Sunday, 30 December 2012

Another tip from Successful Speaking Coach, Kim Chamberlain

Loaded with information and ideas, I found Kim Chamberlain's 'Better Speaking, Better Thinking' ebook a great place to find refreshing tips to brush up on and build up my confidence around presentation skills. Speaking and thinking styles including Edward do Bono's 'Six Hats' system encourages an assortment of ways to develop one's own presentation style. Including strategies, structure techniques, communication and even potential problems 'If your mind gores blank', Kim seems to have all possibilities covered. By the time I'd read the text in full, I felt much more prepared to face my forthcoming presentations. Since then, I often refer to the text to prompt and refresh my presentations. My tips: Not to be missed - Excellent value.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Successful Women: A guide to achieving success in six life areas

Hi everyone, well in particular, Successful Women or to be more precise, women who want to be successful. Check out my friend's new kindle offering ...

Successful Woman; a guide to achieving success in six life areas by Kim Chamberlain:

I would definitely recommend Kim's Successful Woman: A guide to achieving success in six life areas. Not only is this fast pace easy-to-read for women on the go, I find it a treasure to dip into when I'm feeling fractionally negative. Kim's tips, ideas and prompts help me to stay positive and challenge myself to higher levels of achievement.
Great Christmas present and terrific value. [I'm sending it to my friends' kindles for Christmas - but don't tell them]

Check it out - at 77pence, it's Great for Christmas presents!


Sunday, 2 December 2012

Writing a novel with support ...

Thought this writing course looked cool and felt I should pass the information on ...

I really, really, really fancy trying this:

Unfortunately and fortunately, I'm busy with this ...

Interactive Activity Pages for Support workers to help identify broader needs of 
children, young people and adults
Personal Memory Joggers ~ to help prompt memory and social interaction
Activity Pages for Care and Dementia Homes, Carers and Care Coordinators
School Student Support Services ~ Early intervention ~ Identify difficulties and needs 

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Carers Centres & Schools

Good Afternoon everyone,
Yesterday, I had the opportunity to display Happy Days Interactive Activity Pages and associated products to members of the caring services who support young carers. Chief Officer, Michelle Smith of The Blackpool Carers Centre, presented the 'Children Who Care' one day conference at the Hilton Hotel, Blackpool.

After two hours sleep, I loaded the car up with Happy Days books, samples and pro to-type products and found myself at 7.30am prompt for what turned out to be an interesting, exciting and fruitful day.

Professor Saul Becker; University of Nottingham, presented his MACA findings and explained the 'how to' and 'how not to' to an absorbed audience which included myself.

I'd like to thank Michelle Smith for the opportunity to share my early intervention resources and to the many people who took the time to view, enquire and consider my resources which help to identify the broader needs of children, young people and adults.

It was truly wonderful to meet everyone and discuss the benefits of the Happy Days Pages, how the simple-to use interactive pages can complement assessment frameworks; how the Happy Days Pages can help to identify broader needs, how the easy-to-follow system can be designed to suit your Care Centre, school or community requirements:

All About Me
My Caring Day
Identify Needs
Identify Feelings
Change and Reconstruction
Motivation and Goals
Self Care

* Also available: Bullying / Cyber-bullying / Exam tips / Social issues plus more.
* Pages can be made to suit your request, sensitive issue or social topic.
* Activity Pages and Life Story Jotter for Care Homes.

Please contact me by phone or email if you wish to discuss anything in detail, specific requirements, place an order or book a visit,
Gillian Hesketh MA
Happy Days Publishing for contact details.

Friday, 2 November 2012

Word Palette

Saw this and thought of you

Short simple writing exercise to help when describing settings.

I think Lee Howell's idea speeds up the process at a time when describing something alludes you ...

Check it out  ...  What do you think ?


Thursday, 1 November 2012

Wordpool Festival Words ... Blackpool

Not only is it Blackpool Wordpool Festival of Words - check it out this week till 16th November but you have 3 more nights to see the famous Blackpool Illuminations ...

Blackpool Festival of words ...
Writerly stuff, stories, diaries, playwriting, workshops ... the list is endless.

More at:

follow the links or pick up a brochure at Blackpool, Cleveleys, Fleetwood and Fylde Coast Libraries ...

Enjoy, Gillian

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Is it Fate ?

Well, is it? Fate?

I'd decided that it was time to concentrate fully on my new 'day job' - which is actually 18/7 - and I'm pretty serious too! And as Hilary Devey on Dragons Den said, 'It's what we do dear' to one of the young female entrepreneurs who seemed to thing starting up your own business would be 9 - 5.

I'm used to long hours so that doesn't phase me - but over the past few months, so many 'things' have been falling into place that I'm beginning to wonder why? how-come?

