Watch your carbon footprint: Same product and same price but different packaging

 

Comparing prices can be literally rewarding, and it also keeps your brain fit.

When you actually look at the prices and remember them, you start to spot oddities and inconsistencies right away.

Like this one, where the refill costs as much as the original, so buying the less wasteful option is not incentivised:

The refill for this dishwashing liquid costs the same as the more wasteful bottle when it should costs less, as less packaging was used.
The refill for this dishwashing liquid costs the same as the more wasteful bottle when it should costs less, as less packaging was used.

 

If you wonder why your bill at the till ends up so high, start watching your prices.

It’s fun to challenge yourself to do the maths and it feels good not to be taken for a fool because you know your numbers.

 

#ReiseBlog: Freier Museumseintritt während Südafrikas #HeritageWeek

 

Südafrikas Kulturwoche (Heritage Week) läuft vom 24. bis 30. September 2018.

Die meisten Iziko Museen bieten kostenlosen Eintritt während der Kulturwoche.

 

Besucher des Iziko South African Museum am Kulturtag (Heritage Day) 2018. Foto: Nigel Pamplin. © Iziko Museums of South Africa.
Besucher des Iziko South African Museum am Kulturtag (Heritage Day), 24.09.2018. Foto: Nigel Pamplin. © Iziko Museums of South Africa.

 

Mein #HeritageWeek Museen-Marathon in Kapstadt:

 

Hier sind alle Museen Kapstadts, die freien Eintritt während der Kulturwoche anbieten, in einer handlichen Google Maps Liste aufgeführt.

 

South African Museum auf Google Maps

25 Queen Victoria St, Cape Town City Centre, Cape Town, 8001

GPS: 33.9287° S, 18.4150° E

 

Iziko South African National Gallery auf Google Maps

Government Ave, Company’s Garden, Cape Town, 8000

GPS: 33.9291° S, 18.4173° E

 

Rust en Vreugd auf Google Maps

78 Buitenkant St, Cape Town City Centre, Cape Town, 8000

GPS: 33.9304° S, 18.4205° E

 

Iziko Museums Slave Lodge auf Google Maps

Corner Adderley and Wale Streets, Cape Town

GPS: 33.9251° S, 18.4205° E

 

Bo-Kaap Museum auf Google Maps

71 Wale St, Schotsche Kloof, Cape Town, 8001

GPS: 33.9216° S, 18.4150° E

 

Michaelis Collection at The Old Town House auf Google Maps

The Old Town House Greenmarket Square, Central, Cape Town City Centre, Cape Town, 8001

GPS: 33.9231° S, 18.4199° E

 

Koopmans-de Wet House auf Google Maps

35 Strand St, Cape Town City Centre, Cape Town, 8001

 

South African Maritime Museum auf Google Maps

Union-Castle House, Dock Rd, V & A Waterfront, Cape Town, 8000

GPS: 33.9057° S, 18.4202° E

 

Watch your prices: Bigger amount is not always cheaper per unit

 

Generally, buying in bulk means you can save some bucks.

But don’t just grab the larger size, check the prices before.

Take it as your daily brain exercise and quickly do the maths for a reward that is not only good for your mind, but also for your wallet.

 

This example shows that bigger does not always mean cheaper per unit:

Watch your prices: Against the usual practice in this example it'd be cheaper to buy 2 of the small sizes than 1 of the bigger size.
Watch your prices: Against the usual practice in this example it’d be cheaper to buy 2 of the small sizes than 1 of the bigger size.

 

Don’t be taken back by the numbers, round it up and it’s an easy one to work out:

The larger amount is twice as much (125g + 125g = 250g), but 2 x R22 is R44, which is less than R50.

 

It is these kinds of inconsistencies that when spotted can save you a lot of money.

Well, in this case R6, but it all adds up.

 

So start watching your prices, it feels good not to be taken for a fool because you know your numbers.

 

Watch your costs: Same product but different prices

 

Comparing prices is literally rewarding: You can save a lot of money!

 

But it’s also rewarding as a brain exercise: Keep mentally fit by remembering your prices.

 

This also helps you spot inconsistencies, as you actually look at the price and don’t just blindly trust the supermarket that they indeed offer you the best deal.

 

Such as this oddity, where the same product is displayed with different prices:

The same feta cheese is advertised with different prices. A difference of R5! Which one is the actual price to pay?
The same feta cheese is advertised with different prices. A difference of R5! Which one is the actual price to pay?

 

If you wonder why your bill at the till ends up so high, start watching your prices.

 

It’s fun to challenge yourself to do the maths and it feels good not to be taken for a fool because you know your numbers.

 

Healthy Greens Side Dish Tip: Red Beetroot Leaves

 

It’s a lot of fun to try new foods and experiment in the kitchen.

 

You don’t have to go far to find a whole new variety of yummies: A lot of what we cut and throw away can actually be eaten.

 

Red Beetroot Leaves: Healthy greens for a side dish

 

 

Red beetroots are super easy to regrow from the tops that get generally cut off.

 

The leaves start sprouting very quickly and are edible:

Fresh and young they can be added to salads,

more mature and leathery they can be boiled or fried like spinach.

 

Beet greens are nutritious as they are rich in Vitamin K, copper, manganese, iron and calcium, and they are great for maintaining a healthy weight, as they contain zero saturated fat nor cholesterol.

 

 

Recipe for Red Beetroot Leaves

 

Boil / blanch / steam the red beetroot leaves until tender. Make a vinaigrette or salad dressing of your liking and toss the beet greens until well covered. Serve warm as a side dish or cooled down as a salad.

 

Braise / fry / sauté the red beetroot leaves together with garlic, chilli pepper flakes, salt and pepper until soft. Serve warm as a side dish or cooled down as antipasto.

 

Roast / grill / braai the red beetroot leaves covered in olive oil and salt and pepper until crisp. Serve warm as a side dish or cooled down as a snack.

 

For more inspiration check out these 15 beet green recipes.

 

#Recipe #Tip brought to you by Yours * TrulyJuly *.

 

Watch your prices: Same offer but different amount

 

If you want to change the world, put your money where your mouth is. Literally.

 

Women have the majority of buying power, imagine what could happen if all made a point of supporting women’s businesses.

 

Being conscious about how you spend your money includes comparing prices.

 

Especially in supermarkets, where it’s so easy to be mislead.

 

Watch out: At a first glance these two offers might look the same, but the amount is very different.
Watch out: At a first glance these two offers might look the same, but the amount is very different.

 

Make it a fun game to spot offers and quickly do the calculations in your head to find out if this is indeed a good price.

 

You’ll be surprised how many of these so called offers turn out to be quite a rip-off.

 

#Good #Practice #Tip: Use your 404 error message for a great brand experience

 

An error 404 occurs when clicking on a broken or dead link.

It is a nuisance but it doesn’t have to be a dead end.

 

This is probably the one time you have your users’ undivided attention. Don’t waste it with a blank page.

Instead, enrich your visitor’s experience:

 

3 contents to add to your 404 error message

 

1)  Be creative and surprise your customer with a brand themed humourous display of the 404 error.

2)  Offer reassurance and instructions how to deal with this error.

3)  Take the opportunity to guide your visitor to alternative value-added content.

 

A great example that ticks all the boxes:

A well designed informative 404 error page aligned with the brand: Sorry... that page is hiding so lets keep digging!
A well designed informative 404 error page aligned with the brand: Sorry… that page is hiding so lets keep digging!

 

#Good #Practice #Tip brought to you by Yours * TrulyJuly *.

Learn more Content Marketing tips by following Content Coach on Facebook.

 

A healthy low FODMAP gluten-free yoghurt thickener: Chia Seeds

 

It can be difficult to find just plain yoghurt without any additives. A lot of yoghurts contain preservatives and thickeners.

 

With IBS I’m sticking to a low FODMAP diet and simply avoid any processed foods.

Yoghurt is one of the few enjoyments that are actually good for your gut and unless you’re lactose intolerant you can enjoy it even on a low FODMAP diet.

 

I found that amasi is a good alternative to the common supermarket yoghurt, as it contains nothing but milk and probiotic cultures – like yoghurt should be.

However, it is more like a liquid yoghurt, meant for drinking, as it comes in a bottle. So I find it a bit too runny for some of my breakfast dishes.

So I was looking for a healthy, FODMAP friendly, gluten-free way to thicken the yoghurt:

 

Chia seeds as a naturally low FODMAP gluten-free thickener

 

Only 2 table spoons of chia seeds – the recommended serving for people with gut problems – turn a 500g jar of yoghurt into a thick mousse:

 

The chia seeds absorb the excess moisture from the yoghurt and turn into gel. The mild nutty flavour of the chia seeds complements the yoghurt nicely.

Add fresh fruits and your superfood health breakfast is ready.

Or yummy up any dessert as a creamy topping.

 

Any type of yoghurt, be it lactose-free or dairy-free, can be thickened with chia seeds. Or juices or milk can be turned into smoothies.

Just mix the chia seeds well, best to stir or to shake the mixture, and let it sit until it turns into jelly.

 

 

Nom nom! :-p

 

#HowTo dry chillies: Thread them into a ristra

 

Chilli pepper plants look pretty with their fiery vibrant chillies.

 

But at some point these chillies need to be harvested or they might just go off.

To keep them from spoiling, one way to store chillies is by drying them.

 

How to dry chillies on a thread: Make a ristra

 

–  Snip the chillies off the plant at the top of their stem.

–  Using a sturdy, yet thin thread or string, sew the chillies one by one onto the thread at the base of their stem.

–  Make a big knot at both ends of the string.

–  Hang decoratively in a dry and well ventilated spot in your home.

 

 

It’s so easy to make a ristra!

It adds a dash of natural colour to your kitchen and makes for great decor.

You can simply pinch off a chilli as you need it, their flavour and heat intensifies as they dry.

Chillies can be kept this way for a long time. Fully dried out they become brittle, consume before they start to disintegrate.

 

#UrbanGardening

 

#HowTo spot a fake profile on LinkedIn: Don’t get distracted by tits!

 

There are lots of fake profiles out there on social media.

 

A quick and easy way to confirm the validity of a profile is by googling their profile image.

 

LinkedIn is no exception. Having over 15,000 followers on LinkedIn, I get a lot of connection requests.

But my trained eye spots the fake content right away, especially when it involves tits.

 

Yes, don’t be gullible, a profile picture that is drawing attention to bodily features on LinkedIn is always dodgy.

After all, this is meant to be a professional networking site and anyone showing off their tits should be really out of place in this context.

 

Yet, 95 of my connections fell for this fake profile!

 

And it’s so easy and quick to double check:

Simply right click on the profile image and let Google search for this very image.

This is not a professional profile picture for LinkedIn and should immediately raise concern.
This is not a professional profile picture for LinkedIn and should immediately raise concern. Double check the validity of the profile by right-clicking to search Google for this image.

 

The search result reveals:

This big tits picture is used on dating sites and has already been flagged on an anti-scam forum.

Searching Google for this fake profile picture shows that it is dodgy.
Searching Google for this fake profile picture shows that it is dodgy: Not only is it used for dating sites, it already has been flagged on an anti-scam forum.

 

To protect more people from being drawn into this scam, the correct thing to do is to report and block this fake profile.

LinkedIn is very quick in removing fake content and this dodgy profile is already gone.

 

#BeCyberSmart  #GetCyberSafe  #ThinkBeforeYouPost

#CyberTips  #InternetSafety  #OnlineSecurity  #eSafety

 

#Visa #Application: Where to get same day radiology report in Cape Town

 

Getting official documents for visa application ready can be a nightmare.

 

More so if you need them, like, yesterday.

 

Having had to submit a completely new visa application, as I was not allowed to transfer my visa to my new passport, I was faced with getting a radiology report within 2 days.

 

 


The radiology report form that needs to be filled in as part of the visa application.
The radiology report form that needs to be filled in as part of the visa application.

 

Where to ask?

Again, taking to the streets of Cape Town brought me the answer:

It was at our local supermarket where I always have a chat with the staff, that someone from Kenya had experienced the same ordeal and was happy to share this useful information:

 

The UCT Faculty of Health Sciences offers same day radiology reports.

Simply go to their Radiology Department and ask them for the report for Home Affairs. They have the form there and know the drill.

Of course, this service comes with a fee: R500 for what should normally be done for free – but for that, you’d have to wait.

 

#InsiderTip

 

#HowTo automatically add birthdays to your Google Calendar

 

If you are as diligent with your calendar as with your contacts, there’s an easy hack to add birthdays to your Google Calendar:

 

Google automatically shows the birthdays of your Google Contacts address book in its calendar.

 

All you need to do is enable the birthday calendar by selecting it in the My calendars dropdown menu: 

 

In your Google Calendar open the dropdown menu under ‘My calendars’ and select ‘Birthdays’.

 

 

Where to take biometric passport photos in Cape Town CBD

 

A biometric passport photo has strict specifications.
A biometric passport photo has strict specifications.

 

When you need to apply for a South African ID or passport, your biometrics are taken at Home Affairs or a Home Affairs equipped Bank Branch.

 

But when it comes to visas or foreign passport renewals, you mostly need to supply a biometric passport photo.

 

Where to take a biometric picture in Cape Town:

 

Cameraland Cape Town: 68 Long Street, Cape Town City Centre, Cape Town, 8001 – R50 for a set of standard passport photos.

 

Audiolens V&A Waterfront: S7105 Victoria Wharf Shopping Center, Breakwater Boulevard, V & A Waterfront, Cape Town, 8002 –
R70 per set per person.

 

Orms Cape Town: Shop 5, Roeland Square, 95 Upper Canterbury Street, Gardens, Cape Town, 8001 – R80 per set of passport photos.

 

Wizardz Print Gardens: Shop LB6, Gardens Shopping Centre, Mill Street, Gardens, Cape Town, 8001 – R80 for 8 photos.

 

#HowTo rename your photos in a Windows folder

When you download your photos from your camera to your computer, they might just get imported with their original image file name, e.g. IMG_number.

 

For good practices it makes sense to follow a naming convention and rename your pictures with a meaningful description.

 

However, doing this by hand is just an impossible feat.

 

Windows Hack: How to rename your pictures in bulk

 

Step 1: Select all pictures in the folder and press F2. Ensure your mouse hovers over the first file.

Select in the folder all images you want to rename and press F2 while hovering over the first picture.
Select in the folder all images you want to rename and press F2 while hovering over the first picture.

 

Step 2: Type the new name for the first image.

Replace the original file name of the first image with the new name.
Replace the original file name of the first image with the new name.

 

Step 3: Hit the ‘enter’ button and all photos get renamed to the name of the first picture, adding the counting numbers in brackets.

When you click 'return' all photos selected get renamed in consecutive order.
When you click ‘return’ all photos selected get renamed in consecutive order.

 

Done! 🙂

 

#HowTo survive a stomach bug

 

Laughter is the best medicine... Unless you have diarrhea.
Laughter is the best medicine… Unless you have diarrhea.

 

Especially during the cold seasons more people tend to get ill and more people huddle together indoors.

Bugs spread easily and with the rise of the superbug can be dangerous.

Read here: How to prevent a superbug infection.

 

If you do catch gastroenteritis, there’s not much you can do besides treating the symptoms, especially if it’s a superbug and resistant to antibioatica treatment.

To be on the safe side consult a doctor or pharamacist. You can get medicine that helps with the diarrhea, the dehydration it may cause and nausea.

 

You can also try some homemade remedies:

 

How to survive a stomach bug

 

–  Rehydrate, but not immediately after vomiting

It’s important to make up for the loss of fluids caused by diarrhea.
But if you’re vomiting, let your stomach settle first: It is irritated already, don’t put anything more into your belly for at about 1 hour.

