Do something today quote on green wooden background with daisy

Happy Monday!

A ship is always safe at shore but that's not what it's built for quote overlooking statue of liberty
Believing in yourself quote
If you knew how capable you were quote with ladies hand pointing at it on green background
Trusting yourself
Don't think too much, just do what makes you happy quote girl on swing at beach in moonlight
Happiness quote
Set a goal quote on ocean and sky background blue yellow
Goalsetting
The trouble is, you think you have time quote Buddha
Sobering thoughts
Sometimes you win quote overlooking city skyline at dusk/dawn
Life lessons
Walt Disney quote fun to do the impossible
Enjoy the ride!
Venus Williams quote believe in yourself
Self-confidence building
Do something today quote on green wooden background with daisy
Pep talk

A few posts that helped improve my mood on a Sunday evening in preparation for the coming week – Happy Monday!

🌻🌻🌻

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Feeling Frustrated with Ad Revenue?

Blog Stats: the Ads

Like many people, I began blogging as a bit of a creative hobby when I first began only around 3 or 4 months ago but I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t hope it would ultimately bring in some monetary payment too as an added bonus. I’m sure it’s the same for any hobby, hence the saying that if you can find a way to live by doing something you love, then you’ll never have to work a day in your life.

The Early Days

There was something of a steep learning curve for me starting a blog but again, just as with any new hobby or skill, learning the finer points of the art is often part of the fun.

For the first few months, my learning has been more on understanding some of the terminology of blogging and useful insights to take from my normal traffic stats page as well as the practical side of learning how to use blogging systems. And, I still feel like a newbie!

Getting Curious

I think an inevitable stage of blogging comes when you start to take more of an interest in SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). I had a vague notion of what it was when I first started blogging but when there’s so much to do in those early days, I was very much guided by helpful articles on the web advising content is king with design another key element of successful blogging long-term before worrying too much about SEO, especially if blogging for “fun”.

Now that the intense early days excitement of blogging has settled into an enjoyable routine hobby, that’s allowed me to take a wider interest in the more advanced side of blogging and the various theories on how to be good at it. After all, when we enjoy something we can do, don’t we always want to do it well?

I’m very much in the early days of researching as much as I can on SEO for 2019. At first, it sounded utterly dull to me but after some time I can now see how it could be interesting to learn about.

Already Surprising Results

The article that spurred this latest interest I found in the Support Section (that little question mark in the bottom right corner of your screen on WordPress sites), https://en.support.wordpress.com/getting-more-views-and-traffic/

I had actually taken a look at this article a few times when I began blogging and had done pretty much all the suggestions save for the first, mainly because, I didn’t really understand it!

I had of course checked that the site was public, which it was, but what did all that talk of site indexing mean? So I left it to come back to another time, which just so happened to be yesterday when my curiosity got the better of me and I decided to follow, what turned out to be, a simpler process than what I’d thought it might be and indexed my own site. Link to the article I followed here: https://en.support.wordpress.com/webmaster-tools/

Essentially, by getting your blog or website “site indexed” or listed in Bing, Google and Pinterest, you get access to a ton of additional stats. It should be noted that as WordPress state in the article, you do not have to do this, I just thought I’d give it a go to see if it was helpful to me, with some instantly surprising results that I thought I’d share.

Since the blog launched in May 2019 until today being 4 August 2019, the ad revenue had been virtually non-existent at 5 cents total! After implementing the site indexing techniques suggested in the linked article only yesterday, I logged on today to see that for yesterday alone I made 5c!

I’m not one to jump to conclusions but that seems a bit of a coincidence!

5 cents in 3 months, a few tweaks and voila 5 cents in one day. I appreciate that 10 cents is not a lot to get excited about, by the way, I just didn’t expect those tweaks to have such instantaneous results.

Of course, it could simply be a coincidence – far too early to tell really but interesting nonetheless. I’ll obviously have to keep things under review with my now all-singing-all-dancing additional stats reports from my site indexing and report back at a later date.

In the meantime, if you’ve not already, take a look at the articles suggested to see if there’s any ideas in there that could boost your traffic and maybe even help make you a few bob too!

