Live Sketchnoting: Female Founders Panel

Last night I visited digital-science.com space in King’s Cross for an event organised by London Geekettes.

5 female founders were invited and were happily bombarded with questions.

  1. Dr. Olga Kubassova, founder and CEO of Image Analysis
  2. Dr. Harveen Chugh, growth manager for government accelerator, the Sirius Programme
  3. Sinead Mac Manus, founder and CEO of Fluency
  4. Natalie Jonk, founder and CEO of Walacea
  5. Alex Hodgson via weblink, founder and CEO of 1DegreeBio

Almost all of the founders emphasized the fact that starting your own company should not be about the fast money; this concept is non-existent. Money will not be there (at least in the beginning!), people will come and go and the whole thing will take looots of time. The remaining bit is yourself and your belief in your product.

A lot of tips were shared – but there is no success recipe. Try hard, fail fast and learn 🙂

 

 

london geekettes

Top 5 ideas to get you in that Halloween/autumn mood

We are well inside autumn and Halloween is fast approaching. I know I hate it when I let a season pass by. Most of the times, it’s not because I didn’t have time but because I didn’t plan it out correctly. Therefore this time I am all organised and ready to go.

happy halloween

Here is my list of ideas I intend to do before November comes:

#1 Drink a cup of hot cocoa

When the sky is dark and gloomy, there is really nothing that screams comfort more than a cup of hot cocoa and a duvet. Read on for the simplest recipe of all:

Ingredients:

  • organic black chocolate
  • milk

Heat up the milk, slowly stirring in pieces of chocolate. Add sugar to taste and/or marshmallows!

hot cacao

 

#2 Carve a pumpkin

Halloween weekend approaches in less than 2 weeks. Now it’s a good time to pop to your nearest supermarket and get a big, nice pumpkin.

When carving, use a sharp knife and gather all the inside with a spoon while at it (plus the seeds – you’ ll see why!)

Then when you are all done, place a candle inside it. I haven’t managed to make mine not to smell after some time so I only leave the candle burning for a small period – I might try to wash it this year 🙂 It is awesome as decoration lit or not lit!

pumpkin

#3 Toast the seeds

All the previous years I felt bad about throwing away all the good stuff from inside.

Pumpkin makes awesome pie; I haven’t tried to make one myself yet but all the good mums in Greece will certify that!

What I did do last year is toast the seeds. It makes a tasty healthy snack (if you do not overdo it with salt).

Steps (for the full recipe follow the link to Simply Recipes below):

      1. Remove seeds with a spoon and a knife
      2. Make sure they are cleaned properly and rinsed with water and
      3. Boil them in salty water
      4. Finally place them in the oven

Here is my favourite recipe.

pumpkin seeds

#4 Walk in the park and jump in muddles and puddles

It is called autumn explosion. Parks are at their best this time of the year. You can see so many variations of colours on the leaves from deep red to orange and brown. Put on your wellies and get out there and play!

PS) Don’t forget to pick up your favourite leaves – I’ll tell you why in number #5!

red leaves

#5 Draw on leaves

After you get home from your walk, take your markers out and draw on some of the leaves you collected. Leaves are excellent canvas and based on their weird and different shapes, you can get very creative. See below for my last year’s attempt. This year I might try to turn them into a cute temporary bunting.

autumn leaves

If you have enjoyed this list, I have prepared a checklist you can download (right click and Save) so that you can check off each of this items as you do them.

autumn checklist

For more autumn ideas, check my sketchnote.

Happy autumn!

4 tips for healthy packed lunch boxes

lunch box

Lately I have become very food-aware. I think it is the fact that this is my last year into my 20s that has triggered this transition from midnight kebabs to packed lunchboxes.

Recently, it came to my attention that you can be too food-aware and reach the limits of orthorexia (by the way this is a greek word that means eating correctly). I am not there yet but I do feel really bad about my body and health when I have the random takeaway.

I try to eat my 5 a day without a miss every day. Lunch is an important part of my day. Even though I have a full-time job that is quite far from home (about an hour each way), I like to cook every night and then pack half the portion for next day’s lunch.

