So Who Is Inspiring the Tweens to Vlog? 

If you are the parent of a Tween and you have noticed them talking to themselves and making weird facial and hand movements very animatedly into a device, the chances are you have a Vlogger in your midst.

That is, of course, if they are not just taking a selfie!

So for ease, I am going to start with a couple of definitions.

Tween – a girl ages about 9-14…too old for toys, but too young for boys.

Very easy to market to, will usually follow any fashion trend set for them, will most likely go through the phase of ‘finding themselves’ as they ‘grow up’.

Vlogger – Video Blogger – One who records a video blog.

A vlog or video blog is a blog (short for weblog) which uses video as the primary content  A video logger who creates video content about their life and travels!

Source : Urban Dictionary

Vlog It!

Has the world gone mad I hear you cry.  First Blogging and now Vlogging!

I may be preaching to the wise and converted here but for those of you that are wondering what it’s all about, I am about to explain my findings.

I thought this would be useful for parents, who like myself, find themselves and their daughters becoming a part of this ever growing phenomenon.

So, as a Blogger myself who comes into regular contact with Vlogs, Vloggers and Vlogging, I thought I would take a peek into the world of the Vloggers and Bloggers that are capturing the attention and imagination of our Tween’s.

As a parent of a 10 year old daughter, as well as being interested in finding out more about these Vloggers, I also have one eye on my daughter’s safety online and the other on making sure that she is viewing appropriate content.

So first up – the lovely Zoella (Zoe Sugg).

I would be surprised if you haven’t heard of her.  You may not have seen her channel but she is often in the news and is always very prominent in the Tween magazines along with her fellow Vloggers.

Zoella reached the milestone of having 10 million subscribers to her You Tube channel this year.  Starting as an accidental Blogger five years ago at the age of  19, Zoella now has a very successful career as a professional Blogger and Vlogger.

As you may or may not know, one can earn money from V(B)logging through brand sponsorship and endorsement as well as from launching their own product ranges and public appearances to list but a few sources of income.

Zoella has had several books published and as I understand it (!) part of the appeal is that she is part of a group of Vloggers and Bloggers that are friends.

I have read the blog and seen her You Tube channel.  The content is varied and covers everything from days out to hair do’s, make-up & skincare tutorials, recipes, friendships, girly stuff, pets and having fun.

Zoella is very sweet in a girl next door kind of way.  She is also squeaky clean which is a thumbs up for parents and she is also very likeable.  Not a bad role model to have in my opinion. She is also very successful through her own sheer hard work.   Another positive.

Some other facts :

Brighton seems to be the mecca for these Vloggers with some of them being based there.

You will also come across the ‘haul’ trend

Haul  a shopping spree

a vlog titled “Makeup Haul” or “(Store Name) Haul” is a video showing a shopping spree in that given area, showing products or clothing that will usually be featured in future How To, or tutorial videos

Source : Urban Dictionary

Of course any ‘haul’ is mainly going to be brand endorsement or sponsorship and is therefore marketing by definition but we have had no demands for purchases made as a result of this.  Also very important when the pound is in the hand of the parent.

Here are some of the other VFFs (Vlogging Friends Forever) who you may stumble upon.

  • Zoella’s boyfriend, Alfie Deyes (Pointless Blog) is also a Vlogger
  • Her brother, Joe Zugg (Thatcher Joe)
  • Marcus Butler (Alfie Deyes friend)
  • Tanya Burr (Zoella’s friend)
  • Jim Chapman (Tanya Burr’s boyfriend)
  • Louise Pentland (Zoella’s bestie) SprinkleofGlitter
  • Caspar Lee (Friend and former flatmate of Alfie Deyes)

And here is Zoella on her You Tube channel with some of her VFFs in case you have no idea of what I am talking about.

 

So What Is The Appeal?

I took the opportunity of asking my daughter this question and I was really interested in the answer.  Obviously I know why people Blog and Vlog in the adult world and why people follow them but the younger Vloggers have been a bit of a grey area for me up until now.

I wanted to understand

Q    Why the appeal?

A    Zoella is likeable, relatable and homely

Q    Do you feel you have to buy/have the things she talks about?

