Yes…it has been a while…

All I can say is sorry-yes this blog has been subject to a certain level of neglect over the last few months-but with VERY good reasons!

At the end of last year we launched a very exciting new project www.bicestertoday.news
This is a hyperlocal website for Bicester and the surrounding areas that is part of the Hyperlocal Today group of websites that are now popping up across the UK.

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This is our lovely new website!

The site is owned by us and we aim to publish content that other local news outlets perhaps don’t want to or prefer not to or simply do not consider interesting enough. We are keen to be seen as an alternative to other local news outlets-and so far-so good.
Since we launched, our visitor numbers are increasing daily and the feedback we have received from the local community has been exceptional. Thousands of people are reading our posts and seeing our ads every day.

Our social media profile is getting better all the time and the range of content that we are producing is interesting and relevant to the people who live, work and study in our area.
Bicester is growing fast-nationally we are known for the Bicester Village shopping outlet, but trust me there is a LOT more to Bicester than designer shops! We have a wealth of brilliant businesses, charitable and community groups and fabulous events happening in our patch-all down to the amazing people who live in Bicester and the surrounding villages.
Since we launched (very quietly!) our team has grown and we are now working with a graphic designer and a marketing consultant as the next step is to grow www.bicestertoday.news even more with even better, richer content, gorgeous visuals and plenty of effective sponsorship and advertising packages, to support all our local businesses who need really targeted but flexible promotional opportunities to shout about how truly amazing they are!
So-check us out www.bicestertoday.news and get in touch!

Journalism remains at the core of everything Mediabird does-whether I am working alone or with selected creative professionals. However, in this ever changing climate it is vital that we have a true entrepreneurial spirit woven into our work.
As well as our new website, we have been very busy creating some fantastic video content with Absolute Films for a big public sector organisation. Mediabird was also involved in producing a series of films to celebrate the UN International Day of the Volunteer.
We have been collaborating with photographers, designers and other writers and content creators, and running lots of training courses in journalism and PR and communication skills for community groups, businesses, the public sector and universities.

Look out soon for details of our next workshops for anyone who wants to learn more about how to write for business and promote your enterprise on a shoestring. We cover blogging and visual content creation as well as social media and media training to help you make the most of every opportunity that comes your way.

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Mediabird is loving this fantastic book by Natasha Courtenay-Smith

Our workshops are always sell outs and the feedback is superb, so if you are interested in finding out more email us today sarah@mediabird.co.uk and we can send you some more info and add you to our mailing list to receive regular updates from us.

Another new venture for us that has been growing for the last two years, is our Positive Life Skills course. Although a bit of a departure from journalism and media work, this course is rooted in communication skills and planning the next phase of your life. Results from clients who have taken part are astonishing-more information coming soon on how to access the course.

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Planning anything  is made a lot easier by using a journal like this fantastic one from Self Journal which we love!

I promise you that you can now look forward to regular blog updates from the Mediabird team as we continue to grow and help more people to communicate effectively and creatively-all from a shed in the garden!

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Dating on your doorstep

Dating on your doorstep

WE are most definitely in an age of supporting anything that is local to us. Whether we are talking about local shops, businesses or service providers, the overriding mantra is BUY LOCAL, and the concept makes perfect sense. Why travel when you have everything you need conveniently based right on your doorstep, and the products you need are tailored exactly to what you want.

Using local businesses makes us feel good because we know we are supporting our local economy AND at the same time we enjoy feeling connected to our community as there is great sense of ownership and responsibility.

There is an increasing trend for doing things and buying things near to where we live. We relish the familiarity and security that buying local gives us. Buying local makes us feel GOOD. And it is easy.

We are positively embracing buying our food locally, so why not apply the same theory to online dating?

 

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After all, dating sites are service providers, the taboos of yesteryear are now a distant memory, and they have to be based somewhere. More often than not, trying to find a real person as opposed to a multi billion dollar business behind a dating site is pretty impossible.

www.honestlydating.com is based in rural Oxfordshire and is owned by two entrepreneurs who both live locally and have strong local connections. The team that supports the business is also made up of local business owners with backgrounds in web design and development, PR and communications and, of course, accounting and business services.

The whole project is deeply embedded into the local Oxfordshire community and provides a specific dating service for people in that area. With the city of Oxford and its dreaming spires right on the doorstep, there are plenty of amazing venues for dates and a wide selection of local single people who want to spend time with each other, rather than embarking on arduous journeys in the hope that this might be ‘the one.’

Members can be secure in the knowledge that the site they have chosen to use (which is, incidentally, currently free) is owned and controlled by real people who live in a village probably not that far from them. Add to that the fact that at least two of the people involved in developing the business have racked up over 100 Internet dates between them, and most definitely know what they are taking about, and any qualms you may have had about joining a dating site should quickly disappear. The business is ethical,  transparent and has a website jammed with free dating tips and advice.

While the big boys of Internet dating such as Match, Pof, OK Cupid and others remain undoubtedly the market leaders, smaller sites like honestlydating.com are championing the cause for “buying” local and using local services.

Clare Beaney, is one half of the business partnership. She said: “I have had a lot of internet dates, and I didn’t want to travel hundreds of miles to meet someone. The big sites do have hundreds of thousands of members which is great, but do we really have time to wade through a large percentage of ‘unsuitables’ who live too far away? honestlydating.com was created to provide an open and honest approach to Internet dating and to offer single people an enhanced online dating experience. We have taken this one step further by limiting our members to an area local to Oxford and Oxfordshire. We accept this this could be a business risk, but conversely also feel it makes us unique in what is a very overcrowded market.”

With many newbie online daters feeling overwhelmed by the well established dating sites, and horror stories regularly appearing in the media about online dating as a whole, honestlydating.com is friendly, small and has a nurturing, community feel to it. The idea is to link up local people with similar interests and see if Cupid takes over.

Anona Hessler, the other partner in the business added: “We set out to provide an honest Internet dating experience, and that is what we will continue to do. Oxford and Oxfordshire has a wealth of interesting single people all looking for love, and we aim to bring them together by making matching as easy as possible. Why waste time connecting with people who are half a day away, when you can spend that precious time getting to know someone who almost lives on your doorstep?”

 

www.honestlydating.com

Do you run a small (or even tiny) business in a rural area?

I run my business from a building  in my garden-a fancy shed would be a good way to describe it! I love working for myself and have a collection of really interesting clients ranging from a dating website to a global petrochemicals company, education providers to newspaper publishers, third sector enterprises and professional organisations to herbalists-it is a pretty varied mix!

IMG_1959Mediabird is a creative communications company that has its HQ in my garden, but that draws on the skills and expertise of a group of brilliant and talented individuals. For the most part I work alone, as do my colleagues, but we come together to work on various projects-it seems to be working well so far!

We are very honest with our clients and don’t pretend to be a big, glossy PR outfit. We like that we all work from our own offices or kitchen tables and pride ourselves on offering a first class service to everyone we work with. The way we work is efficient and means we can provide cost effective services that are flexible, which means we can work with even tiny businesses with tiny budgets.

Among the services we offer to small businesses are:

 

PR advice and consultancy

Media training-from how to Tweet to how to handle an interview

Web development and design

Writing and content creation/blogging

Newspaper and magazine design

Training in community journalism

If you run a small business in a rural area and would like a chat about how we might be able to help you. Please email us info@mediabird.co.uk or ring 07966523662

Gok Wan, fat backs and supermarkets

Hello dear reader. As we continue to hurtle towards the BIG DAY I thought I should update you on this week’s progress. Following a marvellously successful shopping trip to Ikea a couple of weeks of ago to purchase thousands of tea lights, vases, glasses and the obligatory meat ball and potato rosti meal deal, it was with a sharp intake of breath and overwhelming feeling of blind panic that I realised there was more than a distinct chance I would be saying I do “commando” if you know what I mean?

Finding the right underwear at any time is tricky, particularly if you are ‘blessed’ with undulating curves that refuse to be tamed by any amount of Lycra. The wedding dress I have chosen is a fifties style affair from the fantastic online dress retailer Lindy Bop, and fits a treat but I do have  a little wedge of back fat that keeps trying to ruin my beautiful, smooth silhouette!

I have tried a few undergarments on over the last few months but they all simply move any flab to another area-a bit like the effect you get with balloon modelling. Not a good look. Imagine my sheer delight then, when a beautiful parcel arrived this very morning containing what I can only describe as perfect underwear.

 

Gok Wan I love you!

Gok Wan I love you!

Yes I will admit that getting into it is a little tricky-especially on a very hot day, but it is SO worth it and I am sure you are all delighted and will be able to rest easy in your beds tonight, secure in the knowledge that the back fat is now (almost) under control.

Now…supermarkets. These are my least favourite places but having visited a brand spanking new one today, I have to say what a lovely retail experience it really was.
Yes, Bicester now has a Sainsbury’s hurrah! Of course the coming of the new supermarket has also led to some significant redevelopment in that area of town, and soon we will be enjoying a parade of fabulous and delightful new shops…ooo maybe there will be a H&M? Perhaps a Body Shop? Accesorize? Monsoon? Nope! Instead we are getting Nandos, Peacocks and a Sports Direct. Well you can’t have it all!
The new area is all very Euro with new signage and sort of faux cobbles. I also witnessed small groups of very tanned, well dressed beautiful young people standing around sipping iced lattes and chatting about art (no doubt). This is very un-Bicester, but how lovely to think that the young and beautiful are now attracted to our humble little town and not just the designer retail outlet Bicester Village. What an absolute cultural and retail coup! Sainsbury’s and the town planners must be SO proud.
Or maybe they were just lost and confused in the heat? I am sure I did hear one mumbling that she had tried and tried but still couldn’t find Prada…?