 

–  Try small amounts first

If you feel nauseous but have appetite, try small amounts of liquid first. Wait 10 minutes to see how your stomach reacts. If the vomiting have passed you can try the same with food.

 

–   Replenish electrolytes

Electrolytes are essential minerals that you lose with the excess fluid from dirrahea. Coconut Water is a great source of natural electrolytes.  If you can eat food, try bananas, watermelon, avocado for an extra boost of electrolytes.

 

–  Combat the nausea

Brush your teeth and scrape your tongue to get that fresh feeling.
Lemon, ginger, chamomile, mint help with the nausea, make a tea and smell the fumes to find out if your stomach can take it.

 

–  Skip digestive irritants

Give your body a rest from dairy products, caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, fatty, spicy or sugary foods.

 

–  Eat bland foods and drink clear fluids

Slowly ease back into eating:
Start with bone broth, which is nutrient-dense, easy to digest, and can heal the gut.
Stick to bland foods, e.g. rice, oatmeal, boiled potatoes, crackers and only drink clear liquids, e.g. water, herbal tea, dilluted juice.

 

–  Take a good rest

Treat yourself to a hot bath or a day in bed. Your body is exhausted from the cramps and nutritinal loss. Take a break and look after yourself.

 

–  Recharge with probiotics

Now that your digestive system has been flushed clean, help your gut recover by ingesting probiotics.
Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are beneficial for your digestion.
Probiotics can be found in naturally fermented foods, e.g. yoghurt, kefir, buttermilk, pickles not using vinegar, sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, tempeh, kombucha, natto.

 

#Internet #Safety: Check the source before you share

 

This looks like a typical post on Facebook. But check the source first before you share it.
This looks like a typical post on Facebook. But check the source first before you share it.

 

This is a typical post shared on Facebook: Nothing out of the ordinary, everything seems legit.

 

And of course it’s flattering to most parents, as most children go through a phase of liking dinosaurs.

 

Obsession with dinosaurs is the second most common intense interest of children. Yet, the topic feels quite specific, like only applying to your child.

 

So it appeals to a wide audience, who readily share it:

59 percent share an article without even reading it.

 

However, in order to combat internet fraud, fake news, scams and spam, we have to check the content and the source of the stories we share.

 

When clicking on the link I’m indeed taken to a solid looking website with a sound article.

 

But why would this particular source be an expert on this particular topic? Did they maybe just repost this story from somewhere, if so, what is the original source?

 

Clicking on the homepage of this source reveals that this is definitely not what I want to share:

What they call “Alternative News & Hub for All Things Weird & Interesting” looks to me like conspiracy theories and clickbait headlines.

 

To confirm I google the source and what others are saying about it.

And indeed: Wikipedia included it in the List of fake news websites, referencing this article: Avoid These Fake News Sites at All Costs.

 

Even if you agree with the content of a specific article, check the context in which it was posted: It might just be a well crafted clickbait story linking to a really dodgy website.

 

#BeCyberSmart  #GetCyberSafe  #ThinkBeforeYouPost

#CyberTips  #InternetSafety  #OnlineSecurity  #eSafety

 

#HowTo make dog ear cleaning solution

Familiarise yourself with the anatomy of dog ears to best apply the cleaning solution.
Familiarise yourself with the anatomy of dog ears to best apply the cleaning solution.

 

To prevent ear infections, dog ears must stay clean at all times: How to clean your dog’s ears.

 

You can consult your vet on dog ear cleaning products or you can make your own:

 

Homemade dog ear cleaning solution recipes

 

Vinegar solution: 1 part of vinegar + equal part of water

Probably the best vinegar to use is apple cider vinegar, as that is also beneficial when digested. White vinegar is more acidy and stingy.

The water should be clean, it might be a good idea to boil it beforehand. Just make sure it has cooled down to lukewarm.

You can rev up your vinegar solution by adding a small amount of another cleaning agent, such as baking soda / boric acid / alcohol / iodine.

 

Oil blend: 1 tablespoon of base oil + 1 drop of essential oil

The base oil needs to be light, healthy and gentle such as coconut or olive oil.

The essential oil should have disinfecting qualities like lavender, geranium, frankincense.

Alternatively you can infuse the oil with garlic or add a few drops of sweet almond oil.

 

#HowTo clean dog ears

 

If your dog is active out and about outside, it’s a good idea to check their ears regularly.

 

Signs your dog’s ears need a clean

–   scratching at one or both ears

–   rubbing ears on the carpet

–   frequent shaking of head

 

How to clean your dog’s ears

 

1. Have everything ready.

Prepare a place outside or in the bath where it’s ok if things get a bit messy.

Lay out everything you need: Scissors, cotton balls or a cloth, ear cleaning solution, cotton-tipped applicator, a towel, treats.

 

2. Train your dog to sit still.

Familiarise your dog with the equipment, show there’s nothing to be afraid of and give them a treat. Make sure your dog is comfortable and relaxed.

 

3. Trim excess hair around the ear.

Your dog must sit still for this. Use small handy scissors with a dull end to not accidentally pierce your dog.

Cut all hair that obstructs dirt from coming out of your dog’s ear.

 

4. Flush the ear with cleaning solution.

Don’t insert any tool into your dog’s ear canal further than you can see or you might damage the ear drum.

Completely fill your dog’s ear canal with cleaning solution. To avoid mess, don’t overspill. Close the ear flap over the opening. Your dog must still sit still.

 

5. Massage the ear.

Your dog should enjoy this: Gently rub the base of your dog’s ear between thumb and index finger in a circular motion for about half a minute.

Make sure the cleaning solution spreads around everywhere and the ear gets a good soak. You should be able to hear a smacking sound.

 

6. Let your dog shake their ears out.

To keep mess at a minimum, hold a towel around your dog’s head.

Encourage your dog shake out all the cleaning solution.

 

7. Clean up the rest.

Be very careful not to accidentally push any dirt back into the ear canal. Don’t use cotton swabs.

Wipe the ear with cotton wool or a cloth from the inside out. Then gently clean in between the skin folds.

 

8. Repeat.

Repeat the process with the other ear. Or, should the ear still be dirty, repeat with the same ear.

 

A handy step by step infographic by Montego:

Step by step: How to clean dog ears by Montego.
Step by step: How to clean dog ears by Montego Pet Nutrition.

 

 

Do what you like, every day

 

Apparently it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert.

 

So better start now!

 

I started committing to #ABlogPostADay back in February 2017.

 

I took a break. It didn’t work. After such a long time of making writing my daily habit I feel bad not doing it.

 Yours *TrulyJuly* Blog Post Frequency: Taking a break did not feel good.
Yours *TrulyJuly* Blog Post Frequency: Taking a break did not feel good.

 

It’s a relative easy task to implement: Whatever it is you really like doing, the thing you dream of being your career one day, do it. Every day.

 

So, if you like photography, take a picture every day. Even if it’s just a snapshot with your phone.

If you like baking, bake every day. Or at least tend to your dough every day.

If you like painting, paint every day. Or at least draw or doodle every day.

If you like running, run every day. It doesn’t have to be long. Simply getting into the routine to put on your running gear helps.

If you like cooking, cook every day. Or at least think of a recipe every day.

If you like to cycle, cycle every day. Even if it’s just to get from A to B.

If you like playing the guitar, play every day. Even if it’s just your favourite piece of music.

If you like reading, read every day. One page will do for a start.

If you like soccer, kick the ball around every day. The kids in our street do it, every day after school.

 

If this is really what you like doing, it should come naturally to you to do it as often as possible.

If this is really where your passion lies, you’ll find a way of doing it.

 

And if you don’t, then it’s maybe because this is not your true calling.

 

Either way, commit to it every day and you’ll soon find out.

 

Best Practice Tip: #HowTo introduce a new tool

 

If you were presented with a new feature called ‘Copy’ do you think you’d know what it does?

Most people are probably familiar with the copy and paste function.

 

Still, when this is offered as a new component in your edit menu, it needs to be announced to the user.

 

Great example: Introducing a new tool

 

WordPress introduces its new copy tool: Need to duplicate a post or page? Hover over the title of your post or page and click “Copy”.
WordPress introduces its new copy tool: Need to duplicate a post or page? Hover over the title of your post or page and click “Copy”.

 

This little piece of content works well, because it contains

 

3 good practices of Value Added Content (VAC):

 

1.  KISS message: A simple screengrab that shows what to expect and a straight forward one-liner with clear instructions is all that is needed to create awareness for a change of the control panel.

 

2.  Call to Action: In case this is not enough explanation, there’s a link to click to learn more.

 

3.  Interaction: For this notification to disappear, the user needs to actively close the pop-up window. This could count as an indiction they saw the message.

 

 

#HowTo prevent a superbug infection

 

Yoh! One of my New Year resolution is to keep at #ABlogPostADay again, but this week I was hit flat and couldn’t write: I had caught a superbug!

 

Image: Antibiotic resistance tests by Dr Graham Beards.
Image: Antibiotic resistance tests by Dr Graham Beards.

 

What is a superbug?

 

A superbug is a virus that is resistant to medical treatment such as antibiotics or antiviral drugs.

 

That means there is no cure. You’ve got to get through it. It’s only possible to treat the symptoms.

 

I already suffer from IBS and being hit by such severe gastroenteritis with extreme abdominal pains was like going through hell.

 

So better watch out not to catch one of those superbugs in the first place.

 

How to prevent a superbug infection

 

Wash your hands

Generally we wash our hands after using the bathroom, before preparing or eating food, and after gardening or other dirty tasks. You should also wash up after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing, feeding or stroking your pet, or visiting or caring for a sick person. However, don’t over sanitise either.

 

Keep yourself healthy

Any bug can only get to you when your immune system is down. So eat nutritious food, get proper sleep, do your exercise, laugh a lot and get some sunshine.

 

Keep things clean

Wash fruits and veggies before eating, wipe frequently kitchen and bathroom surfaces, pack away food right away, wear gloves when doing gardening work, throw away trash without delay, pick up and dispose of pet poop in a safe manner, fix drafty holes, wet leaks, mouldy corners.

 

Avoid food that contains antibiotics

Mass farming means antibiotics are administered preventively, contaminating the meat we eat. Buy organic produce, grow your own veggies, avoid processed foods.

 

Avoid using antibiotics

Nowadays we get easily antibiotics prescribed. Is it really necessary? Are there alternative ways? Ask your doctor how to cut down on the antibiotics consumption.

If you do decide to take antibiotics, insist on getting one that is specific for your bacterial infection rather than a cocktail of many antibiotics, and to only take the minimum amount. Dispose of any leftovers, do not take the antibiotic for something else.

 

Travel safe

When you go abroad, ensure your vaccinations are up to date and you are following the health and safety recommendations provided by the local embassy or centre for disease control and prevention or hospital for tropical diseases.

Heat kills bacteria, so eat properly cooked food, boil water before drinking it or buy bottled water, avoid ice cubes.

 

#HowTo get the permalink of a Facebook post

 

When your content goes viral and people start sharing your post on Facebook, you might want to take note of it.

Spare yourself the hassle of having to scroll through timelines at a later stage in an attempt to find a particular post.

 

Save the permalink of the shared post for your records

 

1.  Find your post on the timeline it has been shared to.

 

Click on the three dot more options menu icon.

In the drop-down menu click on ‘Show in tab’.

Right-hand drop-down menu: Click on 'Show in tab'.
Right-hand drop-down menu: Click on ‘Show in tab’.

 

2.  The post now sits in a tab in the window. Your browser window must be wide enough for the tab to show.

 

Click on the gear options menu.

In the drop-down menu click on ‘See full post’.

Right-hand options menu: Click on 'See full post'.
Right-hand options menu: Click on ‘See full post’.

 

3.  Voilà! Your shared post is shown in the full window, with its permalink.

 

Click in the browser window address bar.

Select and copy the permalink.

The post's permalink shows in the address bar.
The post’s permalink shows in the address bar.

 

#Good #Practice #Tip: Even a 404 Error can be Fun!

 

The ‘404 Not Found’ error is one of the most recognisable errors encountered on the internet. – So we’ve all been there.

 

It occurs when the web page you’re looking for can’t be found.

 

This can happen for two reasons:

–  You inserted a wrong URL.

–  The website has been removed.

 

Depending on how user friendly the designer of the online presence was, the HTTP 404 error leaves you usually with nothing much helpful.

 

What a wasted opportunity!

 

Turn your 404 error into a customer bonding experience

 

A great example for an Error 404 well done: "Looks like you got lost. No worries, our rocket will take you back home."
A great example for an Error 404 well done: “Looks like you got lost. No worries, our rocket will take you back home.”

 

A little effort put into the design of the default 404 error message goes a long way:

Instead of a frustrating dead end, your customer will remember with a smile how you helped them out of a fickle situation.

 

Learn more Content Marketing tips by following Content Coach on Facebook.

 

How to turn off the default email notifications in Facebook settings

 

By default Facebook sends you an email for every little notification.

 

This can quickly fill up your email account.

 

You cannot completely stop this, but at least reduce the amount by choosing to receive ‘only notifications about your account, security and privacy’.

 

How to change your Facebook email notification settings

 

Go to Facebook Settings -> Notifications:

To view and amend your Facebook settings go to: https://www.facebook.com/settings
To view and amend your Facebook settings go to: https://www.facebook.com/settings

 

In Notifications click on Email or right-click open the link in a new tab to get to the Email Settings editing page:

To change the amount of email notification you receive from Facebook select ‘Email’ in 'Notifications settings'.
To change the amount of email notification you receive from Facebook select ‘Email’ in ‘Notifications settings’.

 

In your Email settings chose to receive ‘Only notifications about your account, security and privacy’:

For the least amount of email notifications from Facebook select ‘Only notifications about your account, security and privacy’ beneath ‘WHAT YOU’LL RECEIVE’.
For the least amount of email notifications from Facebook select ‘Only notifications about your account, security and privacy’ beneath ‘WHAT YOU’LL RECEIVE’.

 

At last, a bit less of the FOMO inducing dark patterns manipulation.

 

#TravelBlog – Cape Town for free: Rondebosch Common Flower Ramble

 

Participants of the Flower Ramble listen to an interesting introduction to Rondebosch Common.
Participants of the Flower Ramble listen to an interesting introduction to Rondebosch Common.

 

Cape Town is known for its incredible biodiversity, being at the heart of the Cape Floral Kingdom.

 

Out of the six floral kingdoms on this planet, it is the smallest while containing the highest variety.

 

That means in Cape Town you’ll encounter the highest density of different flowers on earth.

 

It’s very easy to accidentally trample on them!

 

So why not go on a Flower Ramble at Rondebosch Common

 

Every other Sunday during spring a botanist takes a group on a walk around Rondebosch Common, identifying special flowers, spelling their names and explaining their habitat.

 

It is an entertaining presentation and informative talk giving so much insight about the endemic plants in Cape Town, meaning they only grow here and nowhere else, some of them even only on Rondebosch Common!

 

For example this pretty iris-like Morea Aristata, which was carefully replanted from the South African Astronomical Observatory to Rondebosch Common by Alex Lansdowne.

 

The beautiful Morea Aristata.
The beautiful Morea Aristata.

 

 

This lovely guided tour is a real eye-opener that lets you look at plants in a whole different way.

 

The fynbos flowers are sometimes really small, but incredibly beautiful when looked at up close, taking in the detail and fragility.

 

Sometimes they’re so inconspicuous that you need a botanist to point them out to you.

