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We’re now into our third lockdown in the UK

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This time, it isn’t going well for me. For my first week, I did two CrossFit workouts and then lost all motivation to carry on. I enjoy the company with my CrossFit buddies, but home workouts aren’t the same. I can’t seem to wake up in time for my morning workout, and I really don’t want to workout in the afternoon or evening.

Instead, I have turned to gaming which has had its benefits but at the same time does have it’s negatives. It keeps any anxieties at bay, and I have less worry when playing games. On the other hand, I completely forget to look after myself. We are now into the third week of our six-week lockdown, and I’ve barely walked out the door, I haven’t been blogging much because I don’t know what to write about, and I haven’t worked out or stretched.

I’ve taken to doing some meditation which has helped me focus during my working hours. However, it still hasn’t helped me increase my motivation or confidence. Hopefully, if I keep up with the habit, I will see further improvement in other areas.

Constantly drained and in need of change

I’m constantly drained and want some change from this “new norm”. I respect the fact we’re all in this together, and we’re doing it to save our NHS and save those who are suffering more, but there are so many people not doing what they’re asked to, and it’s ruining things for the rest of us.

Hopefully, the government can speed up the vaccine process, and the fact we have varying vaccines is definitely positive. I have been less social online, and it’s because I’m conserving precious energy. That may sound weird to a lot of people, but it’s how I’m currently coping.

Anyway, apologies for being a negative Nancy. I just wanted to voice my words and create a new blog post. If you’re new here, then I can assure you it’s not always like this. I have some posts that will be full of good news, and I’m hopeful they will inspire you.

How are you holding up? I hope you are all well and staying positive.

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RIP Alexi Laiho from Children of Bodom

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The other day, I learned that Alexi Laiho had passed away. For those that don’t know. He was the lead guitarist and vocalist for the great melodic death/speed metal band called Children of Bodom. Or CoB for short.

It brought great sadness to hear of his passing. He was a huge influence on my choice of t-shirts, music influence, and vocal style.

I clearly remember seeing him in an interview wearing a t-shirt that said: “guitar players finger better”. At the time, I was a young teenager, and for some reason, I really wanted that t-shirt. I actually bought it, and it brought lots of hilarious memories which would have never happened before.

Our second year at Download Festival (2009) and I’m wearing the t-shirt Alexi inspired me to purchase.

Then there was the time I went to Download Festival (I believe it was in 2009). The second time my friends and I went to the infamous rock/metal festival, we went to see CoB in the second stage. During their performance, I remember entering a circle pit and losing a shoe. You can’t stop and grab it in a circle pit because everyone is running in one direction. During the performance, I couldn’t find my shoe, but I could still take in and enjoy their energetic performance. They were incredible and truly inspiring to me.

Because of Alexi and CoB, I became a scream vocalist in a melodic death metal band where we had some much fun. We didn’t get anywhere, but we had a great time, and Alexi was usually in my mind when I screamed. He was an idol to me. Also, without CoB Trivium either wouldn’t have existed, or they would have been completely different. You see, Trivium was another influence for me.

Alexi and his band were influential in so many ways to so many people and groups that the world would have been very different without him. Unfortunately, he passed away due to long term health issues at the age of 41, but at least he’s no longer in pain. May he rest in peace, and I hope he’s rocking out with all the other rock/metal artists who have passed away. He may be gone, but he will most certainly never be forgotten.

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How to make the perfect vegan coffee

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Affiliate links:

Please be aware that the links in this article are affiliate links. If you click on them, I will gain some sort of commission. All money gained will help future blog posts.

I have been drinking coffee for many years, and feel I have a level of experience to help others. Suppose you’re looking to become a vegan for Veganuary. Or you’re already a vegan who would like to make better-tasting coffee, then you have come to the right place.

Finding the right vegan milk

I’ve been a vegan for almost 2 years now, and have tried many kinds of vegan milk including; oat, soy, rice, coconut, hemp, and tiger nut. My absolute favourite has been oat milk, and my number one brand is Oatly. They have barista milk which goes frothy when shaken or stirred. It’s by far the best milk I’ve purchased, and they’re the best company I have purchased vegan milk from. Paired with your favourite beans, it will make for an amazing vegan coffee experience.

Getting the best frothy milk experience

For a while, my wife and I would shake the bottle to get a somewhat frothy top. However, it wasn’t a real barista experience, and the milk was less frothy on newer bottles. To combat this, we chose to buy a milk frother made by Lavazza, a renowned coffee brand. Since purchasing this device, our coffee experience has gone to the next level.

