Wales In Winter: Pembroke

29 08 2009

We visited Pembroke, Western Wales in November 2008. It was freezing cold, getting dark by 3.30pm and we still loved every minute of it. Here are some of the best sights from this beautiful country town.

The High Street

The High Street

 

 

The Millpond

The Millpond

 

Beautiful Light

Beautiful Light

 

Pembroke Castle Across the Millpond

Pembroke Castle Across the Millpond

 

Beautiful White Swans

Beautiful White Swans

 

Beautiful Views

Beautiful Views

Pembroke Castle

Pembroke Castle

 

Pembroke Castle

Pembroke Castle

 

The Main Tower in the Castle

The Main Tower in the Castle

 

Windows in The Great Hall

Windows in The Great Hall

 

One of many Fire Places

One of many Fire Places





A Little About Attraction Marketing

28 08 2009

I wrote this in response to the question “Is attraction marketing about being a better liar?” on BetterNetworker.com forum today.

Marketing is simply magnifying the most positive aspects of whatever system, or product, or even “you inc” you are trying to ‘sell’. Good marketing paints a picture of a life you can only dream of, freedom, happiness, fulfillment. It doesn’t expect to see everyone who buys a mobile phone to run down the road, ripping their clothes off so they can launch off their local pier and into the ocean. It simply presents a powerful association with ‘freedom’ and buying a mobile phone. (the ‘whole’ truth is what the fine print is for)

I joined my first MLM because of the promises it made.

With pages of testimonials, and comments like “we live the life of our dreams” complete with sales pitches like ‘we produce, ship, and handle your inventory for you’.

I read “Have an unbelievable life of financial freedom without doing much!”

I was caught hook line and sinker, even after I read the income disclaimer, I didn’t believe that would be me. I joined the opportunity before I even new what it was. I wasn’t lied to, but I wasn’t told, nor did I seek the whole truth. Stuff like, you may have to spend a lot of money on products for yourself, you will have to spend money on marketing and you will have to work your @#$% off, were left until later.

I do remember asking “what do you actually do? and being told we’d get to that later.

(The most difficult for me to swallow; “now you’ve joined our team for which you pay regularly, here’s some more stuff (information, services, products) for you to buy, to really get you cracking”).

What am I already paying for?

Most landing pages I’ve seen do this; Massive income promises, with a small income disclaimer, leading to a vast sales letter promising the world… Well we all know this. They work

As a potential customer, especially if it’s your first time, you only see and hear what you want, and ignore the rest. So is being told small amounts of the whole truth akin to lying?

I certainly felt tricked.

I did not receive what the sales pitch promised. I am actually not blaming the system or products for the fact the the business didn’t work for me, and potentially even if I had been given the ‘whole truth’ on the day, I still may not have heard, as I was so “blinded” by the dollar signs. In this sense the massive income claims are probably counter intuitive, as they attract people like… me!

Or the me I was back then.

I think the ‘lying’ part of attraction marking comes into play when people try and position themselves as experts, which is the most frustrating advice you can get as a new marketer. (An expert in what?)

I felt like a complete phony, which in hindsight should have quickly indicated that I was not in the right business for me.

I felt like I was lying all the time.

Unfortunately I also fell for the industry wide lies that “the only way you can fail is to quit” and “giving up on this business is giving up on yourself” (effective ways to keep you paying your monthly fees) and stayed until my money ran out. When I did make the decision to cancel it was actually liberating, like I had gained ownership of my brand once more. Rather than giving up on myself, I took responsibility and found myself in the right place. I have obviously grown a lot and realized that education and creating my own brand are steps one and two in creating a successful and ‘attractive’ presence. The nature of the beast at the moment means everyone is vying to seem the most successful, well educated, and best leader there is… BEFORE they have actually become successful, educated leaders in the industry.

I would say don’t talk the talk unless you are prepared to walk the walk (feel free however to think, feel and visualize).

 The best way to ensure you are not lying to others is to make sure you are not lying to yourself. Ensure you believe in your system, your product and yourself completely, if you don’t, change.

Be the best YOU can possibly be, and people will come.

This is true Attraction Marketing.





A Day In Our Lives

27 08 2009

photo_hand in rain

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am woken for the first time around 5.30 am by Brendan’s alarm, and kept awake by him clambering over me (he sleeps on the wall side) to get ready for his work day. He generally sneaks out around 6 am, and if the baby doesn’t wake with the sound of the front (only) door clicking shut I can get another blissful half to one hours sleep.

