Posts Tagged ‘facebook’

Has Anyone seen Bobo?

In It's Only Words on 07/11/2012 at 06:41

Bobo the Bear looked about him. He had no idea where he was. No purple bedspread, no butterflies on the wall beside him and no Abi curled up under the covers. No, this room was small and dark and lonely. He put his chin in his paws and began to cry, ‘Oh how will I ever find my way home again?’

In a pretty brick house in a nearby town, Abi Flowers was desperately searching her bedroom for her favourite toy, ‘Mummy, I can’t find him. I can’t find Bobo!’
‘It’s alright darling, we will find him. He can’t have gone far.’ Mrs Flowers watched her daughter upturning the contents of her room for the umpteenth time and decided enough was enough. ‘Sweetheart, go to sleep now, we’ll look again in the morning.’
‘But Mummy, I can’t sleep without Bobo.’ Tears were pooling at the corners of Abi’s eyes, a fierce look on her face as she continued her search.

Later that night, with Abi unhappily tucked up in bed, Mrs Flowers decided it was time to call in a little assistance. She put out an S.O.S. via all the social networking channels – Facebook, Twitter and beyond – with a plea to help find her daughter’s beloved Bobo. She had already trawled the Internet looking for a replacement but the extra large size that original Bobo had taken didn’t seem to be traceable. Going to stand outside her daughter’s room, she peered in on the sleeping child and felt her heart break as she saw Abi’s little hand desperately clutching onto the bedcovers in place of her bear.

‘Please,’ she whispered. ‘Please get him to us.’

…To be continued.
This tale is based on a true story. A fellow mum is frantically searching for an EXTRA LARGE Crumble bear from Mamas + Papas (no longer in stock) – if anyone has one they’d be happy to sell her, please get in contact with me: hnymark@hotmail.com. Thank you.


26 and Pregnant: What to Expect, When You’re Expecting…

In It's My Year on 02/21/2012 at 07:30


Great Expectations


Good morning all and happy Pancake Day! It seems in our house we’re not having maple syrup on top of our battered creations but frustrations on top of frustrations. Try as we might not to hold our baby to its scheduled due date, a teensy bit of hope escaped our well-practiced facade over the weekend as a result of experiencing one of the expected signs of labour… the loss of the cervical plug. Sorry, I know you didn’t order a side of mucous with your breakfast.


Family got over-excited, facebook traffic went into overdrive and husband and I attempted every known trick in the book to urge things along… to no avail. Baby is apparently perfectly happy in utero.


I understand that those who care about us are simply excited to meet our imminent arrival, as are we, however there is an undue amount of pressure inadvertently placed on the expectant parents as the due date nears and passes. Though most are aware of nature’s unpredictability, particularly in the business of baby-making, they still expect things to flow seamlessly. But our baby is not being baked over at Domino’s who have a wonderful track record of delivering pizza ahead of their 35-40 minute predictions; he or she is being baked in my human oven which frustratingly comes without a reliable timer.


I have allowed myself to ‘expect’ my stork-bought purchase sooner rather than later thanks in part to medical personnel in the know intimating that delivery is around the corner, but like my new iPhone which O2 promised to deliver next day, the given time came and went more than once before I was able to hold my new device in my hands. And in the business of baby, there is no courier service to call and complain to if you are kept waiting.


I am aware that the longer baby remains ensconced in utero, the longer husband and I have to sleep through the night, watch television undisturbed amongst other activities, eat and spend quality couple time; however, there comes a point when you have both come through the 9 month period of pregnancy and like any event that you have been waiting for, curiosity and excitement, and most of all, expectation, get the better of you.


Add to that my own personal anxieties about the possibility of labour having to be induced and is it any wonder we’re hoping every day for that first tell-tale contraction. Aside from missing out on the excitement of spontaneous labour, induction for me heralds a whole host of potential problems not least the fact that baby clearly is being forced out against his or her will thus possibly requiring extra medical intervention. Plus there is the issue of how I had intended on giving birth – ideally in the water – however with induction this scenario is less likely, due to my needing to be constantly monitored throughout the labouring process.


