November 15, 2014

We survived The Fair!

And just like that, months of planning, painting, plotting and praying are over!

Stay tuned for a recap of the Multi National Fair!



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October 22, 2014

The Community Service Centre at The Multi National Fair




So happy to finally be able to share a recent project I've been working on! I'm the Centre Coordinator for The Community Service Centre a the upcoming The Multi National Fair

This Centre will be split into two parts: 

(1) The Social Centre will be a centre with kiosks showcasing non profits, charities, social initiatives and NGOs in Barbados, aimed at raising awareness on the organizations' activities and current volunteer opportunities 

(2) a Volunteer Matching Service called 'Helping Hands' aimed at matching Barbadians who are looking to lend their time or skills or resources to a cause with a database of 'needs' that we are currently compiling. We want to shake up the traditional understanding of 'volunteering' and show people that you can help people in many ways, through your skill set and/or any amount of free time you are willing to dedicate to something you care about. 

Interested in volunteering or telling me about a non profit or social initiative that can benefit from being a part of the Centre? 

Get in touch with me at maloumorgan [at] gmail [dot] com 
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October 3, 2014

The Multi National Fair is BACK!



Most of you over the age of 20 will remember the Multi National Fair held at the Governor General's house wayyyy back when. Most of us remember it for the international food, and guys reminisce about the wide selection of international beers. Well, I'm so happy to share that after 10 years The Fair is back! (and so is the international food and beer ;)) The team has been working behind the scenes for months and it's so cool to finally see The Multi National Fair make it's comeback public! It's going to be everything we remember and so much MORE! Stop by the official page and see what it's all about....#TheMultiNationalFair #Barbados



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October 1, 2014

Island Sitters turns 1!



Exactly one year ago, Sheena and I made our little sitter service an official business...and with the help of a pretty intense entrepreneurship competition and team of amazing friends, family and sitters, we found ourselves running a full time gig. 


I have a million things on our 'to do' list, with 'write an in depth blog post reflecting on the past year' high on that list. Unfortunately, I don't have the time to do that properly right now but I just couldn't let this day go by without writing SOMETHING that reflects how I feel about our baby's first birthday. WE wouldn't have made it this far without everyone who has helped and guided us along the way and our fantastic team of sitters. They've handled some crazy/last minute/outrageous requests with grace and professionalism, and go above and beyond for clients. THANK YOU ladies, for everything you do. We really appreciate it! Big up to my biffle Sheena, who is the most amazing business partner a girl can ask for; I'm so grateful for having her by my side this past year.

Cheers to our first year, here's looking forward to what the next one brings! :)



You can read some of my previous 'businessy' posts:

The Automotive Art Entrepreneurship Competition

Winning!
Confessions of a business newbie

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September 14, 2014

Mango Malou

Happy as a monkey with a mango in the sea! 

I'm catching up on a lifetime of uneaten mangoes after discovering that I am no longer allergic to them. Growing up in the Caribbean unable to touch a mango for fear of blistering skin was pure torture! For those of you who know how fussy I was about being near to anything mango related (including skincare products that contained mango extract) you're probably asking yourself: "Why did this girl suddenly decide to touch a mango?"


After complaining bitterly about my allergy (yet again), a doctor friend of mine suggested I 'spot' test some mango skin & sap on my forearms, after explaining that you can grow out out of allergies and develop new ones as you get older. This is especially true for skin allergies like mine, because your skin matures and changes. I did as she suggested and couldn't contain my excitement as I neared the 20 minute mark without any irritation or blistering! I immediately peeled a juicy mango and jumped into the sea. I looked like a 5 year old child with mango all over my face. Ah-mazinggggg! It's such a relief, and I can't wait to eat every mango in sight from now on.
#simplepleasures
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September 7, 2014

Back to Life, Back to Reality



Back to reality after 3 whirlwind weeks of wine, wanderlust & way too many photos! Stay tuned for European highlights coming up on the blog soon!

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August 6, 2014

Kadooment 2K14


Here's the roundup of Kadooment day 2014....the good, the bad and the ugly.
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August 5, 2014

Crop Over Chronicles: Snowconians, A Kadooment fantasy come true


I've been jumping Kadooment since I was 15 years old...I've missed it twice over the years because I was overseas, so this Crop Over would make it my 10th jump. 10th JUMP! Not only does that reveal my age, but my love for Kadoooment and all things feathery, glittery and colourful.  

