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    I (finally) love my curly hair | Blogtober 15
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How to make the most of your GP Appointment

There is more that binds us together than keeps us apart | Dear Diary

There is more that binds us together than keeps us apart | Dear Diary

Thank you, next | Life Update

Thank you, next | Life Update

A while ago, M and I were going through some important stuff and were finding it hard to make decisions about things. I can’t now remember where I saw it, but a quote said:

No Big Decision is ever a final decision

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This really struck a chord with me as often I struggled to make decisions, having the mentality, “Once I’ve decided, that’s it! No going back”, which I now realise really isn’t true.

At the end of February 2019, I left The Prince’s Trust after 6 very happy years, it was a bittersweet parting, but the commute had got ridiculous and so I took a job at my local NHS Trust, which is just 10 minutes away. Commuter HELL to Commuting Dream!

But the fact of the matter is, is that it just hasn’t worked out. I have ended up working between two teams that don’t get on and have been forced to work with some of the least supportive people I have ever encountered. 😣

Life is too short to be surround by the “not my job” type of people, so I am moving on after 4 short months. From July I will be working for AddAction and I can’t wait.

I have met them a few times and I loved them, right from the point of interview. I can only hope for the best and please do wish me luck.

New chapter for the second time this year… 😜😜😜

G x

1st timers guide to The Lake District

1st timers guide to The Lake District

The Lake District is my favourite place in the world to visit and I love it so much that we even went there on Honeymoon. So when my friend told me she was visiting for the 1st time, I put together a list for her to tell her all of our favourite places. So thought I would share this with you.

Eating and Drinking 

There are LOADS of different places to go so I can’t really recommend anything. The only one I would say is get fish & chips from The Old Keswickian Chippy in Keswick. Lush. 

https://goo.gl/maps/8GJDaxuPGXVe8fVy8

Grasmere Gingerbread  – I can highly recommend visiting the gingerbread shop in Grasmere. It’s the tiniest little shop with a constant queue. The gingerbread is immense though and worth queuing. 

https://goo.gl/maps/qKjD8ziNC2G7eFvr9

Supermarkets 

The main Supermarket in The Lake District is  Booths, which I think are in Keswick and Ambleside, bit pricey but loads to choose from. https://www.booths.co.uk/ 

Towns To Visit 

  • Keswick
  • Ambleside
  • Bowness
  • Windermere
  • Kendal (not like the above, just an average/normal town – but good if you need Boots or other high street stuff). 

Good Walks

Tarn Hows – https://goo.gl/maps/tkt4M99uvsdYZcqHA ( beautiful walk round a tarn, visitors car park and loos)

Stock Ghyll Force – https://goo.gl/maps/bfb5o6JTgovHHV5V7 The start of this walk starts up a path by the side The Salutation Hotel in Ambleside. Beautiful waterfall at the end. 

Cat Bells (DerwentWater) – I have never done this as it’s a good few miles, but I believe it’s stunning once you get to the top – https://www.keswick.org/what-to-do/walking-routes/catbellswalkingroute 

Keswick Railway Path Walk – https://www.keswick.org/what-to-do/walking-routes/keswick-to-threlkeld-railway-path 

Grizedale Forest – visitors centre, walks, loos and bike hire. https://www.forestryengland.uk/grizedale

Whinlatter Forest – Cafe, big visitors centre, lots of walks, loos and bike hire. Lots of parking. https://www.forestryengland.uk/whinlatter 

Dodd Wood. – Not much parking, people mostly park in the various little lay-bys. https://www.forestryengland.uk/dodd-wood

Give it a try 

A good way to leave your car behind and still see lots of places is to use the ferries that go across the various bodies of water. Our favourites is: 

Windermere Ferry – Get the Mountain Goat (small bus service but actually named Mountain Goat!) to Hawkshead – but you can also access Beatrix Potter’s house using this service too. https://www.cumbria.gov.uk/roads-transport/highways-pavements/windermereferry.asp

Go-Ape – Aerial Assault Course.  So much fun and there is one at Grizedale and Whinlatter Forest. https://goape.co.uk/days-out/north/grizedale

For A Treat 

If you wanted to treat yourself to a lovely afternoon tea or just a VERY nice meal or spa, we have been to all of these places and they were AMAZING! 

Armathwaite Hall – Huge country house hotel, right on the edge of Derwentwater. A little more faded than it once was, but the views and general feel of the hotel are lovely. They do a FAB afternoon tea. https://www.armathwaite-hall.com/dining/afternoon-tea/

Gilpin Lodge – Another good place for afternoon tea – highly recommend https://thegilpin.co.uk/

Also Holbeck Ghyll is pretty nice too…. afternoon tea (are you spotting a theme?!) https://www.holbeckghyll.com/

Those are my recommendations for a good rounded trip of the Lakes, but to be honest this is the tip of the iceberg as there is SOOO much more to do. I would love to hear what you love if you have visited.

G x

10 Tips on how to produce good social media content

10 Tips on how to produce good social media content

I see a lot of social media, some good and some bad, so I have put together a top 10 of things you can do to improve your social media content. These tips works for both business and personal accounts, but I am mainly going to focus on how to edit engaging content.

