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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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! 🙂
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.
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.
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. 🙂
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!
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Vitamin D helps to absorb calcium, without enough vitamin D, the calcium you eat won’t have any beneficial effect.
“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.
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%.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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! 🙂
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:
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.
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.
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.”
“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.”
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. 😮
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. 🙂
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:
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!
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.
“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! 😛
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.
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! 🙂
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:
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.
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.
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.”
“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.”
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.
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
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.
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
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.
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! 😮
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. 😉