After an exhausting summer of running to the supermarket every evening, having food spills in my bag on a daily basis and carrying enormous bags with me every morning, I think I have finally reached a balance point so here are my best tips for you:

#1 Pick your lunch box carefully

I used to carry around an old plastic tupperware that I found in a random drawer and did not smell very badly. Well, I have changed my mind since then!

While googling cute lunchboxes so that I would not do the walk of shame every time I un-pack my lunchbox, I found out that my random tupperware had the potential of being really dangerous (some keywords to avoide: BPA, PETA, PVC).

But even if a plastic tupperware is BPA-free, it does not mean that the product is harmless. The researchers found that over 90 percent of the tested products – many of which were BPA-free – leached chemicals that can act as endocrine disruptors.

To the best of my knowledge there are two solutions: either glass or stainless steel. Now I know a pyrex may be a bit heavy for your everyday bag; that’s why I gravitated towards the idea of stainless steel tupperware.

The pros of a stainless steel solution mainly focus around it being safe (nothing contradicts it so far!) and relatively light-weight.

The cons are that they are more expensive than the average plastic option, there is limited variety and you need to look carefully for one that will not leak liquids (it will normally state this in the description). Also, you will hardly find any stainless steel boxes with multiple compartments that are leak free at the same time. I have heard very good things about Ecolunchbox-es (even though I have not tried them out myself yet!)

Finally, think again before you place a stainless steel box in the microwave. This means that if you want to warm up your lunch, you will need to transfer everything on a plate.

If you still insist on a plastic lunchbox, make sure it states clearly that it is free from as many of the afore-mentioned keywords as possible and potentially that it is FDA-approved.

#2 Cook a generous portion for dinner and pack half for your lunch

Self-explanatory and you are probably already doing this! The important bit here is to have everything ready (including all your snacks: nuts, fruit, yoghurt) so that there is minimum effort in the morning.

#3 Research your work environment

Is there a microwave? Can you borrow plates, forks, knives? If not you probably need to carry those as well. If there is no microwave, your recipes will be influenced. Below you will find recipes for both cases.

#4 Favourite lunchbox ideas

I have a microwave!

  • frittata with veggies
  • chicken and brussel sprouts
  •  salmon and broccoli

I don’t have a microwave!

  • celery,carrot sticks, radish, tomatoes with home-made guacamole as a side dip
  • greek salad
  • green beans with soya sauce

world vegetarian day

Live Sketchnoting: Learning Security, the Hard Way!

Today I visited Mozilla offices in Central London for a Ladies Who Code event. Marielle Volz spoke about security in the web: common mistakes, threats out there and some ways out of the tunnel.

A few months after the JP Morgan attack, security on the web has been and always will be a topic under discussion. Dilemmas always arise: fast solutions or a defence line that resists brute-force attacks?

Slides will be up soon. In the meantime I did take away a bit of paper with some notes jotted down (and a power bar – thanks Mozilla 🙂

ps) Marielle Volz is the recipient of a Node Security Scholarship in partnership with Ladies Who Code and YLD. Information below comes from Matt and Lift Security

security the hard way notes

Back to my sketchnoting, I used a ‘fusion’ technique: half on paper / half edited digitally. I think it works best for me so far as it allows me to be quite creative with sketches but I am also able to change things around in my notes

Weekend Breaks from London: Bristol and Bath

I spent one of the most relaxing weekends of my  life in the UK in Bristol and Bath so I totally recommend it! We stayed in Bristol and made a day-trip to Bath – including an obligatory stop at Thermae Bath Spa (more on this below!)

todo bath bristol

Here is what to do:

 

Things to do in Bristol

 

1. Clifton Suspension Bridge: enjoy the views!

20140927_144929

We walked from the center to Bristol all the way to the bridge. It’s not more than half hour and I recommend that as you go through Clifton village which is one of the most picturesque areas in Bristol (and best brunch spot as well!!)

2. Spot a hot air balloon (we spotted ours in Bath but the whole area is full of them!)

Ideally, if you are not accompanied by someone with fear of heights (ahem!), you will like to actually get in one 🙂

hot air balloon

3. Follow Banksy around and enjoy Bristol’s street art scene

My sketch is misleading as you will not actually see the ‘girl with the heart balloon’ in Bristol. Instead you will see this one:

banksy

 

There are loads of maps out there. Be careful because most of Banksy’s graffiti have either been moved or drawn-over and some of those trails are out of date!