 

Alex Lansdowne gives great insight to the plants and flowers on Rondebosch Common.
Alex Lansdowne gives great insight to the plants and flowers on Rondebosch Common.

 

These wonderful Sunday morning strolls are offered by the Friends of Rondebosch Common for free, but donations are welcome.

 

#TravelBlog: Free Museums during #HeritageWeek

 

Heritage Week runs from 24 to 30 September 2018.

Most Iziko museums are free during #HeritageWeek.

 

Visitors arriving at the Iziko South African Museum on Heritage Day, 2018. Photograph: Nigel Pamplin. © Iziko Museums of South Africa.
Visitors arriving at the Iziko South African Museum on Heritage Day, 2018. Photograph: Nigel Pamplin. © Iziko Museums of South Africa.

 

My Museum Marathon Map during Heritage Week:

 

Find all the museums in one handy Google Maps list.

 

South African Museum on Google Maps.

25 Queen Victoria St, Cape Town City Centre, Cape Town, 8001

GPS: 33.9287° S, 18.4150° E

 

Iziko South African National Gallery on Google Maps.

Government Ave, Company’s Garden, Cape Town, 8000

GPS: 33.9291° S, 18.4173° E

 

Rust en Vreugd on Google Maps.

78 Buitenkant St, Cape Town City Centre, Cape Town, 8000

GPS: 33.9304° S, 18.4205° E

 

Iziko Museums Slave Lodge on Google Maps.

Corner Adderley and Wale Streets, Cape Town

GPS: 33.9251° S, 18.4205° E

 

Bo-Kaap Museum on Google Maps.

71 Wale St, Schotsche Kloof, Cape Town, 8001

GPS: 33.9216° S, 18.4150° E

 

Michaelis Collection at The Old Town House on Google Maps.

The Old Town House Greenmarket Square, Central, Cape Town City Centre, Cape Town, 8001

GPS: 33.9231° S, 18.4199° E

 

Koopmans-de Wet House on Google Maps.

35 Strand St, Cape Town City Centre, Cape Town, 8001

 

South African Maritime Museum on Google Maps.

Union-Castle House, Dock Rd, V & A Waterfront, Cape Town, 8000

GPS: 33.9057° S, 18.4202° E

 

#TravelBlog – #CapeTown for free: SA #HeritageWeek

 

During Heritage Week from 24 to 30 September 2018 most Iziko Museums are free.
During Heritage Week from 24 to 30 September 2018 most Iziko Museums are free.

 

Iziko Museums of South Africa commemorate Heritage Month, hosting the exciting week-long in_herit FESTIVAL, a cultural programme that kicks off with a Heritage Day celebration on 24 September and offers *free entrance to selected Iziko Museums during Heritage Week from 24-30 September 2018.

 

The in_herit FESTIVAL is one of Iziko’s most important programmes, signifying the museum’s mission of conserving and keeping heritage alive for a wide audience.

*Free entrance to selected Iziko museums offers visitors the opportunity to encounter and explore the museums and exhibitions, offering insight and access to our diverse and dynamic cultural, natural and artistic heritage.

*The Iziko Planetarium and Digital Dome is half-price on Heritage Day. The Castle of Good Hope and Groot Constantia are free only on Heritage Day.

A series of walkabouts, guided tours, new exhibition opening, events and Museum Night V&A are planned.

Download the in_herit FESTIVAL programme for more info.

Check out a list of free museums during #HeritageWeek for you to visit.

 

#TravelBlog – #Insider #Tip: Al Dente is back open

 

Yum! Linguine with Prawns. The food at Al Dente - Pasta Deli is always good.
Yum! Linguine with Prawns. The food at Al Dente – Pasta Deli is always good.

 

Al Dente is an authentic Italian cuisine ristorante offering home style, cooked with lots of love, hearty food.

 

It’s a hidden gem in Cape Town, tucked away at the Double Tree Hilton Hotel and only open a few days of the week.

 

All the dishes, and especially the gnocchi, are delicious. In addition, the house wine is always a good match to the tasty Italian food.

 

Even for desert you’ll be in for a treat: The coffee is great, and can be accompanied by a delicious typical Italian pastry desert.

 

Try Al Dente for a true Italian tasting experience.

 

#TravelBlog – Cape Town for free: Lagoon Beach

 

The lagoon at Lagoon Beach is shallow enough to allow safe play for children as puppies alike.
The lagoon at Lagoon Beach is shallow enough to allow safe play for children as puppies alike.

 

Lagoon Beach is the first part of the neverending stretch of sands along Table Bay.

 

It’s therefore quick to arrive from Cape Town, about 15 min drive from the CBD.

 

It starts with a jetty by the wavebreakers and leads over soft white sand to an actual lagoon.

 

You can park just off Lagoon Beach Drive, where you can stroll along the promenade and take the steps down to the lagoon.

 

It’s not only dog but also child friendly, as the river mouth fills the lagoon with relative shallow water: A safe place to play in the sea and learn to swim.

 

Also a great start for a long beach walk if you like to get your feet wet: It’s fun to walk along and cross the lagoon, the water is quite warm.

 

A nice spot to enjoy the sea: Dieprivier feeds the lagoon with fresh water.
A nice spot to enjoy the sea: Dieprivier feeds the lagoon with fresh water.

 

#Tip: #HowTo avoid skin forming on your hot milk

Milk skin: necessary evil?
Milk skin: necessary evil?

 

Some don’t care, some think yuck…

 

Quite practical actually, as it keeps the warmth in the milk: The skin that forms when milk is heated up.

 

There are two methods to stop the forming of skin on hot milk:

1) Stir continuously
Since milk tends to boil over it’s a good idea anyway to watch it and stir it.

2) Put the lid on
After heating up the milk, put the lid on. A small plate can also work if there’s no lid in the right size at hand.

 

#Tipp: Wie man Hautbildung auf der Milch vermeidet

Milchaut: Schlimmer Schlabber oder notwendiges Übel?
Milchaut: Schlimmer Schlabber oder notwendiges Übel?

 

Für manche keine große Sache, für manche ist es ekelig…

 

Recht praktisch eigentlich, denn sie hält die Wärme in der Milch:
die Haut, welche sich bildet, wenn Milch erhitzt wird.

 

Es gibt zwei Methoden, die Bildung dieser Milchhaut zu vermeiden:

1) Ständig rühren
Da Milch es so an sich hat, manchmal überzukochen, ist es eh eine gute Idee, dabei zu bleiben und umzurühren.

2) Deckel drauf
Nach dem Erhitzen, Deckel drauf! Ein Unterteller geht auch, wenn man keinen passenden Deckel hat.

 

How To Spot a Fake Social Media Account: Google their profile image

 

When it looks too good to be true… it probably is!

 

A Google image search gives more information about any picture.
A Google image search gives more information about any picture.

 

A profile picture that looks too professional – like it was done for a PR story – can be an indication for a fake identity.

 

If there’s anything about the photo or the account that doesn’t add up, it’s good practice to check the profile for its validity.

 

One easy step is to google that image.

 

Google will even do the guess for you and assign the correct person to that photo.

 

Once you’ve confirmed it is a fake account, you need to quickly report it.

 

Always report fake profiles.
Always report fake profiles.

 

#Recipe #Tip: Pasta Integrale with Pesto, Pine Kernels, Plum Tomatoes

Pasta with Pesto, Pine Kernels, Plum Tomatoes
Pasta with Pesto, Pine Kernels, Plum Tomatoes

 

Boil 100 gram per person of pasta integrale in salty water al dente.

 

In the meantime roast pine kernels and plum tomatoes in olive oil and salt and pepper in a non-stick frying pan.

 

Serve the hot pasta with the individual pesto glass and separate roasted pine nuts and cherry tomato mix, so everyone can help themselves to how much sauce and flavours they want.

 

Grate some parmesan cheese on top.

 

This is a simple to prepare and very yummy and healthy quick and easy dish.

 

#Facebook #Fail: Paid for versus organic reach

Facebook uses dark patterns to pressurise into paying for reach. Nothing social about these social media...
Facebook uses dark patterns to pressurise into paying for reach. Nothing social about these social media…

 

I’m not a fan of Facebook’s money making methods, but here’s an example how ineffective it is anyway:

 

Facebook prompts me to spend R150 to reach up to 470 people.

 

On a post that’s already performing well, apparently better than 85% of the other posts.

 

Does that exclude then the previous post which reached 2637 people organically?

 

Why should I spend money on a post that’s already performing well?

 

And for a reach that’s only a fifth of what I normally get, for free?

 

It’s dark patterns at its best, once again brought to you by FOMO inducing Facebook practices.

 

Complete Travel Packing List

I packed my bag and in it I put... well, what to pack for a holiday trip?
I packed my bag and in it I put… well, what to pack for a holiday trip?

 

To keep things simple, a clever list is of great help to go through and tick off.

Here you can check if you’ve packed everything:

 

Officially:
Passport, ID card, driver’s license, visa,
plane tickets, train tickets, bus tickets,
credit card, security code generator, money,
health insurance, vaccination certificate, travel insurance, membership cards

 

Techie:
Mobile phone, laptop, charger, mouse, laptop bag, adapter,
portable hard drive, USB Stick, USB cable,
camera, memory card, card reader, rechargeable batteries, battery recharger, camera bag, tripod,
alarm clock, batteries, torch light,
MP3 player, headphones, stereo cable

 

Practical:
Sewing kit, first aid kit, insect repellent,
note book and pen, address book,
plastic bags, clear zipper bag for carry-on luggage

 

Clothes – different outfits:

Generally:
Underwear, laundry bag,
belt, hairband, jewellery, watch,
glasses, spectacle case, spectacle cloth, spectacle spray,
contact lenses, contact lens solution

Sleeping:
Nightdress, pyjamas, pillow, blanket,
book, reading light, ebook reader, podcast fall asleep meditation

Summer Wear:
Bikini, bathing trunks, goggles, bathing cap,
beach shoes, sandals, sun glasses, sun hat, visored cap,
spaghetti tops, tank tops, airy linen clothing, shawl, skirt, shorts, sarong, light jacket

Warm Clothes:
Down jacket, fleece, long trousers, closed shoes, socks,
scarf, gloves, wollen hat, bandana,
warm jumper, long sleeve t-shirt, undershirt, cardigan,
rain jacket, windbreaker, umbrella, wellington boots

Cosy Clothes:
Thick socks, baggy pants, comfy t-shirt

Smart Garments:
Blouse, shirt, suit, tie, bow tie, dress, tights, smart shoes

Sport Gear:
Running shoes, hiking boots, jogging pants, sweatshirt, swimsuit

 

Toiletries:

Tooth brush, tooth paste, tooth pick, dental floss, mouthwash,
deodorant, soap, shampoo, shower gel, cream, sunscreen, lip balm,
comb, brush, hair dryer, hair spray, hair gel,
nail set, nail file, nail clipper, nail brush, hand mirror,
makeup, makeup remover, facial cleansers, cotton pads, q-tips,
perfume, aftershave, razors, shaving cream, beard trimmer, beard oil,
pumice stone, hair removal cream, hair dye, eyelash dye,
tampons, mooncup, condoms, medicines, eye drops,
wash cloth, wet wipes, detergent, stain removers, toilet paper

 

Something missing? Please email any suggestion to:  TrulyJuly@web.de. Thank you! 🙂

 

Die ultimative Urlaubspackliste

Ich packe meinen Koffer... Aber was muss alles rein?
Ich packe meinen Koffer… Aber was muss alles rein?

 

Es ist einfach einfacher, wenn man eine schlaue Liste hat, die man nochmal durchgehen kann.

Hier ist alles aufgezählt, was man eventuell für den Urlaub packen möchte:

 

 

Offiziell:

Pass, Personalausweis, Führerschein, Visum,

Flugtickets, Zugtickets, Bustickets,

Bankkarte, Code Generator, Tan Block, Geld,

Krankenversicherungskarte, Impfschutz, Reiseversicherungsdokumente, Mitgliedschaftskarten

 

 

Techie:

Handy, Laptop, Ladekabel, Maus, Laptoptasche, Steckdosenadapter,

Externe Festplatte, USB Stick, USB Kabel,

Kamera, Memory Card, Cardreader, Akkus, Ladegerät, Kameratasche, Stativ,

Wecker, Batterien, Taschenlampe,

MP3 Player, Kopfhörer, Stereoanlagenkabel

 

 

Praktisch:

Nähzeug, Erste-Hilfe-Koffer, Insektenspray,

Notizbuch und Stift, Adressbuch,

Plastiktaschen, flugtaugliche Zipbeutel

 

 

Kleidung – verschiedene Monturen:

 

Generell:

Unterwäsche, Wäschebeutel,

Gürtel, Haarbänder, Schmuck, Armbanduhr,

Brille, Brillenetui, Brillenputztuch, Brillenputzspray,

Kontaktlinsen, Kontaktlinsenlösung

 

Schlafsachen:

Nachthemd, Nachthose, Kissen, Decke,

Buch, Leselampe, Ebook reader, Podcast Einschlaf Meditation

 

Sommersachen:

Bikini, Badehose, Schwimmbrille Goggles, Badehaube,

Wasserschuhe, Sandalen, Sonnenbrille, Sonnenhut, Schirmkappe,

Spagetti Tops, Tank Tops, weite luftige Linnengarnitur, Tuch, Rock, kurze Hose, Sarong, leichte Jacke

 

Warme Sachen:

Daunenjacke, Fleece, lange Hose, feste Schuhe, Socken,

Schal, Handschuhe, Mütze, Bandana,

warmer Pulli, langärmliges Tshirt, Unterhemden, Strickjacke,

Regenjacke, Windjacke, Regenschirm, Gummistiefel

 

Gemütliche Muckelsachen:

Dicke Socken, Schlabberhose, Schlabbertshirt

 

Smarte Kleidung:

Bluse, Hemd, Anzug, Krawatte, Fliege, Kleid, Strumpfhose, passende Schuhe

 

Sportsachen:

Laufschuhe, Wanderschuhe, Jogginghose, Sweatshirt, Badeanzug

 

 

Toilettenartikel:

Zahnbürste, Zahnpasta, Zahnreiniger, Zahnseide, Mundspülung,

Deo, Seife, Shampoo, Duschgel, Creme, Sonnencreme, Lippenbalm,

Kamm, Bürste, Föhn, Haarspray, Haargel,

Nagelset, Nagelfeile, Nagelklipper, Nagelbürste,

Handspiegel, Schminke, Make-Up Entferner, Gesichtsreiniger, Wattepads, Q-Tips, Parfüm, Aftershave, Rasierer, Rasierschaum, Bartschneider, Bartöl,

Bimsstein, Haarentfernungscreme, Haarfarbe, Wimpernfarbe,

Tampons, Mooncup, Kondome, Medikamente, Augentropfen,

Waschlappen, Feuchttücher, Waschmittel, Fleckenentferner, Toilettenpapier

 

 

Fehlt doch noch was? Bitte Vorschläge an TrulyJuly@web.de emailen. Danke! 🙂

 

#Rattie #Tip: Steambath for your oldies when you shower

 

April and Ratatouille are enjoying a steam bath.
April and Ratatouille are enjoying a steam bath.

 

When your pet rats get older, they need special care, from rich nutrition to medicine.

Ratties who suffer from respiratory illness can find relief with fresh moist air. A humidifier can help or a steam bath.

So do your oldies a favour and take them with you into the bathroom every time you shower: The hot air works like a steam bath and helps them to breathe better.

 

#GoodDesign: Pet water bowl with wide base

Bad design versus good design
Bad design versus good design

 

When rescue puppies Starsky & Hutch popped into our lives for fostering, they came with a bunch of dog accessories: a dog bed, bowls and toys.

