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Smol laundry tablets

Smol 2020 Review

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 using Smol products for over a year now, and previously reviewed their laundry tablets. They have added laundry conditioner and surface sprays. Since first purchasing their laundry tablets, I have really grown to love them and the company.

Smol fabric conditioner

When they released the conditioner, it was an instant buy for me. It pairs really well with their tablets and smells fresh. Everything is vegan friendly, and there’s no harm to animals. It was shocking to find most conditioners use animal fat which is actually very grim. Just four squirts from their refillable bottle are all that you need for incredibly smelling washing.

Smol surface sprays

Now for their latest product. Three surface sprays which are a combination of glass, surface and bathroom. All in separate reusable bottles and dissolvable tablets. Upon first purchasing, you will receive both the bottles and dissolvable tablets. Subsequent orders will be the tablets alone.

Firstly, you have to fill each bottle up with warm water, right up to the bottom of the rubber-banded label. Then place each coloured tablet in the corresponding coloured bottle. Each bottle has a label in case you forget which one is which. Once done, you can enjoy using your new sprays.

I have now tried each spray on their corresponding surfaces, and the results are fantastic. There’s no strong chemical smell or horrible residue. All the sprays do their jobs very well, and overall I am delighted with the new line-up of products.

Where and how to buy

Unfortunately, the fab-con and sprays don’t have a free trial you’ll have to take my word for it. If you already use their laundry or dishwasher tablets, then these products are a fantastic addition. If you have yet to use Smol, then they have a free trial on their laundry and dishwasher tablets that you can try. Maybe you’ll grow to like them as much as my wife and I. Click here to take a look at their offerings and buy from them.

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Living with an unwell cat

This isn’t a cat with cat flu or a small infection. This is a life-debilitating illness which we have yet to find a conclusion for.

Some of you know that I have a cat named Holly, and she is really unwell. We’ve taken her to the vets many times, and they haven’t managed to diagnose the issue. This week, we had to take her to a specialist vet in Bristol as a last resort.

It’s been horrible, scary, and frustrating, to say the least. Every so often, she will take a horrible turn. Leading to little to no food being eaten, or barely drinking any fluids. We then have to take her to the vets where she stays overnight. They then manage to stabilise her to a point we can bring her back home. She then comes back rested and seemingly well, but she’s never 100%.

Varying her diet to keep her healthy

We have gone through various diets, starting with cheap meat and biscuit, to hypoallergenic biscuit, which worked for a very long time. No, we’re at a point where we have to water her dry biscuit to make it softer for her. However, this week, she doesn’t want to touch her watered-down biscuit. We’ve now found some high-quality meat that she seems to enjoy. This is good, but I start to wonder how long it will last before she gets put off her food again.

She has a few issues, first off, she throws up. It used to be quite regular and was one of the reasons we went from cheap food to hypo. That really did help in her younger years, but more recently, she’s throwing up again. We took her to the vets, and they prescribed her with pills that helps keep the acid at bay. Then, there’s her other issue… She really struggles to swallow food. We believe it’s because of the acid coming up and damaging her oesophagus, and it gradually got worse. This is why we’re now watering down her biscuit, to hopefully make it easier for her to swallow.

The vets in Bristol took so many tests and plenty of x-rays. Including blast x-rays which fire a load of x-rays while she’s eating to see the food’s journey. Sounds intriguing, and I hope I can see those x-rays at some point.

Endless amounts of medication

She has gone through a large amount of medication. She has pills which prevent her from vomiting. Also, she has pipettes to reduce inflammation in the oesophagus. However, it seems like we’re just fighting a losing battle, and it stresses both her and me out. She used to be able to take the pills in her treat sticks. Making this go down as easily as possible felt like a huge win. Until she stopped eating her treats altogether.

It’s crazy how clever she is. Recently, I placed the pill in her treat stick, and turn it upside down in the hopes she’ll eat it. However, she turns the stick over, sees the blue pill and then walks away. I’m very proud of her, but at the same time, it makes both our lives harder. I now have to restrain her and try to chuck the pill in. She tried to fight me, but it’s still for her best interest.

Hoping to fix her ailments

Hopefully, next week we will get some more conclusive results back and start a proper course of treatment. Of course, we won’t know for sure until that time, and it may still come back inconclusive. However, I’m remaining hopeful because she’s the best cat I’ve ever owned. We have cuddles almost daily, and she’s super social with me.

I will write a blog post about her next week, and hopefully, it will be much more positive. In the meantime, my wife set up a GoFundMe to help with the expensive vet costs. We’ve had some fantastic donations and shares. We’re grateful for every single one, and to everyone who wishes her well. You mean the world to us right now. Thank you.

