Microadventure #3. Sleeping under the stars

Actually this wasn’t the first time that I have slept out in the open without a tent but actually there has always been a roof of some sorts. Even out in deepest darkest Venezuela on an Orinoco river trip, the hammocks we strung up were under the protection of a tarp.

Being without a roof is truly liberating and being slightly oiled from a barbecue we had held earlier in the day, felt like we were being much more adventurous than we actually were.

Mat and I rolled out our foam mattresses and slid into our sleeping bags before diving down into our army surplus bivvi bags and snuggling up in our cocoons. Well, this is how I did it, Mat tried the mat in bivvi method instead – I don’t recommend it! I also recommend checking the ground for slugs before you tread on them…

To avoid the phosphorescence from the sky, we tucked our heads closer to the ivy strewn wall. It was then the night came to life and tiny rustles of perhaps a mouse in the ivy filled our ears full of intrigue. Mat dozed off quickly but I stayed awake listening to the sounds of the night and reading a book on Extreme Sleeps; dreaming of even greater adventures!

I nodded off eventually, waking a few times in the night – yes, we were still outside – how thrilling!

As dawn nudged my eyelids open again I said to Mat that we could head back to proper bed for the last few hours. He asked why. Good point.

And so we dozed until my alarm called me out of this land of wild abandonment and back to reality.

As I wheeled my bicycle through the gate I said goodbye to my sleeping boyfriend at the bottom of the garden….



Twitter tools: A cage for the bluebird

Unfortunately I missed this session and catching up has been difficult as there were a loCaged twitter birdt of technical tips I missed out on..here’s my take on what I have picked up about these tools:

  • Hootsuite – I see how it is good to amalgamate everything into one view, especially if you have more than one Twitter account as they only let you log into one at a time on your web browser. BUT…those nasty grey strips – so dull and information overload!  There is a reason why Twitter, F, LinkedIn and WordPress have designed an accessible interface and unfortunately Hootsuite does not replicate this! I will probably use it for work related channels but not for personal use as it’s just not fun enough!
  • Bit.ly – ok, easy shrinkage of long links and if you log in it means you can go back in and see what you have shrunk and see how many people have clicked on them. Good. Simple. Useful. BTW I noticed that Hootsuite have a function to do this when you tweet by using Ow.ly which is pretty much the same
  • Feed.ly – Personally I don’t read that many regular news pages as I just don’t have enough time. I tried something similar called paper.li once which draws subject specific news content together but I didn’t read this either. I only read a couple of blogs (and mostly avoid the news) and get emails when new ones are published so I don’t really feel the need for this tool.
  • Storify – I haven’t made my own yet as I’m still thinking of a suitable application but I’ve just checked out #HappyBirthdayPrinceGeorge and it’s kind of cute!! For someone who is so much in the press and has many gorgeous photo’s this is a really nice way to bring the content together. I also see how it would be nice for collating content about a big event (either as the organiser or as a participant in it) such as the Olympics or Glastonbury. If your content is not plastered all over the web on different channels then I think it would be better to just use your own blog..

Bluebirds in flight

photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/wildphotons/218201287/

‘X’ marks the spot

“Hidden in these seas there be gold!”

Social Media Gold

At the start of the CJBSsmdl there was confusion about navigating the vast seas of social media. Some islands were visible to the naked eye but others were in unchartered waters yet to be navigated. Yet with Cap’n Priestner and his ship-mates  at the helm I learnt about the treasures to be found.

The information is all out there and there’s plenty of advice to be found but the SMDL swept all the gold coins together and shovelled out the s@#t to massively speed up the learning process for me! Sites I had never got to grips with before became common practise such as WordPress, tumblr, Hootsuite  Sites I had never heard of were bit.ly, Storify, Feedly, Tineye, Photopin, Tweetreach. I learnt about the protocol of Tweeting, the MT (Manual Tweet – if you are amending someone else’s work), HT (Heard Through – to acknowledge another Tweeter), ‘.’ (use a full-stop at the front of a reply – before the @ – to make this accessible to everyone and not just people who follow both of you).

