Laughter all the way

Blog post 2 of the 30 day blog challenge run by Sarah Arrow – so far so good!

Laughter all the way? Indeed – I was just deciding what to write for todays blog post and thought I might write about the good things from 2015. I was looking back through the periscopes I had done for some ideas and I came across this one! That was it – I had to blog about the Giggly Grannies and in particular the last three Christmases.

it bought tears to my eyes and I hope is gives you a little amusement too.

For those of you who don’t know, Julie and I met at Ryde Methodist church about three and a half years ago and we just clicked from day one. I don’t know what it is but we just giggle a lot when we are together and soon earned the name of The Giggly Grannies There is always laughter when we are together -it just happens and Julie’s motto is leave ‘em laughing

We put our skills together and started fundraising first for the Open Arms project for feeding the hungry and homeless of Ryde and then for other things including Macmillan nurses and local Ryde charities.

Julie likes everything pink as you might pick up from the videos and I like all things purple.

In December 2013 – Julie set her heart on heart shaped crumpets – pardon the pun. Now many of you will think what a simple present for Christmas – easy peasy no problem there then as Asda were promoting them well on TV which is how Julie knew about them.

Ah easy peasy for those of you living on the big north Isle (as we call the mainland) but for those of us living on the Isle of Wight – not so easy as we don’t have an Asda. She tried to get folks to get her some but it was all to no avail. There was little laughter on this occasion.  How could I let Christmas pass without my friend enjoying the one thing she had set her heart on? It was 23rd December – I had put a few feelers out but had to be careful as Julie uses facebook but she is not a twitter fan – I got as near as someone going across the pond on Boxing day which seemed to be the best I might manage. I rang my daughter who was coming down to the Island over Christmas and her husband had just left Asda and there was no way he was going back!!!! I left a message on my brother’s phone – he was coming on Christmas eve – but hey ho he only picked the message up once he was on the Island. I left my sister a message as she was coming over from Bournemouth and I knew there was an Asda there. Finally it looked like I was in luck. As she doesn’t have a car but was willing to go on Christmas eve before coming to us – I suggested she call the store – great idea as they didn’t have many but she reserved some. She almost left them behind at her house but phewie she just remembered. I then had to sort of divert Julie to my mum’s house before she went to her sons house for Christmas.

After much cloak and dagger stuff – I managed to get Julie to agree to pop in for mums houses for tea – she then spent at least five minutes telling us how good she had been all year and all she wanted were crumpets but she was sad as it wasn’t go to happen.

 

Christmas 2014 also provided a lot of laughter as you will see.

I hope I have made you laugh a little or even a lot – Julie is amazing – she lives with an illness that would make most people cry but she loves to make people laugh – Leave them laughing is her motto.

 

We have even been told off for laughing but hey ho – do you think we are going to stop anytime soon?

 

 

 

Can you afford not to?

30 day blog challenge post 3. Can you afford not to?

I have run a low cost networking group Wightbuzz for businesses on the Isle of Wight for 4 years.

SAMSUNG Now in its fifth year, I have linked with my son and his graduate friends to add to the local brand. We have created Allthingsnetworking.com to take our brand to a global level. As we start expanding, I have been reflecting on the past. I have been very mindful of making sure my group was affordable. Some people pay a years money up front without batting an eyelid. Others haven’t joined because they say they can’t afford it. I find this very interesting. Many of those who say they can’t afford it will happily  have coffee in local coffee shops that are part of national chains

 

Frog and snake in CostaThey think nothing of paying £3 per cup and some of them will do this several times a week – I know I have seen them (social media reveals much) I wonder why then, do they not see the value of business mentoring, networking sessions, one to ones, social media training, ferry discounts, loan of business books, plus much more as excellent value at £12.50 per month? The equivalent of just over 4 coffees a month.  It is clearly down to mindset. If they are running a business what about a marketing budget? I’m hard pushed to think of any other marketing they could get for this price (and they get me too!!) It is all about return on investment. Surely, if they gave it careful thought, they would realise that if they invested in putting in time to interact with members either in our online group or in person at meetings, took advantage of the business book loan system, or the ferry discounts etc. they couldn’t fail to benefit their business. I think I will add to my video trainings with a video about mindset.

I have to admit that recently, I was almost guilty of this (as I was in my early business days) There was a black tie, business to business event, recently with quite a high ticket price. I decided I couldn’t afford to go but after a little more careful thought, I realised I couldn’t afford NOT to go. I run a business networking group! All the attendees were connected to/ran local businesses – sheer madness not to be there. One of my members was also on the short list for an award so it was important to offer support. That was it, my mind was made up. I purchased my ticket (after a slight panic when the system told me no tickets left!! – I emailed to go on the reserve list and was rung next day – system was not correct  –  phewie!!)