I am woken for the second time much more abruptly, torn from my slumber by loud, very cranky screaming that loosely translates as “FEED ME NOW”. I unzip his bed (the baby’s bed is a tent/ travel cot) scoop him out and make my bleary eyed journey to the kitchen. As long as we haven’t run out of any key ingredients, weetbix, honey and milk are the order most days, and I prepare it (along with my morning coffee) amidst constant noisy complaints. An inhalation generally commences. Around 7am baby is fed, happy, and telling me its bath time now. (I use the term bath loosely as it is actually a bucket in the shower recess!)

Master 4 has woken up by now, hopefully not too moody, and eats his “breaky” at a far more leisurely pace (with the noisy complaints of “hurry up” coming from me) 

By 8.30 am we are all fed, bathed, dressed, brushed and out the door to Nursery. I’m just about to open the door and I realize its raining…. you know… Scottish RAIN. Trainers are exchanged for “wellies” and rain coats dug out (it is still summer) and off we go again.

Thirty minutes to Nursery.

I wonder what winter will be like and I feel for the workers in the food van selling hot food to cold pedestrians. 

On a nice day the walk is broken by the need to save the snails from ‘death by squashing’. Each one is gently picked up and placed in the cracks of the large bluestone wall flanking the footpath.

We arrive and huddle with the other parents and children under the small shelter waiting to be ‘let in’ and discuss the weather (a favoured pastime over here). The kids don’t care, they’re just having fun playing with their umbrellas.

2.5 hours till pick up…..  Time to take the baby to play group. A couple of relaxing hours sitting round, talking, watching the little ones play. Who is play group for exactly….?

On other days I could go home and do housework but as my health nurse told me, that is a complete waste of time, so I opt for taking myself out for coffee instead. (if the baby falls asleep I can also fit in a read :D)

Pick up time often involves the receipt of handmade gifts or art work and often a bag of drenched clothes from the indoor water play! He might have stayed drier outside. 

We visit a friend for the afternoon. There’s nothing like someone else’s house and toys to keep the boys amused. At home I’d be finding toys in the toilet, the Baby raiding the fridge and Master 4 complaining about…. well anything he can think of.

Here they just play. The Baby even crawls up on my lap and quietly falls asleep…. ooohhh 😉

After some superb hours company, and a semi difficult extraction we wander home. Both the boys fall asleep on the way, and Brendan and I spend a peaceful half hour chatting outside the building before either wakes.

Upstairs in time for dinner and bed time.

My mummy day is over and now my ‘work’ day can begin

After a quick tidy, and a cuppa I sit down to my computer and……..





What did we used to do?

24 08 2009

It’s been a little strange.
Four whole days without any internet access from home.
(Goodness knows how we used our entire data allowance in less than a month!!)
I guess we could have taken the macbook to a local pub or cafe with free wifi.
We also could have paid a top up to get us through the last few days.
We decided instead to ‘go without’.
A couple of things happened because of our little experiment.
Firstly my readership plummeted, proving that you have to be present and involved to sustain a blog.
Secondly I got me thinking about life before The Internet.
What did we do?
How did we find out about things?
How did we keep in touch with friends?
I could go on and on.

Only four years ago we purchased our first computer (a white emac) and I remember my girlfriend had to teach me how to do a google search! I spent some time checking emails, Brendo would play some games and, well thats about it. Our first broadband plan was 200 Mb/MONTH (prior to this we would semi regularly visit internet cafe’s to check our emails)
Now we both spend some time on the web everyday. I spend at least 2 hours, and some nights have clocked up to six (I can’t believe my eyes when I read that!!)
So what did we used to do?
I almost can’t remember! I’m pretty sure I went out more, read more books (the paper kind), spent more time talking face to face with people, walked more, swam more, traveled more…. hang on maybe I’m confusing “Life Before Internet” with “Life before Children!”

And how did we find out about things?
What we couldn’t find out from the TV, news paper or magazine we probably asked someone else or read in a book. We may have even ventured a trip to the LIbrary. Potentially we were content knowing a little less?

And how did we keep up with friends?
We simply had less friends. Quality friendships rather than quantity? In many ways, the internet has made our lives busier, and has extended our circle of “friends” way beyond the capabilities of offline friendships. As a life long traveler, the internet has enabled me to reconnect with friends from all over, people I thought I’d ‘lost’, as well as keep in touch with the girls from home. This part I truly love.

So what did we do in our four days without the internet?
I guess in a way it felt a little bit like when you leave the house without your mobile, slightly disconnected, with a weird sense of freedom. We talked more (and yes sometimes about information we needed to look up once we were reconnected) played more games and watched more movies. You know, not that much really!!

