• instagram for kids

    Social Media for Kids – What Parents Need to Know About Instagram

    This is the fourth in the series about Social Media for Kids, today dealing with what parents need to know about Instagram. Catch up on the earlier posts on Online Safety for Kids, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter first. One of the most popular Social Media sites for young people at the moment is Instagram. As an image-based mobile site, it is ideal for kids to get their first experience of social networking.

  • Parenting without Punishments

    Parenting Without Punishments

      When a friend recently talked about ‘Gentle Parenting‘, or parenting without punishments or rewards, I will admit to first having to look up the term, and second thinking that can’t possibly work.  After reading the list on this blog, I realised that I’d been practicing a version of this parenting philosophy, without knowing there was a name for it. There is no blueprint for successful parenting, and I wouldn’t say that I am an expert, but these are the tactics that have worked for me, and my family. 

  • i don't have time for social media
    Social Media

    Why You Should Be Using Buffer to Schedule Social Media Posts

      If you run a Social Media account for a blog, a business or a campaign, then this post will help you drastically reduce the time spent spent on this task. One of the reasons most often given by small business owners for not having a social media presence, or for giving it up, is the time spent scheduling and tracking posts and replying to updates. Help is at hand, via a nifty little app called BUFFER!  It is my absolute favourite tool for managing social media accounts, and I always recommend it. Buffer schedules updates for a variety of Social Media accounts.  Here are the functions that set it apart…

  • Review

    How to Write a Trip Advisor Review

    I love a good Trip Advisor review. Generally I use them as an aid to finding hotels to avoid.  Any mention of “hilarious holiday reps”, “fab poolside and evening entertainment” or “delicious all you can eat buffet with proper English grub!” tells me that I will hate the hotel, and should keep looking. Here are my top tips on how to write a Trip Advisor review.

  • writing

    Guest Post – My Make Up Day

    A good friend of mine wore make-up last week. You may be wondering why that is worthy of a blog post, but you see Millie doesn’t wear make up. Not that she rarely uses cosmetics. She NEVER wears make up. She doesn’t own any cosmetics at all.   She posted a photo on Facebook, and was debating whether to wipe it all off, when I suggested she leave it for the day and blog about the reaction of her friends and family. She has written about the word ‘cosmetic’ on her brilliant etymology blog here.

  • Parenting,  Review

    Review of The Yorkshire Shepherdess by Amanda Owen

    I interviewed ‘The Yorkshire Shepherdess’, Amanda Owen for Jump! Mag this week. When we started talking about raising children, Amanda had some great thoughts on allowing kids to explore and develop, that I wanted to share here.Amanda loves the isolation of Ravenseat, the farm in the Yorkshire Dales, but is connected to the rest of the world via a satellite dish that provides the farm with an internet connection. She discovered Twitter and started sharing tales of her life in 140 character chunks, accompanied by stunning photos. Her chatty informal style was a big hit; she has amassed over 7000 followers and recently published a book.The Yorkshire Shepherdess is reminiscent…

  • apple egg freezing

    Why Facebook & Apple Egg Freezing Won’t Get Women into Tech

      When I linked to an article on Jump! Mag about why Americans wash and refrigerate eggs, a follower on Twitter asked if I was referring to the story about Apple’s egg freezing offer. It seems that Apple and Facebook are offering a perk to women employees. The companies will pay for ‘ocyte-cryptopreservation’, so that their employees can delay having children until later in their careers. According to the Telegraph, the process  “typically costs between $10,000 and $15,000, plus an additional $1,000-a-year to keep the harvested eggs on ice.” What surprised me is that this story is being sold as an amazing way of encouraging women into tech companies. According…

  • Politics

    The Question of Independence

        I didn’t intend to write about this topic, but over the past few weeks I have become increasingly annoyed and disappointed at the direction the debate has taken. It seems to have descended to name-calling and point-scoring, which only serves to discourage engagement. I’m not singling out either side, as both have been guilty of this. The schadenfreude shown when pointing out mistakes of the other side, the glee when one of their own scores a point… it is all very unedifying and off-putting. I should state at this point that I shall be voting ‘No’, so if you are only here to find arguments in favour of Scottish…

