Sunday, 26 February 2012

Smartie Pants Of The Week

Once upon a time there was a little girl...

That's me by the way!

My Mum has been having a bit of a de-clutter at home and she handed me this brown envelope recently.

It must be about 35 years old (how old?!) but I remember it very, very well...

Seeing it took me back to when I was around five years old and living in London. I went to a little primary school about 10 minutes walk away from home.

My teacher was called Mrs Murray, and it just so happened that Murry Mints were a popular sweet at the time.

The Murray Mints TV advert at the time had a song which went 'Murray Mints, Murray Mints, too good to hurry mints'. So, poor Mrs Murray was tortured by all the kids in the class singing this tune, but the bonus for Mrs Murray was that she was never short of a Murray Mint herself as we all used to buy her these sweets. I'm sure she was delighted. We thought we were great - how funny that our teacher is called Mrs Murray and we could sing her a song and give her Murray Mints!

Mrs Murray was lovely. She was very kind and patient and very pretty with shoulder length blond hair. Every week we had Story Hour.

Mrs Murray would sit on a large comfy chair that was in the corner of the room and whilst she was reading that week's story, she would allow one of us to brush her hair. There was always a competition amongst the girls to be able to do this and we had to take turns. 

I can't imagine that happening in a class room these days!

Anyway, during this year at school there was the Smartie Pants Of The Week competition. Whatever child had done something particularly well would win a prize. I think that's how it worked. It was probably something that was introduced to make us work harder and do our homework or something. 

Each week Mrs Murray would sit in her chair and we would sit on the floor around her and she would pick a child and give them the Smartie Pants Of The Week Award. 

There were about 20 kids in my class, and each week someone would get the prize. 

I waited and waited. 


*hurmph* I tried hard I think. My drawings were very good and I didn't colour over the lines and I worked on my spelling and reading. 

Then one week Mrs Murray had us all sitting around again and she had the brown envelope in her hand (it was always a brown envelope and always the same prize). 

"I have one prize left. Who hasn't had one yet?"

I raised my hand. 

And Mrs Murray, at last, handed me the Smartie Pants of the Week prize! 

Well, it was all of a bit of a disappointment as you can imagine! I had been forgotten about, left out and was an after thought! 

But it still didn't stop me rushing home to tell my Mum that I had won a Smartie Pants of the Week award. As soon as I got in the front door I put my prize together. 

A jigsaw puzzle of....this....thing! :D 

What is it?!

So, I've got my award back again. And I will keep it safe. Despite the disappointment surrounding it, I'm actually quite fond of my childhood prize :)

Around the time I was Smartie Pants Of The week!
Say Hello on Twitter @karenstrunks

Subscribe via RSS

Saturday, 25 February 2012

The week that was and what I got up to

I slept really, really well last night and it's no wonder. When I woke up this morning the first thought I had was, 'Did I really do all that this week?!'.

The answer was, 'Yes, I did.' ;)

So, without further ado, I'm going to give an abbreviated version of the highlights from this week. I'd love to dedicate a blog post to each event, but hey ho!

Day out in Lichfield 

Me and my Lovely Mum, @createdineire, had a jolly nice day out in Lichfield last Friday. I hadn't been there before and it's only about 20 miles away. We had a nice time just wandering around this old city, browsing the shops, having a delicious lunch and of course we couldn't leave without visiting the cathedral.

Lichfield Cathedral

Mum lit a candle for me saying "This is for you and that you'll get back to NYC. You have a year to get there", coz I won't shut up about the place lol. 

Top Secret

On Saturday, Sunday and Monday I knuckled down to work on something Big (to me anyway!). My Dad used to tell me 'You don't have to tell everybody, everything, all of the time' and in the case of this Big Thing, I'm keeping it under my hat, for now. It required immense use of my brain power and it may well be one of the biggest challenges I've set myself (as well as NYC that is!). I really had to knuckle down and draw on my resources and hopefully it will pay off. If it does, or it doesn't, I will reveal all either way later in the year!

