2013

Great news! 

Facebook has updated the schedule post feature. 

You'll remeber that previously when you scheduled posts, by clicking on the clock icon, you had to first select the year from the drop down menu, then the month, then the day, followed by the hour and finally the minute. 

But the guys at facebook have - finally - updated this. 

Now, when you click the clock icon, you are shown a calander which is much easier (and quicker) to select the day you want. 





FB Schedule Post Feature

Posted on

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Category

What's the difference? 


Last month I did a post about Facebook's Post Level exports. On the post I mentioned that I wasn't entirely certain about the different between post-consumption and post-consumer. 

However, with some digging around the internet, and thanks to this post on simply-measured as well as this post on Social Media Examiner by Jon Loomer, I found the answer. 


The answer.


Post-consumptions calculates how many a user clicks on a story. So if I "liked" the post, "liked" a comment on that post, and commented on that post, that would add 3 "points" under the "post-consumption" column for that particular post. 

But, if I did all those things, in the "post-consumers column" it would just be 1 click. As this column accounts for unique clicks. 

So there you go, please tell me I'm not wrong. 



    Post Consumption VS. Post Consumer.

    Posted on

    Wednesday, 13 November 2013

    Category

    Being born in 1989 I have grown up with celebrities. I can only remember the world as been obsessed with them, think you're not? Remember Spice Girls in the 90's? How about J-Lo in the noughties? Ask your friends about Britney in 2007. 

    We're so obsessed.  

    Since 2007, when social media exploded, celebrities have taken on more power. 

    As big power players who influence things such as what we wear, where we shop, which charity we donate to, and how we should behave, I'm curious to uncover how they're using their social media channels, and in particular, Facebook. 

    For this post, I'm going to look at Lady Gaga - a global icon. I want to see what she and her team are posting to her 60 million fans and how she's using the platform to enhance her brand and drive sales. 

    I will look at posts she has made between 28th October and 3rd November 2013 

    Quick stats  


    Her page has 60 million fans
    Post with link to YouTube - 15, 717 likes 
    Text posts
    - two had 40k likes
    - one had over 60, 000 likes  
    2 Photo uploads
    - 1st, announcement of her latest song (Dope) 111,205 likes  
    - 2nd announcement of finalists for the Art Pop HMV posts (with link) 1, 500 likes 

    Now, let us look at a few posts in more detail...
    In the first post we see her making a direct plea to her fans – her “monsters.” It seems this is amid her taking off her clothes whilst performing in a nightclub which received a lot of negative press. 

    This post is very different from the ones we see in the rest of the week; I’m guessing this is from Gaga herself. She is known for her stance on anti-bullying and she is using the leverage of her Facebook page to act on this. It shows her using her power to try and do some social good. 

    And next..
    With the approach of her album release date the team is trying to get fans excited. They provide an external link to Spotify, a huge platform for artists.  They clearly state the benefit of following Gaga on Spotify: you get notications as soon as new music is released. 

    Getting users to follow Gaga on Spoitify is the same as an e-commerce websites attempting to get fans on their mailing list. I think this is a good approach by the team, they give you a good reason why you should click on the link. With almost 30, 000 likes, it seems it worked. 

    This is clearly a celebratory post and affirms Gaga's popularity and status. Big power players like Beyonce, Justin Timberlake and Kerry Washington have appeared on SNL. 

    She includes a clear instruction and it's something that resonates with her fans, she receives over 60, 000 likes for this post and almost 1,800 shares. What do we take from this? Fans love when their icons are doing well, share your success with them.  
    THEY'RE SO ON THE MONEY WITH THIS POST. Right?


    We know Gaga as a provocative pop-star and this image fits that description of her perfectly. Her bruised thighs, high-end (not so wearable) clothes, in your face look can't help but be noticed. 

    The post is a clear statement, there's no call to action, she just wants to announce something. It's the most engaged post of the week with 111, 205 likes. We see that, provocative image + announcement results in a high engagement rate amongst her fans.  

    Conclusion


    Her community management team are mixing things up very well; we see posts driving sales, posts that appear to be from GaGa her self, and posts celebrating her career. 

    I've listened to several podcasts from Amy Porterfield, a leading Facebook expert and she constantly pointed out the value of using pictures on brand pages. Particularly pictures used in the right context. Gaga's team truly understand this. 

