Singapore – The Gorgeous Green City – Where the happiest people in Asia live!

trees keep the whole place healthy and balanced

Singapore – The Gorgeous Green City – Where the happiest people in Asia live!Singapore - Raffles fountain

I’ve always wanted to visit Singapore to see the iconic locations for myself.

Singapore - Raffles

It’s a total joy, everywhere you look is greenery alongside stunning modern architecture.



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MY SHORT STORY COLLECTION IS OUT! PAPERBACK OR EBOOK NOW AVAILABLE!

It’s taken hard work, many hours writing, editing and preparing for publication, and I loved every minute, well almost!

MY SHORT STORY COLLECTION IS OUT! PAPERBACK OR EBOOK NOW AVAILABLE!

Hi, how about having a coffee with me? Too far to travel, well how about spending the coffee coins on my new short story collection instead?

My book ‘Knickers and Other Bitesize Flashes’ is on Amazon, and I’d love it if you bought a copy.

IT’S A BARGAIN!

It’s taken hard work, many hours writing, editing and preparing for publication, and I loved every minute, well almost!

I’d love to get your opinions, hopefully in the form of good reviews! Like actors, writers rely on good reviews to feed their business, and nourish their art.

OK, so basically it feels good to know all those hours poring over a keyboard at midnight were worth the effort.


Want to know more about my short story collection?

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Venice, Italy – So Much More Than Glass and Gondolas!

invoking thoughts of women in masks and powdered wigs roaming through the city after attending yet another outrageous masked ball in the 15th century.

Venice, Italy – So Much More Than Glass and Gondolas!

I’d heard Venice was smelly, damp, expensive, sinking and outdated. Well they got that wrong!

Venice canal
Stupidly big boats are not friends of Venice

OK, maybe it’s sinking, actually it’s tilting and sinking. Yes it’s pricey. However it certainly wasn’t smelly and it was so packed with gorgeous art, stunning architecture, history and irrepressible wow factors that I would have forgiven the city the smell anyway.

Venice - pillar



Venice is awesome, you arrive at the airport and get the boat, yes boat, from the airport to your hotel.

On the island there are no cars, which is no wonder as the pathways wind adventurously between the high and ancient architecture.

  Continue reading “Venice, Italy – So Much More Than Glass and Gondolas!”

How to Recycle Your Wedding Dress (Or Other Piece of Clothing That Holds Memories Within Its Threads)

I paid loads of cash for a frock and then paid to destroy it?

How to Recycle Your Wedding Dress (Or Other Piece of Clothing That Holds Memories Within Its Threads)

You now how it goes.

Gorgeous wedding day, fortune spent on your wedding dress, then after the big day it sits in the suit carrier in the wardrobe.

So, guess what, as part of my streamlining and feeble attempts at leading a more minimal life style I decided to cut it up!

Yes really, you heard me right, CUT IT UP!


Well, to be honest I paid someone else to cut it up.

OK, take a breath. I paid loads of cash for a frock and then paid to destroy it?

Yup!

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How Your ‘5 a Day’ Can Help a Blogger (They’re not all millionaires, despite the rumours!)

You know when you ‘Google’ (other search engines are available) to find a fact, or check an ailment, the responses you find are often written by a blogger.

The headlines about bloggers making millions with no effort are usually fake news, or a sales pitch by someone building their own online business.

Good luck to them, some bloggers do make a great living, they work hard so deserve it.

HOWEVER most bloggers don’t make enough to live on, and never will.

Many bloggers don’t do the work to earn a fortune, most genuinely want to serve, support and help you, their audience.

Blogs exist across the globe for every topic you can imagine.

Self-help, educational study and mutual support groups, hobby groups and that isn’t even mentioning the travel, health, beauty and fashion blogs that you may be familiar with.

You know when you ‘Google’ (other search engines are available) to find a fact, or check an ailment, the responses you find are often written by a blogger.

When you read something online that you find informative, helpful or of value why not support the person who delivered it to you.


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Vietnam – Through My Eyes

The cities are bright, busy and packed with energy

The countryside is wild and awe inspiring

Vietnam – Through My Eyes

Vietnam is a beautiful, breath taking country

The cities are bright, busy and packed with energy

The countryside is wild and awe inspiring

Taste the best coffee in the world

Go and see stunning dynamic Vietnam for yourself

It has some of the most iconic views in the world

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I hope I’ve inspired you to travel, tweet me from your next coffee stop!