Of course, my first priority is my baby’s wellbeing and whatever must be to ensure that, will be the path I allow myself to follow, but in the meantime I must find ways to distract myself from the lack of labour pains (not including the ones that come in the form of well-meaning loved ones “checking in” every day!).


I guess I must try to remember my father’s wise words, not to expect anything, as difficult as that may be when I am in fact “expecting”.


26 and Pregnant: That’s Just Swell

In It's My Year, It's Only Words on 01/30/2012 at 12:51

Already running rings around me!

So I always used to wonder why a lot of heavily pregnant women were without their wedding and engagement rings… now I know.

Thanks to changing body temperature, fluid retention and raging hormones; body parts swell, jewellery gets stuck and stress levels soar. At least that has been my experience. Discussing early on the potential need to remove my rings in the latter stages of pregnancy with a fellow mum-to-be I scoffed at the thought, narcissistically admiring the slender fingers that have always garnered me compliments and assumptions of piano-playing skill (I’ve never played piano in my life). Reluctant to remove the white gold and diamond affirmations of my married status, I decided to only take them off if absolutely necessary.

The weekend of my baby shower I gave them a test removal, testing out the nakedness of my wedding finger. Getting them off with only a trace of difficulty I decided that with only a few weeks to go it was probably best to take them off until after the birth so I made a plan to purchase a silver chain in the week and until then the rings stayed put.

I noticed the rings of a fellow antenatal-yogi hanging from a chain around her neck on the Tuesday night and when I asked her about it she advised me that it was probably wise to do the same as her sister’s rings had become embedded during labour… eek! So Wednesday after work I stopped in at a jewellers in West Hampstead and bought myself a chain.

Deciding to wait until the following morning to retrieve the rings, assuming they would be least swollen at the start of the day I congratulated myself on my forward-planning and went to sleep. Thursday morning in the bathroom and I suddenly realised I may have been a tad optimistic. Despite copious amounts of soap and warm water my engagement ring was stubbornly refusing to glide off my finger. Enlisting the brute strength of my husband he succeeded in pulling it off while I yowled in agony. However, this victory was short-lived as the yanking had aggravated the finger making it swell to three times its size, and turned it an angry red. Not only that, but the now swollen digit was holding my wedding band captive with no signs of relase. My husband yanked again but the pain was too much. It wouldn’t budge.

In the office that morning, unable to concentrate on anything but my poorly finger, I put out an SOS via social networking channels and put in a call to my father – the ever-practical voice of reason – who instructed me to hold my hand up in the air to allow the fluid to drain away and reduce the swelling and then to dip my hand in oil whereby the ring would come off. Okay, so at my desk there I sat with my hand in the air attracting odd looks from colleagues who thought I must have gone temporarily deranged and convinced myself I was back at school. My mother-in-law, on seeing my facebook plea, called and suggested wrapping my finger in cotton wool and sliding the ring over it. Seeing a similar solution using dental floss on a pregnancy blog, I hauled a colleague next door to Boots where we hurriedly purchased a box of floss and a pot of Vaseline. Wrapping the floss around my finger it quickly turned a nasty blue and convinced I was about to die/pass out/watch my finger drop off, we hurried over to the pharmacist who expertly removed the floss and suggested I sit and calm down. His advice was to forget about it, let the swelling reduce and try again later or have it cut off. (The ring, not my finger. Just to clarify.)

A jeweller next to the office took one look at my finger and immediately jumped to cut it off but I backed away quickly and said I would wait and see… a.k.a. ‘stay the hell away from my wedding ring with those tools, dude’. He also refused to meld it back together, saying there was no point as my fingers may never return to their original size post-baby. Right, so my only option is to saw my wedding band in two and store the two halves until two months after I’ve given birth… ummm, nah, I don’t think so.

Holding a cold compress to my finger for the rest of the day, the ring refused to budge for the following 48 hours, including a visit to the midwife who had no secret tricks up her medical sleeves and was quite frankly useless to my predicament. In fact she only succeeded in panicking me more at the thought of potentially losing my finger along with my precious piece of jewellery. Great.