 

While Rogz Bubble Bowlz work perfectly, I’m disappointed about their Slurp Bowlz.

 

I’m surprised they actually make such a bad design: The Slurp Bowls are wider on the top than the bottom. That supposed non-slip silicone base is of no help when your puppies step into the bowl.
Which they do, all the time!

 

Even when you put the water bowl in the furthest corner, secured on two sides by wall or furniture, they somehow manage to step into it. Let alone that they jump into it at most play sessions.

 

Our dog’s water bowl has a wide bottom and narrow top. Even when the puppies jump right into it, it stays put. When they step onto it, their paws simply slip to the ground along the curved outer surface. It serves as the communal water source, because it works so well.

 

As a back-up especially in hot weather, the Slurp Bowlz are in the bathrooms. Because they topple over all the time, the only place where I can keep them is our open plan shower, where it’s ok if water spillage occurs.

 

If you apply the good practice industrial design principle ‘Form follows Function’, you get to a result like this super practical, multi functional travel dog bowl: Poochie Bowl.

 

So do yourself a favour and watch out for good design in pet water bowls. A good start is to opt for bowls with a wide base. It can save you a lot of mopping and sweeping! 🙂

 

Das #Problem mit #Südafrika: Die #Reise IV

Südafrika - das Land mit dem Sonnenvitamin
Südafrika – das Land mit dem Sonnenvitamin

 

Also, Du musst halt vorbeikommen. Du kannst dem europäischen Winter entfliehen und stattdessen den Sommer auf der anderen Seite der Erde genießen, da kommst Du nach Südafrika.

 

Ich würd ja gerne, aber der Flug ist so teuer!

 

Ja, dann musst Du einen Weg finden, Geld zu machen, ganz im südafrikanischen Unternehmergeist.
Wie wär’s zum Beispiel eine Gruppe zu organisieren, die nach Südafrika reisen will und dort den Tour Guide zu machen?
Oder wie wär’s eins unserer Zimmer als B&B anzubieten und noch ein Touri Programm draufzusetzen?
Oder mit ein paar Jugendlichen ein ehrenamtliches Projekt durchzuführen?
Denk mal darüber nach, mit welchen Deiner Talente Du Geld verdienen kannst. Hier in Südafrika machen wir das jeden Tag. Das lernt man ganz schnell.

 

The #problem with #SouthAfrica: #Travel IV

South Africa - your dose of Sun Vitamin D
South Africa – your dose of Sun Vitamin D

 

Well, you just have to visit. You can escape the European winter and enjoy the summer on the other side of the planet, then you could come to South Africa.

 

I’d love to, but the flight is so expensive!

 

Then you need to find a way to make money in true South African entrepreneurial style.
How about organising a group who travels to South Africa and be their tour guide?
Or how about running a B&B for one of our rooms and planning some tourist programme?
Or recruiting several youth and starting a volunteering project.
Start thinking how you can use your skills to earn money. Here in South Africa we do that every day, you learn very quickly.

 

#Tip: Don’t comb wet hair, wait until it’s dry

Combing through that mess while it's still wet? No way!
Combing through that mess while it’s still wet? No way!

 

I used to be very picky with my hair:

No colour and only the best hair care products would touch it.
From expensive shampoo to special conditioner to elaborate leave-in intensive hair treatment.

 

Then I became a hair model.

That meant lots of colour, from blonde to grey to brown to red, but still only the best colour care products for my hair.

 

Until I had enough. I lost all flexibility and flow of my hair, it was so damaged. My hair became unmanageable and it was time to leave it in peace for a while.

 

I decided nothing would touch my hair:

No colour, but also none of those manipulatively advertised beauty products.
I realised it was silly stripping my hair off all its natural oils and then replacing them with silicone and who knows what is in that mass produced big corporate’s merchandise.

 

After a long break from any treatment of my hair, I started with some colour again, but I still stay away from conventional beauty products.

 

So now I only use very mild non-foamy shampoos that have nothing but natural ingredients.

This of course left me with a dilemma:

Combing long hair that has not been treated with conditioner.
– An almost impossible feat.

 

However, there’s a trick that makes it much easier:

Don’t comb your hair while it’s wet.
Leave it to dry first.

 

Any knots or entanglements are so much easier to comb through when your hair is dry.
The hair also still straightens once it’s combed, mine doesn’t stay curly or frizzy just because I didn’t comb it right away.

 

When I didn’t use colour in my hair, it was so fine and straight, I sometimes didn’t comb it at all.
Then it just would fall in big strands with no risk of looking frizzy.

 

All this nonsense of hair care is overrated.

Sometimes leaving your hair natural can give you quite a cool look, you know: that ‘I just came from the beach’ or ‘I just fell out of bed’ look.
And it definitely makes you get to know your hair and yourself better. 🙂

 

#Podcast #Tipp: BBC Learning English

 

Der BBC Learning English Podcast ist ideal, um seine Englischkenntnisse zu vertiefen.
Der BBC Learning English Podcast ist ideal, um seine Englischkenntnisse zu vertiefen.

 

Man lernt nie aus.

Selbst wenn man denkt, man kann die Grammatik, hilft es doch sein Wissen aufzufrischen.

Und man weiß ja nie, vielleicht lernt man ja doch noch eine neue Gedankenstütze oder Eselsbrücke, um Englisch korrekt zu verwenden.

 

Die BBC Learning English Podcasts erklären in einfach zu verstehendem Englisch all die Regeln und Ausnahmen der englischen Sprache.

Jedes Thema wird in nur 6 Minuten abgehandelt. Kurz und bündig, um sein Englisch auf dem neuesten Stand zu halten.

Die Podcasts sind zum Downloaden 30 Tage lang verfügbar:

BBC 6 Minute Grammar

BBC 6 Minute English

BBC 6 Minute Vocabulary

 

Ich lade mir regelmäßig diese Podcasts auf mein Handy und höre sie mir an, wenn ich zu Bett gehe.

Sollten sie tatsächlich doch mal etwas langweilig sein, funktionieren sie immer noch total gut, um dabei schön einzuschlafen. 😉

 

#Podcast #Tip: BBC Learning English

 

The BBC Learning English podcast is ideal to deepen your English skills.
The BBC Learning English podcast is ideal to deepen your English skills.

 

There’s always something new to learn.

Even if you think you know your grammar, it helps to get your knowledge reaffirmed.

And you never know, you might be surprised to learn a new memory hook or an easy mnemonic trick for using correct English.

 

The BBC Learning English podcasts explain in easy to understand English all the rules and exceptions of the English language.

Each topic is presented in only 6 minutes. Short and sweet to keep your English up to scratch.

The podcasts are available to download for 30 days:

BBC 6 Minute Grammar

BBC 6 Minute English

BBC 6 Minute Vocabulary

 

I regularly download these podcasts onto my mobile phone and listen to them when I go to bed.

If they’re indeed a bit boring, they still function well to let you fall asleep. 😉

 

Light a Candle

When faced with the impossible, and no options at hand to be able to do anything about it: Light a candle.

Light a Candle
Light a Candle

 

When life throws you curveballs, it’s tough to find a way to cope.

Especially when it’s a situation that’s out of your hands, when the questions start circling in your head: Why? How can this be? What can I do?

This is however only a downward spiral. For some events that happen to you, there’s simply no explanation and it remains incomprehensible.

 

One way to find condolence is to light a candle.

There’s something to igniting a flame and keeping it alive.

Bringing light into the dark.

Creating warmth in the cold.

Making a bleak environment homely.

Watching the flame dance is soothing.

Following how the wax melts, circling towards the wick to feed the fire is like meditation.

Appreciating the glow, the peaceful atmosphere it creates is calming.

It’s a simple act. Yet, it can have so much meaning.

It’s not much. Yet, it’s a small thing we can do.

It might not have an immediate impact. Yet, it allows us to put a pause to our worries.

 

When left with nothing to hold onto, solace can be found in kindling a candle.

 

Happy Earth Day

Plastic everywhere: Plastic pollution is a global crisis. - Photo Credit: Chris Jordan / US Fish and Wildlife Service
Plastic everywhere: Plastic pollution is a global crisis. – Photo Credit: Chris Jordan / US Fish and Wildlife Service

April 22nd is Earth Day.

The outlook is bleak. Our planet is dying and it’s our fault. Weltschmerz seeps in easily.

One of the major problems we all contribute to is plastic.

Yet, it is so easy to avoid using plastic bags.

The Earth Day movement has launched a Plastic Pollution Calculator: www.earthday.org/plastic-calculator.

Use this calculator to learn how much plastic you waste.

In addition you can pledge to reduce your plastic consumption.

Plastic pollution is a global crisis. Be the change. Stop using plastic!

#Reuse #Reduce #Recycle #ChooseToRefuse #NoPlastic

Benefits of Laughter

Tip: Laugh more!
Tip: Laugh more!

 

I’m a trained laughter coach, because laughing is one of the healthiest exercises we can do.

 

The Benefits of Laughter

Physical Health Benefits: Mental Health Benefits: Social Benefits:
Boosts immunity Releases endorphins and makes us happy Strengthens relationships
Lowers stress hormones Eases anxiety and fear Improves communication
Decreases pain Relieves stress Enhances teamwork
Relaxes muscles Improves mood Promotes group bonding
Prevents heart disease Enhances resilience Defuses anger and conflict
Lowers blood pressure Improves memory and learning Helps as a coping mechanism
Increases blood oxygenation Increases alertness and creativity Gives a welcomed distraction
Workout for diaphragm and abdominal, plus respiratory, facial, leg and back muscles Liberates suppressed emotions Prevents us from taking things too seriously
Excellent cardiac exercise Combats Depression Raises energy and self-esteem
Speeds up metabolism Fosters positive thinking Builds rapport
Burns calories and keeps us fit Produces a sense of well-being Makes us attractive

 

Sources:

InHappiness Foundation

Helpguide

BrainyWeightLoss

National Center for Biotechnology Information

Laughter Online University

 

#WaterSaving #Tip: Use your dishwater as bug repellent on your plants

Your dirty dishwater could kill some of those creepy bugs.
Your dirty dishwater could kill some creepy bugs.

 

My urban gardening guerrilla tomatoes (guerrilla because they kind of have the tendency to grow themselves) were all of a sudden not faring so well. A close inspection revealed they were under attack: Red Spider Mites!

 

When I researched How to Get Rid of Red Spider Mites Organically I was surprised to read a simple recipe for bug spray listed:

 

Easy recipe for bug spray

1 litre water

+  2 tablespoons cooking oil

+  2 tablespoons soap

 

That’s basically my dirty dishwater!

 

If you brush your dishes free from food leftovers and wash them with biodegradable dishwashing liquid, you can use the dirty dishwater on your plants as a bug repellent. You might need to add oil or soap, or just want to use it as a preventative in a mild mixture.

 

Vinegar, lemon juice, hot sauce, essential oils are also great bug repellents. So if you have any of these left over, don’t waste them down the drain, but spritz them on your plants instead.

 

#Good #Practice #Tip: How To organise your contacts

Don't get caught up and caught out with a messy contact system.
Don’t get caught up and caught out with a messy contact system.

 

1) Synch all contacts on all devices

How many email accounts to you use? One for work, and a private one? And what about your phone, how many contacts are saved in there?

In order to have one up-to-date address book, all these contacts need to be synched and updated across all accounts and all devices.

 

2) Consolidate all contacts in one contact management system

A contact management system can be as simple as a well formatted Excel spreadsheet or as complicated as a full blown CRM software.

Either way, all address books across the entire organisation need to be consolidated in one place.

Whatever system you choose for this, it must fulfil at least one criteria: It must be possible to export all contacts as a .csv file in case you ever want to transfer your contacts to a different system.

If you use different platforms to interact with potential customers, make sure you regularly download and backup your connections data.

 

3) Collect all contact details

It’s easy to skip the formalities with well known contacts. Apparently this is rather the norm than the exception.

But when it comes to asking for your contact because you’ve been put back to reception and you don’t know their surname, or when it comes to sending out the mailer and you don’t know their correct title, you quickly realise how important it is to keep track of the full name, title, position, department, etc.

 

4) Update all contacts constantly

Your address book has no value if the contact details are outdated.

Make a point to always update your addresses as soon as there is a change.

Even better: Use a software that prompts your contacts to keep their contact details current.

 

5) Categorise your contacts

If you ever want to do anything with your contacts, such as sending out a mailer or driving a sales campaign, you need to label your connections.

This is not for you to remember who they are, but for the system to be able to sort all your contacts into different groups.

So think carefully how best to categorise your connections:

Start with high level tags, for example: family / friends / alumni / colleagues / customers / suppliers / authorities.

Depending on the purpose of your contact management system, you can then subdivide, for example customers can be tagged as clients / prospects / leads.

 

6) Reference your contacts

Just as important to tag for outgoing actions it is to keep reference of how you came by your connections.

Customer protection protocol requires that you can at any given time explain to any given person how you obtained their contact details.

So when you import connections to your contact management system, ensure you label these contacts according to their source.

That can be the platform, e.g. LinkedIn or the relationship owner, e.g. Sales or the place you first met, e.g. networking event.

 

7) Give context to your contacts

This is where you can implement ways to remember how you know your connections.

You can start with simple note-taking to keep a log about this contact. This is especially useful if you need to follow up with this connection.

Record the last contact date, personal information and funny moments, so you can hit if off like good old friends when you meet again.

 

Stardom – When you don’t have to tweet a thing

 

Success hardly comes from social media, but it certainly gets reflected on social media.

 

Here a great example:

Stardom needs no tweets.
Stardom needs no tweets.

Zodwa Wabantu‘s twitter account has over 10K followers besides the fact that she hasn’t tweeted anything!

It appears this twitter account isn’t even in use.

 

Zodwa’s more active twitter account – more active by 69 tweets – has over 25K followers.

 

If you wish you had such social media success, take this for a tip:

Do well in real life and the followers will follow!

 

#Podcast #Tip: Don’t we all hear voices?

BBC's podcast "I hear voices" helps to understand what it is like to live with schizophrenia.
BBC’s podcast “I hear voices” helps to understand what it is like to live with schizophrenia.

 

There’s a great podcast series out there by the BBC called “I hear voices” about Alice who explains in a very rational manner what it is like for her to live with schizophrenia.

 

Her description of a psychosis reminded me of another podcast by This American Life called “My Damn Mind” in which Alan explains how his manic episode unfolded and how crazy it can get.

 

One thing in both podcasts is clear: It is because of us ‘non-crazy’ people that these protagonists were not helped at first or not at all or not in the correct way.

That’s why it is important for ‘normal’ people to understand what it is like to hear voices.

 

And don’t we all hear voices?

Surely most of us have encountered the critical voice that tells us we’re too fat.

Or the opportunistic voice that tells us it’s ok not to point out to the waiter they gave back too much change.

Or the disappointed voice that tells us we should do more.

Or the narcissistic voice that tells us we’re better than them.

 

We all have thoughts crossing our minds that are irrational and not helpful. It is the way in which we deal with them that can make the difference between crazy or not.

 

I highly recommend these podcasts as an insight to how a mind can go off and how it can be possible to get control of it.

Furthermore, a bit of empathy goes a long way. – If you ever wondered what it is like to hear voices, start listening now:

I hear voices

My Damn Mind

 

#WaterSaving in public places: This faucet makes pretty patterns that reduce water flow

 

This water saving tap is not only very efficient in reducing water usage, it also makes pretty patterns.
This water saving tap is not only very efficient in reducing water usage, it also makes pretty patterns.

