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Yours *TrulyJuly*

I do everything content.

 

I don’t understand: Why even mention the person’s skin colour? It is not needed for the context of the story?

 

You wouldn’t know, you’re not from here, you’re an alien.

 

Well, I’m still from the same planet!

 

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Our puppies sleep like humans. While Lola is an above the duvet dog, Gigi loves to crawl under the sheets. It is I who covers Lola so she's warm and digs out Gigi's nose so she has access to fresh air.

Our puppies sleep like humans. While Lola is an above the duvet dog, Gigi loves to crawl under the sheets. It is I who covers Lola so she’s warm and digs out Gigi’s nose so she has access to fresh air.

 

Fostering a tiny little rescue puppy who could be stricken by a seizure any given moment, it was clear she’d sleep with me in the bed.

But while that keeps her close to me for observation, I’m plagued by other irrational fears:

I already researched that it’s highly unlikely to ever accidentally crush your pet while you’re asleep.

The other silly worry I have is:

 

Could my pet suffocate under the duvet?

No. There are no known cases of this happening.

What makes us uncomfortable being fully covered under the blankets is hypercapnia, a condition of abnormally high carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the blood resulting from rebreathing exhaled CO2.

Hypercapnia normally triggers a reflex which increases breathing and access to oxygen (O2), such as waking up and turning the head during sleep.

Pets however seem to love digging their nose into the sheets and can sleep right through the night under heavy covers.

So you can rest assured next time your critter clambers into your bed.

 

Please note:

These fears are not unfounded: While animal babies are equipped with instincts to keep them protected even when asleep, human babies are not!

As the Lullaby Trust states: “The safest place for your baby to sleep for the first 6 months is in a separate cot or Moses basket in the same room as you.”

 

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Am I seeing double? Also Gigi pops up only one ear, the same as Lola.

Am I seeing double? Also Gigi pops up only one ear, the same as Lola.

One of Lola’s unique traits is that she’s got one ear up:
It’s her right ear, and it stands up most of the time, while her left ear is mostly floppy. I guess she’s right eared then?

Fostering Gigi we jokingly referred to her as Lola’s Mini-Me:
Although she’s very different, there are a few characteristics that are so identical with Lola, they make her look like Lola when she was a puppy.

Now that Gigi stays with us we get to see how well she develops.

And every now and then I wonder if I’m seeing double:
Also Gigi has only one ear that pops up, and it’s her right ear, too.

Little Gigi only pops up one ear, and looks ridiculously cute!

Little Gigi only pops up one ear, and looks ridiculously cute!

 

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In today’s information overload it’s difficult to get people to do something without giving them a reason why.

 

Here’s a great example how to present an attractive hook and bulletpoint the very convincing reasons why right away:

 

A great hook together with a reason why list make a convincing case.

A great hook with a list of reasons why make a convincing case.

 

The “I’m in” button leads to a donation page. Making a contribution allows access to exclusive content.

 

This email was the last chance, so this campaign has now ended.

 

It’ll be interesting to see how successful this sponsorship drive was.

 

According to my theory of Quality over Quantity Common Sense Media deserve to fare well.

 

Oops, too many 'o' around!

Oops, too many ‘o’ around!

 

Here’s an easy to slip through mistake, as the spell checker won’t necessarily pick up on it.

 

Despite that ending a question with a preposition is not the best grammar choice, misspelling ‘to’ with ‘too’ is an obvious blunder.

 

It’s not like I want to be bothered by this.

 

I can’t help it, these spelling mistakes jump into my eyes like little grammar gremlins.

 

It’s as if an obstacle was placed in the middle of the page that my eyes simply can’t move over. They involuntarily jump back and my brain will scream a grammar nerd alert that this is wrong!

 

I just think a bit of respect for your mother tongue and the meaning of words is missing here, and with that so much depth.

 

Or, some bloody proofreading! 😉

 

 

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Illegal Dumping on the corner of Greatmore and York Street.

Illegal Dumping on the corner of Greatmore and York Street.

 

Every Friday, as it’s bin day, I clean up all the rubbish in our neighbourhood.

The more frustrating it is to find someone dumped their waste on the otherwise relatively clean abandoned plot.

It seems empty property in Cape Town attracts crime.

In the meantime the kids have nowhere to play soccer and are forced to kick their ball around next to used pampers and condoms.

Why not kill two birds with one stone and turn neglected areas into much needed green space?

Where children have nowhere but the streets to play, it should be a crime to leave public space to rot.

 

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Marked CGCB Jurbise, Made in Belgium, this tile could be close to 100 years old.

Marked “CGCB Jurbise, Made in Belgium” this tile could be close to 100 years old.

 

According to The Antique Floor Company:
CGCB is the inscription for the Compagnie Générale de la Céramique du Batiment (commonly shortened to Cerabati), a period ceramic tile producer which were an amalgamation of some of the older companies in Paray-le-Monial, Bourgogne and other usines around France.

 

As per Mario Baeck‘ doctoral thesis “The Flourishing of Belgian Ornamental Tiles and Tile Panels in the Art Nouveau Period”:
In addition to these floor tile factories there were a few earlier established factories, which made fireproof fireplace tiles, floor quarries and tiles for other forms of heavy use, such as the S.A. de Produits Réfractaires et Céramiques de Baudour and Utzschneider, Jaunez et Cie in Jurbise, established in 1876 by Charles Michelet.

 

As researched for GR-Atlas all these different factories united under one name in 1921:
En 1921, les différentes usines de la société Utzschneider et Edouard Jaunez deviennent La Compagnie Générale de la céramique de bâtiment ou Cerabati.

It also states that due to difficulties this factory closed in 1985:
Cependant, dans les années 1980, le site connaît des difficultés et l’usine ferme définitivement en 1985.

 

So this tile could date back as far as 1921, but it is definitely from before 1985. Even if it’s not antique that still makes it vintage.

Was this maybe a tile in the fire place of The Broken Palace? And was it common practice to use imported tiles from Europe?

