Category Archives: Social Media Tips

App Happy

Today’s App Happy comes from Sammy, mum of 4. These are the apps she has on her phone…check them out.

The App I Use the Most.
Hmm. It’s really difficult to say. Probably my email..I use Inbox for my Gmail and I get a lot of email so I check it quite a lot when the kids are at school. I like how I can have certain emails directed into certain folders as soon as they ping in…and I like being able to put reminders on the emails so I can come back to them happy

The App which is my guilty pleasure.
Two Dots. I’ve recently discovered this little game. And it’s a great 10 minute distraction. Only ten minutes because your lives expire and you have to wait a while for them to refill. This is ideal for me, as it limits my game playing time.

The App I really should remove.
Snapchat – I just don’t ever use it.

The App on my phone/tablet which is not for me.
Android Pay – I support it is for me, but the other half insisted I download it, because it would make life easier for me. Honestly though, I’ve not used it once. Maybe this should have been the answer to the previous question?!

The App I would recommend.
WhatsApp – a great way to chat with friends for free. No text message/mms cost and you can you can send photos too. I use this more than texting or FB messaging to keep in touch with friends and family.

The last App I used today.
Funnily enough, WhatsApp – used to make arrangements for a coffee and catch up with a couple of friends later in the week.
Would you like to share your App secrets??? Answer the above questions and email us at

Make a Collage of the Things you Love.

Today’s post is not only a very creative and wonderful tutorial but also a Valentines competition with an amazing prize.

First to make your collage…..

Step 1 Collecting your Pictures Together

Go to the Picmonkey website and from the top tool bar select Collage.

A drop down menu will then appear asking you where you wish to select your pictures, for your collage from.

The source of your pictures should then open. Or you may be asked to connect with the sources of your pictures.

Select your first picture from your sources and click on/open and you should return to the Picmonkey screen. Your shot should appear in a bar on the left side of your screen, as shown below.

Step 2 Creating your Collage


Referring to the image above.

No. 1 – Click here to choose the layout for your collage and the number of pictures you wish to include.

No.2 – To upload more pictures click here and return to your source. All the pictures you select will appear in this sidebar. You then click and drag them into collage layout.

No.3 – Once you are happy with your collage you can either click to Save  as it is or click to  Edit  to add additional effects.

Step 3 – Editing and Finishing your Collage. 



From the editing screen, add text and photographic effects.  If you need help with this, look here.

So here is my finished item. ThingsIlove

How about you? What do you love? What would your “Things I Love” collage include. We would love to see.

So here is the COMPETITION 

Make a “Things I love” Collage.

Email it to us at before Friday 13th Febuary.

Share your collages with the #PicMonkeyLove

We will select one winner to receive three months free trial of Picmonkey Royale, full access to all the sites functions.

So get creating, loving and having fun….

App Happy

 Here another reader tells us of the Apps they love.

Game: The Tribez.


It’s free. Cute little village of troll people. You have tasks and build it up. Good as you can leave it ages before you check back I on it to get on with life and it will all still be going!



Social: whatsapp.


Free message, video and photo messages. We used it to make a “group” of close family and friends to send updates during our first few weeks with baby at home
Organisation:Cozi Calendar.
My husband has it too. It syncs together so we can each add to the one calendar so we don’t get double booked.
Baby Lock.
You can let a child watch YouTube videos from your phone ie but lock the screen so they don’t end up messing with anything else on your phone!

App Happy

Today Sarah from The Puffin Diaries shares three of her favourite Apps.