Can anyone believe 2020 has nearly finished?

Honestly, I can’t. This year has been absolutely insane, and not just for me, but for everyone. We’ve all gone through a pandemic, lockdowns and plenty of protests and riots.

Remote work at it’s worst

From March I have been working from home and I’ve not stepped into the office since. It’s been nice not having to travel or stuck in traffic. However, at times, it has been frustrating. There are times when work would have benefitted from a few more eyes. There are also times where I would love to socialise with others. My wife has still been going into the office as her workplace requires her there. So here I am. Working alone. With my three cats to keep me company.

Protesting and rioting

Then there’s the protests and riots while going through a pandemic. So many countries are rightfully angry at their governments and leaders because they feel they aren’t being treated right. Black men and women have felt let down and betrayed by the very people who are supposed to protect them.

America’s current president

Donald Trump has lost the vote but refuses to leave his post. He acts like a baby when he loses. I think a lot of people will rejoice and cheer the day he moves out of the White House and Biden finally moves in.

Our mental health struggles

Mental health has also been a struggle for many including myself. I’ve had times where I thought the pandemic wasn’t affecting me, and I was moving forward in full force. However, this quickly fell flat, and although I did make some great progress, I also went through many days of doubt and anxiety.

Looking forward to 2021

Hopefully, the holidays and having days of celebration will help us all stay positive. I’m looking forward to tomorrow as it’s the first of December, and the first day I can open my coffee advent calendar.

I hope that anyone reading this finds joy in December, and has many things to look forward to next year. I for one hope we can go back to live gigs and really appreciate live arts once again.

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73 Things About Me

1. What is your usual Starbucks order?

I normally buy Costa, but I would say seasonal drinks are my goto. Especially ginger or cinnamon lattes. They are amazing.

2. What does your workstation look like right now?

This is what my home desk looks like. I take the red mechanical keyboard to work with me because it’s so good.

3. All time favourite food?

It used to be steak and chips, but since going vegan, I’ve gone for Mousakka Bowls, it’s just so tasty. ?

4. Favourite author?

I don’t read a lot a lot of fictional books and I’ve gotten into reading a lot of self-help books. Tim Ferriss has been great, as well as Dale Carnegie and Anthony Robbins are a few of my faves.

5. What do you think of open relationships?

If that’s what someone wants, and it works, then why not? However, I wouldn’t personally go for something like this, and believe I have found my “one”. We are married (3 years), and I wouldn’t change a thing.

6. What is your favourite video game?

I play so many games. However, my all-time favourite would be the Batman Arkham series. Mainly the first two, but Knight is pretty good. BoTW is also a great game, and it blew my mind. I’m also always jumping onto Destiny 2 whenever there are new updates.

7. Guilty pleasure treat?

Doughnuts, uuuuugggghhh I love doughnuts. I can literally eat a whole pack in one sitting. 😂

8. Favourite movie?

Batman the Dark Knight trilogy (of course). Also, I have to watch The Nightmare Before Christmas and Die Hard during the Christmas period.

9. Favourite book?

Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss has so many great golden nuggets. The Chimp Paradox because it helped me understand my mind.

10. Twitter or Instagram?

Twitter, because I’ve made so many great connections. Instagram is still alien to me. I keep going back to it and retrying but quickly get bored.

11. Desktop or laptop?

Desktop, there’s no competition in my mind. Yes, a laptop is portable, but a desktop has MORE POWER!

12. Best advice you’ve ever received?

Believe in yourself.

13. What project are you working on right now?

Moving my blog from VueJS to WordPress (I’m back).

14. Favourite colour?


15. Did you get good grades at school?

Ahahahaha I did not. Most were Ds and Es with one C in ICT. However, I believe I’ve come so far in life, and the grades haven’t had too much of an impact on my life.

16. Dream job?

To get paid and not have to work. 😂

If I do have to work, then I would love to be able to write, film and make websites that are all my own projects, while being funded for them. Anything that can help others, and the environment.

17. Played any sports?

Yes, and I have found so much love for CrossFit. I honestly had no idea what it was until I saw people flipping some tyres, and thinking… “I want to do what they’re doing”. I’m still yet to flip a tyre though.

18. Do you have a degree?

I do not

19. Nationality?


20. What is your favourite kind of blog post to do?

I do like to write very personal and relatable blog posts.

21. What do you like to collect?

Books and Games 😁

22. Describe yourself in three words

Chilled, anxious, and I have so much love to give.