Some years ago, I fell into a 'return to study' situation that I'd not expected. I'd been trying to sign up for a popular computer course which was full. I bumped into an acquaintance who was signing up for Law GSE 'O' Level. 'Come with me' she said. So I did. I wasn't giving up at the first hurdle - and didn't stop until I'd received my English Literature, Linguistics, Creative Writing and Masters Degree in Lancaster a few years ago ... and I'm not quite sure I'm stopping there !

It's true, I've spent years studying and researching Power and Language - Speech and Thought - Memory - Educational Studies, joining writing groups, practising my craft - and now - everything seems to be coming together at last.

So, I could say it's FATE ...
Was it FATE that the computer course was full? - or I could say that ...

Since my degrees, I'd written a number of projects which I was interested in pursuing. But which?
So, taking a deep breath, I decided to flaunt my ideas - and see which project made the most noise.

Right - so - er - what now - er - Unless I started networking, facing people with my ideas, no-one would know about the various writing projects juggling for pole position Disney-esque style on the book-shelves in my study.

Actively networking changed everything - or was it FATE that I bumped into certain people at a particular time in my life - who unknowingly changed the direction of my writing?

Even though I'm quite out-going, inside, I'm shy - but I had to make sure people knew I was out there and available for business - writing projects, charity work ...

At one meeting, I found myself sitting next to a newspaper editor. At another, a Care Home Owner. At family celebration, a Senior School Headmaster. On the train, I met a Psychologist, another time, a  Business Mentor ... the list goes on. I must admit, the timing of everything / everybody in relation to the stage of my writing project was occasionally 'weirding me out.'

From the networking came a request to edit some work for a children's cancer charity. Sad work you might think, but I was honoured to be able to help in some way - and especially lucky to be doing it in a way which I enjoyed.  However, volunteering my work created a profound opportunity ...

At the very first editing meeting, someone - someone who happened to be the CEO of a reputable company [more later],  noticed my images and text from Creative Writing Workshops that I'd run ~ Interactive Pages to help people express feelings. Less than five minutes after the end of the meeting, I'd been commissioned to write for the CEO's company. So was that FATE - that this person just happened to be at the meeting?

Or was it because this person was at the first networking meeting I'd attended and she'd heard me flaunting my ideas?

For the first time, I began to work on one writing project only - and it felt good. I took all the other half-finished projects off the shelf [Disney orchestra is now backing a tune played by the smallest violin in the world], stored them carefully in the bottom drawer of the filing cabinet - and moved on.

Whilst writing my commission, ideas were continually flooding into my head at a terrific speed and I realised two things - 1] how my work, edited into different styles and topics could be beneficial to all Care Service or School Support Workers when identifying needs of young people and adults experiencing difficulties in life - I recognised that even more research was required -   2] how I needed to totally immerse myself in art, music, language ...

Timing was perfect - It was September - college enrolment time - [Was that FATE?] so I signed up for two Art Classes - which did wonders for my creative confidence. Thanks to Gareth Malone, choirs were popping up all over the country - including the town where I live. Another example of brilliant timing - I became a choir member [I didn't just join to network ! I do enjoy singing by the way - and would personally recommend it for its possibilities as a stress-buster, relaxation or uplifting experience] It turns out that many of the wonderful choir members are involved in Care Service or Teaching professions. [Dare I say it ... FATE?]  Joining a national and professional society - Children's Book Writers and Illustrators [SCBWI] provided inspiring events, networking opportunities and a marvellous member/writer support system.

Keeping my eyes and ears on local writerly events, I became involved with Blackpool's Literature Festival 'Wordpool' [Oct 31st - Nov 16th]. Meeting up with like-minded people saw the beginning of Mastermind; a group which discusses - and continues to discuss routes to publishing [doesn't every writer?]. And so, it was here that I learned that I wasn't a novelist ! Screams and shouts were thankfully using their indoor voices inside my head whilst I understood this new information. But then it all made sense - Using art with text was a much more suitable style for me, especially when I could draw on my studies and research. If I hadn't met these people, I would still be banging my head against a wall, trying to complete 'that novel.'  So, was it FATE that I met those people who modified my writing plans?

Successful meetings with the Headmaster from the family celebration; another acquaintance who leads a Senior School Student Support Centre and the Business Mentor I'd met on the train, contributed to successful outcomes which lead to new and improved plans. I signed up to Linkedin, attended SEO seminars, tax seminars and start-up business talks from banks who wanted to sign everyone up to their business advice programme - basically so they could £ charge you to write a business proposal in order to be able to ask them to lend you money ... argh! Watch out for that everyone ! Fortunately, I didn't need the loan but might require a business bank account - who knows, one day I might be employing staff, paying printers, wages, tax bills ...

New ideas for Pages - social and emotional issues, activities, metaphors, colour schemes, were keeping me awake at night, every night. Once my writing commission was complete, I expanded my work into School Student Support. By chance, a best friend [Lead primary teacher in a US university school] visited me for some time - the timing of her visit was perfect. I was more than pleased at her interest in my work. Her feedback gave me an assurance to continue. [Could the timing of her visit FATE?].

Internet research showed the government's response to the riots in October 2011 - Louise Casey was to write a report based on and around the riots - and later became the head of The Troubled Family Unit. More ideas to help, more issues, more colourful pages ...

Meanwhile, people I've met during my life seem to keep filling gaps in the development of my Happy Days writing project, filling it with promise.

I'm considering a PhD - researching, evaluating and planning creative ideas to assist Early Intervention - identifying young and adult people's needs earlier will hopefully be beneficial to society. Last night, an event which prompted this blog; I sang with the choir at a choir member's birthday bash. I hadn't known before, but this person happens to be a Professor ... there's another connection here but I'll leave that for you to work out ...

So was it FATE that got me to Happy Days Publishing - or was it because I'd made a decision - I'd opened my mind to possibilities? ... I got out there, networked, focussed, took advice, followed my plan and continue to work 18/7 ?

Either way - If I hadn't made the decision to follow my dream - it probably wouldn't be happening right  now. But if I hadn't bumped into those people ... at that time ... who knows?

Next update from Hogwarts,


Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Wordpool ... Blackpool ... Wordpool ... Blackpool

Check out Blackpool Wordpool Festival Oct 31st till Nov16th !!!

Hope You All Enjoy Wordpool ~ Gill

Friday, 12 October 2012

Travelling and Writing ...

Many of us - including me - groan at luggage allowances. I don't need to take a lot with me on holiday - but I'd just like to have enough room for moisturiser, swimwear, hotel slippers [even to a hot place], a few clothes -  and of course - my laptop, books and research materials - which usually take up more than half the weight.

So, being lucky enough to work away in a sunny climate this week ... I formed a 'packing-my-travel- case' strategy in my head. Which books can I possible leave behind ? I'm not talking fiction here or even Kindle ... I'm talking about behavioural info books, A4 notepads with all my notes, diaries, journals and associated books, my thoughts and ideas on scraps of paper, scribblings, sketches ... 

Right. Got. It. All. Sorted. 

Until my husband announced that we could only take hand luggage ! ARRggghhhh What to do?

No hair straighteners - make -up - extra clothes just in case ... but more of a challenge - which books/notes/ideas do I pack - and which do I leave behind?

I have to say, now I'm settled, the whole experience has been refreshing:

I had to focus completely on which topic[s] I was going to write about during the week

Not feeling any urge to make-up my face in the evening [you'll see from the photos that I clearly don't spend a huge amount of time on this pastime] or consider too deeply about what to wear [usually spend some considerable time on this], provided a real sense of freedom.

Apart from my diversion to blogging today - I have remained totally focussed on one area of my work and completed much more than usual.

My advice: Next time you go away - don't give in to the £50 for the privilege of taking a travel case - and waiting an hour or so for it's retrieval at airports - Travel Light - You're Worth It !


Sunday, 7 October 2012

Puppies and PhDs ...

Good Sunday Morning everyone,
It's a gorgeous one here. The sun is blurring onto my south facing front garden, casting leisurely shadows onto a few lazy autumn leaves ... oh sorry ... back to the point of the blog ...

I'm often going on about prioritising, focussing [one c or two?] ... when everything lands on your desk, in your office, on your shop floor, manufacturing bay, at your front door, on your kitchen worktop or in your head - well it's time for me to do some prioritising. Writing my Happy Days Project is beginning to take over my life in a exciting way of course - it's a project which has already and hopefully will benefit more young people and adults who are experiencing difficulties. If the project rolls out successfully, it may help reduce costs and therefore benefit tax payers too ! ... more on Happy Days Blog or Facebook Page].

Oops - there I go procrastinating. The real point to this blog was to post a photo of a puppy and ask about PhD's. This is a place for asking questions isn't it? Well, first, here's the photo of my in-laws puppy - for the lady who was asking - the puppy's fashion breed / brand / label ... is CAVASHON - Charlie is a mixture of Bijon Frise and King Charles Cavalier [Spaniel] - as I understand. He's a super puppy, energetic, bright, loving and barks at the right times.

The other point was to discuss the possibility of doing a research PhD - not on puppies - but on Early Intervention. Childhood is a journey that could shape a child for the rest of his or her life. Identifying difficulties earlier in life could help some young people form a more positive sense of self, outlook and ensure wellbeing. Of course, this would take up a massive 3 years - at the same time, I would be Writing the Happy Days Programme, communicating with my 4 almost adult children and caring for my mum. Prioritise? I think I'll need a Happy Days Page to help me work it all out.

Meanwhile - I am about to prioritise. I'm off to somewhere a little warmer for a few days to finish one of my projects: Happy Days Care Home Activities, Memory Boxes and Personal Joggers.  No phone, limited internet access, plenty of fruit, no chocolate [ it melts anyway ] and no more than one unit of alcohol per day.

See you next week everyone, hope the sun shines.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Perfect Pitch ...

Check out published author, Brian Grove's list of USA childrens' publishers who are accepting manuscripts ...

Thanks Brian.

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Happy Road ...

Couldn't resist this - Have a Happy Day everyone ...

This sign really cheered me up this morning - little things amuse me. But more than that, it's inspired two whole new pages ... Happy Street to support positive behaviour in young people and Happy Roads, the title for my Care Home Activity Book.

Friday, 7 September 2012

Happy Days Caring ...

Good morning everyone,

I'm really happy to say that my first shop :~ Creative Writing & Drawing Activity Products for Carers, Teachers and Student Support, Educational Organisations, Early Intervention Assessments and Care Support Services is now open on :~
Happy Days Publishing website :~ 

Happy Days provides a series of interactive activity pages to aid professionals, practitioners, teachers and support workers assess children, young people and adults' difficulties, needs, wants and wishes.

Happy Days ~ creative ideas for people with or caring for someone with dementia.

If you know or live with someone who has dementia ~ please read on ...

Living with someone with Dementia can be daunting, challenging and even tiring. Doing things together can help prevent boredom or ease frustrations for a person with dementia.

For Carers, Families and Friends, People with early stage dementia, Support Workers ...

Happy Days Publishing supplies creative ways to help manage Dementia Days ...

Memory Boxes - prompt reminiscence, collect memorabilia and create conversation 
Dementia Day Planners - keep track of visitors - manage dementia days ~ medicines
Labels and Signage - aid recognition in the home ~ can include name and photo
Talking & Doing Prompt Cards - create new conversations ~ do activities together 

More images, information and shop at

Call by and check out ideas to support child, young and adult carers ...

Check out Happy Days for Dementia ... more at

Blog, Facebook, Tweet or email me for more information ~

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Fascinating facts ...

Usually, receiving irritating jokes, absurd images, rolls of pet photos [ I do like pets by the way ] and women rule emails [sitting on the fence here - no comment just yet], all drive me mad. The first notion of one, I hit the delete button. But this one got through the net ... and here it is .. courtesy of ...[anon] ...The stories behind some of our sayings .

There is  an old Hotel/Pub in Marble Arch, London , which  used to have a gallows adjacent to it. Prisoners  were taken to the gallows, (after a fair trial  of course) to be  hung.

  The horse  drawn dray, carting the prisoner, was  accompanied by an armed guard, who would stop  the dray outside the pub and ask the prisoner if  he would like ''ONE LAST  DRINK''.
  If he said  YES, it was referred to as “ONE FOR THE  ROAD”
  If he  declined, that prisoner was “ON THE WAGON”. So  there you go.
   People used  to use urine to tan animal skins, so families used to all pee in a pot & then once a day  it was taken & sold to the tannery. If you  had to do this to survive you were, "Piss Poor",  but worse than that, were the really poor folk,  who couldn’t even afford to buy a pot, they  "Didn’t have a pot to Piss in" & were the  lowest of the low.
   The next  time you are washing your hands and complain, because the water temperature isn't just how you  like it, think about how things used to  be. Here are  some facts about the  1500’s:
  Most  people got married in June, because they took  their yearly bath in May and they still smelled  pretty good by  June.
  However,  since they were starting to smell, brides  carried a bouquet of flowers, to hide the body  odour. Hence the custom today, of carrying a  bouquet when getting  married.
   Baths  consisted of a big tub filled with hot water.  The man of the house had the privilege of the  nice clean water, then all the other sons and  men, then the women and finally the children.  Last of all the babies. By then the water was so  dirty you could actually lose someone in it.  Hence the saying, "Don't throw the baby out with  the Bath water!"
   Houses had  thatched roofs, thick straw piled high, with no  wood underneath. It was the only place for  animals to get warm, so all the cats and other  small animals (mice, bugs) lived in the roof.  When it rained it became slippery and sometimes  the animals would slip and fall off the roof.  Hence the saying "It's raining cats and  dogs."
   There was  nothing to stop things from falling into the  house. This posed a real problem in the bedroom,  where bugs and other droppings could mess up  your nice clean bed. Hence, a bed with big posts  and a sheet hung over the top, afforded some  protection. That's how canopy beds came into  existence.
   The floor  was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other  than dirt. Hence the saying, "Dirt Poor." The  wealthy had slate floors, that would get  slippery in the winter when wet, so they spread  thresh (straw) on floor to help keep their  footing. As the winter wore on, they added more  thresh, until, when you opened the door, it  would all start slipping outside. A piece of  wood was placed in the entrance-way. Hence: a  thresh hold. (Getting quite an education, aren't  you?)
   In those  old days, they cooked in the kitchen with a big  kettle, that always hung over the fire. Every  day, they lit the fire and added things to the  pot. They ate mostly vegetables and did not get  much meat. They would eat the stew for dinner,  leaving leftovers in the pot to get cold  overnight, then start over the next day.  Sometimes stew had food in it that had been  there for quite a while. Hence the rhyme: ''Peas  porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge  in the pot, nine days  old''.
   Sometimes  they could obtain pork, which made them feel  quite special. When visitors came over, they  would hang up their bacon, to show off. It was a  sign of wealth that a man could, "Bring home the  Bacon." They would cut off a little, to share  with guests and would all sit around talking and  ''Chew the fat''.
   Those with  money had plates made of pewter. Food with high  acid content caused some of the lead to leach  onto the food, causing lead poisoning &  death. This happened most often with tomatoes,  so for the next 400 years or so, tomatoes were  considered poisonous.
   Bread was  divided, according to status. Workers got the  burnt bottom of the loaf, the family got the  middle, and guests got the top, or ''The Upper  Crust''.
   Lead cups  were used to drink ale or whisky. The  combination, would sometimes knock the imbibers  out for a couple of days.. Someone walking along  the road, would take them for dead and prepare  them for burial. They were laid out on the  kitchen table for a couple of days and the  family would gather around and eat and drink and  wait and see if they would wake up. Hence the  custom of ''Holding a  Wake''.
   England  is old and small and the local folks started  running out of places to bury people. So, they  would dig up coffins and would take the bones to a bone-house and reuse the grave. When reopening  these coffins, 1 out of 25 coffins were found to  have scratch marks on the inside and they  realized they had been burying people alive. So they would tie a string on the wrist of the corpse, thread it through the coffin and up  through the ground and tie it to a  bell.
  Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard all night, (the graveyard shift) to listen for the bell; thus, someone could be, ''Saved by the  Bell '' or was considered a ''Dead  Ringer''
   And that's  the truth.
  Now,  whoever said history was boring ! ! !

Well done 'Anon' who kindly posted these facts.

Hope you enjoyed them. The writer stated he/she was keen for everyone to share the knowledge.

Saturday, 30 June 2012

To Focus or not to Focus ...


If there's one thing I've learned from my 'mature' children, it's to FOCUS. 

Every writing project I begin, I drift ... I want to expand - usually before a key thought is fully considered or a core product is fully designed and completed. Possibly because of my need to 'grow' something but more probably because of my lack of concentration and my craving for change and search for something new. Of course, expanding too soon could be detrimental to the quality of an initial story, series, concept, product, goal etc. 

So now, the minute I feel myself drifting, I just remind myself to FOCUS - I bring myself back to the main point of what I'm actually writing/doing/creating/developing/, where I'm up to, what's supposed to happen next in the development process, keep the end result in mind - Basically, I remind myself to take one key idea to fruition rather than going off at a tangent with other thoughts, designs or products.

I've banned myself from entering writing competitions. I'm not allowing myself to search the internet for writerly workshops but have attended a couple of start-up business seminars. I don't drift into random poetry scribblings or short stories ... I am ... dare I say it ... more focussed ! Finally, I'm getting further with my writing process.

Of course, you might argue that focussing intently on one thing might limit creativity ... limit all those random ideas flitting about in my head, limit the chances of bringing something else new to the ... market ... hmmm ... 

Back to the drawing board ...


Sunday, 17 June 2012

Hotting up the imagination ...

I find there's nothing better to stir up imagination than a trip to a different location, a holiday; maybe a visit to friends in a part of the country you've never seen before or a specifically made plan to go somewhere new to you ...

100 degrees - hot enough yet ? It was, and it wasn't the scenery that propelled me into writing a short story but remembering a college friend who was writing a novel about the Mojave Desert [just around the back of that medium sized boulder].

I couldn't understand her connection to the Mojave - until I visited it recently - It's high-coloured bleakness was thought provoking in itself - and somehow gave me idea after idea for stories. I considered writing about my friend - what she was trying to achieve [I'm not sure whether she'd actually visited the desert] and the difficulties she came across. Of course I'd have to check with her before I put pen to paper or finger to keyboard.

So, go somewhere new - even if it's only a bus ride away - and watch yourself itching to get back and start writing !


Tuesday, 12 June 2012

How to hot up your Linkedin profile page ...

Good morning everyone,
I assume you are social media converts as you've found this ~ so thought this might be of interest ...
The Linkedin business-ey networking site seems to be the place to go if you're seeking employment, promoting and making business contacts and showcasing start-up businesses.

Linkedin to businesses wanting to network is like Facebook to friends. Not at all showy like twitter, there seems to be a kind-of secret set of guidelines as to how to present yourself.

It's important to say who you are and what you do in a smart and interesting way without bragging. Don't be shy. Don't boast. Just be cool. And be true to you.

Obviously two of the most important things on your home page is your profile photo [preferably not one on holiday in Ayia Napa] and your personal summary ...

So here's a few tips to hot up your Linkedin summary ...

Your Photo
Personal Branding
Semi personal summary to reflect your personality
Use key words that belong to you or you want to own
Express Professional experience
Build trust
Be precise & concise
Who you are
What you do / want to do
Why you’re unique
Choose some key words:
passionate about / interested in / specifically / presence / focus primarily on / goals / objectives / strategy / winning tactics / opportunity / driving force / interaction / effective / fast learner / good listener / asset / driven / goals / accomplishments / skills
Make your paragraphs short and precise:

Paragraph 1
Why you are there - use powerful key words
Paragraph 2
What you are currently doing
How previous positions relate to the present
What you specialise in - discuss here what you do 
[Consultant/Graphic Designer/Educator/Illustrator/Writer]
Paragraph 3
Self promotion - Why you should you be chosen above someone else
Why should a new employer or client phone you first?
Paragraph 4
Your specialities - Use Your industry buzz words - they’ll match search enquiries / queries 
Paragraph 5
Be sure to put your contact details here ....

You might even find something new about yourself!
Enjoy the process, Gillian

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Social Media Marketing ...

Hi there daughters, mums, uncles, dads, aunties, grandmas, sons, brothers, sisters, grandads, friends ...

I suppose I'm now considered one of the 'olds' and expected to have non-existent technical skills of any sort. My sons won't help with pdf formatting, iTunes or acronyms ... 'You'll just have to learn it for yourself Mum' is what they say, throwing the front door into its casing. 'Thanks a lot', I grunt, slamming the kitchen door and stamping upstairs as I wedge the second earphone into place before leaping onto my bed to check my text messages ... Oh was that me? No, of course not, I have been glued to my lap top for 12 months now, writing, designing a series of interactive books - and networking - yes, at my age. And it's been quite fun. A massive learning arrow rather than curve. I have formed friends, been to meetings and a number of SEO presentations which were brilliant!

So Mums, Dads, Aunties, Uncles, Grandmas and Grandads and Great relatives, I urge you to move with the times [even ahead of them] - get yourself on the net; blog, look for new interests, find old friends, socially interact, find like minded hobby pals, find local courses and activities to join ... and most of all ... look up all acronyms if you're very time wealthy and make a full and comprehensive list of them. Learn off my heart. Eat the paper. [Apologies - your list will be on screen no doubt]. Put the pathetic three lettered acronym into practise. Most of the 'youngs' don't know what many of the acronyms stand for anyway. Drop them into conversations. Ask them in front of their friends what HTTP, PDF, RSS, IMAP, URL, SEO really stand for ...

That's when they'll tell you ... 'You'll have to just learn it for yourself Mum'

So here's a short list to get you going [if you've absolutely nothing else to do]
URL     Universal Resource Locator
RSS      Really Simple Syndication
PDF      Portable Document Format
Jpeg      Joint Photographics Experts Group
WIFI     Wireless Fidelity
TIFF     Tagged Image File Format
HTTP    Hyper Text Transfer Protocol
IMAP    Internet Message Access Protocol

SEO  -  Search Engine Optimisation

So, my note to everyone ... SEO is really what we need to be thinking about. We all have favourites and opinions of facebook, twitter, linkedin, google etc. but to be honest the recent Social Media Presentations I've attended have been the most motivational prompts I've come across for some time [other than realising my cholesterol contained too many bad fats].

Choose the right social group for your work - your book - your business - for instance, on Linkedin, its a great place to promote yourself and your product or your skills - find employment, freelance writing opportunities, research your possible audience, meet colleagues, clients, business links, people in the publishing industry, join like-minded groups, forums ... make contacts for your genre, link to your website or blog. This is quite a grown-up place, so text speak is pretty much frowned on - save that for your phone or twitter. [Oops - is texting out of date now ??] No-one wants to know if you've been to a party - so post that to your Facebook friends. Linkedin is a place to meet business contacts, promote business and check out your competition.

My advice - get on a social media marketing course if you can ... Try local or county councils, community centres, libraries, search the internet for business re-generation projects and you'll probably find the 'beyond websites' type social media presentations.
The courses are usually funded and therefore Free to attend.
[often including breakfast, lunch or snacks ! - such a bonus]

Enjoy, I did, Gillian

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Failure ... Success ... Failure ... Success ... Success

I've just read a short article written by my friend - on the concept of Failure. Just great I thought, initially not feeling in the mood for reading about failure but realised as soon as I began, she meant the concept of failure resulting in success. [A much better option]  I'm not sure how many of us feel we have failed at something - perhaps it wasn't the right timing - the right product or subject - lack of knowledge - whatever the reason, we have to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and begin again. That's probably where I am right now - so just taking on board Kim's quick paced, sometimes satirical illustrations and prompts really motivated me. You can find Kim here:

Check out Kim Chamberlain on

Meanwhile, I'm off to find her article for you ... it's around here somewhere ...

... ... ... ... ... ... ahh here it is:


Monday, 21 May 2012

99 and counting ...

No Wonder I've been sooo tired ... staying up till 3am ... 7 days a week ... for ??? months ... The best that's happened is that all the men and boys in my house found out where Morrisons was, visited it and brought food home. They made snacks, cooked tea and loaded the dish washer !!! Brilliant !

So here's to page 100 of the Activity Pages and the next seven months ... working on another 100 ...

Get the kettle on boys !!

Monday, 7 May 2012

Happy Days Proto-type ...

Here it is, the prototype, all about talking, feeling, doing ... 

making its way into the world ... via technology !

Hoping to share more information with you very soon.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Friday, 4 May 2012

Carers Trust Conference: Leeds

What a week ! or should I say What A Great Week !

Having made the 5.45 Tuesday morning train to Leeds with 2 over-sized suitcases, a couple of pasting board tables, 3 large bags and a totally helpful assistant for the day, Sue, we dived into our doorstopper sandwiches and configured the route from the station to the Carers Trust Conference venue - Park Plaza. Not even as difficult as choosing the sandwich content ... it was directly across the road!

I just wanted to say thanks to Blackpool Carers for inviting me along and to Carers Trust for letting me spread out my Creative Writing and Drawing Interactive Books, Memory Boxes, Dementia Day Planners, Signage and Prompts for people with short term memory difficulties.

I really enjoyed sharing information with Support Workers, Team Leaders and Seminar hosts from Caring Centres all over the UK. 

Thanks to everyone for your interest. 

Looking forward to meeting up in the future.

I've been considering a UK tour and wondering how I might co-ordinate this with the many requests I received during the day.

Ideas on a postcard, facebook, phone or email me ...

Happy Days,

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Happy Days ...

Here's a sample of what I've been up to recently ...
Anything you need to know about laminating ... ask away ... I now have something like a Masters Degree in it !

Friday, 30 March 2012

Is this right ?

For once, I haven't been procrastinating !! ... I've finally learned to FOCUS ! If I'd known how easy it was, I would have tried it years ago.

To be honest, at first, it felt a little bit like going on a diet ... forcing myself to procrastinate much less than usual and sulking when I couldn't while away some time achieving nothing much at all.

However, focusing soon became much more beneficial as my writing commission took over ~ if only I'd realised this before !

Face-book became my plain choccy digestives [banned - or one small one a day]
Twitter became my bread intake - try to leave it alone completely
Linked in reminded me of rice - you can sort-of live without it [apologies to Linkedin-ers] ... I just don't get around to it as much as I'd like]
Random searching of the web is like having a mid-morning brew ... if you meet up with someone ... it takes longer than you expected.
Blogs - reduced to weekly indulgent Sunday Dinner status [okay I realise it's Friday - but just like a diet ... I'm looking for my next treat]

So that's my procrastination for this week ... and feeling rather smug too, with around 110 pages under my belt ... in the bag ... on the road ... and actually ... on the page ... oh and I lost a stone along the way !

Happy Writing everyone ... Stay focused ... It's amazing how much you can do if you don't answer the phone !


Thursday, 22 March 2012

Mystery Package ...

How many thoughts are in this decorated box tied with a ribbon?

... or surround the box ...

What keepsake might be so lovingly stored inside?

Who owns the box?

Who has decorated the box?

Is there a photograph inside it?

A cameo?

Does it have a handwritten message inside it?

Or a key?

Is the box empty?

Who would spend time, decorating a box to keep nothing inside it?

Just a thought ...


Wednesday, 14 March 2012

All Change and Pzazz

Morning Everyone ~

Hope you don't mind the sudden colour change ... I'm on with some children's stories and created a new blog in readiness for the hundreds of thousands of readers and participants I'm expecting at Happy Days Publishing ... ...
I'll do anything to get my own PA.

In the initial stages, there's only a heart-felt welcome to you all so far - but decided I should use the gentle blues colour scheme and spring-time images from Arty Words. So er ... is that ok with you ?  I could of course pay a professional to sort it all out - design something with animation - something with pzazz [what is that by the way?]

Meanwhile, back to my real job ... should I get extra pay for putting in evenings too ?
So that would be nothing plus nothing and a half or double nothing ??

Writers ... don't you just love being one ??

Just a thought to get you going ...

Write THAT list of everything you want to do - ever ... [that should take some time up and allow you to procrastinate some while longer]

Ask yourself - What's the first thing I want to do on the list [something that's reasonably achievable]

So - Why haven't you done it yet?

Go Do IT !   ... then find another ...

PZAZZ [noun] - an attractive combination of vitality and glamour
said to be invented by Diana Vreeland, fashion editor of Harper's Bazaar in the 1930's
[courtesy of New Oxford American Dictionary]

See you soon, Gillian

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Are you a ... or a ... or maybe ...

Bogbean ~ a feathery flowered [somewhat like an azalea] perennial herb - grows at edges of ponds 

Just a thought ...

I was doing some creative research the other day - vaguely known as drifting into areas unrelated to my real job ... and came across this idea ...

Which type of plant are you ?  ... 

The plant that ... offers shelter to others
The plant that ... hides in the shade
The plant that ... produces pretty flowers
The plant that ... produces fruit 

Or are you like a bogbean, a strong form, growing in a damp area, offering beauty and medicine ...

Just thinking, that's all - about translating into character traits ...


Monday, 27 February 2012

Keep calm and carry on ...

A couple of weeks ago I attended a brilliant afternoon of talks from 3 pretty famous children's authors.

Wanna-be children's writers huddled up together in the library for story time.

'Don't ever be put off by rejection letters because it [your precious manuscript] probably hasn't been read !'

Well, what can we say ???

Answers on a post card - or leave a comment.

Keep writing everyone - Don't give up - We'll get there in the end !


The Fantastic ...

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr Morris Lessmore ... no comment required - just watch - Brilliant !!!

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

100 things to do ... maybe ...

Try this for motivation ... even if you don't want to do any of them ... bet you will do something !!!

100 random things to do  ...
1  Join a rambling club
2  Write a letter to yourself
3  Draw your lunch
4  Read a book
5  State 5 good things about yourself
6  Go to a gym
7  Give yourself 3 pieces of advice
8  Buy something inexpensive as a symbol
9  Visit an elderly relative
10 Find a poem you like
11 Re-write it and stick it on your fridge
12 Fill an envelope with things you have collected on a walk
13 Do some gardening or buy a houseplant
14 Check out your photo album
15 Spend a day drawing only blue things
16 Make a list of everything you bought last week
17 List everyone you know
18 Buy some flowers for someone else
19 Make cakes for a neighbour
20 Chalk something on your path
21 Tidy out one cupboard
22 Make a map of everywhere you went in one day
23 Draw your shoes in detail
24 Make a shopping list of everything you want in life
25 Draw a tree
26 List 3 habits you have
27 Slice an apple and eat it
28 Learn something new
29 List 5 all-time favourite songs
30 Begin a diary
31 List 3 famous people you respect or admire
32 Go on a train journey
33 Run on the spot for 5 minutes
34 Join a choir
35 Organise a charity event
35 Go swimming
35 Play a board game
36 Make something silly with card or material
37 Clear a storage cupboard 
38 Make a private den in the garden / shed / garage 
39 Learn a joke and tell it
40 Cook something new
41 Read a story or poem out loud
42 Contact 2 friends you haven’t seen for ages
43 Make a blog
44 Enrol on a course
45 Give blood
46 Write a letter to someone you admire
47 Draw your food shopping list
48 Bake some biscuits
49 Go for a run - join a running group
50 Save glass jars and make them useful
51 Listen to the birds
52 Sit on a street bench and listen
53 Study the faces of your work colleagues
54 Doodle a whole page
55 Take unwanted items to a charity shop
56 Make a home-made greetings card
57 Make a list of all the places you have lived
58 Pick apples and make some chutney
59 Draw your favourite room in detail
60 Describe yourself in 5 words
61 List all the things in your garage / shed / loft
61 Go on a bike ride
62 Write a letter to your local newspaper
63 Draw all the things in your handbag or pocket
64 Clear our your wardrobe
65 Write a journal
66 Draw a map of your town / village / environment
67 Name 3 favourite characters from your childhood stories
68 Go to a beach in cold weather
69 Make a collage
70 Go to a market
71 Write a list of colours in your favourite order
72 Do a crossword
73 Make something for your home
74 Research another culture
75 List 5 things you want to do one day
75 Change your hair-style
76 Set the table for someone else
77 Go to a car boot or table top sale
78 Look up 3 words you don’t really understand
79 Draw some of the doors from your life
80 Join a dance class
81 Collect some flowers and press them
82 Research a Greek myth
82 Choose a colour. Go for a walk. Recognise anything in that colour
83 Mend something that’s been broken for ages
84 Make up with family members
85 Find a new hobby
85 Write to a magazine 
86 Go to a poetry reading
87 Look at photos of you as a child - say how you felt
88 Write out pent up feelings in large letters
89 Visit an art gallery
90 Write a list of all the places you want to visit
91 Find a new word and use it all week
92 Make dot to dot images - ask other people to connect the dots
93 Go on a picnic
94 Research someone from history
95 Have a street party in your house
96 Visit a zoo, wildlife park or conservation area
97 Find a library
98 Cook your favourite meal for a friend
99 Go to the countryside - or the city
100 Do something useful today
101 Write a list of 100 things to do 

Please feel free to add to the list - add a comment, tweet, Facebook or email

Enjoy, Gillian