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!!

 

When life gets in the way

 When life gets in the way

There was I, with every good intention, starting out on the 30 Day Blogging challenge. I did wonder if I was a little foolish starting out in my busiest week of the year!! Then life got in the way! I’m social media manager for my church, my Rotary group, several paying clients as well as for my own businesses, Wightbuzz, AllthingsNetworking.com (with my son)  Lyn’s Green Biz, and Lyn Blackledge Independent Phoenix Trader . I was also giving a lot of my time to another voluntary project.

I have always undertaken a lot of voluntary work. However, I don’t expect to be verbally abused for giving of my time and effort free. When I found myself faced with 5 other volunteers who saw fit to shout at me – I took stock.  Much as I had loved working on the project for well over a year using much time and effort and raising a considerable amount of funds with my friend, I decided that it was time to take a break. We were all supposed to be part of the same team – volunteers – helping those less fortunate. This wasn’t the first time this happened but this time I had had enough.  The accusations were unnecessary and unfounded. Sadly, all too often the old green eye works its way in. My social media skills had done much for the project. Obviously too much for some folk. I did suggest that we sit and talk like grown ups – unfortunately the main culprit couldn’t even bring herself to answer me directly.  I was sad at first then realised that my own health is the most important. If I don’t take care of myself, there is no way I can look after others.

I was watching my grandaughters’ dancing – they were dancing to a song from the very popular Disney film, Frozen. There, I had it . Instead of feeling bad, I just had to  LET IT GO!

 

Since I made that decision, life has improved. I celebrated the New Year last night with family and friends having  made the decision to  start the new year in very positive mode. So far, so good. I have had a very productive day achieving far more in one day than I have for a long time.

Decluttering – tick, paperwork tick, videos made tick, listening to some very soothing tapes tick. decision to tackle the weight problem tick, plotting and planning for the portfolio of businesses I run – tick. Restart the exercise regime too – tick.

So as for the rubbish in my life – LET IT GO . Sometimes you really do need to stop and take stock. So 2015 you WILL be an awesome year.

 

 

 

 

Blog Post #4 It’s party night as we celebrate Wightbuzz’s 4th birthday

Blog Post #4 It’s party night as we celebrate Wightbuzz’s 4th birthdayHappy Birthday

I can’t believe we have already reached our 4th Wightbuzz birthday and what a way to celebrate – with the launch of our global brand Allthinksnetworking . It is a very exciting time for us and so I take a few minutes to reflect on why I started Wightbuzz and how it is making my dreams come true. – So a quick flashback in history to bring you up to speed.

I am a teacher by profession and spent 30 years nuturing little people and then slightly bigger people and helping them to achieve their potential. My first jobs were in the primary sector in the state system until my first born,  Toby arrived on 24th November 1975. I spent 18 happy months at home being mum. I decided I wanted to work but didnt want to put my son in care so what better than open a nursery school and take him to “work” with me. Perfect! Baby number 2 , Natasha, very obliging arrived on 24th March 1978, (19 days late and very conveniently made it to the Easter holidays and was born on good Friday and mum and baby were back at “work” 2 weeks later – perfect!) baby number 3, Tristan was born on 15th October 1981 (would love him to have been late and arrived on 24th – do you see a pattern here? – and it would have been half term too) but as Natasha was 19 days late and a 10lb plus baby, they were taking no chances. And here they are now taken at a recent family gathering.

my gorgeous three

Well 21 years later, I began to lose the will to live as the council and government were changing my role.Had I wanted to be  secretary – that is the path I would have chosen!!!

I continued in teaching for another 7 years but along the way I had become a book seller by chance so when teaching had lost all of its appeal, I decided that full time book selling was my preferred option. I had a home based business with a children’s book publisher and I had enormous fun travelling the country in my van laden with beautiful books (I could write my own book about that too!) I won awards and had a lot of fun.

Party Plan Shining star awards

I joined a local referral  network group where I became the top referrer connecting people and introducing thousands of pounds worth of business to the group. Eventually I decided to walk away from the book company as they moved the goal posts and I wasn’t prepared to have my business compromised. Therefore I had to leave the networking group as I no longer had a business for which I needed referrals. .I then decided to take the #ecofriendly route and joined #wikaniko. I needed to find a network group so went back to the one I had been in before.  I went to visitors day, then to two trial days before filling out the application form. I got a call -The conversation went like this!  We are NOT accepting your application. Do you mind telling me why? Oh no I can’t tell you why.