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July 25, 2014

Crop Over Chronicles: Fave Kadooment songs for 2014


Here's a list of some of my fave songs from the Crop Over season this year (Not in any particular order)! Picture yourself listening to these as you're chipping down the road, drink in hand, wukking up with thousands of people around you...
(I'd love to hear what some of my international friends & followers think of these tunes!)

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July 21, 2014

Monochrome Mermaids


Now that I have a phone with a pretty cool camera, I've become a bit lazy when it comes to taking photos. I don't use my DSLR as often, and my waterproof Olympus was collecting dust *shame* 
I have no excuses really, so I decided to challenge myself to some new underwater concept shots yesterday. I wanted something a bit different to our usual bright, Caribbean style photos and was inspired by award winning photographer, Morgan Massen, who I recently started following on Instagram.

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July 18, 2014

Life lately: July update

It's been pretty quiet here on this blog for a number of reasons, and I'm starting to feel a bit overwhelmed about to where to begin 
#Bloggerproblems
...but instead of complaining, I'm going to list the reasons and give a mini update for those who care to read it:

1.) I started a new job 2 months ago and it's sucked up most of my time (funny that) I'm now officially a digital strategist for a advertising and marketing company, and I'm pretty much getting paid to do something I love - tinkering with online campaigns, brand strategy and development whilst tracking media trends. I even got a cheeky feature in the local business papers:


2.) Aside from my full time job, Sheena and I are still running Island Sitters after hours and on the weekends. We've finally taken on some extra hands to help us out and I can't wait to see where this little company is going in the coming months! It's not all work though - Island Sitters is about being young and fun, and last weekend we went on a little adventure with Sheena's cousin Mike and his friend James. Ain't nothing cooler than being told your adventure was 'epic' by two 12 year old boys - these ol' girls still have it!


3.) I'm part of a group called Global Shapers (You can read more about us here) and I was recently given the responsibility of running the Communications for this Hub. I'm a sucker for youth development and I think the youth in Barbados are in dire need of some more guidance and direction, especially since our unemployment rate is dangerously high and the general morale is dangerously low.  We're working on some projects aimed at confronting these issues though, so I'm still hopeful, especially being surrounded by such a strong group of extraordinary young people. I'm going to be talking about this some more in future posts.


4.) J and I are going to Europe in a month! We've been busy booking & reviewing every part of our trip across 4 countries and it's been so exciting and stressful at the same time. haven't planned a trip this meticulously since my trip to Asia in 2010, and even then, Christina and I winged it most days. When you're trying to squeeze as much as you can into 3 weeks of travel though, things get a lot more serious.  (Maybe it's the adult thing to do and I just haven't figured that out yet) I can't believe it's been 2 years since I left Amsterdam and I CAN'T WAIT to share more about this trip in the coming month. I've been tweeting like a mad woman too, trying to get the best travel tips & tricks from the online travel bugs. Be prepared for a very annoying countdown and lots and lots of photos following that.


5.) Living on a little rock can drive you crazy very quickly - 'Island Fever' is no joke and I've been trying very hard not to catch that fever by distracting myself with the things mentioned above (and then some, which I'll mention in another post!) Blogging has always been another distraction for me, as well as a creative outlet, but it's recently felt like a chore. I've never been a consistent blogger, and I'm sure that I never will be, but I do love it just as much (if not more) as I did when I started over 4 years ago, I just haven't made the time for it. I have a backlog of about 400 posts on here, waiting to be edited and shared with the world. It's a constant battle between priorities, and lately blogging hasn't been one of them. I apologize for that, but the coming month should be a good kick start to get my butt into blog gear again. 


//After work work for Island Sitters & discovering a cove on our Island Sitters Adventure//
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July 7, 2014

Aerial Video of Barbados


I stumbled across this incredible footage by Above Barbados offering some fresh perspectives of our little dot.  

Happy Monday! 

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July 4, 2014

Friday's Faux Pas & and my bestie's bachelorette

I was on my way out of the National ID building yesterday, having just renewed my ID card, when I saw a little old lady being walked down the road with her son. She was using a walker, and since we were miles away from the nearest bus stop, I offered them a lift into town. She climbed into the backseat after I shoved all of my bags and stuff to one side to make room for her.