I’m going to share with you the three most favourite App’s I have on my phone. It’s hard this because I do like an App, I’ve had all sorts overtime, games, language translators, lots of picture editor Apps and of course all the regular social media Apps. However I’m going to share the ones I use often and find useful or fun.

hsI started using this App a while ago as a way of finding some calm space for myself. It offers directed meditations to help you achieve mindfulness and inner peace, yes very groovy. I started with the free Take10 meditations, aimed at beginners. This ten free sessions of ten minutes long. They are really simple and easy to follow and supported by some great little animations. I’ve really enjoyed this introduction to meditation and am thinking very much of subscribing for further sessions. You can find out more here

Met Office

I love to know what the weather is going to be like and this is, I think the best App for that. It seems to be the most reliable one I’ve found and I like that I can set my locations and others so I can see what the weather will be where I am and maybe where I’m going. Find out more here

hsI don’t play games on my phone…much. I am a bit of a Candy Crush girl but I tend to use my iPad for that, especially since my phone got wiped and it took me back to the beginning. So if I need to fill time with a game I choose this card game, I don’t seem to get bored of it but that could be because I don’t play it a lot, honest. Find out more here.


So do you use lots of Apps and could you choose just three to tell us about? Email us at to join in.

Pixelating a Photo in Picmonkey

pixel pic

We are Re-sharing this post as it is our most popular post on Blogging, so just incase you missed it, here it is….

PicMonkey is a great photo editing website that is easy to use and free. There are lots of great effects that you can use when you are editing pictures and it is well worth having a play with, there are hours of fun to be had. In this post I’m going to show you how to pixelate a section of a photo. What this means is you can distort a portion of the picture, like the face or maybe a landmark, making a person or area unidentifiable. This can be useful if you want to post images on your blog that include your children.

  • So first things first go to the site
  • On the home page click on Edit a Photo
  • This will open your files on your computer and you can scroll to find the picture you would like to edit.
  • Select the photo you wish to work on and click open, this will move the image into PicMonkey and your screen should look like the image below.


  • Select the second icon down on the left hand side of the screen, the little chemistry bottle representing EFFECTS (highlighted in the red circle above)
  • Scroll down through the side bar of EFFECTS until you reach AREA and click on FOCAL PIXELATE 
  • Your screen will now look like the image below

Pic monkey

  • The normal settings for this effect is to pixelate the whole image and provide one clear area, what you want to do is pixelate a small area and keep the rest clear, so first click REVERSE EFFECT.
  • Hover the mouse over your photo and a circle will appear, move the circle to cover the area you want to pixelate.
  • Slide bars on the left hand side will allow you to change the size of the circle and the size of the pixels. The large the pixels the more distorted the image will be.
  • Once you are happy with the image click APPLY
  • Now Save the image onto your computer, selection the SAVE option above the image.
  • You will need to select where you save the image on your computer and it likes you to add .jpg after the name of the image.
  • Once stored in a file you can now upload the image onto your blog.



Using Pinterest

How much do you know about Pinterest? Do you use it for your blog or even personally? In this post I’ll explain a little about what Pinterest is, and how we at The Adoption Social use it…

What is Pinterest?
For me Pinterest is like an enormous pinboard, stored online where I can ‘pin’ things I find on the internet; a little like using the Favourites section in your internet browser, but with pictures. I can set up different pinboards for different things so it’s kept organised, but it’s also viewable by people who follow me. And anyone can re-pin my pins.

I can also browse Pinterest by a keyword or subject area, and can look at the boards of people that I follow. When I see something I like, I can pin it to my own boards too.
All pins link back to the place they were originally pinned from, so when you click a pin, it’ll take you back to the original website.

Setting up an account
This is quite simple. You can sign up either with Facebook, or by email. If you’re setting up an account to go with your blog, then I’d suggest you use email rather than your public profile on Facebook.
Fill in the form, and hit ‘Sign Up’. It’s that simple.pinterest sign up

You’ll be launched into a little tour of Pinterest. Once that’s finished you can begin using Pinterest. The first time you try to pin something, you’ll be asked to set up a board or two. Or you can do this first by clicking on your name in the top right corner, and clicking on Your Profile and Pins. You can have lots of boards or just a few.

How to pin things
As I mentioned above, there are two ways to pin. The easiest is to browse Pinterest and when you see something you want to add to your own board, hover over the image until you see the red ‘Pin It’ button. Click it and then select which of your boards to save to.

