Archive for March, 2009

On the Beach Video

Our latest Animoto video – a compilation of some of our PuddleDucks photos taken on local beaches.

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Facebook Prize Draw

A quick reminder of a prize draw for a €50 PuddleDucks voucher on our Facebook page. The draw takes place on April 1st among all the fans. And remember if you’re a fan you’re entitled to free postage on all orders (within Ireland).

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 I am thinking of an interesting and unusual method to make the draw. If you have any ideas please leave a comment.

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PuddleDuckers Out and About 4

The next in the series of PuddleDuckers Out and About comes from Sorcha Healy from Co. Cork.  Sorcha posted the photo on our Facebook page and has kindly allowed us to post it here too. The photo shows Sorcha’s children Eibhlin and Ruairi having fun on the beach in Garretstown, Co. Cork, wearing their PuddleDucks Extra Tough Jackets and Dungarees Sets.   Sorcha takes up the story:

We were at Garretstown beach and it was bright but windy and the tide was out.  Ruairi (age 2 1/2) rolled danced and generally marinated himself in the salty sandy/water.  Eibhlin danced and jumped and splashed and many people out walking admired the outfits and commented on what a great idea they were!

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 It was such a pleasure to let them play to their hearts content and – never mind the dirt- not to get wet and cold and miserable!. Since then the gear has met the acquaintance of the garden hose and the muddy vegetable plot in the back garden with perfect protection. Well done on quality products and I’m always delighted to support quality Irish businesses.

Thanks Sorcha and thanks too to Eibhlin and Ruairi for your great modelling of the gear.

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Dad.ie – a new site for Irish dads

I recently discovered dad.ie – a new Irish-based website for dads and dads-to-be. There are already lots of sites for Irish mums including RollerCoaster, MagicMum and Eumom. However, the male of the species was not very well catered for – up to now. Dad.ie aims to fill this gap.

It’s a great looking site and contains loads of information in areas such as Health & Fitness, Money & Legal, Fatherhood and Lifestyle. It also has a community forum for engagement in topics of interest and issues. The site was created by David Caren and I asked David to write a guest post describing why he started the site and the thinking behind it. Over to you David:

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When my wife was pregnant with our first daughter, Robin, like all new dads-to-be I needed to know what I was letting myself in for, I desperately wanted information on what to expect over the nine months so the obvious place to start off with was on the net. What I found there was a serious lack of information for dads-to-be written by dads, or indeed written from a male perspective. Now don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of great pink & fluffy sites for the expectant mammy, but not one for us dads. I was also working in Waterstones in Cork at the time so I was familiar with all the available pregnancy books on offer. The one (or at a push two!) male related titles were written more from a comedic viewpoint such as ‘From Lad to Dad’.

My decision to go ahead and set up www.dad.ie was further reinforced whilst attending the scans at our obstetrician’s office. You see, although the mums-to-be were chatting freely together exchanging tips and recommending various prenatal products, the dads looked very out of place, and if I must be honest, a little lost!

As the site began to develop I discovered that what was needed was more than information  just for the dad-to-be, so the site set-up was extended to include information on fatherhood, men’s health issues, money & legal advice and general areas of male interest including car and travel, grooming, sport, gadgets and entertainment. What is also of great significance on the site is a forum where dads and dads-to-be can talk about a range of issues from childbirth to everyday dad life. www.dad.ie is designed in the style of a modern men’s magazine with articles updated regularly, with all previous articles available through the site’s archive.

Visitors can subscribe to newsletters and take part in online polls. I am delighted to have onboard a host of writers whose contribution is based not only on their professional experience but also on their practical experience as dads & dads-to-be. This includes the popular RTE Clinical Psychologist David Coleman (“Teens in the Wild”) and John Lowe – ‘The Money Doctor’, known for his bestselling books on personal finance. Padraig Murphy, formally of the RTE programme ‘Health Squad’, John McHale –  Sports Editor with Cork’s Evening Echo newspaper, Brian Byrne – Managing Editor of ‘Irish Car + Travel’. Journalist and author of the dad-to-be diary -‘That’s My Baby!’, Pól Ó Conghaile, men’s health correspondent – Dr. Tony Foley, GP, and Dr. John Waterstone – Medical Director and Co-Founder of Cork Fertility Centre. 

Thanks David. Wishing you lots of success with the site.

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Don’t be a Dark Horse

Hurray! Spring seems to be here at last. These are the days to get out and about and enjoy the great outdoors. It’s also a good time for a reminder for anyone out cycling, walking or riding on the roads. Make sure you are visible on the roads!  

Be Safe Be Seen

Be Safe Be Seen

High visibility gear can literally mean the difference between life and death. It allows a driver travelling at 50kph a further 3 seconds to see you – that’s an extra 60 metres to react and avoid a potential accident. It’s just a short distance – but one that could potentially be enough to save your life.  Spring mornings and evenings can be quite hazy and even on bright days ensuring that you are as visible as possible is a simple way to help protect yourself. And how often does the weather change while you are out. You head out in nice sunshine only to return in dull and hazy conditions.  

 These days many councils provide High Viz Vests free of charge for adults and we, of course have our own High Visibility Range for children.  See the range here.

So don’t be a dark horse!  Get some high visibility gear and help protect yourself and other road users.

— Suzanne

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Makeover for our Facebook page

Facebook have recently implemented a new look to Fan pages. The main change is that the fan page now looks more like your personal facebook page. Most of the page is now taken up with the Wall tab.

Here’s what the PuddleDucks Fan page now looks like:

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Overall it’s an improvement on the old style page but I also have a few reservations.

Like:

In  the old style page it was difficult to engage directly with fans on new content or offers. Now fans will see the new fan page status updates (including photos and videos) appear directly on the news feed on their personal page. This will really improve engagement and is a major change for the good.

You can slso configure the page so that fans and non-fans see different landing pages.  I have set it up so that fans land on the Wall (careful!) while non-fans land on the Info tab.

Don’t like:

For us, the ability of fans to add photos to our page is important. In the past, fans have added photos to the page of their kids wearing the PuddleDucks gear. In the new layout the fan photos are lost in the Photos box and it is not visible at all unless the Photos box is clicked.

The Information box is also not very useful. The only information visible on the full page display is that we were founded in 2005 – not the most important piece of information about PuddleDucks that I’d like people to see.

Summary:

I have a lot more experimenting to do to improve the look and feel and the user experience. I must find out more about Facebook applications as they can also be integrated into the pages.

Finally a reminder of the benfits of joining as a fan of PuddleDucks on Facebook. At the moment we have a draw for a €50 PuddleDucks voucher – the draw takes place at the end of March among all the fans. And our fans are entitled to free postage on all orders. Come join us as a fan here.

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Tuesday Push – MyMunster.com

The Tuesday Push is a unique way for members of the Irish web/tech community to give attention and a little link love to one of their own. The latest push is for MyMunster – a social network for fans of Munster Rugby.

I am proud to say that I am a Munster fan and I attend as many matches as I can. Munster fans are already a fantastic “real world” community and it is a great fit to recreate that community online. On MyMunster you can join in the discussion, add photos and videos, enter competitions and keep up with the latest news on the team. I have just signed up and look forward to being an active member.

I leave you with a clip of the Munster Haka from the Munster vs. All Blacks match for the opening of the new Thomond Park last November. It was a great night and the best atmosphere at any match I have ever attended.

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