Monthly Archives: March 2013

‘Appy ‘appy joy joy!

Are+You+AppyThis is Justin.  (Hi, Justin.) Justin is my tech shaman and the man I go running to when my MacBook/iPhone/iMac has a problem.  I also call (or Zello) him when I need help with WordPress or can’t figure out why the $*!@ my photos aren’t uploading properly!!!  No matter what the situation, Justin makes it better.  He also makes apps with Create DM and is always telling me about the next app that will totally. change. my. life.  As such, I asked him to share some of his favourite apps with you guys.  Again, he delivered.  Enjoy!
                                                                                                                                                           

As a developer of mobile apps, I get asked regularly “What are your top ten apps?”  I always reply that it’s a difficult question to answer as I download a large number of apps for testing, research and fun every day. Consider the following… there are currently somewhere in the region of 1,000,000 apps available in just the Apple app store alone, so picking just ten really is a brain teaser.

Therefore, my method for this post is to write about the ten apps I use the most. Now, before reading further, there is an app on this list that I was involved in building.  While this could be misconstrued as bias, I want you to know that I use this app all the time for its purpose and I’m really proud of it.  So there’s that.  Let’s begin.

Tweetbot for iPhone 1. Tweetbot – I haven’t always been a Twitter fan but the more I use it, the more I like it.  That being said, the native Twitter client on iPhone, although good, isn’t the best experience that can be had, so I use Tweetbot made by Tapbots. This app allows me to manage and interact with Twitter in a way that is engaging and fun, has a really good range of features and a lovely user interface, too. It is £1.99 from the Apple App store - Tweetbot for Twitter (iPhone & iPod touch) – Tapbots

Path for iPhone2. Path – There are two words for this app, Beautiful and Exclusive. Path was built as the antidote to social networks– okay, that’s a little unfair but I like to think of it that way. Path is a members-only social network where you only interact with friends that you want to interact with. Path allows you to share life’s moments with a select few that are special to you and then your friends can comment on your posts. The app integrates to Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and Foursquare so you can add content to these networks if you want or just keep it private and between friends. It is a Free app from the Apple App Store - Path – Path, Inc.

Netbot for iPhone 3. Netbot – App.net was started for developers who wanted a focus area to be social and is designed to be a Twitter style replacement. As a developer, it connects me with like-minded people, enables ideas to be shared freely and easily, and keeps me abreast of the latest industry buzz. App.net is a paid service which keeps the social stream focused. Netbot is essentially the same as Tweetbot so it makes my top ten as an app I use regularly. It is Free from the Apple App store - Netbot for App.net (iPhone edition) – Tapbots

Spotify for iPhone 4. Spotify – The Spotify service is revolutionary. There it is, I’ve said. I love this app.  It gives me access to pretty much any music track I could possibly want in the world and, coupled with a great 3G coverage, allows me to stream albums & playlists that I may not have had access to using my iTunes / iPod apps. A thing to remember here that Spotify really is a premium service; there is a free model but it’s full of adverts and you don’t want that, now do you?  It is Free from the Apple App store - Spotify – Spotify Ltd.

Spotify for iPhone5. Drive – Here it is, our app. One fine day, our Front End Developer said “I have an Idea!” and Drive was born. This is the first in-house app developed by Create Digital Media and we are so proud of it. Drive allows you to safely control certain functions on your iPhone phone (when it’s properly docked, mind you) whilst in your car.  It gives you access to your music, audiobooks and podcasts, shows your current location, allows you to set quick call contacts, and let’s you create predefine text messages that you can send in two taps without looking at your phone. It has a beautifully simple and easy to use interface with big friendly buttons. It is £1.99 from the Apple App Store - Drive – Create Digital Media Ltd.

Spotify for iPhone6. Reeder - RSS is one of those things that you either subscribe to or not. And I do! Reeder is the most elegant and easy-to-use RSS reader I have have ever seen or used. It allows me to keep up with all of the news that interests me and does it in a beautiful way. Additionally, they have iPhone, iPad and Mac apps which sync, allowing me to consume my RSS feed on all my devices. The iPhone app is £1.99 from the Apple App store - Reeder – Made@Gloria.

