Things I Learnt In October

This month has been a hectic one but there's always something to learn and I'm passing it all on to you too! (aside: there may be a little bit of September's learning curve in here too as I didn't get chance to write it all up in time last month)


When you think you don't have any more room in your heart, along pops another little human being to disprove that fact. My newest grandchild - Freddie - was born on 29th October and is just flipping perfect.  

It's always lovely to write for another website as it helps you focus more on your thoughts.  I wrote this guest post for Hope House Press which is all about choosing a diary for 2017. I'm still a little undecided and really think that there should be less choice to make it a little easier.

140 characters goes even further on Twitter now because (direct uploaded) image links are not included in the character count. It gives you a little more freedom with your tweet and also makes commercial tweeting a little easier. The one drawback is now that Twitter does feel a bit flooded with 'promotional' tweets as people are using pictures to highlight their updates and there is even less conversation.

Donald Trump was a nominee for this year's Nobel Peace Prize.  Yes really!!

It took me 39 days to complete the 30-day squat challenge. There were days I really couldn't be arsed doing it, even though there are 'rest days' included but I was determined to see it through to the bitter end. 175 squats on the final day though... that hurt!!  What I did notice is that my squats are deeper now than they were at the beginning of the challenge and it feels easier on the second time around.

I find 30-day challenges hard to stick to. It's only a month out of my life - and only a few minutes each day - but I've never completed NaNoWriMo (a writing challenge in November) and I even find blogging challenges difficult to carry through. I wrote my first blog post for one and then found that I had lost focus. It's always there to pick back up again though, I suppose?

Here's the 'Conversations At Work' section


People can be really stupid without realising it - or maybe they are just trying to work around company regulations and do a good deed for the day - and this is an actual conversation that I had on the phone at work:

ME: Hi can you put me through to your marketing department
THEM: Do you know who you want to speak to
ME: Sorry, I don't have a name
THEM: Sorry, we can't put you through if you don't have a name. You can send an email though
ME: OK, what's the email address please *waits for generic marketing@ email address*
THEM: [name] @ [company] - she's head of marketing
ME: Oh. thanks - can you not put me through to her now?
THEM: No. sorry as you didn't as for her by name
ME: OK. Thanks. Bye
  • *two minutes later I ring back*
ME: Hi, can I speak to [name]
THEM: sure *puts me straight through*

I also experienced a H-U-G-E- generation gap in another phone conversation with this little gem. I actually have no idea how these things happen to me. 
THEM: "Yes, her name is Kylie" 
ME: "As in the singer Kylie Minogue?" 
THEM: "Who? No, as in Kylie Jenner"

Here's where the 'Conversations At Work' section ends.



Rainbows are unique to the person looking at it. I heard this mentioned on a radio show whilst driving to work so researched a bit deeper.  Apparently, it's because of the position of your eyes and how they are seeing the sunlight through the droplets of rain. Read more about it here.


These two pictures made me laugh lots this month. The first, for obvious reasons - it's just so witty. The second because this is exactly me and my husband - he's the one with the full tank of fuel all the time and I'm the one that knows exactly how many miles I can probably do when the fuel light comes on.


Want to solve the Rubik Cube? Apparently - according to Mark Mason in this tweet - there is no arrangement of the puzzle that will require more than 20 turns to solve it... SO WHY IS IT STILL SO FLIPPING DIFFICULT!?

This snapchat story of a man walking home from the pub is one of the funniest things I've seen in a LONG time. Especially the running bit. And his mum.  Just genius!!




I've been sharing a few old blog posts, including the one about my bikini body which always strikes a chord however it's lovely to receive a tweet which expresses how it has changed the way in which someone sees themselves.  Read here and here for the response.

Here is my video of the month. It's not a meaningful message this time but I know I used to have problems with my Domino Rally game as a kid! I watched this and was in awe at the patience that it must have taken to set this up, only to knock it all down again.



And finally... Channel 4 speaks for us all with this tweet...



Don't forget to let me know what you've learnt this month.



