Blognix

What sort of person goes to a blogging conference, gives a talk there then doesn’t talk about it for a month? This girl *wiggles thumbs*
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I have a post half written about something I discussed at lunch at Blognix, but for some reason, I kept pushing back this post of what actually happened. I’m such an amazing blogger, really.

So earlier this year, Elizabeth got in touch with me and asked if I would be interested in speaking at her event, Blognix. I was excited to accept – not just because it was one of my goals for the year to talk at something but because I had missed out on going last year and was at the time looking at the logistics of going.

We decided that I would talk about ethics and disclosure in blogging - I’m sure I don’t need to tell most of you reading that it’s a topic I’m pretty passionate about! Having not spoken in front of an audience before (besides the blogger Christmas party, briefly), I was pretty nervous, but by Saturday morning, everything was written, I had multiple copies just in case (iPad, iPhone and printed copies of what I intended to say) and I had even planned enough time to go to Harts (if you ever find yourself travelling from Temple Meads, that’s my top tip. Arrive half an hour earlier than your train, and go down to Harts to get a pastry and a brew. No more expensive than going to Starbucks inside the station, but a million times more delicious)

The Custard Factory is a easy walk from the Bullring, but the works being done at Birmingham New Street mean it’s a bit confusing getting to the Bullring (“It’s the thing that looks like a giant toilet roll holder”, according to one worker at the train station) so I was a little flustered by the time I got there. Thankfully, I recognised some faces when I got into the event space, so after a quick runthrough of the plan for the day, we began!

The first talk was by Elizabeth about branding which gave me a few things to think about. When creating Bonjour, Blogger!, I knew that I wanted there to be a specific look (colours and fonts), but hadn’t really considered things like language. (I think I achieve a fairly informal plural chatty tone on the account, but it’s difficult sometimes!)

Next up was Emma talking about freelancing. While I enjoy my 9-5 job in accounts, I am always itching to do something different as well – that’s another reason why I started Bonjour, Blogger!, so I could get the writing side of me out a bit more. Emma taught us all a new word to describe this – multipotentialite. I can’t imagine why anyone wouldn’t want to be describe this way! Her talk did get me to sign up for the 30 day freelance

There was a little break then it was my talk. I’ll be honest – I remember very little of this part of the day, but I don’t think I did tooooo badly – at least, everyone was too kind to tell me! Look! People took photos and videos of my face! Proof that I did do something! If you’d like to read what I said, I posted it on Bonjour, Blogger!

The final talk of the morning was Ahmed who runs a food site in Birmingham and who held a huge event. This was another talk that I was quite excited about – I love running our little #blogclub events in Bristol, but I’d really like to do something a little bigger, and wanted to know more about getting sponsors, etc.

Lunch was pretty epic – a huge buffet from The Old Crown and I was able to chat to lots of people (usually with a mouthful of food, sorry!)

The afternoon was taken up with different workshops – I sat out of the first two sessions as I was feeling a little people’d out (there’s a cute little cafe around the corner from where Blognix was, a brew always helps!) I made it to Kim‘s workshop on monetisation beyond your typical advertising.

The final talk was by Justice Williams – although she isn’t (yet!) a blogger, her talk was inspiring to hear how someone has built up a bit of a media empire.

It was all over far too quickly, and I was back on the train to Bristol (with some gininatin, obviously) – it was such an amazing day, and I am honoured (and to be honest, still a little surprised to be asked!) to have been a tiny part of it. Elizabeth and I have quite similar thoughts about blogging, so I’m looking forward to see what she comes up with next!

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A Little Little Printer

I’ve tweeted a few times about my Little Printer, but thought I would write a little post about it as well.

I first heard about the Little Printer a few years ago and loved the idea of a small printer that could print out little snippets of news for you. I forgot about it for a while, until a few months ago when I came across their website again. I set up an alert on eBay, and stalked the listings until I managed to win one for £40 (not bad considering the other auctions were going for £80, and it’s £150 new)

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Size wise, the Little Printer doesn’t take up too much space on my desk – it’s about 4 inches square. It always has a face on it, and you subscribe to various things – they can either be specific to you (e.g. getting print outs of your Google Analytics, copies of your to-do list, what was the most popular photo on your Instagram feed yesterday) or just a series of things – I like the Mr Men series.

