26 July, 2010

Would you work for free?

...Or why it's important to read Ts and Cs.

I'm sure that most, if not all, people would agree that volunteering for a worthy or charitable cause is rewarding and a jolly good thing to do.

But what about essentially volunteering your time and writing for a large corporation... who will be using said work to promote their brand (and sell more product)? What about even paying for the privilege of doing this?

No, not so great.

A person I follow on Twitter shared a link posted by the Sportsgirl Twitter account today. It's a competition to win a trip around the world (and a new wardrobe) and blog as a roving global blogger for the Sportsgirl brand.

It sounded like a lot of fun and I considered entering - so I decided to read the terms and conditions to see what they said about the blogging side of things. I wanted to know what would be expected of the winner in terms of posts and content.

What I found was not what I expected.

7. The Prize. The winning eligible entry will win 2 STA Travel Round the World airfares as part of the competition entry. The prize is for 2 people only. The prize value includes airfare costs and applicable airline taxes only. The prize does NOT include accommodation or additional costs as stated below.
8. Spending money, meals, travel insurance, passports, visas, transport to and from departure point and all other ancillary costs, as well as obtaining any of these, are the responsibility of the winner.

The prize, as per the Ts and Cs, is two plane tickets. That's it. If I were to win this competition, I'd have to organise and pay for my own accommodation in the four cities allowed on the flights. I'd have to organise all of my own transfers, my own meals and spending money. I'm essentially left with the bulk of the cost of the trip... and a deadline in which to find the money and do it in, as understandably there is a deadline on the travel time allowed.

So, the winner gets to pay for most of the trip AND spend time writing a blog for Sportsgirl while they're on it! Interestingly, neither the blog or the new wardrobe are mentioned in the terms and conditions. There's no mention of what kind of writing exposure the winner can hope to receive.

Personally, all this has turned me off entering as I am not interested in paying for the privilege of helping a company expand and promote their brand - using my image and words. I'm glad I clicked through and read the Terms and Conditions. I wish any entrants good luck and hope that they also read the Ts and Cs before entering - just so that they know what's expected of them should they win.

Today's irony: I've just given the brand a free plug by posting this. Huzzah!

Today's most awesome moment: realising that my tweet response to Sportsgirl is the first tweet on their live tweet app on the competition homepage! (Ok, that's a little petty... but hopefully it makes entrants read the Ts and Cs before they decide if they want to enter this competition.)

Nothing to see here... really

Feel free to comment - am I too cynical and have I got this wrong? Is it just an amazing chance or are Sportsgirl trying to get some serious marketing mileage for not that much money?

25 July, 2010

Pumpkin Soup

An experiment.

I love pumpkin soup but wanted to try making it with tofu rather than cream - to get that added creaminess without adding dairy and also because I'm a sucker for experimentation with food.

I wasn't sure what I was going to end up with, but the result was delicious. Time to scribble down the recipe I used so I can recreate this later!

Winter warmth

Easy Pumpkin Soup
Makes about 2.5L of delicious goodness

1/2 butternut pumpkin, diced
2 carrots, sliced
2 russet potatoes, diced
300g silken tofu, diced
1/2 medium onion, finely diced
1 1/2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 reduced salt vegetable stock cube - or other stock of your choice. See note.
olive oil

Sweat the onions and garlic with a little olive oil in pot with at least 3.5L capacity. Once the onions have softened, add approximately 1.5-2L water (see note), the rest of the vegetables and the stock cube. Stir well, bring to the boil and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Once all vegetables are cooked, add the tofu. Return to the boil and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes. Allow to cool, then blend the soup using a blender or food processor until smooth.

Eat when you need something delicious.


I use a single stock cube that is meant to make 500mL of stock to 1.5L water in this recipe.

Gauge the amount of water depending on how thick you like your soup. Remember you can always add more water if the end result is too thick.

19 July, 2010

Ice cream of the amazing kind.

My friend Kris shared an amazing post on google reader.

The world's easiest ice cream recipe. No small claim!

I just have to say that I am sitting here eating a bowl of this ice cream and loving it. Delicious, easy and healthy. Sorry I can't say more, I have to go continue eating this stuff. Lucky there's a container full in the freezer.

15 July, 2010


I was going to write a very long post about Crustgate, but Warlach pretty much read my mind and posted what I was thinking. You can read Warlach's post here.

I was among the first responders to Crust's original tweet, a fact that got me quoted on mUmbrella - something I was quite surprised to see! (By the way, does that make me some sort of celebrity who is going to get free champagne and designer clothes? No? Ok then.)

I wasn't particularly offended by the tweet, but I was disappointed. The video had absolutely no link to their product. It was poorly made (were some of those so-called female drivers even women? You couldn't see) and there was no witty, thought provoking message. I honestly thought that as a brand, Crust was better than that.

In advertising - and these days that means any forum in which you are participating in using your company's name - you need to think your message through. It's obvious that in this instance it wasn't. It went from a promotional tweet to something totally inappropriate for the company's image.

Crust is to be commended on their swift handling and apology - it's the one part of this storm in a teacup that they handled really well. I'm still waiting on the call they promised that the PR company would give me though.

07 July, 2010

iPod Lotto: The First

I often get comments on the interesting mishmash of music I have on my iPod. To be perfectly honest, I listen to a wide variety of music and I like to have a variety available to me. This can lead to interesting (and sometimes downright weird) results when I play iPod Lotto.

What is iPod Lotto? It's my term for shuffle - I feel it describes the results I get more accurately.

I had monster drive home tonight - 1.5 hours thanks to traffic chaos. What's a girl to do? Crank up the music and indulge in a little iPod lotto. I hit the Gaga Jackpot tonight with three Gaga tracks in the mix and found what I got was great for keeping me (relatively) happy on the way home.

Here's what my iPod felt like playing tonight, in order:

Chicken Payback - The Bees
Hand that Feeds - Nine Inch Nails
Nine in the Afternoon - Panic! At the Disco
Root Down - The Beastie Boys
Unsent Letter - Machine Gun Fellatio
Ride On Time - Black Box
The Others - TV Rock vs Dukes of Windsor
Soup Kitchen - Eva Trout
Let It Be - The Beatles
Take Me Away - Lash
Teeth - Lady Gaga
Crazy Little Thing Called Love - Queen
Holy Groove - Yolanda Be Cool
Walking Away (Tocadisco remix) - The Egg
Hustler - Simian Mobile Disco
Intergalactic - The Beastie Boys
Reptiles - Them Crooked Vultures
Sly PI - Fatt Dex
Happy Up Here - Röyksopp
Get Down - Groove Armada
Selfless, Cold and Composed - Ben Folds Five
I Want I Want - Digitalism
Speechless - Lady Gaga
Again Again - Lady Gaga
Pure Massacre - silverchair
Semi Charmed Life - Third Eye Blind
Toxic - Mark Ronson feat. Tiggers