Monday, 31 January 2011

Sarah Brown to speak at CyberMummy11

What an exciting day it's been. I've been sitting on the amazing news that Sarah Brown will be delivering the CyberMummy11 keynote and it has been killing me. I'm pants at secrets but now it's all out in the open and I can get back to working out what the next surprise announcement is going to be!

For those of you who don't know, Sarah is the founder and President of PiggyBankKids, a charity that she founded in 2002 that supports charitable projects to create opportunities for children and young people in the UK. She's also Global Patron of the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood and a leading campaigner for maternal mortality.
On the social media front she really is one of us... and if you aren't already following her on Twitter, you'll find her @SarahBrownUK.
She's been involved in some really inspirational campaigns and I'm honoured that she's taking time out of her schedule to join us. 
Her book about life at the UK's most famous address, Behind the Black Door is published in March, so don't forget to bring your copy for her to sign.

The other thing that I will be totally be screaming about is next week's Social Media Week.
This biannual event is a global platform that connects people, content and conversation around emerging trends in social media. And it truly is global. 
Events will be taking place in London, Paris, New York, San Francisco, Toronto, Sao Paolo, Paris, Rome and Hong Kong. Last years events attracted more than 7,500 attendees and thousands more joined the conversation online.

On Thursday 10th February at 11am, Susanna, Jen and I (aka the CyberMummy team) take to the floor in a 'Meet the Bloggers' session hosted by LBi.

Here's what they are saying about us!
A Chance to meet the women behind the leading parenting and lifestyle blogs in the UK. get answers to your questions, including: How should brands interact with bloggers? What are the upcoming trends in 2011? What on earth is CyberMummy11? What does it take to become a respected blogger? Can you make a living out of it? Got a question you want to pose - sign up now and be a part of the conversation.
If you'd like more info - take a look at the Social Media Week site and wish us luck! 

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Silent Sunday, Happy Birthday Jay

Happy Birthday flower.

For Silent Sunday
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Were you Born To Write?

Are you a blogger looking to improved your writing skills? If the answer is yes, pop over to the Save the Children site to register for their free Born To Write blogging conference that's taking place on 26th February in London.
The day is in celebration of their new Born To campaign that launched earlier this week and will be packed full of workshops that are relevant to bloggers from all walks of life. 
I'll be speaking at one of the sessions along with my fellow Blogladesh bloggers Eva and Josie and the highlight of the day is an exclusive writing masterclass by best selling author Melivin Burgess.
The class will be an amazing opportunity to pick up tips from one of the UK's best selling authors but places are limited so you need to register now!

What : Save the Children Born To Write blogging conference.
When : Saturday 26th February 2011.
Where : Save the Children head office, St Johns Lane, London
Time : 9.30am to 4pm
How : Register here - it's free.
What you can do to help

See you there!

Friday, 28 January 2011

Journo Request... Brides Wanted

Did you have the wow-factor on your wedding day?
A women's glossy magazine is looking for case studies of brides who looked and felt fantastic on their wedding days. Perhaps you slimmed down for the big day, revamped your look and were looking bronzed and glowing?
We want to hear from Spring/Summer brides.

In return for sharing some weddings snaps and your story you'll get some gift vouchers plus the keepsake of the magazine article itself.

If you're interested, send a photo and some details to jessicapowell (dot) freelance at gmail (dot) com
Please include a contact number.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

The Gallery - Children

What an amazing theme for this weeks Gallery, I must have nearly 10,000 photographs cataloging my children's lives stored on my computer - so many that I wouldn't even know to begin.
Last year I met some amazing children, who despite living a poor existence without any of the home comforts that our children take for granted were so bright and alive.

This cheeky trio loved posing for me in Bangladesh.

And this cheeky trio.... well enough has been said about them already!

I'm sure the whole universe knows about The Gallery by now - but if you don't then stop by Tara's blog to find out all about it.