    On a personal note, thanks Gaga, "Poker Face" was on constant repeat during second finals.  

    Lady Gaga

    Posted on

    Monday, 11 November 2013

    Category

    Whenever I return back from a trip, I'm met with the inevitable, "I wish I could travel so much." When I ask people why they don't, I'm usually told one of three things: they don't want to travel on their own, they don't how to start planning it, or, they don't have enough money. But I like to think that, if you really want to do something, you absolutely can. And travelling is no different. So, I'm going to try and tackle each of these three things and show you why you can travel, too.   

    I'm scared to travel on my own. 


    Don't be! What's the worst that can happen?


    Travelling on your own gives you the independence to do exactly what you want. Want 3 gelatos? Do it. Can't be bothered to go to another "Top 10 museum?" No problem, just say you went there. No one else's opinion matters and you don't have to consult your friends about which trips to take. This is great in itself. 


    People are, understandably concerned about safety. But in all the countries I've been to, I've never felt unsafe. Just use your common sense: If you're in, say, Koh Samui, avoid walking on secluded beaches at night. Remember to leave a credit card in the hotel's safety deposit box. Don't get so drunk that you don't know your way home. Obvious, right? 


    Something I wish everyone knew was: just because you're going on your own, it doesn't mean you'll be on your own. Book into a hostel on Hostleworld and meet people. Or stay in someone's apartment through AirBnb and ask them if there's a chance they'll show you around their city. You can meet groups of people in new cities with Couchsurfer. There are endless ways to meet new people and build up your global network. 


    Keeping in touch with home is so easy, too. Almost every hotel and cafe has wifi, which allows you to quickly whatsapp across some photos or shoot a quick email.  


    You don't know where to start. 


    Woody Allen said that 80% of life is showing up, and I say, 80% of going on holiday is being brave enough to book the damn flight. When you book your flight everything else seems to follow. Start small, if you live in the UK, think of going somewhere close like Paris, Rome, Berlin, or Barcelona. 


    I like to have a rough idea of what I will be doing in a new city so I will Google: "Top things to do in (insert city name.)" On a few occasions, such as when I went to China, I'll buy a travel guide and see if I get find any more tips. But Google is usually the best.  


    But you can, and what I have done is, book your flight and accommodation, find out the route from the airport to the hotel and be on your way. You can map out what to do when you get there. 


    Don't stress about things like what to pack - throw in some clothes. Oh, and a good pair of walking shoes. But do some basics: Photocopy your passport, have an extra copy of your insurance details, let your mum know where you'll be staying. Check that your phone works abroad, this is just in case you need to call home in an emergency. I've never had to do this. But it's nice to know I can. 


    Facebook is amazing. Make use of your graph search, type in "My friends who have been to Paris." Can they give you some insight on what to do? Do they have friends there who will show you around? 


    Cities like New York, Paris, Rome, Milan, Berlin, Budapest, Shanghai and Istanbul are all cities that are very tourist friendly, you can easily visit them without much planning - and on your own. 


    So, really, the only things you need to check/do are:- 


    1) Book flights 

    2) Arrange accommodation 
    3) Get some insurance - leave a copy of your details with your mum
    4) Photocopy your passport - keep a copy & leave a copy at home 
    5) Find out the route from the Airport to your hotel/apartment 
    6) Have some cash with you and your card too.  

    Money


    Money is a big issue for many people, but at least get an idea of how much a trip will cost before you declare it to be too expensive.  


    Booking in advance will often save you money. I always use Skyscanner when searching for flights. Then I go onto the airlines actual website to see if the price is cheaper. 


    Accommodation can be costly. I haven't stayed in a hotel for a long time because my budget doesn't allow for it, so I use AirBnb. I've used this in a lot of cities; I've never been disappointed, It's allowed me to meet some great hosts and I have saved a tonne of cash - I hope that NYC remains AirBnb friendly! 


    You'll always spend more if you go to restaurants vs. street stalls. If you're in New York for example, head to the area around Washington Square Park instead of Times Square. Ended up in Paris? Make your way over to Little India. In Barcelona? Avoid any restaurant that has a man outside telling you to come in. Walk down the road, turn right and then left, right out of the touristy areas. 