Speaking at Yardley Photography Society

On Tuesday evening I did a talk at the Yardley YPS. I was booked to do this almost a year ago - they plan their speakers quite well in advance.

I first thought my talk was going to be about 20-30 minutes, but soon realised it was for 90 minutes which made this into my longest talk to date!

It was in two 45 minute sections. The first half I went right back to the beginning of my photography career - how and why I started, what I did next, how I turned my passion into a career for myself. The second half I talked about the 4am Project. I showed over 100 photos in all.

The very first photos I took with a digital camera. So out of focus!

My published work in the Birmingham Post and Birmingham Mail newspapers

Professional Photography shoots

My first 4am Project photographs

New for this year! My Wedding Photography Services!

Digital Editor's Network

On Thursday I headed up to Manchester for the day, well to Media City in Salford to be more precise.

As well as looking forward to the Digital Editor's Network event, I was quite looking forward to my first visit to Media City.

I was really impressed with Media City itself. You could live there and never need to leave. It has apartments, a big shopping centre, cinema, restaurants and tons of business and places to work, including of course, the BBC.

The day ahead was all about innovations in Social, Local and Mobile in relation to new organisations.

Speaking at the event were Nick Turner, Head of Digital Content for CN group, Martha Stone CEO at World Newsmedia  Network, Francois Nel from Journalist Leaders Programme, Sarah Hartley from the Guardian (and of course talk about local!), Aiden McGrath from Aetopia, Paul Bradshaw from Help Me Invesigate and Greg Hadfield from Open Data Cities.

What a power house of people!

This really deserves a blog post of it's own. This was all about journalism, surviving in these difficult time, how to make money from digital assets (it's the way to go), with some amazing facts, figures and data being produced. You can catch some of the highlights over on the Live Blog and I did a very quick Storify from the hashtag of the day #solomoden (but twitter wouldn't let me catch all the tags) and they are worth a look to get an idea of the amazing discussions that were going on!

Birmingham Social Media Cafe

Yesterday was the 2nd Birmingham Social Media cafe of 2012 (the next event is on Friday 30th March at the Birmingham Town Hall. It's free and for anyone who is interested in using social media for work or play. There were about 40 attendees, so there's always lots of peeps to meet!

One of the reasons I took over the running of the event was that I know that as least once a month I will get the chance to go out and meet people, see friends and Be Social! I run quite a tight schedule work wise so I welcome this event at the end of the month. And if you want to 'pick my brains over coffee', this is the best place to catch me! :)

And that was the week that was!

And the week that will be....

Monday - Liverpool delivering a talk about local workshop

Tues - A day in Fazeley with the talk about local team

Weds - Stoke with Nicky delivering talk about local workshop and Wednesday evening having a phone chat with a lady who loves what I do online and would like help with blogging and starting her own website.

Today I'm catching with with 'stuff' (work) and cracking on with the 4am Project launch (there will be a global date in April), and tomorrow is pretty much the same!

Re availability..... It's very limited at the moment and I'm having to say No more than Yes right now and it will be that way until June, so feel free to ask away, but don't be disappointed/offended if I don't say yes.

Right now, I'm going to do some housework (yaaawwwwnnn!) and try not to throw away my tv (the built-in dvd player keeps switching itself on so I'm having a battle of wills with it at the moment).

Have a fab weekend! :)

Say Hello on Twitter @karenstrunks

Subscribe to my blog via RSS 

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

On the road with talk about local


Thought I'd forgotten how to blog? No waaaaay!

I've just been a busy bee.

And I've been covering some miles with talk about local delivering workshops and helping people get up and running with their own hyperlocal community websites. I've been to Liverpool and Acton in London (which I haven't blogged about), but I am going to tell you about the Redruth and Walthamstow sessions that me and Nicky covered.

Redruth. It's waaaay down in the corner there and it meant quite a long journey. Probably about 7 hours from door to door for both of us, so this workshop involved an overnight stay.

We were really lucky and found a great 2 bed apartment to stay in and it worked out a great price at only £80 for both of us for the one night. If you are ever down that way, check out the Penrose Apartments

As soon as we arrived I did a little video tour....

