Bonbini Moving Madness~

October 31, 2011

So this week has been CRAZY hectic! We've just moved into our new apartment in Amsterdam! Here I am with Dominique and Marije (More on these lovable Dutch medic students later...) after no more than 3 hours sleep followed by an entire day of lugging furniture around. Our apartment is called "Bonbini" which means "Welcome" in Papiamento, the creole language of Aruba where I used to live. I've not even touched a computer for the weekend and I'm hoping to have internet sorted out by the end of the week...Stay tuned :) Exciting times ahead!



The UN has pinpointed today, October 31st, 2011 as the day on which the world's population 'officially' reaches 7 billion people. The BBC has a fun application which commemorates this milestone in which you can work out what your personal number is. Apparently when I was born, I was the 5,073,149,636th person alive on Earth and the 80,017,084,400th person to have lived since history began. Crazy huh? It's difficult for anyone to conceptualise these numbers!

As the video goes on to explain though, the thing we should be trying to conceptualise is not literally the amount of space we are taking up as humans but rather, what kind of world is the seven billionth baby being born into?


UnDutchable: Hallo, who?

The true meaning of Halloween is far removed from the commercial event which takes place annually around the world. 

Irish immigrants carried versions of Halloween to North America in the nineteenth century while other western countries embraced the holiday in the late twentieth century.Traditionally, the festival was a time used by the ancient pagans to take stock of supplies and slaughter livestock for winter stores. 

The ancient Gaels believed that, on October 31, the boundary between the alive and the deceased dissolved and the dead become dangerous for the living by causing problems such as sickness or damaged crops. 

The festivals would frequently involve bonfires, into which bones of slaughtered livestock were thrown. Costumes and masks were also worn at the festivals in an attempt to mimic the evil spirits or placate them. 

Halloween has its origins in the ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain which is a celebration of the end of the harvest season in Gaelic culture, and is sometimes regarded as the Celtic new year. While trick-or-treating resembles the late medieval practice of 'souling', when poor folk would go door to door on Hallowmas, receiving food in return for prayers for the dead on All Souls Day.

I usually get more excited about Halloween than Christmas, I absolutely LOVE a costume! However, here in Holland Halloween is not celebrated at all, rather, they celebrate St.Martyr in November. International students still got together to throw a party thankfully, so we could dress up in a silly costume over the weekend! But the Dutch don't fuss about it nearly as much as we do at home or across the pond and there's not a spider web, ghost or pumpkin in sight. 

Here are a few of my favourite costumes over the years! (not just for Halloween...we find any excuse to dress up!)

Scooby Doo & the Gang 2003

Call on Me Haloween 2009

Baywatch at Rugby Sevens in London

Cirque De Soleil Charity Event

My Tutti Frutti Tutu Tastic Birthday

California Gurlz & Snoop Dog

Mad Hatter's Tea Party

H.M.S Jenna Charity Event 2010

3 Blonde Mice Haloween 2004

Haloween 2011 - Hippie Protester & a blood sucking banker representing the 1% - Occupy Amsterdam

"The creative adult is a child who survived" - Ursula LeGuin


No Facebook without the Dutch

October 28, 2011
This is a brilliant social media campaign by the Dutch Maritime Museum here in Amsterdam. This video made Mark Zuckerberg himself chuckle and his sister Randi mentioned it during her keynote speech at the iStrategy conference: "If you haven't seen this already, have a look, this video is a great example of viral!"  It boosted the Maritime Museum's popularity immensely before it re opened and there were queues of people outside on the big day. Another iStrategy contestant, Carlos Virreira, did a great case study on the success of this campaign, have a peek here.
(Stay tuned for my post on the iStrategy conference, SO much to say on that!)

Occupy Amsterdam

October 27, 2011
I went and had a peek at the campsite of Occupy Amsterdam, which is happening in the heart of the city in Beursplein. None of the sentiments expressed below are my own, I just thought it was interesting to show the different opinions all being grouped together under one umbrella. When one camper saw me with my camera, he walked towards me and started to unzip his trousers. "I can pee on a sign for you if you'd like, it will make a good photo." Hmmm....though I was tempted.