    Domestic travel in a country can be expensive. If you plan on doing a route such as Beijing to Shanghai, Google the costs before you go. You'll end up on a website like Seat61 which gives you expert and detailed advice on train journeys.


    Visiting attractions can be costly. Most cities will offer a tourist card allowing you to visit the main attractions at a discounted rate. This is something I rarely do, I tend to find attractions boring. I don't think you can beat walking around a new city - there's always lots of free things to do. Hey, I did say that I was easily pleased. 


    Avoid getting taxis. I've found that most cities have a great underground system. You'll often be able to buy a card that allows you a certain number of rides. This is always worth considering as you'll save money and the hassle of buying a ticket each time you take a ride.  


    I always exchange some currency before I go and I also take British Stirling so I can change it when I am there. This avoids me having to withdraw money from my account, which I am charged for. I also have a Halifax Clairty card. This lets me make purchases abroad without been charged any transaction feeds. 


    Be warned, most European airports aren't as budget friendly as those in the UK (I'm looking at you, Paris). This is something that makes me really angry. I refuse to be ripped off, so, before my flight home I will go to McDonalds or KFC before I go arrive at the airport.  


    We all love our families, but presents take up space and eat up your money, so forget those. Avoid shopping! Just walk around the city so you can get a feel for it. Download a cheap app like lonely planet to help you navigate your way around.


    Finally....


    Just do it. 


    I can tell you that from doing countless trips abroad, you won't regret it. Each one is a great experience and something you will always remember doing. 


    If you really want to travel, you can! 


    Resources

    www.airbnb.com - rent apartments or rooms all over the world.
    www.couchsurfing.com - stay for free in people's homes.
    www.skyscanner.net - great search engine for flights.
    www.tripadvisor.com - check reviews on your hotels, tour guides, restaurants and tourist attractions. 
    Wiki - check the wikipedia page of your local airport and see which destinations it has flights to. 
    WikiTravel - Has good information about all major cities. 
    www.pinterest.com - plot and pin your next trip by being inspired by the great images on Pinterest. 


    How Can I Travel, Too?

    Posted on

    Wednesday, 30 October 2013

    Category

    In Jon Loomers (FREE) weekly webinar, he spoke about Post Level Export data.

    This data gives you your fan only stats, which most Facebook marketers aren’t aware of.

    And so, our assignment was to dig into this data and see what we could uncover.

    Like many people, I hadn’t really looked into post level stats. Excited by the new Facebook Insights that had been rolled out, I thought the information you get from the “score card,” shown below, was pretty good.

    This score card shows us good metrics: how many people we’ve reached compared to the number of likes and comments and shares etc.

    So what use is these post-data export information?

    Here are my findings…

    For the post that relates to the score card above, the people reached is 12, 744. But that number isn’t for my fans only. 

    To find the impressions this post had on just my fans, I have to go to this section 

    The total number of fans this post reached is 1, 360. That is a big difference. However, this post was advertised so this explains why the difference is so big. 

    Impressions

    Next, I'm interested on the impressions this post has on fans. Here's where we find this stat...

    There wasn't any indication of the impressions on the scorecard at all, so this is useful to know. 

    Engagement 

    The scorecard shows that there has been 273 clicks on this post and 25 link clicks - which is the clicks on the link that was posted. 


    But look what the post-level stats show...

    Firstly, it just shows how many of our fans have engaged, and secondly, it shows unique users. The number of clicks here is 72. 

    Post Consumers


    Another stat that Jon mentioned to look at was Lifetime Post Consumers. 


    This number is coming up at 238. 


    It's not obvious how these stats differ to "engagement." So, I'm going to have a look around and come back to you on this. If any of you have some clear explanations, I'd love to know. 


    One thing I can see is that there's no mention that these stats are for people who "liked your page," so I am assuming that they relate to fans and non-fans. 


    Post Consumptions 

    When I try and google these terms, I'm always taken to Jon's website, it seems that no one else is exploring the post level stats. 

    Jon describes, post consumptions as: The total number of clicks on any of your content. Clicks generating stories are included in "Other Clicks." Stories generated without clicks (e.g., liking the page in Timeline) are not included. 


    In the description we can see that this stat is not for unique users, which explains why the clicks here are 357 compared to the 238 in post consumers. 


