A tour of the British Isles in accents

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I’m British in case you hadn’t noticed. But I live in Canada.

This combination means I’m ALWAYS asked about my accent. Canadians are fascinated by my voice.

I was born and bred in London, England. Bromley is my home town (and why I was always so excited about the Bromley Contingent).

My accent isn’t by any means cockney (something most people think of when they think of someone from London).

I’m from the suburbs.

When I was 10, our family moved to the Cotswolds. Cheltenham to be be exact which is where my parents now live.

In my early twenties I moved back to London where I stayed until moving to Canada 10 years ago.

So I don’t sound like a Londoner. Nor do I have a West Country accent. And I certainly don’t sound Canadian.

Many Canadians tell me they can’t distinguish between accents in the UK.

Let me help you with assistance from this wonderful short video I recently found.

UPDATE: 10 minutes after writing this post I was outside and ended up speaking to an older Canadian woman who asked, “Australian?” I told her I was English. “South, right?” Yes I said. “Kent?” Bang on! She had lived in England for 25 years and was annoyed that she didn’t guess right the first time. I told her she redeemed herself by guessing my home county correctly!

Official news release about Saturday’s MBlog conference in Winnipeg

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I already wrote my own little blurb about the Manitoba blogging conference this weekend, MBlog, but here’s the official news release with full details about this Saturday’s event.

• • •

Finding Your Voice: MBlog 2014

Hundreds of blogging conferences take place around the world every year. Now there is an opportunity for Manitoba bloggers to connect, learn and be inspired right here at home to write the best posts of their lives.

Content marketing and ongoing social media presence have become absolute requirements for most businesses.

MBlog 2014 on January 31 and February 1 is a workshopping, networking and blogging event that has been designed to help bloggers find their voices and claim their niches.

Hitting the right note in communications with your audience, clients and stakeholders can take years of practice.

This year’s conference brings together an international array of expert and insightful speakers who will share lessons to help local bloggers reach the perfect pitch a little more easily.

In its second year, MBlog 2014 will be valuable for seasoned and novice writers alike. From lifestyle, culture and political rants to business bloggers looking to gif-up their corporate communications, there is a workshop topic for everyone.

MBlog 2014 presents the experiences of local bloggers Ian McCausland, Kenton Larsen, Liz Hover, Heidi Reimer-Epp, Kyla Roma and Alyson Shane as well as the insight and expertise of Canadian bloggers Elan Morgan and Jaeny Baik and US writers Cynthia Sanchez and Jenny Lawson.

In just a few years, it’s expected that 90% of online data will be video. Many Manitobans will remember Jaeny Baik as the TV host of Living Winnipeg on CBC.

She will use her experience in front of the camera in an interactive session to show participants how easy it is to get over their nerves and create polished and relevant vlogs. All you need is your cell phone or tablet to be a star!

Jenny Lawson will sit down for an intimate chat with Liz Hover to talk about inspiration, content and voice.

A columnist, blogger and #1 New York Times best-selling author, Lawson’s personal blog ‘The Bloggess’ averages millions of page views each month and she’s been featured on Gawker, Salon.com, Mashable, Babble, The London Times, Washington Post, People, O Magazine, CNN, Time Magazine and The Today Show.

Her first book, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir), spent more than six months on the NYT best-seller list.

It’s important to remember that putting information on the web can lead to ownership and copyright issues.

Nationally recognized leader in privacy, access to information and social media law, Winnipeg lawyer Brian Bowman, will speak about issues related to online content.

MBlog 2014 is a co-production of New Media Manitoba (NMM) and the Women’s Enterprise Centre of Manitoba (WECM).

With a goal of engaging more women in the new media industry in Manitoba, NMM saw a blogging conference as a natural fit because of its accessible technology and tradition of female participation.

WECM saw a blogging conference as a way to assist women entrepreneurs create awareness and grow their businesses.

According to Sandra Altner, CEO of the Women’s Enterprise Centre of Manitoba, “We are excited about this year’s event. We have assembled a roster of speakers who will provide relevant and practical information to all bloggers regardless of their interests and objectives.

We work directly with hundreds of women entrepreneurs in Manitoba and MBlog 2014 is another way to add greater dimension to their business skills to develop a competitive edge.