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The printer is really simple to set up – you plug in a box into the router, then plug your printer in wherever it is going to live. You’ll get given a code to set the printer up with your account, and that’s it.

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I love the Little Printer for printing out those things that you don’t want to write down on a huge piece of paper (like, a code to get your train tickets does not need an A4 print out) but prefer to have something physical rather than a note on your phone. The Little Printer would be really useful for a shopping list or a to do list – I send screenshots of my iOS to do list as a photo message to the printer (using Moldiv to stitch screenshots together) and it appears on the printer within a minute or two)

What would make the Little Printer amazing? Integration with IFTTT. I love IFTTT, and use a few different recipes, but to be able to combine them with a printer would make them extra amazing. Another thing I would like to see would be to make it easier for people to send me little messages to the printer – I am in the process of getting this application set up on Heroku to allow anyone to email the printer (and also so I can work around the lack of IFTTT channel), but having never used Heroku before, it’s a little confusing to me! I love the idea of creating your own publication, but have no idea what I would want to receive on a regular basis!

 

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Race for Life 2014

I’ve been writing online in some form of personal blog since 2001 (which, depressingly, is older than some bloggers out there) and when I’m asked to describe my blog, I say it’s things I like and care about. I never expected one of those topics to be testicles. I mean, they’re nice and all, but it’s not really something you talk about, is it?

Well, we should.

Around Christmas, Alex found a lump. After a lot of pestering to register with the doctor, and an unfortunatly timed 3 week work trip, a tumour was diagnosed, and quickly removed. A follow up scan showed that the lump was cancerous, and that it had spread to a lymph node, so chemotherapy would be needed.

Alex has been receiving chemotherapy at BHOC (Bristol Haematology and Oncology Centre) since his further diagnosis in March. The speed in which he has been seen and the care he has received so far has been amazing.

He has been lucky enough to experience the young adult ward, which is for teenagers and young adults up to 25 years old. With wifi, private rooms, and a communal area and kitchen that’s comfortable and almost relaxing, it makes a pretty shitty experience less poop to go through.

I usually take part in a Race for Life event every year in order to raise money for Cancer Research after my mum died in 2005 after a short battle with cancer, but this year, it’s even more important to me. With the money that we raise, Cancer Research is able to work on new developments that mean treatments work quicker and more effectively to cure more people.

We also wanted to set something up to allow our friends to donate directly to the people who are actually making him better (because they’re pretty damn awesome). Above and Beyond is the charity for the hospitals in Bristol. We are so lucky to have such excellent healthcare available to us (that you don’t have to pay for to benefit from!) in our city.

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I am running both the 5k and 10k in Bristol in the same weekend in July because Alex thought it would be funny and signed me up for both of them. Cancer has not affected his sadistic nature, unfortunatly. (You can still get involved with these events! Head over to the Race for Life page and get signed up!)

You can donate to my Race for Life page here – www.justgiving.com/hayles10kand5k or you can donate by text by sending HGCB95 £1 (you can replace £1 with whatever figure you want to donate, up to £10!) to 70070

You can donate to Above and Beyond here – www.justgiving.com/nixgeek or you can donate by text by sending HCAH99 £1 (again, replacing £1 with whatever figure, up to £10) to 70070

Finally, if you take nothing else away from this blog post - check yourself, and check your partner.  Some of you may know that one of my favourite people, Vanessa, was diagnosed with breast cancer before Christmas, and is also going through chemo. We assume that these sort of illnesses won’t affect us, because we’re young, but it’s even more important to learn how to check yourself so it becomes a part of your routine. You can find out more information about breast cancer from Breast Cancer Care and about testicular cancer from It’s In The Bag (who are a part of Above and Beyond)

 

 

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