Well It’s Been A While

Oh dear Lord it has been far too long, I am great at blogging for my clients and terrible at blogging for myself!

I’ve been busy learning and working, working and learning. I think I’ve got working from home down to a fine art now! I’m very strict with my timetable, I regularly organise and reorganise my work space to make sure it’s clear of clutter but has just the right amount of inspiration as well as hidden snacks!

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I’ve also been focusing on my own writing as well as my client contracts, getting published and even refreshing my Creative Writing & English Literature degree by enrolling in a continued learning novel writing class.

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As the pictures suggest I believe that learning or developing new skills can be really good for your health, especially for your mental health so as the nights draw in and outdoor pursuits aren’t as much of an option I’ll be knitting, writing about knitting and trying to write some sort of novel – trying being the operative word here. I’ll keep you posted on how it all goes!

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Bound for Bormio

Last week I couldn’t put anything up because I was working in Bormio, Italy. Not my normal day job as I was helping ski club, Dragons Alpine Racing, with their camp to the English Alpine Championships 2016.

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I was assisting with the training and racing of the Under 10s and Under 12 age group – the minis! I’m normally out at events under my professional capacity in Digital Marketing and Comms, which involves a lot of standing around at the top and bottom of races, waiting to interview the winner, waiting for the right photo opportunity, ducking and diving in and out of restaurants in search of a wifi connection, and all in all I love it, however, I can’t deny that it was good to have my skis and boots back on!

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Despite the early mornings and late nights, the general sense that I could use a good day in bed, I actually feel really energised. I got back on Sunday and being happily self-employed and all, I was planning a big lie-in on Monday morning but actually I woke up very early and completely ready for the whole week ahead. I gave my much-missed cat a quick cuddle, went and got myself a cup of tea and got down to business, my leisurely lie-in a distant memory!

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One thing that I learned this week is that a lot of the time, to get a job done and to have a good experience in the process, it is vital to let go. Let go of what people think of you, let go of the constant worry that you’re not doing a good enough job and start focusing on just doing the job at hand to the very best of your ability, trusting in your ability and just enjoying the ride. Last week I found myself standing in a start gate, in front of a lot of people I’ve known for years and who’s opinions of me I’ve cared about for years, yelling a silly mantra I came up with in training that the kids I was working with completely loved and asked me if I would do in the start gate, so I did and I completely got over the initial embarrassment I felt, the kids did really well in the race and I discovered a new sense of happiness and freedom that comes from trusting in your instincts and letting go.

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It was a wonderful week, I did a good job, I had a great time and I can’t wait to go back next year! Another lesson in confidence that being self-employed has taught me, it’s been a year and I’m still learning and I don’t think I will ever stop…

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My Week in Sport & in Business!

This week has so far been a good week! I had a meeting on Monday with an ongoing client and meeting on Tuesday with a new one!

I’m also training for the Cardiff 10k in September, I hate running so this is no mean feat. I’m doing two miles so far, don’t laugh if your average run is a 7k because I’m really trying here!

My new clients and my running ambitions sort of go hand in hand because I seem to be getting more and more clients in the sporting industry, which is great because I may be a terrible runner but I do love sport in general, and working with National Governing Bodies for over five years now has given me a really clear understanding of the challenges that those in the sport industry face, whether it be restrictions caused by funding, widening participation, disability in Sport, doping and Performance Enhancing Drugs, changes in sport legislation, youth participation or grassroots level activity.

In my work with NGBs and other sporting businesses I have found that digital marketing is a hugely cost effective way of over coming any and all of these challenges, but I would say that because I am a digital marketing! So if you want to find out for yourself, then give me a call, let’s have a chat about your sporting business, I’d love to hear your story!

Recent Travels!

So I know I always bang on about how important it is to have an updated blog, but very rarely post one myself, this is bad practise, bad me, but in my defence I’m usually always too busy keeping my clients’ blogs up to date, just like they’re normally too busy with their clients to keep their blogs up to date which is why they need me…and the circle continues!

Every now and again my job takes me away from my computer screen and to lovely and interesting places so that I have an even better excuse for not keeping my blog up-to-date, last week was one of those times.