 

If you know more about Woodstock’s unique history, please get in touch: TrulyJuly@web.de

 

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Our puppy licks her mouth in anticipation of this tasty treat.

Our puppy licks her mouth in anticipation of this tasty treat.

 

Researching how I can help our foster puppy outgrow her rickety legs, I always came across one food that seems to be only good for dogs: Sardines!

 

I like adding real food to my puppies’ diet, and already feed an egg a day.

 

Looking for a dietary source of vitamin D, calcium and phosphorus, sardines kept on popping up.

 

In addition, sardines are not a risk of high heavy metal contents like mercury.

 

I was interested what others say about sardines and found that the internet is raving about the benefits:

 

Can I Give My Dog…?
“Sardines help regulate the immune system and reduce inflammation, particularly if your dog has joint issues. It’s also good for the brin and may even protect against allergies.”

 

Dogster
“Sardines are full of omega-3 fatty acids and Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10),” Kutcher says. “The fatty acids have many health benefits, like cancer prevention, reducing inflammation, and keeping the immune system strong. CoQ10 supports a healthy heart and circulation. The fatty acids also help brain development, which makes them good for puppies and kittens.”

 

It is even recommended to feed double the amount of sardines to puppies than to adult dogs.

 

This is perfect for our little sickly rescue puppy. Hopefully eating sardines will help her catch up in her development.

 

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One of the tiles we found in our garden dates back to 1901 - 1911.

One of the tiles we found in our garden dates back to 1901 – 1911.

 

Marked “De Baudour, Oscar Gerard, Directeur” on the inside, and “Ste ANme de Produits Refractaires & Ceramiques” around the outside of the circular emblem.

According to the Western Australian Museum: refractory, dark grey ceramic, made in Belgium.

As per iCollector.com: De Baudour opened as a pottery factory in southern Belgium in 1842 under Francois Declercq. Oscar Gerard was Director from 1901 to 1911, dating these tiles to that time period.

The question is when did these tiles make it to South Africa?

And: Are these tiles relics from The Broken Palace?

If you know more, please get in touch: TrulyJuly@web.de 🙂

 

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Can you spot the spelling mistake?

Can you spot the spelling mistake?

 

Here we have an advertisement for a copywriting course, which is referred to as ‘copyright course’. An easy to make writing mistake with this homophone.

 

Of course the quotes could suggest someone else said this and the blunder was copied over from them, except that this someone else isn’t quoted, making the quotes pretty pointless. The missing punctuation also doesn’t help.

 

I’d go as far as saying for SEO purposes it could very well make sense to include a spelling error probably many people make when typing their search into Google.

 

However, I cringe at such rookie mistake and wonder if they are following good practices such as proofreading their copy. 😮

 

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#RattieSitting the Louna clan: Welcome back you cutsie schmoopies!

#RattieSitting the Louna clan: Welcome back you cutsie schmoopies!

 

I’m #RatSitting and am seriously thinking of starting up a Rat Hotel.

 

That is purely because looking after pet rats is a very special matter and reminds me of VIP services at five star hotels:

 

From special dietary requirements to medical treatment for illnesses to room temperature regulation, the requests are nothing short of celebrity demands. 😉

 

And why not: Rats might look small but their personalities are big. For such tiny creatures it is amazing how much love they have to give.

 

That’s why the relationship with a pet rat is very close. Ratties can leave a huge gap in their owners’ life and are sorely missed even if it’s just for the duration of a vacation.

 

So it is only understandable that everything needs to be perfect for the ratoots, after all they deserve a holiday, too. 🙂

 

Hence the Rat Hotel, that comes complete with Activity Programme and #RattieTreats. No five star deluxe suite yet, but cage swap and Rat City provide just as much entertainment of new spaces to explore.

 

If you’d like to give the Rat Hotel a try and book in your pet rat for #RattieSitting, please get in touch: TrulyJuly@web.de

 

Follow Rats Make Great Pets on Facebook and on Google+. 🙂

 

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Peaches is so adorably cute. :)

Peaches is so adorably cute. 🙂

 

I’m happily #RattieSitting and decide to give a round of treats, which also gives me an opportunity to check up on everyone.

 

During the day pet rats sleep most of the time, so they’re all hidden away in their nests.

 

A #RattieTreat is a welcomed addition to a lazy sunny afternoon.

 

I portion the treats and place them in each cage. The ratties smell the new food right away, but some of them only slowly wake up, yawning and stretching their arms.

 

As one by one comes out to take their share, I watch and count: Peaches, where’s Peaches?

 

I look in every box, nest and hammock, which is now possible as they’re all empty. I can’t see Peaches. I look again.

 

A slight panic is starting to creep up as my mind races: When did I last see Peaches? When did I last open the cage? And: Hang on, wouldn’t she be close by anyhow?

 

So I call her: “Peaches!”

 

Behind me, inside the cage, a box rattles that I had forgotten about, it’s a flat cereal box, tucked away right beneath the hammock.

 

Out comes Peaches.

 

🙂

 

 

Follow Rats Make Great Pets on Facebook and on Google+. 🙂

 

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As a puppy Lola wanted to sleep in our bed and always found a way to squeeze in there.

As a puppy Lola wanted to sleep in our bed and always found a way to squeeze in there.

 

Our rescue puppies were both so small when we got them it wasn’t even a question if they’re allowed to sleep in the bed, it was a matter of survival.

 

And because of that I find myself checking up on the pup, driven by the worry that something might have happened while I was asleep:

 

Could I squash my pet in my sleep?

 

I also have pet rats, and while most will go back to their cage for a good night’s rest, some of them enjoy sleeping in my bed. It’s really wonderful, they cuddle up around my feet and keep me nice and snug and warm.

 

But they are tiny and fragile, and for a while I was worried I could somehow squash them in my sleep.

 

When however in the very unlikely event of an earthquake my pet rat decided to wake me, I realised that we forget how much more animals are in tune with their environment:

 

If my pet rat can sense an earthquake coming, early enough to clamber onto the bed and wake me, surely they can sense if I’m about to turn around in my sleep.