 

In an effort to conserve water new ideas are being implemented, new products are being created.

 

Here a great example of a water saving tap at the Woodstock Exchange:

 

A simple, yet so efficient idea, and in addition to fulfilling its purpose, it’s also beautiful!

 

No surprise this concept by Simin Qiu won the 2014 IF Concept Design Award.

 

Thanks to clever designs like these it is stylish to upgrade to water saving. #EveryDropCounts

 

#Good #Practice #Tip: Acknowledge your subscribers

In a drive to get more subscriptions, many brands lure in new subscribers with the prospect of winning something.

I always felt that was pretty unfair to existing subscribers – after all their loyalty should get rewarded just as much.

The least already signed up customers should be allowed to do, is enter that competition too.

Here a great example of going one step further and proactively recognising and rewarding existing subscribers:

I'm already signed up, but can still enter this competition. - To minimise churn, reward your existing subscribers too.
I’m already signed up, but can still enter the competition. – To minimise churn, reward your existing subscribers too.

There are good reasons for marketing automation software to manage your customer engagement.

It works even better when you add a human touch to it: Like you would recognise returning customers, they should feel welcomed by your brand, too.

 

#WaterSaving #Tip for public places: ice cream tub for the sink

While Western Cape residents are urged to do everything they can to reduce water usage, saving water doesn’t stop at home.

But how to go about it in public spaces?

Most water saving methods are rather intimate, bordering on hygienic issues.

However, as we are learning new water saving habits at home, it’s easy to extend them to the work place.

Even if it’s small steps, every drop counts.

Here a great example at the Bandwidth Barn, where they place ice cream tubs in the sinks to collect grey water:

Ice cream tubs works well for capturing grey water in sinks.
Ice cream tubs works well for capturing grey water in sinks.

 

Get organised: Keep your inbox free from clutter and unsubscribe

Cartoon by Rolli.

 

If you’re using a free email account your storage space is limited. And while it might seem a lot, over time it fills up.

This is a good thing, as it prevents you from keeping too many emails flying around.

So where to start with decluttering your email inbox?

 

Yes, unsubscribe.

If you haven’t opened the last 5 / 10 / <insert number here> newsletter emails, unsubscribe.

If you don’t even have the time to read your important emails, unsubscribe.

If you can’t find an email you know you’ve seen just the other day because your inbox is so full, unsubscribe.

 

Ask yourself: Why did you subscribe and how can you get that information in an alternative way?

A good way to receive interesting news but not in your email inbox is by following this brand on social media instead.

If it’s really updates you want to check out regularly, bookmark the website in your browser.

Find a platform that helps you manage the content you’re interested in, e.g. events – meetup or eventbrite, news – twitter, décor – houzz, inspiration – pinterest, art – deviantart, photos – flickr, music – soundcloud or myspace and so on.

 

Don’t worry about FOMO – the fear of missing out: The time you save by not having to scroll through a bunch of emails that are actually not relevant you can spend on checking up on some of those brands you had subscribed to.

 

#Podcast #Tip: SAfm’s Saturday Radio Drama

SAfm's weekly Radio Drama is worth a listen.
SAfm’s weekly Radio Drama is worth a listen.

 

On Saturday evening at 7pm I listen to SAfm’s radio play. If you haven’t heard it yet, I highly recommend it:

 

Mostly the story is quite good and if it is weak, the high quality production makes up for it.

The sound effects are great! They once had a ghost story and the audio execution of the ghost transferring messages was giving me goosebumps.

Sometimes the storyline can be a bit predictable, but that only means the story is solid.

Be rest assured SABC will throw in the odd bit of dialogue for political correctness, but why not take the opportunity for some ethically sound teachings here and then.

The voice actors are all excellent, drawing you in with their storytelling skills.

Every radio play addresses real life situations, refreshingly set in unexpected scenarios like science fiction voyages or golf course philosophy.

 

Since I stumbled across their radio play for the first time – about a police officer investigating a murder under a bridge in Cape Town – I’m trying to make time to listen to it.

 

What I love about podcasts is that you can still do productive things while listening, such as cooking, painting, photo editing, cleaning, gardening, knitting, jogging, the list is endless. TV in comparison is so lame, there’s not much you can do besides sitting in front of it.

So when the radio play comes on I know I can do something cool while listening to an entertaining story.

 

And these stories are coming from real people, as SAfm runs a competition open to anyone to submit radio plays. What a great way to keep storytelling alive.

 

Unfortunately SAfm is not providing any information on the weekly radio plays. So in true storytelling style, you got to listen closely, as you only get to hear it once.

 

#Tip: Check out Bing’s photo of the day

 

Yungbulakang Palace in the Tibet Autonomous Region of China by Yumian Deng on Bing Homepage 12 Feb 2018.
Yungbulakang Palace in the Tibet Autonomous Region of China by Yumian Deng on Bing Homepage 12 Feb 2018.

 

I really have nothing good to say about Bing, from the name to its performance.

 

But.

 

One thing they do incredibly well is choosing a photo of the day.

 

If you enjoy photography, and have the time and data, head over to bing.com and flick through their images.

 

And if you know something else that’s good about Bing, kindly get in touch: TrulyJuly@web.de

 

#Good #Practice #Tip: Use a clean url to share a link

Check out this long url linking to this photo! It contains much more info than just the photo url, so make sure you clean it up first before you share it.
Check out this long url linking to this photo! It contains much more info than just the photo url, so make sure you clean it up first before you share it.

 

A url is not just a url in times of digital tracking.

 

After clicking on a link, chances are the url contains lots of cryptic tracking code.

 

An example in Facebook:

 

If I want to share a photo, the photo url can be a long tail containing more information than just the link to the picture. This could even be sensitive information, but is definitely unnecessary, and thus rather annoying:

https://web.facebook.com/pg/RatsMakeGreatPets/photos/a.508095925914082.1073741831.489807454409596/1663840230339640/?type=3&theater&notif_t=feedback_reaction_generic&notif_id=1517478207624645

 

Look at this long url! It tells me the Facebook page, the photo album ID, the FB page ID, the actual photo ID, some stuff in between, the viewing mode, some notification info and some more cryptic code.

 

On top of it, Facebook shows my browsing device, in this case ‘web’. However, some apps don’t recognise ‘web’ and what if I want to share this link with someone who is not using a desktop computer to browse Facebook, but their mobile phone.

 

In addition, Facebook adds the identification for a Facebook page ‘pg’, which is basically superfluous code that just stretches the url even longer.

 

Instead, this link gets you to the photo just as well: https://www.facebook.com/RatsMakeGreatPets/photos/1663840230339640

 

Once you click on it, Facebook might extend this link to their long url, but at least the url you use to share is neat, short, to the point, and does not run the risk to reveal more than you had intended.

 

#DIY: #HowTo paint interior doors for a professional finish

I painted this bathroom door myself and love the result.
I painted this bathroom door myself and love the result.

 

When our builder’s workers started applying the primer on our interior doors while they were still hanging, I knew this would end badly.

So I decided to save some costs and paint the doors myself. It couldn’t get worse than how it had been done so far.

Of course I knew nothing about painting doors, so I first had to do my research which I’m happy to share:

 

Good Practices for Painting Interior Doors

 

1) Lay down the door flat on saw horses

Painting a new interior door is easiest on saw horses:

–  Only when the door is removed from the frame can you reach all the edges. Especially new doors need to be sealed everywhere to prevent moisture from entering – that includes the bottom edge.

–  Only when the door is lying flat down can you achieve a smooth streak-free paint finish. It is easy to miss drips and runs leaving unsightly paint marks on your door. Plus you’ll avoid any mess on the walls and floors.

If the door is already installed, take it off for painting. Interior doors are hollow and easy to remove from the hinges.

 

2) Clean the door

Make sure there is no residue or grime on the door that would spoil the paint.

Wipe the door clean with soapy lukewarm water.

 

3) Sand down the door

If new or old, before painting you need to roughen up the surface.

Use a sanding block for profiled moldings and sandpaper on flat boards to smoothen any irregularities.

Clean up the dust with a vacuum or brush and damp cloth.

 

4) Fix any holes

Should the door have any holes, cracks or scratches, fill them before applying any primer or paint.

 

5) Dampen the surface

This trick is meant to help you achieve a smooth paint finish:

Wet the door’s surface slightly with a sponge or cloth.

When applying paint on the damp surface, it’ll take longer to dry, giving you more time to smoothen out any unwanted streaks or tears.

 

6) Prime the door

New doors need to be primed to ensure good adhesion of the finish coats. Already painted doors need no primer if they’re in good condition.

Apply one coat of primer and let it dry.

Sand down any irregularities.

 

7) Paint the door

The best way to avoid brush marks is by avoiding using brushes. Only paint the tricky parts like edges and ornamental designs with brushes.

Use a foam roller on all straight surfaces for an even looking finish. You might need to apply an extra coat, if the foam roller spreads the coat too thin.

Apply as many layers of paint as needed for a great finish. If you can still spot some irregularities, give it one more coat. It actually goes quick and will leave you truly happy with the result.

 

#GoGreen: #Recycle used tea bags

 

Oopsie, another bag full with used tea bags...
Oopsie, another bag full with used tea bags…

I drink at least 2 litres of tea a day. I use 3 teabags to brew 1 litre. That’s a minimum of 6 teabags per day.

So that 200 teabag bulk offer is probably what I go through per month.

Accordingly I have a lot of used teabags to do… well, what with? Read on for some useful tips.

 

What to do with used tea bags

 

Used tea bags belong in the garden.

A used tea bag is still full of nutrition. It is nitrogen rich and can be used like a fertiliser. Tear open the bag and sprinkle the tea into your pot plants or around your garden.

Line plant pots with old teabags, especially around the drainage holes, before filling them with soil. The tea bags retain water and nutrition.

Tea is a must-have for your compost, as it counter balances all the carbon-rich materials.

The caffeine in the tea is just as much a stimulant for your garden inhabitants as for you and has a great effect on earthworms: They will work and breed faster.

 

Used tea bags make great sponges.

Apparently adding used tea bags to your dishwashing water helps to break down grease and food stains.

You can use the tea bag itself to preclean dirty pans and trays. Be careful not to break the tea bag, as it works wonderfully to wipe up that grease, and simply throw it in the bin, instead of having to rinse your kitchen sponge with a lot of water. In addition, the tannins in the leaves will prevent the oxidising process, preventing rust.

Similarly, freshly brewed hot tea bags can be used to preclean windows. The tea’s tannic acid will leave the glass sparkling clean.

Scrub your dark leather shoes with a damp used teabag. Tanning leather involves tannin, the tea can add a new shine.

 

Used tea bags capture bad odour.

Place dried old teabags in the bottom of your kitchen bin to absorb liquids and odours.

Wash away odours from your hands: Rinse your hands with water and a brewed tea bag to remove odours of onions, garlic, fish and other foods.

If you’re a smoker or have an ashtray out for guests, put a wet tea bag or the leaves from a wet tea bag into the ashtray. When you or your guests ash in the tray, the wet leaves will hold the ash and absorb some of the smell from the smoke.

The antibacterial contents of tea bags will help neutralize the odour in your litter box as well. Just sprinkle the dried out contents of a brewed tea bag into the kitty / rattie litter.

 

#Good #Practice #Tip: Check the year

 

Always remember that the new year is next year.

 

I know that sounds odd, but it happens too easily that we keep on writing the old year when we mean the new year. Maybe it’s some kind of force of habit.

 

Especially during the switch-over in December and January, various examples pop up.

This sounds like a great resolution for the new year - which is 2018.
This sounds like a great resolution for the new year – which is 2018.

 

It’s easy to miss when proofreading copy for the new year, because, as we still are in the old year, the old year looks right to us.

 

So always double check the year!

 

#Tip: Unlock your hidden desktop images

Whereas I only got South Africa’s desktop theme beforehand, I now have 4 more themes added to ‘My Themes’.
Whereas I only got South Africa’s desktop theme beforehand, I now have 4 more themes added to ‘My Themes’.

 

It’s like taking a mini holiday at your desktop:

By default Windows lets you see only desktop wallpapers from your region.

But if you activate themes from another country you get to see amazing landscapes right on your screen.

 

1) Unhide hidden folders:

Open Windows Explorer, unfold the drop-down menu beneath ‘Organize’, click on ‘Folder and search options’. Select the ‘View’ tab and ensure ‘Show hidden files, folders, and drives’ is marked, whereas ‘Hide protected operating system files (Recommended)’ is unticked.

 

2) Activate hidden themes:

Go to: C:\Windows\Globalization\MCT

Go into the different country folders that are presented to you and click on ‘Theme’ to double click and run the theme.

It will change your background image immediately. You can change it back to the previous version and reactivate it again later, as it is now saved in your Control Panel.

 

3) Change between themes:

Go to: Control Panel\All Control Panel Items\Personalization

Click on the Windows Start button and chose ‘Control Panel’. Tap on ‘Display’. Beneath ‘See also’ on the bottom left corner click on ‘Personalization’.

Now you can simply select the theme of your liking and the desktop images update right away.

 

#FODMAP #Tip: Replace yoghurt with coconut pulp

It is hard to believe, with all its probiotic goodness: But because yoghurt contains lactose it’s a no-go when you change to a low FODMAP diet.

I cannot remember a day that I didn’t eat yoghurt. The only reason would be that I’m in a country where they don’t do yoghurt, like when I was travelling South East Asia.

Or where they don’t know how to make yoghurt, like in South Africa. Thank goodness for Amasi, which by the way contains less lactose, as that is what the yoghurt cultures eat: lactose. So the more sour your fermented milk tastes, the less lactose it contains. To me, a big fan of kefir and buttermilk and such, a fair trade.

So yes, I like yoghurt, but if I want to eliminate FODMAPs from my diet, I need to find a replacement, for two reasons:

1) The lack of calcium causes my fingernails to break, so I need to find an extra source of this mineral.

2)  What I’d actually miss about yoghurt is the yummyness with which it binds together my muesli.

You can read the answer to 1) here: #FODMAP #Tip: 5 calcium rich alternatives to dairy

As to 2) I think I found a good compromise: Replacing milk with coconut milk for the low FODMAP diet, I’m left with coconut pulp. It has a lovely yummy consistency and can be used just like yoghurt. It has no sourness to it, so less sweetening is required, and the coconut oil is filling. It is of course nutritionally completely different from yoghurt, hence 1), but for the time where no yoghurt is allowed it works well as a substitute.

Would you believe this is not yoghurt: Coconut puree makes for a great substitute.
Would you believe this is not yoghurt: Coconut puree makes for a great substitute.

Check out my low #FODMAP muesli recipe for breakfast: Banana, Buckwheat Granola and Coconut Puree.

This tastes as healthy as it looks: Low FODMAP breakfast cereal.
This tastes as healthy as it looks: Low FODMAP breakfast cereal.

 

Low #FODMAP muesli #recipe for breakfast: Banana, Buckwheat Granola and Coconut Puree

 

I’m a muesli fan, and I enjoy my muesli with yoghurt.

During the elimination phase of the low FODMAP diet however, both wheat and lactose need to be cut out.

So here’s an alternative breakfast cereal recipe, low FODMAP and still yummy:

 

Being a muesli fan, this works as a low FODMAP alternative for me: Diced Banana, Buckwheat Granola and Coconut Puree.
Being a muesli fan, this works as a low FODMAP alternative for me: Diced Banana, Buckwheat Granola and Coconut Puree.

 

Add in equal parts:

Diced Banana

Buckwheat Granola

Coconut Puree

 

You can use any other fruit of the season or a combination of fresh fruits or fruit salad.

