se7en

The life and times of a home schooling mom of se7en + 1.

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Saturday Spot: When Bloggers Get Together… #CTMeetUp

August 12th, 2014 · 20 Comments

So the long awaited #CTMeetUp of local bloggers happened on Saturday… The best thing about bloggers getting together for a “Meet Up” is meeting all the friendly faces behind the blogs…

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The hardest thing about blog meet ups is that nobody really knows who anybody is. Walking into a room full of people you don’t know is never easy, but as soon as you start saying hi you will discover that you know quite a few of them. Online we are all “twitter handles” and some of us who hardly ever (almost never) appear on our blogs it is a fair leap of faith, to step out from behind our screens. I can say that good friends online have always, always, always turned out to be fabulous friends in real life.


Se7en + 1 Things Learnt At The #CTMeetUp

  1. Bloggers take the Leap: It is a leap of faith for everyone to step out from behind their screens… The person we are as we write is not exactly the person that we are in real life.
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  3. Bloggers Love Words: When you put fifty bloggers in a room you will not believe the amount of chatting that goes on.
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  5. Bloggers Are Opinionated: If you add a discussion on “What brands want from bloggers vs. what bloggers want from brands…” it can get really noisy!!!
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  7. Bloggers Have Something in Common: Bloggers are a widely diverse group of folk, all them totally unique and throw in the mix of all the completely different blog topics there are and you would think that they have nothing to say to each other, nothing in common, in fact. But there is one unifier and that is blogging. While they all look and sound so different, while they all have a different voice and platform… they all have blogging in common and what a unifier that is.
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  9. Bloggers Are Inspiring: When people feel strongly enough about a topic to write about it day in and day out for a couple of years, when they can get so excited about that one topic… believe me that energy carries over into all aspects of their lives and they are a fascinating group of folk to connect with.
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  11. Bloggers Love Goodie Bags: When I was a kid “lucky packets” were the world… well goodie bags are another version of the same. Jam packed with things that you would never treat yourself too, new discoveries and just general loveliness. Their were heaps of fabulous sponsors represented in our goodie bags… exciting times!!!
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  13. Bloggers Love Spot Prizes: How cute is this ZANA bag, I have been following these fun folk on instagram for a while and I was thrilled to win this!!!
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    And the Se7en + 1th Snippet:

  15. Bloggers Love Meet-Ups: I spent weeks pondering: “should I or shouldn’t I,” and then once the decision was made… nervous as ever. Turns out it so good to meet the people behind their blogs. And it is so encouraging to find actual people that read your own blog. I have said it before and I will say it again: Bloggers are meant to “Meet Up.”

Special Thanks to Cindy Alfino for organising the #CTMeetUp and I Love My Laundry for hosting… and of course the heaps of sponsors!!!

→ 20 CommentsTags: About Blogging

Se7en’s Fabulous Fun Post #233…

August 11th, 2014 · 4 Comments

Wooohooo…. We are still here, just a crazy busy weekend, but I can not miss out on a fabulous fun post. Turns out we had the most unprecedented good weather this weekend. Forgive us if we feel lulled into a false sense of Spring…

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Book of the Week

When your week is too busy to stop and read a book… not even one, gasp… then a huge debate in my head to blog or to read… I am so glad I dived into this book and chose to read… because firstly weekends are meant for reading and secondly it is an excellent read that I am thrilled to share. I chose Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey, for review because after three years of a close relative battling with dementia, I have seen the difficulties, disappointments and the frustrations first hand. I was intrigued about a book where the main player was “80-something” year old Maud, who is a dementia sufferer. She believes her best friend, Elizabeth, is missing… all sorts of signs abound to tell her that something is terribly wrong. But she cannot sustain her train of thought long enough to put all the pieces of the puzzle together, let alone to clearly communicate with the folk that are in her circle of support. Maud’s world is filled with notes written to herself, everywhere; cups of tea left in her wake; and people who care, but you so want them to do more. If ever there was a book that you wanted to climb into then this is it.