Wednesday's Window to the World : Leiden, The Netherlands

October 26, 2011
The view from my window in my little historic square of Leiden, the Netherlands. You can make out #5 which is the Latin School where Rembrandt studied while enrolled here at Leiden University... and of course, you can't miss the 600 year old church. The building on the right is part of the old "Gerecht" (Court of Law) in the City Center of Leiden. What you can't see is the courtyard directly between us where they used to perform the public hangings to deter other criminals!
- Luke DeFreitas (2011)

Who needs a business card, anyway?

October 25, 2011
This post was re created for the iStrategy conference I'm attending in Amsterdam this week, as an alternative to a business card. I'm still a student and a business card just didn't quite feel right. I'm creating a QR code out of this post link and offering that to people if they ask for my contact details. That way they can scan the code and they'll be taken directly to this page.

And here's my LinkedIn Profile:

 If you need any more details feel free to either comment on this post, email me at maloumorgan (at) gmail (dot) com, add me on LinkedIn or give me a shout on Twitter!


ps: Here's the QR code incase you didn't know what I was talking about. Scan it with your phone and see if it works!:)

Tickled Pink

October 24, 2011
So unless you've been hiding under a rock, I'm assuming you are aware that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Little hints of pink remind us that this is a disease which is likely to affect someone you know personally; mum, grandmum, sister, neighbour, friend....I know a few people who are currently battling breast cancer and it's truly inspiring to see how strong women are. Most people take on the attitude that something like cancer won't happen to them and when it comes to health, we often look at all the wrong things.
  Prevention is key in the fight against this disease and I picked a few creative yet controversial ads from around the world which promote early screening, regular breast checks and general awareness.
Good advertising has a way of showing you a new perspective.
Breast Bug - Mozambique
Beat Cancer - Dubai
Body art for Breast Cancer Awareness - Singapore
Henry Golding Self Familiarisation - Malaysia
Cancer crusade - Mexico


A day without laughter...

October 23, 2011


How do you judge a book?

October 22, 2011

Such an awesome ad for Dermablend Pro. Rick Genest, a.k.a 'Zombie Boy' is totally tattooed from the waist up. He rose to stardom after he was featured in Lady GaGa's video "Born this way" (Even though he wasn't...) 

 This ad was totally not what I expected! 


Fabulous Friday!

October 21, 2011
So today I woke up to an amazing email telling me I'd won two tickets to the iStrategy conference next week! EEEEEK! Best Friday feeling.
I had promised my friend Kat that I'd be taking her as my +1 if I won. I had a few reasons for asking her: 

a.) She's the one who prompted them to offer free tickets in the first place with her Tweet (mentioned here.) and she pushed me to enter myself,
b.) Kat recently started her own social media consultancy company, Velvet Consulting Prague, so this lady means business!
c.) We laugh a lot together and what's the point of attending something as high profile as the iStrategy conference if you don't have another student with you to oggle at the sheer awesomeness of it all?
Here are some of the people I'm hoping I'll get the chance to see, (it's sort of like the 'Hollywood' for media junkies & techies):

 That said, I should probably print out some business cards of some sort. And figure out what I'm going to wear...

 Thanks Ross, Thomas & the iStrategy team for giving us poor students a chance to attend something like this.

Check out the iStrategy page and see if they can offer something similar to students at the conferences in San Francisco and Sydney! 


Sweet Tweet

October 20, 2011
This week I entered a blog competition with iStrategy, a bi-annual global digital media conference which is being held here in Amsterdam. Aside from having amazing guest speakers such as Randi Zuckerburg (Facebook) and Jimmy Wales (Wikipedia) the conference will be offering workshops and general strategy advice regarding digital media. All sounds wildly exciting except that this conference is usually for senior business executives and each ticket costs £950! Ouch.

My friend Katerina Tweeted them directly asking them to offer free tickets to media students in Amsterdam to which they swiftly (and cleverly) responded. Gotta love the internet.

They've hosted a competition offering two tickets for the entrant + a friend. To win this coveted prize entrants had to write a 500-word blog/case study on a creative and absorbing social media campaign launched in the last 12 months.
And guess what? My entry made it into the final 4!
We find out tomorrow who the winner is! Fingers crossed....

Here's my blurb on the iStrategy website, discussing the success of Ben & Jerry's "Fair Tweets" campaign. Make sure to check out the other finalists Katerina, Oliver & Carlos!