I am so glad I went. My son, who works with me now (albeit from the other side of the world) asked me to trial an app which would actually put our skills in front of the attendees via the displayed twitter feed . We dominated the feed all night and it was noticed.  Result!

Suffice it to say, I am now in follow up conversations with several people who I met that night. There is much interest in Wightbuzz and our social media skills. The results will generate far more than the ticket price. I’ll make sure they do. So what do you think? Can you afford not to?

It’s a hard life!

Well, when I decided that 2015 was going to be an awesome year, I really meant it and what a start to the new year. My Wightbuzz members recently helped me celebrate  our 4th birthday with an evening full of networking and cake!! (and a lovely buffet supplied by Janine of Missy J Cafe- who kindly hosted our party too.) Photo by Wightbuzz member Graham Reading of Graham Reading Photography

4th Birthday

There was more than our birthday to celebrate. Not only had I successfully survived 4 years of networking within my own group Wightbuzz, but I was also celebrating the expansion of the business to become a global network - Allthingsnetworking.com. My son, Tristan,  wanted to help me move the business on and what an exciting time we have ahead of us as we maintain and grow Wightbuzz on the Isle of Wight but take the online networking onto a global level. Together with the expertise of 4 other graduates the scene is set for exciting times ahead.

Last night, I decided to arrange a rather impromptu meet up again in Missy J Cafe this morning. This year, on our list of things to do is lots of video marketing for the group and for the members. What better way to start than include a round up of the brilliant networking day I had with some of my members – making more connections as The Connection Queen (the name given to me by Veronica Pullen – Social Media Queen who also lives on this Royal Island ;) )

I am thrilled to see joint ventures and collaborations happening within Wightbuzz. It was a vision I had 4 years ago – to Connect lots of the Island businesses for the benefit of all – and finally – it is really starting to come together. I was taught to dream BIG by Roberta Jerram of Roberta Jerram Enterprises years ago when I joined Giant Potential. Very soon, there will be joint ventures on a national and international level. I love what I do and I love why I do it. It is such a hard life (NOT) I love that I have joined forces with my son. The dream is BIG – very BIG!!

 

The Giggly Grannies – Part 2

Following on from my previous post, the Giggly grannies (aka Lyn Blackledge thats me- Giggly Granny 1 and Julie Jordan – Giggly Granny 2) continued to giggle together as our friendship grew. There was so much that made us giggle. We went to a Mexican evening complete with Mexican hats and moustaches!!! Sadly I cant find that picture.

We dressed in red white and blue for the jubilee and various celebrations our church held.

 

We had so much fun.   Then in October 2011, my van broke down and required over a thousand pounds worth of work. It was money I didn’t have. What I did have was a bus pass and so I decided to get rid of the van and travel FREE on the buses. I thought it would be fun to write the diary of an eco granny but not long into this new way of travelling, I began to lose the will to live!! So many of my journeys ended up stressing me out  that I started to tweet [email protected] I wasn’t rude but used more of a jokey way to alert them that all was not well – for example @Southernvectis I think the number 9 driver is late for his tea etc. The bus drivers drove too fast, shut doors in my face, drove past me at the stop, didn’t stop when I rang the bell and shouted at me. Not only was I unhappy about this for myself but for others and for our holiday Island! This wouldn’t do much for our tourist industry if families without cars experienced the same as I had. Why on earth would they return? After a short while, my tweets got a response and Matt Kitchin, the general manager of Southern Vectis invited me to come in and have a chat., He was very keen to hear my story and see what could be done. By this time, my Giggly Granny friend (though on some occasions not so giggly granny) had shared some of her scary stories on the bus with me. Well, having been welcomed by Matt and explaining some of the issues, I decided the Giggly Grannies could go on the buses and report back and thus we became officially The Giggly Grannies. I then went to tell Julie as I thought it would be good if she was party to this news!! The idea appealed to her as much as to me and we have been out on several journeys since although I have since been given a car by my son. We havestarted to report back the good and the bad. We are always keen to share the good stories and make sure we always get the drivers name where possible. We carry chocolate smiles with us (available from Thorntons ;) ) For grumpy drivers we give them a smile as they don’t have their own and for smiley drivers we reward them :) Having thus created the Giggly Grannies officially now, we decided that we should use it for more than just reporting back to the general manager of Southern Vectis and so we now use the brand for several purposes. 3 years ago I set up a networking group, Wightbuzz on the Isle of Wight and it has gone from strength to strength.Julie is an honorary member. The Giggly Grannies have been visiting some of them and making mad wacky videos and loaded them to you tube They can be seen on my your tube channel (Lyn Blackledge).This kind of marketing won’t be suitable for everyone but it works for some and gets the word out. In September, when our wacky rev (WE worship at Ryde Methodist Church) was attacked by silly jealous people, we got involved. Rev Marie had been inspired to set up the Open Arms Project and worked with Father Anthony and the Churches together in Ryde to help feed the hungry and homeless. It is staffed entirely by volunteers and funds are raised locally to support it. Whilst we knew the work went on,m we hadn’t actually been to see for ourselves. As the silly petty people who caused the problem are what I call Sunday Christians, ie they like to be seen in church on Sunday but the very idea of people in need coming into our church on a Sunday for a hot meal and some tins and packets of food is quite something else. Their attitude of “not in our back yard” is appalling and quite the opposite of Jesus teachings. The Giggly Grannies were so humbled by the work going on that we chose to use our skills to add to the work that the volunteers had been doing and build on their good work. Social media is one of my skills and gossiping the gospel is one of Julie’s so together we set to to help. The response has been amazing. People we don’t know, have been offering us food and bedding and clothing via social media. Other folks generosity has been incredible. So many of us realise we are only one step from being homeless. There are some really sad stories but together pulling as a team we CAN make a difference. We branded as The Giggly Grannies with a facebook page and a twitter feed and we are about to start podcasting too. One of our wightbuzz members, Adam of Adam’s Dezine Shop has created a logo and another member, Paul Rolfe embroidered tshirts for us that say the Giggly Grannies gossip the gospel.