23. If you were a rapper what would your rapper name be?

Screw Loose

24. Who was the last person you DMed?

A friend named Jason, and how he managed to finally get himself a Series X.

25. What’s on the top of your wish list right now?

To save up for a deposit and get my wife and I our first home.

26. Hogwarts house?

If I remember correctly, then I think I am HufflePuff.

27. How many tattoos do you have?

Just one, and it’s a small tattoo on my shoulder. I got it done on third visit to Download Festival. It’s the Download Dog, and it didn’t hurt. Also, I’m very surprised it didn’t get infected as I got it done on the first day.

28. What are you most grateful for this year?

Still being in work when so many people are losing their jobs right now.

29. What’s the best thing that’s happened to you this month?

Ordering food from Tam’s kitchen. Honestly, this month has been very stressful. Especially at work, so I’m really grateful for the little things this month.

30. What’s the best thing that’s happened to you today?

Having some “me” time with my wife.

31. What’s the best thing ever?

Cuddles with my cat, listening to music and watching endless amounts of TV with my wife.

32. Favourite season?

Summer for swimming weather. Autumn because of the colourful trees and perfect temperatures.

33. Favourite holiday?

What are holidays? 😂

34. Which fictional character do you relate to most?

I want to say Bruce Wayne, but that wouldn’t be 100% true. It would probably be Columbus from ZombieLand. Full of anxiety, but manages find ways to keep surviving.

35. Do you like surprises?

I absolutely love surprises!

36. What’s the biggest surprise you’ve ever had?

My wife surprised me on my birthday with a tandem skydive, and it was honestly the best thing I have ever done. She’s going to have a hard time to beat that to be honest.

37. What’s a surprise that made you cry?

When my mum bought me a goldfish. 😂 I was fairly young, and I think my other fish passed away so it was a great surprise.

38. What’s the best surprise you’ve ever given anyone?

I’m not the best at giving surprises, but I remember Valentine’s Day with my wife. This was before we were married, and I hid lots of bits in random places. We then took a trip to the beach with a picnic basket, and sat watching the sunset with some champagne, food and great company.

39. Do you like muffins?

Who doesn’t like muffins?!? They’re amazing, and there’s so many varieties, it would be hard to not like them.

40. Do you cook often?

Almost daily, and on the days I don’t we either microwave some frozen food I’ve cooked beforehand, or grab a takeaway from our favourite vegan restaurants.

41. What’s your favourite dessert?

Apple pie, apple crumble, or apple strudel. Can you tell I like apples? 😂

42. Is there a dessert you don’t like?

I don’t think there is if I’m honest. I am a huge foody.

43. Cake or pie?

Pie, definitely pie.

44. What’s your least favourite food?

Before I went vegan, it would be fish and anything proper fishy. I didn’t mind cod or scampi, but salmon or bass was disgusting. Vegan wise, I don’t think I have a least favourite food, it’s all been amazing so far.

45. What’s your favourite condiment?

Barbecue or tomato sauce.

46. It’s 4am on a Saturday night, what would you eat?

Peanut butter and jam on toast.

47. If you could teach a college class what would it be called?

Hmm… it would be something about self-acceptance and kindness / inclusivity towards ourselves and others.

48. Best animated film?

Up and Lion King (the original) are my faves.

49. What has a guy/girl done or said to impress you?

Been honest with me and consistently being there through the hard times as well as the great times.

50. Best thing to do on a first date?

Anything, I’m very easily pleased.

51. Worst thing to do on a first date?

Being rude and hurtful, or trying to show off.

52. What’s the funniest pick up line a guy could use on a girl?

Hello, do you come here often?

53. Best comic book character?


54. What are three things that are always in your purse?

Keys, wallet and phone.

55. Favourite drink?


56. If you could play a historical character who would it be?

Ragnar Lothbrock

57. Kittens or puppies?

Kittens. I have 3 cats which used to be 5, and I love every single one of them.

58. Favourite sushi roll?


59. What kind of lipstick do you use?


60. What kind of foundation do you use?

I do not

61. Blow dry or air dry?

Air dry as it’s more natural, and doesn’t damage your hair.

62. Who is your fashion icon?

I don’t do fashion.

63. Favourite Disney character?

If Disney now own the movie rights to Marvel, can I include a Marvel character? Then I would pick Captain America. Otherwise, I would pick Woody from Toy Story.

64. What are you doing tomorrow?


65. Movie you laughed the hardest through?

Most recently, I would say Holidate, that was a pretty funny movie.

66. Movie that made you cry?

Our Planet by David Attenborough. Seeing the animals being killed because of deforestation and our destructive behaviour really hit me. I really hope we can turn things around.

