This year I aim to keep making monthly Spotify playlists…

The January Mxtpe is:

There will be a February playlist coming very soon.

Follow me on Spotify or search for “Ally Simpson”

Sometimes my playlists take on a theme of their own once I add the first song. Sometimes they fit together very naturally without too much thought or explanation. There is always a theme of sorts though, running through the list, usually hidden and ambiguous.

I listen to music all day in my home office so new recommendations are always welcome too.

Say hi on social media.

Trade at work

Trade at work


The VEJA project creates a positive chain. Sneakers that are made differently. Using organic & fairly traded cotton for the canvas of the shoes. Using wild & fairly traded rubber for the soles. Using recycled plastic bottles to create a technological fabric. Made in a high standard factory in Brazil. Have you ever wonder what’s the story of your Veja kicks? How they are made ? Follow the road from our factory in Porto Alegre (Brazil) to your favorite shop. Director and producer : Lucovic JeanJean You can learn more about the Veja project on our eshop :

I don’t mind. I tried. It didn’t work.

I don’t mind. I tried. It didn’t work.

I’ve never invested in the stock market or taken a risk on anything outside myself. I decided a long time ago that I would only bet on myself. I will risk two years on a book that’ll probably fall flat on its face. I don’t mind. I tried. It didn’t work. I believe in investing in your heart. That’s all I do, really. I’m a servant of the Muse. All money is on her.


Steven Pressfield said this when asked “What is one of the best or most worthwhile investments you’ve ever made?”

From an artistic, business, money, life and success perspective I love this quote. Ok, it doesn’t completely sum up how I feel about life and how we invest ourselves and our resources but…

I wonder how you’d answer the question?

“What is one of the best or most worthwhile investments you’ve ever made?”

Perhaps your answer to this question will reveal where you have invested your energy, heart, time or money?

Vlogging, going viral and Logan Paul

Vlogging, going viral and Logan Paul

I admit, a small part of me would like to be a vlogger.

There is nothing stopping me besides me. I often joke about our Northern Ireland accents being too harsh for the Internet though. Maybe that’s good enough reason.

What would you say if you were a vlogger and had a huge following?

The other day I blogged about The Million Dollar Blog by Natasha Courtenay-Smith. Many of the case studies and success stories she refers to, are vloggers. Social media celebrities with huge followings.

That’s the dream right? It certainly is the dream for many people these days. Going viral. Making it big.

But, what would you say? Why would you say it?

The recent controversy surrounding Logan Paul is a healthy reminder that being a ‘big star’ just isn’t good for many of us. With a huge following and audience, would you bring value to your listeners? Or would you lose control and, behave as ridiculously as he has? His ego appears to have ran away with him.

And now, his success might be unravelling.

YouTube has cut business ties with Logan Paul, the hugely popular vlogger who posted a video showing the body of an apparent suicide victim in Japan.

Paul’s channels were removed from YouTube’s Google Preferred programme, where brands sell ads on the top 5% of the platform’s content creators.

YouTube also said it had put on hold original projects with the US vlogger.

Paul posted the video with a man’s body on 31 December, triggering widespread criticism.

– full story here.

Unless you live in a cave then you probably know this story. Silly boy wasn’t he?

He will pop up on a reality television show sometime in the near future, distraught about what happened but, eager to make amends and revive his “career.” We can be sure of this.

Back to that question though.

What would you say if you were a vlogger and had a huge following?

It’s worth considering the weight of this responsibility. Especially now, as the punishment for foolish and offensive online behaviour can be very serious. In fact, you don’t have to act up as badly as Logan Paul to be taken down by an angry mob.

This is another reminder that being a celebrity, going viral or having a massive audience might not always be the greatest thing.

The pressure to produce distinctive work

The pressure to produce distinctive work

Today, more than at any other time, the pressure to produce distinctive work that conveys a message in a captivating way is extreme.

–  Graphic Design in the 21st Century, Charlotte & Peter Fiell, Taschen.

Mainstream marketing and communication is often boring. Everyone saying the same thing, using the same formula for their branding, design and communication. The same formula for the website. Posting the same inspirational quotes over pictures of sunsets or people standing on cliff edges. So much of this seems like quick-fire short-cuts so that you can simply say something… anything.

The proliferation of dull has now started to offend my eyes a bit.

I know that design might be subjective a lot of the time. And I also admit that I have 100% been a part of the problem in the past. I confess. I have compromised or cut corners as a result of pressure or poor planning. I’ve settled for “ok” when I should have said ‘we need more time’ or ‘you’re rushing this.’

The pressure to produce distinctive work is extreme regardless of all these factors that arise for designers and, regardless of what the ‘mainstream’ may be doing.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on these issues if you’re a designer? 

One of the challenges I’ve taken on this year is; to produce distinctive work. I realise I may have given myself a headache before 2018 even get’s started.

But, part of being able to do this means, that I want to see more amazing design and, also want to share more distinctive work when I see it… like this;


Let’s see how this goes. You can follow my Pinterest board for more ‘Design Inspiration’ here.

Share your work or other work you love with us… we’d love to see more distinctive work in 2018.


Supersimbo & The Million Dollar Blog

Supersimbo & The Million Dollar Blog

I first started to blog fourteen years ago. My original blog has long since been deleted and this version of our blog was wiped clean and re-booted a few years ago. What you now see online is only part of the story.

