A New Year and a New Laptop

It’s hard to believe that I last blogged over 3 months ago, I honestly thought it was way longer ago than that. Half the reason I have been M.I.A is down to my laptop dying a death, I thought that I could fix it…I ran updates and cleared a few things, then left it for a bit as nothing seemed to have helped it, it was still running slow and lagging really badly… I think that is the worst thing with any technology, leaving it alone, and when I say I left it for a bit, we are not talking a few days, no, I’m talking MONTHS. Anyway, I went to turn it on the other day, it fired up did a few things then shut down, I turned it back on, the lights came on but the screen stayed black. It seems that there is no power going to the screen at all. Luckily enough I have had a laptop supplied by my office for working from home though this is for work purposes only, and that has been sufficient for my needs as I’ve not really been in the right frame of mind to do any blogging or anything else until the past week or so. So, I did something I’ve not done for nearly 12 years, and I have splashed my cash on a new laptop. My last laptop was a Dell that I bought when I was in uni and I loved it, I never had any real problems with it and I’m surprised it lasted as long as it has, but I’ve totally upgraded now. And why have I decided to get, you may be asking… well, I decided on an Apple MacBook Air in Gold. And that is what I am using now to update you all! Anyway, enough rambling about laptops…

Since my last post in October, I can’t really say I have been doing much, I’ve been working from home 3 days a week which I really like, I wish I could work from home full time, I find it much easier to get my work done at home where it is quiet compared to in the office, though I am missing seeing people and knowing what is going on with my colleagues.

Christmas seems like forever ago now, but that was really nice. I worked up to and including Christmas Eve but had 10 days off between Christmas Day and the New Year. I spent Christmas day with my boyfriend and was thoroughly spoiled, I had some lovely gifts and even got the Nintendo Switch I have been wanting for ages! The day was lovely, I didn’t have to do anything, Rob cooked dinner for us, I had salmon with roast veg, hollandaise sauce and gravy, Rob cooked himself chicken to go with the veg. For dessert we had tiramisu. Between Christmas and the New Year I would usually go and have a look around the shops seeing if there were any bargains to be had, but this year, because of COVID and the lockdown that our area was in we spent the time at home watching films, playing games, chatting, listening to music and (maybe) drinking a bit too much. The time off was well deserved for us both and it was really nice to have that time together doing nothing much!

Aside from working from home since Christmas I have been spending far too much time glued to my Nintendo Switch playing Animal Crossing, if anyone is looking for friends on there let me know!!!! I have gotten back into bullet journalling and will be sharing my set up with you in another post. I’m doing things a bit differently this year, past years I have spent a lot of time focusing on layout and making my journal pretty, and I blame Pinterest for this one – adding ALL the pages/trackers that I saw regardless of whether they were useful to me or not. This year I am focusing more on the content and recording the little details of my day or week, accomplishments and non-accomplishments and making it more interesting for me to look back on. Last year was a huge write off for me and most of my journal remained untouched once lockdown hit. I realised that even though we couldn’t go anywhere there were still a lot of things that I did which made a difference to my life, my home and I feel a bit sad that I hadn’t written them down, it would have made interesting reading in years to come.

Anyway, that’s enough from me for the moment, I am back though I am not sure what direction the blog will be taking or how frequently I will be writing. I an ideal world I’d love to be back writing every day and maybe that will happen, but for the moment I think once a week is a good aim.

I’d love to hear how you are all doing and what you have been up to, so please, leave me a comment and let me know!

The perfect Hot Chocolate

The perfect hot chocolate isn’t one that is bought in an expensive upmarket cafe,

It’s not one that is made with the best ingredients either

The effect hot chocolate is one that is made with love and care,

Designed to share, all snuggled up

With the one you love.

I have just made hot chocolate for the boy and I in the same way my Grandma used to make for me. I used proper old fashioned hot chocolate powder, boiled milk and sugar all stirred together and poured, carefully, over a handful of teeny tiny marshmallows in our favourite mugs. It’s getting chilly here in the evenings now, and it’s getting darker sooner in the evenings and I thought it would be a lovely way to chill out before bed.

How is your perfect hot chocolate made? I’d love to hear in the comments!!!

Update 03/10 – 11/10 2020

I am still struggling with motivation regarding my blog and where I am going with it. I am signed up to get e-mails from Pete McPherson who runs the “Do You Even Blog” podcast and had one at the beginning of October talking about how his motivation was down because of all the changes that have taken place during this pandemic and, reading it, I realised that most of my lack of motivation is down to the Coronavirus. At this moment in time, where I live is back on a local lockdown and it seems that one day we are able to do thigs then the next we can’t and no one really knows what we are supposed to, or not supposed to be doing. Its really tiring and is all leaving me a bit lacklustre and drained.

Last Saturday was the boys Birthday, he turned 40. We had planned to have a big party, a room was booked for the party, a band was booked, food was planned and the guests invited but because of all the different restrictions across Wales and the rest of the UK it couldn’t go ahead. The boy went for a walk with a couple of friends and went target practicing, had a fire and came home a bit cold and wet as the weather wasn’t that good. We had a few drinks but nothing special, he liked his day but it wasn’t as special as it could have been.