    I'm curious to know why this stat is different to the figure on the scorecard which says, "273 post clicks." Is it that the the stats on the post-level export includes clicks people have made on say, fan's comments, whereas the post clicks stat on the score card doesn't? 


    Post Stories 


    There are some statistics that simply repeat what you can see on the scorecard. 


    One is, "Lifetime post stories." A story is calculated as the number of likes, comments on, or shares on your page post. 

    The number on both the scorecard and on this export sheet is 161. 

    Whilst the scorecard provides an initial insight to how posts are performing, it doesn't provide the fan-only stats that are important to Facebook marketers. The post-level exports are important for this information and I will continue digging around and sharing what I find. 


    Sorry if this post has raised more questions than it's answered!


    I'd love to know what you've found. 














    Facebook Page Level Post Exports

    Posted on

    Friday, 18 October 2013

    Category

    FPE is, as many of us are coming to learn, a fantastic tool for marketers. 

    Having completed Jon Loomer’s course on FB power editor I have become even more evangelical about Facebook and what it can do for brands. 

    Although FPE can get complicated, it’s worth learning. Here, I wanted to share some simple tips to get you started. 

    Tip 1. Whenever you first load up FPE, always click “Download” so you don’t lose any data. 


    Tip 2. Make use of labels. If you’re handling more than one account, the labels feature will help you keep your campaigns organised. 


    Tip 3. You have to create your Campaign before you create the Adverts, as the adverts will go in that campaign. 




    Tip 4. In the “Connections” section, the cost per click and cost per thousand impressions will generally be  cheaper if you advertise to people who have liked your page. 


    Tip 5. Don’t assume Facebook will optimise for the action you want to take. Are you looking to increase engagement on your page or get users to click the link? 

    To change it to the spec you want, click “Manullay set up conversion specs.” 





    Facebook Power Editor (FPE)

    Posted on

    Tuesday, 15 October 2013

    Category

    Stuff I wish I’d known…

    Firstly, Pamukkale is a must a visit. The views from the top of the Cotton Castle are incredible. It’s a very small town, you need no longer than a day there.   

    The walk to the top is very easy and makes for a dramatic photo session, so have your camera at the ready. When you begin walking the trail, you have to go barefoot – but it’s fine, the water isn’t cold, even in October.

    It costs just 20 Lira to see the “Cotton Castle.” And you can practically walk to it from any hotel in town. Once you’re done climbing to the top, you can do some hiking in the surrounding area. 

    It’s well worth spending about 2 hours walking around, seeing the old ruins, and enjoying the fantastic landscape. 

    The only place to buy drinks and snacks from is at the outlet at the hot springs, mentioned below. But you can also take your own so remember to pack some water.

    I would suggest not going to the hot springs which you find when you climb the top of the castle. It’s an additional 32 Lira, which although isn’t not too much, I couldn’t really see the advantage of going. It has just one pool that isn’t very big, free lockers to keep your stuff safe, a largish restaurant, and an ice-cream stand serving some good gelato.

    Don’t go to Pamukkale expecting great food. It’s a town built for tourists, so you have lots of people outside restaurants trying to lure you in. But that’s fine. You’ll be more than happy with the food in cities like Istanbul or Cappadocia.

    Because the town attracts a lot of tourists, you’ll find endless bus companies to book your outgoing journey with so there's no need to stress about having your outbound journey pre-booked. 



    Pamukkale

    Posted on

    Monday, 14 October 2013

    Category

    I've been lucky enough to visit a lot of great cities around the world. And this year I got to visit the incredible Shanghai, which made it on my top-5 places to visit. However, for me, no where in the world beats London. It's one fo the greatest cities, and I think that we each need to visit there as much as possible. 

    On Saturday me and my friends had a jam packed day enjoying the cities favourite delights. Here's what we did, and what you should do, too! 


    Meet at 11am at King's Cross and go for breakfast at the CARAVAN Kings Cross, at Central St. Martins. It describes it self as serving "Well travelled food and mighty fine coffee." And I agree with both of those statements. 


    From there, we headed over to the Serpentine gallery, to kick start our "Japanese themed" day - more about that later. 