 

 

Puppies too will simply move out of the way. As they tend to squeak ahead of potential danger, they probably wake you if they’re in any discomfort.

 

I learned to wake up right away if there are any puppy noises, usually it means it’s time for a toilet break.

 

But at least when it’s about falling asleep again, I can rest assured that it is very unlikely to accidentally harm your pet while sleeping. 🙂

 

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While waiting for the page to load, Flickr reassures you:

While waiting for the page to load, Flickr reassures you: “This is the web page you are looking for.”

In South Africa internet is a joke and most fancy designed websites take ages to load.

Waiting for a web page to load is not only irritating, it’s also confusing if you don’t know what’s going on: Should you reload? Should you start over? How long do you have to wait?

Good Practice is to inform your users where they are and what to expect, so there are no unwanted surprises.

Flickr is doing an excellent job keeping you reassured you are doing the right thing, and they go a step further and make it entertaining.

From “Firing up the engines” to “Questioning the Magic Donkey” to “Herding pandas”, you’ll get all sorts of fun announcements while the page is loading, making it just a little more bearable having to wait. 🙂

Furthermore, Flickr keeps you entertained while waiting for their page to load:

Flickr keeps you entertained while their page is loading: “Questioning the Magic Donkey”. – Certainly something to do when waiting. 😉

 

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Lola is turning into a beautiful dog.

Lola is turning into a beautiful dog.

 

I grew up with dogs and couldn’t wait to have my own.

 

But life does not always allow for a dog, so I have pet rats instead. 🙂

 

Moving into a house finally meant realising the dream of owning a dog.

 

But if you had asked me what dog I wanted, you’d gotten a blank stare as an answer.

 

Still now I cannot name a breed I’d prefer.

 

That’s why a rescue puppy was perfect for me: Let destiny decide.

 

Because you don’t know exactly how your rescue puppy will turn out, the relationship is formed on the dog’s character, their energy level, how you gel with them, how they get on with other family members.

 

Then of course it doesn’t matter what your dog will look like.

 

So it is more surprising when they grow into a stunning and beautiful hound.

 

I could’ve not wished for a better dog than Lola.

 

And now with the next unidentifiable rescue puppy, we can see if my “I’m open for any surprises” attitude pans out so well the second time around. 😉

 

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The whole soil is covered in water like a glass sheet.

The whole soil is covered in water like a glass sheet.

 

After some heavy rainfall our garden is completely under water.

That’s because we have clay and other things in our soil.

In times of water restrictions maybe a blessing in disguise: Clay, because of its density, retains moisture well.

Clay soil has very good fertility and needs less fertiliser than other soils. Simply adding organic material can maintain that fertility, improve drainage and lighten heavy soil.

A good idea is to build raised flower beds, where the water can freely drain off.

So it’s going to be a lot of hard work, but we’ll make the best out of our clay soil garden.

 

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Hello Gigi, welcome to your new home.

Hello Gigi, welcome to your new home.

 

I never puppy fostered before, and when I venture to do something new, I first ask Google.

 

So when I researched “foster dog” and one of the first posts that came up was “How to Let Go of Your Foster Dog”, I knew I was moving on dangerous grounds. 😉

 

And of course, this tiny handful of puppy managed to cute herself into our hearts.

 

We had been thinking about getting a second dog, so this does not come as a complete surprise.

 

The surprise was more how well she develops and how great she gets on with Lola.

 

Big thanks to Observatory Animal Clinic for giving this cutie a chance! They could see the zest for life in her and helped her survive. 🙂

 

Welcome to your new home, Gigi!

 

#AdoptDontShop

 

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A second dog, twice as much love! ♥

A second dog, twice as much love! ♥

 

Puppy fostering gave me the opportunity to experience having a second dog.

 

I thought it’d be a lot of work again:

Lola is a very vivid, energetic, clever and strong dog and as a puppy destroyed my long sleeve tops together with my arms beneath it. I just wasn’t sure if I was ready for that. 😉

 

Instead, having a second dog is half the work!

Lola is an excellent puppy sitter: She leads by example, shows how it’s done, teaches new games and has a lot of patience. Luckily she’s puppy enough herself to enjoy the puppy play.

 

So when the little one is attacking my socks and pierces my toes, it won’t be long until Lola gets involved. All I got to do then is divert the attention to a better toy, and soon the two are engaged in a new game.

 

They play so beautifully together I wish Lola could’ve had the joys of a big sister when she was a puppy. At least she’s got a Mini-Me now. 🙂

 

A second dog, twice as much fun! :)

A second dog, twice as much fun! 😀

 

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A new dog, a whole new dynamic in the family!

A new dog, a whole new dynamic! 🙂

 

Is your dog up for it?

Your dog will probably be spending most of the time with the new addition to the family, so it’s really important that your dog appreciates a playmate and doesn’t see the puppy as a nuisance.

 

Is your space big enough?

It’s not just finding room for another dog bed. Can your space cope with twice the energy running around? How about twice the amount of fur and muddy dog paws?

 

Budget times two

Can you afford another dog? Maybe buying food in bulk can keep the cost down, but potentially it’s your current dog expenses times two.

 

Love times two

The more love you give the more love you have, right? And how do you do that for quality time, cuddles and grooming? Can you multitask enough to do it all for two at once?

 

But only half the work

If you trained your first dog well, this is when it really pays off: All the good – but also all the bad – behaviour gets passed on to the new dog. Is your dog a good example for the new dog?

 

Be boss

Depending on the characters of your dogs they might challenge each other or take it a step further and challenge you. Are you leader enough to keep the two at peace and at ease with each other?

 

Adopt Don’t Shop

Especially as an experienced dog owner, give a rescue dog a chance: #AdoptDontShop

 

Chances are your dog will enjoy the companionship of a second dog. Just like Lola loves her Mini-Me. :)

Chances are your dog will enjoy the companionship of a second dog. Just like Lola loves her Mini-Me. 🙂

 

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This foster puppy is almost an ugly duckling story:

I was given her as a scroungy, sickly, deformed mini puppy,

and day by day she surprises us, turning into an absolute cutie!

