So what the hell is Pinterest?

Someone recently asked me if they should ‘do’ pinterest?

And I responded…..yes, without hesitation!

I don’t use Pinterest as much as I should.  However, I use it in a way that is similar to favouriting/bookmarking websites that grab my attention.  The benefit to doing this is I end up with a visual reminder of the website.  Unlike favouriting, where I have to remember the name of the website and where I filed it, which on most occasions, I can’t.  Then I find myself trolling through my history, which is not ideal as I can barely remember what I had for breakfast yesterday.

So what I do, is when I’m surfing the net and find something I like I just hit the Pin button in my browser.


How to add a pinterest button to chrome


Alas, I hear you shout, where is that button? I use Chrome instead of Internet Explorer for a number of reasons.  Go to the Chrome Web Store and Search Pinterest Button then scroll down to extensions.  You will see I’ve already added it but it’s the third option.

Adding Pin Button to Chrome

From this day forward you should see the curly P in your browser bar, to the right of the address,  so when you find a site you like, simply hit the Pinterest button, choose what board you’d like to add it to and voila it’s easy to find again.

As I have an unhealthy obsession with my slow cooker, I tend to Pin a lot of recipes, including my own recipes which drives a fair amount of traffic to the blog.  I find it a godsend when I’m looking for meal inspiration!  I’ve recently made this board open so other fans of slow cooking can pin as well.  Click the image below to visit the board.

Pinterest Board for Slow Cooking


As part of the #PinItForwardUK campaign, I have the pleasure of introducing Susanne Remic, AKA Ghost Writer Mummy.  She originally started blogging to cope with the traumatic birth of her son, but has now hooked up with Jenny Edspire, who recently lost her nine month old daughter to SIDS and have set up a collaborative board called Learn Through Play.

Pinterest board - all things kids

 I’m in awe of her boards and am drawn to ‘Stuff to do with Kids’ and ‘Parenting Tip’, god knows I need the help!

Happy Pinning!

Pin It Forward UK 2013

My First Jelly

I went to my first Jelly today.  Before you ask it’s an informal work environment where people get together in a communal area to work, coffee shop, restaurant or pub; you bring your laptop, free wifi and connect with like minded people.  In this case it was all women, but wasn’t intended to be inclusive, as it was all in aid of International Woman’s Day with proceeds going to Oxfam.

We were aiming to raise £230 which will provide a loan for a woman in Vietnam to start a business and change her life and the life of her family.

We fell slightly short of the target but feel free to top it up with a fiver.

As a busy mum, I showed up late as I had to do gymnastics first, for a 4 year old and then leave hubby with a head injury to drive home.  But when I walked in it was a welcoming feeling, many familiar faces.

One of the nicest things was that people had been following our recent plight and genuinely asked about hubby. Social media really is sociable.   I had to go through the usual, introducing myself as Mediocre Mum, people guffawing ‘your Mediocre Mum’ my face goes red on cue!  Someone actually said I can tell when you’ve had more than two.  Ooops!

It really was great but if I’m honest, I didn’t get a stitch of work done, unless networking count, I just nattered.  For the most part, as an IT trainer, I work on my own so when I get a chance to talk to people I get a bit carried away.  Mind you there were two people who were hammering away on the keyboards.  True multi-taskers and my hat goes off to them!  Thanks to @morethanshoes for arranging and please can we do it again soon!   St Albans if full of amazing people!

And you’d think with minimum of 2 professional photographers I would have got a decent shot!  Sorry blame the iphone!

How to talk to a complete stranger?

Nearly broke my heart today. My daughter asked to go to a soft play centre, which is equivalent to hell for me. However, in an attempt to be a good mother, I said no problem, but I explained that we would be going on our own and wouldn’t know anyone there. She said she wasn’t bothered. Normally, she is a very confident social character. She hasn’t had any problems making friends at school and socializing with other children in familiar situations is a breeze for her. She’s far from shy and has a lot more social skills than her mother.

The Problem

However, when we arrived at the soft play centre, she struggled to find anyone to play with. She attempted to go off and play but came back a bit deflated saying she felt lonely and no one would play with her. In my quest to develop her independence, I tried my best to sit back, playing on my IPAD and let her work it out. But…..

Our Attempt to solve it

At one point, I walked around with her holding her hand looking for a playmate but they were all running by so quickly. She tried a couple of times to say excuse me but they didn’t hear her. Bless!

Totally lost, I suggested finding someone playing on their own and introduce yourself and ask if they would like to play, but no luck. Then, I suggested that she find some children having fun and play near them and maybe they would ask her to join in. Bless she went and sat by herself in a play tunnel for ages and no one came by. It was so hard to watch.


In the end, I intervened again and luckily found two sisters, who were lovely and when I explained she didn’t have anyone to play with they swooped in and whisked her away. I had to drag her away in the end.

In reflection, it is rather an odd thing to go up to a complete stranger and ask to join in? As an adult walking up to people you don’t know and striking up conversation is the social equivalent of skydiving. So why do we expect children to do it so easily?

In future, what can I do to help her? Do you have any tips on how to help them make friends in these situations?

Ecademy Update

I should probably be gloating but I’m not.  In fact, the whole experience has left me with a rather sick feeling in my stomach. However, I strongly believe I did the right thing and am pleased that I followed it through to the end.