Let me know how you find the wonderful world of SEO.

August 2019 Energy Update Tarot Reading

Having not uploaded a tarot reading in a while, today seemed as good a day as any to consult the tarot for a sneak peak at the August 2019 energies.

The Deck

The Manga Tarot Deck being today’s pack of choice

The Spread

I had sat down to read planning to do either 1-card for each week of August or for 1 card to represent 10 days each of the month. However, when the cards came out it didn’t feel like that sort of a reading. Instead the cards fed into each other so well that I actually read all 3 cards as one energy for the entire month as there really didn’t seem too much change.

The Reading

Overall Energies

The energy for August 2019 is of constant. Wherever you are right now it doesn’t seem like there is going to be much of a change in your situation in August. Knowing that, you might think that there’s not much you can do about it but there’s where you’d be wrong – August is a perfect time to relish in abundance which was the keyword that kept coming up. The time for changes and fresh starts feels more prosperous in September so if it’s possible to hold off any plans for doing so try to wait until then.

When The World comes out reversed it suggests roadblocks, delays, giving up and failures.  However with this card “looking” towards the 7 of Cups, a card where there can seem to be lots of options as to how you can proceed, the trick is knowing which of your options are realistic and achievable and which are just illusions and castles in the sky. It’s also a good time to ask yourself:

“Do I want this option at any cost? Am I willing to pay any price for it?”

This downbeat energy can lead to you being pulled off course by temptation or deciding not to try at all because there’s “no point” as you can’t see the progress with the 7 of Pentacles reversed. Alternatively, you might find yourself trying harder than ever because you feel like a failure in some way.

But the energy will shift again and that is the time to make progress. August is a time of considering your options carefully and getting in touch with what you have now that can make you feel abundant and enough.

Another key word that sprang to mind was satisfaction and how to feel it on the journey to where you’re headed, not once you reach your destination.

The bonus clarifying card was drawn from the Goddess Card pack. The message was:

Tap into your surroundings this month and enjoy what you can right now. If you must do something to progress at this time, instead of focusing on airy-fairy impossible dreams, focus on what you have gained or are on track for gaining. It may not be what you were expecting but this is where you’ll discover the rewards of this energy.

The gains are less likely to be material or financial in nature but more likely to be good times and memories made with our friends and family, hobbies and interests being developed and just enjoying this slower pace over the Summer Holidays before the pace picks back up at the beginning of September.

I hope that you enjoyed this tarot reading; feel free to share with others!

Should We Be Charged for Single-Use Cups?

Sign the Petition Now

Yesterday, I received an email from Green Peace asking me to sign their petition to the Chancellor to start charging a minimum 25p levy on all single-use cups. The suggestion is that the money raised by such a campaign could then be used to support environmentally-friendly projects and planet-saving initiatives.

The scheme has in fact already been introduced, in the Houses of Parliament of all places, and in less than a year is said to have led to almost a 75% drop in the amount of single-use cups being used there, according to Green Peace’s website.

And I can believe it too having already seen with my own eyes the incredible success of the plastic bag charge brought in only a few years ago.

I understand that there will be naysayers out there saying that it won’t make any difference and that it’s too late, the planet is already doomed, but would it really hurt to try?

We all got round the plastic bag charge by simply getting into the habit of buying longer lasting bags that could be re-used far more often and then remembering to take them with us, or pay the price and feel guilty, every time we forgot them. Many a time my husband and I have remembered to bring the bags with us as far as the boot of the car and then, suddenly, halfway round the supermarket, one of us has had to run back to the car where we’ve left them! I’m sure we’re not alone in this. But really, in the grand scheme of things, I can’t say it’s ever really registered as even a mild inconvenience. It’s now just a way of life and something we do now purely as a matter of course.

And so it could be with single-use cups. Sometimes, we just need a bit of persuasion to remember that there is another way.

So of course I signed the petition and you can too, just click the link: https://secure.greenpeace.org.uk/page/s/throwaway-cup-levy and have yourself a super feel-good Friday that you’re at least trying to make the world a better place 🙂

How Clean is Your Home?