The local branch of Barclays has allowed us two awareness days and what a difference that has made. Wightbuzz members Bjarne of IOW carpet cleaners and Dave Henderson ,Rely on Andy and Do it all Dave sponsored the leaflets. Susan of Smart in Design, designed the posters and created the flyers. Wightbuzz member Sean, of A1 Garage Doors provided the turkey for the Open Arms Christmas lunch and many others donated items. Vicky Chilcott of Victoria Sponge made the Christmas cakes.Louise of Chessell Pottery, donated cakes to be sold (even after we caused a riot in the pottery when we went to make Christmas decorations!!!!)

People have offered us vouchers to get free items in the supermarkets for which we are so grateful. Others have donated tin openers, razors , soap etc and goodies to make up Christmas gift bags. One lovely couple stopped us in Morrisons when we were using funds raised to convert to tinned food (also using vouchers we had been given) They wanted to know what we were doing as they were shopping to give to others. Julie did such a wonderful presentation in the middle of the store that they donated their trolley load of shopping to the Open arms. Not only that, they helped us load the car in the pouring rain and have also been to open arms last week and donated biscuits and sweets they had left from Christmas. Julie had tears rolling down her cheeks – we were so humbled by their generosity – a far cry from the silly, jealous folk who attacked Rev Marie for introducing the Open Arms project!! The work continues  because of a fantastic team of volunteers. Working together, so much can be and is being achieved.

On Friday 13th December, the Wacky rev and the Giggly Grannies went out for a day together. The wacky rev’s “MUM” said it shouldn’t be allowed!!!! We had such fun. Our first stop was Busy Bees where we went in the snow globe just for fun

We made such an impact whilst having fun that when Rev Marie returned the other day (not wearing her dog collar) they recognised her as being the rev with the giggly grannies! (and they didnt ban  her from the store!!!) We then caught the bus to Brading where we got off with our dolley trolleys and gathered some groceries from Jane.

 

We then caught a bus to Ventnor where we popped into see Abigail of Random remnants, a wightbuzz member. Lots of fun and laughter ensued. We had to collect the Christmas cake and as the distance was too far and the bus didnt go to the right place, we hopped in a taxi which had only just enough time to whizz us there and back before collecting its next fair. We collected the Christmas cakes, popped them into our dolley trolleys and back to town where we were delighted that Lesley of the Ventnorian, donated more food to the cause and we bought super Christmas pressies from her shop.

We finished our mad day at Mrs Jones Tea depot in East Cowes.

A superb end to a rather manic day. What a brilliant reception we got. Mrs Jones saw us coming and greeted us with You must be the Giggly Grannies!! She has now decided to join Wightbuzz and we have just arranged a network meeting in the tea depot the week after next!! Julie has been amazing. She is such a good friend and such a giggler. She is selfless and although terminally ill, she always puts others first. I am so pleased that she came into my life. She is a total inspiration and such fun to be with.

The Birth of the Giggly Grannies

The other day, my Giggly Granny friend, Julie Jordan and I were reminiscing and trying to work out when we met each other. We were introduced by a mutual friend and fellow church goer, Helen WIlks and am I glad she made that introduction. I have shared so many giggles with Julie since and been very proud to be her friend. She is a total inspiration to me and although her health is not the best, she continually puts others first and sticks by her motto of “Leave them laughing”

 

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She certainly leaves me laughing often so much so that sometimes I nearly have to stop the car.