I’ve been in work all week, we are running on a skeleton staff as most people are now working from home. It has been quiet in work but really busy as we are finalising payments. Work have slowly been rolling out laptops to all staff so we can work from home , its a slow process as all the software used varies from office to office depending on what our job role requires us to have access to, we need vpn access and network access along with a ton of other things. I received my laptop on Tuesday and had it up and working fully by Wednesday so was able to work from home on Friday. I was a bit apprehensive about how working from home would be, especially as my motivation has been so low lately but I really liked it. I had my wax melt burner going and was able to listen to podcasts without my headphones on, there were no interruptions and I could concentrate on what I had to do. It was a really nice day!

Over the weekend we have been sorting the house out, since the boy moved in we have had loads of stuff to sort out, tidy up and things that we needed to get rid of. We have a tip not far from our house and I finally was able to book a visit slot to get rid of some stuff. Our tip, as part of the COVID restrictions has put measures in place that mean each visit needs to be prebooked, your car registration given and a time slot chosen, only one person can go, any others need to remain in the car and if you miss your time slot then you need to re-book. The system is pretty good though I was doubtful about getting a weekend slot so I was surprised to get one this weekend. The boy filled his car up and took the stuff down and got rid of it then we spent time sorting out the downstairs of our house. It feels loads better now and it’s starting to look much better than before! I wish I had taken some before photos, I’ll share an after photo soon!

I’m not sure how this week is going to pa out and what the plans are, I’m not sure if I will be working from home at all this week yet. I am off on Friday though, I have a day’s annual leave booked as it is my Birthday. I plan to spend the day doing nothing, Lol! I might have a lie in and a lazy day with Roxy and potter about. I have a few art things to work on, I started Inktober though I am a bit behind, I may spend the day doodling for that. I have also been writing for The Everyday, an online magazine which is really worth checking out, there are so many good articles on there (especially ones by someone called Suzi Tench 😉 . I have an idea for another article that I want to write and may pitch the idea this week and make a start on writing the article on Friday if not before then.

Are any of you struggling with your motivation? How are you dealing with it? I’d love to hear your opinions on motivation and the Coronavirus in the comments!

Top 10 Thursday!

I have been spending most weekends at the beach and have decided that today’s Top 10 should be inspired by things I love about the beach or seaside!  As usual these are in no particular order

·         Sea salted air

·         Sand between my toes

·         The sound of the waves

·         Finding treasures like seashells, pebbles and sea glass

·         Ice-cream

·         Walks on the beach

·         Paddling

·         Watching the sunset

·         Reconnecting with nature

·         Fish and chips on the way home

Over the past month, my partner and I have been spending many of our weekends in Brean.  Our friends have a static caravan down there and we have been going down to spend time with them as well as to have some time away from the house.  We have been staying in Pontins, which, if you look on-line has quite a few bad reviews regarding cleanliness and other issues.  We haven’t had a bad experience there, and though the complex is dated (like something straight out of the 70’s or Hi-De-Hi!) it has been clean and tidy.  We don’t spend much time at the complex, its really just a place to sleep and have a quick shower in the morning as there are so many things to do in Brean itself.

Brean is a typical seaside town, with lots of gift shops selling holiday reminders such as magnets, postcards and sticks of rock, beach accessories like buckets, spades and inflatables,  several static caravan sites, pubs, restaurants and gaming arcades, not to mention a fairground and, of course, the beach itself.  There is also a market over the weekend with a lovely selection of stalls selling all manner of things.

Over the time we have been going to Brean we have spent days on the beach having bbq’s or going for walks, days in the arcades playing games, spent time at our friends van, having food in the restaurants or being out in the bars.  Every time we have been down we have had a completely different experience and a different kind of holiday which has kept each weekend feeling like a totally different holiday!

What have you all been up to?

Guess Who’s Back? An Update

It’s been months since I last wrote a blog post and so much has happened in that time,  I have had a few weeks away from work with an unidentified sickness which was thought to be Coronavirus (this was pre-testing) which then developed into a 4 week, 2 lots of antibiotics, battle with a chest infection.  On top of that, I have had to take further time off from work as I had been in contact with someone who started to show Covid symptoms to shield my co-workers and make sure I was not unwell.  All of this and the uncertainty of the past few months in general have really knocked me off kilter with my routines and writing which has meant that blogging has been pretty hard to keep up with.

Though I have not been blogging I have still been writing, Iwrote an article for an on-line magazine called The Everyday that you can find here https://theeverydaymagazine.co.uk/opinion/working-from-home-before-and-after-covid?rq=suzi%20tench and I have written another article for them that should be published at some point in September.