Throughout the book, the author, Emma Healey, has very cleverly managed to let us see the story unfold through Maud’s eyes… or rather through her mind. A single train of thought is hard to find, a complete idea is nowhere to be found. It is not a viewpoint we often see. You find yourself relating to Maud’s frustrations, because you so want her to be able to finish a thought and unravel the mystery for us. As you know time warps for dementia patients and while we know there is the pressing problem that “Elizabeth is missing…” we find ourself spinning in and out of Maud’s childhood and the sinister disappearance of her older sister. This mystery within the pages of this book would have been a great story, but the added angle of the story through the mind of a dementia sufferer makes this book an essential read. Dementia is an illness on the increase, whoever you are you are going have ageing relatives or friends that suffer from it, this book provides a startling revelation of the frustrations that not only dementia sufferers suffer from, but their carers. This is really a novel about life, with a mystery within it to keep you reading. This is not one of those dramatic action packed mysteries… not a lot happens, except the steady decline of Maud’s memory,but all the while we get more and more eager to determine what has happened to Elizabeth and what happened to Maud’s older sister.
We were given this book for review purposes by Penguin Books South Africa, we were not paid for the review and our opinions are as usual entirely our own.

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This Weeks Lovely Links

  1. When I saw Emma Bradshaw’s summer holiday I knew that I needed one. I have no idea how carless families have a holiday, but a gal can dream and this looks perfect…
  2. You really do need to go for a little virtual wander through the streets of London with Books About Town… actually I think it would be worth getting on a plane for!!!
  3. I could write an entire chapter on the evolution of a blogger’s photographic storage … from not even thinking about it, to completely overloading and choking your computer, to frantic deleting… to something like this: on Digital Photo Storage.
  4. This is exactly my kind of packing… and why a family of ten looks like it isn’t taking any luggage when we travel.
  5. The cleverest kid friendly project I have seen in a while, I have a bug lover who would die to do this: Plastic Bottle Bug House: FamilyFun Test Drive on Parents.com.
  6. Oh exactly this: When People Ask How My Unschooled Kid Will Get Into College on Where’s Amanda?
  7. I am only going to ask this question once more… only once: Why can we not have an IKEA in Cape Town… Why oh why? You can take a peak at the 2015 catalogue on My Home Sweet Home.
  8. And the se7en + 1th link:

  9. A Blast From the Past: Last Week Was World Breastfeeding Week and dare I say for the first time n sixteen years I wasn’t actually nursing anyone. A journey that began suddenly on the night our firstborn arrived, we slowly outgrew about a year ago… there was no trumpeting or celebration, we just kind of moved on, as one does.

That’s us… Hope your weekend was a fabulous one and we are so looking forward to another great week of blogging with you all…

→ 4 CommentsTags: Fabulous Friday Fun

Se7en + 1 Steps to Our Hiking Bread…

August 9th, 2014 · 4 Comments

I know we have blogged quite a bit this past year about hiking as a family and the one over-riding question that folk ask is: “What do our kids carry in their backpacks?” Well we keep it really simple… a sweater, two bottles of water, a handful of snacks and a sandwich, not just any sandwich, it has to use hiker’s bread… it’s tradition. It is also a very filling bread, designed to fill grumbly tummies and nothing like the bread that you buy in the store. We make it the night before a hike… so it is fresher than fresh when we get going the next day…

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Let’s Meet The Players:

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  • 1 kg Nutty Wheat Flour (Whole Wheat Bread Flour).
  • 200g Digestive Bran.
  • 3 Tablespoons of Bicarbonate of Soda.
  • 1 Tablespoon of salt.
  • 1.5 litres of buttermilk or yogurt.
  • 1cup honey

You can use a fruity flavoured yogurt and add bits of dried fruit and seeds… and you can sprinkle any number of seeds on top of your loaf before you bake it. Really this is extremely adaptable and we are always trying new bits and pieces in our bread.