Stop press...
Two hours after posting I got an "I am offended' message from No1 son on Facebook... I'm guessing he's feeling left out despite no longer being a child, so here he is too. I could have chosen to be mean but I love this pic of him on Hunstanton beach. I think he was about14.
You all know I have a full on blogger family. Sonny has been a bit slack of late but that's because he's up to his eyeballs in construction kits (Lego & MegaBloks etc) but ModelGirl has her new Canon and she's not afraid to use it. Do stop by her Gallery post and please do leave her a comment. When you are 9 comments mean everything to you (hell they do when you are 38, so if you want to leave me a comment include your blog url and I'll stop by).

Looking for bloggers with newborn babies

Are you a blogger with a baby under 4 weeks old - or are you in the last few weeks of your pregnancy? 
If the answer is yes and you are interested in reviewing products on your blog can you please leave a comment with your blog url and I will be in touch.

Monday, 24 January 2011

Born To What?

I'm fresh out of the press launch for Save the Children's new campaign. I was honoured to be invited but even more honoured to hear CEO Justin Forsyth say that Blogladesh was the inspiration for what is set to be their biggest campaign to date.
It's quite simple really. We believe that 'No Child is Born to Die' yet statistically one child under the age of 5 does die every 4 seconds.

We were supposed to be interviewing celebrity ambassadors Amanda Mealing, who has traveled to Bangladesh herself and Natasha Kaplinsky who has just returned from a trip to India but instead we slipped into natural conversation about our shared experiences out in the field. We were united by the things that we've seen. Each one of us has looked into the eyes of a mother who is trying to come to terms with the loss of her child and had that look etched into our hearts. It's not something that I'm in a hurry to see again but as I've pledged to continue to support Save the Children it's only a matter of time.

Every child deserves a chance to live and every child deserves the chance to realise their potential. With your help - we can make that happen.

Show your support by adding a Twibbon to your Facebook and Twitter profiles, donate a little (£25 can buy enough medicine to treat 82 children with pneumonia), follow the campaign page on Facebook and realise your own dreams.
What were you Born To Do?

Me... I was born to challenge.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Are you looking for a CyberMummy Sponsor?

I know that lots of you still are still looking for a sponsor and despite me saying I don't have the time to facilitate the matching of brands with bloggers I still don't feel as though I can just turn my back on the whole thing. 
So, how is this? 
A central place for bloggers to post their sponsorship pitches and an easy to navigate list for brands looking for bloggers to hook up with.
So simple I'm surprised that I didn't think of it before. All you need to do is add your sponsorship post or pitch to the Linky and I'll send all brand enquiries this way. 
If you do secure a sponsor can you please let me know so that I can amend the list?
Good luck.

When the clock stops

Yesterday I read a great post on Slummy Single Mummy's blog about the lies we tell. It gave me the courage to come clean here.
I'm a bad mummy, it's true. 
Today the clock stopped working. I'm not talking biological clock here - this is strictly alarm clock (aka FunnyGirl) and at 9am (on a school day) our whole house was still in slumber. The shrill sound of my office phone woke me. I rolled over in disbelief that I was getting a work call so early when I saw the numbers on my bedside clock read 09:10.
Now to be fair I do sometimes (quite regularly) sleep through the whole morning thing as Yan has this rather good habit of slipping silently out of bed to get the kids ready for school, but today when I rolled in the other direction I realised he was dead to the world next to me!
I listened real hard for any signs of life downstairs... there were none. The kids were all dead to the world too.
Now, I know that it's really actually quite bad that we were (at this point) 30 minutes late for school but I have to say that I secretly thought it was FAB.
I've been a mum for 20 years (owch) and three out of my four children have been day break risers. We've tried the staying up later but that just results in grouchy kids and a doubly grouchy mum.
So today was like a new adventure. We ate waffles and the kids giggled. They were late for school. How fab? The only other time they have been late for school was the time I reversed my car into the house... but lets not go into that now.
They talked of bunking off and the things they could do. I jumped in and foiled their plans by calling school in the hope that I could still get them their school dinner (no bread in), only to be met with the response; "We thought you might have slept in, so we ordered their lunches anyway."
Clearly the school office manager is psychic but what the hell. 
Off they went at 10.30am with broad beaming smiles on their little faces and we all drew just that little bit closer with the knowledge of our naughtiness:)

Rewind a year to this post about Betty's early rising activity and you will totally get what a random thing today was.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Silent Sunday... Biba gets her Canon!