Fast forward 20 mins, and her son and I are chatting away about the World Cup, local politics and everything in between. David, Jean and I felt like old friends by the time I dropped them off at the bus terminal in town and wished them a pleasant day.

It was only when I got to work that I realised that I had forgotten about my bag of "Bachelorette goodies" from Zoe's bachelorette in the backseat and poor Jean had been sitting next to this the entire car ride:


.....Annnnndddddddd on to the actual bachelorette, albeit a very condensed, edited version of it, for the sake of all the parents who read this blog:
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June 27, 2014

#Residenttourist: Farm to Chef Slow Food Market Day



I posted this beautiful flyer about the cook off event by Slow Food Barbados on my Facebook page a few weeks ago and the event was the first of it's kind in Barbados. 

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June 12, 2014

New York Video

Throwing it back to my first bite of the Big Apple in December with this cheesy video :)

You can check out my #NYC blog posts here


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June 10, 2014

Giving Credit where Credit is due to Relish Epicurea

Bajans love a good rant. There's a sense of camaraderie to be found in complaining about the terrible service experienced every day in the government, tourism and service industries on this island.  Whether it's a 5 star hotel restaurant or a local rum shop, I find good service to be as unpredictable as the weather in England. That said, I do think it's only fair to highlight the amazing service and experiences that local restaurants, hotels and other companies offer on occasion.


Relish Epicurea handled a tricky situation really well the other day, that I feel like I owe it to them to offer credit where it is due. Relish is a local gourmet cafe based in Limegrove Lifestyle Centre that offers everything from freshly brewed coffee to salads drizzled in truffle sauce. Though they're quite pricey, I'm a huge fan of this place; their food is delicious and their staff is always really friendly. 

I hurriedly bought two of my favourite ham & cheese pastries from Relish in Limegrove, and gobbled down my first one before I even left the mall. I started chowing down on the second one, only to realise it was below their standard. I won't go into details about what was wrong with the pastry, but let's just say I was left feeling pretty disappointed and hungry. As soon as I got home I did what most Gen-Y media nerds would do: I wrote them a private message through their Facebook Page, filling them in on the situation for future reference. As someone who worked as a waitress for many years, I like to assume feedback is generally appreciated, whether positive or negative. I forgot about the message as soon as sent it, and I didn't expect to hear back from them anytime soon. 

Not only did they quickly respond to me with a really nice, apologetic message that acknowledged their mistake, but they gave me a voucher for a free Ham & Cheese pastry and a coffee the next time I visited. Though I don't fail to see the irony in this, I was also thoroughly impressed by their professionalism.


For those of you reading this post from overseas, you're probably scratching your heads thinking "Seriously, she's getting excited about something that's a GIVEN in the service industry here!", but in this island (and in my experience) service like this is hard to come by and I think it needs to be brought to people's attention that every little detail makes a difference. 

Their message was personable and friendly, and I really appreciated them making the extra effort to make sure that I come back to them again in the future (which I will). If Barbados is going to continue to compete as one of the top holiday destinations in the world, we really need to step up our game. In fact, we should have started stepping it up years ago! Anyway, I digress. The point of this post was not to rant (See how easy it is?) but to end on a positive note.

 Baby steps: Though this was just a tiny example of good service, I hope other establishments can take a page out of their (Face)book and deal with customers in the same way.

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June 4, 2014

White Caps, Cattlewash


Little recap (no pun intended) of our Cattlewash getaway weekend.

You can find the High-Res version of this video on my YouTube Channel.

Happy Hump Day!
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May 30, 2014

#Residenttourist: Cattlewash weekend


The Atlantic coast of Barbados has a unique charm that's hard to describe to anyone who's never been. It's beautiful; rugged, fertile hills are dotted with cows and palm trees that are constantly blasted by the salty Tradewinds. This is where Barbadians have escaped to during the late summer and Easter holidays for generations and the rusty, wooden beach houses are reminiscent of what the rest of the island would have looked like 50 years ago. Even on a tiny island like this, you somehow feel totally disconnected from the chaotic reality when you are 'staying down' Cattlewash, Bath or Bathsheba.