 

After her first bath, a shiny fresh coat emerged which revealed lovely markings:

Besides her obviously cute milk beard on her chin, and her endearing white splash on her chest, her paws look quite remarkable:

 

Her front legs have one white nail, on the second toe of the right paw, and

1 white nail on the front paws.

1 white nail on the front paws.

 

her hind legs have one black nail, on the second toe of the left paw.

1 black nail on her back paws.

1 black nail on her back paws.

 

Some interesting symmetry and dualism going on there, making this puppy only more endearing. 🙂

 

#AdoptDontShop

 

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Note: Washing your rescue dog for the first time might result in change of colour, temporary shrinkage, and sudden whitening of areas previously thought to be mutt brown. 😉

 

Lola's first bath was in the bathtub, but this foster puppy is so tiny, she can get washed in the sink.

Lola’s first bath was in the bathtub, but this foster puppy is so tiny, she can get washed in the sink.

 

Et voilà! A new dog: All fresh and happy emerges a clean puppy.

Et voilà! A new dog: All fresh and happy emerges a clean puppy.

 

Before she can get to play, she's got to get rubbed dry.

Before she can get to play, she’s got to get rubbed dry.

 

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Really amazing that these two, who are so different in size and strength, play so well balanced together, that they can even pull off a tug of war. 🙂

 

Lola has a very gentle way of teaching the little puppy a new game.

Lola has a very gentle way of teaching the little puppy a new game.

 

Let’s just take a step back and remember how small this foster puppy is.

Let’s just take a step back and remember how small this foster puppy is.

 

Right in the action! Here we have some serious tug of war going on.

Right in the action! Here we have some serious tug of war going on.

 

It looks like Lola is not really putting in her weight.

It looks like Lola is not really putting in her weight.

 

Indeed: Lola is actually just taking it easy. Does the little one know?

Indeed: Lola is actually just taking it easy. Does the little one know?

 

Fostering this little rescued dog is so much fun! She’s like Lola’s personal Mini-Me whose mission is to cute herself into your heart! ♥

 

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This poor rescue pup has frog legs, a sign of rickets.

This poor rescue pup has frog legs, a sign of rickets.

 

Rickets is a nutritional deficiency that hinders the proper development of bones, leading to potential fractures and deformity. The predominant cause is a vitamin D deficiency, and lack of adequate calcium and phosphorus.

Symptoms include delayed growth, bow legs, weakness and pain in the spine, pelvis and legs.

Treatment consists of feeding the missing nutrition. If detected early enough, the pup can grow up healthy and strong. However, once the disease has progressed to a stage where the dog’s movements are hampered, the possibilities of a successful treatment are slight.

Many rescued dogs have had no adequate food which can lead to severe malnutrition to the point of starvation. For a chance to catch up on their development, feed them a highly nutritional diet, complete with all needed vitamins and minerals.

 

To prevent rickets disease, provide a diet sufficient in vitamin D, calcium and phosphorus.

 

Beware though that an overdose of vitamin D is just as harmful:
If there’s too much vitamin D in the diet, life-threatening levels of calcium (hypercalcemia) and phosphorus can occur. The result is hardening or calcification of body tissues.
Vitamin D Poisoning can occur when a dog takes more than 4,000 iu per kg of bodyweight.

Also note:  If you only use calcium without phosphorus / zinc and vitamin D, C and other minor minerals, the condition will get worse.

 

Dietary sources of vitamin D for your pup

– Fatty fish: salmon, mackerel, tuna, halibut, canned sardines

– Fish liver oils: cod liver oil

Egg yolk

Liver: beef, lamb, chicken, pork

 

Dietary sources of calcium for your pup

– Fish: salmon, tuna, sardines

– Yoghurt

– Low fat cheese: cottage, mozzarella

– Egg shells, cuttlefish bone

– Vegetables: spinach, broccoli, sweet potato

 

Dietary sources of phosphorus for your pup

Seeds: pumpkin, sunflower, chia, sesame

– Fish: salmon, carp, whitefish, cod, tuna, sardines, mackerel

– Meat: pork (lean sirloin), beef and veal (lean beef)

– Low fat dairy: yoghurt

– Legumes: lentils, chickpeas

 

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This little rescue came with bobbing head, frog legs and mild seizures. She is improving remarkably well.

This little rescue came with bobbing head, frog legs and mild seizures. She is improving remarkably well.

 

This little munchkin has seizures.

 

She is a true rescued dog, handed in from the streets to Observatory Animal Clinic.

 

So we don’t know much about her, only this: She was so full of worms that they might have affected her brain.

 

About once a day she could experience a seizure, which is manageable: It’s like a cramp gets hold of her entire body, sometimes overwhelming her that her eyes go blank and her mind goes into hiding. Giving her comfort helps and can even pull her out.

 

The question is: Will it get better?

 

When I picked her up for fostering, she looked so scroungy and tiny, like a Chihuahua puppy with frog legs. Within a couple of days she’s doubled in size, stretched her legs, we’ve cleaned her up and now she’s grooming herself, she is bouncy and jumpy and hops about like a wind-up toy. A remarkable improvement, giving hope that she can outgrow her seizures.

 

But even if she keeps on having seizures for the rest of her life, it’s not like it’s seriously affecting her: All we’ve got to do, is make sure she doesn’t drive or work heavy machinery. 😉

 

Seriously though: Minutes after a seizure she’s up again and playing in the most endearing way like nothing had happened.

 

Her zest for life is so strong, she certainly deserves a chance.

 

#AdoptDontShop

 

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In times where it seems it’s all about getting home to netflix, it might be odd not to have a TV.

But who would miss watching telly when you can have the most hilarious entertainment watching your pets.

Fostering an 8 week old rescue dog, means lots of fun during puppy play:

This little foster puppy got her priorities straight: The hoof is mouthwatering.

This little foster puppy got her priorities straight: The hoof is mouthwatering.

Challenging the big dog requires extraordinary means such as attacking with all fours up in the air.

Challenging the big dog requires extraordinary means such as attacking with all fours up in the air.