Then a miracle occurred. Spending Saturday cooking with my mother to stock up my freezer with nutritious meals for post-labour, I relaxed. Off out we went for dinner with my husband and brother and leaving them in line for a table I went to the loo (of course) and having washed my hands, I stood beneath the dryer and thought I’d give the ring a test swivel. So I swivelled, gently, and swivelled some more, and lo and behold the ring came off! Onto the chain it went to join its diamond mate and off I went back to my family with my naked finger proudly held up to show them.

I felt as though I had won the lottery.

Now all I need is for my legs to be waxed (appointment is booked for the Friday) and I am totally baby ready. Bring it on! I got the rings off, labour will be a doddle…

26 and Pregnant

In It's My Year, It's Only Words on 11/24/2011 at 10:45

I’ve hit the 28 week mark now, officially entering into the third trimester. And baby, can I feel the difference.

Sweet dreams?

Sleep is getting trickier as my ballooning belly works with gravity to draw my entire body down to the mattress and I am forced to cushion myself on either side with V pillows, slowly claiming the majority portion of the King Size bed that my husband and I share. Forced to sleep predominantly on my left side for fear of cutting off the blood supply to my legs and unborn child if I should turn onto my back, I go to bed each night unsure of what will be-set me until the alarm sounds at 6.45am the following morning. Hip cramps, 12 hundred trips to the toilet, back ache, agitated husband woken on account of my snoring… the list is seemingly endless. I assure you, it may sound as though I’m complaining, but that is not my intention. I am well aware that what my body is doing is nothing short of a miracle and I am thankful every day for the growing baby inside me. However, I am only human and it is in my nature to share the inevitable discomfort that comes with nature turning my body into a nine month residence for the newest member of my family.

It’s not only bed that can be turned into a potential site for torturous pain and disquiet, but the office too. Namely, the office chair. As your stomach swells to accommodate the growing foetus within, the weight and pressure gains on the rest of you. Imagine how it would feel to sit in the same position all day, on a hard-based chair, with a sack of potatoes resting in your lap… are you imagining it? Now think about your bottom – the body part that all this weight is resting on. Yup, it’s mega uncomfortable. By about 2pm I can’t sit down any longer and look for reasons to be on my feet and out of my chair: going to chat to colleagues, going to make a hot drink, going to the bathroom – anything to avoid sitting down. On the odd days that I am able to work from home, I do so from the comfort of my Swiss Ball. The exercise ball used in all manner of gym and yoga-related activities is the pregnant woman’s best friend. Providing a malleable seated surface that takes the pressure off the bottom by constantly redistributing weight and enabling freedom of movement, it is the ideal seat to support your growing girth. However, it is not exactly possible to be schlepping said ball on the tube into Central London, and I doubt it would go down too well if I were sitting on such an object in the office… If I could invent anything it would be the following: a standard work chair with a semi-circle Swiss Ball component built into the seat. Et voila – the best of both worlds, a comfortable pregnancy-friendly office chair! Now to plan my pitch for Dragon’s Den!

It takes balls!!

It’s not only physical strain that accompanies pregnancy, your mind too becomes a breeding ground for the strain of paranoia and neuroses. The pregnancy paranoia, that much as I try to quell in an effort to channel my inner earth mother, persists in affecting me at least once every other day. A mild panic on Monday that I may have spotted (pun intended) blood in my underwear led my husband and I to spend the afternoon at the Royal Free Hospital in triage on the labour ward. I have never been in a labour ward before (well not since I myself was delivered at this very same hospital in the summer of ’85) and the sound of crying infants and the sight of heavily pregnant women was enough to send me into a freak-out as I imagined the worst possible scenario. I did not want to be kept in overnight and I certainly did not want my baby to have to be delivered early. Thankfully my fears were unnecessary and after checking me over and listening to my baby’s thumping heartbeat, I was sent home to rest. One might assume that one bout of stress would have been enough for one week… but no. Yesterday proved even more stressful if that’s possible and I didn’t even go near the hospital. My little gymnast seemed to be taking an all-day siesta with a few mild nudges here and there, freaking me out no end as I turned to my trusty Facebook group for advice. Though the general consensus seemed to indicate this was normal, there were still calls for me to get myself to hospital to be checked over for peace of mind, which did little to assuage my panic. A conversation with my midwife convinced me that the best thing to do would be to go home, down something cold and sugary and lie on my bed focusing on my baby. I did as I was told and later on, feeling calmer as I read The Help and my husband held his hand over my bump, our little one rewarded us with a bout of activity.