67. If you could sing a duet with someone who would it be?

My best buddy Joshua Doidge.

68. If your life was a song what would the title be?

Here’s to us by Halestorm.

69. What’s your favourite animal?

Cheetahs, I absolutely love them and would love to rescue them as my job. Also, red pandas are super cute.

70. Favourite illustrator?

I’ve never really thought about this to be honest.

71. Person you want to have coffee with?

Phil Sturgeon or Eric L Barnes would be two people I’d love to have a coffee with. I’ve known these guys on the internet for years, but never met them which is a shame.

72. What country do you wish to visit?

Sweden and Finland would be two I’d love to visit. Mostly because of the metal music scene there.

73. Best way to decompress?

Playing computer games, and binge watching TV with my wife.

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Man holding an iPad Pro

iPad Pro 12.9” 2020 review (A PC user’s perspective)

I’m not the biggest Apple fan; in fact, I always avoided Apple products and stuck with either Microsoft or Android. I even had Windows phones because I thought they were going to take over the market and become a competitor to Android and Apple. However, the iPad Pro is something to think consider when comparing to similar tablets.

It wasn’t until the release of the iPhone 11 when I finally decided to give Apple a chance. I purchased it as an upgrade to my Pixel 2 as the Pixel 4 wasn’t a real upgrade, and the 4K video on both the front and back lenses attracted me to take my chances. It worked out, and recently I decided I wanted to give the iPad Pro a go as well.

I took a look at comparisons between the 11” and the 12.9” iPad Pro. The differences between them weren’t just the screen sizes, but there were also a few hardware differences too, and the 12.9” just had a little more going for it in my eyes.

The things I love about the iPad Pro

1. Portability

The portability of the iPad Pro is incredible. It’s much more lightweight than most laptops out there, even when you pair it with the magic keyboard. The size is also perfect for me, it’s not too big and not too small, and I love the fact I can take it with me anywhere and start writing. I’m writing this blog post in my wife’s car while I wait for her to finish her pet sitting.

If I had a laptop, I would have to open it up, turn it on. Then wait for it to boot before I could log in and open a program to do some writing. Now I can unfold my iPad, swipe up and open my favourite editor. The difference in effort is nothing short of incredible.

I also love going from my desktop pc, which has become my main-working station to my couch and opening up my iPad.

2. iPad Pro – Apple Pencil

I purchased the Apple Pencil because I wanted to try my hand at some ProCreate. I’ve had a Surface Pro 3 in the past, which was a great machine until it started slowing down. On my Pro 3, I loved the Adobe experience, which you can also get on the iPad. However, most people prefer to use ProCreate as the digital design app of choice for iPads.

Now, I’m not an artist by any means, but I have always enjoyed being able to draw from time to time, and having this as an extra has been excellent. It’s helped me do more of my hobbies and unwind from social media. I haven’t used the pencil for notes or designing apps or anything like that, but at least it gives me that option if I ever need it.

Also, pairing the iPad with a screen protector such as the Paperlike or Bellemond protector adds a paper-like texture and can improve your drawing experience. I don’t usually use a screen protector on any of my mobile or tablet devices, but after hearing how it can add a more paper feel and reduces glare which was a massive sell for me.

3. The Apple Ecosystem

The Apple ecosystem has always been something that I disliked with Apple products. I didn’t want to get suckered into their ecosystem and be hindered by their walled garden. It is both a blessing and a curse in all honesty. However, the magic keyboard and Apple Pencil pairing and working together makes for a lovely experience. Also, I loved the fact I could place my iPhone nearby, and have it recognise my Apple profile and transfer any selected data.

I have honestly never seen such a more superior experience when I’ve used both Microsoft and Android products. However, I am still trying not to buy everything Apple-based. I still have Sony headphones and a Garmin fitness watch which work perfectly fine connected to my Apple devices.

4. Multitask like a pro

Okay. You might not be able to multitask like a real laptop or PC, but you can still multitask very well. Right now, I have Google Docs open with YouTube open to the right. You can have it as a floating window which you can move around, or you can have it attached to your current app where you can resize the apps using the black bar towards the centre of the screen. You can see both options below. There’s also another option to have two apps attached and a third app floating around if you feel like a multitasking king.

iPad Pro screenshot

It’s not a full-blown computing experience, but it works well, and it’s something I enjoy using. Hopefully, Apple can improve on this in the future, and we can have many more apps open at the same time, especially if you feel you haven’t got enough apps open at the same time.