She's been wanting her own Canon since she started her blog. I was going to buy it for her birthday but she couldn't wait and bought it herself!
For Silent Sunday.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Help.. January birthday appeal...

I have a confession. Yes another one.
I'm shopped out.
That's not something that I say (ever). I love to shop, but for the first time (ever) I'm really lacking in drive and inspiration yet I have a daughter with a birthday looming and I know that I have to muster up that creativity from somewhere - because it isn't her fault that she was born at the end of the run.

For those of you who are interested, the run goes like this;
September - Daddy's birthday.
October - FunnyGirl's birthday.
November - My big brother's birthday, my birthday, Sonny's birthday, my other big brother's birthday. Four weeks. Four birthdays.
December - No1 son's birthday (Christmas Eve), Christmas, My Mum's birthday (Boxing day).
January - Our wedding anniversary and last but by no means least...... ModelGirl's big day.

I thought that No1 son had it tough with a pre Christmas birthday but actually it's ModelGirl that gets the bum deal. Hopefully Santa has been good to her and brought her all of the things that she wished for... and those little things that slipped his mind have been remedied with the help of the Christmas cash fairy.

So for better or for worse I decided to let her loose, with a budget of £100 on Her choice not mine - as she'd helped me pick out a few baby clothing sets for friends in the run up to Christmas and had her eye on a new pair of Ugg boots (as her feet have grown to clown proportions over the holidays).
This is her boot of choice. Ugg Australia Cardi boots £80 and selling out fast.
She felt very happy and grown up at choosing her own pressie, but I know that is a one time thing. This year has been a totally new entity for us having spend the last two months (plus) living and breathing their performance schedule in The King and I. Luckily for her, we have a surprise party planned for the day after her birthday with all of her new 'King and I' siblings. The ones that she loves but doesn't fight with - so I guess we have lucked out after all!
Do you have January birthdays? How do you make them special?

The CyberMummy100 Club Winners are.....

Thanks to everyone who helped me make this happen. It has been a bit of a nightmare - but we made it in the end!
If you are one of the winning numbers please email me so that I can get the information I need in order to process your ticket.

If you can't remember your number - you can check it here on the original post.
See you at CyberMummy11!

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

CyberMummy Ticket Comp - we have a winner

Thank you to everyone who took part in my 2010 round up photo meme. There were some great entries and ModelGirl and I had some heated debates in the run up to choosing the winner.
I gave her the final decision and this was her winning entry.

Any guesses whose it is?

Congratulations Kat - your post was ModelGirl's firm fav from the start - you win the CyberMummy11 ticket. We hope you can make it.
If you haven't already - do stop by Kat's blog Housewife Confidential.

Press Request - Do you want to Earn £100?

Do you have a lovely story of friendship?

A top glossy magazine is looking for a lovely story about two friends (women) where one did something really amazing for the other in terms of romance. So the kinds of stories might be:
- I found her a husband
- I let her date my ex – she married him
- I dumped him for her
- I canceled my wedding day for her
- I paid for her honeymoon

Anything along those lines where the one made a sacrifice or went out of their way to help the other find happiness in love/sacrificed their relationship for their friend for whatever reason.

The women need to be between 20-40. Their story would only be about 200 words so not too much detail (or time taken up to put it together). They would also need to have their photos taken at a shoot but they'd be paid £100 to attend.

If you're interested in getting involved please email me on jessicapowell dot freelance at gmail dot com with a bit about your story, a photo and your phone number.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Silent Sunday.... London

Picadilly Circus from the window of Ripley's Believe it or not!

For Silent Sunday.

