Elentone Singers Christmas Concert – 15th December – Cox Green School, Maidenhead


The Elentone Singers will be holding their Christmas concert on Thursday, 15th December, at Cox Green School, Maidenhead. The concert, which starts at 8pm, will feature a varied programme of seasonal music from around the world, traditional carols and mulled wine, and proceeds will benefit the Alexander Devine Children’s Hospice.

Choir director, Lyn Thomson, explains this year’s choice of charity saying, “We were delighted to discover that Alexander Devine Children’s Hospice, a much-needed facility for families throughout Berkshire, will be built a very short distance from our base at Cox Green School. When they heard that the charity had won planning permission for the building, choir members were keen to help out in any way they could.”

The choir welcomes members of all abilities, there are no auditions, no waiting lists and fees are just £40 per term. Lyn, who also teaches music to 0 to 11-year-olds, adds, “We’ve had people coming to us claiming to be tone deaf who were singing in tune within a short space of time. My aim is to help each one of our members to be the very best they can be – and it’s huge fun too.”

People who are interested in joining are invited to attend the concert, see what the choir is all about and then come along for a free trial session when rehearsals resume in January.

The concert will be held in the theatre of Cox Green School on Thursday, 15th December, from 8pm. Tickets are £5 on the door, or from members of the choir.


01628 622651


Social Networking Pioneer and Ecademy Founder, Penny Power, to Headline Thames Valley’s International Women’s Day Centenary Celebration

[tweetmeme source= “catherineosborn” only_single=false]PRESS RELEASE

Social Networking Pioneer and Ecademy Founder, Penny Power, to Headline Thames Valley’s International Women’s Day Centenary Celebration

Monday 7 March 2011, 18:00-20:00 HSBC, Green Park, Reading 

Success Network, in partnership with the Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce Group and HSBC, is inviting business women to attend a champagne reception on Monday 7th March 2011 at 6pm in Reading to celebrate 100 years of International Women’s Day.  The keynote speaker will be Penny Power, the inspirational author, entrepreneur and business speaker who founded Ecademy with her husband in 1998.

Fittingly, one hundred women are expected to attend this popular annual networking event, now in its sixth year and the theme for this special celebration will be networking – social networking in particular.  According to a survey carried out by Forbes.com last year, over 60% of women-led SMEs use no social networking whatsoever for business, revealing an area with huge potential for growth.

Ute Wieczorek-King who runs Success Network says, “Many women business owners that I talk to are aware of the benefits of social networking but are not quite sure where to start. I am, therefore, delighted to welcome social networking guru, Penny Power to our IWD centenary celebration. There is simply no one better than Penny to inspire women to join in the social media buzz that will be so beneficial to their businesses in 2011.”

In the past year, Success Network has led the way in encouraging female business owners to tap into the power of social media.  With more initiatives planned for 2011, the organisation plans to help even more Thames Valley businesswomen realise the benefits of using social networking as a tool for business growth. 

Ginette Gower, Head of Communications, Thames Valley Chamber comments; “We are delighted once again to support this inspirational business event. We look forward to welcoming ladies who would like to make connections with other like-minded businesses, as well as learning from Penny’s experiences.”

The event starts at 6pm and includes a glass of champagne and finger food. Tickets cost £25+VAT and can be booked via. http://www.thamesvalleychamber.co.uk/event/44378 or by calling 01753 870500.

The event will benefit two local women’s charities: Utilivu women’s group in Reading and The Parapet Breast Unit Charitable Trust in Windsor.


Notes to editors

About Success Network:

The Success Network is a business support community which runs training and mutual support programmes for women members across the Thames Valley. Members work in all sectors, both as business owners and as employed professionals. www.successnetwork.org.uk

About International Women’s Day:

This event has been celebrated annually for a century. The day unites thousands of women all across the world in a global celebration of the economic, political and social achievements of women. 2011 is Success Network’s sixth International Women’s Day celebration.

About Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce

Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce Group works with businesses across Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Wiltshire to help them achieve their full business potential through: meeting new customers; cutting costs; developing their workforce; influencing local decision makers; and arming them with business intelligence. Membership is available to all businesses.

Maidenhead Advertiser Business Monthly, February 24th. 2011

Music Matters, it Really Does!

Maidenhead Advertiser ArticleI’m delighted that this PR was picked up by Maidenhead Advertiser, who sent a photographer and gave the event a lovely write-up.  And, as a result of the Advertiser article, BBC Berkshire will be interviewing Lyn live on 7th February!  To find out more, please check out the article on Lyn’s website

[tweetmeme source= “catherineosborn” only_single=false]Music Matters, the highly popular music class for 0-11 year olds, is celebrating its 10th birthday this week and to mark the occasion, pupils have decided to don fancy dress to raise money for Rosie’s Rainbow Fund, a local charity that provides support to sick children and their families.  The charity is particularly special to Music Matters as it counts founder Carolyn Mayling’s son amongst its attendees and another of its pupils benefited from music therapy provided by the charity when he was in intensive care as a baby.