It’s so easy to get carried away with thinking the worst and you don’t even realise how stressed you are until you’re ranting at your special needs brother down the phone because he didn’t call when he said he would. Yes, I’m sorry to say I did that. I find that the best thing to do in these moments of stress is to breathe deeply, listen to my hypno-birthing CD and remember that my mother is pretty much always right: keep calm and carry on.

I like the way you serve…

In Let them eat cake!, We're Reviewing the Situation on 06/13/2011 at 13:00

Murray Love...

Strawberries and cream, grass stains and Rafael Nadal (sorry, Andy Murray) – yes, it’s that’s fabulous time of year again. The time for pulling consecutive sickies to stay home and watch the top seeds serving up a sport-tastic treat on the BBC to the tune of Sue Barker’s customary curatorship; the time for reaffirming your patriotism in the blind hope that a British player might actually make it to the final; the time for kicking back with a pitcher of Pimms and watching the time-honoured summer tradition, Wimbledon.

And this year, to go with your usual refreshments, innovative bakery completelycakes.co.uk have a mouth-watering range of delights to see you through those nail-biting weeks. From tennis rackets to tennis whites, however you envision your sporty sweets the team at Completely Cakes will serve it up on a gleaming platter!!

Here are their top ten tips for surviving Wimbledon:

–    Schedule time off work for those all-important matches you don’t want to  miss

–    Install Adobe Flash Player to get the most out of BBC iPlayer

–    Accept that Murray, and any other British hopeful, will probably just scrape the quarters

–    Stock up on sun-cream if planning a trip to Murray Mount/Henman Hill

–    Similarly, stock up on Pimms and yummy treats to enhance your viewing pleasure

–     Purchase a TV Times to keep up to date with match schedules

–     Read up on the competition on the official Wimbledon site (www.wimbledon.com)

–     Download the Wimbledon iPhone App to get the best of the event on the go

–     Free up space on your TV recordings library – just in case you’re worried about missing any of the action

–     Sink your teeth into a delicious cake/cupcake instead of your nails as you watch Murray fight it out for that all-important victory!!

To sample their tennis-inspired range, visit www.completelycakes.co.uk, and place your order now!! They are also taking orders on graduation goodies and of course treats for Father’s Day this Saturday 19 June…

Follow them at twitter/@completelycakes
Like them on facebook at facebook.com/completelycakes


Daddy’s Girl

In Let them eat cake!, We're Reviewing the Situation on 05/27/2011 at 08:58

...because he's worth it!

The time for honouring our parents always springs at the start of the year, while New Year’s resolutions and good intentions are still somewhat present in our ever-harried minds. Case in point, Father’s Day approaching with quickening pace on 19 June and for all of you who feel your Daddy is worthy of some appreciation, why not find out what Heather, owner of blooming London cake company CompletelyCakes.co.uk, has in store…

1)      What does Father’s Day mean to you?

Father’s day for me is a great opportunity to show my father that I care and appreciate all he does for me. Since we are all so busy with our everyday lives, it’s great to be able to take some time out and remember those important to us.

2)      What ideas have you had for celebrating this day in true baking style?

At Completely Cakes, we like to come up with something new and original for every season and event. Since cupcakes, and especially novelty cupcakes, have become so popular, our Father’s Day cupcake range this year features gorgeous ‘shirt and tie’ cupcakes, alongside other hobbies and more traditional ‘Happy Father’s Day’ cupcakes.

3)      You offer personal and bespoke designs across your ranges – can you give us some idea of the requests you’ve had in advance of Father’s Day?