Let’s Play The Game…

  1. Turn the oven on to 160 degrees Celsius (320 degrees Fahrenheit).
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  3. Place all your dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and measure out your wet ingredients.
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  5. Add the yogurt and the honey the dry ingredients and mix away.
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  7. You will get a fairly sticky dough… it’s fine you are not going to be kneading this bread.
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  9. Place the dough into a large bread tin or two smaller loaves.
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  11. If you have seeds to sprinkle on top then now is the time.
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  13. Bake in the oven for about 50 minutes… then carefully take the bread out of the loaf tin and let it bake for about 15-20 minutes longer.
  14. And the se7en + 1th…

  15. We leave it to cool on the drying rack overnight.

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First person up gets to make a sea of sandwiches before we head out…

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→ 4 CommentsTags: Celebration Bread · Monday Munchies

What We Are Reading Right Now #27

August 7th, 2014 · 10 Comments

Almost everyone is blogging about their summer reads… and half the world is actually in the middle of winter. We have had a huge pile of reads to these are the latest and greatest reads that we have been reading our way through as we survive the long winter… Hope you enjoy this heap of reviews.

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The Mother Person:

The Skeleton Cupboard, stories from a clinical psychologist by Tanya Byron. There are so many books out there about folks personal experience with a psychologist, and their own journeys with mental illness, but this one is different… it is written by “the psychologist.” Tanya Byron is renowned psychologist and TV personality, she is lovely and tackles folk and their problems directly, no airy fairy solutions, and that’s what drew me to read her book. This book is her journey fresh from graduation to where she is today. She writes eloquently about the taboo topic of mental illness, cracking open all the labels that we use to soften the blow of actually taking notice of the reality and treatment of mental illness today. This is a fascinating read as you follow her journey, you become more than a little attached to her patients… well I could pass on the fairly terrifying sociopath Ray, who would have turned most young twenty somethings away from this choice of career forever; but twelve year old Imogen…you can’t help wondering what happened to her.

I love that Tanya Byron shares her feelings and her interpretation of the journey… revealing a side of psychologists that, in their efforts to remain impartial, we don’t often see. You can’t help wanting her to succeed, to persevere and get through the trial of training. This is a hard calling and instead of hiding behind her title, she has chosen to bring the people involved into the light, reveal them for who they are… real people in a real and complicated world. This book is intriguing, beware of starting a chapter when you are busy, you will happily read forty pages straight through, while the sink overflows next to you. The patients she describes are not real people, how could they be, but she has very carefully composited together individual patients and used them to tell not only her story but theirs. I have really enjoyed this read, from a childhood speckled with family members dashing off into the “oh-so-secret-world” of psychologists and heaps of closed doors and nobody ever mentioning “anything about anything” this book was a breathe of fresh air, not the topic so much but the honesty and the openness: “this is what the problems are, this is how we deal with them, this is what we battle with…” and so on. This is a really worthwhile and a fascinating read.


The Hoods Are Reading…

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Hood #1:

Two All-Action Adventures by Bear Grylls: Facing Up and Facing the Frozen Ocean. Bear Grylls is a recognised name is most homes around the world today and if you have any family members dead keen on any kind of survival then he is most likely an invisible member of the family: “Bear Grylls says,”…” and then on another matter, well, “Bear Grylls says…” Turns out he is not just a survivor of life threatening accidents, and a great teacher of outdoor survival skills, he is a great writer. This book contains two books:
The first book is Facing Up: If you have ever wanted to climb Mount Everest then this is the book that will take you there. Two years before his epic climb Bear Grylls broke his back in a parachuting accident, most of us would be glad to have survived and potter on our way, and Bear Grylls would have none of that. You will find yourself on the mountain face… you will feel the crunch of the snow, you will feel the fatigue, you will laugh and cry and possibly more than anything, you will want to push on and all the while you will wish you could step off and rest. He writes about his experience, the highs and lows of getting there.
The second Book is The Frozen Ocean: This is another epic story of another great adventure, a journey across the north atlantic in a rigid, inflatable boat. A classic case of all the plans you make going awry when faced with reality…. Bear Grylls and his team could never have predicted what they were headed into, wild and incredible storms. this is a great big fat read… more than 600 pages of gripping stuff. Packed with life lessons and inspiration, if you know someone who is ready for an adventure then they will love this book.