  • Review

    Make Your Mother’s Day with an Online Flower Delivery – Bloom and Wild

      If you want to order flowers online for Mother’s Day on March 30th, then I have a great tip for you. I discovered Bloom and Wild Online flower service just before Christmas and have been using them since. With Mother’s Day coming up, I thought it would be a good time to review the company.    I love having flowers in the house, and regularly pick up a bunch of blooms at the supermarket. When I lived in Germany, I would shop at the little flower shop on the corner of our road but here in UK, I find the shops expensive and the flowers never seem to last…

  • parents need to know about twitter

    Social Media for Kids – What Parents Need to Know About Twitter

        This is the third of a series about Social Media, taking a look at the advantages and the pitfalls for kids. It is important that we parents know why our kids want to use Social Media, and what advantages there are in knowing how to use it – and use it safely. Today, we move on to find out what parents need to know about Twitter.    If you haven’t already – do read my article on Keeping Kids Safe Online – dealing with parental controls and blocks.             Rules and Regulations of Twitter   As I mentioned in my post on Facebook, there is a…

  • eSafety,  Social Media

    Social Media for Kids – What Parents Need to Know About YouTube

        This is the second in a series on Social Media for Kids, and what parents need to know about the various online communication platforms. At present the most popular Social Media channel is Facebook, but YouTube is becoming more and more popular. This post explains why your kids what to use this channel, and what parents need to know about YouTube.   If you haven’t already – do read my article on Keeping Kids Safe Online – dealing with parental controls and blocks.             Rules and Regulations of YouTube   You don’t have to sign up to use YouTube, anyone can view the videos on…

  • eSafety

    Social Media for Kids – What Parents Need to Know About Facebook

      This is the first of a more in-depth look at various Social Media channels, first – what parents need to know about facebook.      Remember when you got that first car seat for your baby, and you struggled to fit it into the car correctly? Perhaps you were like me and couldn’t work out where the seat belt straps were supposed to go.  If you had said, ‘Oh, I can’t work these new-fangled car seats; back in my day we all just piled into the car’, and suggested that your baby travels without one, your friends and family would have reacted with incomprehension. Why would you not learn how to…

  • Social Media

    How to Participate in a Twitter Chat

        This online version of  a party or mini-conference can be educational, informative and a lot of fun, but some people are unsure how to participate in a Twitter Chat. If you are new to Twitter, then start by checking out the article on Simple Steps to Learn Twitter to work out the basics. Twitter Chats are often held on specific days, at a set time to connect people with an shared interest. Participants use a hashtag to find each other’s tweets and keep track of the chat. I often take part in #dundeehour and #scotlandhour and occasionally run the #mnlocal chat for the Local Editors of the parenting website Mumsnet. …

  • quirky coo dundee
    Review,  Scotland

    New in Dundee – Quirky Coo Gift Shop

      This past weekend, I was hurrying up Union Street in Dundee on my way into town when I caught a glimpse of snow flakes and glitter in a shop window. Hang on, I thought, I didn’t know there was a shop there. I nipped across the road to take a closer look and discovered the Quirky Coo. Inside the shop, which I realised used to be a golf shop, I was warmly greeted by the owners David and Viv. Their adventure into the retail trade began about a month ago, after many years of working together in the public sector. The Perth-based friends see great potential in Dundee, and the location…

  • Feminism

    Feminism and Motherhood – On Choice, Criticism and Self-Confidence

    The organisers of Mumsnet Blogfest set the question, ‘Can Feminists be Mummybloggers’ at a rather volatile panel discussion yesterday. I won’t say much about the events of yesterday, as I didn’t attend, but did want to look at the feminism and motherhood issue. If you want to read a bit of the background, you can find a list of blogs on Louise’s post on this matter.  This post is going to be a game of two halves, and if you like football, do follow the shameless plug to find out about Jump! Mag‘s search for an aspiring journalist to cover the UEFA U17 Women’s Championship Finals.    An event such…