    There's currently an installation piece by famed Japanese architect Sou Fukimoto. Which in honesty, we didn't really "get." This probably comes from the fact we're art philistines. That, and, the inside of the Serpentine gallery was closed for renovation. 


    However, things went onwards and upwards as we walked over to Harrods to buy cupcakes from the foodhall. IF YOU LIKE CAKE, YOU MUST GO HERE!! 
    Things quickly turned Japanese again when we turned up at the Leicester Square theatre to watch Siro-A: "Japan's answer to blue man group." A very visually driven art techo show that is nothing like you have ever seen, ever. Please watch it if you can. 
    Thankfully, it was dinner time again, and Jamie Oliver's diner was where we went. Our go-happy Aussie waitress took care of us, she suggested I go for the burger instead of the hot-dog and then we had to dash again! 
    We ended up at Mr Foggs, a great bar in Mayfair filled with personality and charm. Where the waiters are every bit as elegant as the interior that evokes a Victorian aesthetic. And...even if, like me, you're a cocktail novice, you will appreciate the ones on offer at this establishment. Book ahead! This place gets busy. 
    We rounded up the night at Queen of Hoxton. 

    I heart you, London. 



    Images
    http://www.easyliving.co.uk/culture/restaurant-bar-reviews/best-london-coffee-shops/caravan-kings-cross-granary-square
    http://www.timeout.com/london/bars-pubs/mr-foggs


    London

    Posted on

    Wednesday, 25 September 2013

    Category

    "Should I go on holiday with a tour group, or not." I am always conflicted as to what answer I should give and here is why. 

    On one hand, if it’s your first time, you have the security in knowing that everything is being taken care of. You don’t have to worry about where to stay, where to go eat - and if the food is safe, or how you need to reach a particular site. All of this is arranged for you. 

    When I was 18, I was desperate to travel. But I had absolutely no idea how to plan such a thing. Travel? What’s that? 

    So I set about trying to find a company to go with. It was a bit of a risk, I was using all my money I had saved working a Saturday job. And, as it was the same year that I was going away to university, this money could have been used to live an indulgent first term. 

    But travelling is important to me and the idea of spending a boring summer at home verses setting off somewhere far and wild – the answer was simple. 

    I ended up booking a 4 week trip to Thailand with realgap.co.uk 

    They were what I needed. I phoned, I said what I wanted to do, they posted me a brochure. They even emailed me over a packing list, they explained what insurance I needed and where I could buy certain things from. Before I flew out, they sent each person on the trip the email addresses of all the other people on that trip, so you could see who was on the same flight as you. 

    Now, I imagine they would have a Facebook group and you meet each other that way. The point is, if you are heading out on your own, like I was, they do their best to make you feel comfortable.  

    And the trip was as expected: accommodation was provided, transport was arranged, food was served, we stayed with monks, taught English in a school and went on a three-day trek. 

    So why the conflict you ask? 

    Because, I think that you can easily go away on your own. Of course, Real Gap was a great place to start; it gave me the confidence to know that I could easily set off on my own. 

    Furthermore, the internet (god bless you) makes everything extremely easy when it comes to travelling. You can book flights within 5 minutes, contacting a hotel and arranging transport takes just an email, and you can go on Tripadvisor to see which tour agencies to use. 

    This many sound like a lot of work, but it really isn’t. Far from it. It takes no time at all. 

    Going by yourself also saves a lot of money. And who doesn’t want to save some cash? 

    But then again, if I didn’t use RealGap, I probably wouldn’t have gone travelling that year. And this would have resulted in me being a) very bored and b) probably not having the confidence to go on my own. 

    In conclusion…

    If you’re someone who is nervous about travelling but desperate to do it – go with a travel agency. I would recommend Real Gap. 

    If you have a little bit of confidence, go on your own and you’ll see just how easy it is. 

    Tour Group Or Not?

    Posted on

    Thursday, 19 September 2013

    "Where did you stay in China, Kirien?" Here goes..

    Let me lead in by saying that, I’m not one of these crazy people you find on Tripadvisor who pays £3 a night to stay somewhere and expects a concierge service. I’m realistic and open-minded. 


    In Beijing I stayed at Beijing Downtown Backpackers - here's their Tripadvisor page


    For a private twin room the cost was 190 RMB which was about £23 per night. 

