Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Simple's Spotlight on Talent Deserving Winner

Well done to Anye Chen, who won the Simple Spotless Skin, 'Spotlight on Talent' competition (hosted on Facebook), on securing a £15K scholarship fund. Anye's talent is art with a focus on digital animation. View her 30 second entry above. I also love her "Why do I deserve to win"video, so clever, find this on her Youtube channel here:
If I could start again, I like to think that I would have focused on this subject, so jealous of her impressive prize ;)

Friday, 26 October 2012

Quick Recipe - Beef and Veg Stirfry

Sharing with you this quick and easy recipe for two. Using easy to find ingredients.

Enjoy ;)

Shopping list:

Red Pepper
Red Onion
Ginger (fresh)
Small tin of pineapple chunks in juice
Rump Steak (1)
Half a mug of rice
Butter & Veg oil
Maybe a little salt
Nando's Hot peri peri seasoning rub

Stage 1: The preparing in advance

1. Chop 5 mushrooms, 1 pepper, 1 red onion, 1 carrot. Place in a heatproof container.

2. Grate about a little finger (size!) worth of ginger. Crush and chop 2 cloves of garlic. Put to one side.

3. Thinly slice 1 steak (Rump is OK for this). Put to one side.

4. Measure half a mug of rice.

5. Open a small tin of Pineapple chunks, you will be using half a tin with the juice. Store the other half in the fridge.

Stage 2: The cooking and the eating

1. Bring a pan of water to the boil.
Throw in the rice. Add salt now if required. Once cooked, cool down with running water, drain and put to one side.

2. Add small amount of butter and veg oil to a frying pan. Once the pan is hot, throw in the pre chopped veg. Once softened return to the heatproof dish. Return empty pan to the heat.

3. Now place the beef into the frying pan and when it starts to brown throw in ginger and garlic, stir, then add the pre cooked veg & rice and stir again.

4. Throw in the pineapple chunks with the juice.

5. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of Piri Piri
Seasoning to the pan. Stir some more until the meat is cooked through and rice is warmed.

6. Eat

Friday, 21 September 2012

A YouTube Channel To do list

YouTube Broadcast yourself

I was coffee shop networking again the other day and a random who overheard a conversation I was having on social media said: "I have a YouTube channel. I have posted videos, I am getting visitors, what else can I do?".

I took his email address and sent him the below today. Sharing with you too, and logging for reference just in case someone asks again ;) 

Here is my email reply:

Subject: YouTube objective: Interact, Inform, Inspire and Educate

Well done for setting up YouTube with such quality videos and for subscribing to channels that relate to your business. Great start. 

The most important thing you can do is:  Tag and name your videos appropriately for Search Engine placement benefit.  Also write a description on your business and take advantage of opportunities to link back to your website. 

The second most important point to note is that YouTube is not just about 'Broadcasting yourself' it is about interacting with the community and inspiring and educating others of the benefits of your brand and much much more. 

Here is a YouTube to do list to keep you active. Once you have made good grounds with the below, talk to me further and we can discuss how you can grow your "relationships" on YouTube in line with your business goals. 

All the best 

A YouTube Channel To do list in no particular order

Respond to comments and as appropriate look for mentions of YouTube reviews on your brand (Searching for videos will work if they are tagged/labelled correctly). 

Spark up interest in your channel from engagement with related others.

Find “Fans” on YouTube and logging these (useful contacts for big campaigns). Look to promote those that have promoted you. Be thankful. 

Source Twitter or Facebook profiles of YouTube bloggers you like, your customers would like and engage further.

Review who subscribes to you and who you subscribe too. Have a strategy in place which outlines why you would subscribe to a channel and how you will communicate with subscribers ('YouTube updates'). Also consider the strategy behind, putting a favourite tick on someone else's videos. Plus if you have Google Analytics on your site, be sure to look how engaged (pages visited) your YouTube visitors are.  This will give you an idea as to how much focus you need to give to YouTube.

Encourage comments and respond to comments. Where possible (don't be spammy) add a call to action.

Direct people into your onsite community or other social media channels where comments can be easily shared.

Remember to save time you can set up feeds so that your Youtube activity can be automatically fed to some of your other social media channels.

Consider using 'YouTube updates' to the subscribers, how regular will these be. Why not try increasing the number of fans engaging with you by providing a short video on how to publish and edit a video on YouTube (as you defo know your stuff).

Report on the performance of your YouTube channel, using YouTube insights and web analytics data and be sure to note the stand out comments of the month (good or bad).
That's enough to be getting on with for now I think ;-)

If you have any other to dos for updating your YouTube Channel please post them in the comments section below.

Ten ways to increase your digital influence

I returned back to work on Monday and after 7 months maternity leave, I have managed to delete 4K worth of emails. Still have more to shift. Tip for anyone going on maternity leave, if you have subscribed to sites for client research (ie: Groupon) make sure you unsubscribe before heading off on your new baby journey.

Anyway back onto the topic of how to increase your digital influence online.

Whilst going through old emails, I found something that I wrote for the Sales team at work, giving ten ways they can increase their digital influence. What I wrote (back in Feb 2011) all still relates, so posting here.