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Hood #2:


For any impending athletes this is a must read… While it is “a week a spread” diary, it is just packed with running, health and exercise tips. Fifty Two Weeks worth of journal pages, certainly enough time to get into a good excercising habit. Each journal page interspersed with double spreads: autobiographies and beginner tips. Each spread contains a training, nutrition and injury preventions tip, as well as an inspirational quote. Each of the se7en blocks for each day of the week, has a place to fill in the route, distance, time and notes and any other training you might have done. There is also a beginner programme to get you up off the couch and moving. I have to say that this book may well be used by my senior students for school this year… I predict lots of challenges on the cards.

Rock War, Robert Muchamore: A completely new and different type of read from the author of the Cherub Series, Robert Muchamore. This book revolves around three talented young musicians, who are entering a reality TV show: a guitarist, Jay… a lad with se7en siblings; singer Summer who is crippled by nerves and a reluctant producer Dylan, who is there to avoid rugby practice. This book is about the passion behind the artists in a reality TV show… a popular them in the life of teens, but a new and refreshing theme on the “teen reads shelf.” This book is very real and while it is a topic that would interest many preteens… it is really a read for older kids. This author has no problem telling it like it is and a look at life through less than rose tinted glasses provides a a great backdrop to the impending and desperate competition. This book is a very real look at the life behind the scenes in a reality tv programme, so many teens dream of this and here is their chance to find out about, dare I say, the nitty gritty, behind a reality show.

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Hood #3:

Goth Girl and the Ghost of a Mouse by Chris Riddel: When a book is so beautifully created that you spend ages just looking at it: It is a a small, hardcover delight; a beautifully lined cover; the pages have shimmery purple edging; the secret little book “Memoirs of a Mouse” tucked into the back cover… and the absolutely incredible illustrations. You just can not beat Chris Riddel, for incredibly detailed, intricate pen drawings… pages and pages of them. When you start reading the book you, you just can’t put it down and read it all the way through and when you get to the last page, you don’t even pause you turn straight back to the beginning to read it through again. This is the most delightful Goth Girl and the Ghost Mouse. This is the story of a young girl, Ada Goth, who clumps about the ancient family manor in galumphing boots, because her father, Lord Goth, insists that children should be heard and not seen. She is lonely gal and finds friendship with a recently deceased mouse… hence the ghost mouse. This book is full of weird and wonderful characters, a mysterious plot, plenty of amusements and really just delight between the covers. Everybody will want to read this book. This is a book that you have to hold in your hands… folks that say books just aren’t made like they used to be, just haven’t met Goth Girl.

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Hood #4:

Cressida Cowell’s How to Train Your Dragon Series: Totally powering his way through these. For a slow and steady reader these are fantastic… What a talent is the author, illustrator Cressida Cowell. Absolutely everything you ever wanted to know about dragons… pure rocking fun, through the eyes of a young viking called Hiccup. Hiccup is a very unassuming hero and quite honestly the exact opposite of what you would expect a Hero to be. These books are jammed packed with explanatory illustrations… and to be honest you can crack open any of them anywhere and have a fabulous read. These are so fun and if you haven’t dived in yet, then this could well be the time to take the leap. These books are just such fun that you can’t help wanted to keep on turning the pages, long after bedtime!!!