A     Of course not

What Does Mum Think?

From what I can see with my mummy head on, it’s all harmless fun and entertainment.

There is always lots of laughter when Zoella is on and it’s really no different from watching the TV or reading a book to an extent.

Obviously it can be addictive viewing which we will always monitor.

And then there is the marketing element which is, unfortunately, going to be present wherever the kids are looking and watching and there will naturally be some kind of influence.  Thus far I don’t feel that this has been a problem.  Nor does it mean we have to rise to it. What I have seen my daughter and her friends do in this regard is to create their own haul with their own little products.

Any Vlogging that is done by my Tween is monitored and will only be shareable amongst those that we know.  I am mindful that this point in particular is a bit of a moveable feast but our current parental control settings don’t even allow access to Amazon!  We are all over that one.  For obvious reasons.

All in all, I’m liking what I’m seeing.

And Finally!

I would just like to add that we had the fruit picking idea first (*BAE) but I am happy to concede that any future visit to Brighton will be solely for the purpose of being groupies.  I have no choice but to #hashtag along – really!

I can also testify that Tanya Burr’s Chocolate Cornflake Cookies are divine and if this cooking behaviour continues then I would be a fool to complain.

Tanya Burr's Chocolate Cornflake Cookies

What Are Your Thoughts?

Are you familiar with this crowd and the world of Vlogging?  If not, I hope this post has helped and I would love to hear your thoughts.

And, if you are already converted “we’ll see ya in Brighton with your haul”!

Nicky

 

*Before anyone else!!!!

 

Writing Prompts For Your Business Blog

In a recent post, I wrote about the many reasons why a business should blog.  You can read it here if you missed it Why Should a Business Blog?

What I would like to talk about in this post is some suggestions and ideas for the type of blog posts that you may want to consider writing and sharing with your audience.

Perhaps you are ready to blog but are still short on ideas and inspiration.  If that is the case, I have listed some simple writing prompts below to help get you started.

What Have You Worked On In The Last Week?

This is always a great one for getting the creative juices flowing.

Have a think about the things you have been working on in the last week.  Have you worked with a new client?  Perhaps you have been involved in a process that is slightly different to your usual work?  Have you completed a new project? Is there something here that would be of interest to prospective new clients?  Share it, explain the process, tell your readers why it was successful.

Refer to your new client, if it was a business to business transaction, perhaps there is an opportunity for collaboration.  There is a good chance that it may be of mutual benefit to your combined audience.  There are several prompts here that are certainly blog worthy.

Niches That Need To Be Explained

Does your particular business have a niche that needs to be explained to your audience.  Is this something that could be set out over a series of blogs?  If clients understand what you do, it helps them to see why your services may be of benefit to them.  If they aren’t well informed they may not see how you could help them.  Make it easier for people to do business with you.

The Devil Is In The Detail

Don’t fight shy of detail.  You may be the expert at your business but your prospective client isn’t. Sometimes it can be simple blocks and misunderstandings that can prevent us from investing in a service.  Spell it out.

Anticipate Customer Questions

Are you asked the same question regularly about your product or service?  If so, this is certainly blog worthy.  Simple explanations and answers to popular questions make great blog material.  You can refer potential customers to your posts over and over again.

It’s Not Just About The Words

If you have a creative business, let photographs do the work for you.  We are always drawn to an image – look at how popular Instagram and Pinterest are.  Some of your fabulous images followed by a few words about the process or journey can provide a very interesting blog post for your readers.  Perhaps you have a gardening business – let the service work for itself through images.

New Products & Services

Are you about to launch a new product?  How exciting!  Have you told your customers?  If not, why not?  This is fabulous news and you need to be sharing it.  Perhaps you are looking for some feedback before launch?  Again, ask others for their thoughts.  This is also a great way to get a dialogue going through your blog comments section.

Don’t Forget We Want To Get To Know You

We are more likely to place our business with someone that we know, like and trust.  Allow us an insight into the face behind the business.  Perhaps you have a team?  Introduce them if so.  This could be a blog post of its own.  It puts faces to names and provides a personal touch.  Don’t be afraid to intersperse posts with snippets about yourself either.