Well when you are a networking guru (as the county press called me – ) or a connection queen (as Veronica Pullen so nicely named me ) you tend to have a big network so I used the network to find out why and sure enough it gave me the answers. I won’t bore you with the details. Suffice it to say those who didn’t want me were doing a huge disservice to the group by denying them my skills. However, not to be deterred, I decided the only way was UP!! I opened up my own network group and Wightbuzz was born. Over the years I have helped very many businesses. People have come and gone and many have stayed. Sometimes, like most businesses , the ride was bumpy but we have arrived in a fantastic place as we celebrate birthday number 4.

When I started Wightbuzz, my facebook friends wanted me to bring the networking to the North Isle as we, who live on the Isle of Wight, so lovingly call the mainland. I tried but clearly the time was not right. I continued to network as hard as I could across the Island connecting many people who continue to do business together whether they are still members or not. I had the vision of helping many people. The Island is quite deprived and unemployment is high. I wanted to see more people get into work through Wightbuzz and to help and serve the community too. My perserverance has paid off. I am starting to see some wonderful collborations between members. Members support members in times of crisis and are also there to shout from the hilltop when praise is due. I love my wightbuzz family. They are really doing me proud. When I won my mumpreneur award in 2010,

and the winner is

(when I was in a very dark and long tunnel) I came back to the Island , proudly displayed it on my cabinet and determined to make good for the Island. Tonight I will be celebrating with those who have helped to achieve so much of this. Recently, my son, Tristan, who has also been through a long and very dark tunnel, suggested we join forces. He graduated from Bournemouth University last year and now lives in Sydney. No problem there though as with modern technology we can shrink the world and in fact we talk more now than when he was in Bournemouth. What he and his graduate friends don’t know about social media simply isn’t worth knowing. So together with them and my other son Toby, of Cubic Mushroom we have set up AllthingsNetworking – our global brand. Wightbuzz stays as it is unique to the Island but all my members will also benefit from being members of Allthingsnetworking. ATN will  allow us to go national and global .as we network across the world. We will be able to deliver networking skills and business mentoring and training online. What a journey it has been but I can truly say tonight I will really celebrate as we start that fantastic new journey beyond the Island. I do hope many of you will join us as we start that journey. Pop over and sign up for our newsletter and see what we are doing. We do hope many of you will join us if you like what we are delivering. Yes it has been a bumpy ride and I am sure there might be the odd hiccup but the future is looking very bright. What is this thing called retirement. It certainly isn’t for me. I’m having way too much fun and meeting so many lovely people and now I’m even learning to blog!!!!

Susan and Lyn at the B2B expo

 

 

Blog Post #3 – Passwords. Do you have trouble remembering them?

Blog Post #3 Passwords. Do you have trouble remembering them? 

Fingers in lots of pies – I have a portfolio of businesses , have social media clients as well as manage social media for voluntary organisations so how do I manage all those passwords??? My main business Wightbuzz and Allthingsnetworking I log in to every day so remember them well. I also have online shops at Lyn Blackledge Independent Phoenix  Trader and Lyn’s Green Biz but when I have to start remembering The Giggly Grannies, and the many other sites I manage it becomes a nightmare. My son sent me a very amusing card – I wish I could find it but it was supposed to be me at a desk with hundreds of sticky notes containing passwords around the desk!! It got my chuckle muscles working. How can one remember them all?

It’s been a long time

What a long time since my last blog post!! I must rectify this. It doesn’t mean I haven’t done anything. What it means is I have had a very busy time. I have been extremely busy with Julie as the Giggly Grannies doing much charity work. We have been raising funds to buy food for the Open Arms – I have been out and about networking for Wightbuzz – my network group I have become a steward and Junior church leader at Ryde Methodist Church For my sins I have also taken on social media for a couple of clients and for my sins I am now runnning the Ryde Business Association Social Media. In between times I promote my Wikaniko and my Phoenix card business and update the wikki and Phoenix facebook pages. Recently Polly, of the Family directory and I have joined forces to bring you the Isle of Green . Last weekend – the Giggly Grannies transported members of Ryde Methodist Church to Hollywood for a fun night. Our motto is to leave them laughing and we did just that!

They loved it so much that they want more so we are planning an evening in an English country garden soon. Watch this space!

That lovely little Nissan Leaf that Staddlestones have loaned us has really been helping a treat. It even has its own facebook page so you can keep up with its adventures.

 

Now I wonder if I can keep the blog up to date!

 

Social media training – can you keep up?

In the very fast moving world of social media, there is always something new to learn and as I want to keep ahead of the game I follow the experts. This way, I can help my Wightbuzz members keep up to speed with their social media training. One such expert is Jo Barnes of Jo Barnes online and she always has new information to impart. Why not check out her online academy here?

 

you will be glad you did. She will help to guide you through the maze.

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  @SouthernVectis. 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.