Friday 6 November 2015

Going Self Hosted!

Well, this is it. My last post until Monday 16th November!

Going Self Hosted!
As a lot of you will know (due to me banging on and on about it!) I'm finally making the jump to self hosted. I know, I must be crazy!

I have debated it for a while, and I keep backing out because I know nothing about Word Press, and not much about HTML, programming or building a website. This time I'm not backing out.

When I started this blog, I went in completely blind. I had no idea what blogging entailed and had no idea about anything really. And here I am, 8 months later. I have learned so much that I thought I would never learn. Because when it's happening, you sink or swim, so I had to learn.

So I'm making the jump with the same attitude. It'll work because it has to. I will learn because I have to.

The worst thing that can happen (famous last words!) is that I won't be able to successfully import all of the posts from here. If that happens, I will cry! Seriously though, I've started from scratch once and I can do it again.

So I make the jump with an attitude of que sera sera! Part of me is terrified it goes horribly wrong, but the bigger part of me is so excited. It feels like the right time to make the jump.

So to everyone who has followed my journey so far, thank you, and I hope you will make the jump with me. Prepare for a re-launch next Monday with a whole new design and lots to come! I'll still be around on Twitter if anyone wants to say hello or send virtual wine :)

See you on the other side!

5 Easy Ways To Eat Healthily

5 easy ways to eat healthily
These last few weeks, I have decided I'm sick of eating rubbish food and drinking sugar laden drinks. I decided to start eating a bit healthier. It is something I have thought about for a while and have finally started doing.

I know a lot of people want to be healthier, but often it is finding the motivation to start that is the problem.

Also, I think a lot of people think it is going to be very expensive. If you choose to eat 100% organic etc, I agree it can be expensive, but just to make a few sensible changes, it doesn't have to break the bank. Especially with supermarkets such as Aldi doing such good deals on fruit and vegetables.

Here are my top five tips for starting to eat healthier without a whole lot of effort:

1. Avoid the word diet
What I am talking about here isn't a diet, it is a lifestyle change. I believe the word diet has negative connotations. It conjures up images of weighing food, restricting everything and feeling hungry all the time. For me, healthy eating should be about feeling better not worse.
Also, a diet has an end time. Healthy eating as a lifestyle choice doesn't. Being healthier is the goal, not losing a couple of pounds.

2. Eat smaller portions
A good way to be healthier is to not over eat. Most people eat portions that are too big without even realising it. And how often do you keep eating once you feel full just because there is still food on your plate?
A good way to combat this is to use a smaller plate. A large plate with a small portion on can look like you aren't getting much, whereas a smaller plate that is full visually looks the same, but you won't feel stuffed after your meal.
This will also help reduce costs as you aren't using as much food.

3. 50/25/25 method
If the thought of weighing and measuring food fills you with dread (it does me, I couldn't think of a better way to put me off eating healthily than if I have to weigh every meal!), try the 50/25/25 method.
It doesn't have to be exact, but basically, your plate should contain 50% vegetables or salad, 25% lean protein such as chicken or fish and 25% complex carbs such as brown rice or sweet potatoes.
4. Learn to tweak your favourites
For example, if you love pizza, instead of buying one, make your own healthy version. So you could use a wholemeal base, plenty of tomato and a little bit of low fat cheese, then some vegetables as a topping.

5. Have a treat now and again
Firstly, I would say if you are using a reward system to motivate yourself, you shouldn't be using food as a reward, as this builds the wrong relationship with food. Food is fuel for your body, nothing more and using it as a reward makes it something more than that. Try to think of none food related treats - a day at the spa, a bubble bath, a new lipstick, whatever you fancy that's not food.
Having said that, there is nothing wrong with having the odd treat. For example, if you are going to a party or a special restaurant, have whatever you want as long as it isn't too often!

After a few weeks of eating better, you will find yourself automatically making the healthy choice, as healthy eating becomes a habit in the same way that eating junk food became a habit.

Good luck!

Do you have any tips to add? Let me know in the comments :)

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Wednesday 4 November 2015

5 Things Working In A Bar Has Taught Me

5 Things Working In A Bar Has Taught Me

I've worked as a barmaid for 12 years. 