20140721_103928_resizedThere are sharks out there but I feel that the SMDL trained me to be superman and be courageous in the face of social pressure and to tame the bear of social media. The constant pressure to write a blog and Tweet was necessary to push me outside of my comfort zone and not ride the back seat of complacency. 20140721_103145_resized

‘Life moves pretty fast and if you don’t look stop and look around once in while, it may pass you by’; (wise words by Ferris Bueller) and the same is true about social media. It is fast, and if you are too slow to react, then you’ve missed the boat but on the other hand if you’re too wrapped up in it then you may miss what is actually happening in the real world.

It was great to hear our colleagues from the School on the podcasts and in class, it demonstrated there was a lot of buy-in and knowledge out there. What was really good though was the amount of enthusiasm communicated throughout the course that made it really fun and motivating…well done shipmates!

The LEGO Serious Play session to evaluate the course was excellent! I was fortunate to share this with only two other sailors so there was not too much fighting for the best pieces. I really thought it would be a bit of an irrelevant bit of fun but in actual practice turned out to be very insightful and amazingly triggered the right hand side of the brain to be not only creative but to bring up the emotions felt at a particular event too.

So bon voyage SMDL – let’s set sail on those high seas and discover new lands!

Running a mile…

tumblr…I nearly ran a mile from it; then ran a mile thanks to it!

I’ve never really engaged with tumblr before, a friend of mine wrote half a travel blog on there but gave up mid way through Brazil. A quick browse of Tumblr this afternoon following session 7 of the CJBSsmdl just to see what other people were up to did not fill me with inspiration…until I got to the gym. I’d stumbled across some random guy’s site about exercise and had a quick browse, he was talking about getting back in shape a mile at a time. At the gym later my mind was triggered by some thing Ben does Life  said and I ran a mile – just like that – surprising myself in the process!

It feels good to run – I must do it more often!

I will also try tumblr and mini-blog my #microadventures

Marathon runner

Source: jacsonquerubin

This photo was sourced from Flickr and has been filed under the creative commons licence meaning it is free to be circulated as long as proper credit is given and in this case for non-commercial purposes and if you amend it in anyway you should also share your version.

LinkedIn for the win

As part of the CJBS social media driving licence, I have just listened to Karen Siegfried talk about the importance of LinkedIn for MBA’s when job-hunting – or indeed  for any of us when we are prospecting for employment.

LinkedIn can be seen as a virtual CV but is an added advantage as it is a lot ‘richer’ and can include links to much greater content than a static page can.

Employers use LinkedIn to a vast extent now and LI claim that 75% of the world’s jobs are now posted on it’s pages. I have a friend who recruits for a biotech firm exclusively using LinkedIn as a search tool for candidates. This is a bind as well as a bonus because it means people have to have to keep this online content as well as their CVs up to date. It is dangerous to just pay lip-service to a skill or interest – if I say that I’m interested in intercultural communication, then I should evidence this by posting articles or joining groups on this subject  – and employers will look for this supporting evidence!

The other deadly danger to your integrity is your social media presence in the form of Facebook – that publically posted picture of you on a hen do last summer dressed as a devil and dancing like a demon could cost you an interview! If you want to look serious to employers, then make sure you have a professional pic as your profile or it could come back to haunt you!

Bad example


From Dave Gorman’s Google-whack adventure to the forthcoming Google-glass, the mighty search engine is now used as a noun in the same way we Hoover the carpet. ‘Googling it’ it so much simpler that explaining how you’re going to use an internet search engine to locate which eighties band sang ‘Vienna’.

Illustrated by the picture – some of the ways in which I live in the world of Google are described below:My world of Google

  • Google docs are stored on your Google drive and are sharable and editable by more than one person at once – an advantage over Dropbox. Editing tools are also available online but are slightly limited beyond simple formatting.
  • Without Google maps and their handy navigation app I would be lost, the downside being that you need internet access so it won’t work in the wilds
  • Google scholar helped me graduate, with an excellent search capacity of academic articles and direct links into sites that your domain has access to, this resource is invaluable
  • Google translate – offline dictionaries can be downloaded to your phone and includes audio though the ‘read’ function only works online
  • Don’t forget that Google now owns You Tube – not just for music videos of Dolly Parton but You Tube has helped me fix my car door and taught me yoga routines 
  • The list goes on…