How to Build Ikea Flatpack Furniture – My Flatpack Assembly Survival Guide – ( Without Breaking a Nail! )

Things that were minutes ago just squares and shapes laid snugly in a well fitting cardboard box are now a three dimensional gorgeous addition to your home.

How to Build Ikea Flatpack Furniture –  My Flatpack Assembly Survival Guide – ( Without Breaking a Nail! )

How to Build Ikea Flatpack Furniture - My Flatpack Assembly Survival Guide - ( Without Breaking a Nail! )

Do you hanker after well designed furniture but can’t afford it?

How about flat pack? Scared of it looking cheap and wobbly, with poorly fitting doors etc? Be scared no more, Ikea could well be the answer to your problems. Never shopped in Ikea before? Have a look at my shopping advice here.

If you followed my previous advice, you got home safely with all your bargains and flatpacks and are ready to make your house into a home.

Many people, sadly often the lovely men in our lives (I’m not sexist but guys, you know this is true) do not like following instructions. If this is you, then walk away. I can’t help you.

Walk away, with your big hammer, your tool belt and be prepared to break things.  Get your ‘might come in handy stuff’ box, aka toolbox, for all the left over pieces you didn’t think were necessary. You may want to keep the drill handy too, you know you love a power tool. For those who are less gung ho and want to do the job as suggested by Ikea, this post is for you.

Right then, who’s still here?

You did swot up and buy, or borrow, all the required tools didn’t you? No? Oh dear, you may have a problem, or not. DO NOT PANIC! I can help. You will just be reading instructions, or rather following text free diagrams with little pictures of people helping you along the way. No language difficulties here.

Check your watch, it’s not a race, this is a task that could take time. If you don’t have time, leave it. A panicky last minute build could be disastrous. Happy? OK, we’re going in.

My Flatpack Assembly Survival Guide – My 5 Practical Tips

1. Prepare your Construction Zone

Are you ready to go? Great. Get changed, be comfy, wear trainers not slippers or barefeet (bare toes and sheets of glass or wood don’t make for a healthy mix.) Grab a glass of water, it can get heated.

It’s a good idea to cover the floor area or table (only use a table for small projects. Picture frames usually have glass in them, you need to keep it flat. Furniture is heavy, you need to keep it as low as possible.)

Bedsheets / blankets to protect your flooring or carpet are ideal.

You don’t want to produce one gorgeous piece at the cost of scratches and marks on another.

You need as big a space as you can wrangle, spreading out will help you keep track. It’s also safer, you don’t want to be stepping over or on the flatpack pieces during construction.

At this stage it’s worth putting your drink where it won’t get knocked over but you can reach it. You may need extra energy so bring the Ikea Dime pieces, you DID buy some didn’t you?

Continue reading “How to Build Ikea Flatpack Furniture – My Flatpack Assembly Survival Guide – ( Without Breaking a Nail! )”

Doha, Qatar – Through My Eyes

Next time you have a stop over, make it a few days and explore this jewel in the Middle East.

Doha, Qatar – Through My Eyes

It’s a city packed with surprise architecture…

Here are just a few of my favourite images of this beautiful, bustling, breath-taking city.

Doha, Qatar is a joy and a real hidden treasure and it hosts one of my favourite museums.

The souq ranks as one of the best in the world.

Next time you have a stop over, make it a few days and make the most of this jewel in the Middle East.

I hope I’ve inspired you to travel, tweet me from your next coffee stop!

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Paphos, Cyprus – How a Turtle Helped Me Remember Why I Travel to New Places!

Maybe, just maybe, it’ll make them think twice about throwing that plastic bottle in the ocean.

Paphos, Cyprus – How a turtle helped me remember why I travel to new places!

One of my travel mantras has been that the world is so huge with so many places to visit that I wouldn’t go to the same place twice. This trip broke that rule, I’d been to Paphos in Cyprus many years before and loved it’s history, culture and gorgeous castle on the harbour.

So when looking for a family holiday destination accessible from both Greece, where we were concluding a tour of the Peloponnese, and England from where my family would be flying in to join us, Cyprus was an obvious choice.

We were enjoying an evening on the promenade, and had just finished eating a fairly ordinary meal which hadn’t left me reeling in delight when I spotted a few people rushing to the harbourside.

A crowd was building along the waterfront. The dark sea alongside the busy pedestrianised promenade obviously held something exciting for the tourists but I had no idea what. I’d been waiting for the bill to arrive but couldn’t resist the pull of the crowd. OK, so I’m nosey, I admit it.