The frother can make both warm and cold frothy milk, or it can warm and not froth your milk. It’s a great product, and one I highly recommend, especially if you can’t afford a high-end coffee machine.

Finding the right utilities for your vegan coffee

I personally have a mix of bean coffee early in the morning, and pre-ground coffee during the later morning. I grind the beans using a bean to cup coffee machine. Personally, I use the Russell Hobbs bean to cup coffee machine, and I’ve had it for over 4 years now. It’s truly stood the test of time and works with both bean and pre-ground coffee. It also has a hot-plate to keep your coffee warm, and it will stay on for up to 30 minutes. If it turns off, and you still require warm coffee, you can set the grind to off, and press the big button. This will then turn the hot-plate back on, and you can have another round of warm coffee.

Using it for pre-ground coffee like a person of one can be a little too much. You have to clean the previous coffee out and deal with water levels, and the whole experience can be quite time-consuming. If you’re also a person of one and would like something more simple to use, then I would recommend the Aeropress by Aeropress.

If you have never purchased one, then I recommend you purchase the Aeropress kit. It comes with everything you need to get started, minus the coffee. It’s a great piece of kit, and you can easily travel with it and take it wherever you go. They have also made a travel version which comes with a coffee cup, and everything fits nicely together inside the travel cup.

Finding the right coffee

It’s probably a surprise to no one but all coffee is vegan. There are so many choices when it comes to finding the right coffee. Do you want beans or pre-ground? There are light, medium and even dark roast, and all of them have their qualities. I like a mix of different types depending on my mood. However, some people may not like dark roast as it can be quite bitter. Others might not like light roast because the flavour doesn’t come out as much, and it feels too smooth.

Personally, I buy my beans from Amazon in 1kg bags, and try to mix and match depending on how I feel at the time. They’re pretty inexpensive and more cost effective than smaller bags and will last for a good amount of time. For pre-ground coffee, I purchase them in my local stores and mix them up when I can. I’m the kind of person who likes all types of roasts which means the choice is huge for me.

If you would like any recommendations based on your personal tastes then please feel free to comment below. I will make sure I reply with my recommendations, and maybe someone else can help with their own experiences too.

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Making and Breaking Habits

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It’s now the start of a new year, and people start to think of new goals. They may start to think about the new habits they want to create to achieve their goals. Thinking of losing weight? It would be best if you built habits which will allow you to lose weight. Want to write that book? You need to try and enforce writing habits which will allow you to complete your writing goal.

However, most people never think about the habits they need to build. Most think about an end goal but never think about how to achieve that goal. Building habits is more important than your end goals because it will help you achieve them.

How do I start making habits?

Start by thinking about the habits you need to build. Do you need to write more? Should you write daily? Etc. These are the thoughts you need to think about to create habits. Write your habits down, they could be between 5 and 10 habits, and you can build on these as time goes on.

Make building these habits as easy as possible. If you need to write, have a pen and paper in the places you want to write. It could be on your bedside cabinet, a desk or even on your sofa. Place it anywhere where you think it can help you. This can be the same if you want or need to write on a computer. Buy an iPad or cheap tablet that will allow you to write, and place it somewhere, within easy reach.

A personal example of mine… I wanted to floss more, and at first, I would have to think about this habit because my floss was always in my bathroom cupboard. I made the habit easier to remember by putting the floss in-between my toothbrush and mouth wash. This way, when I finish brushing my teeth, I am reminded to floss.

Simple actions to help promote your habits will make it easier to do. This is something none of us thinks about, but we should always be thinking about it.

Don’t forget about breaking bad habits

Everyone also has bad habits. If you want to lose weight, then it’s likely your bad habit is overeating. For instance, I’ve built up a habit of having coffee before CrossFit. If I don’t wake up in time for my coffee, then I will go back to bed and skip CrossFit for the day. This is a terrible habit, and it’s taken me a while to realise it’s negative implications.

I want to work out more and stick to a 5 day-a-week schedule. To do this, I shouldn’t be so reliant on coffee. To build my workout habit, I must first break my coffee habit. My routine will now be to wake up, make and drink coffee if I only have time. Otherwise, I will skip making coffee and go straight to CrossFit. My coffee habit can wait until after my workout.

There are two resources you can use to help further educate yourself on the subject. First, there’s the book called Atomic Habits, and second is a YouTube video on building habits.

What habits are you looking to make? What habits are you looking to break?

