As you know, we've been redoing our website, part of that is the 'Meet the Team' page which you'll be seeing change over the next couple of weeks. I thought it would be nice to spotlight each member of Team Hurley as we go so you can get to know them all, there are a great team behind the scenes, without whom, none of what I do would be possible! So today we are starting right here at Hurley HQ with my lovely assistant Lisa...
Lisa joined us in October last year, she was supposed to just do a day or two a week to help me pack orders and make tea, within just a few weeks she was here full time after really getting involved in everything, helping me develop new products, organise the office and launch the YouTube channel among other things - now Fuzzybutt actually barks at her when she tries to leave! lol. Here is a little bit more about Lisa...
The 5 words that best describe you?
Humorous, Patient, Loyal, Creative, Quirky
Channing Tatum. All. Day. Every. Day.
Michael Bolton (circa the long hair)
Craft Supply you couldn't live without?
A glue gun!
Favourite Song / Book / Film
Song: Enya - Anywhere is.
Book: Yes Man - Danny Wallace
Film: Hocus Pocus
Your Best Feature
Something weird or funny about you
If someone say's "touch wood" I have to say, "touch metal because wood burns" even though metal can melt right! and I'm not actually superstitious. But now everyone that knows me say's "touch wood, touch metal"! Lisa logic is clearly contagious!
Favourite snack while crafting?
"Snack" ...singular.... I can only pick one? ONE!?!!!! *5 days later* salty & sweet popcorn
If you could have any superpower what would it be?
I consulted the Wikipedia list of superpowers and decided I would like a superhuman mentality, which is "the ability to have intelligence quotient far above that of a genius level." That will do nicely.
The USA. I believe I am an American trapped inside the body of a weather consumed British person.
Autumn. Early Worm or Night Owl? I'm a far more functioning human in the evening / night. 5 Dream Dinner Party Guests Michael Jackson, Louis Theroux, Dolly Parton, Karren Brady, Channing Tatum Tell us a secret! When I was younger I broke my toe and told my mum I accidentally caught it on the side table in the living room... which was somewhat true, aside form the fact I actually slipped off the arm of the sofa, upon which I was dancing, when I was meant to be off school sick. As I couldn't get my foot in a shoe, my mum decided to cut the entire front toe off of a trainer and tried to send me to school wearing it. Wasn't. Happening.
I hope you enjoyed our first 'Meet the Team' post, we'll be back to introduce you to another member of the team very soon. Thank you for dropping by today! Sarah x
This week's Freebie Friday is a complete Blog Planner Printables set...
The weekly and monthly planner sheets and blog topic brainstorming sheet should help you get your blogging super organised! I'll be showing how I use mine in a future post. You can download this weeks freebie over on my website right here I'd love to see how you use yours - leave me your blog links in the comments if you'd like to share :o)
Today I get to share some super exciting news with you, I'm thrilled and scared in equal measure! But to start at the beginning of the story... Last night I received a call from Craig at CHA UK, not an unusual thing as we often have to discuss board things, but it usually doesn't happen at weekends! so I knew this must be something very important... He said to me that over the last few weeks lots of you had been seeing me talk about our upcoming 'One Big Show' event here on my blog, on Facebook, Twitter etc... and you all wanted to come and network and meet us all and join in the fun (yay!) but you were a little worried maybe there wouldn't be a lot put on for you as designers.
Of course, we all really REALLY want you to be there - I personally can't wait to meet you all! and talk about my two favourite things - craft and business!! So Craig asked me to put together a program of things ESPECIALLY for you! I was already scheduled to do one talk (hence my post a few weeks ago about something exciting that meant conquering one of my fears - public speaking!!) but I was up all night brainstorming lots more about what I would have wanted to know when I took that scary first step almost 4 years ago, and the stuff I'd quite liked to have asked since! and between Craig and I, we have come up with what I think, is a fantastic programme of things that you'll love and find both inspiring and informative including all about how I started, how you can do it too, creative blogging and SO much more! There will also be the opportunity to ask us questions and get advice and network with other designers and companies.
If you aren't already attending or you're on the fence, NOW is the time to get on board, especially if this is what you've been waiting for. We have added some more places for the new designer members but I have a feeling they won't last long! so to find out more just click here or you contact me (here in the comments or over on Facebook either on the post there or by PM) for more info or call or email Craig (details here) at CHA UK to book at the special Designer prices we've worked out for you - it really is not to be missed.
I think I need a lie down after all this excitement!
Thank you for dropping by today and I look forward to meeting you soon!!
Before I start, I just want to say, I'm not an expert in Facebook! So why am I writing this? because I've learnt a LOT along the way setting up and running my own page and I'd love to share my advice with you all, so here are my tips for setting up, running and growing your own Facebook page!
Content is Key! This is something that I've really only realised quite recently with the help of my assistant Lisa. I used to post around once a day, maybe something I'd put on my blog or a sneak peek picture. I was actually scared of posting, as a few times a week I'd post and then get one or two people 'unlike' my page, I thought maybe I was posting the wrong things or at the wrong times and I didn't want to annoy people, I stopped posting so much... BIG mistake! It's OK for people to unlike you, good, even! Because what you really want is engaged and active followers not a big number of disinterested people. So go ahead and post your updates, I'd recommend around 2-3 per day, but make them interesting, no one wants to know you've just had a cup of tea or you're taking a break to watch the news. Share a sneak peek, a link to your latest blog post, your latest creation, or share something you've found on another page that you love. Since I've done this, my likers have increased dramatically! yes I've lost one or two along the way but thats life, people are sometimes fickle - it's not personal and they will soon be replaced by new people who love what you do!
Watch the Numbers - If you look at the page manager section, you'll see after a few days which posts get the most views (is it links? pictures? videos?) so you can do more of whats popular! (Facebook recommends pictures above other media currently) It also allows you to see when people are more active on your page and engage with your posts more so you can post at that time of the day more and get even more interaction with your lovely likers!
Don't get too personal (unless thats what your blog / business is about!) - save personal things for your personal page unless they are very relevant. I often share pictures of Fuzzybutt as people ask regularly about her and what she's up too, she's a big part of my story and she's always in the office. I only very occasionally post really personal things and only if they are relevant - I recently had a lot of emails from people asking if I was taking enough time for myself as quite a lot of you know I had a rough start to my year and that I work very hard and sleep very little. I posted a quick candid snap of myself, B and Fuzzybutt (above) taking some time out to reassure everyone I was taking a few hours off. I also chose to post when my Dad died very suddenly earlier this year - only because I was on TV 3 days later and I knew I'd be puffy and red eyed, even through my make up, some of my likers had also seen some messages on my personal page from friends and asked me what had happened. I was anxious for it not to turn into a massive thing, I'm really not good at that sort of thing and would rather attention be on my business, products and creations than on me personally (despite doing live TV, I'm quite shy really!) so I kept things very short, simply thanking people for their well wishes (I was too upset to reply to individual messages but didn't want anyone to think I was being rude or ungrateful for their kind messages) and reassuring them that I would be on TV as planned.
These are too rare occurrences. Unless you want lots of people getting involved in and having opinions about, your life, I'd advise you not to share really personal things (only you will know what you are comfortable with!) If you put things out there, people will have an opinion on them and you may not like it, you need to decide what you can deal with people talking about and if it's not your domestic life / friendships / children etc... then simply don't discuss them.
Set the tone - This is a bit of a sensitive one - I've seen some Facebook pages where people have a very different tone to the way they really speak, I personally find this a bit odd. I find an authentic voice sounds much better and will always resonate with your audience. When I see posts that are very affected and I know this person doesn't really speak in that way, it puts me off, it's not authentic and comes across as very staged and fake. Lots of my followers have actually seen me on TV or met me at events so if I started posting 'Oh Goodness me, Golly gosh! Jolly Hockey Sticks!' etc... they would know I was being fake! I type as I speak (not as I think I should) and find this works best, people aren't silly and will know if you are being real or fake with them, be real and they will warm to you - very important I think (and much less effort than trying to keep up your act or fake personality you've created)
Be Engaging - Have a conversation, throwing stuff out there and never replying won't win you many fans. Reply to comments, ask for people's thoughts and opinions - these are your customers / audience and you'll never get closer to all of them at once (most probably!). This is one of my favourite parts of Facebook (and Twitter! and this blog!) it's impossible for me to engage with my audience every day, there aren't enough TV channels or magazines! and with both of those things, it's more of a one way conversation. With Facebook (and Twitter!) I get to speak to my audience and customers every single day! it's a fabulous way to keep in touch and to learn what people are liking / disliking and wanting from you. I can post up sneak peeks of products or designs and get almost immediate feedback, thats invaluable!
Don't pay! It's really fine to do Facebook ads for your business or network within similar groups but paying for a bulk number of followers (offered via other companies, not Facebook) or getting people to 'like for like' is counter productive. Facebook only shows your posts to a select number of people. If you've paid for, or managed to swap, a ton of followers just to get your number up then only the 'fake' ones may be seeing it instead of the ones who are really interested in what you are doing! Build your following organically and you will have better results. Share your link in your email signature, on your blog, twitter etc... and people will find you (you can find my Facebook page here!)
There are some more great tips, direct from Facebook themselves right here. I really hope my tips help and if you have any to share with me, I'd love to hear them, I'm still learning! :o)
Today I want to share my favourite ever Carrot Cake recipe! I'm super fussy about Carrot Cake, it's definitely one of my favourites but I'm very picky about how I like it, it must have fruit, it must NEVER have nuts (I'm not a fan of nuts in cake but you could add them to this recipe if you like them) it must have cream cheese frosting, and there must be lots of carrot (or what's the point!) this one was given to me some years ago, I lost it once (eeek! I now keep multiple copies and it's scanned and backed up on my pooter!) I hope you love it as much as I do...
You will need...
250grams / 9oz Wholemeal Flour
175grams / 6oz Muscovado Sugar
175grans / 6oz Brown Sugar
3 Large Eggs
6 fl Ozs (175ml) Sunflower Oil
2 fl Oz (55ml) Soured Cream
2 Teaspoons Vanilla Essence
1 Teaspoon Nutmeg
2 Level Teaspoons Cinnamon
1 teaspoon Bicarbonate of Soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
11 Ozs (300 grams) grated carrots
175 grams / 6 ozs Sultanas
85 grams / 3 Ozs Desiccated Coconut
For the Cream Cheese Frosting
110 grams / 4 Ozs Cream Cheese
50 grams / 2 Ozs Unsalted Butter
50 grams / 2 Ozs Icing Sugar
Juice of half a lemon or lime
To Make (approximately 2 hours)
Preheat the oven to 150c / 300f and lightly grease (or line with greaseproof paper) an 8" baking tin (it should be pretty deep, mine is around 5.5" deep and works great!)
Mix the eggs, oil, vanilla essence and soured cream together
Once combined slowly sieve in the dry ingredients - flour, cinnamon, Bicarbonate of Soda and salt
(you could do all of this in the food mixer much quicker, I do this by hand as it's quite a dense cake and mine doesn't work great at combining all the ingredients properly - I am waiting patiently for my dream mint green KitchenAid mixer... *sigh*)
Fold the mixture in until well combined before adding the grated carrots, coconut and sultanas
Once everything is mixed well, pour the mixture into your baking tin and bake for around 1 and a half hours - be sure to test the centre with a toothpick to ensure it is properly cooked before removing from the oven and leaving to cool for at least an hour
Once your cake is completely cooled, sieve the icing sugar into a bowl and mix with the softened butter and cream cheese, add the lemon or lime juice and then top your cake and enjoy - preferably with a big mug of earl grey tea *slurp* my fave! (The carrot garnishes I used from the top picture were from Sainsburys)
You may have already seen our little call out over on my Facebook page but I thought we should post it over here as well! So, if you haven't heard... we are on the hunt for some lovely bloggers to add to our network! I have tons of new and exciting products and ranges launching over the next weeks and months and we are looking for some fantastic bloggers to get involved with some fun projects, so if you have a fantastic blog, whether you are a crafty blogger, mummy / daddy blogger, food blogger, lifestyle blogger etc... then please leave me your links and we will take a look and get in touch with a few of you about getting involved! I'm so excited to see who puts themselves forward!! Thank you for dropping by today! Sarah x p.s. I had lots of private messages and emails after posting this on Facebook, while it's lovely to hear from you that way, I asked them to be left in one place so we don't lose anyones details or overlook them during selection, to ensure you are included please leave your links here or on the Facebook post here, we'd hate for anyone to get lost - thank you so much! x