One of those early memories of giggling with Julie was at Ryde Methodist Church when Julie and I attended one of the international evenings put on by Ruth Realey and her team of helpers (all church members) . They always provide a magnificent spread and suitable entertainment. This time it was a night at the Oscars and Julie and I went complete with feather bowers and tiaras. We won the quiz (you would expect nothing else with Julie, the quiz queen as a member of our team) My lovely friend, Paula Pomeroy was over from Kent and was enchanted to meet Julie.

How honoured I am...

How honoured I am…

Julie made an brilliant Oscar winning speech. She really stepped up to the part and from then on we have giggled all the way!

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We have dressed up and probably dressed down., We have supported each other through some tough times but most of all we have giggled. We now have a facebook page and a twitter feed (@gigglygrannies)  and we have many giggly granny you tube clips. (found on the Lyn Blackledge Channel) Unfortunately the camera froze as Julie was making her acceptance speech but she has made up for it since.

This is part one of our story – there is much more to tell but this is just the beginning so watch this space…………..part two is coming tomorrow.

 

How Time Flies

Wow what a lot of time has passed since my last blog. Hmmmm not good Mrs B so now to put that right. A lot of things have happened since I posted about Wightbuzz “doing” Cowes week! Such a lot of water under the bridge. I have welcomed a lot of new members into Wightbuzz.I have helped these Isle of Wight business owners to network their businesses and to find more business.  I have carried on promoting my other businesses. I have a new trader and more customers in my Phoenix cards business, growing it at my own pace and I have continued to spread the eco-friendly word about Wikaniko.

All of a sudden we are into a new year and as I have not been very good at keeping up this blog, I have decided to take the Ultimate Blog Challenge once again. There is a lot of support and plenty of ideas so the ideas should never dry up.

 

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Since my last blog. I have also set up The Giggly Grannies website as well as a facebook page and a twitter account – you can find us @gigglygrannies. My Giggly Granny friend, Julie Jordan, and I have been out and about in the community raising awareness for some of the Wightbuzz businesses, as well as for The Open Arms project which helps to feed and clothe the homeless.This is supported by many volunteers from the churches together in Ryde and was inspired by The Wacky Rev who initiated the project after a conversation with Father Anthony (but was criticised and treated very badly for her work by some who should have known much better!)

It has been very humbling and we have been thrilled with how much awareness has been raised. We have been delighted with how people have donated food, Morrisons vouchers to exchange for food, supported our fundraisers and awareness days that Barclays allowed us to hold in their Ryde Branch.

So although the blog has been fairly static, I have been very busy and in the coming days, Ill update you with much of what I have been doing over the last six months as well as new things going forward. I hope you enjoy visiting my blog and hope that your support will keep me on track to finish 31 blogs in 31 days.

 

1st July

1st July 2013 is the first day of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. I have entered  the challenge before but never quite got to the end so here goes!!

1st July is a very significant date for me and my family. When my first husband proposed to me and we were looking for wedding dates, it seemed most appropriate o choose 1st July. It was a Saturday, which is what we wanted but it was also my mum’s birthday and by choosing this date, I won lots of brownie points with my mum!!!!

So 1st July 1977 was the day I married Ivor Griffiths. Here you can see my very proud dad, about to give me away and it brings a smile to my face as I remember him rehearsing his line “I do” (in reply to who giveth this woman?) He rehearsed it in so many different ways it made me laugh!!

A very proud daddy about to give me away

A very proud daddy about to give me away

Sadly, this marriage only lasted 16 years but it produced some very happy memories and 3 gorgeous children of whom I am very proud.

A few years later, my sister gained those all important brownie points by giving birth to her second child on 1st July. Zoe , my niece, has turned into a beautiful young woman.

Three years ago, my dear daddy left us . He died on June 15th. As he had led such a brilliant life, his funeral was not going to be one of mourning the dead, rather a great celebration of life with bright clothes and cheerful music. It seemed most appropriate for us to hold the service on 1st July. It was, indeed, a brilliant service with so many happy memories being recalled as my siblings and I all presented our own tributes to a very special man. We were able to do this in a way  that would have made him proud as he had made sure we were proficient at public speaking.

Yesterday was again 1st July. I was travelling back from a brilliant holiday with friends. As I travelled, I recalled so many happy memories, not just of 1st July but of other family occasions too.

As I arrived back on my fairy Island (Isle of Wight) I managed to catch up with my brother and my mum briefly. I wanted to wish her happy birthday and we celebrated with a quick trip to McDonalds!!

celebrating mums birthday with a Mcdonalds

celebrating mums birthday with a Mcdonalds

 

It seemed very fitting to start the first day of the Ultimate Blog Challenge with happy family memories (even though I am posting a day late – but then I was sooooooooo tired from travelling yesterday and the technology decided to beat me late last night)