5. iPad Pro – Apple Magic keyboard

The Apple Magic keyboard is nice to type on, with very little key-travel, and a comfortable typing experience, you can’t go wrong. I usually favour a full-blown keyboard experience and personally use a Corsair mechanical keyboard for my desktop and typically take it with me to work because I prefer it to a laptop keyboard. However, the magic keyboard is excellent, and I enjoy using it. I’m using the keyboard to write this whole article that you’re reading right now, which can’t be that bad.


Overall, and after being someone who actively avoided Apple products, I’m very impressed. The experience has been fantastic, and I can’t wait to see the iPad Pro evolve in the future. Of course, it’s not a full-blown PC like they try to advertise, but it is a productive gadget that you should consider purchasing if you’re looking for a portable and productive device.

It has helped me create more, and be more productive, and I’m hopeful this trend will continue in the future. If you were in two minds about purchasing an iPad Pro, I would say that if it’s ticking all the boxes, then you should take the plunge and you won’t regret the purchase.

Have you purchased an iPad Pro? What are your thoughts? Let us know; I’d love to learn how you have become more productive.

Maximising your savings as a millennial in the UK

Maximising your savings as a millennial in the UK

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’ve read a lot of blog posts. Watched a lot of videos which talk about saving and investing your income. The only trouble is that all of them are educating Americans. There’s barely any content for people outside of America. Of course, we have Money Saving Expert which is a great resource (and one you should check out). Laura Whateley, a money columnist from the Sunday Times, but there aren’t many people talking about their personal experiences.

Today, I’m here to talk about my experience with saving and investing money. To maximise returns in the hopes you can learn from it, and also get more returns on your savings.

Let’s first begin by asking…

Why should I save and invest when I could potentially lose money?

You’re only likely to lose money if you invest in the short-term. You’re much less likely to lose money if you invest in the long-term. It’s recommended you keep your money in an investment pot for at least 3 years, but if you’re investing into a pension pot, then you’ll be investing for a lot longer.

Many people will invest using apps like Freetrade, Trading 212 and other apps where you can choose which companies you invest in. This is great if you know what companies you’d like to invest in, but if you’re like me and want to give someone else money and invest for you, then you can. I personally use an AI savings bot called Plum.

Plum is a bot that learns your income and spending habits, and will then take small amounts and save it into a pot. The money it takes is saved into an FSCS protected Barclays account, and you can put the money back into your bank whenever you need it.

You can go a step further by paying £1 a month which will allow you to open up an investment pot and invest some of your money save by Plum. I have two pots open, Tech Giants and Stocks and Shares. The former has a lot more ups and downs, but the potential on returns is far greater than the latter.

Plum has a pretty awesome brain which allows you to control how much Plum takes from your account, and where it puts that money. I have Plum set to “Beast Mode” which saves 75% more money than it’s “normal mode“, and I split the money 35% in Tech Giants, 35% in Stocks and shares, and 30% into a 0.6% FSCS account to have multiple returns.

Getting money from my investments can take a little while, depending on how quickly they can sell your shares, and the 0.6% account is a lot faster at 1 day to withdraw. Altogether, it’s a clever system and has helped me save over £2,000 with a £107.99 return at the time of writing this article.

Maximising money for your first home

I read a fantastic book which I 100% recommend called… “Money: A User’s Guide” which goes through everything on the topic of money. One thing I learned from reading it is opening a savings LISA account. Once you open a LISA account, you will receive a 25% return on your savings from the government up to £4,000 every year. The maximum you can save in a LISA account is £4,000 each year and if you save that each year, the government will give you £1,000 as a bonus.

The bonus can only be used on your first house, or for when you retire, and you need to have it open for at least 1 year before you can take advantage of your bonus. If you use it for your first home, then you can use it for a house up to the value of £450,000. If you had it open for three years and saved the total amount each year, you would have an extra £3,000 of free money.

You can also take your money out at any time, but if you use it for anything else other than your first home or your pension, then you won’t receive the bonus. To anyone looking at buying their first home, I 100% recommend you open up a LISA account. I opened one up with MoneyBox, which is an app you can download, and the process was super easy. You have the option to open an investment LISA or a savings LISA. I decided to play it safe and went with the savings account, which does offer some percentage returns as well as the government bonus. You can choose whichever, and I trust you know the usual about investing.

None-conventional ways to earn and invest money

Right now, you’re reading this on my website, and I have actually created a few ways to try and make money with these. First off, I joined the Brave Publisher platform, which means that anyone reading this on the Brave browser can donate BAT, which is a form of cryptocurrency. I have also invested some money in BAT and earned an extra £50.

