Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Fishing, Cleaning and Sunbathing

This month has been glorious weather in England up north. Usually we get more rain and cold in August. It has been overcast but warm: perfect for me. No need for suntan lotion or a hat, or worrying about wearing black.

I have been taking this opportunity to go fishing. Below is a photo of a relative taken the other day:

Unfortunately this time it wasn't to be. I have had a bit of success this summer but all pretty small fishes in the nearby rivers and lakes. Nothing compared to the best I photographed below on my last holiday abroad:

This would be my dream catch

There have been a couple of sunny days which I have used for a spot of sunbathing. We even broke out the BBQ and crochet set one afternoon. I tend to get eye bags and a tan is the ideal way to get rid of them.

I am not very good at sunbathing - it is just so boring. So after 10 minutes or so I need to do something. After the usual chores like trimming the shrubs back and mowing the lawn, I decided to clean the paving on the patio and side path.

What a boring job, but certainly less boring than just sunbathing. The problem is that you tend to slouch over when jet washing paving, which meant it did nothing for my tan. Anyway I whizzed through it and then applied a paving sealer in the hope that will stop me needing to clean it again anytime soon. Apparently it should help keep the paving clean for many years. Lets see.

The sky is threatening rain today so it is touch and go. If it brightens up a bit I shall cycle to the shops. We have an old bike with a rock hard seat. I found a seat cover for less than £3 on eBay (including postage) which has made an amazing difference. So I am eager to use it when I can. I do not do rain though, so I have to be sure hehehe.

Anyways that's my little update, signing off for now. Hope everyone is also having a good summer.

Saturday, 31 January 2015

2 Jobs for Introverts and those with Social Anxiety

I have always been one of those people who finds it hard to socialize. I recently learned from a great TED talk that introverts have energy taken from them when socialising and extroverts gain energy from being with people.

Therefore it makes sense for introverts and people who have the more serious but rarer social anxiety (fear of people), to avoid jobs where you have to interact often and do team work. For me teamwork is just the biggest turn off. In sales jobs team work building is a big thing. Great for extroverts but for me a nightmare.

So lets start with what I do:

Working Online

There are a hundred plus things that you can do online. It means less contact with the real world and if you get into a situation like I am in, I almost never have to communicate with people other than by email.

This may sound like heaven but think about it, we are supposed to be social creatures. Therefore unless you are very happy being alone and have a supportive other half, be careful. You don’t want to be one of those overweight bachelors or spinsters who never leave their home and just order take out food all the time.

Working online is great but if you are single especially, make sure you get some human contact. This is easier said than done but I believe if you hide away and work online without a partner and ideally friends to socialise with, you will end up lonely and unhappy.


As a member of various organisations for introverts and those with social phobia, I find it baffling how many people are teachers. My Mum has some similarities with nervousness around others but she has been a happy teacher for many years. She started in primary schools, moved on to secondary school (apparently that was more stressful- sounds like my worst nightmare). Now she teaches smaller groups at an English language school in Manchester teaching IELTS courses.

Anyway this is not something I could ever do, despite numerous attempts from my Mum to get me to to it. However it seems to be a case of facing your fear, which I believe is a great way to overcome problems. I just couldn’t stand in front of a class of 20-30 kids.

Teaching can be done in many ways. My Mum taught from toddlers up to those getting ready for college. She also taught those with issue like dyslexia for a while and now simply teaches English. You can teach a subject you are interested in. You can teach around the world. It is seems to be a very flexible job when you consider the many options. So if you can see yourself doing it, certainly have a think. My Mum said her most rewarding moments were at the end of the school year when young children would do sweet things like say “thanks you are the best teacher” with a gift.

Friday, 8 August 2014

Care Industry One of Biggest Growers

The British elderly care industry is booming right now. Massive investments are leading to a whole new generation of companies. Companies like Safe Harbor who began with just one nursing home in the Midlands now have 5 in the region.

These once small firms are simply reacting to the market as more and more elderly people seek quality care. The rise of the internet generation has ensured that standards need to remain high. One bad review online can make or break a business so quality care needs to be adhered to at all times.

People want their family members to reside in smaller homes with a sense of community and homeliness. This is why it is the smaller companies who are gradually making their mark rather than bigger ones with hospital-like accommodations which offer unpleasant and “cold” feeling accommodation.

Care homes like Agnes and Arthur (pictured) offer small, homely environments for their residents. This makes the transition much easier for residents when moving out of their own homes. Many elderly people have a fear of hospitals, so using converted large mansions or small apartment blocks is the trend.

Friday, 20 September 2013

Bringing nature into your living room

These days we are all guilty of spending too much time glued to the TV, computer or smartphone. One company who is offering a way to disconnect from these electronic devices is Uscenes. The 2013 start up of the year has set its mission to stop people watching so much TV… but putting a video background on the TV instead.

The idea is simple. To record high quality still camera footage of nature and certain other scenes. Then give people the change to use their TV as a window to the scene. The idea came to head videographer Michael years ago whilst watching Back To The Future 2. The movie featured a Scenery Channel and Michael never forgot what a great idea it would be.