I started the 100 Day Project(https://www.the100dayproject.org/), a free art project lasting 100 days, which started on 7th April 2020, where you aim to do something creative each day for 100 days.  I started with the good intensions of being able to complete the 100 days but gave up around 20 days because I just felt so unmotivated to do any art.  I had started with an idea to work on an 8×8 inch square each day that would link together with other squares to form a bigger picture.  In all honesty, though I really enjoyed what I was doing, I think I was overly ambitious in the sizing of my squares that took more than a day to complete.  I think I will do the project again next year with the same concept but use much smaller squares of either 4×4 inch or 2×2 inch as they will be quicker to complete.

I found a fab group on Facebook called Frock Up Friday thatwas set up by Susan Sims and Bevali Francis during lockdown and gave members an excuse to get dressed up on Fridays when much of the world was working from home in comfortable clothes.  I joined and have taken part in frocking up on several Fridays during lockdown, which has helped me with my mental health during these uncertain times and has given me something to look forward to each week.  The Frock Up Friday group are lovely and the outfit’s people post, not just on a Friday, are amazing!

The biggest thing that happened just prior and during lockdown was that I gained a new boyfriend who has moved in with me!  I say new, though we grew up together, his sister and I were best friends through secondary school and her family became like my second family when growing up.  We have been in contact much of our adult live, mostly via social media, and decided to meet for a drink one evening and didn’tstop talking all night.  It has been lovely to have someone in my life who has known me through the years and has shared memories of things we did as kids.  A few months ago, we made the decision to move in together, he gave notice on the place he had been living in and moved in with me.

Since Rob and I got together and lockdown has eased, we have been away several times for the weekend, once we went to St David’s for the weekend to visit his mum and other weekends we have stayed in Brean walking along the beach, going out for dinner, having a mosey around the market or playing games in the arcades.  We have spent nights in during the week, watching tv, cooking food, having takeaways, listening to music and enjoying the odd glass of cider or wine.  When it was really hot, back in July, we bought a large paddling pool that we put in the garden, filled with water and sat out in the evenings watching the sun go down and the stars come out.  All this stuff, things that people take for granted in relationships, I didn’t realise I missed until I had it back in my life.

Anyway, that’s enough of the soppy stuff…  What have you all been up to while I have been away?  I hope you are all well and safe!  Hopefully, this post will be the start of more regular blog posts coming from me as I have really missed my blog, blog friends ad my blogging routine!

Blogging from A-Z – A-Z of Blogging – Z

Z2020

It’s the last day in the Blogging from April A-Z Challenge and as always, Z is a pretty difficult letter to find words for.  I found it pretty hard to come up with anything for my A-Z of Blogging but found one thing that Z could stand for, and so I bring you Z for Zip files.

Zip Files.  A zip file can be used for many things, compressing files, archiving and sending large files online to another person.  The main thing that zip files can be useful for in the blogging world is to archive your blog – posts, data etc as the data from your blog can be saved into a file that is compressed, saving you space on your pc.  Zip files are widely recognised and can be opened by most operating systems which can be useful if you are upgrading your pc and still need access to information that you have saved elsewhere.  Most blogging platforms will offer a way for you to download your blog and save the information in case anything should ever happen to your blog and the option can usually be found in the blog settings menu.  I recommend archiving your posts and saving them to a zip file before you make any big changes to your blog (such as changing the theme or layout) and regularly making backups of your blog, once every 3-6 months depending on how often you blog.  You never know what could happen to your blog and having a backup saved means you always have access to things you have written and can re-post them should they disappear from the internet at some point.

What do you think of Zip files?  Do you have any other blogging terms that begin with Z?  I’d love to hear your thoughts so let me know in the comments!

 

Blogging From A-Z – A-Z of Blogging – Y

Y2020

Todays Blogging from A-Z April Challenge brings us the letter Y and in my A-Z of Blogging this stands for YouTube.

YouTube.  Blogging via video is known as Vlogging and can be used on its own as a blogging channel or, you can amalgamate traditional blogging with a vlog, gaining other followers from different places.  Vlogging is a useful medium for showing your audience things such as how to’s, reviews, general chat and letting your audience get to know you in a different way.

Do you have a YouTube channel?  What sort of things do you put up or watch on a vlog?  I’d love to hear your comments!

Blogging from A-Z – A-Z of Blogging – X

X2020

We are nearing the end of the Blogging from A-Z April Challenge and in today’s A-Z of Blogging we are covering the letter X which stands for X-Posting.

X-Posting.  X-Posting, also known as Cross posting is where you publish the same post to other sites or blogs.  X-Posting used to be the done thing with bloggers sharing their posts to several different groups or sites in order to gain readers or followers but generally, now, is not such a good idea.  SEO tends to frown upon posts that are shared elsewhere (links are fine, so ccarrying on sharing links via social media won’t do any harm) but sharing a full post to other sites means that your post could become unserchable and harm your chances of being found as it is hard to determine the original work and one that has been plagarised or copy and could have been copied and pasted from another source and is not an original work.  Best practice as a blogger is to never copy and paste an article to other sites but provide links that will send readers to that post instead.

What are your thoughts on X-Posting?  I’d love to hear about them in the comments!