The other way to pin is through downloading the ‘Pin It’ button to your browser. This means that when you come across something you like – on ANY website, you can pin it to one of your boards. If you click on the cross beside your name, a dropdown box will appear, hover over The Pin It Button and you can click through to the downloads page. Follow the instructions to get this little icon to appear on your browser.getting the pin it button

The Adoption Social on Pinterest
We use Pinterest to share all of the themed posts that link up to the Weekly Adoption Shout Out each week. We already share the majority of #WASO posts on Facebook and Twitter, but Pinterest enables us to share them with another audience, and to ensure that they are organised by theme. At the moment we have 35 boards and nearly 300 pins. But this grows with each themed #WASO week.

TAS on pinterest

The Boy’s Behaviour and The Puffin Diaries on Pinterest
Yes, we both have personal/blog accounts on Pinterest too. I (Vicki) use it to pin activities for the children, recipes, Christmas, attachment and loads more, Sarah has boards with recipes, entertaining, style and even one for Puffins! So if you want some more ideas for pins – do follow us and pin anything from our boards.

If you have any questions about using Pinterest then do drop us a line at and we’ll do our best to help.

How to add your Blog Post to #WASO

Ever wondered how you could put your blog  on #WASO…here’s how. 

It’s really encouraging to see lost of new people joining the adoption twitter community and some have even taken the plunge and started to a blog as well. We love this wealth of shared experiences that makes us all feel less alone, helps us to make more sense of our own lives and offer empathy to those who require support. It is the main reason we started #WASO, to encourage the community to grow.

So today I’m going to run through just how simple it is to join your blog post to the weekly #WASO link up.

1. On the Friday #WASO post ,scroll down the page until you see the blue writing stating Click Here to Enter  (as indicated by the red arrow below), click on it. linky1


2. The screen in the image below will then appear.











There are four sections which you are required to fill in. The important thing to remember is that the only information which will be visible on the link is the title you use in the first box. So either use the title of your post or the title of your blog in this box or only information you are happy for others to read.

The second information that is required is the link to your post. The easiest way to do this is to cut and paste the link from your blog. That is the address that appears at the top of the page when you are on the post, as indicated in the image below.



Then you add your email and a name and click enter your link. 

You then follow the link back to the linky4post and your entry should appear as shown below.







You see, really simple BUT if you ever have any problems please contacts us, we are happy to help.

How to start a blogger blog

Last week we showed you how to create a blog in WordPress. The other popular alternative blogging tool is Blogger/Blogspot. So here’s how to start a Blogger blog…

Step 1

Go to the website Click on Create Account. Blogger is tied into google/gmail/google+ and much more, even if you already have a gmail email account, I’d suggest that you don’t use that with your blog, and create a blog specific one.

starting on blogger

Step 2

The next page will require you to create an account. Consider your own security here, you might not want to use your real or whole name.

You will be required to verify your account by phone/text message. But your number won’t be public.

You’ve made a google account – you now have a new email address and can connect it to your blog.

Step 3

Now you need to confirm your profile – I suggest selecting a limited Blogger profile rather than a Google+ profile. Safer for adoptive bloggers who might need to consider safety and security more than other bloggers.

Select your profile name – this is how you would like your name to appear. You could use the blog name you hope to use? Continue on…

Step 4

The next page will take you to your ‘dashboard’. Here you’ll see any blogs you’ve created, and a few basic statistics about them.

Now you can create your blog. Click on the NEW BLOG button on the left.create your blog 2

Step 5

Here you’ll choose your blog name and web address. Your web address will be unique – but your blog name and web address don’t have to be the same.

As you type, you’ll see whether you’ve picked a unique name or not.

You can choose a template on this screen too, but don’t worry – you can easily change this later.

That’s it, your blog is create. Blogger is very helpful at getting you started – just click on the prompts that appear. If you want to return to your dashboard at any point, then click on the B icon in the top left corner.

setting up blogger 3

Next time I’ll talk you through design a little bit – and how to change the look and style of your blog.  In the meantime, if you have any questions, do drop us a line at

How to make the most of 140 characters


Some of us love it, some of us hate it. However you feel about it, there’s no denying that many use it for support.
For bloggers, it provides a useful way of sharing our posts. Simple – copy and paste a link to your blogpost, tell people a bit about what they can expect from the post, then hit publish right?