Be Current

At the time of writing this post, the weather is scorching.  If my business related to fans, coolers, outdoor furniture or such like, I would be missing a trick not to talk about my products on my blog.  Today the hashtag #toohottosleep is trending on Social Media.  Imagine if your product was the solution!

So there we have a few suggestions which will hopefully be sufficient to help you to start popping some ideas down for a blog post.

Still struggling?

In my next post, I plan to share an example of a business blog.

If there are any business owners that are finding blogging difficult to approach or feel that their business doesn’t lend itself to a blog post, feel free to drop me a line via my Contact Page.  I would be happy to include your business as an example.

Good luck and thank you for reading.

Nicky

 

Do Do Dave and Na Na Nicky

So Dave has made the headlines for getting caught humming.

Oh the joy.  The joy of knowing that there is someone out there with my habit.

Music Notes. David Cameron. Humming

Ok – so I don’t have the luxury of a microphone at these times, nor a stage in Downing Street.

But hum I do.

The good news for you Dave is that I can identify with this one.

Bloody hell that must feel good.

I’ve got your back on this one.  I know that there are humming times.

Times that can only be approached with a hum.

And not just any old hum either.

It’s been a rough few weeks and whichever side we are on (and there are quite a lot of them), I’m sure you will agree that you’ve had easier times.

But back to this humming thing though, can you believe that I do it too!!

The annoying thing being that I often don’t realise I am doing it.  I believe this is how you got caught out.  Mine is not a tuneful hum either.  It’s the hum to whatever I may be doing at the time.  A dull, monotonous hum.  A working hum.  A hum that drives anyone around me completely insane.  Particularly Iron Man.

Can you bloody well believe that ye and me have something in common though?!

There will be others too Dave.  People come out of the woodwork at times like this.  A bit like when you buy a new car and suddenly every bugger has got one.  There must be a name for that.

Talking of names, some interesting ones in the new cabinet.  This must be like office gossip at its finest.

Obviously you don’t know me (but I know you) – now that must be kind of weird.  It’s less weird if you are on Facebook and Twitter though because you can be friends with people that you don’t really know. You can follow people too.

That’s known as stalking anywhere else but on Twitter, you can fill your boots.

Also, Facebook suggests people you might like to be friends with and I’m just thinking that would probably have been the case for us.   Certainly several reasons for an association.

Because I just see more and more things we have in common.

You are of course about to move and that’s a big upheaval.

You probably won’t have had a chance to read about my loft conversion (understandable) but we are about to go through a similar upheaval.

Actually if you do get a chance, can you have a look and see what you think of the bathroom idea.

I’m guessing that you also live in an older style house and I just wondered what your views were on the high flush cistern?

Maybe run it by Sam and whilst you are about it, ask her if she’s finding she is starting to get hot flushes too.  We are similar in age.

I could go on, there is a rich vein here.

But what I’d really would love to know though is what you think about the new cabinet appointments.  You’ve obviously not always seen eye to eye with Teresa in the past but I’m guessing that you are able to take an objective view. A bit like we all try to.

I know I wouldn’t have wanted to be in her leopard print kitten heel shoes over the last few days.

I don’t suppose she would have wanted to be in ours either.

Boris was a surprise though.

I’ve never really been a fan.  Of course I’d never be rude or pass up an opportunity for a photo though.  Especially if he’s going to hang out in our area.

And talking of Boris, I hear he is going to have to share a home.

That’s really unfortunate – but do not and I repeat DO NOT let on that we will have a spare room soon.

It won’t work.  Not with the snoring.  I really need to know that I have your trust on this one.

But anyway,  back to the microphone thing.

Most of us you’ll find generally use one for Karaoke rather than for our day to day business.  And oh you should see me at Karaoke.  Forget the humming – I’d see you off the stage before you could say I’ve had the time of my life.

And talking of having the time of your life, I’m guessing your kids are breaking up soon, like mine.

I suppose you will be around a bit more this summer.  I will too. You will be muscling in on the many day trips with Sam and the children to all the local sights and parks.  Your picnic hamper will be so used to going out that your bread rolls will be lining up at the door with their coats on.