I use the buckwheat granola as is. Some prefer to soften it by letting it soak, but I like it crunchy.

The coconut pulp is a leftover from making coconut milk. It works well as a yoghurt replacement.

 

#Good #Practice #Tip: Add a little humour

This matter of fact humour can work well as a Call To Action to click on 'Explain, Please'.
This matter of fact humour can work well as a Call To Action to click on ‘Explain, Please’.

 

Humour is a real tricky thing. Not everyone finds the same things funny. Some don’t find it funny at all!

 

There’s a fine line between satire, irony and insult, and in nowadays time of post-truth it’s difficult to know if your audience indeed gets it. They might just start a shitstorm on you…

 

But humour is also an incredible means to bond: Laugh together and the ice is broken. Share the same humour and become friends.

 

So if you’re after strengthening the relationship with your existing customers, a little humour might help.

 

#FODMAP #Tip: 5 calcium rich alternatives to dairy

Calcium is an important mineral for the human body, as it helps maintain healthy teeth and bones and prevent osteoporosis.
Calcium is an important mineral for the human body, as it helps maintain healthy teeth and bones and prevent osteoporosis.

 

When I came to South Africa, I couldn’t find acceptable yoghurt at first, as most supermarket yoghurts are loaded with preservatives and emulsifiers.

So I didn’t eat yoghurt for a while, because I boycott products with additives. As a result, my fingernails started to break. Thank goodness I found Amasi.

However, as I have IBS, it’s part of the low FODMAP diet to cut out dairy for a while.

In order to keep my fingernails, I did some research on:

 

How to Get Enough Calcium Without Dairy

The total recommended daily allowance (RDA) for calcium is 1000 mg.

 

Eggs

One large egg provides 28 mg of calcium, 2.6% of the Daily Reference Value (DRV). But more importantly, eggs are a good source of vitamin D and when fortified maybe the only source of vitamin D we need.

Vitamin D helps to absorb calcium, without enough vitamin D, the calcium you eat won’t have any beneficial effect.

 

Leafy greens

“If your lactose intolerance is severe and you need to avoid all dairy foods, you can get plenty of calcium from leafy green vegetables,” suggests Barto. Vegetables high in calcium include rhubarb, spinach, broccoli, and certain greens like kale. For example, one cup of cooked spinach has about 250 mg of calcium.

 

Beans

Beans are a fantastic source of calcium in plant-based diets.

Especially Soybeans are high in calcium with 175 mg per cup. Accordingly tofu is generally regarded as a high calcium food.

 

Fish

The amount of calcium in milk is 125 per 100 g. As calcium percentage of the RDA this is 13%. Comparing with Fish, caviar, black and red, granular, in 100 g it contains 275 mg of calcium. As a percentage of the RDA this is 28%.

Sardines do not only contain high amounts of calcium (383 mg per 100 g, that’s 38% DRV) and vitamin D, they are also less contaminated with mercury than other fish.

 

Nuts and Seeds

Almonds and brazil nuts contain about 100 mg of calcium per serving and are recommended snacks for people on low carb diets.

Just a tablespoon of sesame seeds delivers 88 tasty mg of calcium and an ounce of chia seeds has 179 mg of calcium.

 

The difference between Self-Defence in Germany and in South Africa

Martial arts instructor Kenneth showed us ladies that it doesn't need muscle to defend yourself. Take part in self-defence classes to be safe.
Martial arts instructor Kenneth showed us ladies that it doesn’t need muscle to defend yourself.

 

During heritage month the Cape Town Self Defence Institute (C.T.S.D.I.) offered free self defence classes for women and girls.

I had only heard about it on the radio and was lucky enough to catch where and when it would take place. So on a Saturday morning I made my way over to Oude Molen in the hope to find the class.

Organised by the Yes We Can Sport & Jazz Foundation they had a great gym facility and quite a big group of women battling it out. Some of the women were devoted regulars, who had attended all the classes already offered, and helped teaching others to defend themselves.

 

I had taken part in self defence classes also in Germany, but yet again, I would soon learn that South Africa is of a different calibre:

Whereas in Germany the key to the self-defence class was to learn that there’s always a way to free yourself from the attacker, that was it, as it was assumed once free you can run away.

However, in South Africa, that is not enough: While we also learned that no matter what debacle you’re in, you can always fight back your attacker, here it doesn’t stop with running away:
The risk that your assailant will attack you again is too high. So we went a step further and also learned how to hurt people. Because in South Africa, fending someone off won’t help: You also have to incapacitate them before running away.

 

In a country with the highest rape rate in the world, and the most women being killed by their partners, this should not come as a surprise.

But to me it is.

Will I ever ‘get used’ to the high crime rate in South Africa? Where when your home got burgled the police tells you to be more vigilant? Or where the police is not even reachable and all you get on the emergency number is that ‘our agents are busy right now’?

Here in South Africa us women have to overcome our own caring nature and learn how to injure others physically, so that when the assault happens, we are prepared.

Well then, if that’s what it takes, let’s get training:

Check out the Cape Town Self Defence Institute (C.T.S.D.I.) for their classes. As their slogan rightly says: Make the attacker your victim!

 

Behind the scenes night tour at Two Oceans Aquarium

Jenni Leibbrandt is doing a fantastic job talking us through the behind the scenes tour a the Two Ocean Aquarium.
Jenni Leibbrandt is doing a fantastic job talking us through the behind the scenes tour a the Two Ocean Aquarium.

 

I always enjoy visiting the Two Oceans Aquarium.

 

But do yourself a favour and go on a night / behind the scenes tour at the aquarium.

You’ll look at the displays with all new eyes:

 

The night tour has a calm and relaxing feel to it, without the hustle and bustle of the day visitors.

Lights are dimmed, because also fish need their sleep.

The information displays are switched off, which points all the focus on the tanks and their inhabitants.

With the surroundings in complete darkness, you might get lost a little like in a fun fair labyrinth.

Fun effects in daylight turn into startling surprises at twilight.

 

The behind the scenes tour is actually more worthwhile during day, as then the kitchen is still open.

Yes, the fish have their own kitchen, as maintaining the tanks is a large scale operation with its own water recycling and air filtration system the size of a wastewater treatment plant.

The aquarium offers a lot to learn and accordingly even features a classroom, designed to make studying fun with open fish tanks in the middle of hexagon tables for groups.

You can even train diving, as submerging into the tunnel tank counts as a logged dive for scuba certification.

 

As a member of the Two Oceans Aquarium you get access to a range of awesome events such as sleepovers and yacht trips.

Alternatively check the Two Oceans Aquarium blog for the latest happenings.

 

Good Practice Tip: Promote your hashtag as your username

Most social media limit the space you can use to communicate your message.

Twitter is one of the extremest, giving you only 140 characters per tweet.

Similarly your profile copy for your Twitter bio is also restricted, here Twitter is a bit more generous with 160 characters.

So use what little space you have wisely, as every character counts!

For example: Why repeat your username if your social media handle already clearly identifies you. Rather use the space to promote your current hashtag campaign.

Like in this well executed Twitter marketing:

Well executed Twitter marketing: This sponsored suggestion is doubly effective, promoting the Twitter profile and current hashtag campaign.
Well executed Twitter marketing: This sponsored suggestion is doubly effective, promoting the Twitter profile AND current hashtag campaign.

 

How To customise your default event reminders in Google

It's easy to change the Google Calendar default settings to your preferences.
You can change the Google Calendar default settings to your preferences.

 

Nowadays it’s easy to add an event to your calendar or quickly accept that meeting request.

But it’s annoying if the reminder pops up at the wrong time.

By default Google Calendar reminds you 10 mins before the event. That’s great if it’s a work meeting and in the same building.

I freelance and need to get to my meetings first. As I cycle, this might take a bit. So 10 minutes is not going to cut it.

 

How to change your default setting for reminders in Google Calendar:

In ‘My calendars’ click on the options drop down menu button and go to ‘Settings and sharing’.

Beneath ‘Settings for my calendars’ click ‘Event notifications’ to set your preferences for reminders.

Check that the ‘Notification settings’ have been saved before exiting the Google Calendar settings.

 

#RattieGarden: Protect your plants with a plastic crate

Chino is having a great time exploring balconia.
Chino is having a great time exploring balconia.

 

Keeping plants outside makes them vulnerable.

Putting a plastic crate upside down over your plant pots safeguards them from birds who would otherwise pick seeds and seedlings.

The plastic create also gives your pet rats a feeling of protection and allows them to roam their rattie garden freely without having to be anxious something might be out there to get them.

The openings of the plastic crate are the perfect size for their cute heads to pop out and check that everything is still alright. 🙂

 

“Take a good book” – Back to basics with South Africa’s public health care

Queueing at a public clinic in South Africa.
Queueing at a public clinic in South Africa.

 

I’m a fan of the South African public healthcare system, because it offers affordable medical aid according to the Uniform Patient Fee Schedule, with some services completely free.

 

If something comes free I guess the ‘don’t look a gift horse into the mouth’ attitude would be appropriate.

 

But let’s just say I advise to take a good book:

As hours of waiting in queues lie ahead that cannot be spent in any productive way due to the run-down facilities and anyway no point in bringing any devices as there’s nowhere really to keep them safe, it’s back to basics when it comes to public healthcare in SA.

 

So take a good book, make yourself comfortable, practice patience, and you will be helped, eventually.

 

#RattieTip: Grow a rattie garden

Rattie Bean enjoys hanging out in the rattie garden.
Rattie Bean enjoys hanging out in the rattie garden.

 

Our first rattie garden started by accident:

 

To my surprise something began growing in the abandoned flower pot on our balcony.

It was tomatoes!

 

Seems like rats have a green thumb, well if they had a thumb.

 

Because this is what happened:

One of our pet rats wanted to hide her treat – a cherry tomato – away from the rest of the clan.

She left it in a flower pot on our balcony. Really a great hideout, especially if you bury the treasure.

 

The tomato plant thrived and everyone had a good portion of delicious cherry tomatoes.

 

I contribute this to our pet rats:

They played an important part in loosening up the soil to the point that it flew in form of sand dust into our apartment, planting new seeds even if they were no seeds at all but rather food stolen from our plates, and trimming the plants sometimes with the result of total destruction.

 

Well, without our pet rats, the rattie garden would’ve never started.

So if they want to demolish it all and start anew with a different plant, then so be it.

 

It’s a bit like tending to a zen garden, just that the ratties add a random wrecking factor which teaches you to let go of the things as they are and understand that nothing is lost, it just comes back in a different way.

 

#HowTo change your default language to South African

 

A lot of technical equipment in South Africa comes from the US. By default these devices are set to American English and will autocorrect you wrongly.

Some might prefer American English even outside of America, but this should be a conscious choice to define your voice.

If you write in English for the South African market, localise your copy and change your default language settings to South African English:

 

It is easy to change your default language.
It is easy to change your default language.

 

In Word go to ‘Review’, in the ‘Proofing’ tab click on ‘Set Language’ and select ‘English (South Africa)’.

Before clicking ‘OK’, press ‘Default…’ and a window pops up asking:

“Do you want to change the default language to English (South Africa)?
This change will affect all new documents based on the NORMAL template.”

Tab ‘Yes’ and then click ‘OK’.

 

Note: You might have to repeat this, as your device can revert back to factory settings. At the bottom of your Word window it’ll tell you which language is set for your document. If this is wrong, quickly reset your default language.

 

#RattieTip: Watch out for your pet rat’s tail

Tipsy is in good spirits, despite having lost her tail.
Tipsy is in good spirits, despite having lost her tail.

 

In the 20 odd years that I have owned pet rats, I have witnessed several times that a rat can lose their tail.

So be warned that this can happen to your rattie.

 

Rats are quick and nimble, but their tail can get easily caught.

Rats are tough little fellows, but don’t overestimate their tail: It can break!

 

Do not grab your rat by their tail: I’ve seen the skin rip off like in Robbie William’s “Rock DJ”.

 

Luckily rats are great healers and will take good care of any injuries.

But a rat’s tail is really important, for balance, and furthermore for heat release.

 

Always remember that rats are actually quite fragile little creatures.

 

#Health #Tip: Thank goodness for amasi

In my search to find yoghurt without preservatives I came across amasi.

 

I grew up with buttermilk and kefir, so when I discovered amasi, I was delighted. It’s taste is creamy mild and has a refreshing tang to it.

 

My favourite amasi uses only goodness in their ingredients: full cream milk, amasi culture
My favourite amasi uses only goodness in their ingredients: full cream milk, amasi culture

This is what I like to see in the ingredients list: Only goodness.

 

Amasi is fermented milk and what those cultures eat away in the process is the lactose. So amasi is naturally low in lactose, giving IBS sufferers like me a bit of a break.

 

In addition, 2 litres of amasi cost around R20, which means it costs less than half of what you pay for supermarket yoghurt in South Africa.

 

Bonus Tip: Shake it up!

Amasi comes in a handy bottle, perfect for liquid yoghurt. All you got to do is shake it up a little.

The amasi turns so creamy and fluffy, you’ll want to gulp it down like a milk shake.

 

Pour it over fruit salad or muesli, soften up a curry, use it in salad dressings, make lovely smoothies and deserts. Bake with it.

Use it instead of milk, yoghurt, cream, sour cream, kefir or buttermilk.

You can also feed it to your pets as a healthy source of calcium.

 

#Tip: Search your files by date modified

Tip: Use the 'Date modified:' advanced search function to find your files.
Tip: Use the ‘Date modified:’ advanced search filter to find your files.

 

Have you ever looked for a document but couldn’t remember what it was called?

Even with a Naming Convention and Filing System some document can slip through and for the life of us, we can’t find it.

But don’t despair, there’s still a hack that can help:

 

Search your documents by date modified.

Simply select the advanced search options in your explorer folder by clicking on ‘Date modified:’ under ‘Add a search filter’.

You can select a specific date, or a date range, or a preset time frame from ‘Yesterday’ to ‘Earlier this year’ to ‘A long time ago’.

This also works on a Mac.

 

Tip: Clicking on 'A long time ago' gives you an instant throwback to all the work you've done.
Tip: Clicking on ‘A long time ago’ gives you an instant throwback to all the work you’ve done in chronological order.

 

‘A long time ago’ is my personal favourite, it instantly catapults you back a couple of years ago and gives you a lovely chronological overview of the documents you created since.

As a writer this helps me find inspiration for my blog posts, but it’s also quite uplifting to just look at the sheer volume of the work you’ve done and clap yourself on the shoulder.

 

Good Practice Tip: Offer to Pause instead of Unsubscribe

How about offering a break instead of a permanent unsubscribe.
How about offering a break instead of a permanent unsubscribe.

 

By law and to be ethically sound every promotional email should contain an easy one-click unsubscribe button.

 

However, you don’t want to give up on your subscribers so easily.

 

The usual ‘sad to see you go’ might be polite, but only confirms their action.

 

Instead, prevent your customers from unsubscribing by first offering them a real alternative: To pause their subscription.

 

This might not mean much to your subscribers, but for you it’s a second chance: It gives you the time to work on your newsletter and improve it. So when their subscription is back on, they hopefully like what they see and stay subscribed.

 

This will lower churn and improve your customer retention, showing how creating Value Added Content can have real impact on business success.

 

Tick alert: Beware the fynbos

When ticks are crawling up your wall… You know your dog had a good run in the bushveld!
When ticks are crawling up your wall… You know your dog had a good run in the bushveld!

 

Ticks…

Rats, snakes, spiders I don’t mind, but ticks! These sneaky parasites are a true horror for me.

