Tuesday 30 June 2015

6 Beauty Spots in Mallorca and 1 Ugly Problem

There are so many 'firsts' when you move country. The first piece of real post (thanks Gramma!), the first new friend you meet, the first piece of paid work. This week we had our first friend come to stay.

We rented a car and set off across the island and soon our jaws were dropping at just how beautiful it was. Here are the best bits...  

1. Lookout at Cabo de Formentor

2.  Sunset at Cap de Formentor 

3. View of Playa de Formentor  

4. Unnamed Beach in the Cala Blava area

5. Cala Pi 

6.  Rockpools at Es Raco de S' Arena

 And the 1 UGLY PROBLEM?


I spent a very happy half an hour exploring the rock pools of Es Raco de S'Arena - which at first glance seemed so clean. But when I looked closely I found so many tiny flakes of plastic, as well as balloons, and bigger pieces like plastic bags and bottles. There was even a can of furniture polish, that judging by the Arabic writing might well have floated all the way over from Africa! 

It's such a tragedy that we are so careless in our disposal of waste. Even though there are recycling containers everywhere in Spain, so many people just can't seem to be bothered to separate their rubbish. I feel strongly that we could be doing better - and it starts with the little decisions. 

Can we buy products with less packaging? 
Could we be recycling more? 
Is it really worth buying our children balloons at the cost of marine life suffering? 

If we don't take more care of our world, I worry these beautiful places won't stay beautiful for much longer!   

Saturday 27 June 2015

Blog Tips at Winchester Writers' Festival 2015

Unwinding after the 1st day at the festival!
I led an intensive blog workshop at this year's Winchester Writers' Festival. I had eight enthusiastic attendees and five hours in which to share everything I've learned about blogging in the last six years. 

I take hours preparing for workshops because I love to read about successful bloggers and find out what advice they offer. I'm grateful to Joy the Baker and Jim Lin of the Busy Dad Blog, for their top blog tips: 

Tips for a Successful Blog

Consistency is a big deal. If readers feel like they can count on you for consistent, reliable, beautiful content, they’ll definitely come back. 

Being accessible is important. I love readers to feel they can connect with me on Facebook or Twitter. 

Being an enthusiastic and vocal part of a growing community helped my site. I joined baking groups online, and I would comment on fellow bloggers’ work nonstop.” 

“Be authentic, or else you will never enjoy it enough to put the work in. If you aren’t funny, don’t try to be. If you aren’t deep and thoughtful, don’t try to be. 

Make connections. Be social, be useful, be entertaining and be friendly. 

Be patient. That’s why you have to do it because you love it, not because you want to make money from it. It must be a passion, not a job." 

Planning blog workshops forces me to look at my own pattern of blogging and assess what I need to be doing. For blogs to thrive they shouldn't be too random, but have a definite theme, and voice, and fulfill expectations... 

"The narrower your focus, the broader your audience," writer and entrepreneur, Jeff Goins writes. 

Goins sets some excellent questions in this exercise to focus your blog content. I shared them at the workshop and was thrilled to feel a boost of energy in the room as vague ideas developed into clearer ones.  

Two attendees sent me their blogs a couple of days later: Footprint Marketing UK and Kill the Boss - Turning Corporate Bollocks into Comic Fiction - I wish them good luck on their blogging journey!

I'm back in sunny Mallorca now but I will be popping back to England for a week in August. 

My next Blogging and Social Networking Workshop will be on Sunday 9th August in London. 

There are 8 places so book soon - and please don't hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions or Visit my Workshops Page for more information.

Wednesday 17 June 2015

Venting Online - Should you ever do it?

Do you ever get a great urge to vent online? Perhaps after a particularly bad day at the office you feel the impulse to update your facebook status to:


Or if you're a writer and sales aren't going too well:


Perhaps you're more of a drip feeder of your woes and post things like:

I don't want to talk about it... 

Why would you write that unless you wanted to talk about it?!
- feeling disappointed *sad face*

I understand it though. Caring friends will rush to leave hearts and hugs and you'll feel loved and happy. Other 'friends' will roll their eyes and unfollow you, but you won't know about them, so it won't hurt. 