There’s also another payment platform called Coil which is similar to Brave. But you can install the plugin on any browser. Or use their own privacy-focused browser that has the plugin installed natively. Coil has brought me in a total of £0.15p, which isn’t much. Although, I have only just started, and I’m hopeful for the future of Coil.

Then there’s Medium which everyone and their dog has joined. It’s the one platform I wish I joined earlier rather than later. However, I have started, and I import all my blog posts into Medium while being apart of the partner program. This means that any paying Medium members will donate some of their money in return of getting (hopefully) some value.

Crypto is a lot riskier than any other kind of investment as it’s not regulated. There are no safety nets like normal investments have. However, if you put your money into the right crypto, you could potentially get far more returns than your traditional investments. I have some money in Bitcoin, BAT, and XRP. There has been a lot of ups and downs, and it has been an exciting ride. However, I have held my nerve and kept my money in each in the hopes for much higher returns.

In no way am I an expert or financial expert. Please take my recommendations lightly, and make sure you do your due diligence when looking into investing.

Where to learn more about money

A book called “Money: A User’s Guide” is honestly the best book I have ever read about money. It covers everything. From buying your first home to dealing with a credit card. Student and loan debt as well as managing money to live a happier life. It has honestly changed my whole outlook on money, and how I should be managing it.

If you enjoyed this post, then let me know what you thought.

Dear readers, it’s been a while

Hello to anyone that visits my blog post, whether it’s your first time or your 100th. You all mean the so much to me, and I appreciate you taking the time to read any of my posts.

What’s happened in the last 5 months?

A lot has happened since my last blog post since it was posted 5 months ago.

We’ve had COVID-19 which is still in progress. We’ve had the black lives matter movement which I’m really in support of. And a lot of personal things have happened too.

What are my personal changes?

It’s now been over a year since I started contracting and my contract with the University of Exeter has been extended multiple times. This has given me a lot of confidence within myself and my coding has improved because of this.

My goal for creating 12 YouTube videos has unfortunately fallen behind as I haven’t created a single video this year. One a month should have been doable, but I’ve had so much on my mind that it’s taken a backseat.

I’ve cleared my £7k of credit card debt and I’m now working on clearing my wife’s £8k. Technically it’s both our debt, it’s just on her cards rather than mine because we’ve been switching between our cards to get 0% balances and now we don’t have an interest rate, we can focus without worry. Our overall debt at the beginning of this year was around £17k so we’ve more than halved it which is a great feeling.

COVID-19 has been a blessing for me and I know this isn’t the case for everyone. Working from home has been going really well and I’m saving a lot on petrol. I hope that when this eases, I’ll be able to work from home on a permanent basis. However, I’m well aware that others are struggling right now, the government has failed us and haven’t been supporting those that need it most which is a huge shame.

What are my thoughts on the rest of the world?

All key workers are struggling mentally and they will need a huge break if and when it’s possible for them. The campaigns to raise money for them has been tremendous and really restored some faith in humanity. However, a lot more needs to be done in order to support them further and the government should be held responsible for making this happen.

Now for the black lives matter campaign, most protests started out peaceful which has been fantastic to hear. That is until the police stepped in and brutally pushed protestors back, sprayed them in the face for no reason and even shot people with rubber bullets. There are times where it seemed necessary, but 99% of the time, it was complete police brutality.

I believe this is what also led to most riots, if we didn’t have this brutality, most people wouldn’t have been pushed to riot. Donald Trump has been a tragic president who still believes he’s some sort of God. He constantly spews the same rhetoric and it’s quite frankly getting boring. I wish he would just step down, but we know this won’t happen, so America needs to vote for change.

Similar things are happening in the UK where Boris is this bumbling idiot that keeps flip-flopping on his plans and his words. He’s a racist which we desperately need to vote out and we need to campaign for change.

Let’s hope that things can change and that we can end 2020 better than when we started. We’re all desperate to see our families and get back to some sort of normality. I believe that change for the better is happening. However, it’s still too slow and we need to speed things up and add pressure where we can.

Closing thoughts

If you enjoyed reading this, please feel free to follow me on Twitter or like my Facebook page. I hope to speak to you again soon.

I’ve started my own podcast series

This is a quick blog post to let my readers know… I now have my own podcast series which you can listen and subscribe to on all of the popular platforms. This includes Anchor, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, PocketCasts and more.

If your favourite platform isn’t shown above, then please go to Anchor to see if it’s on there. If it isn’t, then Anchor is always adding new platforms. You may need to wait for it to turn up.

You can always contact me on Twitter, and I will try to get it distributed in more places.

I hope you enjoy listening to the episodes, and I look forward to hearing from your feedback. Also, if you listen on Apple, I would love it if you could give it a positive rating.