Established in January 2001 by qualified music teacher, Lyn Thomson, Music Matters’ aim was to give as many children as possible a good start in music. Since then, hundreds of children have improved not only their musical skills but their speech and language too.

Lyn says, “As well as being a music teacher I am also a qualified teacher of English as an Additional Language and am particularly interested in the direct connection between learning music and developing language and literacy.  Research shows that children who have a good music education from a young age have a huge advantage over their peers when they start school as learning music helps all areas of development – physical, social, emotional and intellectual – and this is what motivated me to start working with very young children.”

Feedback from parents shows that Lyn has succeeded in her aim.  She recalls one 4-year-old from a dual language home who had very limited speech.  By the end of the first lesson, she was singing songs and after two terms, she was speaking confidently.   Other parents report that people are often taken aback by their children’s precocious language skills.  It’s not just the children that benefit either, parents who thought they were tone deaf have found their voices after a term or two with Lyn.

Lyn’s most recent venture was to launch the Elentone Singers, a choir for adults that meets for two hours every Thursday evening at Cox Green school.  The original singers were parents and grandparents of Music Matters pupils but the choir is now recruiting members throughout the community.  No musical experience is required to join the choir and there are no auditions or waiting lists.

To find out more, please visit www.lynsmusicmatters.co.uk, elentonesingers.wordpress.com or contact Lyn on 01628 622651

Rosie’s Rainbow Fund – www.rosiesrainbowfund.co.uk

A Simple Backup Routine for Freelancers and Micro-Businesses

[tweetmeme source= “catherineosborn” only_single=false]There’s nothing that strikes fear into the heart of a freelancer quite like that ominous clunk of a hard drive that’s decided it has had enough of this world.  And all the while we have hard drives with moving parts, it’s not a problem that’s going to leave us.

Six months ago, I replaced my desktop PC and, not long afterwards, my external hard drive.  Thank goodness for regular backups and a pair of hard drives that decided to die two months apart and not in a suicide pact.  I have, however, since updated my backup regime to cope with such an eventuality, a good thing too as my 6-month-old PC sounds as though it may need to go back to the manufacturers.

There is no fail-safe method for protecting your data but you will save yourself a lot of pain if you back up your data every day that it changes and to a separate physical device from the one where it normally resides.

To minimise the impact of a catastrophic failure without breaking the bank:

1. Purchase an external hard drive (external HDD).  Buy the biggest size that you can afford, even bigger than the storage space on your PC – you may upgrade your PC or at least its hard drive before you know it!  I own this one and it is under £50 now, with free delivery.

2. DON’T start copying things randomly.  Go to this fantastic website and download the Freeware version of Syncback – if you love it, as I’m sure you will, you can always make a donation or upgrade to one of the paid versions of the software.

3. Install Syncback and start creating profiles to copy your data to the hard drive, starting with ‘My Documents’.  Set it up to back up at the same time every day, preferably when you have finished working and when your PC and hard drive are still switched on and connected to each other.

Don’t forget to look out for data files that may be hiding on your C: drive – search for Outlook and Windows Live Mail files, for example, and then create a new profile to back up the parent folder to your hard drive.

You now have a daily back-up routine!

4. Consider backing up your files to a second hard drive for extra security, perhaps on a weekly basis.  Or even look at online services – that way, your data will even be safe if your house burns down or is burgled!  I am currently using the 2Gb of free disk space provided by Dropbox and I’ve just signed up for a free trial with Mozy.

If you’re unconvinced of the benefits of online back-up, why not check out Mozy’s cautionary tale of two air crash survivors?![tweetmeme source= “catherineosborn” only_single=false]

Announcing a New Blogsite – Music Matters

[tweetmeme source= “catherineosborn” only_single=false]I’ve been working with Lyn Thomson on her new blogsite/website and we’re both really pleased with the result!  I can’t claim responsibility for the excellent copy this time as the words are all hers, but I did put together the blogsite and the entry page.  The entry page will help her to maintain her current search engine rankings while the blog works its way up.

Please take a look and let me know what you think.  And if you live in Berkshire/Buckinghamshire and have children under 11, you should definitely check it out.  Lyn has been teaching my two since birth and I am delighted with the progress they are making!

Early Years Playgroup Opens in Sale

[tweetmeme source= “catherineosborn” only_single=false]Piglets is a brand new playgroup for children aged 2-5 and its doors will be open on Saturday 21st August from 10.30a.m. to 2.30p.m. for families to see what the group has to offer.
Run by experienced nursery nurse and mum-of-four, Sarah Austin, the group will be operated within the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) and is approved by Ofsted.