Fast forward many years into the future and Michael has helped to set up Uscenes. They have around 50 scenery videos so far with plenty more on the way. Michael says “We have an infinite number of amazing scenes to film around the world. Since we started the sales have gone really well, so we are already funnelling the money back into the project to fund new shoots.”

One example was last weekend when Michael flew to Portugal for a few days to film some new video backgrounds. One example from the trip is the beach scenes in the clip below. He also filmed atop cliffs and captured some sunsets.

Click here for a sample video beach scene

Uscenes has decided not to offer DVDs or Blu Ray discs as they see these mediums as a dying breed. Instead all products are downloaded from the website. Not all of us have a media streaming device or media player yet but this seems like a great reason to get one. For those not quite up to date with the latest tech you can record the videos onto DVD or enjoy them on your computer. The videos all come with screensaver apps too.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

How To Clean Your Driveway Without Ruining The Concrete

Most of us buy a power washer from our local hardware superstore. These machines are also known as jet washers or pressure washers. They basically send a high powered stream of water out of the nozzle to blast away dirt. The problem with using these machines on a concrete driveway or patio is that they will take the face off the surface.

Most concrete driveways have a top layer which is different to the inside. On pattern imprinted driveways this has a protective coating and coloured dye. Ornamental paving slabs also have a coloured outer layer. Repeated use of a power washer will wear this layer away.

If you are cleaning your concrete regularly the surface will become rougher which means dirt will stick easier. The finish will also deteriorate meaning loss of colour and eventually the inner aggregate stone will show.

Dan from Sale Exterior Restoration is a driveway cleaning specialist and he recommends either letting a professional company like his do the job, or follow the steps below. He says;

“a company like us will only need to do this job every 5-10 years, depending on the surface type and location. Using a cheap power washer twice a year or so will just ruin your surface.”

If you want to do the job yourself follow these steps:

1. Hire a good quality power washer instead of buying one. The top of the range machines omit a much stronger jet of water. This makes the job much faster and eliminates “streaks” from areas missed or rushed.

2. Once cleaned, sweep off any dirt which has gathered in puddles. Then leave the surface until it is bone dry. Whilst waiting purchase a suitable sealant for your driveway. Be aware than some sealants have a subtle matt finish and others have a glossy finish which can be very shiny.

3. Brush the surface with a medium brush. Then apply the sealer. Follow the instructions on the packaging. Usually 2 coats is required. Once applied you can sit back and relax for the next 5-10 years because the sealant will protect the concrete from the elements and from attracting dirt. Using a sealant will help prevent cracks in concrete which are most common in areas which freeze up in winter.

Monday, 20 May 2013

UK Self Hypnosis website actually works

Now I am as sceptical as anyone when it comes to thinks like hypnosis. Self hypnosis sounded even more unrealistic than seeing a real life hypnotherapist. But I’ve been getting overweight over the past few years and my efforts to diet and exercise haven’t brought lasting results. After a friend saying it had helped him I decided to give it a shot. For just £15 I thought what the hell.

After checking out reviews online I chose the most legit looking site (Self Hypnosis UK) and ordered their virtual gastric band download. The hypnotherapist has a slight northern accent and was female which were pluses. The download was quick and came with instructions. I was soon lay on my back with my eyes closed.

It is quite a nice experience and very relaxing. You just follow the voice of the hypnotherapist as she gets you to relax. Then the surgical part of adding the gastric band (lol). To be honest I haven’t really noticed much of a difference yet but I do feel that it could help. I have noticed a few times that I have been eating smaller portions. I’m going to try a few more listens and hopefully the messages will really start to sink in.

My thinking is that even if I cut down on my eating a small amount then it is well worth it. So far I’m not sure if it has just been a temporary placebo effect so we’ll have to see. I did keep an open mind and have tried to be mindful of the messages on the recording. I’m hoping that it will have long term results. I’ll post again in a couple of months or so to let you know how I’m getting on.

Hypnosis is being regarded as a new method in treating certain diseases and ailments.  Having the knowledge and understanding of this practice is critical, so that the decision-maker is filled in and knowledgeable.  People in this position usually carry a tough educational achievement, like an online healthcare administration degree because this information is not covered in basic classes.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

The easy way to improve ski technique

Skiing is one of those activities that participants often just manage once or twice a year. That means it can be impossible to stay “slope ready” unless you live close by to an practice slope. There are a few ski simulator machines on the market but they cost large amounts of money, which means they aren’t worth buying for most people. The good news for skiers of all levels is that SkiA Designs Ltd launched a great little ski gadget last year, which is the ideal solution.

SkiA Sweetspot ski training block

The Sweetspot is a ski trainer which can be used anywhere. The blocks are attached to the bottom of your boots and designed to give you that “sweetspot” feeling you get when balancing perfectly. At just £45/$72.50 per pair this represents good value for anyone looking to learn how to ski. It is also said to be useful for experts who need to hone their technique, or those undergoing rehabilitation from a ski injury.

The Sweetspot improves balance by giving users the feeling of being on real snow. It is also able to improve other aspects of ski technique such as control, turns and posture. Some ski coaches have advised their students to use the Sweetspot to practice at home. There are instructional videos and a free ebook available on the SkiA website at www.skia.com. Skiers in the USA can visit http://www.skia.com/nam/. There are also online stores for Australia and New Zealand.