If you want to know more about what the podcast is about, then it’s about health and fitness. I talk about cooking with Gousto, CrossFit, fitness watches and anything else to do with health and fitness. If this sounds like your thing, then please take a listen. Also, you can leave voice message on Anchor. I would love to encourage my readers to do so, so I can add them to future episodes.

How to go Vegan

I’ve been vegan for well over a year now, and I always hear people say, “I couldn’t go vegan, I love meat too much.” Well, guess what? I, too, was also in that mindset, and I loved my steak and chips, morning fry-ups, fish and chips, and every other dish that came with meat.

Find your reason

First off, you need a reason to go vegan, and it has to be a good reason. If you don’t have a reason behind going vegan, then it’s a lot easier to fail. My reason for going vegan was reading an article on the BBC, which described how much CO2 eating meat caused on average. You could select other foods to find out the CO2 cost of eating, and to me, it was very eye-opening.

We’re going through terrifying times, especially in today’s world, with COVID (which happened by eating meat). The climate is changing drastically, and we’re all to blame for our living and eating habits. Plastic is suffocating animals to death, and so many animals are becoming endangered and extinct. If we want our children, grandchildren, etc., to live happy, healthy lives, then we need to do something today.

My reason for going vegan was to help in my way to help with the current climate and hopefully create a positive change. Your reason could also be due to the rampant animal abuse that is caused by farming, or it could be more for health reasons. I’m not forcing or arguing with people who want to keep eating meat; if that’s what you want to do, then that’s your prerogative. Hopefully, you’re reading this article because you want to make a positive change, or you’re at least curious, and if that’s so, then this article is for you.

Once I found my reason for going vegan, I went home and spoke to my wife. At the time, she was a little apprehensive and didn’t want to make the change with me. I said that’s fine, but I’m going to give it a go. We then started having separate meals, and it got to a point where she was curious, started eating what I was cooking, and eventually joined me on the vegan journey.

It hasn’t been all sunshine and roses, though, at first, I had a lot more flatulence, and my workouts at the gym were suffering due to a lack of energy. I put this down to the massive changes that I decided to put my body through, and with a little experimentation, I found what works for me. It has been a constant testing ground, which has been great for finding new foods and different meals.

What happens after you’ve found your reason?

Once you’ve found your reason for going vegan, you need to commit and start making changes to help the transition. My wife and I decided that we need to eat as much of the meat that we had left as possible otherwise, the meaning behind the why would be wasted. The idea is to make changes that help the planet, not kill it more. Any frozen meat that we had leftover, we decided to give to family members who were still eating meat.

Once our cupboards were clear, we started looking into meals that were 100% vegan and had all the ingredients which we could buy in our local stores. In the beginning, our routine would be to find 4 – 5 meals each week, buy all the ingredients, and then cook each meal in the evening for dinner. The portions were big enough for us to place in the fridge and have for lunch the next day.

Find meals that you think will give positive benefits and have the right calories for your body type. Use a variety of foods such as beans, lentils, fruit, and veg. There’s honestly so much choice out there, especially today compared to 5 years ago, and people have been vegan for such a long time who find it’s easier today then it was when they started. Don’t be afraid to ask for vegan meals in restaurants, and be sure to take a look at their menus on their websites before deciding where to go. Some are 100% vegan, while others will offer a mix of vegan, vegetarian, and meat-based dishes.

Also, don’t be afraid to take your friends/family to a vegan restaurant. My mum was in the “I could never eat vegan food” boat, but once I started introducing her to different meals, she began to enjoy it. She still says she can never go 100% vegan, but at least she now appreciates the experience when she stays with us.

What if I fail and go back to eating meat?

If this is the case, then that’s fine. Never be afraid to try new things, and if it doesn’t work out, then at least you tried. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take, and if you don’t try, then you may regret it or wish you had done it sooner. When I was younger, I could never understand why you would go vegetarian, let alone vegan; I fought against those who spoke about animal cruelty. It’s safe to say I was very ignorant and unwilling to accept anything else then what I had been told.

It’s okay to admit you were wrong, and it’s also OK to try new things. If the new thing doesn’t work out, then at least you know you tried, and you can say you’ve at least experienced something new.

Is it more expensive than eating meat?

This is a hard one to answer, as it depends on your location. Where I live (in the UK), it’s cheaper to buy beans, lentils (legumes), and canned vegetables like chopped tomatoes, peeled tomatoes, etc. Potatoes and onions are also a staple to most vegan dishes, and there’s a huge range of fruit/veg which you can add into any dish depending on what you would like to cook. If you went the pre-made route, then it can get quite costly, and would almost definitely be more expensive than meat.

However, you can also make your meat alternatives, which cost less, and you have more control over the flavours. Take a look at making your seitan, which can use many different types of flour, herbs and spices, and oil. Most bread is vegan friendly (or at least in my experience), and there are a growing number of companies who are choosing to remove dairy from their foods.

If you struggle to find what’s vegan and what isn’t, then you can either scan the list of ingredients or google search for some results. I am also building a website to help show people what is vegan and what isn’t. My website is called, and it’s still very much in progress, but I’m hoping to build a database of all the products that are either vegan or not, so it’s easier to find the vegan foods. I will also be expanding the website to include restaurants, pubs, and businesses that are vegan friendly.

Is there more to being a vegan than what you eat?

There is a lot more to cover when it comes to being a vegan, especially if you want to cover more than just food and drink. Your electricity might not be vegan friendly, and even eco-friendly energy companies might be using animal products. There’s also your cleaning products, whether that’s for dishes, bleach sprays, personal cleaning products, etc. There is a whole range of products out there that aren’t vegan friendly.

Of course, it’s completely up to you with how far you want to go into your vegan journey. You might just want to stick with food and drink, which is a huge step in your journey, but you may also find you want to take it further. Either way, it’s completely up to you, and the vegan community is always very welcoming to those who show support and love to animals.

I started with food/drink and was completely unaware it could go further. I’ve slowly gone into purchasing vegan cleaning products and looking at vegan-friendly energy suppliers, but I also drive a petrol car that kills animals. It’s all a balancing act, and you can make the changes you feel will also benefit you personally. In the future, I hope I can purchase an electric car, or ditch my car altogether and buy a bike to get around.

Every journey is different

As I’ve said throughout the article, your journey and your reason for going vegan will be completely different from mine, and the same goes for your experience. If you need a helping hand, then you can leave a comment or send me a message on my Twitter account.

Focus Keeper is an extraordinarily brilliant Pomodoro Timer

What I’ve used in the past

In the past, I’ve used a timer called Forest and wrote about it before. Which had been good at the time. However, at the end of my last article, I expressed that they could make things a little better like having a Pomodoro style added to it.

Sometimes, I would use it non-stop for a whole week. Then have this habit of whacking it up to the full amount of time to have a genuinely blossoming tree. This was great for the reward side, but it wasn’t great for when I needed to take a break.

Because of this issue, I stopped using it for a very long time and kept wondering to myself if there was something better suited. I’ve looked into Pomodoro timers in the past which were browser-based solutions, and they all sucked. There was little to no explanation for what the time was for. Should I be working right now, or taking a break? If I move away from my browser and another program is on top, I can no longer see the time, and there was no sound. Browser-based Pomodoro timers were useless and lacking in so many features, so I gave up.

A new hero has entered the room

Until last week when I listened to a fascinating podcast episode talking about Pomodoro apps. This reinstated my interest, and I decided to take a look at the Apple App Store. I entered “Pomodoro timer” in search and up came “Focus Keeper” (available on the Apple Store, and Android Store). Out of intrigue, I decided to download it and give it a go.

Instantly, it gave me a run-through of “Focus”, “Short Break” and “Long Break” timers. I thought I would keep all timings as the default, which is 25 minutes for focus or work time, 5 minutes short break, and 25 minutes long break which has worked out well for me. If it doesn’t suit your needs, then you can change them to suit you.

Some annoyances (at least for me) that you should know about before starting a timer are the sound options. The timers can have a ticking sound which I find very distracting and had to turn them off. However, you can change to ticking sounds and even switch to music. On Apple devices, it can work with Apple Music, but not Spotify, which is a shame. I’m not sure how it works for Android, but maybe you can link it to Spotify on there.

Break little and often

Breaks will also play a lovely beach sound by default which confused me. I was listening to music on the same device. Then during my break, I had this beach sound with my music. At first, I thought it was part of the track, but I couldn’t remember it being on the song before. It wasn’t until it went from one song to another. I could still hear waves playing, and I figured it was the app on not my music. I quickly turned it off after I found out about this.

Of course, you might be completely different and want ticking sounds and waves during your breaks. However, it is entirely up to you, and the app is very customisable. The only thing it doesn’t do is block apps or websites which if you need an app to do that, then Forest might be for you.

It would be great if someone could make a fusion of Forest and Focus Keeper, but until then, I will continue to use Focus Keeper while keeping an eye out on other applications within this space.

If you know of any other apps that are potentially better, then please feel free to share them, and, I will take a look.