  • review big cup little cup nespresso
    Gadgets,  Review

    Review Big Cup Little Cup Nespresso Alternative

      I recently received an email suggesting I review Big Cup Little Cup Nespresso alternative capsules. I don’t normally do reviews on the blog, but I was interested in this product so agreed to do so. They had discovered my blog post about the Nespresso machine, that I wrote quite some time ago, and asked me to try out their capsules. I was quite tempted to see the if Big Cup Little Cup coffee could take on the giant Nespresso. The Nespresso story is an interesting one. We often drove past the Headquarters and production plant in Switzerland, and while we lived there they seemed to be constantly growing and…

  • forgans st andrews
    Fife,  Review

    Restaurant Review of Forgans St Andrews

      The town of St Andrews is world famous for many reasons – Scotland’s first university was founded here in 1413 and town is of course home to the game of golf. The oldest golf manufacturers, Forgan’s of St Andrews was established here. The former factory site of the club manufacturer, in the heart of St Andrews has undergone a spectacular transformation, with the opening of the restaurant Forgan’s in 2013. This review of Forgans St Andrews was not requested or paid for by the restaurant. A hidden gem, Forgan’s is located behind the popular Mitchell’s Deli on Market Street. The covered passageway is lined with pots of herbs, giving…

  • Review

    Review of Kitschnbake Cafe in Newport, Fife

      Just across the river from Dundee, is the sweet little town of Newport, and Cafe Kitschnbake. I’ve long been a fan of Mary-Jane and her incredible Tunnocks Teacake Brownies, so when she invited me along for a sneak peek of her new cafe last night, it would have been terribly rude not to go. Plus, I reckoned that she’d probably make the aforementioned Brownies. The cafe is situated near the little harbour, and through the newly installed bifold doors, the visitor can enjoy an unrivaled view over the silvery Tay to Dundee. Fitting the name of the business, the decor is a little bit kitsch, quite colourful and very welcoming.…

  • Social Media

    The Best Twitter Client – Hootsuite vs Tweetdeck

      If you’ve been using Twitter for a while, you may find that as you follow more people, it becomes increasingly difficult to keep track of them. Your timeline whizzes by, and you realise that you are missing updates from people you find interesting, or from real life friends.  Another common issue is when you are managing more than one Twitter account, eg.  you have a private and a business account, or you run  a charity twitter account. Instead of logging in and out of Twitter, try one of the Twitter Clients. There are others but I am going to give you a simple overview of the main contenders for…

  • eSafety

    Crazy About One Direction – Teens and Social Media

    Twitter was ablaze last night with disparaging comments about a group of young girls, known collectively as ‘Directioners’ – the fans of the group One Direction.  The reason for the discussion was a report about a group of Directioners, who were interviewed and followed by a camera team from Channel 4, as the journalists attempted to find out – Why are these girls Crazy About One Direction?       Directioners have a fierce reputation, and have recently been featured in GQ, who wrote about the Most Terrifying Responses to our One Direction Covers.  GQ had revealed their new covers, which included quotes from 1D, which some Directioners objected strongly to.…

  • social media campaign
    Social Media

    Simple Steps when Running a Social Media Campaign

      Twitter is often seen as a quick fix to getting a lot of attention for a campaign or charity. It can be very useful, but there are a few pitfalls that should be avoided. Here are some tips to help you run a successful Twitter campaign Whether you are campaigning to raise money for charity, or to raise awareness of an issue, you will likely be looking for the greatest possible public exposure without spending any money on advertising. You might be told, ‘Sign up to Twitter, is great for getting publicity‘, which is not wrong but it is not quite that simple. Here are a few tips on…

  • is creative work worthless

    Is Creative Work Worthless?

    ‘Was nix kostet, ist nix wert’   This German saying, which means, ‘What costs nothing, is worth nothing’ is one I use a lot. Lately I have been using it a lot when talking about payment for writing, and it came to mind when I read this blog post from writer, Nate Thayer, who was asked if he would be interested in having one of his articles republished on The Atlantic website. When he asked about format, deadline and fees, he was informed that while the Atlantic would like to publish his work, they were not willing to pay him for it. His reply:   I am a professional journalist who has made my…

  • Feminism

    Volkswagen Small But Tough Girl vs Barclay Precious Pink Girl

    No, Barclays. This is NOT how I see my daughter’s relationship with her father.       I have been known to throw things at the TV when that advert comes on. As this blogger notes, ‘Unconditional Love’ does not mean raising selfish kids. We may give up sleeping through the night and drinking tea while it is hot, at least for the first few years, but we draw the line at giving up our entire lives for our kids It is no sacrifice, the changes that we have made since becoming parents. It is being part of a family, and making compromises to ensure that everyone in the family…

  • Social Media

    Can A Day Without Technology Change My Life?

