Tuesday, 25 October 2016

5 new tips for using Facebook Groups

Have you seen the explosion in Facebook Groups over the last couple of years? I think it's really hard to interact with people without being in a group (and I think Facebook has finally cottoned onto the untapped potential of monetising groups) these days, and if you're anything like me, you're in a lot!
But with all those different connections through groups, how can you help make groups more valuable to the other people around you? I've written about using groups in the past [you can see those posts HERE and HERE], but as I join more groups for different purposes, and the variety changes, I notice some of these things happening again and again.

1 - shopping in groups. I see this time and time again, especially in business groups, and I'm sure you've seen them, too. "I forgot to buy something for so-and-so, I'd really like to support handmade/small business/whatever the group is about, what have you got?" First of all, write it down on your calendar now, so you don't forget next year. Second, please, for the love of god, scroll down and read the other 75 posts that people have posted today, and see if any of those businesses can help you with your gift buying process. Or look through the posts that are linked in the actually daily link-sharing thread by the group owner, and find something there. 

2 - don't advertise your group in another group. These days, most groups have a promo thread, where you're allowed to promote yourself, in line with the daily topic. Some groups even go so far as only allowing promotion on a certain day. Unless your group is about a topic someone has asked about, or is in the actualy promo thread, dropping your link in the group looks spammy, and will get you dinged by the page owner, if not just bounced straight out. Group rules are there for a reason, please stick to them, otherwise you're changing the usefulness of the group for all the other members.

3 - don't crowd-source content. Now this one is a bit different, because while it's generally ok to write a blog post in response to something you see in a facebook group, what I mean here is don't write a post in the group that says "hey, what do you want me to write about" because chances are the people in that group aren't your target audience. Even entrepreneurs and bloggers writing for other entrepreneurs and bloggers shouldn't be sourcing their content that way.

4 - asking where someone purchased something. This isn't just limited to facebook groups, but happens on Instagram, and facebook pages, and sometimes even blog posts. If you see something that you like the look of, take the time to read the caption from the poster, and the comments. Because, unless you spend every waking minute of facebook, you are not the first person to read the post, and therefore you're probably not the first person to ask the question (or maybe it's in the caption)

5 - listing items for sale one by one, or listing every day. Some groups are only for selling (how many buy/sell groups are you in?), some groups are only for chatting, and some groups allow a mix of chatting and selling. If you're in a selling group, please be mindful of the group rules, and post in an album. If you're in a mixed group, please be mindful of the people who aren't there to buy, and follow the group rules. You make the feel of the group change if you're only there to list items to sell every day or if you list a bunch of items individually.

I think if everyone is mindful of these things, then groups will become a nicer experience for everyone.

What do you wish people would be mindful of doing in groups?

linking with Kylie Purtell for IBOT
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Monday, 24 October 2016

Hello Monday

hello job interview Steve has decided he's fed up with the transport industry. But as we kind of need his income, and the bulk of his experience is in the transport industry, we're sort of limited with the jobs he can apply for. But sometimes something randomly drops into your lap that makes you think "I could totally do that" and he's got an interview this afternoon. It's still transport related, but not solely in the transport industry, so who knows how it will pan out. Fingers crossed.

hello home grown vegetables We've been down the path of backyard garden beds before, ending up with very well-fed grasshoppers. But Douglas is determined to transfer his pumpkin plants into a garden bed, so we've tasked him with the job of figuring out how to keep the plants safe. And we've got carrots, lettuce, wombok, cucumbers and peas to have a go at, too.

hello bees We've lived in this house for almost ten years now, but it was only last week that I realised that the constant buzz of bees is from the jacaranda tree, not the other trees in the backyard. And they don't just hang around the flowers on the tree, but the blossoms on the ground, table, trampoline, chairs. This significantly reduces my ability to use the backyard without going to extremes to remove the blossoms from the immediate vicinity. So I've temporarily given up on backyard time, in favour of breathing.

hello early mornings Now, I'm generally a bit of an early riser, preferring mornings over late nights (unless I get sucked in by a good book), but we're currently crate training Daisy so we can take her camping with us, which means earlier-than-usual mornings. Not that I mind too much, but it can sometimes make for a long day, especially on lazy, rainy Sundays.

hello gingerbread I don't remember ever having successfully made gingerbread in all my years of baking. Sure, I've made some pretty great ginger-based items (white choc ginger slice, ginger crackles, soft ginger cookies) but the actual cut-out-and-decorate type cookie has been missing. I've looked at lots recipes, and this week I need to actually start baking them to see which one is the winner. There's only 62 sleeps to Christmas.

hello Monday, a new start every week.

linking up with One Mother Hen and Denyse Whelan
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Monday, 17 October 2016

Hello Monday

hello vitamins For a few months now, I've felt foggy and stressed. A couple of weeks ago, Douglas had some blood tests as part of his wellness check up with Headspace. In the process of chatting to the doctor about what he needed help with as a result of those tests, she suggested that perhaps if Douglas was low in iron and magnesium,  the whole family was also low. So after spending a fortune at the chemist, we've all started taking vitamin supplements. Natalie, Riley and Sophie are just taking iron and vitamin C; Steve, Douglas and I are taking calcium, iron, magnesium and zinc. (I added the calcium, because I hardly consume any dairy products, and I'm getting to that age where calcium deficiency becomes an issue. So they take it too.) Man, just in a week, the difference is significant! My brain seems to feel switched on, the fog has lifted, I'm not stumbling over words and struggling to remember stuff.