That is partially because I always get them!

Let it be an entire group that ventures into a tick area, be sure it is me who ends up with a tick bite.

 

Since we have dogs I’m even more prone to tick bites: Lola’s thick fur is heaven for ticks. In addition she loves roaming, especially through the fragrant fynbos grasses in the bushveld.

But that’s where the ticks are: We can go to the sand dunes, we can go to the forest, our dogs are fine. We take a walk through fynbos and our Lola comes back with ticks.

 

You can try to deter or prevent them, but if you own pets, it’s about facing the tick phobia:

Check your dog for ticks after every walk, and be prepared to find some after you went into the bushveld. Remove them right away in a safe way.

 

Tip: How to remove ticks properly and safely

How to safely remove ticks with a tick card.
How to safely remove ticks with a tick card.

 

If you have pets who roam outside, you’ll sooner or later encounter ticks.

Ticks can actually be very dangerous if you get infected with one of the many diseases ticks can carry.

However, for the tick’s disease to spread to you, it needs to stay attached to your body for a day.

So, as soon as you find a tick on your pet or yourself, remove it!

But only, if you can do so properly!

If you do this wrong then the head of the tick stays stuck in the skin and is likely to cause an infection. It is therefore very important that you consult a professional about this.

Alternatively there’s an easy and cheap, and safe and secure way to remove ticks: The tick card!

Even with struggling animals, it is easy to slide the notch under the tick. Simply lifting it pulls out the tick intact with its head.

 

Beware the evil TV: It’s a waste of time

Willo the Wisp got it right back in the 80s, portraying TV as Evil Edna.
In ‘Willo the Wisp’ TV is portrayed as ‘Evil Edna’.

 

Watching TV has become synonymous with relaxing: We can’t wait to get home from work and chill in front of the telly.

 

But I never feel refreshed after watching TV! I feel drained and empty, like sucked dry.

 

On top of it TV is designed to lure you into bingewatching, so before you know it you watch more than you wanted, leaving you with no time for yourself, not even for catching up on some sleep.
In the end we all know it: Watching TV is a waste of time.

 

So next time you feel like you’re running out of time, switch off that evil box.

 

You might not know at first what to do with all that extra free quality time. This only shows you how bad a habit the TV has become.

 

Learn to appreciate JOMO (Joy Of Missing Out) and soon you’ll throw out that stupid TV! 🙂

 

Good Practice Tip: Let your voice shine through

 

Whether you’re a brand, company or person, in order to be recognised your voice needs to be consistent. That’s why I recommend to develop a Copy Strategy.

 

If you do so, you have a much greater chance of letting your unique voice shine through.

 

There you go! Terms don't have to be boring.
There you go! Terms don’t have to be boring.

 

Like in this example, where they could have referred you to the usual terms and conditions, but decided to rather let you agree to the fascinating terms of service.

 

If this is ironic, sarcastic or even true, at least there is some personality coming through, making this a more personal and less officious experience.

 

#Podcast #Tip: Stay up to date with current affairs the fun way

The BBC Comedy of the Week podcast is not only hilarious, but also really informative.
The BBC Comedy of the Week podcast is not only hilarious, but also really informative.

 

I’m not into news. They’re too depressing. And now they turn out to be fake.

Instead, because I used to be interested in global affairs, I listen to topical comedy podcasts from the BBC.

They have a new feature that allows to download their podcasts at low kbps, so the download goes quick.

Some time ago I decided to rather laugh than cry at the craziness of nowadays times. This podcast helps. 🙂

 

Why you must always proofread: Leaving instructions in the job title

This shows that notes of your work do not belong in your work. 
This shows that notes of your work do not belong in your work.

 

I’m sure the person who included notes in the title of this job posting had all the best intentions of removing them before posting.

But we’re all only human.

 

That is why following good practices is so important:

Never meddle with the original copy and rather message yourself your notes and reminders.

 

We can do the best job possible, unfortunately human error is a constant threat.

So don’t make your job more difficult by adding room for blunders.

A streamlined process is one that leaves no chance for a mess-up.

And that should very well include proofreading!

 

How Facebook fuels FOMO

 

When I open up Facebook I have gazillions of notifications, and it’s pretty clear that these are in Facebook’s – and not in my – interest:

 

Facebook tells me my friends are interested in going to events. While this information comes to no surprise, it's the fact that I get alerted about it, which turns this into a FOMO trigger.
Facebook tells me my friends are interested in going to events.
While this information comes to no surprise, it’s the fact that I get alerted about it, which turns this into a FOMO trigger.

 

Today I was informed that a couple of my contacts “are interested in going to an event in Cape Town tomorrow”. What a surprise.

Clicking on this ‘notification’ I land on the events page of a club night. Really not something I’m interested in.

Facebook will regard my click as a success, whereas I find this incredibly annoying. Facebook is not my AI diary. In fact, it offers me such predictable content – like the update to being married leads to ads about babies – that I’m simply frustrated.

 

But now I’m not just bombarded with consumerism, I’m also pressured to be hip and cool and constantly know what everyone else is doing and on top of it best participate in it.

Facebook fuels FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out).

Just another reason to switch off and appreciate JOMO (Joy Of Missing Out)!

 

#Tip: Collect puppy teeth

We managed to find two of Lola's puppy teeth.
We managed to find two of Lola’s puppy teeth.

 

Time is flying, and life nowadays is often defined by what we’re missing out on.

While having a puppy is pure bliss, it’s also over quicker than you expect. Yes, even if you wish they’d grow up already when mopping up the puppy pee.

A clear signal that every puppy grows up one day is when they grow their adult teeth.

At the dog park I got a great tip from a friend: Collect your pup’s teeth. You can find them in their toys.

Puppy teeth are like a piece of frozen time from your dog’s childhood. When they start falling out, watch out for them. It is very likely they get swallowed, but you might be lucky and find them if you check the toys your pup has chewed on.

It’s already hard to think back how small your pet was in the beginning. Having something as lasting as a tooth remain from their babyhood is a real treasure. Accordingly, you can find creative ways to preserve puppy teeth.

 

How to compare LED lights

The Evolution of the Light Bulb
The Evolution of the Light Bulb

 

As incandescent light bulbs are banned and fluorescent light bulbs are poisonous, LED lights are the way forward.

However, prices vary greatly.

 

What to watch out for when buying LED lights:

 

Fitting:

Check first if you need a Bayonet or Edison screw base.

 

Lumens:

Lumens are the amount of light emitted per second. The more lumens, the brighter the light.

If you’re used to watts for determining the brightness of the light, consult a conversion calculator.

 

Lifetime:

The better the quality of the LED, the longer the lifespan. But also, the higher the cost.

 

Dimmable:

Dimmable LEDs cost about 40% more than non-dimmable LEDs of similar wattage. Alternatively the switch can be replaced.

 

Light colour

LED light bulbs are mainly available in ‘warm / soft white’ or ‘cool / bright white’, meaning you can choose between comfy accent and daylight task lighting.

 

#Recipe: Wheatgrass Smoothie

Wheatgrass Smoothie: It tastes as green as it looks!
#Wheatgrass #Smoothie: It tastes as green as it looks!

 

Wheatgrass is actually pretty indigestible for humans. Hence the juicing which should remove all the cellulose. But still, its grassy taste is overpowering.

Preparing wheatgrass is a nightmare if you don’t have a juicer, as you’ll have to strain it through a cheesecloth.

I’m a practical cook, and have no patience for these complicated procedures.

So here a recipe that does not require straining, and results subsequently in a real thick smoothie. 😮

 

#Recipe: Wheatgrass Smoothie

 

Ingredients:

1 portion of wheatgrass

1 chunk of peeled ginger, dice-sized or according to taste

1 peeled & pitted lemon

2 peeled & pitted oranges

1 spoon of honey, if you’ve got a sweet tooth

1 dash of cinnamon, if you want to add a bit of spice

 

Throw all ingredients in a blender until smooth.

 

The ginger alone gives this smoothie a fibrous texture. Together with the cellulose loaden wheatgrass and the pulp of the citrus fruits you might be tempted to chew a little on this one. 😉

 

Bonus Tip: Put the wheatgrass first into the blender, as it’s so flimsy it’ll take ages to stuff it down so it mixes in. Putting the lemon and oranges on top of the wheatgrass will weigh it down.

 

#HowTo make a no-sew nut milk bag

Need a nut milk bag? A cotton or linen handkerchief can work well to strain liquids.
A cotton or linen handkerchief can work well to strain liquids.

 

Depending on the complexity of your cooking, you might come across the requirement to strain a liquid free from solids.

For making nut milk for example, it is suggested to use a nut milk bag. – Although I found a much simpler method to strain coconut milk:  #HowTo make coconut milk yourself at home. –

A nut milk bag sounds complicated, but all that’s actually required is a cheesecloth.

So a cloth napkin or handkerchief can easily work. 🙂

Bonus Tip: If you treat yourself to buying a new cheesecloth, do yourself a favour and cut it round. That way there won’t be any edges flopping out, which can leak and cause a mess.

 

#Good #Practice #Tip: Create a #great #hook

 

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.

 

#Puppy #Love – Add this healthy treat to your dog’s diet: Sardines

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.

 

Good Practice Tip: Why you always need to proofread your copy

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 named, 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. 😮

 

Good Practice Tip: Entertain your audience while waiting for your page to load

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. 😉

 

#RattieTip: Beware the sheet shredder!

 

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!

 

 

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

 

 

Good Practice Tip: First letter of name as profile pic

 

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.

 

#Recycling: Making flower pots from soft drink bottles

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. 

 

#Reuse #Reduce #Recycle #ChooseToRefuse #NoPlastic 

 

Wood Treatment: To paint or not to paint?

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! 😛

 

How to market your business on LinkedIn

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.

 

Cleaning the #pet #rat cage is like tending to a #zen #garden

Hey Missy Bean, how do you like your freshly cleaned cage?
Hey Missy Bean, how do you like your freshly cleaned cage?

 

I actually enjoy cleaning the rattie cage.

 

Maybe it’s because the ratoots are so very interested in everything that’s happening in or around their cage, this interaction alone makes me happy.

 

But it’s also the opportunity to escape everyday life and all its worries and enter the rattie world.

 

And because in their world ratties are boss, a lot of things are determined by them. For example, how the cage is structured:

Who sleeps where, who eats first, where is the toilet, what material is being used, which nest is being moved, who gets to choose their favourite spot and who has to stay out, is all being decided by the rats.

 

These are entertaining dynamics which change and evolve all the time, so it’s like watching a soap opera.

 

The creativity how to build and revamp your rattie cage is endless. There are even rat cages made from cupboards or doll houses, so you get a chance to play architect, too.

 

This is where the analogy to the zen garden comes in:

Even if my world is in chaos, in rattie world I can easily achieve order. It’s a confined space I can manage to overview and maintain.

Cleaning is an accomplishment and because rats are so interactive, I get feedback, or at least acknowledgement, right away. I can make changes and I can make improvements.

I can come up with new clever ideas for toys or things to gnaw on or other little entertaining gimmicks.

 

And then I get to see how much fun the ratties have with it.

 

And because rats have their own mind, their reaction is often different and unexpected, so there’s always an element of surprise.

 

As with this scenario, where my ratties were not impressed with my cleaning attempts and sent me a very clear message to stay out:

They dragged toys and stones from different levels of the cage into their box to build proper obstacles and then pulled the lid of the box shut.

I find this hilarious!

And it is these moments that make even a daunting task such as cleaning the pet cage a fun story to experience: Rats make great pets! 🙂

 

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

 

#Construction: Always wear protective gear – Cement Burns

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

 

How to promote your business on LinkedIn

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.

 

Good Practice Tip for your Digital Newsletter: Memory Jogger

Good Practice Tip: To avoid being regarded as spam, ensure you include a Memory Jogger in your digital newsletter.
Good Practice Tip: To avoid being regarded as spam, ensure you include a Memory Jogger in your digital newsletter.

 

Every day we get bombarded with emails.

Nowadays it’s so easy to sign up to promotional emails: When we want that clever recipe or free ebook we probably end up with some sort of subscription.

How to tell which newsletter is worth cluttering your inbox?

 

Avoid churn by reassuring your subscribers.

Good Practice Tip: Add a memory jogger

Ensure you offer a link which answers the question: Why am I receiving this email?

If you leave this question unanswered you could lose potential prospects.

Or worse: Newsletter emails can land in the spam folder. So it’s important your subscribers identify you as not junk mail.

 

#RattieTip: Beware the Lily – it could kill your pet!

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! 😮

 

Another beautiful sunflower from our rattie garden

This sunflower grew as a leftover seed from the rattie food.
This sunflower grew as a leftover seed from the rattie food.

 

Whenever my pet rats don’t finish their rattie food, I throw the leftover seeds into a flower pot.

Whatever grows in there I refer to as our rattie garden. 😉

The ratoots get to roam in their rattie garden and love nibbling on the wheat grass.

Every now and then however, a plant makes it, and breaks through amongst the other seedlings that end up as #RattieTreats.

This plant then gets a chance to grow to its full potential. Such as this sunflower! 😮

Which is doubly useful, as this sunflower in turn will produce seeds which again feed the ratties. 🙂

And of course, it’s also incredibly beautiful. So when the sunflower opens, it features a proper indoor flower pot plant in our kitchen.

Who would’ve thought that it’s all thanks to the ratties! 😀

 

#Construction: How to join a new wall to an old wall

Looking at what lies beneath to find the cause for the crack reveals two coliding walls.
Looking at what lies beneath to find the cause for the crack reveals two colliding walls.

 

What to consider when building a new wall onto an old wall

 

1) Foundation: The new wall must sit on the same level foundation as the old wall.

“Where no foundations exist the new wall will not be on solid footings and will sag or crack. A single wall no higher than 1.8 metres requires a 300mm deep x 300mm wide footing, while a double wall, or a wall higher than 1.8 metres should be 600mm deep x 300mm wide.”

www.home-dzine.co.za/diy/diy-joining-walls.htm

“The success of a join in the wall without any cracking still lies in the foundation, however. Any movement of the foundation will result in a crack in the wall. Proper compaction of the new area before digging foundations is important. Alternatively, dig down to solid ground before laying the foundation. There is no short way to do it properly.”

www.homehandyman.co.za/building

 

2) Cavity: Any existing cavity must be maintained and continued.

“Before adding a new wall to an old one you must check with your building inspector to see if a vertical damp proof course is required between walls, and whether or not any existing cavity in the walls of the existing construction, needs to be continued into the new construction. Building regulations must be upheld at all times for your own, as well as any future owners, safety.

When tying new extension walls to an existing building it is important that the cavity is maintained. This means cutting into the existing walls to continue the cavity around the building.”

www.diydoctor.org.uk/projects/tiebrickwork.htm

 

3) Joint: The two walls need a joint between them. There are different types, but basically a joint is a gap between the two building parts.

  • Control Joint

“Most materials experience small changes in dimensions, due to temperature changes, moisture changes, sometimes long-term chemical changes, and loading. Dimensional changes by themselves do not necessarily cause problems, but if the movement is restrained by contact with another part of the construction which is unaffected, or behaves differently, it can result in cracking or overstressing of some elements, and possibly in structural failure.

The usual way of combating relative movements is to provide control joints, which are capable of opening or closing to a certain extent while continuing to provide the structural and enclosure functions of the element.

Movement of the foundations will also cause relative movement of parts of the construction, and is sometimes compensated by the provision of control joints, but this is a different type of movement and its magnitude is more difficult to predict. This is known as articulated masonry, and can be useful for constructing small buildings on relatively unstable sites.