People often tend to be stuck for new ideas for times such as Mothers and Father’s Day, when they really want to come up with something special. We find that a lot of inspiration comes from seeing our unique designs on our website. In view of this, we always aim to have new and exciting ideas on our website well in advance of every season/event to keep our customers inspired!

4)      What’s the most bizarre request you’ve received so far?

I would have to say that the most bizarre request we have had so far was from someone wanting to order a ‘saucy’ cake, carved to exact specifications…….!!

5)      How will you be treating your Daddy this year?

I always struggle for something to buy my own father, as he has had plenty of ‘Best Father’ mugs and socks over the years! This year, instead of this, my sisters and I will be taking him out for a lovely Father’s Day lunch, which we are all really looking forward to. He will also be receiving some of our new ‘Shirt and Tie’ cupcakes!

6)      Looking ahead, what treats will you be serving up next…?

There is always something new and exciting coming up at Completely Cakes. The next main event is Wimbledon, so stay tuned for our tennis-themed range!

Love Cupcakes

If you would like to order a bakelicious treat for your Dad this Father’s Day, you can place your order with Heather at www.completelycakes.co.uk and discover what other delicious surprises she has to offer.

Follow her on Twitter at @completelycakes or join the facebook group facebook.com/completelycakes.

Facebook Me!

In It's Only Words, The Fashion, The News on 01/25/2011 at 14:01

You know those girls (and guys for that matter) who pose for their Facebook pictures like they think they’re modelling for Vogue (or GQ). We all have them somewhere in our online trove of “friends”.

Are you lookin' at me? (Well why not!!)

They pout, they pose, they strike the old-favourite over the shoulder maneouvre as though they were reacting to paparazzi on the red carpet when in fact they have specifically asked a friend/boyfriend/girlfriend/stranger to capture them in exactly this pose in exactly this lighting and then post it up on their profile as though they just happened to be looking like that at the time the camera just happened to be in use…

The ones where they’re naked or semi-naked are even funnier, not to mention the bizarre individuals that are literally making love to the camera. Why the F do they think this is something their fellow facebookers wish to see? The joke is that the aforementioned ‘fellow facebookers’ merely regard these images with an arched eyebrow and quizzical expression, not deigning to believe that this loser actually took the time to pose for said pictures and then uploaded them. One of my “facebook friends” had actually recreated the Vogue photoshoot scene from the Sex and the City movie (part 1) in her own wedding dress, on her own wedding day (who has the time?!) lying (ahem, topless) across a couch with the skirt of her dress billowing out behind her… I mean, come on!!

These pictures are essentially the work of a serial attention whore. You know the person. The one that cannot survive without the spotlight shining directly on them at all times. The one who in school always had to be the lead in the school play and threw a tantrum if she/he didn’t get it. The one who pulled the most outlandish (and overtly sexy) dance moves at every party you went to. The one who always wore/wears the skimpiest, most ridiculous outfits – regardless of the season. The one who always, without fail, makes a scene about something – just in case people weren’t already paying attention.

The people who litter their facebook photo albums with these poser-esque types of pictures are of course mega show-offs – crying out for people to observe their looks… from every, single, angle. Of course, every facebook user is a show-off of sorts, posting updates about your night in a 5* hotel in Korea, updating your relationship status to ‘engaged’, uploading photos of you and your significant other ensconced in each other’s arms while reclining on a sandy beach on a remote but expensive island while your friends sit at their office computers staring out at the rain and harbour inner hatred and jealousy.

However, the posers are the biggest show-offs of them all. Just saying!!

I'm CEO, bitch

With the 2010 release of The Social Network, facebook has recaptured the attention of those defecting to the likes of Twitter and Flickr and so on, as people rediscover the fascination of Mark Zuckerberg’s digital brainchild and their equal fascination with what and who their “friends” are doing.

Breaking News: Incidentally, star of the movie, Jesse Eisenberg, has just been nominated for Best Actor at the Oscars. If ever there was a time to get your pose on…

Get Wagner Out!!!

In It Rhymes!! on 11/15/2010 at 10:22

Will they win?