Tip 1 – Grammar

Social Media is your “shop window” and can often be the first engagement someone has with you or your business. It’s important therefore that every single thing you post has good grammar and spelling. Not only does it look better, it’s distracting if it’s wrong.

Tip 2 – Font

Did you know that some fonts are easier to read than others. In particular if someone has Dyslexia then Serif fonts are much more difficult to tackle than Sans Serif fonts.

Tip 3 – Make it Catchy

People often make the mistake of putting in too much information when advertising something in their social media. Here’s my rule for getting the balance right.

No more than 4 pieces of information in a single post and provide a link or click through for further information.

(C) gilliblogs 2019

I use this rule as most people visit an image for literally 2-3 seconds before they click off. Also, most people can remember just 4 pieces of information quickly and so it’s paramount that the 4 you post are the important ones.

e.g. Event Title, Event Date, Event Time, Event Location.

There is bound to be more information that’s important, but that is what the click through is for.

Great example on Twitter, the picture is the click-through

Tip 4 – Photos of People

My top tip for taking photos of people is that the best ones are the ones where people are engaged in activity. Your subjects don’t always have to be looking at the camera, but they need to be doing something. My lovely ex-colleague and general social media GURU @jessalbone is fab at this and you only have to look at the Merlin Annual Pass Socials to see what I mean!

Pro Tip – If you are publishing photos of people, always make sure you have permission first.

Tip 5 – Accessibility

Newsflash, people with disabilities use social media too!

There are a few things you can do on social media to help people with disabilities engage with you or your business. Firstly, you can use Tip 1 and make sure things are spelled correctly and of course make sense. Did you know that if someone uses British Sign Language, then THIS is their first language and not English. Good spelling and clear English is therefore really important when getting a message across.

Also, there are options on most social media platforms for you to add “Alternative Text” to a photo. This is an option that you can turn on which will allow you to add a description to a photo so that when people with visual impairments have screen reading software on their devices, it will tell them what the photo depicts.

Tip 6 – Make it Move

OK, so this tip can really help make your content much more engaging, as when I say “Make it Move” I mean use short videos or Boomerangs. There are features in Instagram, Facebook and Twitter which will allow you to create short and fun videos for free with lots of fun options.

However, you could just keep it simple by showing a quick 10 second highlight or short video of an event to give people an idea of what you do or just what happened. A good example of this was the campaign used around the recent BBC series, Line of Duty.

Tip 7 – Get your profile right

One thing that drives me a bit mad is when I see an account on social media of a business that sounds cool, only for me to check their profile and it tells me nothing.

Pro tip – People always want to know the basics about your business e.g. what you do, where you are, when are you open.

Without the basics, your “shop front” becomes static and your engagements will be massively reduced.

Great example of a well set up social profile. https://twitter.com/Vigourkitchen

Tip 8 – Engage with your followers

Very often, people treat their social media as a one way street. They post regular content, but don’t often engage with their followers. What do I mean by engagement?

  • Answer all questions honestly and factually. Be polite at all times, everything is public and not easily removed.
  • Make sure you thank people for Reposting things, they have given you a free advert!
  • Ask questions to promote engagement. For example…

Tip 9 – Remain positive

We all know the internet can be as horrible as it can be fun, and people are not always polite but that shouldn’t mean that you have to be anything other than positive.

Even if someone is being horrible to you on your socials, remain calm and block if you need to. Remember that social media is your shop window and no-one needs to see you having a row about a delayed order or a cold lunch.

via GIPHY

Tip 10 – Enjoy yourself

This is a classic, but very true thing, if you enjoy your engagement with social media, this will come across and people will return daily to see what you post. Post often and positively and people will actively search you out.

Well that’s it! Hope that’s helped and please do leave a comment below or on any of my socials 💗

G x

We broke the dog | Pupdate

We broke the dog | Pupdate

As you know, we have a lovely Patterdale x called Daisy who we adopted from Cheshire Dog’s Home in December 2018. She is a doggo of very simple needs, as long as she’s fed, walked and cuddled, she’s fine.

This weekend, we took her with us to Keswick for our very 1st holiday together and our expectations were high. Our previous Dog Peggy, who was also an adopted dog, was German Shepherd/Whippet x and (we now realise) a VERY athletic dog.

Peggy would walk for HOURS, and have no problem with a week away, being active for most of the day and then sleeping soundly for hours on the drive home and potentially for the next day too.

Daisy however, is a completely different story. Firstly she is much smaller than Peggy and as she was 8 when we adopted her, don’t know her history or levels of exercise. With us she gets an average of 1.5 hours exercise every day and in between does a LOT of sleeping.

So we set off for The Lakes and on the 1st day, she was a bit stressed in the car (not a fan) and so was awake for the entire 2 hours. She didn’t really settle down to go to sleep until we did, which was about 23:00. On the Saturday, we let her out about 07:00 and then she was active on and off till we got back to our hotel room around 17:00. My fitbit said I walked 13,000+ steps and over 5 miles.