What Should Be on Your Chores List?

Scrolling through Pinterest this evening, I happened to come across a pin with suggestions on how to keep a clean home (see below). Being a married mother of two, who also happens to work full time, I’m always on the lookout for tips and tricks to achieve that effortlessly clean and tidy look (obviously something I’ve yet to perfect!), but I have to confess, there were one or two surprises on the list:

How Do You Measure Up?

For instance, I can’t say, hand on heart, that I manage to clean inside all appliances, all cabinetry and clean all doors and windows on a monthly basis!

Having said that, I do think it’s a handy rough and ready reminder to make better use of my morning and evenings through the week so that I don’t spend my entire 2-day weekend trying to get through all the washing, ironing and putting away of clothes. It hasn’t escaped my notice however that the owner of this list must have an ironing fairy in her home as that is by far my most time-consuming weekly task but it doesn’t make her list at all! I’ve assumed “put up clothes” means simply put away.

I’m also rather fond of the “cleaning as you go” idea – and one I’m currently working on with our youngest child, with mixed results depending on mood!

Honestly though, as long as the house on a whole is clean and reasonably tidy through the work week and gets a good all over blasting each weekend, then life’s too short really isn’t it? When my 18-year old was born, her paternal grandmother bought me a book “Motherhood” that was a collection of poems, thoughts and sayings pertaining to what it meant to be a mum. It remains one of my favourite ever gifts and a book I still pull out from time to time. Within it is my all time favourite poem, penned by an unknown author, about being a mum as it really hits home for me what it means to be a mum and just how quickly the time passes:

"Cooking and cleaning can wait 'til tomorrow,
for babies grow up we learn to our sorrow,
so blow away cobwebs, dust go to sleep,
I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep".

What do you make of the list – any surprises or anything missing? Let me know.

Roll Up: Get Your Free Holiday Reading List

Free Books!!

It’s that time of year when many of us will be setting off on our summer holidays soon if we haven’t already. Whether on planes, trains or automobiles, (as long as I’m not the driver!) a good book or two have helped to pass the time on many a journey.

As a self-confessed bookworm, quite frankly I don’t need an excuse to pick up a good book. So yesterday I found myself browsing my Kindle Unlimited selection and picking out Wakenhyrst by Michelle Paver (click image below if you want to get a copy yourself).

Wakenhyrst

I’d recommend it as a pretty engrossing read if you enjoy Gothic horror. It reminded me of a Charles Dickens short story we had to read at school, The Signal-Man, in terms of style and approach, which to be honest is a book I haven’t thought of in around 20 years. Funny what comes back! Kindle gave an average reading time of about 5+ hours so perfect for whiling away time waiting at airports or on planes and trains. I couldn’t put it down so read it all yesterday!

It’s mainly set in Edwardian England and primarily the story is recounted via journal entries which I do have a certain fondness for so I was pleasantly surprised with this. As a reader, I find it a wonderful way to glimpse inside the minds of the characters to their innermost thoughts.

The story itself in my view is very much character driven by the main character Maud and her father Edmund Stearne, but that’s not to say there aren’t a fair amount of twists and turns. Those twists however are revealed with a certain amount of class and sophistication rather than with the instant shock-factor of more modern styles. Overall, a very engaging and pleasant read from an author whom I was previously unfamiliar with. I do love discovering a new author for myself!

I got my subscription to Amazon Kindle through a free trial so if you’re looking for a cheap way to get your holiday reads, by clicking the link below, you can get a free 30-day trial. Subscription after the trial period can be cancelled anytime so what are you waiting for?

https://amzn.to/2K4Mv0t

Why not give Wakenhyrst a whirl and let me know in the comments how you find it. Feel free to share this post with your closest bookworm!

Heart Openers: The Cure for Modern-Living

Having dabbled in a bit of yoga here and there for several years now, my New Year’s resolution to myself for 2019 was to make yoga a daily practice in my life. Nearly 8 months on, I have been absolutely amazed at the ways yoga has massively enhanced all aspects of my life for the better, most noticeably via regular heart opening poses and stretches.