It is now officially the world’s biggest farce,
As ‘Vagner’ rolls through again and Aiden’s out on his arse.

Paije was convinced he was a goner, it was written all over his face,
As Dermot revealed he’d made it through, escaping his fall from grace.

In the bottom two since the start of the show,
We were all convinced that Katie would go.

But no, the shock as Dannii’s crooner took the hit,
In favour of Louis’, tuneless Brazilian twit.

Simon is really starting to get on my wick,
Booting Rachel last year for not being the public pick.

But ‘cause Waissel makes headlines week in week out,
Cowell just sits back and lets the others fight it out.

So long as his boyband continue sailing through,
He honestly doesn’t care who else we hiss and boo.

Touted by their boyband peers to win this years’ contest,
The boys are moving higher towards their fame conquest.

Harry is the stud and Zain the token harmony,
Liam and Louis look the same, while Niall’s the lil blondie.

With over 150,000 facebook fans on the social networking site,
The other acts better watch themselves, they’re in for an almighty fight.

Rocking an Elton John anthem, fresh from a trip to Leicester Square,
They love Emma Watson and the spotlight, they’re literally floating on air.

And did anyone notice in this week’s results, Rebecca wore the same dress as before,
Am thinking her style crown may take a tumble post her Sunday night fashion faux pas.

While Cheryl rocked the Minnie Mouse look, with a hint of Princess Lea,
Cher stepped closer to her transformation to become Cole’s mini replica.

Mary for me has lost her appeal, think she’s tired and should cut her losses,
She truly belongs on the West End stage, could someone have a word with the ITV bosses?

Matt’s still gorgeous though wasn’t keen on this week’s song,
But it ain’t his fault that the theme was Elton John.

Feel sorry for Louis Walsh, Simon’s rudeness is beginning to get old.
But his acts JLS and Westlife last night proved their weight in gold.

The women squealed as then onto the stage came their girlhood fantasy,
The reformed Take That performed their song, complete with Mr Robbie.

Seal revealed he’s backing Rebecca as this year’s star,
But the way that things are going, it could be (gulp) Wagner!!!

On Writing…

In It's Only Words on 10/27/2010 at 15:12

tappety tap tap...

Just thought I’d share some info on writing, my writing experiences and ways to pursue the write lines…

Despite my 20-something years, I have been through the media mill (to some extent), from education and careers fayres to countless work experience placements and even redundancy (not entirely shocking given the current economic climate); but still, the past 5-6 years has provided me with a microcosm of events that appear to bestow me with insider know-how and tips for wannabe writers.

Advice from Anais Nin. “The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say.”

Firstly – must-reads for writers:
1) ‘On Writing’ – by Stephen King [http://bit.ly/c75ge9]
2) ‘Writing Down the Bones’ – by Natalie Goldberg [http://bit.ly/d1nwik]

Both recommended to me by my fabulous boss at Christie’s!!

Of course the first thing I would recommend for those reading this that may indeed be thinking about how to get started on the path to journalism is to consider where in this diverse industry you may fit. Essentially, if you have a certain skill set (writing, design, proof-reading, editing etc) it can traverse across many different areas within the media industry. But decide if you want to go down the newspaper route, the broadcast route or the fiction route. And how do you discover where you fit if you are currently unsure? Work experience.

Advice from Truman Capote. Editing is as important as the writing. “I believe more in the scissors than I do in the pencil.”

I knew I wanted to write. I knew I wanted to write for a magazine. So I did work experience at local titles, niche titles, national titles and even international titles. Each experience endowed me with some new nugget of expertise and insight. It taught me where I fit in personally and how to adapt myself to each unique house style. It may take several placements and jobs to finally find where you fit – it is only now at Christie’s that I finally feel I’m somewhere that’s me.

Advice from F. Scott Fitzgerald. “Cut out all those exclamation marks. An exclamation mark is like laughing at your own joke.”

And if you can freelance, great. It’s more for the self-motivated individuals who can network and multitask, but it’s great work if you can get it.

Just words...