    Photos of Beijing Downtown Backpacker Hostel, Beijing
    This photo of Beijing Downtown Backpacker Hostel is courtesy of TripAdvisor.
    I was really impressed with this hostel. The staff were very responsive to all of my emails. Because I was staying longer than 5 nights, they offered a free airport pick-up. As I arrived in Beijing a member of their staff was there to collect me. 

    The location of the hostel is good, it’s about a 2 minute walk to the metro, and I don’t remember it taking longer than 20 minutes to get to any of the attractions. The “hutong” where this hostel is located, is very busy, right up until about 11pm at night. It has lots of food, quirky cafes, hidden dens, singing beggars, shops that have literally hundreds of people queuing up outside, sizzling barbeques on display, oh – and be prepared, when you walk up and down this hutong, it’s so tight and over packed that you will, inevitably, bump into people. 

    Photos of Beijing Downtown Backpacker Hostel, Beijing
    This photo of Beijing Downtown Backpacker Hostel is courtesy of TripAdvisor
    The staff, for me, make a big difference to your stay. And the staff were awesome. They don’t try and sell you things, or encourage you to go on tours, they’re organised, they have cards of local attractions written in Chinese so you can hand them to your taxi driver, and just generally helpful. One example would be on the last day when I was trying to get to a hot yoga class but couldn’t see how to get there. The lady on reception called them up and wrote down the directions for me. 

    Every day they organise a trip to a deserted part of the wall, you’re literally the only people there. It's incredible! This cost about £30 and was worth every penny. There’s no forced shopping, they provide you water, you do the walk at your own pace and the guide is really cool. Literally everyone on this trip said it was one of the best they had ever experienced. 

    The Great Wall
    The rooms – this is technically a hostel, so you shouldn’t expect a plasma screen TV and a king size bed, I didn’t. I got what I expected – a very clean room, with air conditioning, a bathroom that had a hot shower, minimal storage units, and a plug to charge my phone. 
    Photos of Beijing Downtown Backpacker Hostel, Beijing
    This photo of Beijing Downtown Backpacker Hostel is courtesy of TripAdvisor 
    Shanghai - Shanghai City Central Youth Hostel (Utels) £18-£20 per night for a double private room, with en-suite bathroom. Here's their Tripadvisor page
    Photos of Utels Youth Hotel Shanghai Wuning Road, Shanghai
    This photo of Utels Youth Hotel Shanghai Wuning Road is courtesy of TripAdvisor 
    Let me start by saying that this place is very easy to find. I arrived on the bullet train from Beijing and easily located this hostel. 
    Photos of Utels Youth Hotel Shanghai Wuning Road, Shanghai
    This photo of Utels Youth Hotel Shanghai Wuning Road is courtesy of TripAdvisor 
    This place is very popular, it attracts a great crowd of people. The communal area is huge, and you will no doubt get talking to a colourful crowd of travelers from around the globe. 
    Photos of Utels Youth Hotel Shanghai Wuning Road, Shanghai
    This photo of Utels Youth Hotel Shanghai Wuning Road is courtesy of TripAdvisor 
    The room itself was impressive, a big – and comfortable – double bed, a private bathroom with a good quality shower, a TV (which worked), air conditioning, plenty of storage for your luggage and you had room service, so your bed was made every day. 

    Location is good. You’re about a 3 minute walk from the metro shop and there’s lots of places to eat nearby. The hotel will call a taxi for you, but you can easily find taxis outside, too.  


    This hotel did offer trips, but I didn't go on any so I can't comment. And I didn't speak to anyone who had used them either...sorry! 


    The staff – I really don’t want to sound like someone who complains, but I think this is an area that could be improved. The guy who works in the restaurant doesn’t talk – or smile. Having said that, the food in the restaurant is good. The staff on reception are okay, but not the super friendly guys you see at Beijing downtown backpackers. The management however, who you will find around the wider reception area, I found to be more friendlier. 


    But that was my only displeasure whilst at this hotel. 


    Nevertheless, I would totally recommend staying here; the location and quality of the rooms for the price you pay is excellent. 


    Accommodation in China

    Posted on

    Saturday, 3 August 2013

    Category

    Sometimes, you don't want long paragraphs of information about the cities you're visiting. You want quick tips. 

    And here, my friend, is some quick fire information I thought some of you may find useful.  