Who am I to judge? I'm familiar with the impulse. I've succumbed to sharing my frustrations on facebook, often trying to prove I'm not the sort of person who spills their guts without filter, by adding a humorous photo to lighten it up. 

The sharing gives me a little rush.  But it's a high that lasts only a few seconds. Almost immediately I'll feel immature about having a hissy fit in public. Within ten minutes I've usually taken the post down, concerned that my online footprint will follow me; that word will travel to the last pair of ears I'd like it to travel to.

I believe all social networks require filtering by the user. Filtering is especially essential if you're interacting as a professional. My blog isn't the same as the diary I kept as a teenager.  No one needs that. No one wants to drown in self-indulgent - WHY IS THIS HAPPENING TO ME? WHY IS IT ALL SO UNFAIR? -  drivel.   

So what do you do when you're from the over-sharing generation and you feel a tremendous urge to rant about a sensitive matter to the online community?

Well you:
1) take a deep breath
2) feel and accept the anger / frustration / disappointment
3) redirect it

You vent. But not about the stuff that could get you into trouble. You vent about stuff like:

1. Why do they put serviettes UNDER your sandwich?

2. Why do drivers with the worst taste in music play it the loudest?

3. Why do they call them monkey bars when there are no monkeys?

4. Why don't my socks ever make it into the washing machine TOGETHER?

5. Why do fussy eaters not just order a Margarita pizza rather than ordering something delicious and picking out all the best bit?

6. Why do mosquitoes buzz around my ear but bite my legs?

7. Why don't mosquitoes just bite my whole ear off instead of my legs so I don't have to listen to the b******* all night?

8. Why does cling film exist when after one use it's IMPOSSIBLE to tear off?

Alternatively, you can rant about important things:

9. Why is Fifa doing nothing about the Nepalese labourers dying EVERY TWO DAYS while building a F****** football stadium in Qatar? 

But it depends on your blog, I guess. 

10. Why am I still ranting when I'm obviously perfectly fine and have nothing more to rant about? 
So, yeah, about that urge? Do you get it? 

My nest novel #PleaseRetweet is a comedy about society's obsession with social media. For the latest news on its release, sign up to my monthly newsletter!

Wednesday 10 June 2015

Being a writer has never felt so good!

Everything is swaying. The keyboard is moving back and forth. Sea Legs, Mum diagnoses. El mal de mar, my blind date from this morning replies. 

It wasn't a romantic date. My husband and I haven't been torn apart by our spontaneous move to Mallorca. It's just being a SeeMallorca reporter comes with certain perks. The day before I'd received an invite from Attraction Catamarans to go on their 'Day at Sea' excursion. The organiser said I could bring a friend. There's nothing like the words 'you can bring a friend' to remind you that you left them all behind in London.
Luckily I've made a few friends virtually through a Mallorca inline skating group. When one of the girls noticed I was looking for a companion for the trip she got in touch. I checked her facebook page and finding an absence of pouting selfies and soppy life-affirming quotes, told her I'd be thrilled for her to come.
I'm going to take a moment now to pinch myself. Any minute now I'm going to wake up. 

I don't want to wake up. I'm having this dream where I live on this beautiful island and these people want me to do all these wonderful activities so I'll write about them for their magazine. It's like being able to write suddenly has a value.
Nope, still not waking up.
I went diving for the first time on the weekend. I've never wanted to dive in my life, but the magazine wanted an article about Balear Divers, so off I went. It was incredible. If you get the opportunity, take it. 

I miss it already. I keep day dreaming about fish. Can you daydream within a dream?

It's strange. I didn't feel seasick on the catamaran. Four hours flew by as I chatted to my new friend. Perhaps it was all the photography. I take my role as a reporter very seriously! Part of my research involved chatting to the crew, which led to a free drink.  

No one ever used to give me free drinks for my writing before. I'm living in a state of wonder... I really am. 

Thank you world.