Sunday, 1 February 2015

5 Things You Should Already Know About Staying Safe Online

I wish I had known how important The Internet was going to be when I was 14 and first got it in my bedroom. I was pretty lucky at the time and the only one of my friends that had the Holy Grail of technology at the time, an uninterrupted ADSL internet connection in my actual bedroom. To myself. I have a vague memory of an initial half-hour limit but I don't think that stuck and I was soon browsing all day and night, sucking up everything the internet at the time had to offer. Which was mostly forums, porn and Tampax themed chat rooms. I briefly had an online romance with someone who, in retrospect, was probably a 56 year old man from Utah. No offense, was the username that finally gave it away.

Now I'm much more internet savvy. I don't post pictures of my boobs online (hello, annoying ebay incident that won't go away), I don't talk to anyone who isn't verifiable. I have a list of things in my mind to look out for before I download or even click unfamiliar links. I delete my cookies.

Here are five things you should DEFINITELY already be doing, and if not, do them right away. 

1. Sort out your passwords.

So lame! How many times have you heard this? You might think you are safe with your first ever password plus a combination of one capital and the number '1' on the end, but you aren't. I have actual real life friends who have their passwords written next to their computer. You can tell it's their passwords because some of them have a '1' at the end. Here's an easy tip for thinking up a new password if you are really stuck.
  • Look around the room, pick something slightly odd. 
  • Capitalise one letter (not the first) If you think you might struggle to remember which one, you could always capitalise the second letter in every password. Or use your birthday, so I would capitalise the 8th letter (I don't)
  • Add the days date on the end.
  • I'm pretty confident noone will be able to guess "scHoolnewsletter1/2/15"
This works well because a) you will usually have a visual reminder of your password (extra points if you are able to locate an object that appears in more than one place you use a computer, i.e work and home) b) if you forget it, many sites will say things like "You changed your password on 1/2/15" Another little clue!

2. Log the hell out of Google.

Sorry, fellow internet-savvy preachers, but I know this one won't go down well. I'm probably belong to a slightly more paranoid class of person than you, but I will tell you a story about a situation that made me deeply uncomfortable this week. Whilst browsing a blog at work, I came across a link to a pasta maker. I have been interested in what pasta makers actually do (just buy some pasta, you foodie weirdos). I clicked the link. I looked at the pasta maker for all of thirty seconds, came to my conclusion that some people have too much time on their hands, and left the webpage.

Maybe someone could explain to me then, why three months later and on a total different computer, what do I see popping up in the Facebook ad bar? A little ad for the very same pasta maker. The same thing happened with an M&S mirror the very same week. Call me old-fashioned, but I prefer my internet browsing to NOT be used as a way of targeting me to buy pasta makers and mirrors that I simply do not need and cannot afford anyway. What a waste of an algorithm - I'll be logging out before I start my browsing sessions from now on.

3. Update all your information

Here's an amusing (read - depressing) story. My mobile recently stopped working. I use my mobile to verify access to my hotmail account from a different computer than usual. I recently sold my laptop and replaced it with a PC. Now I can't get into my email, because the alternative email address that I used was a work email from a role I haven't worked in for over two years. I saw that address come up every single day when I logged in "Is this email still right?" yes yes, get lost annoying pop-up, I want to see if I have been accepted for Deal or No Deal. 

How I wish I had updated that information to an email I actually have access to, as I now have to wait 30 freakin' days before I can get back into my account. Plus, as I can't remember my password to a certain job site where I stored my most recent CV, I now have no access to that either. What a dumb-dumb.

4. Check your old accounts privacy settings. Especially Image Hosting.

I use Photobucket, as many children of the 90's (Is that right? I mean, I was a child IN the nineties, but I was actually born in the 80's.) to store my images that I wanted to share on forums. Little did I know, Photobucket and many other image hosting sites, expect you to notice there is a tiny option to have your account 'private' or 'public'. What this means is, PEOPLE CAN LOOK AT YOUR SHIT. Okay, so not many people wanted to look at my self-created Neopets fan art. But a few (weird) people DID want to look at the 20 alternative shots I took the one time I decided to post my boobs online. 

I'd like to thank a certain weirdo for bringing this to my attention recently. Thankfully, no one will ever believe those boobs are mine since I subsequently breastfeed a child for 8 months. Still, I've gone back over everything I can remember and made sure it isn't public access.

5. Be conscience.

15 years ago during those first explorations of the net, I didn't realise how absolutely everything the internet would be. I wish I had. There are some pretty outrageous comments I have made, things I have posted, sites I have joined that I kind of wish didn't make up my digital history. I made a promise to myself to be as mindful as possible about what I post. You think things are bad now? Who knows how much further the net and everything you have ever done on it will be integrated into our lives in the future? I'm going to be very careful of my cyber trail from now on, and while I don't think it's sensible to be overly paranoid (even though I am the type of person who won't have a loyalty card because I don't want shops to be collecting all that data on what I buy and when, it's not your business when I have period, Tesco.) it's certainly worth being mindful of what you are adding to your personal digital trail.