What would you do?


photo disconnected





My Take On The NHS

14 08 2009

This is not a political blog, but I was furious today when reading about this. And the irony is, the people that started this argument, the USA, have no “system”. The people who can afford private health insurance are ‘safe’ as long as they are healthy enough?! If you are already sick, you just don’t qualify.
This is obviously my opinion and is not based on personal experience.
I do however have personal experience with the NHS in Scotland.

My little one year old baby was sick with gastroenteritis and couldn’t keep anything down. (If you don’t know gastro can be very dangerous for babies as they dehydrate rapidly)
I was absolutely beside myself and didn’t know what to do, so I rang the free NHS help line, and they organized a free taxi ride to the emergency department where he was quickly seen to. He was obviously uncomfortable, but not dehydrated so we took our taxi home.
The next day he still couldn’t keep anything down and was visibly worse. I rang the helpline again and this time they organized an emergency response to the house. This wonderful man assessed my boy, calmed me down and advised us to take him to the hospital.
(NB he wasn’t an ambulance, so it was not his job to transport us).
At the Royal Hospital for Sick Kids we were seen quickly, and looked after very well. My little man was admitted for 2 nights with dehydration.
I know there were moments that frustrated me, because I am a mother and I was in a panic. Looking back, I know everyone did their job, and I didn’t have to worry about a medical bill through my letter box.

The small amount of tax we are “forced” to pay is well worth it.
I don’t think twice about taking my boys to the doctor when they are sick, and until they are 16yo any prescriptions they need are free as well.

We’re brand new to this country, and from our first check up in the NHS we’ve been treated equally and fairly.
All I can say is, Don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it.





Four Year Olds Do The Funniest Things

13 08 2009

We were walking home from town the other day. 

The boys are cruising next to each other in the double buggy (Scottish for pram) and Brendo and I are chatting away, enjoying our walk in the sunshine.

Suddenly  Daniel becomes very excited…..

“Stop mum… stop. I’ve found something mum.”

I’ve mentioned before that Daniel finds pennies, but he also finds “treasure” (Daniel for Rubbish)! Anything can be treasure, bottle tops, screws, rubber bands…. you get my drift.

“What’s up little man?”

“Back there, I’ve found something special for you mum”

By now we’ve taken a few steps past this special treasure and have to stop our rather large double pram in the middle of the footpath so Daniel can drag me back.

“What is it little man?”

“There mum, thats a special thing for you mum….”

and what was the special thing?

Well its women’s business

Thats right

A Tampon!!

At this point we are doubled over LAUGHING in the middle of the West End (and we’re not the only ones).

So next time your sanitary items bounce out of your purse while crossing the road, or eyeing off someone nice,

DIMG_2676on’t be embarrassed.

Just think of my little man…

and how four year olds do the funniest things





Projects and Other News.

10 08 2009

The next few months are going to be busy in our little house, so in an attempt to get it all straight in my own head, I thought I’d fill you in on my plans.

MY CLANIMG_2213

I’ve decided to take a journey into my family history here in Scotland. My interest has been kindled by the fact that we’re here, and it is the year of the Homecoming in Scotland (more on that in later post). I also hadn’t realized until recently that my father’s family hail from here as well. While mum has frequently mentioned the family kilt and the family name (Gordon) etc etc, the fact that I barely know my father means I had no idea that he also had a Scottish heritage (Lindsay).

I have a feeling I may be opening Pandoras Box here, but as they say (whoever they are) “when in Rome”!!

My Charity

In the coming year for Daniel’s school Nursery, I have decided to donate my time, photographic skill, and equipment to compile a ‘year book’ type disc for every student. The discs will then be sold to the parents with all the proceeds going to the Nursery.

This will be a year long project, with regular visits, and I imagine loads of fun. Wish me luck on this, as I am excited.

Nursery

Speaking of Nursery, It all starts again in little over a week. The summer Holidays have flown with many picnics in the park and visits to friends houses. I have no Idea how we are going to make it there by 9am each morning, I guess it’s meant to start training us all for when school starts the following year. He is just growing up too fast 😦

30 Day Challenge

I am currently undertaking the 30 Day Challenge. A free course designed to help you make your first $10 online. So far it has taken me through how to research niches and micro niches (both on and off line)  and how to work out whether the chosen niche will prosper using keyword analysis. So far very informative and also entertaining. I imagine there will be stuff for sale at the end as they let you ‘test drive’ some rather excellent IM tools for the duration. I will keep you posted.

Business

Meanwhile I will keep building my blog with interesting and fun information about my journey.