HOW TO: Ten ways to increase your digital influence online

1. Remember there is nothing NEW to social media, the only new is the apparatus (even these aren’t that new!)

2. Note that social media facilitates face to face opportunities along with intensifying your personal and professional collaboration. (Deep!)

3. We (Rocktime) are creating compelling content to share with our customers and social media friends. The copy is currently seeded/sent out to four channels (do you know which?). Why not give our copy more legs & eyeballs and seed them out too!

4. We are already integrating our offline with our online (social media) communications (better ROI) making the most of our copy checking efforts

5. When engaging in the social networks consider how you can develop on your story telling skills, don’t always be selling / broadcasting (=boring) – be approachable honest and authentic (=builds trust).

6. Give your content wings and give it roots (Roots relate to you having a point of view)  change from thinking about changing other peoples minds to changing your own mind. Be interested and interesting.

7. Be topical early in the news cycle. Do mention and link to what others have said, but keep it real and write your own opinion.

8. Consider how you could use online video to increase our visibility (Google Search results). Do you fancy doing a piece to camera?

9. Give praise where praise is due via social channels. People love recognition (I love it loads! hint hint)

10. If you are thinking of blogging & engaging: Consider finding a niche and develop that niche and be an influencer.


If you would like to share more ways of increasing your digital influence online then please do leave a comment below. And yes that probably is the worst blog image ever posted above, just took a photo of the blog post I was writing.  It relates to influence though, so will stay until I think of something more creative.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

River Cottage eNews Love

Although I am a self confessed unsubscriber of eNews. I still get excited when I receive a thought out and well designed eNewsletter. This month I am praising the River Cottage newsletter for their content and multi channel integration.

View the River Cottage eNews online here:
My top five loves of this eNewsletter include:

1. Brand style
2. Calls to site/action
3. Content
4. Related social media links
5. And I especially like the fact that they are using the eNewsletter to promote/drive others with their community section (see photo).

One thing River Cottage 'could do better' is to consider the timing of the content rich eNews. I received this one (link mentioned above) at around 2pm. Open rate of the newsletter would work more effectively (re readership & engagement) if dispatch times were further considered.

Thoughts: The content rich e-news would better suit an evening slot, for those social media 'night time browsers' and 'midnight social media link delvers' like me. I would suggest a short bullet enews around breakfast time and follow it up with the meaty content after 6pm.

It's all about the timing ;)

Monday, 10 September 2012

Best Big Sister Ever Ode

Happy Birthday to my Big Sister Maxine,
If I was to rate her against a Pedicure she would be pristine,
She is the best Big Sister a Little Sister could ever need,
She talks a lot of sense and has a passion to succeed,
A fantastic role model and fabulous friend,
Although her OCD can sometimes drive you round the bend,
I love her so much and so pleased to have given her nephew Mason Tate,
He's such a lucky little man as she's simply great,
I am looking forward to holidays together when we are grey and old,
There will be lots of funny stories to be told,
Before this though, a happy birthday message needs to be displayed,
Well done Maxine for being you and for you I have hip hip hip horrayed x

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Calpol launch iPhone App

Late last night / early morning, after I has rubbed a Nelsons teething sachet into Masons gums, I noted that I had received an email from the Baby Centre website letting me know about the new Calpol App. First thought that was a well timed email (teething hour).

The App was super quick to download and on launch had a lovely feel to it. Very on brand too. I love the dial on the app allowing you to easily select what you want help with. The app also has some very gentle noises as you navigate to new information. More than one child can be registered on the app, which is useful if you use it to monitor dosages.

Calpol have done a great job at keeping an app focused on customer needs and also relating to their key products. A great job well done. (see edit note at base of blog for latest update).

Key features of the Calpol iPhone App are listed below:

Dosage diary – Enabling you to record does given and when you to repeat, with optional timer.

Find my nearest pharmacy or hospital – Uses your location to track the nearest places

Symptom checker – Providing a range of symptoms and conditions to help you find a suitable treatment

Temperature tracker – To help monitor temperatures over the course of an illness

Soothing lullabies – 4 tunes to help soothe your baby

History – To track doses and monitor temperatures

Information on immunisation – A guide to when you should immunise your children, which includes automated immunisation reminders

The new CALPOL® app for the iPhone is free and available for download now from the App Store.

Check it out. This is not a promoted post.

Edit note Feb 18th 2013: Wish the App had ability to add a dose for Calpol and a dose for another drug like Nurofen, also would be useful to monitor how much sleep the parent has actually had, before the poorly or teething baby strikes. Reason for parent sleep tracking, is so we don't have to have a conversation in the morning about the lack of sleep we have both had.  Nothing is achieved by discussing lack of sleep ;)

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Big Welcome to my little boy Mason Tate

In June 2011 we found out that we were expecting. After the 12 week mark was passed, I let my employer know. It was rather tricky to announce as it was at a time when we were expanding the Search Marketing division and I was recruiting for a new Search Marketing Executive (potentially two) due to increased wins in the field of Search Marketing (interviews already lined up). Thankfully we found a new graduate in online marketing to join and head up our team. Along with getting ready for the new recruit, giving our clients and partners the confidence that they were in good hands, processes were streamlined to assist the team and I provided several master classes in the field of white hat SEO, PPC and Social Media. As you can imagine from August to February it was very busy indeed and from about October to February, Pregnancy left me exhausted and five days a week life was very much "Work, Tea, Bed".     Marissa Mayer who joined Yahoo as CEO at 6 months pregnant may wish to note that fact, you may want to work, but your body says 'BED'.