Seeing eye to eye, or well, eye to hoof.

Seeing eye to eye, or well, eye to hoof.

Such a different dynamic with a little one around! How can it be that they know exactly how to cute themselves into your heart. 😉

 

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Lola and her Mini-Me

Lola and her Mini-Me

 

A miniature Africanis!

That’s what this little munchkin looks like. 😉

Coming from the Woodstock streets, she could certainly qualify.

Furthermore, she has enough attitude to challenge our Africanis, even though Lola is like 10 times her size!

She growls and barks at Lola to get her to play and goes as far as nipping her in the hind legs!

Luckily Lola is a very generous and caring dog, so these two end up in the funniest puppy play. 🙂

 

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Puppy Bliss!

#Gratitude - one of the rewards that come with puppy fostering.

#Gratitude – one of the rewards that come with puppy fostering.

This little munchkin is looking for a forever home. She’s such a cutie!

Recovering well, this adorable puppy goes straight to playtime.

Recovering well, this adorable puppy goes straight to playtime.

As with all rescued dogs, she has a story of hardship, but couldn’t be a more cheerful pup! She really is a happy chappy! 🙂

#AdoptDontShop

 

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Rats typically own the place. You’ll find quick enough that pet rats have no qualm being in charge of your home if you let them free roam – just make sure you ratproof your place first.

 

And as they go about their daily duty to check up on their territory, they get to know your place inside and out. This includes – and I guess we all, including the ratties, agree on this – the best place to sleep: The bed!

 

When I see ratties running about on the bed, I want to be a rat!

Just imagine this giant duvet that when you jump about it just lets you sink in like a fluffy cloud.

 

However, there is a downside to it: Rats gnaw.

They can’t help themselves, they have ever growing teeth and need to grind them down regularly.

 

And if your sheet gets in the way it simply gets shredded:

That’s why when I’m #RatSitting I put on the rattie duvet – the sheets that have already been perforated by my pet rats. ;)

That’s why when I’m #RattieSitting I put on the rattie duvet – the sheets that have already been perforated by my pet rats. 😉

 

So make sure you put on some old sheets when you want your ratties to have access to your bed. You might also be lucky and your rats don’t shred.

 

Either way you’re going to be in for a treat: Ratties snuggling up to you under the duvet is just too adorable to miss!

 

 

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Do you need a plastic bag?

 

No thanks. I do need a clear bag though for the chicken.

 

Please help yourself.

 

Would you know if this chicken was frozen?

 

Frozen? I don’t think so.

 

It’s just, it’s really cold.

 

Maybe it got cold on its way here, it’s so cold out there!

 

Lol, like it got frozen when they were driving over the mountains, there is currently snow up there!

 

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Signing up to a social network without uploading a profile pic mostly leads to a default picture being displayed.

Often this is a stylised form of a portrait photo, one with long hair for female and one with short hair for male.

Why such stereotyped gender differentiation?

Here’s a neat solution to keep things simple:

Good idea: Simply convert the first letter of the name into a profile pic.

Good idea: Simply turn the first letter of a name into a profile pic.

Convert the first letter of the name into a profile pic.

This is personalised yet completely neutral way to let users sign up without even getting close to touchy topics such as gender.

 

 

In my Indiana Jones quest to clean out our garden so we can grow veggies, I came across this apartheid relic: Two coins from the 1950s.

 

South African coins from the apartheid era. Left: 3 Pence from 1951, and Right: Quarter Penny from 1953.

South African coins from the apartheid era. Left: 3 Pence from 1951, and Right: Quarter Penny from 1953.

 

Left: 3 Pence coin from 1951, Silver, King George VI third series (1951–52).

 

Right: Quarter Penny coin from 1953, Brass, Queen Elizabeth II series (1953–60).

 

Could this be a time reference? Was it maybe in the 1950s that The Broken Palace got destroyed? If you know more, please get in touch: TrulyJuly@web.de 🙂

 

 

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Guys, check out the photos from our office do!

 

Oh gosh, I look terrible! I really should lose some weight, I’m so fat!

 

No, you’re not!

 

Yes I am, look at this!

 

Well, would you ever say this to a friend?

 

What? Of course not!

 

Then why would you talk like that about yourself.

 

 

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Pet rat Rosie decides the quickest way is straight up the wall. ;-)

Pet rat Rosie decides the quickest way is straight up the wall. 😉

 

Pet rats are clever little munchkins and stubborn, too: There’s hardly a place they can’t get to, especially if they’ve set their mind to it.

A lot of my pet rats particularly like climbing up and sitting on top of the highest piece of furniture. The way to get there varies and can include all sorts of interesting stunts.

One option to get up is simply running up the wall, and as most furniture sits slightly away from the wall, the space in between makes this feat quite possible for rats.

 

One of the most enjoyable pastimes with pet rats is simply watching them:

Their acrobatic skills are impressive, their clever tricks to overcome hurdles inspirational, and their sheer will and determination are humbling.

Rats make great pets! 🙂

 

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Juice bottles: Cut the head off, drill some holes in the base - for some practical flower pots.

Juice bottles: Cut the head off, drill some holes in the base – for some practical flower pots.

 

The shape of these juice bottles is actually ideal for flower pots:

– The diameter of the bottle is about 10cm, a standard size for flower pots.

– The base is raised into a punt and gives the ideal points to drill drainage holes: As they are raised, it ensures there will always be a bit of water in the very bottom.

– The top bit can be used as a greenhouse roof to protect seedlings from weather and mice.

 

How to make flower pots from soft drink bottles:

With a pair of nail scissors, cut the top bit off.

You’ll have to cut round, that’s why it’s easier with nail scissors. Follow a line on the bottle, it’s hard not to cut skew.

Depending on the length of roots the plants will grow you can keep the bottom bit quite tall or cut it down to a standard size.
Because the plastic is see-through, you can leave a wide rim above the ground level which keeps in all the mess.

Drill drain holes in the base of the bottle.

Hold the drill steady, it’s easy to slip on the plastic. Drill about 5 holes around the centre point of the base.