A few months ago, our local community was raising money in aid of a young boy who had emergency surgery. One of the fundraising initiatives was renting a beach house in Cattlewash; a large portion of the rental of this house within a certain time period would go towards his medical fund. A group of us jumped at the opportunity to help out and to escape for a relaxing weekend on the East, so we booked our weekend immediately and started planning dinner menus and games nights.

When we finally arrived at the house, we were blown away to find a very luxurious MANSION; hardly the simple wooden 'cottage-esque' beach house we were expecting. This place was amazing! The house was nestled on the hill across the street from the beach, so the view was incredible. We woke up to this every morning as we sipped our coffee:


What followed was 3 days of lazy fun, filled with daytime drinking, yummy dinners, board games & long walks on the beach. Ain't nothing like a mini staycation to make you appreciate everything this little dot has to offer.

Both photos by Angie :)

I didn't take as many photos as I would normally because I was focussed on taking video footage over the weekend, so stay tuned for a cheeky/cheesy video of Cattlewash coming soon :)
*UPDATE: You can now view my video here.

I'm linking up with my friend Setarra this week for her #ResidentTourist blog feature, which you can check out here:



Check out my first #ResidentTourist link up post here.

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May 2, 2014

Confessions of a business newbie

I was on the phone with an old friend a couple of days ago, discussing the ups and downs of starting and running our own businesses. So many of her points struck a cord with me as a newbie entrepreneur and I felt a sense of relief knowing that she felt the same way about certain challenges we had faced. 


6 months ago, I launched Island Sitters with one of my best friends. 
It's been one hell of a ride, and I've learnt enough in a short time to make this experience feel like another stressful Master's Degree.
As a sporadic blogger, I often write things down when I'm 'in the writing mood', but I don't post them because I think they're boring, irrelevant or too personal. Since I had this conversation with my friend though, I was inspired to revisit this post I drafted a couple of days ago because I realized that I wasn't the only one who felt this way.
This isn't a humble brag post, I promise. I'm not trying to sound like an annoying 'Ms.Know-it-all' since becoming an entrepreneur (even though it may come across as such to some). I've learned a hell of a lot in the past few months since putting my 'business' cap on for the first time and I'd like to share some of my thoughts:


1. Working with a best friend is a privilege

Sheena and I had worked together at a previous company for about 6 months, so we knew that we could be up in one another's grill and not get sick of each other. There are as many horror stories as there are success stories of friends going into business together but we didn't think of that at the time. Truth be told, neither of us had a clue as to what we were in for and I think that naivety saved us in the beginning. Luckily, we both had a clear vision of what we wanted to do with the company and the competition. Our friendship is what helped us through the late nights and the never ending financial forecasts. Our personality differences help balance things out. The nature of our friendship is also what has kept things going; Sheena and I are both straight shooters and I'm so grateful for that. She keeps me in line when I get distracted, and I like to think that I can calm her down when things get stressful. I think being honest and frank is valuable in any relationship, and I feel very lucky to work with a friend who is both of those things.


2. Work doesn't start at 9 and end at 5

Work begins the moment you wake up and decide to get serious and put in the hours. Work never really 'finishes' for us because there's always an email to respond to, a social media post to prep, a meeting to set up, an overseas client to deal with. Nobody else cares if you get everything done, because it's all at you. If you fall behind on emails, you're the one feeling the pressure. There's no excuse for you not to finish something off, even if it's 9.30pm and you're exhausted. The freedom of being your own boss is also a serious pain in the ass sometimes.

I take my hat off to Sheena, who's been juggling Island Sitters with a full time job. I have the privilege of time on my hands, and she does not, but this doesn't stop her from getting shit done. Her regular 9-5 is topped off with additional 5.30-8pm meetings, weekend meetings & copious amounts of homework. I have a new found respect for anyone working two jobs, whether one of them is a start-up or not, because it takes a lot out of you.


2. Don't be afraid to ask for help 

We recognized the value of mentors early in the game. If you’re not seeking advice and learning from others’ experiences, you’re not optimizing your time and missing serendipitous opportunities. This is especially true in a small island like Barbados, where it's really important to recognize the power of your network. 
Starting something on a budget forces you to become to learn every aspect of the business, rather than hiring someone to do it for you.
Sheena and I didn't have a clue when it came to a lot of things (such as accounting, or how to start building our legal framework) but we were so incredibly lucky to have a great support group. We sat there blank faced as our lawyer read through our paperwork, and laughed at the fact that some of it sounded like complete gibberish to us.
I also made it clear to the Business Officer at our bank that I didn't have a clue as to what he was talking about when we opened our account, so I asked him to go through it step-by-step. It was crash course in 'Business Accounts for Dummies' but I didn't care, I needed to understand it thoroughly. Once you pinpoint who can help you, don’t be afraid to ask for that help – no man is an island and every successful business person started out with help in some way.