I worked right up to a week before my due date. Thankfully little Mason was 2 weeks late, so this gave me time to consider the fact that "I was soon to be a mummy" and listen to my 'Effective Birth Preparation" Podcasts by Maggie Howell.

When Mason arrived on the 25th of February 2012, the lead up time to the arrival day became a distant memory.  I discharged myself the same day (I honestly thought I had been there longer) as we couldn't wait to get him home and settle him in to family life.  I had thought that I would be on call from work and blogging while baby Mason slept, alas Mason had other ideas. He was on a growth spurt for the first 3 months and wanted to be fed around the clock. When he did sleep you find yourself reading up about development milestones, sleeping patterns etc. Your life is very much baby, baby, baby along with making sure you find the time to let your partner know how much you love and appreciate them.

My employer has been fantastic and they have just got on with everything. Although I mentioned that, I would be accepting of phone calls whilst on Maternity leave, I haven't been contacted at all. This is greatly appreciated as the time with your baby from birth is so very very special. As you parade your baby around the streets for the first time, so many people say "awww they aren't that little for long, enjoy it".  As Mason reaches 6 months on Saturday, I am becoming one of those people who say that phrase to new parents.

At around 3 months into mummyhood, you do start to find time for yourself as you start to understand more about your babies cues that they are tired, hungry etc. But then you are then on catch up to do the paperwork you didn't do in your final months. Booking weigh ins, booking jabs, looking for nurseries, reading on the internet about sleeping patterns.  It's all go and I have loved it all.

At 6 months, I am now returning to work from the start of September. A childminder has been found from recommendation for a couple days a week and nurseries have been vetted by me and Mason and the winner will soon be announced. Mason is a real socialable baby so will love the interaction in the day with the other children. Most of the nurseries I took him to, he screamed with delight, so I won't have the guilty feeling of leaving him that some mothers struggle with. Although I will almost certainly miss him. The love that you have for your little baby is so different to anything I have every experienced before, it is much more than awesomely amazing. After sourcing on twitter, before returning to work, I have had support from a life coach, specialising in 'empowering mums', she talks to you about your core values and future aspirations. The initial talk with Tracy has helped loads, I will profile her some more on this blog, as it is something that I will be taking up again once the salary starts coming in (again). If you would like to find out more about it engage with Tracy on Twitter, or visit the Empowering Mums website and sign up to the inspiring newsletter.

Now I have written the above, about what I have been up to in the past year, I don't feel so guilty for not updating my blog. Priorities changed.
I am now back in the blogging game, pleased to return, feeling very ambitious as I look to provide support for the amazing little man in my life Mason.

I need to mention here too that I wouldn't be feeling as positive or ambitious if I didn't have the support from my amazing husband to be, Wayne (Aka Burb). He has been more supportive than I could ever imagined, he is the most amazing partner, Dad, friend that I could have wished for. I love him soooo much, and can't wait for our wedding day.

I am a very lucky mummy indeed.

Talking about how great my life is: I also have to mention that I have the bestest friends in the world and the most fantastic 'on call' parents. Not surprisingly my mum and dad are regular visitors and love their Grandson to bits, having already had two lovely Granddaughters, pleased that Mason can be their special boy.

See you very soon,

Sarah xx

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Web Lab at the Science Museum London

Science Museum Web Lab Logo

Google has teamed up with the Science Museum to create Web Lab, a year-long free exhibition which never sleeps. The exhibition opened
in July 2012. It looks so up my street, will be scheduling a visit for the new year.

The web lab exhibition features a series of interactive Chrome Experiments intended to inspire a new generation of computer scientists and enthusiasts.

To interact with the exhibition in realtime visitors can log on to where you will be invited to interact with the below five unique experiments.

My favourite Google Web Lab experiment is the 'Lab tab explorer'.

The Google Web Lab experiments:

Universal Orchestra: An Internet-powered eight-piece robotic orchestra.

Sketchbots: Custom-built robots able to take photographs and then sketch them in sand.

Data Tracer: A map that traces where the world’s online information is physically stored.

Teleporter: A series of web-enabled periscopes through which you can instantly access the world happenings.

Lab Tag Explorer: A real-time visualisation of all Web Lab visitors from around the world that groups and categorises participants in a clever way.

Google's Steve Vranakis, creative director of Web Lab, said: "The internet is incredible. It powers our lives everyday, allows us to explore the globe and lets us communicate with friends the world over. Until now, all this magic has remained locked behind our screens"

Web Lab opened - both in London and online on Thursday 19 July and is scheduled to run until Summer 2013. Entry to Web Lab is free.

More information can be found at the links below: