Showing posts from November, 2015

Bedtime stories: Why you should read to Children

One of the most pleasurable moments of the day for me and the wife is bedtime reading.
As any parents out there will agree, reading with your child is fun, and a great way to spend time together. Sharing books with your child helps open their eyes and minds to different people and situations, and stretches their horizons. And virtually every study shows that reading together increases children’s literacy skills, but also research also proves that children who enjoy reading do better at school in all subjects. Best of all, it helps to build a strong and loving relationship with your child.

I don't ever remember being read to, it may be that I blanked it out, but reading was never something my parents ever did for pleasure. And I do feel like I missed out. I only started to read, something more than a newspaper, when I started working in a bookshop. I was the stockroom guys, so I didn't really need to have a passion for travel writing or an interest in Evelyn Waugh to shift boxe…

Day 2

Day 2 in my blog a day campaign. 
Today has been a long one.

What ever happened to the NME?

I'm committing myself to write a blog post every day for the next 100 days.

No matter how long, or how short, something will be posted. Whether anyone reads it, that's another matter.

Today I picked up a copy of NME, it was sitting next to a stack of Time Outs.

What an age we live in now.

Newspapers and magazines, which once payment was demanded for, now they can't give them away.

NME holds so many fond memories for me, from the age of 15 I purchased it weekly, pouring over the pages, deciding which crappy band I would travel up to Camden to watch while drinking, over-priced watered-down beer.

Every now and again there would be a CD stuck to the front - these were the bands you could brag to your friends that  you "only liked their early stuff".

I picked a copy. It was printed on cheap paper. It was the wrong size. It was the wrong everything.

They was a review for the Justin Bieber album, and a page devoted to what people are wearing in Cardiff. This isn't the…

Jessica Jones: Netflix's New Superhero

And why you should be watching it.

the character may not be as well known, but her small screen debut on the online netflixs has been heavily trailed and highly anticipated.

The reviews have been really positive reviews not enough and after watching a first couple of episodes I totally agree - Yes, Jessica Jones is yet another hit for Marvel Studios.

It's an actual 13 episode big budget, mainstream, female-led show! Seeing as both Marvel and DC have only one female led superhero movie on their current slates, it’s undeniably significant that Jessica Jones has happened.

After all, that didn’t look set to be the case for a number of years, with another version – A.K.A. Jessica Jones – in development at ABC alongside a Hulk project which was also scrapped. Jessica Jones now joins Supergirl as one of only two female led superhero TV shows, but they really couldn’t be any different.

They’re both great, but Jessica Jones is more grown up, dealing with mature content which ends upmaking this…

Comedy (fools) Gold

Now I have nothing against the old boy of British comedy, apart from him being possibly the most un-funniest man to ever grace film, TV, the stage. But as the news broke rent-a-quote talking heads were falling over themselves to praise him, claiming him to be the second-coming. He wasn't the second coming, he was a very  unfunny man whose one joke was that he fell down... a lot. 
We've got to remember that these were hard times for the British nation. Rationing was still in place following World War II, and an average family of four had to survive on as little as 7 jokes or 20 puns at week. This is the same quoter that Wisdom had to use in his films.
Perhaps its down to the fact that I never saw him in the prime. All I really knew of Norman Wisdom was him making an unfunny fool of himself on Pebble Mill or Aspel - looking confused and falling down a lot, which wasn't actually an act at all - that's what happens when old age sets-in. So to judge him on the previous work I…

Master of None: Binge-watch time

The Oxford English Dictionary has published its list of new additions to our ever-changing language. This year's new additions included Vape, humblebrag and side boob - although I've personally been using 'side boob' for the last few years.

The stand-out word for me is binge-watch which has become more and more popular first down to DVD boxsets (asks your parents, kids) and then streaming services like Netflix.

Being able to consume a series, one episode after another, has now become the norm thanks to the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime. Adverts are now a thing of the past and I find myself even unable to wait for the 10 second countdown between episodes. 
The latest show to get the binge treatment in my household is the Netflix original series Master of None. Written and starring Aziz Ansarias Dev, a 30-year-old actor who attempting to navigate his way through life in New York City. 

Ansari has great credentials - one of the highest paid comedians on the planet, with a…

Google Grants for Charities

An opportunity not to miss!In the time I’ve been using Google Grants, I’ve seen traffic increased by over a third – This is a brilliant opportunity for everyone working in the third sector. As part of its nonprofit programme, Google gives eligible charities $10,000 (£6,200) a month to spend on AdWords, Google‘s pay-per-click advertising system. Not only that, if you spend at least $9,500 (£5,920) in two months of the previous 12 and fulfil other criteria, you can also apply for Grantspro. If approved, that means that Google will give your charity $40,000 a month to spend. That’s a whopping $480,000 (£300,000) a year. If questions such as ‘is my charity eligible?’, ‘how do you apply?’, ‘what is Adwords pay-per-click advertising?’ and ‘is this too good to be true?’ are popping into your head, please read on for the answers. What is AdWords and how does it work?– In Google’s words, AdWords is an ‘online advertising platform that can help you drive interested people to your website’. It is t…

Chef Daddio: Fruit Loaf

This recipe is an absolute banker, easy to make in a rush and always turns out great. 
My little boy loves it and is perfect to bribe him to put his coat on or to get him in the buggy.
Ingredients Serves: 8  200g sultanas 250ml milk 200g sugar 125g Stork Margarine 250g Be-Ro Self Raising Flour 1 egg 1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
Method Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C. Put sultanas, milk, margarine and sugar in pan, bring to boil stirring all the time. Once it has came to the boil, turn hob off. Leave to cool for 10 minutes. Fold in the flour and mix well, add egg and mix again. Pour into a greased loaf tin and put in a pre-heated oven at 160 degrees for 1hrs. Simple.

Film & TV: Show Me a Hero

I finally had a spare 6 hours and got round to watching HBO's new miniseries, Show Me a Hero.Based on the nonfiction book of the same name by Lisa Belkin, It tells the story of how civil rights violations tear apart Yonkers, N.Y., paralyses the municipal government, and forever changes the lives of a rising politician and his constituents. 

Faced with a federal court order that remedies decades-long housing segregation in the city, newly elected Mayor Nick Wasicsko at 28, the youngest-ever mayor of Yonkers, goes against his campaign position that advocated legal appeals, paving the way for low-income housing to be built in white neighbourhood of Yonkers. 
Residents rage about protecting property values, while those chosen to cross the color line will soon have neighbours who fiercely oppose them. "Show Me a Hero" is co-created by David Simon ("The Wire") and directed by Paul Haggis ("Crash"). 
Show Me a Hero carries many of the hallmarks of Simon's p…

10 tips to build a successful Enewsletter

Email marketing has become a crucial activity for many small businesses. An email newsletter often is often their main mode of engaging customers, building loyalty and driving sales. It’s not rocket science, but email marketing the right way does require basic know-how.

And while we could have come up with a top 100 list, if you follow these 10 small business marketing tips, you’ll be on your way to creating an effective email newsletter to help build your business.

1. Only Send Email to People You KnowEmailing complete strangers is spam. Emailing customers and others with whom you have only a slight acquaintance is, at best, a waste of time.

“The stronger the relationship you have with a person, the more likely he or she is to respond to your email,” said Eric Groves, senior vice president of global market development at Constant Contact, an email marketing services firm.

“If you send email to people you don’t know, the first thing they’re going to say is, ‘Do I know you?’ and the second…

Website Design Tips

It can be a good idea to make a list of the things a user will want to use your site for and then checking that these are easy to achieve and if necessary are readily available from the homepage – e.g. Start shopping, Current offers, Book an appointment etc. 

Then test early and throughout the process test and test again. The only way to really check that your site is as user friendly as it can be is to test it out on people who know nothing about your business.

Planning a new website or re-designing a existing website is no easy thing. It’s full of issues, many of witch only become visible at the projects nears completion. Here are a few tips / rules that I work by.

1. Have a strong, clear brand message
Your web site should project the image you want the world to see – and the great news is that through web design you can control that image entirely. In terms of physical design this means positioning your logo or key message in the top left hand corner – the part of the screen our eyes a…