Depending on the water consumption of the plant you can drill large holes so the earth will drain well or small holes to capture water.
If the plant likes wet feet, you can drill the holes higher up.

Drill ventilation holes in the top bit of the bottle.

Hold the drill even steadier, this is a slanted surface. Drill about 5 evenly spread holes in the shoulder of the bottle.

You can use the remaining  bottle tops as mini greenhouse roofs. They fit very tight into the flower pot and won’t easily come off.
Depending on the humidity preferences of the plant, you can drill large holes for good ventilation or small holes for capturing moisture and heat.

 

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Aside from aesthetics, for practical reasons alone paint is the best wood finish.

For its long life expectancy alone paint is the best wood finish.

 

With hopefully some rain coming to Cape Town during winter we need gutters!

 

But before we can install gutters, we need to decide on the look of the fascia, the trim board on which the gutter sits on.

 

Paint is generally the longest lasting finish for wood, but we’d like to keep the natural wood look.

 

Apparently there’s a well kept secret for wood treatment: water repellent preservatives (WRP).

 

The U.S. Forest Service did some research on ‘Wood Finishing: Water Repellents and Water-Repellent Preservatives’, pointing out:

“Homeowners can avoid many exterior wood-finishing problems by first treating with a WR or WRP solution to guard against damage to the wood and paint caused by water and by decay and stain fungi (mildew).
WR or WRP treatment of wood is recommended both before painting and also as a natural finish for wood.”

and concludes in their PDF ‘Water Repellents and Water-Repellent Preservatives for Wood’:

“Water-repellent preservatives can be used as natural finishes and can greatly improve the durability and appearance of wood exposed outdoors.
They can also be used as pretreatments prior to the initial painting of wood. The water repellent improves the dimensional stability of the wood, and the preservative improves the mildew resistance of the paint. These properties work in concert to extend the service life of the paint.”

 

So as long as we’re using water repellent preservatives that are paintable, we can start with the WRP wood treatment, and still apply paint later.

 

While this still doesn’t answer the question for us, it gets us a step closer! 😛

 

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#MoopSwoop Find: Ornamental bead wire cross

#MoopSwoop Find: Ornamental bead wire cross

 

Doing my weekly #MoopSwoop, I found this ornamental bead wire cross.

I’m not Christian, so I was wondering what the meaning of the cross actually is, and came across this:

 

The Latin Cross

also called the Roman, Protestant, Western or Plain Cross

Latin Cross

The Latin cross (crux ordinaria) is a stipe (upright post) with a patibulum (horizontal beam) inserted at right-angles. It is a symbol of Christianity even though it was used as a Pagan symbol for millennia before the foundation of the Christian Church.

As a Pagan symbol it has been found in China and African countries. It appears on Scandinavian Bronze Age stones depicting the destructive hammer of Thor, their god of thunder and war. It is regarded a magical symbol, bringing good luck and diverting evil. Rock carvings of the cross have been interpreted as a solar symbol, or a symbol of earth with its points representing north, south, east, and west. 

To alchemists, the cross was a symbol of the four ‘classical elements’: air, earth, fire, water. Elsewhere, the cross variously symbolised health, fertility, life, immortality, the union of heaven and earth, spirit and matter, the sun and the stars.

 

That sounds good enough for me to keep it as a good omen and hang it up somewhere in our garden. 🙂

 

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LinkedIn is a great platform to market your business.

LinkedIn is a great platform to market your business.

 

LinkedIn offers a very attractive target group, with a high income and twice the average buying power.

In addition, LinkedIn users are open for business: “A full 50 percent of B2B buyers use LinkedIn when making purchasing decisions. With 76 percent preferring to use recommendations from their professional networks, the site is essentially ‘built for social selling’.” – Hootsuite

So make sure your company gets found on LinkedIn.

On top of it go the extra mile to proactively get your business out there:

 

Publish VAC = Value Added Content

Share your content expertise by creating relevant posts. Be careful about actually publishing on LinkedIn Pulse, always keep your content on your own platform and link to it.

 

Cross-Pollinate: Connect with other social media

LinkedIn is well integrated with other social media. Simply ensure all the boxes are ticked to cross-publish your content to / from other social networks.

 

Engage with Groups

You can only join 50 groups, so choose wisely. Participate actively in LinkedIn Groups by posting relevant content and commenting. Create a company branded group for exposure of your business.

 

Use your professional headline as a status update

LinkedIn calls the text under your name on your profile your professional headline. It is by default displayed with your LinkedIn Profile Card. In addition, every time you update your headline, your entire network gets notified. So utilise this space to announce company updates or offer special deals, give-aways and links to more info.

 

Cold Message

Use LinkedIn’s advanced search to find prospects. Keep in mind it’s about making meaningful connections so set a strict filter to get good results. Remember the search terms, so you can find these potential customers again in future. Draft the invitation message carefully: Be clear what the mutual benefit is of connecting.

 

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I love photography. I love rats.

 

So I do #PortRATure: www.flickr.com/photos/trulyjuly/collections/72157675420886104. 😉

 

I take portRATures of my own ratties, when I ratsit, when I get commissioned.

 

And every now and then I do a proper photo shoot with props and all:

Rattical Valentine's

Rattical Valentine’s

 

And every now and then I get a wow awesome shot:

Rattie Sisters

Rattie Sisters

 

But does anyone actually have an idea how hard it is to take photos of rats?

 

Because, my gosh, these guys are fast! And they are curious! And they are skittish!

 

The only way to get a good shot is to gain their trust and get them to relax, which in rattie world is still only a fraction of the time actually needed for a good photo.

 

For every one picture that is acceptable, there are multitudes of photo bombs, blurs, moving out of frame or completely disappearing, accidental pees or poos, dismantling of sets and props, and general chaos.

 

But of course, that’s why we love our pet rats: Because they have their own mind and do their own thing, and often end up in funny or surprising situations you couldn’t have made up: Rats make great pets! 🙂

 

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Cement Burns right at the tip of my fingers... Ouch!

Cement Burns right at the tip of my fingers… Ouch!