We grabbed a bite to eat in the evening, which wasn't as easy as it sounds as a lot of places were closed in the town centre or didn't do food or didn't cater for wheat/gluten free (for me), but eventually we found a cosy corner in a cafe area inside a cinema. 

We had a relatively early night as we had our workshop early the next morning with Questions and Answers CIC. And you can check out Nicky's blog post about it over on the talk about local site.

We had a great turn out of about 18 people from various organisation around the area who were all keen to get cracking with creating their new Wordpress websites. 

I see me and Nicky as a Wordpress tag-team on our training sessions! Nicky demonstrating what can be done and how to do it, and I address the raised hands and answer any tech/help queries as we go along. Perfect!

Fantastic mix of community orgs here for @TalkAboutLocal trai... on Twitpic
Nicky talking about her hyperlocal website Digbeth Is Good
After the session I took the opportunity to get some Vox Pops and asked people what they thought of the session. 

And you can check out what everyone had to say in the video below. It was worth the long journey and the overnight stay! :)

And a couple of Saturday's ago we hit The Mill in Walthamstow! 

11.30 - 3.30 Website development
The Mill is a hub for the local community. It runs classes and courses, it has a library, it has a poetry night, and a reading group. There's tons on offer for the people in the area.

I was rather taken with this Awesome Rhino!

And they had a great art exhibition on. This is call Shrine of the Times and it's made out of junk food and drink containers. 

And they also had local artists displaying their work themed around LOVE! I took a video.

Sorry, you are going to have to tilt your head to the left to watch it! ;D

This was the first all female workshop we had run! No one planned it that way, it's just the way it happened to work out. Everyone was in good spirits and the session went really well.

On the first Saturday in Feb the talk about local team headed to Local Gov Camp NW in Preston for the day. and we all contributed to a round-up blog post of that day. A very inspiring day, cut a tiny bit short because of the snow. 

Tomorrow I'm off to Manchester to the Digital Editor Network event , Monday I'm off to Liverpool for a talk about local workshop, and Wednesday in Stoke On Trent for another workshop! 

Oh, and while I'm at it, it's the Birmingham Social Media Cafe this Friday! @birminghamsmc

Yay! I blogged :) 

Say hello on Twitter: @karenstrunks 

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Announcing talk about local unconference 28th April in BIRMINGHAM!

It's been a busy month so far, and one of the things myself and the talk about local team have been working hard on is........


What is TAL12?

It's talk about local's unconference! 

This is an annual event that's been running since 2009. The first one was held in Stoke On Trent, 2010 was held in Leeds, last year it was in Cardiff, and this year we are bringing it talk about local's home city of Birmingham!

When: Sat 28th April from 9am

Where: Maple House, Corporation Street - Just a few minutes walk from New Street Station.

Cost: Free! And we'll be providing tea/coffee/drinks and lunch to keep you going! Get your ticket here

Who: Are you a hyperlocal blogger? A community activist? A journalist? A local government employee? Interested in ways to talk about your community and issues online. Want to meet like minded people? Then this is for you!

What's an unconference? An unconference has no set agenda for the day, until the day itself. Attendees come along and at the beginning of the day there's the opportunity to pitch and idea for discussion. Then the idea gets allocated a room and a time slot and attendees go to the sessions they want to go to. It's a very fluid day in that if you don't want to stay in the session you are in, then you are free to wander in/out of other sessions too - there might be two sessions on at the same time - so you can catch a bit of both!

It's a relaxed, informal day and we will all be going for drinkies afterwards!

And not only that.....! There will be the talk about local unawards!

This is where expense spared prizes are given out to members of the community who have done outstanding work during the year. This is not to be missed!

Check out the unawards from last year. Some worthy prize winners, not forgetting the awesome *ahem* prizes. (I won a Michael Jackson alarm clock in 2010!)

You can connect with talkaboutlocal on twitter @talkaboutlocal

See some of you on the 28th! :)
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...