Let’s hear them in the comments below, and hopefully, we can all make goals together by building on our habits.

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Hello January, Goodbye December 2020

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I want to start this blog post off by wishing all my readers (past, present and future) a happy new year. I hope it’s better than in 2020, and I hope everyone can prosper in the year to come. Last month wasn’t very eventful. My wife and I had a few pet sitting clients, and we spent Christmas and new year at home.

Last month was a good year for blog posts. In total, I posted 12 posts, which was a lot more than November. If you would like to know what they were, then I have listed them below. Please feel free to click on them and explore my blog.

Last months blog posts

What’s in store for January?

Honestly, I’m really not sure at the minute as we have no plans. With COVID still lurking around, and all the tier stuff going on. I don’t think we’re really able to plan anything right now.

What are your plans for next month? Have you got anything you’re really excited about? Let me know in the comments below.

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My 2020 Review

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The year started pretty well. My wife and I managed to get a few dates in, and we spent some time redecorating our flat. After the first lockdown, a couple of friends visited us, and they spent a weekend with us before the second lockdown hit.

I read many books, including No More Plastic, The Four-Hour Work Week, Deep Work, Money – A User’s Guide, Crushing It!, Contagious and Think and Grow Rich. They were all fantastic reads, and I definitely recommend all of them to anyone who might be interested.

I released my first eBook and sold 14 copies. Next year, I will be looking to expand the book, and sell it for more money.

My blog moved away from a static built site into WordPress because WP is a whole lot easier to deal with and allows me to focus on writing.

Top 5 blog posts

Posts worth mentioning

My top 5 doesn’t really show what has actually happened to me this year, so here’s a few that does explain…

Some not-so-good points worth mentioning

Of course, the year has had plenty of bad stuff happen which has affected my family and I.

I haven’t had the chance to see my mum in person for starters and give her a hug that she definitely deserves right now. I’ve had a few family members pass away, and I couldn’t go to their funerals because of COVID.

My wife’s side-hustle has taken a dive this year, but thankfully it’s extra income and hasn’t affected us too much financially.

To conclude

I hope everyone has a lovely New Years and I hope you can still get some enjoyment out of celebrating the year to come. Personally, I will be viewing some live rock/metal event on Facebook and enjoying a few alcoholic beverages. Find some time for yourself, and enjoy the final day of 2020. See you in 2021!

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Favourite connections of the year 2020

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It’s been 2 years since my last “favourite connections of the year”. This year has been a little rubbish, and I feel it’s a perfect time to bring it back. I feel like I have made a ton of new friends online this year, and if I miss anyone out, I do apologise.

There have been many tech peeps which I have made great connections with this year. This includes Emmett Naughton, Kurt Kemple, Josh, Damon Chen, Rosie Sherry, Erika Heidi, and Riley Quin.

Emmett is an aspiring developer and father. He’s looking to break into the tech industry and land his first paid job. He has already completed his first freelance project, and I have every bit of faith that he will achieve his goal.

Kurt Kemple is a CrossFitter much like myself, which is where the connection sparked. He has supported me throughout the year, and I have also tried to do the same in return. He’s very passionate about everything he does, and he’s an all-round lovely person.

Josh and I have only just met each other. However, our interactions have been very nice, and he’s a really nice person. I enjoy reading his tweets and joining in conversations with him. Really, I hope he and his company “PrimCloud” go far in life.

Damon was spotted on Indie Hackers, and he created a really cool website called lonely.dev. It was the first set up to help lonely working from home developers create quick dev updates, and connect to other developers. His site has since grown, and he renamed it to indielog due to the amount of different content uploaded. Damon has been accommodating and has been very supportive of me this year. Which I am very thankful for. He always seems to be releasing project after project, and I think many of them will go far. He will also go very far in life.

Rosie is another Indie Hacker, and she manages their social media. Which on the surface probably sounds easy. However, I think managing social media is a lot harder than most people expect. She’s an awesome and supportive person and is always open to talk. I love seeing her content on IH, and I even subscribed to her newsletter (which I suggest you do too). She shares her wins, and mistakes so we can all learn from her.

Erika is lovely. She’s a PHP developer just like me, and she works for Digital Ocean. During the week, she will go live. She will either create a programming project or a 3D printed project. They’re always fun to watch, and I’ve honestly learnt so much from her. If programming or 3D printing is your thing, then you should check her out.