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4 Reasons To Love Wearing Glasses

Last year I wrote a blog post that definitely touched a nerve with many people. It was my 10 reasons why I hate wearing glasses. But since finding a couple of styles of frames that really suit me, and using my contact lenses only when really necessary, I've started to learn to enjoy wearing glasses. I asked a few spectacle-wearing friends what they enjoyed about their 'bins' and there was a few agreed points.
I CAN ACTUALLY SEE
As already mentioned, it's brilliant to be able to actually see! When you put on your glasses everything is crisp and no longer blurred around the edges. It's also quite handy to be able to see other vehicles on the road and not play a real life game of bumper cars along the main road.

YOU CAN HAVE FUN ACCESSORISING
If you collect a few pairs of glasses or even prescription sunglasses in different colours and shapes they make great additions to your outfit - and we all know that some people even use glasses with clear lenses for this purpose too! Glasses make great safety goggles for times when you're frying bacon or using an angle grinder (I definitely don't recommend this one) and there's less chance of getting a fly in your eye when cycling.

BE A DIFFERENT PERSON
We all know that Superman hid behind a pair of thick rimmed spectacles so he could go about his day-to-day business as Clark Kent but glasses definitely make you look more intelligent (stop laughing over there...) and you can peer over them to become saucy secretary or evil teacher. 

THE EYES HAVE IT
If you're a contact lens wearer, there's nothing better than taking your lenses out and giving your eyes a good rub (it's the equivalent to taking your bra off at the end of the day, isn't it?) before putting your glasses on.  And finally, even though you don't notice your specs getting dirty, when you give them a good clean it's like having new eyes!


As I've got older I'm definitely relying on my glasses more for every-day use, especially driving, screen time, seeing anything at all in the distance... in fact, anything past my phone or a book then I've got little chance of seeing it (just ask my running crew what happened the day my glasses frames broke just before we set off on a community run...). My eyesight isn't all that bad - even if I did marvel at the fact that Vera Duckworth had patterned wallpaper the first time I watched Coronation Street on television in my glasses as a child - but it's nice to feel comfortable with the extra face furniture hooked over my ears



This post is supported by GlassesShop.com and they have provided a 50% discount code for my readers - GSHOT50 - which can be used on eyeglasses and sunglasses with free lenses (sale frames are excluded in this offer)



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Men’s fashion: Online autumn shopping tips

Women aren’t the only ones who can make the most of the shopping season, and autumn shelves are often packed with some of the best buys you will find all year-round. However, many men just aren’t very savvy when it comes to online shopping. In today’s post, I’ll give you guys a few tips on where to look for the best buys this season. Plus, I’ll be highlighting a couple of key trends that will keep you looking stylish for the rest of the year.


This is your chance to stock up

Autumn is the best time of year to stock up on clothes. It’s the end of summer sales for anyone looking to grab some discounted summer gear for far less money, but it’s also the beginning of the Christmas buying season, so there are tonnes of multi-buy offers. For things that you wear all the time, you can really make some substantial savings if you buy now. For example, Jacamo sell a great selection of men’s underwear; not only are a lot of their socks, boxers and so on sold in packs of three or more, but you can get further discounts if you buy several pairs at once. So, if you purchase any two packs of underwear and socks, you can save £5.

Copper colours

With the winter months also comes the usual navy and olive green tones, but this year it’s all about copper – burnt oranges will add some much needed colour to a guy’s wardrobe. Whether it’s a shirt, an oversized coat or some leather boots, this is the main colour trend you need to look out for. To really make it stand out, go for an all-black outfit but with a copper highlight.

Get shirty

It’s all about shirts this time of year. There are some sleek and stylish men’s shirts out there that will make you stand out at the office Christmas party, but you can also pair a colourful or patterned shirt with a simple tee underneath, so on nights out you don’t feel the winter chill as badly. Of course, you could take advantage of the offers available with my first piece of advice, and stock up on plain shirts for work. You’ll find that you can get far more for your money in terms of quality during sales periods, but you have to move quickly as the most popular sizes sell out fast.

Save for later

You can almost guarantee that whatever is full price now almost certainly won’t be after 25th December, so one thing I always do this time of year is look out for more expensive items of clothing, such as coats and suits, and go and try on different ones until I find the perfect thing. However, instead of buying it now at full price, make a note of it. When the post-Christmas sales hit, you can order the exact thing you want online in the right size, at a far better price.