 

There are still some snags around the house that we’re bit by bit attending to.

The other day we made good progress again, when plastering the remaining exposed brick work.

But when, after having asked already to finish the job nicely, I saw that there were still some gaps that had not been plastered shut, I took it upon myself to deal with it:

 

Being overly proactive, I thought: Let me just quickly smooth out the plaster and fill the corners properly.

Being highly perfectionist, it didn’t go as quickly as I had hoped.

Being totally absorbed by the task at hand, I did not feel any pain at first.

 

While dry cement is calcium oxide and relatively harmless to the touch, it turns toxic when wet:

The cement becomes calcium hydroxide, a highly alkaline substance with a pH level of 12 or higher. Natural skin surface pH is on average below 5, so any direct contact can result in serious chemical burns.

As the cement is eating through your skin, you only feel the real pain when the outer layer has breached. Now the cement reacts with the water coming out from your wounds. At this point it gets difficult to simply wash off the plaster, as the chemical reaction progresses:

First brush off any dry cement, then rinse the affected areas with clean water for 20 minutes.

 

Dry cement is also dangerous when inhaled as dust in large quantities: Prolonged or repeated exposure can lead to a disabling and often fatal lung disease called silicosis.

 

Stay clear from any health hazards caused by cement.

Always wear the correct safety gear:

– overalls with long sleeves and full-length trousers

– alkali-resistant gloves

– waterproof boots

– safety glasses

– dust mask

 

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Hello Mr Mouse! What you doing in our house?

Hello Mr Mouse! What you doing in our house?

 

We have mice in our house. They are not scared of us and run around the kitchen every now and then.

 

Our puppy Lola is of course intrigued but as we have pet rats, she must not chase rodents or any small animal.

 

But the mice are running across right in front of her!

 

And every time we cry out: “Mouse!”

 

So the other day she caught one.

 

I heard the tumult downstairs in the kitchen and then: “She caught it!”

 

I readied myself for the bad news of this poor mouse’s life.

 

“And she held it down with her paw, so I could pick it up. It’s in my hands now.”

 

Wow! Lola the Humane Mouse Trap! 😮

 

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This little mouse and his friends are unwanted guests in our house. But they're so cute, and almost tame!

This little mouse and his friends are unwanted guests in our house. But they’re so cute, and almost tame!

 

We have some unwanted guests living right under our nose: Mice.

 

They’re super cute, and almost tame, at least in the sense that we don’t seem to bother them at all.

 

One of them got caught in a net bag when he was stealing chestnuts.

 

Lola found him and licked him all over, so that he was sogging wet.

 

I detangled him and put him in a fruit punnet with food and water to relax.

The fruit punnet makes a perfect mouse house.

The fruit punnet makes a perfect mouse house.

 

What a cutie! Somehow not really afraid of us.

 

But alas, he had to return to the wild, we set him free at a field. 🙂

 

All his friends however are still having a party at our house, every single night! 😮

 

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LinkedIn - Connect to Opportunity

LinkedIn – Connect to Opportunity

 

LinkedIn is the de facto tool for professional networking.

So basically think of LinkedIn as a networking do:

 

Make an Impression

Just like you’d dress to impress at a networking event, ensure your web presence looks neat: Optimise your branding for the LinkedIn image sizes. Adapt your corporate copy for the LinkedIn professional business tone.

 

Introduce Yourself

Complete Your Personal Profile.

This is your online resume, so make sure there are no gaps. The more you complete it, the better the chances for your profile to pop up in search results.

 

Present Your Business

Fill in Your Company Page.

Viewers of your LinkedIn profile can click on the companies you work/ed for. Filling out your company profile ensures they can find the information they’re looking for. They can also follow your company page to receive updates.

 

Pitch Your Products

Create a Showcase Page.

Feature a special product or service and put it in the spotlight. You can post updates and get followers just like on your company page. You can also monitor your showcase page’s analytics and learn which product or what content proves more successful.

 

Connect

Just like you would exchange business cards at a networking event, connect with potential prospects on LinkedIn. Send them an invitation which is relevant, so they accept. Start by connecting to people in your existing network such as your school alumni or work colleagues.

 

Follow Up

LinkedIn recently improved the messaging experience to have professional conversations without having to change to another page. Now it’s even easier to break the ice. Just make sure you write your message compelling enough, so it actually gets read.

 

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Beautiful but deadly: Beware the Lily!

Beautiful but deadly: Beware the Lily!

 

We got lovely lilies, they’re beautiful to look at. Just losing a lot of pollen.

 

So I go over and start cleaning up the orange dust, and as I’m doing so, something creeps slowly back into my mind:
Lilies… Wasn’t there something about lilies?

 

Yes: Lilies are poisonous and can kill your pet!

 

It is often only communicated that lilies are poisonous to cats, but they are also lethal to rats, and can even harm toddlers!

 

I’m realising what I’m doing with a shock, because on my shoulder sits my pet rat Mielie!

 

And her reaction is pretty immediate: She almost passes out.

 

I support her head with a tissue pack, put her in a sunny spot to stay warm.

 

Poor little munchkin Mielie mouse! She looks so peaceful, but she's battling with poison!

Poor little munchkin Mielie mouse! She looks so peaceful, but she’s battling with poison!

 

Her breathing is very shallow. But she does pull through.

 

I am shocked that lilies are so easily put into our homes if they pose a deadly risk to our pets, and also a real danger to children.

 

Lilies should only be used where they traditionally belong: At a funeral. Now we know why! 😮

 

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Google translates 'Eier abschrecken' in a funny way. ;)

Google translates ‘Eier abschrecken’ in a funny way. 😉

 

Lol, it’s funny when automated translation doesn’t get an idiom.

 

Eier abschrecken is the process of rapidly cooling down boiled eggs with cold water so they are easier to peel (which apparently is a myth anyway).

 

There is actually a close translation in English:
To shock the eggs, which means to plunge into ice water in order to halt the cooking.