Except for some of us the blog post’s URL is so long, there’s not much left of those 140 pesky little characters that Twitter allow us. That’s not something to complain about, because quite frankly if Twitter allowed longer tweets, they wouldn’t be tweets would they? They’d be full on birdsong. However, if you have a blog with a long name, a category name, then a post with a long title, 140 characters is just not going to give you enough space to tease your readers, grab attention or even add a hashtag.

So what to do?
Today, I’m going to tell you about link shortening. There are quite a few websites out there that offer this service and a quick search online will give you lots of results. However, the one that I prefer is Bitly. And that’s because it’s easy, free, and I can see how popular a given link is.

It’s free and simple to shorten a link. Head to, paste in the long version of your link, hit ‘Shorten’ and voila, you’ll have a short link that you can copy and paste, using up less of your precious character allowance.

For statistics, and when I say statistics, I mean you can see exactly how many people have used the shortened link to visit your post, you’ll need to create a free account.
For the purposes of this post I’ve opened a new account for The Adoption Social. To do the same, simply head over to, click on  ‘Sign up For Free’.
bitly homepageThen you’ll see a screen like this, where you can register either by email, Facebook or Twitter. I used our Twitter account, because it seemed as easy as any other, and because we’ll mostly be using shortened bitly links on Twitter.

Screenshot 2014-04-04 13.54.57

After following the instructions (i.e allowing access to your Twitter account, and inputting your email address) you’ll go to your Bitly homepage. It’s a bit like a dashboard of all the short links you’ve made. You can search through them here – useful if you create lots.

As with those without accounts, simply paste your long link in, and Bitly will convert it to a short link for you. Just hit copy to copy the link onto your computer’s clipboard, then hit Ctrl+V to paste into your tweet. So simple. (From this dashboard though, you can not only copy, but share and email your Bitly links too).

Under each Bitly link you’ll also see the number of clicks that link has had. See below – I only created these links a couple of minutes ago, and haven’t shared them, so you’ll see they’ve had 0 clicks. This will help you see which of your links have been most popular. Screenshot 2014-04-04 13.58.21Here you can also change the privacy of your links from public to private. You can create bundles of bitly links which you can keep private or share with friends. You can add notes against each link. You can even develop a network of your own.

For me though, just being able to conserve some of my Twitter characters for some interesting text is a good enough reason to use this site.

If you use other link shortening sites, please do share them below – tell us your favourites and why.

Adding keywords to your blog

Keywords, labels, tags – call them what you will, they’re important in blogging. Keywords are usually a word, or short phrase, that relate to the content of your post.

If you think of your blog as a filing cabinet, then think of keywords as the labels on the top of the files that allow you to organise and re-find a post, and also help anyone else that visits your blog to find relevant posts too.

Not only for you, and your readers, but also search engines.

Adding keywords in Blogger

As you write your post, you’ll see the ‘labels’ box on the right hand side. Type in keywords, using commas to separate them. Use one or two-word keywords, perhaps using details like ‘gingerbread recipe’ or ‘attachment counselling’ rather than general words like ‘food’ or ‘therapy’. Though on most of our blogs ‘adoption’ would be general, but fairly useful.

Press ‘Done’ once you’ve entered all the keywords that are relevant.

Keywords in blogger

Adding keywords in WordPress

After writing your post, look for the ‘Tags’ box on the right hand side. Type in the tags you want to include, using commas to separate them. As above, use detailed keywords rather than general words.  

Hit ‘Add’ and then ‘Publish’, and your post will go live.

tags in wordpress

On both WordPress and Blogger, a list of keywords will appear under your published post. And in both, you can search your posts by keyword from your Dashboard (that’s the back-end bit only you can see, where you can edit/delete/publish posts).

Only you can choose which keywords are relevant, but have a think about the most important points in your post – and use those.

If you have any tips or hints on using keywords or tags in posts, do let us know in the comments…