Do you have any more tips for guys wanting to shop online for bargains?


Lottoland - The New Way To Win

Just recently, I've been having a dabble on the lottery a bit more but never seem to win. That's why I was really drawn into the way in which Lottoland's lotto betting works - anything's worth a try, isn't it?

Firstly, you don't buy a lottery ticket. Lotto betting is conducted through a separate company, such as Lottoland and any money you win is paid out by Lottoland, not the official lottery operator. For example, let’s say you bet on the US PowerBall jackpot and correctly guess all of the numbers that are drawn, Lottoland will pay you the prize money, not the official PowerBall operator in the US.  

It’s up to you which combo of lottery tickets you buy. You might try the Irish lottery one week and Euromillions the next, or have a mix of all of the lotteries all in the same week. Just select any of the lotteries and you'll be taken through some steps to buy a ticket and it’s easy to choose which draw you want to enter, or whether you want to buy tickets for a number of weeks. You quickly work out how to pick your own numbers or do a random pick, and if you don’t like the look of the random pick numbers, you can choose again.

If you like the convenience of playing the lottery via your mobile phone then there's a Lottoland app now, so you can pick your lotto games whenever you feel like it. No need to join a queue at the corner shop or the supermarket; and no need to buy your tickets in opening hours only any more!

Have a look at the front  page of the website - there's always a new player joining offer and plenty of additional games to play too.  Oh, and don't forget... if you win, we're best friends, right? *wink

Jimi Hendrix - The Legend

Jimi Hendrix is widely considered as the most influential guitarist of all times, although his career as an artist lasted for only four years. In just this restricted lapse of time in the late 60s, he completely changed the way the electric guitar could be played forever, and up to now guitarists from around the world still consider him to be the king of the guitar.

This great artist may not have performed his last shows in Vegas when he was still alive, but today there are numerous tribute acts in Vegas that cover all of his fantastic work. Some years back, at the Fremont Street Experience in Vegas, the number 1 tribute band, known as the Mirror ImiJ, performed some of the great hits of this world class guitarist. They all had the power, energy, and raw talent that one can only expect Jimi to have.

Jimi Hendrix is still rocking today on the exciting Jimi Hendrix Slots at Magical Vegas. This is a perfect retro themed slot consisting of 5 reels and 20 paylines, and it reflects the ideal look of the 1960s. Created by top game provider NetEnt, Jimi Hendrix Online Slot is part of the NetEnt Rocks slot trilogy, which include other slot hits such as Guns N’ Roses and Motorhead. This game was definitely one of the most awaited slot this year from NetEnt and players at Magical Vegas are surely having a great time spinning the reels of this game while rocking to the beats of the guitar legend.

The background of Jimi Hendrix Online Slot at Magical Vegas will surely remind rock lovers of the 1969 Woodstock festival, which was one of the last musical festival where Jimi performed when he was number one for the very first time in America with his album called Electric Ladyland. Now it’s throwback time at Magical Vegas where you can rediscover Jimi Hendrix. Symbols appearing on this game are the Fender and Supro Ozark; Jimi’s guitars, a Vinyl, a Heart, a Flower, an Eye, and the Peace Logo.

Jimi Hendrix acts as the Wild symbol on this game and he replaces all other symbols on the reels, with the exception of the scatter. You can also earn pays of up to 400 with 2 or more wild symbols. A fantastic Purple Haze feature is initiated when the Purple Haze symbol makes its apparition on reel 1. During this feature the Purple Haze symbol will act as Wild on the first reel. Red Guitar Re-Spins is awarded when four or more Red Guitar symbols are found on the reels. Getting a Red Guitar during the Re-Spin will award you an additional re-spin. Get features such as the Little Wing Free Spins, Crosstown Traffic Free Spins, Purple Haze Free Spins or Coin Wins of up to 30x your initial stake value – Re Spins when 3 scatters line up in any position on the reels. With so many features, this retro/rock themed slot will certainly keep you entertained at magicalvegas.com.

Anyone For Office Yoga?

Anyone For Office Yoga?


It was literally just this afternoon that I walked into the office kitchen, stretched up to try and release a crick in my back and told my colleague that I needed to sit down less at work. I think her exact words were, "Good luck with that!" as we both have desk jobs.