Wish me luck! Though the case studies are all really interesting, I didn't quite realise what I was up against and I think mine may be a bit too simple! 
It will be fun to see how they choose the winner and I loved reading the other case studies :) (I'll be discussing "How there would be no Facebook without the Dutch" a bit further in another post!)


Sick blog~

October 19, 2011
 My poor little blog has been sick these last few weeks! 
I apologise to those who used to get my posts directly to your inbox, I have a problem with FeedBurner which is in the process of being resolved. I'll let you know once I've got that up and running again! Nothing a geek can't handle.... Bare with me :) 
You can use Google Reader, Bloglovin' or Blogger Dashboard to view new posts, as well as following me on Twitter
In the mean time here's some juice from one of my heroes


Wednesday's Window to the World : Swansea, Wales

My peaceful spot :) Swansea bay, Wales -  Anne Barker (2011)

Early Bird catches the worm...

October 17, 2011
Happy Monday! Hope everyone has a great start to the week :)


Guest Post: Cheapside Market

October 15, 2011
Saturday is market day in Barbados and since I'm stuck inside studying in Amsterdam I asked my friend Kim to do a guest post on a market in Barbados for me :) Check her out over at Pastel Pink Paisley and Loop Barbados. (By the way, Loop Barbados is a fantastic new website being developed by Kimberly and Melanie giving tips and advice on visiting Barbados - accompanied by beautiful shots of our amazing little island. Go check it out!)

Hi Everyone! It’s Kimberly here. When Malou asked me to create a blog post for her on a market in Barbados I could not be more thrilled. Not only because being featured on a blog such as Skip to Malou* is amazing but also because of my absolute love of food, culture and photography (all of which I got to play with in this project).
Now, I decided to select a market which 
A. I had never been to before (I wanted to do some exploring my self) 
B. is a huge hit among locals. 
My end result - Cheapside Market
This market, first opened in 1810, is charismatic and overflowing with culture. It's full of charm, with the vendors offering buyers everything from spices to whole pigs. Whether it be the 85-year-old lady chopping coconuts with a machete, or the 40-year-old Rasta organizing his weeks' worth of cassava, the market has a little (or a lot) for everyone. I was unaware of how much character filled this space in Cheapside, Bridgetown and I honestly think I will make this market a weekly do. The locally grown produce and raised meats and poultry continually contribute to our growing economy in addition to reducing green house gases. I mean, who wants to purchase imported produce when you can acquire them homegrown and fantastically fresh? I think the answer is pretty straightforward. Now take a small tour with me through the market of Cheapside and see if you are lured into it as I was. Enjoy!

Ground Provisions
Snapping Peas
Organising Chives

Man's Best Friend

October 14, 2011
The friendship between man and dog is said to have been going strong for some 26,000 years. In the Chauvet cave in France, where the earliest known cave paintings are, there is a trail of footprints made by a boy alongside those of a large creature believed to be part-wolf, part-dog.
An article in the Economist looks at gaining a better understanding of what dogs and people mean to each other. Part of the agenda is to explode the many myths about the closeness of dogs to wolves and the mistakes that this has led to, especially in the training of dogs over the past century or so. Here are some interesting facts:

Dogs share 99.6% of the same DNA as wolves but their brains don't work in the same way
Dogs resemble juvenile wolves which accounts for the way they remain dependent on their human owners
Dogs cant understand as many words as a two year old child - a widely understood myth and an inappropriate way of trying to measure canine intellect.
    Dogs have limited sense of time and are trapped almost entirely in the present
    Dogs can experience joy, anxiety and anger but not self-reflection (such as guilt or jealousy) - contrary to the convictions of many dog owners
    Roughly 20% of Britain's 8m dogs and America's 70m suffer from "separation distress" when their owners leave the house - luckily, sensible training can teach them how to cope
    A dog experiences the world very differently to us because of its extraordinary sense of smell: a newly painted room can be torture for a dog!
    Their super snouts can also perform the most unimaginable feats, such as smelling the early stages of cancer long before a normal medical diagnosis would detect it.

    Put your hand up if you thought differently about any of the above statements. I sure did! 
    Missing my pooches but luckily the Dutch love their dogs and I see cute canines daily. Have a great weekend everyone!