 

So always remember to deter your eggs after you boiled them. 🙂

Deter? Don’t deter me! Not me, man. Deter, what does that even mean, deter? Why would you deter me? What has this world come to, when you get deterred at any given chance. And for what? Is it even worth it? All the deterring? That’s just, who’d want to deter all the time. Just, take a break. And, just not me. Yeah? Just don’t deter me.

Deter? Don’t deter me! :-S

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Carrying pet rats on your shoulder is child's play! :)

Carrying pet rats on your shoulder is child’s play! 🙂

 

Rats are made for shoulder rides, they curl up snuggly around your neck and love being part of the action.

 

But, as with every ride, there’s a risk of falling off.

 

Tips how to safely carry your rat on your shoulder

 

Only indoors

Taking your pet rats outdoors can pose dangers such as exposure to illnesses, your pet getting lost, or your rat being attacked by another animal.

Start by carrying your pet rats on your shoulder indoors only.

 

Wear a scarf

For your pet rats every step you take is a leap into a new adventure. If they trust you they will enjoy it. But ratties are easily spooked and feel more comfortable if tugged away securely. A scarf they can nestle in gives them hiding space and something to hold onto.

 

Scratchy nails

You can cut your pet rat’s nails.

Or you can develop a very thick skin.

But there’s little other option, as no matter how high-neck your pullover is, the ratties will make it inside and their tiny little nails can leave scratches like paper cuts.

 

Needing to go

When your pet rat becomes restless and just won’t sit still, it could be because they really need to go for a wee.

Pet rats like to keep their environment clean and can be toilet trained. When your pet rat wants to go down from your shoulder, give them the chance to go to the toilet by placing them into their litter tray.

 

Keep your posture

You will quickly realise that bending over or twisting to the side is not going to work without your pet rat sliding off your shoulder.

Rats are very good in holding on, but the responsibility lies with you to make the ride enjoyable.

Your posture will improve accordingly: A straight back, broad shoulders, bending only in the knees, the chin up, a strong core are just some of the benefits that come with carrying rats on your shoulder. 🙂

 

Don’t get too comfortable

Your rats will love being part of your activities by sitting on your shoulder.

If it’s brushing your teeth or doing gardening work, it’s all great entertainment for your ratties.

At the same time they learn to trust you and your bond grows even stronger.

Be careful though when they get too relaxed: It happens to me quite often that one of the rats falls asleep and almost off my shoulder! 😮

 

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Zenning our garden: The circular pattern is nice to look at

Zenning our garden: The circular pattern is nice to look at

 

Just because our garden seems to have an entire house buried in it, and the soil is full of building rubble and other curious rubbish, doesn’t mean it has to look like a construction site:

 

You can always create a Zen Garden

A Zen Garden is a doubly good idea:

1) Creating a Zen Garden is meditative

There’s something very soothing about raking patterns in the sand. Apparently a circular pattern is specially relaxing, as it takes more concentration.

2) Looking at a Zen Garden is meditative

In Zen Buddhism zen gardens were designed to stimulate meditation. As places of quiet contemplation and reflection, zen gardens offer a counterbalance to the modern life stressed out FOMO existence.

 

Even our puppy Lola added her contribution: 😉

 

The design of a zen garden is not meant to stay permanently. It gets easily disturbed and invites to create new patterns.

It is also a fun way to try out different landscaping ideas:

Zenning our garden: A pathway and some flower beds give it structure

Zenning our garden: A pathway and flower beds give it structure

 

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Trying and testing: An easy way to prepare homemade coconut milk.

Trying and testing: An easy way to prepare homemade coconut milk.

 

When I saw the list of ingredients on canned coconut milk I was shocked!

While coconut milk is hailed as superfood, this type of highly processed preservation is not healthy.

 

But coconut milk is a great alternative to lactose milk, so what to do?

 

It’s super easy to make coconut milk yourself

All you need is desiccated coconut, a blender, and a strainer.

1) Soak the desiccated coconut in lukewarm water at a ratio of 1 to 3 for at least 4 hours.

2) Blend the soaked desiccated coconut and water for at least 5 minutes at highest speed.

3) Pour into a strainer to filter out the remaining coconut flakes.

4) Keep in the fridge for freshness, and to separate the coconut cream from the coconut milk.

 

Bonus Tip:

It is generally recommended to strain the coconut milk with a cheesecloth.

Just as well works a coffee plunger: Simply pour the coconut blend into the cafetière and slowly push down the plunger to capture the coconut pulp at the bottom.

If you don’t mind the odd coconut flake, this makes the whole process much easier. 🙂

 

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Build your own website!

Build your own website!

 

You’ve decided that you need a website, but what kind of online solution is best for you?

A straight forward way to determine what web presence works best for you is your budget. Essentially you can get everything, from 0 budget to crazy budget.

As I’m a fan of Marketing on a 0 Budget, here an overview of free platforms.

 

Free websites

 

Free basic sites – no authentic but customised url:

Webs, good examples: http://creativecommunications.webs.com /  http://ranzanitext.webs.com

Wix, good examples: www.wix.leaps.co.zawww.kidz.no

Weebly, good examples: http://deliciouskitchen.weebly.com /  www.aniwell.org.za

 

Open source solution – own coding possible:

WordPress, good examples: https://trulyjuly.wordpress.com /  http://fortune.com

Joomla, good examples: https://gsas.harvard.eduwww.linux.com

Drupal, good examples: www.olympic.org/rio-2016www.louvre.fr

 

Social media platforms – easy but limited:

Some would argue that with all the various social media presences available, who needs a website?

The answer is simple: Whatever activity you do out there on the internet you want to lead your potential prospects ‘home’, to a consistent site where all the necessary information is in one place.

Remember that you don’t own your social media presence. If you are deemed to have breached rules, it can be deleted without any warning. A website however, you own and are in charge of.

Still, you might want to try easy no budget solutions first, such as these:

Google Sites, good examples: https://sites.google.com/site/thephotowebwww.petitsgateaux.gr

Tumblr, good examples: https://ratshaming.tumblr.com /  http://webcomicname.com

Blogger, good examples: https://youtube-creators.googleblog.com /  http://accrispin.blogspot.com

 

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