So I had a nosy round YouTube in my lunch break to find some exercises that I could possibly do with five minutes to spare.  Now, I know this is a serious(ish) video with all good intentions but I don't think we have the correct furniture at work to try this out! If I attempted position 8 on one of our chairs, I would probably fall off or one of my colleagues wouldl send me whizzing across the office as the chairs are on wheels!  



In all seriousness, I'd love to try yoga. I'm sure it would help with my flexibility, my posture and definitely my running. I always remember my mum having a book which demonstrated yoga poses - it was very 70s but I'm sure nothing has changed much - so I'm going to try some of the basic poses in the infographic below and then see if there's anything else on YouTube I can try out too. Either that, or I'll just wait for Liska to point me in the direction of the beginners poses!

Let me know if you do yoga at all - or if there are any other exercises you do at work to help relieve those general day-to-day aches and pains.



Anyone For Office Yoga? Furniture At Work - infographic

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7 Top Tips For Working From Home

7 Top Tips For Working From Home


When I work from home 'Procrastination Station' is my destination.  I find every possible excuse to put everything off until later. This might be 'researching' if any of my household objects are worth a small fortune by watching a lunch time antiques programme, deciding that the whole house 'needs' to be vacuumed or just putting everything off until later because 'I work better in the evening'.

But that's not really how it should be, is it?  The common conception of people working from home is that we rise mid-morning, watch Jeremy Kyle whilst munching on a slice of toast, Tweet and Facebook a bit whilst still in our 'comfy clothes' and pull together a few reports at some point in the afternoon. Well, that's what someone thought I did as a social media manager a few years back...

Anyway - I know some great people who achieve fabulous things when they work from home so asked for their Top Tips and here they are.

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Set Up A Home Office

This was a really popular tip and almost everyone mentioned it. Whether it's the corner of your living room, a whole different room (here's a nosy round my own home office) or the garden shed, make sure you have a completely separate area for your work tools. It has to be somewhere that you can physically leave your work so that there is that work/home allocation.

Thanks to Tanya, Karen


Get Dressed

It probably feels more comfortable to slob around in your onesie, especially if the only person you're going to see is the postman when you sign for a treat for yourself from Amazon work-related parcel. You don't have to be suited and booted but physically making yourself get up, brush your teeth and your hair and dressing for the occasion will give you a great sense of purpose.

Thanks to Kerry, AlexManda, Andy, Annika


Work The Hours That Suit You

Have proper working hours.  They don't need to be 9-5, after all, you're possibly working from home to avoid those rigid hours - but do have a set time to work.  Make sure you have screen-breaks and scheduled brew/lunch breaks.  Even make yourself a meal and put it in a bag on your desk or on a plate in the fridge to ensure you take time out to eat.  Finish at your allotted time and don't feel tempted to 'just work an extra hour' because you don't have to drive through the rush hour traffic. Schedule your chores (or even hire a cleaner) and make sure that everyone else knows that your work time is your work time and that you can't just get up and do a favour for someone because you happen to be around.

Thanks to Sabina, Toni, Sian, Kate, Paula, Hilary, Violet


Switch Off, Switch On

Turn off all distractions and that includes Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, BBC News and your Words With Friends alerts (I know... sorry) and ensure you complete your tasks.  Also make sure you stay connected to your peers and participate in networking events. This might be something as simple as a twitter hashtag conversation or tweet-up (a meet up with Twitter friends in a local cafe) or as focused as an official networking event.

Thanks to Steve, Louise


Have The Correct Tools For The Job

When we work in an official work environment, we are provided with the right tools to make our job easier. If your line of work means that you spend a lot of time hunched over a computer, buy yourself a comfortable and adjustable chair along with a large screen and separate keyboard as this will minimise back/neck pain and cramps in your hands.

Thanks to Simone


Be Adaptable

Flexibility is key when working from home and you are afforded that luxury however, what works in the Summer may not work in the Winter. If you need to be away from work for another appointmento or you're working around the school run ensure that you make up the time in the correct way instead of burning the midnight oil.