Zello

7. Zello - This little app is a recent discovery. For years the US has been ahead of the UK with a service called Push to Talk (PTT) and I’ve been envious, to say the least. Zello fills that gap and allows the user to use their iPhone as a PTT or Walkie Talkie device. It works really well over 3G and is super simple to use. Why phone when you can Zello! It is Free from the Apple App store - Zello – Zello Inc.

Foursquare

8. Foursquare - Social, Social, Social. I first signed up with Foursqaure to use by proxy so that I could check in using Path. However, as time has gone on, I find myself using this app more and more.  It’s simple, fun and well designed and turns you into a bit of a competitive person in trying to get the mayorships for various places you visit. It is Free from the Apple App store - Foursquare – Foursquare Labs, Inc.

Basecamp

9. Basecamp - When building apps it’s not only important for us to communicate with clients, but also efficiently communicate internally. Basecamp is a great way to do this and allows full transparency when working on a project. This app allows me to interact with the Basecamp projects whilst on the move and follows the great design of the web application that we use. It is Free from the Apple App store - Basecamp – 37 Signals.

Kickoff

10. Kickoff - This is a cracking little app and its simplicity is its master stroke. Kickoff allows our team to have a private instant chat with a live and easily viewable task list along side. Its not complex, it’s just brilliant!  It is £4.99 from the Apple App store - Kickoff – Michael Villar.

So there they are, the 10 apps that I use time and time again.  Of course I have many, many more (over 100 in fact) and some that, dependant on task, would appear on a top-ten list.  However, these are the most used and loved apps I have.

And remember, keep investigating and downloading apps that are available out there.  They’re made by some super talented developers and lots of indie guys like us, so go support them and enjoy your iOS device!

Tuesday With Moi

Tuesday, March 26th
Mini Edition

8

Over the weekend, David and I made this Life-Changing Bread which had caught my eye on Pinterest.  It’s basically birdseed in brick form and when it’s toasted, it’s absolutely heavenly!  If you have a wheat or gluten intolerance, it might just be the life-changing (and totally easy) bread you’ve always been dreaming of.

9I have a food philosophy and it’s really easy: Eat good food. Eat whole foods. And stop eating when you’re not hungry.  Keep things simple, you guys, enjoy natural flavours and live well.

10Oh, and remember to stay hydrated, too!  Otherwise all the wine and whiskey you consume in the evenings will totally dehydrate you and you don’t want that, now do you?  No, no you don’t.

11Like a good Nudie Jeans evangelist, I’ve been diligently breaking in my raw denim 6 days a week since I bought them in early February.  As a result, my wardrobe has become a lot more basic.  Think button-up shirts and sturdy leather shoes, cozy knits and simple tees.  With fewer outfits in my rotation, I’ve found that I also wear fewer accessories.  But lately, I’ve been getting a little tired of my repetitive winter wardrobe and have been making a conscious effort to dress up my denim in different ways. Yesterday, I slipped my favourite glass ring on my finger for a little extra sparkle.

12My friend Brent is a producer for the awesome TED Radio Hour on NPR.  If you like learning things, give it a listen.  I like listening to it when I’m illustrating, taking a walk, or executing one of my more mindless computer tasks.

13Snack time.  A perfectly ripe avocado with chilli flakes, ground pepper and a sprinkling of salt.  Perfection!

14Working in an open, communal office space is awesome but when I’m meeting with a potential client for the first time, I sometimes like to go somewhere where we can chat privately over a delicious cappuccino. The Royal Wells Hotel fits the bill quite nicely, plus, they have a super awesome lion and unicorn atop their building, and who doesn’t love unicorns?  No one, that’s who.

16I returned to the office after my meeting and totally. hit. a. wall.  I haven’t been feeling well for a few days now (I’m going to pull a LiLo and say that I’m exhausted to the point where I may need medical attention) and my body was telling me to take some time to rest and relax.

17

After one more hour of straining to keep my eyes open, I closed the shutters and went home for a nap so I could recharge my fem-bot batteries before a simple evening out with my people.