In my capacity as part-time Digital Marketing and Communications Officer for National Governing Body, Snowsport Wales, I found myself covering the Welsh Alpine Ski Championships in Champery, Switzerland. I went with my trusty Lumix camera, which I take with me to every event I cover and managed to get some good snaps of the races. The excitement, the competition, the warm-ups and most of all the amazing weather!P1010247This annual race event took place from 19th-22nd of January in the beautiful and traditional resort of Champery, where it has been held for the past 10 years. This meant that after prize giving there were 10 year anniversary celebrations including a live outdoor concert, a huge Welsh flag cake and a good old Welsh sing-a-long with locals, racers and organisers.P1010862The four days of competition included two days of international FIS races followed by two days of British competitions. The international competitions included twenty nations represented from as far afield as USA and India. The British races were also attended by a regional team of under 16 year old competitors from USA, seeking to gain some additional training and early exposure to international competition.P1000762

P1000803For many young competitors, the Champs is an opportunity to gain important experience and check out their current and future competition, especially as these races were also attended by the regional squad from Western USA.P1000828P1000836P1010358Judging by the success of this year’s event, 2017 is set to be a championships to look forward to and I can’t wait to return! Providing live social media and PR services to events is an aspect of my job that I really love, bring on the next one!P1010331P1010260P1000898P1010601P1010602P1010603P1010604To read the full press release I wrote for the event please visit the SSW website. For examples of the social media channels I manage also feel free to like SSW on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

I just have one very important thing to say…

THE NEXT BOND FILM COMES OUT ON MONDAY!

Who doesn’t find that exciting? I’ve always loved Bond films, even since I was a child. In fact I recently re-watched all the Pierce Brosnan films from the 90s and was shocked (and a little horrified) at all the cheesy and mostly highly sexist innuendos. Which makes me even more excited that we’ve reached an age in Bond films where the sexual innuendos have fallen by the wayside, making room for strong, independent Bond girls and a James Bond with feeling and depth, instead of a 00 who’s about as deep as a puddle after it’s drizzled.

I never go to the cinema these days, simply because it’s really expensive and it’s too dark for me to do my knitting while I watch the film but for Spectre I’m going to push the boat out – get the special tickets in the special area with no children, free nachos, a bar area and HUGE comfy seats. So in the spirit of a) loving Bond and b) making sure my blog is up to date and relevant (because I’m a freelance digital media marketer, did I mention that?) I’ve put together a few bullet points to describe why I, woolly, Marple loving, knitting crazed woman that I am, love James Bond.

  • Well for starters, what woman (or man for that matter) in their right mind wouldn’t love James Bond? Gone is the Neanderthal of past films (and decades), he has been replaced by a deep and quite sensitive character. Someone who feels their kills and has a secret and damaging past, which gives him a keen sense of emotion and a real vulnerability. Simply put, you know that he’d beat someone up if they threatened your honour, but would let you hold him while he cried afterwards. Plus he looks great in a DJ. Completely unrealistic/highly attractive.
  • The story line. I love a fluffy white cat as much as the next crazy cat lady but with a more complicated bond has come refreshingly more complicated plot lines. Finally we’ve moved on from baddies from Russia wanting to take over the world and have got men that bleed from their eyes, female agents who have secret Norwegian lovers, completely mental and sinister blond hispanic men with seriously homo-erotic undercurrents (my apologies but I must exclude all references towards The Quantum of Solace – I have no idea why it was made, I’m not happy about it and I never want to see it ever again. End of.) and Aston Martins that re-start hearts and roll over seven times in a car chase – which is a world record by the way, the most rolls ever to have been managed in an Aston Martin car crash. Aston Martins are almost impossible to flip because they’re basically just race cars allowed on roads, which brings me nicely on to my next point…
  • …I LOVE Aston Martins. Again – knitting, cats, sherry… but also damn fast cars, I don’t see why I can’t combine them all at the same time (I do…cats can’t drive). The only down side to this is that usually, if not always the beautiful, awe-inspiring Aston ends up as a really expensive pile of rubble. Particularly painful in Skyfall when that happens to a beautiful vintage DB5 – it’s VINTAGE – it can’t be made again! Doesn’t Sam Mendez know that?!
  • Speaking of – Sam Mendez = genius. Can’t for the life of me figure out why Kate Winslet divorced him, although one presumes that genius’ are hard to live with. I’ve always been a fan of his work but never guessed that he could do spy so well. I think Spectre may be his final foray into the Bond franchise, but I hope not.
  • Okay, the clothes. I make a lot of clothes so I spend my life staring at items of clothing to figure out how they’re put together and ultimately if I could replicate them at my own humble sewing machine. These clothes that I study are often on other people, leading to an awkward amount of starring, it can make people uncomfortable, until I explain… and then sometimes afterwards. If you’re obsessed with clothes then there’s no better film than bond – I can stare and evaluate to my heart’s content.
  • As an add-on to my previous point, like everyone else I adore the glitz and glamour, the utter indulgent escapism that a Bond film offers. I think that is a timeless quality of Bond. The very first Bond book (Casino Royale) was released when the UK was still experiencing rationing. It offered a luxurious escape to austerity in the 1950s and it offers a luxurious escape to austerity now and that’s something I think everyone needs.