Sarah says, “I’ve searched long and hard for the perfect venue for this playgroup and I know I’ve found it.  We have a safe and secure indoor environment for pre-schoolers and a fantastic outdoor play area.  Our goal is to provide children with a solid foundation for nursery and school and we can’t wait to get started!”

Piglets will run for ten sessions each week, 9:00 – 11:30 and 12:30 – 15:00 and lunchtime provision is offered.  There will also be a pick-up and drop-off service for children who are attending Lime Tree Primary School on a half-day basis.

[tweetmeme source= “catherineosborn” only_single=false]Parents who wish to find out more are invited to visit the playgroup at 9th Sale Scout Hut, Budworth Road, Sale, M33 2RP, on Saturday 21st August, from 10.30a.m. to 2.30p.m.  Sarah may also be contacted on 07519 974978, sarah@pigletsplaygroup.co.uk, or http://www.pigletsplaygroup.co.uk.

Piglets' leaflet, artwork by http://www.actualadmin.co.uk

The Rise of the Freelancer – 5 Reasons to Hire One and 5 More to be One

[tweetmeme source= “catherineosborn” only_single=false]Tough times often result in tough decisions and if you have ever been called in to see your boss and watched him or her squirming uncomfortably and using words like “consultation”, “at risk” and “best of luck”, then you belong to a growing army of experienced and valuable workers whose skills are “no longer required.” 

Or are they?

How many of us offer ourselves straight back to our former employers?  You may think you’re the last person they want on the team but it’s not necessarily the case.

How often have you had to let valuable members of staff go and wished you could have them back, if only for a few hours a week?

I found out almost by accident that my last two employers had work for me when I asked them for references and happened to mention that I was thinking of freelancing and they went on to become my first two clients.

Five Reasons to Hire a Freelancer

  1. Make savings without compromising the high standards your clients have come to expect.
  2. Gain immediate control of your finances by hiring people only when you need them.  Some freelancers will be willing to work without a weekly minimum number of hours because they know it will encourage repeat business – I’m one of them.
    Note: This is not the same as taking someone back as contractor – a practice that will invariably cost you a small fortune and could land you in trouble with HM Customs and Revenue!
  3. Benefit from an increase in productivity and quality – your freelancer values repeat business and will make every hour count.
  4. Relax, knowing that you can end the arrangement whenever you like and without causing offence – a good freelancer will know that it’s just business.
  5. Focus on doing what you do best.

Five Reasons to be a Freelancer

  1. Be your own boss – a particular boon if you don’t enjoy office politics.
  2. Work flexible hours and achieve work-life balance without feeling guilty.
  3. Choose your clients – you’ll be happy and they will as well, knowing that you really want to work for them.
  4. Enjoy every minute that you are working knowing that you don’t have to accept projects that don’t interest you.
  5. Focus on doing what you do best.

Can Anyone be a Freelancer?

No, but if you enjoy variety and can accept some uncertainty, it could be the best move you ever made!

Add to DeliciousAdd to DiggAdd to FaceBookAdd to Google BookmarkAdd to RedditAdd to StumbleUponAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Twitter[tweetmeme source= “catherineosborn” only_single=false]

How to Add a Retweet Button to your WordPress.com Blog

[tweetmeme source= “catherineosborn” only_single=false]NOTE: These tips only work for WordPress.com blogs, not WordPress.org.  Watch this space for the WordPress.org solution!

WordPress.com offers a really simple method to add a retweet button to your posts.  This will enable your blog visitors to share your posts on Twitter.  Simply add the following text to your post (visual or HTML tab, it doesn’t matter), wherever you want the button to appear.

[tweetmeme source= "<Your Twitter username>" only_single=false]

Replace the text in red with your own username but keep the quotation marks.  By default, the button will be right-justified.

Add to DeliciousAdd to DiggAdd to FaceBookAdd to Google BookmarkAdd to RedditAdd to StumbleUponAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Twitter

You Know You’re a Mum When…

This post has moved!  You can now find it on my personal blog, catherinemosborn.wordpress.com.

New Blog Site – Culinary Capers

[tweetmeme source= “catherineosborn” only_single=false] I’ve just launched a brand new blog, Culinary Capers for the Suddenly Single, for people who find themselves alone, for whatever reason, and are not quite sure what to do in the kitchen!  It is inspired by my lovely dad, who has coped so amazingly since losing Mum earlier this year.

I want to keep this blog updated at least twice a week so I’m relying on all you lovely people to keep it updated with recipes, stories and ideas.  Please do take a look and, if you like what you see, sign up via the subscribe button on the top right and pass the word on to your friends!

Thank you.