Speaking of my people, I wanted to take a moment to share a poem my friend David Smith wrote about me before he even knew me.  He noticed my shoes last night (the same ones worn here) and then shared it with me.  It’s strangely poignant considering my current situation and I really love it.

SENSIBLE SHOES
There’s no place like home, she says,
gently tapping her heels three times.
But her plain brown brogues will never be
mistaken for Ruby Slippers
and home, like the past,
is a foreign country.

Next week, we’ll relive yesterday again (and more completely), but this time with Sam Marlow, a local filmmaker/writer/artist extraordinaire with an impressive body of work.  Sam shot film yesterday and I’m incredibly excited to see how his photos come out.  And don’t forget, if you want to contribute to Tuesday With Vous, all the information you need is right here.  xx

sunshine?

C'mon+SpringThis basically sums up everything about everything right now.  I’m really looking forward warmer weather, blossoming flowers and maybe even sunshine.  Sunshine.  Remember sunshine?  Yeah, me neither.

Anyway. Happy Tuesday, dear reader.  May spring come swiftly and deliver us from drear!

Desktop Still Life

Cereal+Magazine+Still+LifeDavid picked up Vol. 2 of Cereal for me yesterday whilst in London.  I’m looking forward to spending the weekend nestled between the pages, reading about our staple tabletop seasonings (salt & pepper), Welsh getaways, and fiery Korean condiments.

Also this weekend, I’m planning on finally making some DIY business cards (my linocutting skills are about to be truly tested), creating more sharable content for The Etiquette Shop, and taking a long walk to TN2 to buy some cheese.  I have some homemade, chilli-infused honey sitting in my cupboard and I think it’s about time I crafted a cheese plate to pair it with.

Before I disappear for the weekend, I just wanted to share a few things that have inspired me throughout the week.

  1. “Connection is why we’re here.” Brené Brown‘s TED talk, The Power of Vulnerability, reinforces everything I believe about sharing content and running a small business in the digital age.
  2. “A person’s a person, no matter how small.”  15 Social Media Tips from Dr. Seuss– so creative and so spot-on.  
  3.  ”About herself, she said, ‘I’m very kindhearted, naive at times. I’m lost and scared.’”  I’ve carried Chris Arnade‘s stories of addiction, brokenness,  honesty, and hope with me for over a week now.  His lens and words give us a window into a world that is all too easy to ignore and by telling the stories of the Hunt’s Point addicts and sex workers that he’s come to know, to care for, he’s giving them a voice and empowering them.  Empowering them to be recognised for what they are, human beings with insecurities, ambitions, families and sorrow, and empowering them to hopefully get clean, get well, too.  By ignoring stories like theirs, we simply perpetuate the problem.  Let’s not do that.  Let’s encourage people who are struggling, who have ugly problems and need help, to do better, be better, and let’s make this world a more beautiful place.

xx

Tuesday With Moi

Tuesday, March 19th
Poetry & Bow Ties

8.2My friend Kristy, who’s an amazing food maker as well as a  food and lifestyle stylist, just launched her website and I want to try all the recipes.  I started by waking early and trying my hand at these simple scones which I drizzled with honey as soon as they were out of the oven.  David and I enjoyed them with mugs of piping hot coffee.

9Yesterday was a bow tie day.  I was going to a poetry reading after work and thought a little neck decoration was in order.  I also had to make up for the fact that my shirt was horrifically wrinkled; there’s nothing like a bow tie to give wrinkled linen some polish.

10At The Warehouse, my tulips were on their last legs.  Last stems?  Whatever.  I love watching the metamorphosis of flowers but I’m always sad to see them go.

11Do you guys remember Kid Nation?  That show that took 40 kids, ages 8 to 15, and put them in a New Mexico ghost town to fend for themselves?  It was kind of Hunger Games-ey, now that I’m looking back, but was also oddly inspiring.  It’s been six years since the show aired and I’m curious to know how all those kids are getting on.  Therefor, I propose someone start a Kickstarter campaign to fund a follow-up documentary about what the kids (some of which are not kids anymore) are up to. Like, I want to know who had a teen pregnancy, who got accepted to MIT at the age of 12, and which of the gold star recipients still has their star displayed in their bedroom.  I want to know it all, dear reader, and I’m sorry but I’m not sorry if that makes me a creep.

12These are the shoes I wear when I need to reach things that are up on the high shelf or when I generally just want to feel tall.  I used to wear them all the time in Boston, but my life in the UK keeps me in flats and rain boots most of the time.  Last week, my feet were itching for shoes with a proper heel so I wore them around the office.

13What I love about working so close to home is that I can pop back for lunch and finish my delicious leftovers.  Yesterday, it was a lamb sandwich with a side of (cold) roast potatoes and parsnips.  Delicious!

14I noticed the brick pattern on the building next to The Warehouse for the first time yesterday.  I quite like these shapes and wonder if they have any meaning.

15 Gerry‘s father painted the picture that frames me throughout the working day.  I feel really lucky to have it behind me.

16The clouds broke, the sun came out, and the first petals from my tulip began to fall.  (And this is what they look like today. Jeepers!)

17I’m so glad the days are getting longer.  I love the afternoon sun in the office.

18And though I was sad to see the sun go, the sunset was quite lovely.

19 The Tunbridge Wells Writers met at Javabean Café for an evening of poetry reading and camaraderie.  James Bowdon’s work, Hunting in the Rain, is currently on display in the café; I think his illustrations are just lovely.  Imaginative, bold and a little bit cheeky– this one is called Rabbit Girl.

20The actual reading began around 7:30.  This is Alison reading her beautiful poem, Aphrodite.   I was so inspired by everyone who got up and shared last night and I’m already looking forward to our next poetry night.  Maybe at the next one I’ll actually read…

21It was so sweet that Javebean stayed open late for us.  Their team is enormously welcoming and kind and I love that they encourage groups to use their space for gatherings and events.  To stay up to date with what’s happening in the café, follow them on Twitter.

22 Whilst chatting, I snapped another Hunting in the Rain piece.  This one is called Lemon and I really love it.  (For more about Hunting in the Rain, check out this piece by Anke.)

23Of course, as I so often do, I made the genius decision to have one more glass of wine with the folks at Twuddle.  I lent my camera to Richard for the final picture of the night and here I am!, blurry but still rocking my bow tie which, by the way, was a huge hit.

And that was my Tuesday, dear reader.  Thank you for reading and don’t forget, if you want to contribute to TWV, drop me an email!  It’s a great way to showcase your work, give us a peek at what goes on behind the scenes in your cafe/studio/store/cubicle, and share your passions and interests with others.  xx

Tuesday With Vous (Yes, VOUS!)

TWV

Tuesday+With+Vous+contributors

Every Tuesday, I take a photo every waking hour, on the hour, in an effort to focus my eye and my lens on something beautiful/interesting/unique, to pay homage to the goodness that goes unnoticed most days, and to share snippets of what I’m up to with you lovely people.  Because I know you’re all tired of seeing pictures of Le Chat yawning, I sometimes recruit a creative/interesting/super awesome person to take on Tuesday photo duties and share their day with us.  If you want to be one of these creative/ interesting/super awesome people, drop me a line and let’s schedule a Tuesday for you to take pictures and share.

Now, I can hear your objections already.  You’re all like, “Trust me, Kate, my life is not interesting enough for TWV.”  Au contraire, mon ami!  As the very wise Betty Draper once said, “Only boring people are bored” and I firmly believe that life is only as interesting as you want it to be.  I don’t care if you’re an engineer, a dog-walker, a road surveyor or a painter, your life is unique and you have a story to tell, so send me an email, dust off your camera, and get snapping!

Still not convinced?  Check out the Tuesday With Vous & Tuesday With Moi archives.  See, not scary.  Fun!  You can be as creative as you like and because the internet is awesome, you can share from wherever you are in the world.  SUPER FUN.  xx

Be Terrific on Twitter

Social media is fun!  But so often, small businesses get a little tongue-tied when it comes to connecting with their customers on social platforms like Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram (to name a few).  Because I don’t like seeing awesome businesses struggle, I started The Etiquette Shop to help small businesses and creative entrepreneurs find their voice and creatively and authentically tell their stories and connect with their customers online.  One way to do this is through social media, and I work with clients to decide which social platforms work best for them, teach them how to utilise these tools, and then create a strategy to help them connect with their customers and grow their business.

After completing a couple Terrific on Twitter courses last week, I wanted to share five of my fundamental beliefs about Twitter with you.  These simple guidelines will help you focus your content, grow your tribe, and make lasting professional- and personal- relationships online.

Be+Terrific+on+Twitter

If you want to know more about developing a social media strategy, creating engaging content, or learning how to use a particular social media platform?  Just drop me an email at kate(at)ladykatherinesims.com.  It’ll be fun!  Promise.

Tulips & Toothy Grins

tulips

I don’t think of myself as someone who’s easy to please, per se,  but still, lots of things make me happy.  Three things in particular:

  1. That moment when I’m working with a client, teaching them how to better tell their story, utilise social media and engage with their clients, and suddenly they realise that anything is possible. I feel in those moments what Willy Wonka must have felt slipping golden tickets into chocolate bars– like I’m giving a gift of boundless possibility.
  2. Fresh tulips.
  3. The fact that the days are getting longer.  And warmer.  And sunnier!  Sunshine will always put a smile on my face.

What’s making you happy these days, dear reader?  Whether it’s simple or grand, no joy is too simple to acknowledge and celebrate.

Tuesday With Moi

Tuesday, March 12th

9I woke up and England was once again a winter wonderland.

10

The snow was wet and slick and I just couldn’t bring myself to walk the three minutes through the slush to get to work.

11So I poured myself a cafetière, built myself a nest of blankets, and worked from the couch.

12Around noon, the sun came out and the snow began to melt.

13

For weeks now, England has been flirting with spring.  Sometimes it’s sunny with a warm breeze and blossoms coyly bud on the trees, and sometimes we’re trapped inside a snow globe where the flakes never seem to settle.

14Le Chat doesn’t seem to mind the weather’s fickle ways.  Her life is good so long as she has somewhere warm to curl up and doze.  My shutter woke her from one of her naps and I was able to catch her yawning. I love it when she yawns and I literally have a whole collection of photos I’ve taken of her with her mouth open, her little fangs glistening like daggers.  She’s cute.  I’m glad we brought her with us from America; she’s been a good friend.

15Speaking of America, Sunday marked my tenth month in the UK.  I feel I’ve been wrapped in sweaters for the entire ten months that we’ve lived here and I’m getting a little tired of it.  I’m looking forward to summer.

16

I’m looking forward to fresh fruit and garden grown veggies.  I’m looking forward to picnics.  I’m looking forward to eating my eggs out on the lawn.

17But those days are still far away.  We must focus on the now.  And this is what I look like right now. Hi!

18The snow had almost all melted.  I walked to the office to retrieve some things I needed and was so pleased to still have daylight so late in the evening.

19Back at home, Le Chat played with my shark necklace while I finished up some work.

20And then it was again time to meet at the Black Pig with the Tunbridge Wells Writers.

21This is Lucy.  Lucy and I had matching braids.  Well, almost matching.

22After much wonderful conversation, it was time to go and time for me to put away the camera for the night.

And that was my Tuesday.  As always, thanks for reading.  XO

A Dog Like Millie

Fetch+2

Fetch+3

Fetch+11

Fetch+5

Fetch+7
Lately, I’ve found the idea of long morning walks with a dog pulling at a lead really attractive.  I like the purposefulness of taking a dog out, I like their energy and watching them run in easy leaps and bounds.  On Saturday, David and I dog-sat for some friends and got to spend the day with Millie.  We took her on a long walk through town and really wore her out.  Wore ourselves out, too.  I liked having Millie with me, liked the friendliness of strangers when they passed us on the sidewalk, liked witnessing her curiosity as she nosed the ground and explored new scents, liked throwing a stick as far as I could and knowing she’d bring it right back.

We’re not allowed dogs in our current flat, but I’ll make sure they’re welcome in our next one.  David and I would really like to have a dog like Millie.