Control joints are by definition a discontinuity in the wall, and thus they reduce the amount of support given to one part of the wall by the remainder of it, or by the building’s frame. In many cases it will be necessary to use sliding wall-ties to transmit some support across the joints.

The joints also must be sealed to maintain the integrity of weatherproofness, acoustic and fire isolation.”

http://faculty.arch.usyd.edu.au/pcbw/walls/control-joints

  • Expansion Joint

“Unlike control joints, expansion joints are left completely free of mortar. They are filled with an electromatic sealant to keep them free from water.”

www.doityourself.com/stry/control-joint-vs-expansion-joint

“Brick is the smallest dimension it will be in its long service life when it leaves the kiln. As it is exposed to moisture from a variety of sources including the air, wet mortar, rain and condensation, it will naturally expand since it is a clay product. Temperature will also cause brick to expand and contract. Consequently, it is important to incorporate expansion joints into brickwork to accommodate this movement. Expansion joints should be located where stresses or cracks are likely to develop in brickwork. Prime candidates for expansion joints include long expanses of walls, corners, offsets, setbacks, and parapets.”

www.interstatebrick.com/faq/what-spacing-should-be-used-brick-expansion-joints

  • Slip Joint

“Slip joints are designed to take movement on a load bearing structure such as corbel/slab and brick interfaces where a low friction sliding interface is required. They ensure that the load transfer is correctly through the centre of the horizontal joint thus eliminating any chance of fretting at the edge due to the rotation of the slab. Live load deflection of the slab by means of settlement of adjacent columns/walls and piers is also diminished. Applied in a continuous length they are ideal for both reinforced and post-tension slabs in car parks, shopping centers, airports, hotels and recording studios.”

www.parchem.com.au/construction/product/concrete-slip-joints/slipjoints/i/171

  • Toothing

“Toothing-in or Toothing-out involves hacking away every other brick in the main building at the point you want to join the extension wall to and then make a seamless connection from the main building with the house extension. For this to be possible, the builder needs to build with the exact brick size and for the bricks to be perfectly aligned with the existing building when constructing the extension.”

www.squirrelconstruction.co.uk/house_extension_toothing_in.php

“Toothing of the masonry is not permitted in many architectural specifications. Why does toothing provide less strength than raking or stepping back the masonry wall?

Toothing is not as strong because of the difficulty involved in properly filling and compacting the mortar for the full depth of the head and bed joints. Much of the mortar at the tooth portion of the wall must be installed by pointing the joints, and it is difficult to point the mortar in the back portion of the joints. As a result, these tooth joints are often poorly filled, and as a result, create a weak plane within the wall that is susceptible to cracking.

Toothing, however, is sometimes necessary when connecting to an existing wall. If the joint cannot be stepped back, providing a vertical expansion joint at such interfaces may be an alternative to toothing.

When toothing must be done, extreme care must be taken to carefully point these joints to ensure that they are completely packed with mortar for the full depth.”

www.masonryconstruction.com/how-to/toothing-considerations_o

 

4) Wall Ties: Wall ties strengthen the bond between the two walls.

“Wall ties are used in cavity walls to connect the outer and inner walls, or to connect a new masonry wall to an existing one.”

www.diynetwork.com/how-to/skills-and-know-how/masonry-and-tiling/all-about-bricks-blocks-and-wall-ties

“Wall ties should be flexible enough to accommodate the relative movement between both leaves of a cavity wall but stiff enough to transmit axial loads. Stainless steel wall ties should be specified.

Additional wall ties should be placed either side of the movement joint at every block course up the length of the joint and within 150mm of the joint.”

www.thomasarmstrong.co.uk/divisions/concrete-blocks-division/technical-guidance-sustainability/movement-control-wall-ties

 

What to do if you spot an abnormal growth on your pet rat

What to do if you spot an abnormal growth on your pet rat.

Almost too late!
This growth developed so quickly I thought it was an abscess.
As everything in a rat’s life, things happen rapidly, so don’t wait too long: If you find a lump on your pet rat, consult your vet immediately.

 

It’s the fear every pet rat owner has to live with: Cancer.

Unfortunately rats are prone to cancer and while you can try to prevent it, when it strikes there is no cure.

Sadly, tumors are one of the most common health problems and causes of death in rats, especially in females.

 

Any unusual growth your pet rat might develop needs to be checked by a vet:

No matter what it is, an abscess, a swollen gland, or a tumour, it is best to have it treated by a professional.

 

The good news: If you act fast, your pet rat can be helped.

If you detect the growth early, it is still small enough to be surgically removed with little complications. Rats heal well, especially with the help of you, modern medicine and their rattie clan.

 

The bad news: If it’s cancer, it will come back.

Operating the tumour gives relief to your pet rat. Alas, it only extends their life span to a certain degree: The cancer will return, and there are only so many times your rattie can have surgery.

 

 

Introducing the Saladwich

Easy to make: Use big salad leaves instead of bread for a wheat free alternative to sandwiches.
Easy to make: Use big salad leaves instead of bread for a wheat free alternative to sandwiches.

 

Doing the low FODMAP diet, I have to avoid a lot of carbs. It helps with my IBS.

Breadwise this can get tricky, as wheat is out of the question, spelt is questionable, and also rye is not allowed.

A good idea is to bake your own bread. Or, to come up with some creative alternatives:

 

Make a Saladwich!

Simply swap the bread for salad leaves!

 

I love snackwiches, I dig the molten cheese. Mostly I use too much of it, and it melts and messes everywhere.

The salad leaves capture everything perfectly in a practical pocket, and it tastes good!

Usually we’re not used to cooking salad, but it has a lovely flavour when fried. The water in the leaves means it won’t burn, the water simply steams off and leaves the leaves nice and crispy.

So tuck in for a guilt-free and just as satisfying saladwich! 🙂

 

It works! Simply replace bread with salad leaves and you get a yummy healthy low-carb snackwich.
It works! Simply replace bread with salad leaves and you get a yummy healthy low-carb snackwich.

#RattieTreat: Ice cubes for hot days

Rattie MJ enjoys her ice cube.
Rattie MJ enjoys her ice cube.

 

When the days get hot, rats can do very little to stay cool:

They don’t sweat, they don’t pant. The only way they can release heat is through their tail.

 

Help your pet rats to cool down by giving them ice cubes as a #RattieTreat. Even if made from just plain tap water, ratties love them.

 

Bonus Tip: Make it an extra special treat by adding a bit of juice, and your ratoots will love you even more when you hand out these miniature ice popsicles. 🙂

 

#HowTo carry your #pet #rat on your shoulder

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! 😮

 

#Tip: You can always turn it into a #Zen #Garden

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

 

How to poach an egg the easy way

Even the plate looks like it's smiling when poached eggs are served! :)
Even the plate looks like it’s smiling when poached eggs are served! 🙂

 

Feeding puppy Lola an egg a day means I get lots of opportunities to make poached eggs.

While the egg might not need to look pretty, it’s more practical if it comes out well. Plus, even our dog likes it best when the egg yolk is still runny.

 

Easy way to poach an egg

1) In a small pot, bring water to simmer.

2) Swirl the water around in one direction and place pot back onto heat.

3) When the water slows down enough so the bubbles come up again, plop the egg right in the middle of the pot. The slow swirl should keep the egg tight around the center.

4) Make sure the egg floats. If it looks like the egg is stuck to the bottom of the pot, scrape it free with a spoon.

5) Cover the pot, turn off the heat and let it sit until the water cools down enough for the egg to be at eating temperature.

6) Scoop out the poached egg carefully with a big spoon.

 

How To peel a hardboiled egg the easy way

Having fun with hard boiled eggs: Check out these egg faces! ;)
Having fun with hard boiled eggs: Check out these egg faces ! 😉

 

I used to be super pedantic about boiling eggs perfectly right and of course, don’t forget to shock the freshly boiled eggs by rinsing them under cold water so they are easy to peel.

Then I learned that many factors have an influence on how easy it is to peel the egg: How you boil them, how you cool them, what you add to the water, how old the eggs are, their pH factor.

With all these variables chances are you still don’t get it right. Researching advice brings up conflicting results, sometimes the exact opposite is recommended.

Plus, most egg peeling hacks require to cool down the eggs before peeling them. I prefer my egg to still be hot.

So I’m focusing on the method of peeling an egg:

 

Easy way to peel an egg

1) Crack the egg open on the round side where the air pocket sits.

2) Roll the egg on a hard surface with the palm of your hand.

3) Start peeling at the blunt end. The air bubble should give you the chance to lift the eggshell membrane.

4) Carefully pull the membrane together with the eggshell in spirals off the egg.

 

Good luck! 🙂

 

#HowTo make coconut milk yourself at home

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. 🙂

 

#HappyEaster: #HowTo boil an egg the easy way

Ranzani Design wishes you a Happy Easter holiday. Add some colour to your festive decorations with Ranzani Africa Egg Potjies.

Happy Easter from Ranzani Design 🙂

 

Easter’s coming up and you might want to boil and paint some eggs for the festivities.

 

Easy way to make hard boiled eggs

1) Place the eggs in a tight fitting pot and cover them with water.

2) Bring the water to boil, so that the bubbles make the eggs wobble.

3) Switch off the heat and let the eggs sit until the water has cooled down to room temperature.

4) Serve in Ranzani Africa Egg Potjies, and add a dash of colour to the kitchen! 🙂

 

 

Need a website? Make your own.

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

 

Do NOT buy #canned #coconut #milk

Always check the label! Canned coconut milk has a lot of bad stuff in it, better not buy it.
Always check the label! Canned coconut milk has a lot of bad stuff in it, better not buy it.

 

Now that I’ve determined coconut milk to be my preferred alternative to lactose milk during my Low FODMAP diet, I’m facing the next obstacle: Where to buy it?

A check on the ingredients list has ruled out canned coconut milk completely: Simply shocking what is being added to the coconut milk, really such a shame to spoil a good product this way.

Healthy coconut milk, which contains just that, is very difficult to come by. But 100% coconut milk does exist, so it might be a matter of requesting your supermarket to stock better quality foods.

However, even if you find pure coconut milk in your store, if it’s in a can, chances are the tin is lined with BPA. And even if it’s BPA-free, it’s probably still not healthy.

So best is really to avoid canned coconut milk all together and either buy it in a carton box or make your own.

 

Homemade coconut milk is really easy! Watch this space for simple how to instructions coming up. 🙂

 

#RattieTip: Cabbage leaf as solid surface for a #pet #rat cage

 

It’s important to cover the wire mesh floors in the rattie cage with a solid surface to keep your pet rat’s feet healthy.

So how about bringing some freshness into the cage and providing a change of scenery?

#RattieTip: Cabbage leaves make for a great surface in rattie cages, and it's ok if the rascals nibble on it. :)
#RattieTip: Cabbage leaves make for a great surface in rattie cages, and it’s ok if the rascals nibble on it. 🙂

Cabbage leaves are fun to use: They work well as a surface and can also be nibbled on.

Just make sure you replace them regularly, before they start smelling like, well, cabbage. 🙂

 

#TechieTip: How to debug your website link

“His debugging skills are exceptional.”

Ever published a post and only afterwards thought of a real cool intro snippet? Or posted a headline you thought was a fun pun on words until you realised you didn’t mean that kind of fun?

Luckily, in the digital world, all you got to do is update your site and nobody will even know you made that faux pas, right?

Wrong!

Your site was probably cached and even though you updated the original version the cached version remains the same.

It might eventually get updated, but if it’s urgent to erase the previous version, you need to debug:

How to debug your web page url

When you share a link on social media, it reads the meta tags and combines them into a nice post mainly consisting of title, description, image.

To force update this content you need to manually ask the social media site to fetch the new information and replace the old version.

Simply enter the link and hit the button:

Facebook Debugger: http://developers.facebook.com/tools/debug

Google Data Testing Tool: www.google.com/webmasters/tools/richsnippets

Twitter Cards Validator: https://cards-dev.twitter.com/validator

LinkedIn Post Inspector: https://www.linkedin.com/post-inspector/inspect

Social Debug gives you a nice overview of how your posts will fare across the main social media sites.

Iframely gives you more insight into the code of the meta tags.

Have you got what it takes to be a #copywriter?

A magazine ad I wrote back in the day. You can tell, because I used my mom's name! ;-)
A magazine ad I wrote back in the day. You can tell, because I used my mom’s name! 😉

 

Are you an autodidact?

A copywriter needs to become an expert in any given field in a very short time.

Can you write about technical equipment? No? Well you better learn quickly, because the copy must sound like it was written by a professional in the industry.

You might get a brief, but this is only a summary. For the nitty-gritty authentic stuff, you have to do your research and catch up quickly.

 

Are you a wordsmith?

And with that I don’t mean are you creative, but do you understand the concept of language, and are you excelling at grammar and spelling.

I’ve worked in agencies where copywriters had to be proofread, because they didn’t even master their own language.

That is like wanting to design jewellery without understanding the materials and processes: It doesn’t work. And eventually, it’ll fail. This is the reason why there’s so much bad copy with even worse spelling errors out there.

 

Can you get to the point?

The attention span of consumers is shortening and so is the copy. Can you describe the purpose of that product in one sentence, or one word? This is essential to stay on topic.

The best copy is still a fail if it doesn’t achieve the goal it was written for.

 

Are you an empath?

If you’re an ego-driven narcissist, you might fit in well in the advertising world, but your calling should not be on the creative side.

The copy you write, no matter how commercially driven, needs to connect with the reader. And enough to grasp and hold their attention.

 

Can you be a translator?

The client talks in industry slang, the agency talks in industry slang, the techie guys speak in industry slang. But the consumer doesn’t understand any of that, and you need to translate. Depending on who the end-consumer is, you might need to translate into their specific choice of tone and words, too.

Translators even have a specific word for that: Localisation – when you adapt the copy for the market, not just the language.

 

Are you a creative?

Can you come up with a clever idea or a funny joke, at the snap of a finger?

There are ways to spur your creativity, and good agencies will inspire, train and incentivise you.

But when it comes down to it, it’s just you and the blank screen.

 

Can you perform under pressure?

In the agency world everything has to happen yesterday. There are real deadlines at stake, and they don’t just swoosh by, there are serious knock-on effects if you cause delay in the machinery of advertising production.

An easy way to tell if you excel under pressure: How did you do at your school exams? If you attended well-prepared or even if you just pitched up to somehow wing it, you probably have a great ‘I’m ready to tackle whatever comes my way’ attitude.

 

Can you distance yourself from your writing?

The client is always right. So if they make it sound like your grandma just got transported back into the medieval ages, then you have to let go.

Yes, that is the moment, when you’re no longer a writer, but are starting to turn into a media prostitute or short: media pro. 😉

Welcome to the media world. 😀

 

#RattieTip: Cover wire mesh to keep rattie feet healthy

If you have a wire mesh cage for your pet rats, make sure you cover the surfaces, so their tiny feet stay healthy.
If you have a wire mesh cage for your pet rats, make sure you cover the surfaces, so their tiny feet stay healthy.

 

Apparently the wire floors and ramps in pet rat cages can be quite bad for rattie feet.

It’s healthier for your ratties to cover the wire mesh and provide solid flooring.

Ideas for materials are endless, just make sure they are non-toxic and easy to clean or replace:

 

Handy materials for surfaces in your pet rat cage

– plastic sheets

– newspaper (printed with non-toxic ink)

– fleece

– old towels / t-shirts

– egg tray filler flats

– cardboard

– cereal boxes

 

Bonus Tip: Use office pegs to pin down the material to the cage floor, so the ratties can’t remove it.