Could You Benefit from Heart Openers?

An easy way to test this is to check in with yourself right now. Without changing position, quickly scan yourself to see how you are sat/lay/stood as you read this:

Is your back slouched?

Are your shoulders up near your ears?

Are you hunched over in the “text-neck” position so commonly seen these days i.e. leaning forward with head bent down?

Next, try self-correcting your posture so gently slide your shoulders downwards, away from your ears, straighten the back, lift the chest upwards and lift the head so the weight is evenly balanced across the neck, neither heavier in the front nor the back. In this better posture for the body do your shoulders round inwards towards your chest or outwards?

I would say that from my observations of people generally who do not practice stretches regularly to counter-act today’s modern-living hunched over computers, phones and other screens, most people’s shoulders tend to roll inwards. For me, that is a clear sign that some kind of heart opening exercises would likely benefit that person.

And this was me too until, over the last few months, I’ve noticed a gradual change in my daily posture whereby now my shoulders do naturally gravitate down my body turning out instead of in which has the effect of lifting my head, neck and chest and straightening my back as a matter of habit. Cue a lot less back and neck complaints, less headaches as well as a downturn in aches and pains generally. I would add that my posture up until my daily yoga practice was exceptionally poor.

What Are the Likely Benefits Then?

Physically:

  • Back pain lessened;
  • Shoulders feel less tight;
  • Neck pain reduced;
  • Healthier spine generally;
  • More flexibility in the rib cage making breathing easier and increased blood flow/better circulation;
  • Better sleep quality;
  • Improved digestion;
  • More energy;
  • Improved balance by using counteracting poses.

Emotionally:

  • Anxiety symptoms reduced;
  • Depression symptoms reduced;
  • Stress symptoms reduced;
  • Mood elevated;
  • Releasing of negative emotions in a safe environment and way;
  • Increase in self-confidence;
  • Better emotional and psychological balance;
  • More loving and capable of receiving love;

Spiritually:

  • More open heart chakra;
  • More compassion for self and others;
  • Better connection to inner and outer world;
  • Deeper connection to your “Higher Power”, “God” or “Universe” whatever this means to you.

I’ve listed all of these benefits from research I’ve conducted from numerous websites and only listed the ones that I genuinely feel that I have experienced for myself. I would also add that learning to breathe correctly through these poses and practising pranayama (see here if you’re unsure what this is: https://myholisticliving.co.uk/yoga-meditation/what-is-pranayama/) massively increases the benefits experienced.

If you think that you could benefit from improving your posture through heart opening poses then join a local class or head over to You Tube or similar to find a good online tutor who will walk you slowly through the poses in a safe and gradual way. As you may have noticed, my online yoga teacher of choice is Adriene Mishler, whom I strongly recommend especially for beginners:

https://yogawithadriene.vhx.tv/monthly-yoga-playlist

Feel free to share this post with others that you feel might benefit from the contents. What about you – have you tried particular poses, stretches or exercises that have helped to improve your posture?

Always check in with your healthcare practitioner before starting any new exercise regime. Please note that I am not a yoga teacher nor medically qualified myself and therefore you should ensure you seek the guidance of both before undertaking any recommended practices.

“All Spies Alight Here”

And Other Secrets!

As someone who doesn’t watch much TV, relatively speaking, the one time I do tend to put on my favourite type of programme, a documentary, is when I’m doing the ironing each week. This week I decided on the PBS show, Secrets of Her Majesty’s Secret Service, part of the Secrets of Britain series, which actually originally aired some years ago but is now showing again on Netflix. I have to say, I found it absolutely captivating!

I’ve always found the idea of espionage, usually a government-sanctioned spying, an enthralling concept. Something akin to the pirates and privateers of old, such spies seem to exist in a world that does not play by the normal rules experienced by those outside of its parameters.

The programme begins by taking us through the creation of Military Intelligence Section 6, aka MI6, with some intriguing glimpses into this mysterious yet world-famous organisation.