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Hood #5:

Famous Five Colour Reads by Enid Blyton: You may have wandered into a bookshop recently and noticed that there is an Enid Blyton revival on the go… And these are such fun. In the olden days, when I was young, you read terribly dull phonics readers until the penny dropped and you lurched tentatively onto real chapter books like Secret Se7en and The Famous Five. Well kids have it a whole lot easier now… these books are the link between long picture less chapter books and those beginner books. Filled with fun, full colour illustrations… these books are short chapter books, just above the level of easy readers. Short manageable chapters… with the Famous Five Team in full adventurous swing. Bumbling upon little mysteries and solving them of course. These are just great reads, fairly tame, and most certainly read a lot better than a lot of the mass readers out there. If you are looking for fun easy readers then these are a fabulous choice.

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Hood #6:

We have finally, finally arrived in the world of Alex T. Smith’s Claude. I knew these would be fabulous, but they are better than that. We all totally loved Claude. He is delightful little dog of the plump variety and lives with Mr. and Mrs. Shinyshoes. Everyday his owners head off and do whatever the owners f dogs do and Claude and his pet sock, Bobblysock, have the sweetest little adventures. He is slightly risqué in places, as he packs his undies to go on vacation, and so hysterically funny. Claude’s disappointment when he can’t get a “bone flavoured ice-cream cone” is shortlived, when he is given three multiple cones instead. This is witty on every level… funny for your kids and certainly an easy reader would love it. But my pre-readers could not get enough of Claude and we have been reading and re-reading them at bedtime every single night for a couple of weeks – without pause.

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Hood #7:

Sugarlump and the Unicorn by Julia Donaldson and LydiaMonks: In true Juliadonladson Rhyme and Rhythm… I thought this book would be a bit “pink” for our sturdier tastes… I needn’t have worried its a great story. This is the story of a rocking horse, Sugarlump, who wishes he was a real horse… Each time he wishes he was different kind of horse, the unicorn transforms him… from a farmer’s horse to a racehorse, even a circus horse. Of course we don’t always wish the best for ourselves… and the unicorn knows that and makes the right wish come true. Everyone lives happily ever after and it is a very sweet little person’s book. The illustrations are charming and the farm and the circus are all worth pouring over… not to mention their is glitter on every page, which totally makes it a keeper!!!

And the se7en + 1th Books:

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Hood #8:

The Black Rabbit by Philippa Leathers: Oh this is lovely… Rabbit wakes up on a glorious day, filled with anticipation. But there is a shadow over his day… like a cloud he cannot shake off, literally. The black rabbit follows him no matter where he goes and no matter what he does… until rabbit seeks refuge in the deep dark wood. He is nibbling on a carrot when he realises again that something is watching him… a hairy scary (delightful) fox. Rabbit runs as fast as he can the tension rises again… and he gives up, closes his eyes, and waits for the pounce. But nothing happens. One look at the BIG BLACK RABBIT and fox runs away… rabbit and the black rabbit bounce off into the sunset. This book has the most expressive little eyes in a rabbit I have ever seen. My little guys loved this story, and he had a laugh at the twist in the tale every single time. I think some tender-hearted young listeners might be slightly wary of this story the first time round, but once they have seen the story through to the end they will love it.

And this is only part one, in this collection of reviews… look forward to another jam-packed edition next week.

We would really like to thank Pan MacMillan South Africa for providing us with a fantastic pile of books to review for this post. We would like to declare that we were not paid to do these reviews, just provided with books. All the opinions are as usual, entirely our own!!!

→ 10 CommentsTags: What We Are Reading

Se7en + 1 Tips for Riding the Wave of Blogging With Brands…

August 5th, 2014 · 6 Comments

It is inevitable that your blog is going to connect with brands at some stage. Unless of course you are blogging in a remote shed with no accessible internet, in which case you are actually keeping a journal and not so much a blog. You may or may not invite the blogger-brand connection, but one day you will receive a media drop in your inbox and your first reaction may well be like mine: “Total surprise that anyone other than your mum ever read your blog!”