    Beijing 


    - The Great Wall - lots of companies offer trips there, make sure you don't sign up for "shopping." Beijing Downtown Backpackers offered a great trip from Jinshanling section to Simataiand. I would thoroughly recommend them. 
    - Getting around by subway is very easy and very cheap. Ask for a subway card on the first day. 
    - Print out your hotel address in Mandarin, none of the taxi drivers I used spoke English. Oh and taxis are very cheap in both Beijing and Shanghai. 
    - Head to the Summer Palace early as it gets very crowded. When you leave the Summer Palace you need to turn right and keep walking for about 15 minutes until you come to the subway station. 
    - Avoid using the guys who have bicycles - I head a few horror stories whilst I was there from people getting ripped off and beaten up. 
    - I would avoid the Silk Market, it's just bit boring. 
    - The Lama temple is quite pretty and will take about half an hour of your day. 
    - There are many Hutongs to visit, and I particularly loved the Hutong by Nanluoguxiang subway station. Take exit A from the subway station cross over the road and you will see everyone walking in to this popular Hutong. 

    Shanghai 
    - Firstly, if you're a foreigner when you are walk along East Nanjing Road or along The Bund, you will get harassed by people wanting to take you for a "sex show, sex show." The best to deal with this is point your camera in their face and they immediately scatter. 
    - The Pearl Tower is great, and the glass floor makes for a scary view of Shanghai. 
    - Food in Shanghai is excellent and the hotels there serve great food. Some of my highlights include lunch at Jean George and High Tea at Hotel Indigo
    - The urban planning museum was okay but I think to get the most out of it you need a guide. 
    - The Little Black Jacket exhibition is currently in Shanghai and it was great to visit. So is the Museum of Contemporary Art
    - Taking the subway to the airport is easy enough but a little tiresome if you have a suitcase and it's a hot day, next time I will take a cab for 200 RMB. 
    - SmartShanghai is a great website to find out about local events and places to eat. You can also print off the address in Mandarin which is useful. 
    - Spend an afternoon walking around the French Concession and stop in at the never ending bakeries before you carry on.  

    Other notes

    - As with most places in the world, people in China are extremely friendly and do their best to help, but many don't speak English so have the places you want to go to written in Mandarin. Tourists stand out here, so if you're stuck speak to them. 
    - The bullet train between Beijing and Shanghai is extremely easy to book, most hotels arrange this for you. The train ride is very smooth.

    China - The Facts

    Posted on

    Saturday, 20 July 2013

    Category

    If food is the most important thing in your life, when you go to a new city you make it your personal mission to taste everything. 

    And that's exactly what I did when I was in Shanghai. Foodies will be pleased to know that this city truly delivers on the food front, some of my highlights include:- 

    Not strictly food, but when the weather is 30c you're going to need a lot of drinks. This chain is dotted all over the place and they create some interesting combinations.
    Mr Willis - perfectly placed in the French Concession on the second floor above an Italian bakery, this delightful restaurant served up some of the best pork I've had, and the pizza was pretty damn amazing too. 
    This Piggy Went Nowhere
    Pidzzza
    An Array of Food
    To build up our energy before an afternoon of venturing around museums we went to Shook. When a three course lunch for less than £12 tastes this good, you need to know about it, actually - you just need to go there. 
    For Starter
    For Mains
    The British love their High-Tea and when you're craving it in Shanghai, you'll want to head to Hotel Indigo. The views over the Bund are as nice as the peach melba on offer. 
    A Little Quirky
    Cake
    Ginger is a cosy restaurant that offers tasty food. We were bit full from snacking throughout the day so just went for kebabs, a pork salad and desserts. 
    We All Love Taking Pictures


    A Much Better Pic.
    Get stuck into some Cantonese food at Bu Duo, you can find the place here. Everything we had was delicious and will set you back no more than £5-£7.  
    Lunch at Jean George No. 3 on The Bund was the perfect way to end my trip in Shanghai. Everything here was perfect, except of course for my inability to take pictures. On my next trip I will invest in a good camera. The set lunch menu and a drink cost around £30.
    Starter
    Good Piece of Fish

    Beef - As Rare As Possible


    Shanghai - The Food.

    Posted on

    Tuesday, 9 July 2013

    Category

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