In this age of technology, promoting a business requires entrepreneurs to interact with their market and build a community – blogging is an excellent tool for that.”

While there are proportionately more women bloggers, MBlog 2014 is not just for women. Kevin Hnatiuk, Executive Director of New Media Manitoba noted, “Fostering innovation, providing opportunities for people to make connections, and enhancing knowledge are goals of New Media Manitoba.

Blogging is an incredibly effective communications tool that can be used to create awareness and build business. It is a tool that we encourage more people to adopt and learn to use strategically and effectively.”


– January 31, 2014 // Networking Reception at The Fort Garry // 5 p.m. to to 7:30 p.m.

– February 1, 2014 // Conference Day at Convocation Hall, U of W // 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

– Tickets: Full Conference Package $159 (includes networking reception and conference).

For more information: Alison Kirkland, Director, Communications and Client Services, Women’s Enterprise Centre of Manitoba, (204) 988-1865 or 1-800-203-2343 or (204) 290-2275, [email protected]

Interviews with speakers can be arranged.

Read this book: Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir)

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Let's-Pretend-This-Never-Happened (A-Mostly-True-Memoir)

In preparation for the upcoming Manitoba blogging conference – MBlog, which I’ll be emceeing – I recently read Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir) by the brilliant Jenny Lawson, AKA The Bloggess.

I’ll be chatting with Jenny in one of the conference sessions. She’s this year’s keynote speaker but we’re doing a ‘conversation with’ style session.

If you haven’t read her book, READ IT NOW.

It’s one of the most hilarious books I’ve ever read.

It made me cry-laugh uncontrollably in my living room to the point I almost couldn’t breathe. I had to stifle my hysterics on the bus so I didn’t look like one of those people who seem to be talking to themselves and scare other passengers.

Jenny’s stuffed mouse Hamlet von Schnitzel (featured on the book cover) and baby alligator Jean-Louis both deserve a mention. Never has taxidermy been so funny.

I admit I’m a bit late to the party on this one.

The book has been out since 2012 (and was a New York Times #1 bestseller) and Jenny has been blogging since FOREVER.

Such is the enormity of the interwebs, we can’t always be aware of every brilliant blog or writer.

I’m just happy that our paths have finally crossed.

• • •

Check out the MBlog conference which takes place on January 31 in Winnipeg. The whole shebang costs $159 + GST.

I’m moderating Manitoba’s blogging conference this month

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Manitoba’s blogging conference – MBlog – is back for a second year at the end of this month and I’ll be moderating/emceeing the day.

The conference begins with a networking reception on the evening of Friday, January 31 at The Fort Garry Hotel (Winnipeg, Canada).

I went to the reception last year and it was a super friendly, informal do. We spoke to other bloggers and the expert folks in town for the conference (last year’s keynote speaker was the brilliant Catherine Connors, editor in chief of Disney Interactive Family and author of Her Bad Mother. This year it’s the equally brilliant Jenny Lawson, AKA The Bloggess).

In fact, I get to sit down with Jenny and have a cosy chat for ‘A Conversation With …’ bit of the conference afternoon the following day. I’m currently reading Jenny’s HILARIOUS book Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir).

The conference-proper happens on Saturday, February 1 at Convocation Hall at the University of Winnipeg.

The speaker lineup includes writer, iPhonographer and inventor of the Canadian Weblog Awards Elan Morgan (AKA Schmutzie.com a blogger I sincerely respect); Pinterest expert Cynthia Sanchez; Jaeny Baik; along with Kyla Roma, Heidi Reimer-Epp, Ian McCausland, and Brian Bowman.

The whole shebang costs $129 + GST if you register before the early bird deadline on January 10, 2014. After that, it’s $159 + GST.

Jenny Lawson’s about page should be enough to make you want to come to the conference. I quote:

I wrote for the Houston Chronicle, but I needed an uncensored space to say the f-word and talk about ninjas so I started this blog.  I tweet a lot.  Also, I can balance live cats on my head but no one will pay me for it.  Yet. My book (Let’s Pretend This Never Happened) debuted at #1 on the NYT best-seller list. I assure you, no one is more surprised about this than me.

Speaker topics include: anatomy of great content; common sense advice for bloggers; Pinterest strategies for traffic and engagement; blog design; blogging for business; online content and the law; and how not to look nervous on video.