Stay safe online!!

Monday, 12 January 2015


I don't think you would be coming to my About page if you didn't want to know something about me, right? So I'm going to try and dispose of the normal awkwardness I feel when trying to talk about myself, and lay it all out for you.

I am a 31 year old girl living just outside London, England.  I have a flat, which I fill with photos and storage boxes and baskets and candles and my 7 year old son, Roo.

I started writing online diaries in 2002. I've pretty much erased most of my young adult ramblings as they are pretty dull and embarrassing. Noone had the internet back then, I didn't know it would suddenly be that everyone I ever applied for a job with would know how I felt on a wet Tuesday in the early Noughties. My early blogging isn't something to be proud of!

I've come a long way since then. I have used this blog to document my life and to help other people looking for blogging code, image-making help and small online business tips. I plan to take this space in a new direction this year. I'll still be providing all of the content that I have been before, but I also want to focus on bringing positivity, happiness, mindfulness and love to my online contributions.

I also work as a freelance Social Media manager, proof reader and job hunting coach. You can find a lot more information about these pursuits on my Linkedin profile.


Hi there :)

So, I totally slacked off on blogging last year. I was working really hard and suffered a bit of burnout that meant I kind of avoided anything that wasn't essential. Now that Christmas is over and I'm back at home during the days, I want to come back to blogging and take my place on the internet in a totally new direction.


Thursday, 4 September 2014

Wednesday Inspiration 1.0

September is one of the most difficult months in the year for me. I don't know if it is the onset of the longer nights, cooler days, lack of sunshine, rain or general nostalgia. A lot of my major life changes have happened in the back-to-school month and not all of them happy, I try to combat the September blues by looking around for stuff that inspires, motivates and lifts my heart...much needed on this deary old Wednesday.

1. This super-blunt advert

One of the very first and only adverts I've ever seen that actually sprung me into immediate action. I've signed up to donate my organs after I die. Whoever designed, I hope they are pleased with the effect their work is having.

2. People Doing Stuff

So many people that I know are doing amazing things right now! It's really inspiring to look around you and see people all around reaching for their dreams. I especially want to mention my lovely friend Mary Louise who has recently started a business selling pull-along wagons for kids & adults.

Check these fabulous contraptions out:

I imagine towing my son around pick-your-own fields, carrying our outdoor toys to the park, visiting local fairs with no complaining about tired legs....there are literally a hundred reasons why I want one. Have a look at their website here and follow Mary Louise and her fun business here on twitter.

3. This incredible DMT art by Alex Grey

 I've seen pictures like this before, in seed shops in Amsterdam, at festivals, in the odd persons home, but I never knew the workings behind them. This picture has resonated with me all week and I hope it will with you too. I'm looking to buy a large print and have it up in my bedroom to remind me that we are all connected to the universe in more ways than we will ever understand 

More of this guys awesome art is available on his website here.

4. Healthy Eating

These are from my instagram feed. What a cliche huh?

I mentioned a little while ago that I was going to try to be the healthiest of eaters this summer. I was low on energy, enthusiasm and dopamine just a few short months ago. Although right now my body is fighting off a bout of summer flu that's left me with a strangely satisfiying cough, I still feel super proud of my progress over August. I've managed to shed nearly a stone in weight (That will go straight back on when my winter cheese-eating habit kicks in) and I feel all round healthier and happier. I can't tell you enough how adding wheatgrass to my juice in the morning has made such an incredible difference to my vitality levels. You can buy a huge bag online for really cheap, it's worth it.

5. My Guy 

I can't help it, I'm just so proud of this handsome little fellow. He loves Minecraft, eating cakes, making jokes, skipping in the street, cuddles, squirrels, Transformers and loud music. There is nothing better to get you through a grey September day than those sweet eyes ♥ 

Hope you are having a lovely week. I have a great post on CV tips coming up at the weekend, please follow my blog to stay up-to-date :)


Tuesday, 2 September 2014

How To Remove The White Borders on Images In Your Blogger Blog

Hey there:) The little fellow went back to school today and I am back at the computer, pimping myself out on and generally reacquainting myself with the internet after a few weeks of flu & summer holidays.

I still get daily comments on my 'How To Make A Perfect Circle Picture' blog post. Which surprises me really as Picmonkey now have an option to use a circle shape 'cut out' that does the job a treat. Still, I love getting comments and people reading my blog so I'm not complaining in the slightest.

One of the comments I get a lot is that readers have created their circle picture and added it to their blog, but Blogger seems to have added a white shadow border to the image. This is happening because the Blogger template that you are using has a piece of code written into it that overrides any other other options you may have selected. Luckily Blogger provides a handy little widget to insert new overriding code and that is what we are going to do.