I had an inkling what it could be, the area’s known for turtles and I hadn’t seen one yet, I secretly hoped this evening could end on a high note.

 

After making sure the bill was in hand I couldn’t wait any longer to join the hyperactive crowd peering into the dark. Now here was where mobile phones came into their own, someone lit the area with their mobile torch and to everyone’s giddy joy there she was. Swimming just below the surface was the most gorgeous, apparently happy and healthy turtle.

Wow!

I’ve been lucky to get quite up close and personal with turtles in Australia, but only in a rescue centre

Turtle at Reef HQ, Australia
Turtle at Reef HQ, Australia

I’d also seen one swimming off the coast there but to see one so close up in the wild was a real joy. I love the sea and all it holds and feel passionately that we should do much more to protect it. I was thrilled so many tourists could encounter this beautiful peaceful creature first hand.

Maybe, just maybe, it’ll make them think twice about throwing that plastic bottle in the ocean.

As people slowly moved away, their murky phone photos shooting up into social media as they went, a local guy approached and asked if I knew the story. A little bit wary of this enthusiastic local holding my arm I admitted I didn’t so he told me all about the turtle’s tale. Now all this could be a myth or a load of rubbish but here we go.

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Redundant? Your 5 Step Action Plan – How To Turn A Job Loss Into An Opportunity. Survive and Thrive!

Now read your notebook. It should be a visual feast of fears and thoughts, dreams and aspirations, Q & A’s and more importantly your plan for your future. Your life is literally in your own hands.

Redundant? Your 5 Step Action Plan – How To Turn A Job Loss Into An Opportunity. Survive and Thrive!

I’ve been through the stress of losing my job a few times over the years, always in circumstances beyond my control.

If I hadn’t experienced the sheer terror of thinking I could lose my home I may never have had the courage, or cash, to go backpacking to the other side of this awesome planet.

I may not have moved house.

I probably wouldn’t have studied for a degree or learnt numerous new skills.

I could go on and on.

On my journey from worthlessness and fear to confidence and personal acceptance I’ve picked up a few tips on how to cope.

I’d love to share how you can turn a redundancy or job loss into a positive experience and opportunity. I’ll give you some ideas and reassure you. 

You are not on your own.

You really can come out smiling, in fact smiling throughout really helps not just you, but also your colleagues to get through the bad days!

First things first, get yourself a notebook and pen.

It’ll become invaluable. Treat yourself to one that makes you smile, not one you always use in your current job. This book will become important so buy one you like the feel of and that’s easy to carry around. 

I find a good way to organise your notebook is to use it the right way round to record the FACTS then turn it upside down and back to front to write all your thoughts and/or feelings. 

Now Your 5 Step Action Plan – How To Turn A Job Loss Into An Opportunity

1 – GET THE FACTS

Book an appointment with a legal advisor and your bank or financial advisor.

If you are in a union or with a caring company they may provide this free of charge. Most lawyers, in UK at least, will do a free consultation.

Get online, look for local resources, drop in centres.

If you’ve been shut out of your job without notice, don’t panic, still book appointments. You need to know your rights.

Write down the questions you have (these will often come to you at 2am so keep your notepad at the side of your bed) you’ll then be ready to ask the real experts. This’ll help you sleep as you’ll feel more in control.

Get facts, write them down, with dates and names of who told you what.

You won’t remember. Trust me!

Everyone will have an opinion and it will all pile up in your brain. To manage it all and make sense of the chaos your notebook will be invaluable.

Sadly some cases do go to legal action, if you need to go down that route your notebook will be invaluable. It’s handy to speak with people you know, especially those who’ve been through it, however don’t take their advice as fact.

Unless your friend is an employment lawyer they may not be giving you accurate information.

Refresh your CV.

There are plenty of up to date templates on the internet, update yours, this helps you to realise you have some amazing skills.

It’s good to do this exercise with someone who knows you well. We all have skills that we don’t recognise. You could ask a colleague who is going through the same changes to sit down offer a coffee and go through the exercise together. 

If you’re being offered a redundancy package it is probably highly detailed and could take months if not years to be put in writing. Don’t wait, start your research early.

So, the stressful stuff is in hand. The lawyer and bank appointments are in the diary, the CV is up to speed. Now have some fun! 

Continue reading “Redundant? Your 5 Step Action Plan – How To Turn A Job Loss Into An Opportunity. Survive and Thrive!”