hello planning Now that I'm feeling a little more like myself, I've got this crazy idea to start setting myself some goals and working towards them. I recently realised that, for me, making goals feel like chores and "must do's", means I push back against them and never follow through. I've been forgetting about embracing the Nike attitude and just doing it. This has really become self-evident to me, because I walk Daisy twice a day, every day. [Actually, Steve walked her this morning] Even in the rain, I put my shoes on when I get up, and again once the dishes are washed. And I need to tackle my tasks the same way.

hello writing It really has been eye opening to me to see the impact of taking these vitamin supplements. While I've suffered from low iron during pregnancy (and therefore never really noticed a huge change in the level of my energy) the clear-headedness that I'm feeling now means that I can get back to the things I've struggled to do for months. Top of that list is writing. There are Christmas posts to write, and a couple of outstanding reviews, and right now updates. 

hello job search Despite the best intentions of all concerned, Steve did actually lose his job last week. And while he is eligible for a redundancy package "when the company is liquidated", that could take up to 3 months. So he's tapping into every contact he has, scouring websites (who knew so many people advertised on Gumtree?) and driving me nuts while he's home.

hello family time It's always been hard to find things to do together that are suitable for all the kids to do. At the moment, we've landed on playing UNO (although Sophie doesn't really play, she climbs all over the table, and occasionally matches her card colours to ours) While Steve isn't working I want to try spend a bit more time playing.

hello Monday, a new start every week.

linking up with Denyse Whelan Blogs and One Mother Hen
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Monday, 3 October 2016

Hello Monday

hello 83 sleeps To Christmas, that is!

hello term 4 School holidays weren't that bad (although the bickering and hitting never stopped), but I'll be glad to see them all back into their routines

hello no more naps Sophie is trying to give up her day sleeps. She has no sleep for a couple of days, then a 3 hour nap, then no sleep, then naps at daycare. She'll either figure out she wants sleeps, or give them up completely by the end of the year.

hello baking I've become slightly obsessed with gingerbread apple pies from Coles supermarkets (and so has Steve), so my task this week is try to replicate them at home.

hello craft room sorting This seems to be a never-ending task! I recently purchased some more Kallax storage cubes from IKEA, but forgot to buy the inserts for them, so have struggled to find homes for everything. In the turmoil of sorting, the room has become a dumping zone again, and Daisy has discovered she can open the door when we're not home, and has mauled a few plastic bags of sequins! It's a disaster zone that I keep closing the door on, but I need to at least tackle the floor space this week.

hello Monday, a new start every week.
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Tuesday, 27 September 2016

5 lessons from walking the dog

I seem to be the one who walks the dog these days. Douglas tried for awhile, but had problems with her pulling away from him and hurting herself. And Steve works (which seems an adequate excuse in his eyes, even on his days off.) So I walk her, morning and night.
It has meant getting back into the habit of waking early (no mean feat when my bed companion often wakes, nixing our morning walk), having comfortable runners, and learning to control a dog, who may only weigh in at 26kg, but when she uses all those muscles to run could easily pull me off my feet!

But as the days get warmer (meaning no early morning scramble to find my jumper again), and it's light before I even get out of bed, I've been pondering the lessons of walking the dog over the last few days. Because there really are lessons to be found in every activity we partake in, we just need to notice them.

I have learnt patience I know this sounds strange, because I have a three year old who can tap dance on patience some days, but Daisy still considers our neighbourhood full of new smells (I follow the same path every day, so I'm not too far from the kids if Steve is at work), and I've had to learn to slow down and let her sniff them out, otherwise she can make the walk harder by pulling against me. A quick sniff often has her moving on again quickly, but she'll drag it out if I don't let her check it out.

There is quiet in the solitude In a house full of kids, finding quiet is really hard. Even when I listen to music in the evenings, there is still quiet from the noise. I often come back from a walk refreshed and ready to face whatever onslaught of "can I haves" they want to throw at me.
The neighbourhood is always changing If we walk at 6am, we rarely see cars or movement (although that house over on the right has a light on from 5am most days), but at 7am cars head out as people head to work for the day. Most Saturday evenings are quiet (we are not a party neighbourhood since the kids moved out of the party house), and we rarely meet any of the neighbourhood dogs outside their fences.

I have learnt to breathe Yep, another obvious one, because everyone breathes, but it only occurred to me a couple of days ago that I was breathing without panting or gasping for air. Sure, that's a sign that I'm getting fitter, but it's also a sign that I'm noticing my breath, and breathing to full capacity, instead of holding my breath as I walk (which I know I used to do)

My jeans fit again I have lived in jeans my whole life (I've even been known to wear them in summer), but about a year ago I had to stop wearing them because they had really become uncomfortable, digging into my weird-shaped after-kids-tummy. But about three weeks ago I just pulled them out from under the floordrobe pile and tried them on, and they fit perfectly. They still sometimes do a weird slip down the tummy thing, but as the tummy is disappearing, the jeans are staying up.

I'm sure this won't be the end of the lessons we take from having Daisy in our life, she seems to be teaching us new things every day (although I'd really love it if children would learn to put drink bottles up high!)

linking with Kylie Purtell for #IBOT
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