Most of us will be familiar with the fictional spy, James Bond and the almost equally famous character of M, the commander of the organisation in the book and films. What I didn’t realise until watching this programme was that the idea that the commander of the organisation would sign off using their initial was actually based in fact from a habit of the first commander of MI6, Sir Mansfield Cumming, who would sign off his communications as “C”, something all commanders of the organisation sign off as to this day. Another tradition of writing in green ink was also credited to being instigated at MI6 by Sir Mansfield Cumming who had brought the habit to the organisation from his days serving as an officer of the Navy.

Talking of James Bond, it is an interesting paradox that one of our most secretive organisations here in the UK is also one of the most famous in the world, mainly thanks to the success of the James Bond franchise. One of my favourite stories from the programme was how when MI6 was housed in one of its previous buildings, whilst its location was meant to be a secret, it was such a badly kept secret that when buses passing close by would stop at the nearest bus stop, conductors were known for sarcastically saying:

“All spies alight here”!

The programme also takes us briefly through disguises and aliases used in modern-espionage, as well as the invaluable service those serving in MI6 provided in World War II in particular, before bringing in the dark days of the Cold War and some of the more recent famous examples of espionage on the streets of London, such as the poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko amongst others.

I’ve added a link to the PBS website page for the series below. So far I’ve managed to get through Secrets of the Tower of London, Secrets of Underground London and Secrets of Scotland Yard, all of which I strongly recommend as a really interesting take on some of the UK’s most well-known places and organisations.

There’s also a Secrets of the Manor House series which include famous homes of the aristocracy including Chatsworth House and Althorp, the latter of which was the childhood home of the late Princess Diana, all chock full of interesting anecdotes and stories of past and present former inhabitants.

If you enjoy historical documentaries and you’re looking to watch an interesting series, why not give these a go on Netflix and let me know which stories you find most intriguing?

Secrets to Sleeping Well in a Heatwave

Welcome to Hell! Or that’s pretty much how I’ve felt upon heading up to my bedroom for the last week or so thanks to the current heatwave. We’re just not used to it here in the UK so don’t have the benefit of air conditioning as other countries do. When, on the odd occasion it does get hot here, it tends to get humid and sticky too – not great combinations for getting a good night’s sleep.

How to Cool Things Down

  1. Shut the blinds/curtains and windows during the day in rooms when the sun is shining directly into those rooms.
  2. Leave upstairs bedroom windows open provided safe to do so whilst sleeping(investing in a mosquito net to avoid creepy-crawlies).
  3. Invest in good quality electric fans and keep the door open in the room used in (why not try putting a tray of ice cubes in front of the air flow to help cool the air).
  4. Use thin cotton sheets wherever possible for bedding and avoid synthetic nightwear.
  5. Keep a stash of ice cubes or a cold flannel close by to place on pulse points or try freezing a hot water bottle instead to keep next to the feet/hands. Another alternative is a plant mister kept next to the bed to spray yourself periodically as needed.
  6. Stay hydrated throughout the day drinking more water than usual as you’ll be losing so much more through sweating.
  7. Flip your pillow frequently – you may also want to try cooling the pillow case in the fridge before bedtime.

What Not to Do

  • Avoid taking a cold shower – if a shower is necessary make it a tepid one.
  • Don’t indulge in alcohol – whilst you’ll likely fall asleep quickly, it’s unlikely you’ll stay asleep, especially if you don’t usually drink.
  • Don’t toss and turn. If you can’t sleep, get up and find something relaxing to do (not involving phones or computers!)
  • Don’t nap during the day.
  • Don’t cover your feet if you do cover yourself when sleeping.
  • Don’t exercise close to bedtime or engage in any other activity that raises body temperature(!)
  • Don’t fret – if you live in the UK, chances are we’ll soon be back to wet and rainy summer days very soon – comfort yourself with knowing you’ll soon be able to catch up on all the sleep you want safe in that knowledge!

Have you any tips you’d like to share with others? Personally, I tend to start off in bed but halfway through the night I end up coming downstairs to sleep on the couch as it’s so much cooler downstairs by then.

Feel free to share this article with others who may be struggling to sleep in this hotter than hell weather and remember…Stay Cool 😎