4. It's not rocket science, but it certainly ain't easy

I tripped over a quote that my friend mentioned during our phone conversation that got me thinking about the landscape of entrepreneurship: 'Success has many fathers, and failure is an orphan.' These days, people don't really like to discuss failure, especially in business. As she sadly pointed out, not many people stick with you through the tough times; they'd rather associate themselves with you through the good. Though this doesn't specifically apply to Island Sitters, I could understand where she was coming from. 

Social media has pushed us to highlight the successes in our life and 'ignore' the hardships, because nobody likes to hear about that on Facebook and people like to believe that we all have a chance at success. Most of our generation has unrealistic and distorted expectations because we hear stories of people making $5k in revenue in the first month, or companies that have 100,000 users from the get go. I was guilty of being disillusioned by all of the books, posts and articles I've read about 'quitting your job & doing what you love'. The reality is that many successful businesses are built step by step, and that even the ones who do achieve crazy results have often had a long buildup (through their audience, founders, etc.). We're learning to focus on the long term and not get disappointed by the lack of crazy growth numbers often cited in start-up success stories. It can take a lot of time for people to notice real value and to trust a new brand, but we're focusing on our client experience and offering a convenient service that people love.

I also believe that being honest and open about what it takes to start a business will benefit a lot of people and set a new standard for the entrepreneurship community. I read a lot of international entrepreneurship blogs and posts, and I would love to see more information on business in the Caribbean and Barbados specifically. Money, for example, is not something that people talk about openly (especially in Barbados) but I personally would have benefited from knowing how much it costs to actually start a business, for example. Legal fees, website development, more legal fees and even sponsored social media posts suck up money faster than you can imagine. Salaries are another issue, as well as the debate over leaving your secure 9-5 job to dedicate yourself to a start up. Finding the right (& up to date!) information is also difficult. I'd like to expand on these points in future blog posts, because I think they're really important.



5.  I'd do it all over again in a heartbeat.

I love knowing that Island Sitters is 'our' baby - it's the same sense of pride you feel when you've finished a really difficult school assignment, or a piece of art that you've been working on for a long time. No matter what anyone else thinks of it, you feel a sense of accomplishment knowing that that piece of paper is YOURS and nobody can take that away from you. In hindsight, I would have done a few things differently, but the underlying principle would remain the same: bring an idea to life and make it happen.

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Throughout this post I mention 'luck' a lot, because I know that a lot of Island Sitter's is a culmination of luck, timing and really hard work. We recognize that we were incredibly lucky with the timing of the Automotive Art competition, and winning meant that we could surpass quite a few obstacles that other entrepreneurs have to face. I'd jump at the opportunity to enter another competition, or entrepreneur scheme of some sort, because the structure and support we received was invaluable. It's really exciting to see more competitions, programs and social ventures aimed at entrepreneurs in the Caribbean, I hope that business organisations and institutions in this island also continue to tune in to the ever expanding entrepreneurship scene in Barbados. They're starting to recognize the movement, but there are still so many obstacles in the way, such as opening bank accounts and gaining access to start-up funding.  I have high hopes for Barbados and the Caribbean though, because entrepreneurs will continue to thrive no matter the challenges, and they'll figure out new ways to get things done. 

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April 28, 2014

Sunday vibes on a Monday


You know you have #paradiseproblems when you can't decide on which beach to go to on a Bank Holiday.  Should we head East or West? Mullins or Tropicana?
After much debate, we finally settled on Mullins and spent the entire afternoon sipping mimosas and soaking up the sunshine. It was a beautiful day spent with great friends. 

As you can see, I've been playing around with different filters and video on my new Nexus. I took these photos with my Olympus but uploaded them to Google+, where I then edited them with the built in editor. Not sure whether this will replace my beloved PicMonkey editor, but so far it's proven to be pretty convenient having it all in one place!


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