Mostly, it's ok, even a bit of a laugh at times, but sometimes, like any job, I want to scream and shout and swear. 

Overall, I enjoy it as jobs go. I have done a lot worse. It is very different to what I thought it would be. I stupidly thought that people would come to the bar, request their drinks, pay and go sit down. If only!

There are many people who make the job fun, and interesting, but the ones that stick in my mind are generally the ones I have wanted to strangle for various reasons. On the plus side, those customers make the best stories.

Aside from how to pick my battles, here are five things I have learned working in this industry:

1. The customer is very rarely right, yet they always think they are.
5 Things Working In A Bar Has Taught Me
Anyone who still believes the customer is always right has never had to deal with the general public. If you are right, we will fix the issue without arguing, probably before you even notice there is an issue.
This also includes customers who outright lie in an attempt to get something free. We have heard it all before!

2. Even the nicest person turns into a whiney brat when they don't get their own way.
5 Things Working In A Bar Has Taught Me
I understand you have drank here for ten years, but your half a lager once a week doesn't pay the bills, so no I can't turn the music off to suit you when the other 100 people in the pub want it on. This is usually followed by the person declaring they are never coming back and flouncing off like a four year old. The following week, they return at their usual time.

3. There IS such a thing as a stupid question!
5 Things Working In A Bar Has Taught Me
A couple of examples I have genuinely been asked by customers:

* "Do you have a toilet?" Bear in mind this wasn't someone walking off the street just to use it, it was someone drinking in the pub!

* "Why is this round dearer than the last one?" Because last round, you get 2 pints, this round you got 3. He wasn't convinced it should be more, even though he accepted he had gotten an extra drink!

* "Is the bar still open?" This is not a stupid question in itself, but in this context it was. It was around 8pm on a Saturday night, we were heaving and were quite obviously serving people.

And it's not just customers. Here's two I have been asked by staff:

* "What's in a gin and tonic?"
* And my personal favourite, while standing in front of a sink, "Where do I get water from?"

4. That anything that can go wrong will wait until the busiest/least convenient moment possible.
5 Things Working In A Bar Has Taught Me
Nothing ever breaks on a Monday morning, it's always a Saturday night! Whether it's the till, the ice machine or anything else that can make your life hell, it will happen at your busiest time.
This is likely due to the fact you are using it more at those times, but in the moment that logic doesn't help.

5. That it's really not that bad.
5 Things Working In A Bar Has Taught Me
For all some customers are so frustrating you could happily scream yourself hoarse, its really not that bad. You learn pretty quickly to grow a thick skin, laugh it off and ignore the chaos. There are much worse ways to earn a living, and you will definitely get a laugh along the way. And for every customer you want to punch, there are 30 or 40 nice customers that make you realise it could be a lot worse!

Have you ever worked in a bar (or retail)? Anything you would add? Let me know in the comments :)

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Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Tuesday 3 November 2015

10 Tips For A Safe Home Fireworks Display

10 Tips For A Safe Home Fireworks DisplayI love fireworks, I always have. I enjoy going to the big displays, although I haven't been in a few years as I always seem to be working the nights they are on.
I also love an at home display with family and friends and a nice warm cuppa!

The advantages of an at home display (other than a decent coffee!) are not having to mess about getting to the display area, no parking wars, and you can watch from inside if you can't stand the cold.

The disadvantages are the extortionate prices of fireworks these days, and of course the safety aspect.
I firmly believe you can do an at home display safely with a bit of planning and some common sense!

Here are my top tips on how to have a safe at home firework display:

1. Firstly, avoid the term firework party when inviting people. I know it might sound more fun than display, but it also sounds like a boozy event. The last thing you want around fireworks is people who have had a drink or two too many.
If you want to have drinks, try a hot cider or mulled wine for through the fireworks, and serve the other drinks after the display.
Perhaps compromise, and invite people to a display with an after party.

2. Make sure the person responsible for setting up and lighting the fireworks knows what they are doing and follows the instructions.