Riley uses Coil’s platform, which I recently joined (you can read my review here). My content got featured on the platform, and she tweeted to me about it. This was our first interaction, and she congratulated me on the feature. It was great to see how supportive she is, and I started reading her fascinating posts. She has a lot to say, and she also sings really well. You can take a look at her writing here and follow her YouTube channel too. She’s another great person to talk to and is very open to listening if you need to speak to her.

My list slowly grew as I was writing this, and I’m sure I have missed out so many people. If you were missed out, please don’t be upset. If we have spoken at any time this year, then you should know I cherish our conversations. Also, I want to take a minute and thank every single person I’ve spoken to this year, whether it was just a passing hello, or a full on chat. Thank you for being a part of my 2020, and I hope we can speak again soon.

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An Update on Holly

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Yesterday, I posted on Twitter how Holly is doing. We had the results back from our veterinary practice in Bristol. Where they told us, the results were inconclusive. They will need to carry out more testing in the hopes to find out the cause of her issues.

This was pretty hard for me to hear because I want the best for her. Also, I want to fix whatever is wrong with her for her to live a more normal life. We now need to find an extra £150 on top of the £2,800 we needed to find before.

Thankfully, some very VERY kind people have donated on our GoFundMe, and for that, we are truly grateful. Let’s hope the next set of tests will bring something back more positive, but for now, we still don’t know the cause of her issues. They have a feeling it’s a bacterial infection. However, it can’t be fully ruled out at current.

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Coil Blogging Review

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A new way to enjoy content

Experience web monetized content in your browser while supporting sites you love in real time.

Coil.com

Coil is looking to standardise web monetisation. Think Medium, but for every website, including yours. How does that work? You may ask. First, you sign up and use a crypto wallet such as Uphold, and then they give you a little tag that you can place on your website. You can also connect to platforms such as YouTube and Twitch. This means you can monetise third-party platforms without meeting the platform’s “standards”.

Once you connect your platform, you can create content like before. Then when someone who has Coil installed views your content, they will donate some money to you based on their attention. You can also create content on the Coil platform, and connect with other creators on there too. This is great, because it gives you a huge amount of freedom, and you’re not tied down to a single location.

I have been using the platform for a few months, and the creators on there have been supportive. A few posts of mine have been featured too, which I was surprised to see. Recently, I also decided to subscribe for $5 a month. This means, when I view content supported by Coil, I will be donating some of my money to that content in return for my attention. It works similarly to Medium but works on various platforms. It’s such a freeing and fantastic experience.

If you’re looking to create content, and you’d like to be supported by other creators, then I would highly recommend Coil. There are other third-party platforms which support Coil including; Cinnamon, Dev.to, Imgur, Hackernoon, Hashnode and many more.

How much money do you make?

The money can vary depending on how many Coil subscribers read your content. On average, I receive 5 – 10 pennies per reader and have received 66 pennies in total. I know it doesn’t seem like a lot, but I haven’t been using it for long, and the tech is very early. As more people subscribe and read your content, the more money you will receive.

Should you join Coil?

Personally, I think you should 100% join Coil. The community is super supportive, and there’s a variety of content creators on there and the more, the merrier. You can’t lose on such a platform, and you could potentially meet new, like-minded creators.

There are bloggers, videographers, musicians and many more different types of creators on the platform. You could learn a thing or two, and potentially earn extra income doing something you truly enjoy.

If you join, please comment your profile URL, and I will follow and support your content. Sign up to Coil today!

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What is one regret I have from 2020?

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John from Yen created a tweet to encourage people to start writing, and while I don’t need mucn encouragement. I thought it would be fun to try and get involved since he is a great person.

Soo, what is my one regret?

Honestly, sitting here and writing this. I don’t really have one. I buckled down and started saving every extra penny I had. Now I have £2,878.91 saved up towards a house, including government contributions. Also, I have £1,521.41 towards investments which I’m hoping will also go toward our house.

One wish I have right now, I wish I could see my mum. She’s lives very close to Manchester, and her tier is very different from Devon’s (where I live). It would have been amazing if I could have gone to see her this year, but I don’t regret not seeing her. You may be wondering how I don’t have that regret, and it’s because I know I’m doing my best to keep her safe. If I visited her and did give her Covid, then my bigger regret would be the fact I’ve passed it on. She’s been through a lot over the years, and this would be the last thing I’d want her to go through. I think it’s safer if we stay where we are for now until she can get a vaccine.

Now I pass the question onto you. What is your biggest regret you have from 2020? If you decide to write a blog post on the topic, feel free to comment below with a link to your post. I will approve any posts that are answering the question.

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