Thanks to Liz, Kate


Do All The Adulting Things

Your admin needs doing and unless you have a P.A. then there's only one person that can do it. Keep on top of the bill-paying and hire an accountant to do the nitty gritty as they know exactly what you can claim as expenses including petrol, stationery (yes, really...) and utilities. In fact, find out who your electric and mains gas supplier is as they may have discounted business rates for you.

Thanks to Lizzie




To be totally honest, working from home isn't easy - it requires immense discipline and lots of coffee but reading through some of my friend's suggestions it does seem that working in the buff 'comfy clothes' is the norm, that people will always think you can be disturbed as what you are doing is 'not critical' and that sending lots of emails gives you a sense of importance. And finally, don't forget to switch off and power down and don't let work completely take over your home life. Lots of the contributors own their own business so if their name is hyperlinked, have a click and show them some small-business love if it's something that you can support


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Additional Reading (from two contributors)

Toni wrote The Realities Of Working From Home for the Huffington Post



7 Top Tips For Working From Home

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I Need Help With This Brandscape Cryptic Puzzle!!

Brandscape — the fiendishly difficult cryptic puzzle by Funding Circle



Do not blame me if this cryptic puzzle becomes the bane of your life but I'm slightly addicted and may be requesting some help with the clues - so it's just a bit of a head's up... 


In the image above from Funding Circle are 60 globally recognised brands in picture clue format.  Some are incredibly simple and some are so frustratingly hard that you'll need to ask for help from friends.  You'll have to think about film, literature, music, nature and - probably most importantly - a play on words.

>>> CLICK HERE TO PLAY ALONG ON THE INTERACTIVE IMAGE <<<


You can save your progress on the official Funding Circle website by logging in with your Facebook account but if you're stuck on any of the clues then tweet @FundingCircleUK and see if they'll send you an extra clue (you can also share it with me then too...).  Once you've answered all 60 correctly, you'll be entered into the Brandscape Hall Of Fame and become a #BrandscapeMaster.

Right... I've found Burger King (clue #49).  Share one of yours with me in the comments or tweet me @nickieohara with your answers.


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Updating My Wall Art With Framed Posters

Updating My Wall Art With Framed Posters - Banksy, London, Maps


I need help. I have four gorgeous new prints from Desenio and I can't decide which wall space in my room deserves them the most.  I mean... just look at them... they are beautiful - and they feel very grown up which most definitely is a change for me!


I've shown them to a few people and they all say that they are the four prints they would have picked for me given the choice so that means I know I've selected well. When I shared the image below on Instagram, it was hugely popular too!  But let me explain the reason for each one:


Banksy


I'm not sure admitting that I'm a fan of Banky art is the coolest thing because it sort of goes against all his morals and the reasons behind his work but this is the closest I'll ever come to being near one of his pieces of graffiti. I own an end terrace house and always fancied having it decorated in some way - either stealth-Banksy style or maybe like the religious/political images you see on Irish houses?

World Map

I was delving through the Graphical prints on the Desenio website, looking for a quote poster and stumbled upon the maps. I have a bit of a 'thing' for cartography and fell in love with the unusual way in which this map of the world was designed with the shape of each country being in text. It just draws you in closer, doesn't it?

London

Even before I opened the package my husband said, "I bet there's a picture of London in there somewhere!" He was wrong though. THERE WAS TWO!! These two images are going to look amazing on my office wall, side by side. An iconic London landmark and a line map of the city itself, both in classic black and white. Different, yet complimentary.

Updating My Wall Art With Framed Posters - Banksy, London, Maps

A little about Desenio

All the prints are produced b their design team using selected illustrators and artists from around the world.  All posters are printed on 200gr uncoated premium paper with a smooth service which is FSC-certified and ageing-resistant. This paper also produces a matte print and gives a high-quality feel to the poster.

All their prints come with frames (for an additional charge) and are shipped at the same time. My prints were rolled, protected with Desenio printed paper and sent in a hard tube. My frames were well packaged and undamaged upon receipt and came with plexiglass. I chose black wooden frames to keep in with the theme I had in mind but there are many more choices including passe-partout, copper and oak frames.

Have a look round the website - there's some fabulous hidden gems in there. I even found a lipstick/perfume/nail polish trio in the section for children's posters which I'm going to put on my own Christmas list!


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