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This post is written because of a number of brand related questions I have received in the past couple of weeks. I think the key thing for bloggers and brands is that you are working together and building a platform together, one which should enhance your blog and the brand. The thing is blogging with brands is a bit of an adventure, a journey into unchartered waters so to speak. There are no clearly defined rules and each relationship has it’s own parameters… it is not a matter so much of whatever floats your boat, but rather how to keep your boat afloat. There will be calm seas and there will be storms… but by the time you are working with brands your blog “boat” should be able to hold it’s own…


Se7en + 1 Tips for Blogging With Brands

  1. Your Blog and your Social Media Presence are your Brand: I know, it is a bit of a surprise to realise that you are your brand. It is easy to think of brands as folk that want to share products with bloggers, but in actual fact it works both ways… Our brand is a family friendly lifestyle blog, who loves the great outdoors. There are some brands that are just never ever going to align well with us and others that do. Whatever you do, keep in mind that you are the face of your brand and be polite and professional at all times.

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  2. Brands Will Approach you: It is just a matter of time… make sure that you have a very clear idea about what you are blogging about and what your brand is, across all the social media that you are on. While I firmly believe different social media should have different content… our Instagram feed is not the same as our Pinterest feed for instance, the theme is consistent. For a long time I was not quite clear about our exact niche, so it was a lot easier for me to know what we didn’t blog about. For instance it is very unlikely that as a family without pets, that we will ever blog about dog food – no matter how much dog food is shipped to us.

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  3. Make it Easy for Brands to Figure Out if you are a Good Fit: Almost all the brands we work with know of us long before we work with them. Share their content because you believe in them, the brand will notice you and your voice with your readers will remain authentic. There is no problem being a super fan, not a stalker so much (!!!) but a super fan. Demonstrate that you believe in them, by being a great follower. This requires effort and work on the part of the blogger… you are unlikely to get noticed for a bi-annual retweet. But a blogger that consistently engages with a brand, and proves that they are not just in it for the money, is a blogger that I think will appeal to a brand. This is how we have met most of the brands that we work with, they expect our authentic and consistent voice, and we anticipate the same from them.

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  4. Have a Clear Idea About What You Are/Are Not Prepared To Do: Working with brands can indeed be a bit of a balancing act and working with too many brands at once, I believe, can be fatal. That being said, make sure you know what you are prepared to blog about: I for instance don’t publish media drops… I prefer to use my own words. I won’t publish content about products that we don’t use ever… but I am occasionally prepared to try something new, that I may or may not share with our readers. Also be very honest about your expectations, for instance if a brand wants to do a GiveAway with us, then I expect two of the products – one to try and one to give-away, that just makes sense to me. Some brands will be happy with that and others won’t. Honesty and transparency are the best policy. You do not want to find that down the line either of you misunderstood one another.

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  5. Behind Every Brand is a Person: A brand doesn’t approach you, a person does. That person may or may not work directly for the brand, but they do work. Treat their time with respect… reply to them timeosly and politely. If their deadline is a week away and you take a fortnight to reply, then don’t expect royal treatment. If is is an obvious misfit “mail drop approach” go ahead, completely disregard it. But very often a PR has done their homework and there approach is a good one. Treat them with honesty and respect, I have no problem politely declining something that I don’t think is a good fit and saying why. And if there expectation or approach was not professional, go ahead and politely say why. That way a PR person, knows where they stand. I think just by replying and saying “no thank you” politely, you are standing out from the crowd, that PR person may very well remember you down the line, when they find a better product or campaign fit.

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  6. Your Readers Want to Hear From You:
  7. Remember why you have a blog, and stay true and transparent to your readers. Unless you are a specific product blog, you cannot post branded posts daily and expect to keep your authentic voice. I limit our brand posts to one, at most two every week. While our readers like to know about our favourite kitchen tools, and so on… I know they want to read the “hows and whys” too. I know when I see “this is a sponsored post” at the top of a blog post I am going to read it with a wary eye and if a blogger has that on every post I am unlikely to keep on following. And as for special treatment because you are a blogger: appreciate it, but don’t expect it. In order to give my readers an honest review of a product or experience, I certainly don’t want to get “better than the rest” service that goes beyond their normal work ethic. It means that any reader that follows after us will have a lesser experience and I would never want that.