3. Always point the fireworks away from the area where people will be standing or sitting.

4. Make sure children are watched closely so they don't wander off into any dangerous areas. Cordon them off if possible.

5. Ensure the fireworks are stored safely prior to the event. Somewhere cool, with no risk of naked flames or sparks and out of the reach of children. Ideally, not in your home!

6. Make sure children are wearing gloves when holding sparklers and that they are supervised by an adult.

7. Have a fire extinguisher/fire blanket close to hand. It's unlikely you will need it if the fireworks are set off properly, but it's better safe than sorry! Also, have a sand bucket or a bucket of water to put used up fireworks into just to be certain they are out.

8. Don't skimp on quality! If you can't afford legitimate, tested fireworks from a reputable retailer, don't buy them! If the deal sounds too good too be true, chances are it is, and the fireworks may not be up to safety standards!

9. Never hold a firework in your hands to light it (except sparklers).

10. if a firework doesn't go off, don't bend over it in case it is just a bit slow. Give it a minute or two and when you are sure it is not going to work, throw some water over it from a distance before approaching it.

Remember, whether you are having a display or not, the noise of the fireworks will scare pets.

-Keep them indoors, and have some background noise in the room with them.
-Don't leave them alone where possible.
-Bring outdoor pets inside.

10 Tips For A Safe Home Fireworks Display

Have fun and be safe!

Do you go to a display or do your own or do you think fireworks are over rated? Let me know in the comments, and don't forget to share any of your safety tips! :)

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Monday 2 November 2015

Guest Post: A Day In Ludlow by Tiffany from The Amateur Anthropologist

Today's post is a guest post all about the village of Ludlow, written by travel blogger Tiffany from The Amateur Anthropologist.

If you haven't visited Tiffany's fab blog before, be sure to check it out (link at the end)! Here is a little about her:

What do you get when you mix anthropology, food, fashion & travel? You get me, the Amateur Anthropologist (hence the name of my blog). Dreamer, globe trekker and beginner baker, my motto is "live life to the fullest before it runs out".
Now onto the post!

A Day In Ludlow by Tiffany

If you asked someone that knows me, be it a friend or family member, how they would describe me, one characteristic that will undoubtedly be mentioned is organized.

There’s a chilling sense of anxiety that arises whenever I feel unprepared. And although, it’s not a positive one, but it does motivate me to plan well ahead.

I’ve had troubles in crafting my timetable way too far in advance. Thankfully with experience, I’ve learnt to tweak this so that I can prepare just in time.
It applies to all areas I’ve touched in life, both in work and play. You can tell that travelling is not an exception.

Although it may seem rather tedious looking up train and bus times, and calculating which one to take to maximize my exploration duration, it does make my voyages far easier to experience.

So, in short, I’m a talking, breathing and walking PDA.

Generally speaking, the plans I create work out the way they’re supposed to. But sometimes they don’t, and on this occasion, they didn't.
Guest Post: A Day In Ludlow by Tiffany from The Amateur Anthropologist
Upon reading an article online about the quirks of England, I suddenly changed course and navigated myself to a small market village in Shropshire called Ludlow.
The author had recommended this place due to its history, medieval architecture, and range of independent stores, set upon a delightful hillside environment. There wasn’t a single part of his description that sounded unattractive to me, so I was more than keen to find out.
And I am pleased to report, he was truly spot on with his suggestion.

Ludlow Castle
Guest Post: A Day In Ludlow by Tiffany from The Amateur Anthropologist

If you ever visit Ludlow, an obvious place to head to is the Castle. Situated near the mighty River Teme, this medieval fortification offers a wealth of history to enlighten the minds of the young and old. Being one of the first English stone castles ever constructed, its exterior and interior truly deserves an equal amount of admiration. And needless to say, there’s more than enough areas forming the ruined landmark to fill the adventurous side of all visitors (it certainly did for me).
A big tip would be to challenge oneself to head up one of the taller towers, like the North-West one. Although the steps are narrow and steep, I can assure you that you’ll definitely be rewarded with the most spectacular view this late 11th century landmark can provide.