From your Blogger dashboard, select the dropdown box with the little document icon for the blog you want to work on. Its the middle one here:

Select the 'Template' option.

Select 'Customise'


From the five options in white writing on the left-hand side of the screen, select 'Advanced' and when the selection box comes up to the right, scroll to the bottom of the options and select 'Add CSS'

Now, a large white box will appear. This is where you can enter any CSS or HTML code that you want to override all the other code in your blog. I'm going to copy the code from my personal blog template but I feel I should add a little disclaimer here in the spirit of honestly, I didn't write this code and I can't remember where I originally got it from - it's a generic code snippet available from many locations around the web.

Simply copy the code from the box below into the box in the template editor.


Click the orange 'Apply To Blog' button, then go load up a new page and check out your pictures, KA-POW! That annoying border all gone.

I was just sitting here thinking; "you know what, I should put an image as an example..." then I realised this whole page is full of example images, so I'll save some pixels and sign off there :)

Hope this helps, please do leave a comment it's really appreciated.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Paris Part Une! Review of Megabus Journey, London to Paris.

I had such an amazing time in Paris! I can't wait to post some of my photo and things. I decided to review each section of the trip, in the hope that my experiences may help (or possibly hinder!) someone else's trip to the city of love :)

I would strongly recommend arriving into Victoria Coach Station much earlier than I did, which at 4 minutes before my departure time did not give me enough time to buy a bottle of water let alone check in properly at the Megabus/Eurolines desk which is right round the back of the coach station at Gate 19.

The other bonus to arriving early is you will be at the front of the queue. You know it's a cheaper option so they really ram people onto those coaches, and only have two departures per day. They use the large, newer coaches for these longer European routes and getting there early enough to chose your seat could mean you might hit the coach-journey jackpot and get to sit at the front of the top deck, panoramic windows and enough leg room can't be sniffed at.

Sorry about the terrible quality of photo, I only had my camera phone with me!

The plug sockets didn't work, apparently when someone plugs in a too-high voltage item it blows all of the fuses, so my phone died the second I stepped onto the bus and I was stuck with no contact for hours. Pain in the butt.

The coach takes 3 hours to get to Calais, boards the Eurotunnel with a very small layover where they is access to a vending machine but no running water, no change machine and some rather depressingly grim toilets. Once on board the Eurotunnel there are toilets but nowhere to browse or even relax, although you can get off the bus and sit wedged between the wall of the train and the coach. I would sincerely recommend this as it gets excruciatingly hot on the coach during the crossing. Once on the other side you will find the coach sets right of again, they don't mess about! It's off to Boulongue to change drivers. There is a short layover, it's around half an hour from the Eurotunnel exit, so the smokers jump off the bus. Again, there is literally nowhere to purchase a drink and no toilets anywhere at this stop. It's literally a carpark in a deserted part of the marina.

The rest of the journey to Paris can vary depending on the time of year. It took us 4 hours to get to Porte Malliot, the coach part in the centre of Paris. The Center For Commerce blocks your initial view, but the Eiffel Tower is directly behind it around a 15 minute walk.

I would say, although it's evident at every stage that this is a budget option, I will definitely be taking the coach again. Such a long journey increases camaraderie in an enclosed space and I met some really fun fellow travellers. I would definitely recommend going round Europe in this way, I've already decided I'm going to take a trip to Barcelona at the end of the Summer, it's 24 hour journey though.

Top Five Megabus-To-Europe Tips

Arrive Early - Get the best seats!
Bring water & snacks - There are very few places to buy them!
Wear layers - It's freezing most of the time and then boiling hot in the tunnel.
Keep your passport in your carry-on, you will need it at Customs
Make sure your phone is fully charged and bring a spare battery if possible.

I would love to hear your experiences on this journey, pop a comment below.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

36 Hours In Paris

I'm off to Paris in two sleeps! Friday morning I'll be donning something comfy and embarking on a road trip all the way to Paris for a lovely friends hen weekend.

I can't wait. It's been quite a while since I left the country...In honour of the occasion I dug out these stunning pictures of the construction of the Eiffel Tower...

(all via pinterest, original sources all link back to here)

I'm not sure of the itinerary yet, but I really, really hope it includes a trip up one of my favourite towers in the world. Is it weird to have a favourite tower? I'm a big fan of Parisian architecture, I love how you can be walking along and the all of a sudden you round a corner and the most beautiful old building is just sitting there waiting for you. I've been once before (during which time I managed to get incredibly drunk and spend most of my time drinking beer with boiled eggs floating in...don't ask) and it wasn't long enough.

Follow me on instagram as I plan to take so, so, so many photos, I have NONE of my last trip, not one. It was slightly before the digital camera thing happened. Now I am going to be selfie-ing my way through my 36-hour adventure :)