In CJBS smdl class we tried out Google+ and for many it was the first time despite claims it is one of the world’s most popular social media tools. Being a member apparently means you are higher up the search lists – good if you have a business. You can promote your business through pages and set up a community to link to potential customers. You can have a hangout (multi-way conversation) with your circles (groups) of friends and post stuff to your homepage (wall). Though really, I can’t see the point and any advantages over Facebook or Twitter (or even Skype for the conversations) and will be unlikely to pursue more…



A belated live-tweet

Unfortunately I missed the CJBSsmdl live-tweet session and have been busy catching up after my holiday…

I found the You Tube clip from the Social Media Marketing Awards truly awful and hope there was no repeat of this in the live session!

I had quite a lot of difficulty finding the tweets from the session that happened over 10 days ago – do unless it has a specific hashtag, there’s a lot of scrolling to do. I do like Sir Cam’s post and pictures and think that a professional photographer can demonstrate a sense of what is happening and evokes the mood of the room in the detail captured here.

I imagine that it is quite difficult to concentrate on what is happening in the room as well as tap furiously into your phone. There is also the stigma of looking like your not interested in the speaker by using your phone during the session – I guess the speaker can ease this by announcing a hash-tag at the beginning of their talk and giving the go-ahead for live-tweeting. Personally, I prefer to scribble notes on a pad as this is a faster way of recording important points but depending on the content and popularity of the speaker I can see the benefits of using Twitter – such as at a TED conference.


Like an owl calling for it’s mate, what is the point of a twit without a twoo?
I mean, what is the point of tweeting if no one is listening?
Is there any point if I haven’t got an audience?

Over the last couple of weeks I have attempted to micro-blog my holiday on Twitter. I first heard about micro-blogging from adventurer Alastair Humphreys and loved the idea of this instant newsreel on your travels. However, it is only instant if you are within the realms of your 3G network or have Wi-Fi otherwise you need to wait until you’re back in civilisation and may have missed the ‘moment’.

I found photo’s were fun to set the scene and told a greater story than I could fit into my 140 characters – the funnier the better!

Who will listen I thought – but I got a reply to my tweet about non-vegetarian puddings tout suite and was mightily pleased I had a twoo to my twit!

Blogging me; blogging you…

Ah haaa…

There is something we can do!!Mat and sky

We just have to face it, there’s plenty to talk through,

Making things up is never easy I know – but go with the flow!

Knowing me knowing you, I’m going to do the best I can do!!


I  quite often get inspired by songs from the human jukebox I call my brain, when lacking in other inspiration, I call on my music muse to help.

There’s a whole world out there to sing, I mean blog about, so why is it so hard to think of something that sounds funny / cool / interesting / non-egotistical?  Maybe that’s just it, the ego getting in the way and making you worry about how others perceive you. As long as you are not being offensive and true to you authentic self, it should not matter what others think. People like you for who you are right – no matter how quirky, cutesy, random that happens to be!

What if you wrote your blog as if no one was ever going to read it – what would you talk about then? You know the quote “dance like no one is watching, love like you’ll never be hurt,sing like no one is listening,and live like it’s heaven on earth”  (William Purkey)…well, this applies to blogging too!

Social Media Driving  Licence

Zunicorns and other animals

Zunicorn 2


Following a recent visit to the Lake District Wildlife Park I retold the adventures of the day with a glass of this beautiful red and thought about the tiger horse. So the label says ‘Victorian naturalists and explorers to South Africa were fascinated by the zebra and gave it the Latin name Hippotigris, or Tiger Horse.’

Pondering on the animal combos available here I came up with the alternative of the Zunicorn…a zebra crossed with a unicorn (my favourite of all the animals!)

The official term for breeding hybrids is ‘hetrosis’ and is particularly prevalent in dogs (such as the labradoodle) and livestock…but have you heard about ligers?

A liger is the interbreeding of a male lion and a female tiger to produce an unnaturally large cat. An unnatural coupling as of course they don’t  share the same habitat in the wild.

The opportunities are endless (within genetic group) so the penguin/rabbit is out but the Geep (goat/sheep) is in…and we all thought square tomatoes were bad enough.