    Could you do a day without technology, Joanne Mallon asked.  ‘Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo’, I shrieked, while clutching my iPhone close to my chest.  When I got over the shock of the mere premise, I read Joanne’s blog post, and the blog of her daughter who originally set the challenge, I started thinking about it. I was surprised last week to hear that the first iPad was revealed to the public just three years ago. Is it only three years? It feels like an eternity. I bought my first iPhone when we moved to Geneva, five years ago, and I now cannot imagine how I lived without it. 

  • Review

    Best Twitter Tips For Writers

    For any self-published authors out there – I have blogged on Off The Shelf Book Promotions about publicising your book on Twitter. This post gives basic Twitter tips for writers, to help you hit the ground running when you sign up to Twitter.    Debbie’s book Sell Your Books aims to help self-published authors market their books. It is concise, well-written and chockablock with useful tips, from identifying your target market, planning your strategy to getting media coverage. While it is a must-buy for those who have published their own books, it also contains plenty of tips for those who are working with a publisher. As Debbie says, ‘If you…

  • eSafety

    The Social Media Generation

    Most schools offer good advice, and have policies in place to tackle cyberbullying, but what about the wider implications of our kids being the first Social Media Generation? They have grown up with Facebook and Twitter, they are used to their lives being shared online. My kids say, ‘Put that on YouTube’ when I filmed the dog doing something funny. They have not yet learned the dark side of the internet.  I have written about keeping kids safe on the internet, but how should we be teaching our kids about Social Media, and the long term implications of what they are tweeting or facebooking.   I have had conversations with teachers who admitted…

  • Parenting

    Raising Girls vs Raising Boys

    The comparison between raising girls vs raising boys is one that I have been making these past years. My children have conformed pretty well to the ‘gender stereotyping’ by being sensitive, artistic and the peacemaker (my daughter) vs rowdy, maths and science fan and dominant (my son).  A friend recommended the book by Steve Biddulph, “Raising Boys” a few years ago. I glanced through it, but really didn’t get on well with it. I can’t remember much about it, or why I put it down, but was interested to hear that Steve has followed up with a book about girls, called (predictively) Raising Girls.   On Radio 2 this morning,…

  • Feminism

    Mary Robinson Everybody Matters

    When Mary Robinson speaks, people listen.  Not because she is the former President of Ireland, and the former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, but because she is an inspiring and compelling woman.    My ten year old daughter and I went to hear her give the Christmas Lecture at Dundee University this weekend, and were not in the least disappointed. I had heard Mary talk at the London Summit of Family Planning earlier this year, when her speech was sadly cut short as she had a plane to catch. The scent of mulled wine and a sense of anticipation filled the air of the foyer when we arrived. As the…

  • Social Media

    Simple Steps to Promote with Social Media

        Started a blog for your business or have a campaign to promote with Social Media? It may look complicated, but just follow these six simple steps.   1. Twitter Since I started using Twitter to promote my blog, I have gained a lot of readers. And more people comment, both on the blog or on Twitter. And let’s be honest, that is what we are all looking for, us bloggers. As much fun as it is to write, it is a lot more fun if people are reading and enjoying the blog. For a business, you are looking to connect to your customers, and to strengthen customer loyalty. If you don’t…

  • Feminism

    Avoid The Knife – FGM in Kenya

        I met Vivian in Nairobi. We were told that we were to meet a young woman who had narrowly escaped Female Genital Circumcision (FGM), a practice that is barbaric and abusive. She had escaped being cut, not because of the intervention of Western aid workers or other incomers to her rural Kenyan community, but because her parents forbade it. The Luo community, to which Vivian and her parents belong do not practice FGM, but she grew up in a Kuria community where girls are cut. It is seen as a rite of passage,  which most girls eagerly anticipate . When Vivian’s parents refused permission for her to be cut,…