Boutique paradise

In truth, shopping is a hobby of mine. Be it for clothes, stationary or food, the chance to spend the day purchasing attractive products can be somewhat relaxing to me at times. Although high street shops are appealing, I’d much prefer going to an independent store and browsing through their stock. Why? Simply because of the desire to be unique. I mean, what’s the point in buying an outfit that everyone else has when you can acquire something different that will help you stand out?

Fearlessly independent – that’s my motto for fashion.

Guest Post: A Day In Ludlow by Tiffany from The Amateur AnthropologistSo, you can probably guess that I was immensely thrilled to see the vast range and quantity of independent retailers dotted all around Ludlow town center. To me, each boutique had a personal glow or aura which shone brightly in the slightly grayish rainy day. This was further reinforced by the friendly and warm attitudes that every owner and employee which I met bore.

It was as though I had stepped through a portal that led my wandering self into a treasure trove of hand-crafted trinkets, treats and toys. An irreplaceable sight, as you can imagine. My longstanding understanding of Yarm (North East England) as the King/Queen of little boutiques had definitely been surpassed by the brilliance of Ludlow.
And of course, my trip would not be complete without a slice of walnut and coffee cake! I will definitely have to try the Michelin star restaurants in town one day…

Until next time, dearest lovely little Ludlow.
Time to show Tiffany some love! Visit her blog, follow her on Twitter and Google+, like her Facebook page, and of course leave her some lovely comments below!
A Bit Of Everything

Thought Of The Week - Week 1

Welcome to the first thought of the week post!
Thought Of The Week - Week 1

Feel the fear and do it anyway!
As regular readers will know, I usually write a weekly thought of the day round up where I post a quote for each day of the week.
I have been having a think about this, and I have decided that a post with seven quotes in it is a bit much and I think they are getting a bit repetitive, so I have decided to change the format slightly.
I will still be posting my daily thought of the day on Twitter, then I will choose my favourite one to post here in a thought of the week post.
What do you think? Is the new format better and less repetitive or did you prefer the old way? Let me know in the comments (please be honest, I wouldn't ask if I didn't want your true opinion!) :)
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Sunday 1 November 2015

Anything Goes Linky Week 21

Anything Goes Linky Week 21

Welcome to the Anything Goes linky, week 21!

This linky is for any type of posts on any subject. Literally Anything Goes! It will run from 12.05am Monday to 11.55pm the following Sunday, so there is plenty time to link up. And if you link up early, feel free to pop back and check out some of the later link ups - you never know when you will find your new favourite blog!

Please read: There won't be a linky next week as I'm changing platforms. This one will run for two weeks, so please do feel free to add some extra posts if you want to :)

I will be adding pinnable images to my #AnythingGoes Pinterest board, check it out here. I will also be tweeting out your links!

If you are new to linkys, Becky at Cuddle Fairy has written a fantastic guide on how to link your posts, which you can read here.

There seems to be some confusion about the "name" part of the linking up process. This is the name of the post (or the name you want displaying) rather than your name.

I would just like to say a big thank you to each and every one of you who link up. Whether you have been here from the beginning, linking up each week, or if this is your first time here (and everything in between), thank you for helping make this linky a success!

Featured post:
The winner of this week's #AnythingGoes People's Choice award is...
Congratulations :) Don't forget to grab your badge!
grab button for #AnythingGoes People's Choice Winner Badge
<div class="anythinggoes-peoples-choice-winner-badge-button" style="width: 318px; margin: 0 auto;"> <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"> <img src="" alt="#AnythingGoes People's Choice Winner Badge" width="318" height="240" /> </a> </div>
 Now, onto this week's link up!

How it works
1. Link up to 3 posts, old or new, per week
2. Please add the badge below to any linked up posts - copy and paste the code below into the HTML section of your post.

3 Please read and comment on at least 2 other posts, but feel free to do as many as you want to! The more you share the love, the more love you will get back!

4. To keep up to date with what's happening when, feel free to follow me on Twitter @randommusings29
 5. Share your post's URL on Twitter using #AnythingGoes and tag me @randommusings29 and I will retweet (as many times as you want to!).

I look forward to reading all your posts! Everyone welcome :)

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