Wednesday 30 June 2010

A new home for your clutter - on stage!

This is an appeal for help, but it does belong happily in a blog about decluttering.

My lovely friend Lou, who I'm privileged to have shared a stage with, is involved with the splendid (and wonderfully named) Hocus Pocus Theatre Company. They are putting out a call for various props needed for their next production; so if you've anything on this list that's getting in your way, you could do a big favour all round!

If you can help, visit their contact page for details and get in touch with Hocus Pocus direct.

Norwich based Theatre Company looking for props and set for forthcoming work - CAN YOU HELP?

Below is a list of items and descriptions that we are currently attempting to source for a project we are putting together over the summer. Maybe you have a garage or loft full of things you no longer have the need for, perhaps you don't have the time to sift through them or arrange for them to be taken to charity... most of the items we are looking for are general household things. Condition is not necessarily the most important thing, for some items the older and more well loved the better! Help us turn your unwanted items into something magical!

The items are as follows:
  • Wooden hat/coat stand
  • Old fabric Union Jack flag (the tattier the better!)
  • Pre-1950s double door wooden wardrobe
  • Wooden cabinets/bookshelves/cupboards
  • Kitchen utensils - especially enamel and copper (any condition)
  • Cutlery - old battered silver preferably (really don't have to be in good condition as will not be used to eat with)
  • Wooden washboard (any condition)
  • Tin Bath (any size, any condition)
  • Jug and Bowl set (preferably enamel, if such a thing even exists!)
  • Patchwork quilts/blankets
  • Gramophone Horn
  • Persian style Rugs - as battered and threadbare as possible if not we have ways of aging them.
  • Kitchen/dining chairs - old/wooden/battered/pre 1970s if possible
  • Children's furniture - esp wooden chairs/writing desk/school desk
  • Wooden Dressing table - pre 1960s (any condition)
  • Trunks/Old suitcases - pre 1960s (any condition - don't even need to be opened)
  • Old Bikes/bike wheels
  • Pre 1950s china - any condition
  • Grandfather clock parts - esp face and pendulum
  • Junk brass/metal pipes/engineering parts/temp gauges etc
  • Rope - thick, any condition
Phew! If anyone can help us out or knows of anyone else who might be able to then please get in contact or indeed pass our contact details on. We will be performing this piece from September, details as yet to be announced but in the meantime please feel free to browse our website and see what we're all about!

Many thanks,

Hocus Pocus Theatre x

Friday 25 June 2010

Jelly ... and ice cream

We're having something like summer at the moment, so this seems like an appropriate item to have on the menu.

My very first introduction to Twitter, and all its great business, networking, friendship and support opportunities, came from the lovely Judy Heminsley: writer of the excellent Work from Home, champion of five-to-niners, and (nicked from her Twitter bio) "happy to chat about procrastination, productivity, isolation etc. Loves cats, chocolate, colour, clarity & clutter clearing". Needless to say, it was the last one that drew me to her!

Anyway, I digress. One of Judy's great enthusiasms is for Jelly - no, not the kind that goes with ice cream, but a great idea for home workers to get out, meet others and share ideas. It's not another networking group - it's co-working, not networking - and requires a public venue with wi-fi, space, plug points and coffee. It's clearly great for the venue, too!

Judy's a writer (and I ain't) so she puts it better than me:

Jelly is a casual coworking event, where freelancers, home workers and people running small businesses meet up in order to get out of their normal space, meet some new people and work together in a social environment. Jelly is a mixture of work, chat, comparing of ideas, passing on tips and help and maybe sometimes collaboration on the birth of a new project.

I spotted one of her Jelly comments on Twitter this morning, and rather foolishly enquired whether there was such a thing in Norfolk. I should have known. Back came the reply with blistering speed:

Haven't heard of one yet. Why don't you start one? Loads of info in my Jelly guide & it's great fun :-)

So down goes the gauntlet. I love this idea. Any of my within-reach-of-Norwich colleagues want to join in? Leave a comment on this post so we can see how much support there is, let me know if you have any suggestions for venues (needs: powerpoints, wifi and coffee!) and we'll see what we can do!

Wednesday 23 June 2010

You're more than just a number...

Edited and updated September 2012

I've just seen another heartfelt cri de coeur on Facebook: "please everybody contact me with your mobile numbers, I've lost my phone!" I see it so frequently, and every time I think: save yourself worry, trouble and time: back it up!

It isn't always easy with a mobile, though. I'm not going to start chatting about backups for your computer data here - that's for another posting; but mobile phones are so small, and vulnerable, and easily lost or broken.

So how to do it? Well, there are various ways, depending on the sort of arrangement that you have with your mobile phone company: do you use the internet on your mobile phone?


If you're one of the increasing number that use your mobile for internet browsing and viewing your emails, it's actually very easy to use an OTA (Over The Air) backup service. Here are a few suggestions.

GoogleMail: not only your phone numbers, but your whole address book. This is my solution of choice: I keep my master address book on GoogleMail, set it to synchronise automatically with my iPhone, and the whole lot are then available in both places.
Mobyko: will back up not only addresses and the rest from your mobile, but also videos, photos and text. A simple interface allows you to edit on your computer and then sync from computer to phone. Please note that this is not a free service: it's presently £24.99 per year. However, £2 per month isn't a lot to pay for peace of mind.
Soocial: synch & share your contacts Presently $4.99 (around £3) per month.
iCloud: if you're an iPhone / iPad / Mac user you've probably already met this option. So, so easy to do.

No internet
You're probably a PAYG user; you wouldn't dream of using your mobile to pick up emails; you need the phone to make and receive calls, and nothing else. Online backup, therefore, isn't for you.

If you're a Nokia user, they have their own software (Nokia PC Suite) that allows you to synchronise your phone with a variety of PC software, including Microsoft Outlook. Until I started using mobile internet, I used this for many years and it worked like a dream. I kept my address file up to date on the PC, and periodically connected the phone to the PC for synchronisation - all done.

NB: This technique also has the advantage that you can use the PC-based address book for many other purposes (labels for Christmas cards, anyone? Mailmerge? Inserting addresses straight into Word documents?). It might be a big investment of time to get it set up, but believe me, it pays for itself - time after time. [I haven't used any mobiles myself other than Nokia and the iPhone, but a quick Google shows me that Samsung - for example - have an equivalent PC Studio Suite; it's worth checking whether your phone is able to use something similar.]

Finally, if you can't face the thought of a complete computer-based address book but still need those mobile numbers backed up, there are still a few SIM card readers on the market - little gizmos that will accept your SIM, plug into the PC via a USB port, and allow you to copy over the data. It will often come as part of a device that can read other sorts of data cards, too - such as the SD cards used in digital cameras, for example - and they tend to be fairly cost-efficient. Check out IWOOT, Amazon or Maplin.


Does this sound like a good idea - but you find the technology a bit scary, or the time short, or your keyboard skills need a bit of help? Contact me today and we'll get it sorted - and you'll never lose another phone number ever again!