How to hack your Facebook profile

I have to admit I hated the new Facebook profile and it's taken me ages to get used to it but then I hated it last time they changed it too. Which means I'm either stuck in my ways or that I've been on Facebook for way too long.
Then I came across a French artist called Alexandre Oudin who started the craze for customising your profile page to make it look like one large single image. Have a look at his Facebook profile to see what I mean. 
I love it and have spent this afternoon tinkering around to try to re-create the effect. After loads of errors I worked it out - and being the nice blogger that I am, here is my step by step guide on how to hack your profile page too!

You do need to know your way around some basic photo editing techniques to achieve this - but don't be put off as I've made all the mistakes already.

This was my Facebook profile page before I started.

And this is the image that I chose to work with to create my new profile.

This picture actually isn't great for this purpose but now that I have all of my measurements in hand and I can see how it works I'm going to trawl my archives for something better. I guess what I am saying is that for your first attempt it doesn't really matter what pic you use, just give it a go.

I edit my images in Photoshop - but if you don't have a program like this on your computer you can use a free online editor like Pixlr Express or Photoshop Express.

Step 1
To begin you need an image that is 682 pixels wide, this is the width of your Facebook page. Open your photo editor and crop your pic to this size. I'm going to call this your original image.

Step 2
The left hand portion of your image will become your main Facebook profile image. 
On my before pic above my profile photo is the small square but my new profile my image will extend right down the left column in a strip that is 180 pixels wide by 540 pixels high.
There are a couple of ways to do this. You can either take a crop of your original image (starting at the top, left hand corner and dragging down and right till you get the desired size), or what I did was create a new photoshop file 180 x 540 pixels and then I copied and pasted my original image into my new file - see below.
As you can see, this is the left hand side of my original image.
Save this, it will become your new profile pic.

Step 3
The next step is to create the five images that go across the top of your profile to make your photo strip. To do this go back to your original image and put in a ruler guide line 20 pixels from the top (you need this because your profile image sits slightly higher than your film strip).

Step 4
Then starting from your new guideline (20 pixels from the top) on the right hand side of your original image take a crop that is 492 pixels wide by 68 pixels high.
You now have a long image that looks like this.
Step 5
Next we need to turn this into your photo strip which is made up of five pics with a 2 pixel gap between each image. 
Each picture needs to be 96.8 pixels wide by 68 pixels high but make sure that you leave that 2 pixel gap between each one. 
I used the ruler / guides in photoshop to mark out my images and then deleted the gaps.  
Next, I copied each segment, created a new file, pasted the pic in and saved so that I had five new images - each one 96.8 x 68 pixels.

Step 6
That really is the end of the tricky bit. Now you just need up upload to your Facebook page.
Log into your account and click the 'Edit my Profile' link in the left hand menu.
From your 'Profile edit' page click 'Profile Picture' from the left hand menu.
Upload your new profile image (this is the long picture that you created back at step 2) and save it but don't tag it with your name. 
Your new profile image will now grace the left side of your profile page.

Step 6
Upload the five images that you created for your film strip. You do need to tag these images with your name but to make them appear in the right order you need to tag the image that is to appear on the right hand side of the strip first. Take a look at the order I tagged my images below.

And that is it....
My new profile page looks like this.

My image now extends across my profile and despite not being the right picture for the job it still does look pretty cool and will surfice until I choose a better one.
Have a go and let me know how you get on. Then come back and leave a comment with your profile url if you create something fab.
Happy hacking!

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Press Request - Have you found body confidence?

A top UK glossy magazine is looking for women to send in their photos of the moment they found body confidence and to share the stories behind them.

Maybe when you were pregnant you learnt to love a curvy figure and gained newfound respect for your body that you've held onto? Perhaps you're a sports lover and reached your physical peak after training for an event? Or maybe you pampered your way to your wedding day and felt you looked so stunning on it that you have kept up a new health/beauty regime since?

Any moment in your life that gave you happiness and confidence in your body (that you've held onto) would work - along with a pic showing that time.

If you'd like to get involved in this inspiring feature please email your photo and a couple of lines about your story to jessica dot powell at redwoodgroup dot net. She is looking forward to hearing from you!


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