On Sunday, we woke at 06:30 briefly and started our day proper at 07:45 and Daisy didn’t sleep again until we got home about 14:30.

So on an average day at home, Daisy sleeps for a whopping 16-18 hours a day and in Keswick, she probably had just 12-14 hours with a whole load of extra mental and physical exercise thrown in.

Result

We arrived home at 14:30 and I put her favourite dog bed in the living room. When she entered the room and saw it, she literally DIVED on it in relief! 😴

She then slept for the rest of that day with brief awakenings for food and such. As it got to bedtime, we let her out and she had quickest wee in history only to run back inside and put herself to bed! The poor pupster. I think we broke her. 😱

So maybe if we do take her away again, we might have to pace ourselves and giver her a bit more time to adjust to holiday life!

G x

Worst Hotel Room Ever! | Review

Worst Hotel Room Ever! | Review

We have just spent the weekend in the Lake District celebrating M’s birthday. We chose Keswick as it’s South Lakes and therefore only a couple of hours drive for us. This was also our 1st trip away with our Patterdale Terrier x Daisy.

I wanted to book 2 nights away, but I was SO surprised at the lack of hotels that would accommodate a 2 night booking, only allowing a minimum of 3 nights. 🙈 What I eventually went for was a hotel called The Derwentwater Hotel

We arrived around 20:45 on Friday night and first off, there was initially nowhere to park. It’s a large hotel with a small car park (why?) and so we had to find a space in the street. 👎

The welcome was warm and friendly and we were directly to Room 150 👍 As this is an old hotel, our room was then, despite being on the 1st floor, through 3 doors, up two flights of stairs and down another one. 👎

We opened the door to our room and threw ourselves in. We were now in a funny shaped room, with what appeared to be all the standard hotel fodder, i.e. bed, bedside tables, dressing table, TV and built-in wardrobe. However, here is my review of the hotel:

The room was the worst hotel room we have EVER stayed in. It had extremely stained carpets, dated and poorly maintained bathroom (cracked tiles, inadequate shower, hard to reach windows). The bed was small and uncomfortable and the doors either wouldn’t close or wouldn’t open. We were also right above the restaurant which played loud music from 8:00am every morning. 

The first impression of the room was cold and shabby. The cleaning staff had left the window open and so the room was FREEZING. We soon learned why though, as in the middle of the night the room got unbearably hot!

So you are thinking, “You complained right?!” – well no. Because honestly it was 9pm by the time we were in our room and it was M’s birthday. The last thing we wanted to do after a full day at at work and a 2 hour drive was to mess about changing rooms… 😣

The hotel’s ground floor, reception, conservatory seemed nice, full wooden floors are very dog friendly, but everything else was VERY tired and dated.

Our room was awful and we WON’T be back. Such a disappointing stay. Do, not, recommend.

G x

7 things I buy to make myself feel healthy |Getting Healthy

7 things I buy to make myself feel healthy |Getting Healthy

I’m not gonna lie, I have struggled to be fit and healthy my whole adult life and yesterday I re-cycled my Apple Watch and bought a FitBit. It occured to me then, that there are many, many, MANY things that I have bought over the years to make myself feel healthy, whilst not always being healthy…. How many can you tick off?

  1. Yoga Mat – Yes, definitely got a yoga mat stored safely on our top floor, having being used by me 3 times in 4 years.
  2. Fitness Equipment – In the same vein as a Yoga Mat, I have been the owner of a wide variety of weights, kettlebells, Ab Rollers and there might have even been a treadmill in our house for a hot minute. Used sparingly.
  3. Fruit – I buy tons of fruit every single week in our grocery shop and I only ever eat 1/2 of whatever I buy (if that). Every week I put it into the basket vowing that I will eat 5 a day…… I never do….
  4. Health Apps – On my phone there are currently 5 health apps. Apps to help me to train doing intervals, tabata, run, walk and yoga. I walk the dog every day, but otherwise my exercise is pitifully nada.
  5. Subscriptions – Every do often I get suckered into one of those Instagram ads or similar that show me a cool 30 second video of someone like me getting fit and I think, yep ok I will sign up. Literally the millisecond I have clicked OK, I have buyers remorse. I know deep down that I either won’t like whatever it is in reality or I can’t justify/afford the monthly payment. They all get cancelled – ALL of them.
  6. Steps Tracker – I’ve had quite a few health or steps trackers over the years. As I mentioned earlier, I have had an Apple watch for a while, but I am now rocking a FitBit…. make me feel better to at least be making a small effort to monitor my steps.
  7. Weight Watchers – This one is quite hard to admit as it’s a bit embarrassing. I have been a member of WeightWatchers or WW as they are now called for about 20 years. I am still overweight. When my mindset it right it definitely does work for me, but this only happens for short periods of time sadly. Who knows why… but I keep the membership as, in my head, if I stop it, I will be “giving up”. Which is ridiculous but also, true. *sighs*

That’s my list – I can’t be the only one surely? Let me know…

G x

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