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  8. When a Brand Let’s You Down Drastically:
  9. I think most bloggers have at least one if not many terrible tales of being let down by a brand. It can be absolutely devastating to the blogger as we see our integrity with our readers crumbling. If you have promised something to your readers and your brand doesn’t follow through, then you end up looking bad and so does the brand. No one is a winner. Our relationship with our readers is fundamental to our blog being a place they like to call home and somewhere they want to stop by each day. If a brand doesn’t come through, and I have had my share of brand fails from teeny tiny miscommunications to galactic non-deliveries, the cost is dear not only to the blogger but to the brand.

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    I will try and keep our readers none-the-wiser, it is the professional thing to do. But it can cost the blogger dearly, not only financially, a trust had been broken and being let down hurts. I think the trick is to remain professional, and while it may feel like your blog is disintegrating around you, keep in mind that you are a brand and your followers will stand by you through thick and thin. It is not your blog that is at fault but rather a brand that has not delivered. I do believe when there is a galactic fail, for example a massive non-delivery of GiveAway prizes… it is better to explain to your readers that there is a problem than to malign the brand. You cannot win by calling folk out or retaliating, you will look bad and it just isn’t professional. By all means communicate with the brands and explain your distress but don’t name and shame, or post a nasty retaliatory review. That sort of unprofessionalism will close doors to you of many other fabulous brands that will be taking notice. Be gracious and sincere and you will be noticed. Try not to take it personally in the midst of a brand fail… it is alright to feel overwhelmed and mistreated, it is even all right to take a couple of days off to recover, yes it can feel that bad to have a blogging disaster of the brand-fail variety, but then move on.

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    And the se7en + 1th…

  10. When You Gather Together:
  11. I remember when I was first married and the ladies in the office would gather around at tea-time and the conversation often became a lamenting of whose husband was the least help, not to mention whose husband was the worst patient, it was honestly embarrassing to be there as folk tried to have the last word. Let me tell you as a blogger, and when bloggers get together, they are often happy to lament the brands that they work for. Many times I have found myself literally cringing, not only does it spoil it for other bloggers, who may have thought that that complimentary gift was a lovely gesture, but it sets a very negative tone for all blogger-brand relationships. I am sure it is not meant to be a competition, and it is just unnecessary for a brand that I already align with to feel a need to woo me to get my best work. Seriously, avoid any conversations about any brands unless they are positive conversations. It is just not done to malign a brand in public ever, it makes you appear to be a non-team player, and frankly you look unprofessional. And certainly never say a bad word against a brand online, it will always reflect far worse on you than on the brand. Bloggers want to be treated professionally by brands, and bloggers should behave professionally too. I am firmly convinced that the polite and gracious blogger will stand the test of time, as will enduring and authentic brands.

To be honest it is a wild and stormy sea out there. Bloggers working with brands is a fairly new thing and both sides are trying to find a way that works for them. There are no rules, only a few guidelines and plenty of discussion available. Just like there are fab brands to work with, there will be less than fab brands, there will always be those that try and push the window and get more from your blog than you are prepared to give. Keep in mind that your blog is your brand and it is up to you to be a fabulous brand to work with. In any professional environment there will be folk that are great to work with and those that aren’t. Make sure that you are one of the good ones, because I have a feeling that those that aren’t won’t be sailing the se7en seas for very long.

→ 6 CommentsTags: About Blogging

Saturday Spot: A Muizenberg Meander…

August 4th, 2014 · 9 Comments

Early Saturday morning we headed out for a Beach Clean-Up in Muizenberg…

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Muizenberg is a beach that stretches on forever…

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And has a very unique feature as being one of the best places in the Peninsula for learning how to surf, in Surfer’s Corner.