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I’d love to hear from you about your favourite Bond film or reason why you love the James Bond franchise, even if you don’t like it – I want to know why! In the meantime, I’m off for a martini and you know it’s not going to be stirred…

Weekly Blogs

I do apologise for not having put up a blog for a couple of weeks, I have unfortunately not been very well because of that whole ‘Something’s Going Around’ season. I was stricken down with a nasty cold and then as soon as I started feeling better I contracted food poisoning – because I’m lucky like that.

One of the benefits from working for yourself and from home is that if you can’t drag yourself to your desk, you can drag your laptop to your bed and work from there (hygienic). However, this does mean that all energies go on client work and the first thing to fall by the wayside was my own business things; website, social media, etc. So for the first time I found myself with the exact same predicament as my clients!

I’ve been really annoyed that I haven’t been able to put up a blog for two weeks because I know only too well how important it is. My stats speak for themselves. I work from WordPress so there’s this very useful little scale of visitation at the top left hand side of the window every time I look at my website, when I’m putting up regular blogs it’s a nice little up and down pattern of visits but the past two weeks – barren.

And it’s not just getting visits to my website but my SEO too. Google really respects regularly refreshed content when it comes to websites but of course you can’t just try changing the wording of your home page every couple of weeks so it says the exact same thing but in a different way (can anyone say Thesaurus?), which is where your blog comes in. With a blog you can ensure that your website has the kind of engaging, regularly updated content that Google looks for when deciding your Search Engine ranking. It can also set you apart as an authority in your field. However, as I can now sympathise, in the depth of your growing ‘To Do’ list, this doesn’t really seem like a good enough reason to sack off looming deadlines and client meetings for a good couple of hours arranging and writing a month of blogs for your website. Which is where I come in!

I’m not going to go ahead and plug all that I can do because that’s not what blogs are for either, suffice to say, I can take the task off your hands. With the extra time you can get on with other work…or go and watch the rugby…yeh that’ll be watching the rugby then.

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All ye might God of rugby, shine your light of victory down on us this weekend. Amen.

Five Reasons Why…

…I Love Living in Cardiff!

I was born and brought up in Cardiff but when I moved to Switzerland at age 18 I didn’t think I’d be moving back here for a long time, if ever. However, skip ahead eight years and here I am, happily settled in this beautiful capital city! I’m very proud of my home town so I thought I’d list a few reasons why!

  1. (This is perhaps the most important one) I own a house here! I used to live in Bath and then Bristol and both are completely wonderful cities to live in, however, if I ever wanted to actually own my own stack of bricks and mortar I knew I would some day have to move. Now I have my first lovely little house, which I’m incredibly happy in – good job really because it serves as my office too!
  2. Number one brings me rather nicely on to point two, which is that I can afford to really enjoy this city (even as a self-employed person!). When I lived in Bristol I loved the whole buzz of the city, however what with the high cost of living and all, I could seldom afford to partake in it. Cardiff has recently been listed as one of the top cities in the UK for quality of life and the ratio of salary and living costs is great here – there is also so much going on and now I can actually afford to partake in it all!
  3. Again, my previous point leads me very smoothly on to my next: this is a vibrant city with so much happening. There is never a moment when my husband and I can’t think of anything fun to do. There are seasonal festivals in the area I live, there are pop-up cinema nights here and all over the city, I find there is always something interesting going on down the bay, we are lucky enough to have some amazing cultural facilities; beautiful museums; great music venues and theatres; a wonderful national orchestra as well as the WNO and the pubs – all the PUBS!  I could go on and on and on and on…
  4. The people here are so friendly! Having lived elsewhere in the UK and Europe I can honestly say that this is the friendliest place I’ve ever resided. I get a bit shocked when I go elsewhere and find that the person I’m buying my sandwich off at lunch doesn’t return my chatty conversation. I love that I get to know a little (or in some cases a lot!) about everyone I come across throughout my day, it really makes a difference.
  5. It’s my home! Even when I lived away and thought I was going to remain on the other side of the bridge (fool), whenever I drove across it I felt this lovely sensation – a feeling of being instantly more comfortable, of being welcomed back into my homeland (I’m going to burst into song any minute now). I think it’s a feeling of true belonging. I could not be happier that I’m back here for good and that I’ve made it the base of my growing business!

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What is it that you love about South Wales?