Depending on where you are with your career/life, journalism courses are a good option also. I did a masters at London College of Communication (formerly Printing), and there are plenty of other courses via the University of the Arts London [http://www.arts.ac.uk/] that will enable you to specialise in whichever sector of media you wish to pursue. The NoSweat Journalism college [http://www.nosweatjt.co.uk/] is great for shorter courses and is recognised and approved by The National Council for the Training of Journalists. London’s City University offers one of the most widely sought-after post-graduate diplomas though can be tough to get onto and is rather more expensive than other options, and Cardiff offer an equally covetable course.

N.B. Work experience and a portfolio (of your by-lined works) are crucial when applying for these courses. Try the smaller publishing houses and local publications first before approaching the big names (IPC, National Magazine Co, Conde Nast, Hachette Filipacchi, emap etc) as you are more likely to get a placement and get to write, thereby building your portfolio. If you are at university, join your student paper/magazine and/or radio station – great experience and great for your portfolio.

Advice from Oscar Wilde. Be unpredictable. Wilde suggested that “consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative.”

Network!! I cannot stress this enough – seize every opportunity to speak to people, you never know who they know and who might be able to give you a leg up. Make a good impression at all your work experience placements, even if you’re only making the coffee and feel completely invisible – you don’t know who might be watching and whether a role might be about to appear that needs filling.

Advice from Stephen King. “Read a lot and write a lot.” Reading and understanding different styles is integral to finding your own style.

Read!! Newspapers, magazines (even the trashy ones), newswires (reuters, bloomberg etc), twitter, journals… from helping you out in interviews [“oh yes, Martin, I loved your feature on the impact of the iPad on the next generation” / “exactly, the issue of IVF is an increasingly pressing topic for the current medical landscape”]; to keeping you informed and providing you with educated conversation when networking – it is vital.

Advice from Ernest Hemingway. Use short sentences and short first paragraphs. These rules were two of four given to Hemingway in his early days as a reporter–and words he lived by.

Social Media – get on Twitter, link it to your blog, share it on your Facebook page and update your LinkedIn with all the new contacts you accumulate. Social Media sites enable you to network, promote your skills, and raise awareness of your profile to a broad and international audience. Don’t underestimate it!!

Words words words...

With these fundamental tools under your belt you are ready to set off on your path to written success. Laptop, set, get typing…

Facebook fans throw a Wagner in the Works

In It's Only Words on 10/19/2010 at 11:16

Protesters to the credibility of TV talent show The X Factor have launched a Facebook campaign to retain the tuneless wonder, Wagner, to demonstrate their animosity towards all that Cowell’s show stands for.

A pawn in the wrong hands...

The Sun has exposed various groups on the social networking site with masses of people ‘Like-ing’ in a virtual petition to keep Wagner in the competition thereby diluting the real talent.

One fan, a member of group ‘X-Factor protest – Wagner To Win’ said: ‘I voted five times but I promise I will vote ten times next week.’

Another wrote: ‘If you just fancy a really crazy Xmas number 1 this year… vote Wagner!!! If you despise all what the X Factor stands for, vote Wagner!’

It seems the people have had it, but it seems SiCo and crew won’t be departing on an all-time high…?

[Updated: 26 October 2010]

Who’s Got Talent?

We were all thrilled to hear about the finalists’ excursion to Oxford Street; one girl got so excited at seeing the youngsters from One Direction she almost forgot they were actually …ahem, really young?! She screamed to her – now probably deaf gal pal – ‘OMG!!! He winked at me, he WINKED at ME!!!!’ Yup, we heard you love, he probably had something in his eye… no doubt she was referring to the noted stud of the group… Prince Harry!!

Pin-Up Harry

Further to Sir Elton’s comments last week, Simon rebuffed him on telly, inviting him to come down and appreciate the actual talent in clear evidence on Saturday night.

Talent you say???

That being said… what the hell is Wagner still doing in the competition?! Granted he’s a charming person, but come on… he’s got about as much ‘X Factor’ as a gnat!!! hmmm… not impressed.