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Rows and rows of surfboards..

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One of the great advantages of this beach is that it is right next to the station and I remember heading down here on the train as a kid to go surfing…

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In all our years of living in the South Peninsula we have never seen the water without surfers… sun, rain, sleet or snow. But on Friday afternoon there was a shark attack… and no-one was in the water on Saturday.

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We did a quick refresher on shark safety…

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Before stepping onto the beach…

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The Beach Clean-Up

We love a good beach clean-up… and you don’t have to wait for an organised one, it is easy enough to organise your own one.

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Armed with gloves, a bag and our Printable Data Sheet…

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Gloves “on…”

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And we joined the cleaning team from the Two Oceans Aquarium…

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We filled our bag with dozens of plastic bottle tops and cigarette butts – ewe… and someone was thrilled to find this little fish…

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And a good mornings clean-up…

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This is why we do clean-ups…

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So happy to pick up rubbish for those that can’t…

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And while we were there we thought we would take a look around…


Beach Houses…

And Muizenberg has beach houses…

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From far, up close, behind and head on, every angle… just can’t resist a colourful beach house!!!

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Meanderings…

We decided to go for a little meander through the seaside town of Muizenberg, it is full of little surprises…

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And intriguing buildings… Tall, old, new, run-down, built up… very colourful…

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Putt Putt

I had a hidden agenda, I have been dying to take my kids to play Putt-Putt for the longest time. I knew they would love it and they did. A reasonable outing… a lot of fun and if you go when it is quiet, like a cold wintry Saturday morning… there are quite a few young families out trying to master the art of mini-golf.

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Finally we were treated to some very fun Parkour on the way home… new inspiration for my athletes..

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And a great day out… ends with ice-cream cones…

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→ 9 CommentsTags: Cape Town · Outings · Saturday Spot

Se7en’s Fabulous Friday Fun Post #232

August 2nd, 2014 · 2 Comments

And just like that the weekend started and time for a Fabulous Fun Post… In the news should be: We managed a whole week of blogging… it’s been a while, but we appear to be finding my rhythm again, now that our school year is well in progress and life seem to be eddying a long at it’s usual crazy pace…

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Such exciting news: A copy of Family Fun Magazine arrived in the mail… with one of our crafts settled quite comfortably between the pages – I could about die of excitement, talk about a dream come true!!!

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Otherwise we went blogging on the City Sight Seeing Website as well… All the wonders go a Red City Bus Tour with kids…

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This Weeks Lovely Links

  1. Oh the sort of “stuff posts” I just totally love: Let the Children Play: These are a few of my favourite found things… and there is a part two…
  2. Craftiness is everywhere and just too lovely to miss: PoppyTalk’s: WaterColor Mugs… and Cakies: Tassel Necklaces.
  3. You may be needing some sweet sweet inspiration… head straight over to A Beautiful Mess… Sweet Tooth.
  4. We have so enjoyed the Yuppie Chef Cooking Courses… just rename our kitchen feasts incorporated because they just keeping rolling out more fab courses: Quick and Easy Dinners… with Kamini
  5. Every single time my girls and I set up a sewing day… our plans are thwarted, but we do love Betz White’s hats… and they are our next priority.
  6. I totally love Shadow Puppets, totally love them and how cute are these on BabyCCino Kids.
  7. I Just cannot wait for summer nights,,, JUST. CANNOT. WAIT… look at this lovely Craftiness on the Crafty Crow.
  8. And the se7en + 1th link:

  9. A Blast From the Past: And here are a couple of links to posts, this week, from previous years:

That’s us. Hope your weekend is a fabulous one… I have a Family Fun Magazine to read and a pile of books for a bonanza kids book review next week. Sounds like the perfect weekend, interspersed with some plotting and planning for next weeks posts… Hope you all have a great weekend!!!

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→ 2 CommentsTags: Fabulous Friday Fun