracting someone else. 

How has your body image changed since your teenage years?

I now view my body as a precious vehicle that I need to nurture and listen to. It’s my greatest ally. I don’t look in the mirror, other than to check I don’t have mud on my face, or total bed head, but other than that, I keep away from judging. Also, being a massage therapist has helped give me a profound insight into body Image and confidence. It’s such a privileged profession. People entrust their bodies to me. All shapes and sizes.  I’m without judgement and non-sexual, non-judgemental touch is a vital component of human development- right from birth. It’s how we develop our earliest sense of self. We learn safety and security and a sense of belonging from being held, and stroked by our parents. This helps build our patterns of stress and anxiety, our ability to meet our own needs and even our immunity.

What’s your top tip for people struggling with their body image?

There are many well-advertised tips for those with self-image issues, from reducing social media scrolling and avoiding fashion mags to positive self-talk in a mirror! For me though, I would suggest orchestrating a regime of self-nurture.  This can be challenging to start with. A monthly massage helps build time in your body that feels good (and you can build trust with the therapist who isn’t going to judge your soft/bony/any bits).  Treat your body like it is another person – we are often kinder to others than ourselves. Simple acts like making time for a bath – and going all out with scents and candles – seems pointless to some but making an effort for yourself like this starts the process of upping your position on your pecking order.

Look at what your body can do whether it be hiking, climbing, singing or swimming; what it gives you access to and celebrate those things.

Beach Clean Diary

April 30, 2019 / Abbie Baynes  / 

Spring’s Abbie Baynes joined Hydro Flask charity – Surfers Against Sewage – on their latest Spring Beach Clean. Read her story of nature, nurdles and nudism below…

“After a 6:30 am set off, we headed down to the coast. The weather, initially forecasted to be dark and windy, was glorious and sunny and the waves glistened as they danced onto the shore.

Joey Holmes, from Cool of the Wild, and Abbie at the beach clean

“Perranporth beach looked spotless to the untrained eye, but we later learned that the strong coastal winds drag any litter three miles to the opposite end of the beach, dumping it against the rocky cliff edge. Access is limited to this part of the beach, with only those willing to walk the distance visiting. We also learned that this end of the beach was a nudist paradise. We could be in for quite a treat!

“The grunt of a Land Rover, clearly beginning to admit defeat to the elements, rumbled in the distance, pulling up beside us. We hopped in the back and with a jolt of the engine we headed down to the far end of the beach to uncover what plastic treasures had been washed up.


Inside Spring PR: Meet Abbie

April 30, 2019 / Abbie Baynes  / 

Meet Abbie Baynes, one of our Account Executives who predominantly looks after the Hydro Flask, Reima and LifeStraw brands. She’s been with Spring since joining us as a Digital Marketing Apprentice four years ago. We’d describe her as our reliable rock – hardworking and dedicated with a bubbly fun side. How would she describe us? Let’s find out.

Abbie (right) in the Brecon Beacons

What brought you to Spring PR all those years ago?

“I was just about to go to university to study marketing but was struggling to come to terms with three more years of education and having to quit my part-time job to do so. Much to my parents’ dismay, I looked into alternative options and found that I could do a higher-level apprenticeship which would give me the best of both worlds. That’s when I came across Spring PR. I loved the idea of working in a small, friendly team and a business that was growing with room for me to develop. 

 “They were looking for someone to do digital marketing whilst attending college. I remember being terrified when I pulled up, dressed in my mum’s brand-new shirt (sorry, mum!) for my first interview. Thankfully, Stephanie liked me enough to hire me (well, she hasn’t said otherwise yet!) and so my marketing career began.”


New Job Opportunity at Spring PR!

April 29, 2019 / Abbie Baynes  / 

Senior Account Executive
Full time, 35 hours plus occasional overtime
Spring PR, Malmesbury
Competitive salary
Application: please apply by sending your CV and covering letter to

Are you looking for a new and exciting career opportunity to work at one of the most renowned active lifestyle PR agencies in the outdoor industry?  Spring PR is based in the picturesque Wiltshire countryside on the outskirts of Malmesbury and we are looking for a Senior Account Executive to bring their enthusiasm, expertise and energy to help us grow. 

We’re a small team who pack a punch and work with some of the biggest and most innovative brands in the outdoor active lifestyle industry including Mammut climbing, Hydro Flask drinking bottles, SMITH sunglasses, Elliot Brown Watches, Polartec fabrics and Yogamatters.  We have recently gained a number of new clients and are now looking for someone with solid consumer PR experience to add value by hitting the ground running and taking ownership of a group of accounts.

We’re looking for a confident self-starter with proven media contacts in the consumer, lifestyle and national news sectors and meticulous planning skills.  Someone who is full of creative ideas, has a friendly approach, dedicated attitude, attention to detail and is keen to develop their PR and marketing career within our company would be suited for the role.

We are a friendly team of people with a number of long-standing employees and the company’s Founder, Stephanie Briggs, is still heavily involved.  We regularly organise and run media events, alongside our day to day office-based work and pride ourselves on a hardworking, enthusiastic, close-knit office culture. 


The Big Spring Beach Clean

April 25, 2019 / Helen Hyde  / 

Spring client, Hydro Flask, has been working with Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) for less than a year, yet has already donated tens of thousands of pounds to the charity through its Parks for All initiative.

Volunteers on the beach

The Big Spring Beach Clean begins

British charitable organisation, SAS, was established in 1990 by a group of surfers looking to protect our oceans, beaches, waves and wildlife. Hydro Flask’s donation has been put directly towards training regional SAS rep volunteers.

One of those volunteers is Lizzi Larbalestier. Lizzi lives in Perranporth in Cornwall and, alongside daily beach cleans, is a professional coach and Founder of Going Coastal Blue which specialises in ‘Blue Health’ – advocating the benefits of being in, near, on or under the water.

This month was a big one for Lizzi and the SAS team as their annual Spring Beach Clean took place. The ‘Big Spring Beach Clean: Summit to Sea’ saw over 40,000 volunteers turn up to 615 locations across the UK to pick up as much litter as they could find. Volunteers were then asked to record their findings to get a bigger picture of the type and brand of litter they’re finding.

The SAS Plastic Pollution Audit was launched in 2006 and highlighted the top 12 companies whose plastic was most commonly found on UK beaches – naming Nestle, Coca Cola, Walkers, Kraft, Tesco, Mars and Unilever among its ‘Dirty Dozen’. 

We caught up with Lizzi to find out what gets her to the beach every day.


Thank you! Your subscription has been confirmed. You'll hear from us soon.
Sign up for our newsletter
Get the latest industry info monthly