Believe me when I tell you that you will not want to see another sandwich until Christmas evening.  Neither will you ever want to eat Pizza & Chips from a polystyrene plate with a plastic spoon in a canteen ever again.

Oh and don’t forget the 2 for 1 offers on the Rice Krispies.  They will certainly save you a few bob.

I’m guessing some of your children are similar in age to my daughter.  Tweenage.  I find I have to work a bit harder on the entertainment front these days.   As in, I’m not very entertaining.  Well I am – but just not to The Kid.

Anyhow don’t get too carried away though because that’s probably where the similarity stops.

I mean it’s not all of us that get our ditty turned into a rendition of Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony on Classic FM is it.

I know this to be true because my sister-in-law told me.  She also knows you.  And she listens to Classic FM.

What luck you have!  Not that I’m jealous or anything.

Duet?

Thought not!

See you at the park then.

I’ll be humming away.

Nicky

 

 

Hobbs Styling Session

I wrote a post recently about the changing shapes of the forty+ and fifty minus woman and my quest to find things that do actually fit and look stylish at the same time.

A term that I captioned ‘bang on trend but still able to bend’!

I mentioned that some of my lifelong favourite stores were no longer cutting the new shape and that my quest was on for some new places that were a little more to true to the sizing and style of women like me.

Shortly after this, I attended a styling session at the newly opened Hobbs store in Barkers Arcade, High Street Kensington which was hosted by Catherine Semmens who blogs all about fashion at Not Dressed as Lamb (such a fabulous name for a blog isn’t it).

Catherine’s strap line is “Who Wants To Be ‘Age Appropriate’, Anyway?” and she challenges the rules around clothing and the expectations of what we ‘should wear’.

Hobbs High Street Kensington

Many of us (myself included), have probably always associated Hobbs with formal work wear.  I have to say it has been ages since I visited one of their stores but to do so fitted perfectly with my quest to find ‘my kind of sizes’ and ‘wise garments’.

It’s always lovely to walk into a store and be greeted by this.

Champagne & Canapes Hobbs

Credit : Not Dressed as Lamb

There was an opportunity to have a good browse before the session started.  The fact that I had a glass of fizz in my hand made this even more pleasurable.

There is also something very decadent about walking around such a beautiful shop.

Hobbs Barkers Arcade

I was really impressed with the occasion wear.

In the past, my go to shop for weddings, do’s and such like has been Coast and Monsoon where I have always managed to get some great outfits.

I would never have thought of going to Hobbs so this was definitely worth noting for the future.

My go to stores for separates and casual wear are H&M, Dorothy Perkins, Forever 21 and River Island.

Again, it was good to check out the Hobbs range.

Just time for a quick picture with Catherine and then straight on with the session.

Catherine Semmens. Nicky Kentisbeer

Credit : Not Dressed as Lamb

Catherine had carefully chosen a selection of her favourite pieces and throughout the session, we were treated to seeing the lovely  models in some of the great outfits she had selected in line with her theme ‘Going for Bold’.

My personal favourite of the evening was this red top.  Well actually the whole outfit was pretty gorgeous.

Hobbs Model

Credit : Not Dressed as Lamb

 Hobbs separates

Catherine talked about always taking something a bit random or different into the changing room as well as your usual pieces.

This was a good reminder to change things up when it comes to clothing.

We can all play a little safe at times.  I know I am guilty of this and will always tend to go for a different version of the same thing.

I also find that I have more of a critical eye when choosing for myself these days due to the points around age and sizing that I raised in my previous blog.

Feeling comfortable is incredibly important to me now and there is nothing worse than feeling ‘trussed-up’ and just, well – ‘not right’.

Anyway, back to the show and next up was elegant pleats.

The outfit below really interested me as I wouldn’t have thought to tuck this style of top in to a skirt.  It definitely worked though and it looked stunning.

Hobbs model

And of course, not forgetting the accessories because, quite simply – a girl can never have too many!

Hobbs accessories

Hobbs Accessories

After the session, we were encouraged to try on anything we wanted with the help of the marvellous store staff.

This was my green light and one of the things I was particularly keen to establish during my trying session was how true the sizing was.