Belle Amie served up another lukewarm performance, though thankfully a song containing more than 3 words – but, uh hello… Girls Aloud, been there, done that, released the single… get your own sound!!

They'll stand by you...

Mary, I’m sorry to say, was flat, flat, flat. Yes, we know you do power ballads – Doris Day-stylee -to perfection, but let’s hear summat new, please!!

Rebecca (a.k.a. Jessica Rabbit) was perfection – a soulful, Randy Crawford-sounding, record-selling magnum of silky smooth gorgeousness!!

Rebecca Lopez I presume..?

Matt and Cher – genius; completely putting their individual stamps on the competition.

King of the Swingers...!

Actually loved Katie’s version of King Louie’s jungle hit!! Akin to Christina Aguilera’s penchant for having a bit of fun with a Betty Boop-style charicature!! Very 1920s flapper kitsch!! Loved it!!

Lots of girls wanna be like you..oo.oo

Totally predictable that John took his final bow after that cringeworthy debacle on Saturday night – from the terrible jiving and sparkly suit to the over-zealous ballet dancers and embarrassing cruise-ship staging – he was doomed. And then out-of-tune on Sunday night did little to pledge his cause.

Another one bites the dust...

Loved Treyc with Hudson’s ‘One Night Only’ – but is she actually bringing anything new to the competition??

[updated: 25 Oct 2010]

X Factor Insider

With Sir Elton John joining the ranks of disbelievers in music mogul Simon Cowell’s ‘reality tv-talent’ venture; I have to say, what is the point of fighting it.

You've got the power...?

Of course it’s a money-making, personality-led, fashion-centric vehicle for Simon Cowell to parade in his latest wares whether acquired from Newcastle or Harefield. And this I glean from personal experience, when in 2005 I decided to audition for the X Factor (hangs head in shame).

As someone who has always loved to sing (and I’ll admit, on occasion, someone who craves the spotlight – who doesn’t) I took myself off to Wembley Stadium and waited with the masses for my turn in front of… the executive producers.

I reluctantly participated in the  expected crowd-incentives of holding up my arms in the symbol of an X while shouting ‘X Factor’ with as much forced enthusiasm as one can muster while the cameras sweep across capturing the moment. Absolute cringe!

I’d brought along my best friend, who in her fashion inexperience wore an outfit of green; inevitably she ended up on camera when she was spotted conversing with a man dressed as a giant leprechaun. Other camera-worthy individuals included a girl with poodle curls with her entire family in attendance as well as the traditional, generic boy band – who did incidentally make it through to the live finals (briefly).

Performing a few bars of Peggy Lee’s ‘Fever’, the panel of telly producers asked for another song and after a painful 5 minutes (though it seemed longer) of deliberation I opted for Lauren Hill’s ‘Killing me Softly’ (in my opinion, THE worst audition song – total cliche)! Needless to say they were less than impressed and that was the end of my X Factor experience. Thank the lord!

While a few talented individuals cross the threshold of the ITV studios to strut their stuff on our TV screens every Saturday and Sunday evening, the majority will never become lucrative ‘pop stars’.  Diana Vickers’ performance on Sunday was absolutely dire with half the lyrics indecipherable, while Dannii’s protege from a few years back, Leon – you know, the one who beat out Rhydian – looked as though he was having a fit on stage while performing his utterly forgettable song.

Sir Elton is entirely correct in his assertion that the majority of artists produced by this telly show are “uninspiring”; and let’s face it, the reason people watch it is for entertainment – obviously.

However, with Simon bowing out in his last UK airing of the X-enterprise, the potential talent is higher than in previous years with the likes of Matt Cardle (I love him), Aiden Grimshaw (the next Rob Patz), Cher Lloyd (an inspired blend of Ms Dynamite & Cheryl Cole),  Rebecca Ferguson (soulful beauty) and Mary Byrne (love her) revealing innovative, current and inspiring sounds.

The Voice of an Angel

Regardless of the in-judge bitching, the in-house bickering and the press rumour-mill; the next star could be in the midst of this year’s X Factor… so perhaps those with less than positive accolades on their lips should quieten down and stay tuned…?