Occasionally over the years I have dreamt of monetising my blog, finding a niche or creating something that might go viral. The truth is though, I’ve never really desired those things enough to push hard for them. I’ve never looked too far beyond the enjoyment and confessional aspect of sharing what’s in my head or what’s on my mind.

Blogging has been good to us and has introduced us to some wonderful people.



I have to confess that in the last couple of years I’ve felt a little out of touch. A new wave of bloggers, vloggers and social media superstars rule the Internet now. I love how this culture has developed but I’ve been a bystander for most of it.

I mean… can a middle-aged guy vlog? Should anyone of any age be able to jump in and blog? Is it ok for older people to take advantage of social media for themselves or their business?

The answer of course is yes! Yes! Yes!


Natasha Courtenay-Smith


The Million Dollar Blog

Natasha Courtenay-Smith is one of Europe’s leading experts on integrated digital marketing, social media and PR. She is also a a best-selling published author, inspirational keynote speaker, accredited Facebook trainer, CEO of Bolt Digital and mum of two.

My brother bought me her book for Christmas and I devoured it really quickly over the holidays. Not because I have some grand desire or plan to make a million dollars (or pounds) from blogging but, because as I turned each page I was reminded of why I love blogging.  I was reminded why I started blogging and more importantly, why I have carried on blogging. Fourteen years and counting.

It says ‘brilliantly written’ on the cover testimonial. As well as that though, Natasha Courtenay-Smith reminded me over and over again as I read her book, that we’ve been right all along.

What does that mean you ask? Sounds a bit arrogant… “we’ve been right all along.”

Rewind with me briefly to fourteen years ago. I only knew a tiny handful of bloggers at the start. I got to know plenty online very quickly but, locally I was only aware of a small handful.

All of my friends – except maybe two – thought I was daft. Over the years many conversations about blogging and social media have frustrated me. People would raise an eyebrow or laugh. But now, it seems like everyone is blogging. Everyone knows what blogging is. Most people should know just how lucrative it can be, even if they don’t always understand how it works.

I knew it would be this popular. I knew from very early on. I’m not claiming to be a prophet, plenty of early adopters predicted the same.

But what about this book?

Maybe you’ve been thinking about blogging but haven’t quite plucked up the courage. Perhaps you blogged once upon a time and stopped. Or maybe you are blogging and want inspiration to step up a level, get more traffic and maybe even earn some money.

Whatever your blogging knowledge or aspirations may be, you have to read this book.

You won’t find a better step-by-step guide. The case studies alone are invaluable. Reading success stories is inspiring and, they all have one thing in common. They all started out at the same place. Creating content, writing, sharing, following, engaging… different types of blogs and varying ages and walks of life make up the fascinating mix of examples you will read about in the book. In a nutshell, no matter who you are or what your blog idea is, you can do it. And you should.

So what about Supersimbo then?

A bit more of our story

Fourteen years ago I wouldn’t have dreamt that we would be doing what we’re doing now. Despite not making our own blog into a ‘million dollar blog’ we have been truly blessed as a result of blogging and social media.

As part of the web design solution we offer, social media and blogging has always been central. As part of a small local team we have been responsible for countless blogs and social media profiles being set up for local businesses. We are also part of the core team who conceived and maintain Ballymena Today with Cherry doing most of the content creation there. The work we do locally is driven by our belief that whatever your business may be, you should be blogging. No excuses.

People still raise an eyebrow and don’t take it seriously but, less so than fourteen years ago.

Our own personal blogging has taken a backseat as a result of our work over the years but, that’s ok. We’ve been busy.

Reading this book has been a massive encouragement. As I said above, a reminder that we were and still are right.

A small spark has been re-ignited.



More about The Million Dollar Blog + a FREE chapter here.


Lily Cole (001)

Lily Cole (001)

When I was asked by the Bronte Parsonage Museum to work on a piece to commemorate Emily Bronte’s birth, I immediately thought of Emily’s pseudonym, and what that gesture represented.


Why could a woman not publish under her own name? What was life like for women living in the UK in the 19th Century? What circumstances would also give rise to a child being found abandoned in a city in the 18th Century, as Heathcliff was?
Now I find myself wondering, fleetingly, if I should present the short film I am working on for the Bronte Parsonage Museum under a pseudonym myself, so that it will be judged on its own merits, rather than on my name, my gender, my image or my teenage decisions.


I would not be so presumptuous as to guess Emily’s reaction to my appointment as a creative partner at the museum, were she alive today. Yet I respect her intellect and integrity enough to believe that she would not judge any piece of work on name alone.

Story here.


Good Design on Ballymena Today

Good Design on Ballymena Today

Cherry creates almost all of the content on Ballymena Today. I contribute occasionally.

I’m about to start a new sporadic series of posts about ‘Good Design’ over there though.

The idea; to offer inspiration, ideas and challenges on design with a focus on local business.

These posts will come from a place of slight frustration but also, with an awareness that I have experience and opinions that are valuable.

I work mostly with web design and design for numerous types of print material. I love simplicity but am always looking ahead at trends and new ideas. I may not always have a conventional approach though, so we won’t be following any rule books.

I’ll keep you posted.