I have to say I give full marks to Hobbs for this because although I was initially recommended a Size 14, I actually managed to comfortably get into a Size 12 which found me having a little grin to myself in the changing room.

Don’t you just love it when that happens.

No purchases for me on this occasion as I’m still making a few tweaks in the form of sensible eating and exercise but Hobbs is a definite revisit for me the future.

My thanks to Catherine for her very ‘stylish’ styling session.  You can read more about it in Catherine’s own words here.

And thanks to Hobbs for hosting the evening in their lovely new store.

 

Silly Mummy, Silly Daddy

Baby in a Bath Tub

I was at a bit of a loss for what to write today for many obvious reasons.

Not that I haven’t got lots of ideas on the go but more that I felt the need for something light.

Being a blogger means that I get to read lots of great stuff by other bloggers and it just so happens that a particular post by a dad blogger made me spit out my ham sandwich today and laugh out loud several times.  All as I sit here on my own at the keyboard.

The post has provided me with the much needed light-hearted inspiration that I was looking for.

And like any blogger on a Monday afternoon I have managed to spend the rest of the day giggling to myself whilst writing this post and taking a trip down Memory Lane.

I recently wrote about celebrating 10 years of parenting and how wonderfully rubbish we have been at getting The Kid to her 10th birthday.

Having read Bad Dadu’s post about attending the NCT class with his wife made me think back to our own days of new parenting.

Thank god we can laugh.

Being a new parent can be fraught with difficulty but in our case I think we have to concede that we made our own luck.

A recent airing of some baby videos were testament to the fact that we had our ‘new parent voices’ completely off-pat which made for very cringe-making moments as The Kid howled and fell off the sofa watching us try to carry out parenting in the early days.

Happy Father's Day

It’s a wonder that she has turned out so well really.

The voices that we used by way of communicating with her and each other while caught up in this new baby bliss were quite frankly wrong.

We drew the line at me calling Iron Man ‘daddy’ and he calling me ‘mummy’ but we failed to realise that our squeaky ‘coochy coo’ voices were far, far worse.

I assume you know the voices that I mean if you are a parent.

Generally, a child will go on to speak to her dolls in this voice all being well.

It generally involves saying hello in numerous different ways with a bit of tickling under the chin.  It is generally reserved for babies, dolls and I suppose people that don’t talk back.  Thank goodness.

Or maybe it’s just us.

The thing that really stands out to both of us is how incredibly stupid we were.

Being clean out of ideas on how to do anything normal was our normal and that was about as good as it got.

But there is always room in the world for a trier as my dear old dad used to say.

So, when faced with needing a passport photo of our precious bundle we did my dad proud and had a bloody good try.

We went through the various motions of trying to prop our baby against a blank wall.  The fact that she very foolishly kept sliding down the wall and laughing (whilst still looking like Charles Kennedy) didn’t stop us from trying.

Of course, we’ve still got the photos because it just so happens that we have about a million photos of every single moment of the poor child’s life.

These photos are proof that we obviously tried this on more than one occasion (clock the different outfits).

Oh the shame!

Enough OK!!

Screaming kid

Realising that our efforts were fruitless, we then engaged in a very logical exercise involving a sheet, a photo booth and the local supermarket.

I’m not sure who can take credit for this idea but it basically involved sitting in the booth with a sheet over our head whilst holding the baby.

This was fraught with problems as the person covered by the sheet couldn’t actually see where the camera was and whether her face was in the correct position.  Let alone whether she was smiling or wearing a hat.

This involved the other one trying to judge from the outside whether the face was correctly aligned.

We carried on though.  Several attempts.  Took it in turns even.

I really cannot remember to this day whether we even laughed at the time.

What I do remember is Iron Man emerging from the photo booth with the sheet still over his head and me making a comment that he looked like a ghost.

On reflection not only did he look like a ghost but we were also doing this in full view of the Sunday shoppers in the local Sainsbury.

We saw nothing wrong with this and I can remember just feeling frustrated when the photos dropped down the chute and The Kid was peering in from one corner looking a bit scared.  She was also sitting on the lap of a nutter wearing a sheet over their head.

I would share these pictures but their whereabouts in unknown.  A wise man may hazard a guess that they are on the Sainsbury staff room notice board.

I think we must have attended a few counselling sessions after this because we somehow found ourselves in a camera shop where they took baby passport photos as part of their day job.

If my memory serves me well, I think Iron Man and I probably made reference to the fact that we wish had known about this earlier.

Note the continued sense of humour by-pass.

Five years we had to live with that passport.

Silly Mummy.

Silly Daddy.

You know what I mean?

So I have to thank Bad Dadu for his wonderfully funny post and for the inspiration to sift through the Memory Box.

Do have a read of his post Come for the biscuits, stay for the friendship.  In fact, while you are there it’s probably worth reading a few posts as he is a really, really funny guy.

Maybe not whilst eating a ham sandwich though.

And if you are in further need of a smile, have a root through your old video footage.

You may not recognise yourself!

Nicky

The Kid and her doll

 

 

 

Introducing My Guest Blogger

Something a little different for this week.

I have a special little guest blogger who has written for me, my daughter Lily.

Lily is 9 years old and has expressed an interest in having a blog.

blogging-439151_640

Like many children her age, she is very interested in young bloggers and vloggers – of which there are many.

Naturally she wants to have a go herself.

I suggested that she be my guest blogger and then we could go from there.

She knew what she wanted to write about and I left her to it.

She has written about her new rabbit, Willow.

As you may know, I am scared of animals so these have been exciting times in our little household.

blog-1027883_640I thought it would be a good idea for her to see how the whole thing comes together and she sat with me to ‘publish’ the post, so to speak.

As a parent, internet safety is key here but I think it is also important not to stifle a willingness to learn.

We have talked about staying safe online and she understands why this is important and how to stay safe.

Like all children, Lily is very adept at working her way around computer systems and negotiating technology with ease.

As a parent, it can be very difficult to get the right balance here.

I’m not going to prevent her from writing and being creative but what I can do is make sure it is done in a controlled environment.

She has written a fabulous piece below.

Nicky x

blog-1046977_640

My Rabbit, Willow is a fun and friendly animal!  I play with her every day and enjoy every minute of it!  We’ve had her for nearly 3 weeks now, which is not a long time but I have already bonded with her lots and she has bonded with me as well.  She has her own cardboard castle which I am currently building as Rabbits love to play and chew cardboard!  On Thursday she ran so fast she was pushed up into the air and landed on the floor, as you might know mum does not like animals and did not want to get Willow in the first place, but as soon as I called her “mum she has jumped out the cage” she ran to Willows safety picked her up and put her in her cage (which is a big achievement!) Now you might think why didn’t I do it, well the reason was I was so in shock. Being a single child with no pet is sometimes boring, but now I have willow she has made it never boring and I can now say I have a pet!

 img_4572

Me and Blogging!

It seems only right and proper that my first post should be about blogging!

God knows it’s taken me forever to get to this stage and I don’t mind admitting that I have really dilly dallied on the way.

As an action oriented kind of gal, I have never experienced this level of procrastination over something that I have such passion for. So much so that I’ve got on my own nerves.

So what has held me back – interesting question – it certainly isn’t writers block as I am bursting with ideas ready to go. Quite frankly it’s been how to do it. Which blogging vehicle to use for the novice? Of course the more advice you take and the more you read up, the more scenarios you are faced with and the harder it is to make a decision. Whether not doing the right thing at the outset could cause problems down the line etc. Anyway, I just can’t stand the suspense anymore.

I drool daily at the wonderful blogs that I am reading, how fabulous they look and at what a talented, witty, funny lot you all are. I love the looks of the blogs and all the fabulous things that are done with linkies and the opportunities for sharing and I long to get involved. I’m like the kid looking through the sweet shop window.
I’ve got so caught up in the design and the how and I guess that has held me back.

So I have taken the piece of advice that resonated with me the most and that is – “just write”.

So here it is warts and all, ‘my foot in’ to the unknown, so to speak. I shall probably look back at this and giggle but hey it’s a work in progress, a blank canvas on which to get cracking. I shall enjoy learning from the mistakes I make along the way and laughing at them.

Thank you for reading.
Stick with it!