As many of you know I went on a Social Media course back in March, which was by run Ecademy and delivered by Thomas Power.  Unfortunately, I didn’t feel that they covered the content that they advertised.  I quietly asked for a refund on a couple of occasions but to no avail.  In the end, I blogged about it  ‘How Not to Master Social Media‘ and it received far more attention than I could’ve ever imagined.  The post went ‘mini’ viral receiving over 100 comments and was retweeted on twitter over 200 times.  At one point I was hiding under my desk.

For the most part people were incredibly supportive and I thank you for that.  I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank Nikki Pilkington and Nigel Morgan, who were always at the end of the phone when I needed propping up.

In the end, it has been a very long drawn out process, so I’ll give you a condensed version.  I was encouraged to file a claim with the Advertising Standards Agency as the course did not deliver what was advertised. If you weren’t aware the ASA now also covers marketing on the web.  On the 10th of August 2011 they upheld the claim and Ecademy was told that the ad could not appear again in its current form. The full adjudication can be read here.

Following the adjudication, I waited to see if a refund would now be issued.  Sadly, it was still not forthcoming so I had no other choice but to file with Small Claims Court, which I did online via MCOL, which cost me £60.  Initially, I was only asking for a refund of the course fees.  However, when filing with small claims you’re allowed to include reasonable expenses such as lost wages, childcare, and travel.  For whatever reason, Ecademy has decided to settle before it went to court. Last week I received a check for over double what I was originally asking for.

I know I’ve learned a lot from this experience but I also hope that Ecademy has also learned a valuable lesson about social media and customer service.

How Not to Master Social Media!

As many of you know I went to a Mastering Social Media Course a few weeks ago run by @thomaspower of Ecademy.  Some of you found that very laughable, but I genuinely wanted to learn.  I hummed and hawed about attending the session, mainly due to the cost as it was £420 inclusive of vat.  However, I was assured by a colleague of his that it would be well worth the money and I hold her in high-esteem.  I received the course outline prior to the course, there were one or two things I was happy with but I was very keen to learn the rest.

Hubby and I sat down and talked about it, as I would like to go in the direction of Social Media Training, we decided that it would be a good investment.  In the end, the whole day cost me in excess of £500, which we can’t really afford, once you factored in train fare, parking, and child care and I do appreciate the latter is not their issue.

Unfortunately, I don’t feel that they covered what was advertised, which contravenes the Trading Standards Act.  Below is the course outline as advertised.  I have highlighted in red what I ‘feel’ they did not cover satisfactorily.

  • How to grow your Twitter followers we only sent one tweet and were not shown how to use the search facility to find people.
  • How to blog and grow your blog followers I was surprised that you opted to use your own subscription blogging platform and not one of the more widely used ones (wordpress, blogger or typepad)
  • How to record and upload Youtube video and grow your video followersPenny did demonstrate how to take a video using a flipcam, however most of attendees had iphones and we were not shown how to upload them to youtube.
  • How to feed Twitter and all your social networks into Friendfeed so you can watch your own news channel and filter faster – you did cover this, but found it interesting that friendfeed is no longer popular.  In fact, I embarrassed myself mentioning it on Twitter.
  • How to distribute all your content across the web using managed feeds we did sign up to Google Profiles but it really wasn’t clear how to actually use it.  I was also surprised that 3rd party clients such as Hootsuite or Tweetdeck weren’t mentioned.
  • How to set up My6Sense on your iPhone or Android to notice and share the right information to attract and grow your followers – have it on my phone now but haven’t used it since.
  • How to use location services FourSquare, Gowalla and Facebook Places to grow your brand prior to the course we were asked to register with these but we did not touch any of them.
  • How to build Facebook pages to grow your brand worldwide We didn’t even look at a Facebook Fan Page.
  • How to build your Linkedin network to find more clients faster prior to the course we were asked to register with LinkIn but we didn’t touch on it on the course.
  • How to use Quora and realize why Q&A is the hit of 2011I now have the app on my phone but clueless on what to do with it.
  • How to use Gmail to radically reduce your email time – yes, this was covered but it took about 30 seconds to show us how to use the priority inbox.
  • How to identify and raise your Klout and PeerIndex online influence score – yes, I have a good klout score but what do I do with it?

I was very reluctant to complain as they were a very nice couple, good presenters, welcoming and very successful as a brand.  Nonetheless, I’ve asked for a full refund unfortunately, they have point blank refused stating that they had overwhelming positive feedback (95%) from the course.

However, I’m having troubles believing this as two people spoke to me directly after the course saying that they were unhappy and I have had four others contact me privately via Twitter saying they too didn’t feel the course met their objectives either.  Is it 95% of the 14 attendees or 95% of evaluations received as I know I didn’t fill one out as I didn’t have anything positive to say?  My maths isn’t too bad but 6 out of 14 is a lot less than 95%.  I have now also learned that one other person has also asked for their money back.

However, he did offer to give me some feedback?????  The bottom line is they didn’t cover what was advertised, as you can see above and I would like my money back.

I would appreciate any advice on how I can take this further?  I will be popping into the citizen’s advice bureau tomorrow.  I did try to deal with this quietly and with dignity but they don’t seem to be listening.  I can’t help thinking if they had any business sense they should have given me back my money and I would have gone away quietly.

In addition, if you attended the course I would appreciate your feedback whether it is positive or negative.  If you feel the course was worthwhile, then please say so and I will drop my case.

Thank you in advance,


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