However, Bristol has a proud street art-scene and the first ex-toilet art gallery:

ex toilet art

4. Walk along the harbour and have a glass of wine

bristol harbour

 

Things to do in Bath

On Sunday, we got on the train to Bath. I have been meaning to visit Bath for over 2 years now – ever since I discovered it is protected by Unesco and part of the World Heritage List (any other list freaks out there?)

 

time for spa

1. Thermae Bath Spa

We had a massage and then a 2-hour spa session (if you have a massage, you get complimentary robe and slippers so no need to carry your own). I loved it! Unfortunately, pictures were not allowed but I have linked the site and you can see for yourselves.

Prices might seem a bit steep but if you break it down you will see that it is probably much cheaper than a London equivalent.

2. Visit the Royal Crescent

This is a massive half-circle building that my camera pictures did not do justice, therefore there is no picture 🙂

3. Have lunch at Sally Lunn’s

If you are a Foursquare fan, you will realise Bath is ideal for some afternoon tea (especially if you have a spa in the morning and feel all dehydrated!). There are lots of pretty places. We picked Sally Lunn’s because it is so old and I am addicted to old historic buildings.

Lunch was very nice. However – and I am sorry for that- I don’t think that the famous bun is so extraordinary. 


Tips
a. Staying in Bristol will probably work out to be cheaper. There are trains every half hour to Bath, journey lasts about 12 minutes and the fare costs around ÂŁ7 (return!)

b. You can avoid spending money out by copying the locals and having picnics around Clifton Suspension bridge or the harbour!

Do your research: I found lots of information on Visit Bristol and Visit Bath.

Ideal for: couple’s retreat, hen party

Live Sketchnoting: The future of news

Today I felt like Lois Lane; a journalist in my own superhero lovestory – all thanks to Girls in Tech London who arranged a super event in the guardian HQ!

Following my first attempt at live sketchnoting, I tried my luck again at taking visual notes while listening to Olivia Solon (Technology editor at Daily Mirror) interviewing Tanya Cordrey (Director of digital development at Guardian).

Tanya talked about the digital transformation at Guardian during the past 3 years. She touched on topics such as the importance of data in the editorial world, open journalism and frictionless sharing.

She also mentioned the unfortunate sacrifices that are part of the game when you undertake such a big exercise such as transforming a media house like Guardian.

My favourite saying from the talk was: ‘Twitter is a tech company that does news. Guardian can be a news company that does tech’

olivia solon tanya cordrey

Sketchnoting 101: Doodling the doodler!

After 3 weeks of doodle practicing, it was time to cross off another item in my how-to-become-a-doodler list: live sketching.

Live sketching is the process of capturing  visual notes during a talk or a conference. It can be on paper or digital and it is demanding because it requires concentration, capturing the essence and quick designs.

Since Natalia  was one of the first people I discovered when I started researching sketchnoting, I was excited to meet her in person during tonight’s event organised by W Kollective.

Resist the Usual: The art and science of creative communication

Natalia talked about the start of her career (through a visual roadmap which was awesome!). Coming from Greece and living in UK, this was my favourite part as I found a lot of similarities in her first steps with my first steps (though sometimes I feel as if I am still in that phase – nevermind!)

Natalia then spoke about the importance of visuals when getting someone’s attention and getting your message across. One tip I have kept is to try and include more visuals in my client comms (of course using your judgement!) – sometimes this results in balancing out an awkward atmosphere.

As I had a stab at live sketching today – I will let my sketchnote describe the rest 🙂

 

natalia designs

Tips

a. It helps to prepare some introductory information in advance. So yeah, even though this might be contradicting the term: live sketching, it does actually help. In my case, I prepared the title, the date and the organiser’s info before I visited the venue.

b. Digital sketching might be more convenient as it accomodates errors easier -well ya know.. you are human and prone to errors, speakers are also prone to it so not having to start over when this happens definitely helps (didn’t happen tonight but it is something that Natalia spoke about)