Categories
General

My cat Squiggle is not well

Advertisements

My cat has gone to the vets twice because he has a pain in his back. He is constantly licking surfaces, himself and also scratching, digging, and biting himself. It’s definitely a discomfort, but the vets can’t find the answer, and it’s so frustrating. If you stroke the lower part of his back, he will start to lick and/or bite you to tell you it’s hurting. His hair looks dandruffy and is falling out easily, yet it doesn’t look like he has mites or fleas.

He is eating and drinking normally and all signs point to healthy livers and organs, yet we still don’t know the cause. He eats hypoallergenic food which means the vets can’t pin it on his dieting. The whole thing is horrible and a bunch of guess work. I wish they would take his bloods for lab tests rather than guessing with medication.

So far we have given him Metacam and Omega 3 oil with zero luck. The next thing they would like us to try is a course of steroid which may or may not help him. I’m keeping my fingers crossed, but without any lab data, I’m not feeling too positive about the end result. I wish animals could talk to us, to let us know what kind of pain they’re in, it would make life so much easier.

Categories
General

Migrating this website to SiteGround

Advertisements

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.

Yesterday I wrote a blog post about SiteGround, you can see it here if you haven’t already read it. In that blog post, I stated that my wife’s website, Brooks Pet Sitters was hosted with them. However, the website you were reading from was hosted with Digital Ocean. Digital Ocean is great if you have complicated sites or programs, but this is a simple WordPress site. All shared hosting will work with WordPress, so why did I go with SiteGround?

SiteGround is incredibly affordable, yet they don’t sacrifice the quality. They have 24/7 support and will tackle any problem that may arise. The speed is amazing, I tried to optimise my VPS website as much as I could, and SiteGround’s speed is just better. I could have probably done more to optimise, but why should I when a company can do it for me at a cheaper price?

The migration was simple even going from a VPS to SG, rather than using the migrator tool they offer, I instead went through a manual process. This did take slightly longer, but it ensured that everything would run smoother. Within half an hour, my site was uploaded to my new hosting and my domain name pointed over. SSL is offered with the click of a button and once it’s processed, you can force your website to https.

If I’ve convinced you to use SG, then please help support me by signing up with my affiliate banner below. Can’t see the banner? Click here.

Categories
General

A full week of work starts

Advertisements

For us office workers, today is our first full week back. Like many around this time of year, I felt pretty apprehensive about going back. It was so nice having a break from work and they always go way too fast. Christmas and New Year never last as long as you’d hope and everything just goes back to normal.

This is also the time of year when everyone feels more anxious and/or depressed. If any of your friends/family are feeling low then please offer them support. If you are feeling low and feel like you have no one to talk to, then I’m just a message away.

Categories
Crossfit

3 years at CrossFit

Advertisements

“It’s a social experience like no other where no one judges and everyone encourages progression.”

A memory popped up on Facebook today and it’s reminded me why I joined Crossfit. I initially joined because I was unhappy with my weight. I got to 16st (~101kg) and I was feeling slightly unhappy with my weight gain. It’s not a huge amount of weight compared to other’s, but it was my heaviest weight. Also, posture was a biggie for me, I have Anterior Pelvic Tilt (or APT) and I walked with a bounce.

4 months in and I could already see a huge improvement, I was eating more healthy meals and the weight started shedding off. Since then, Crossfit has become a huge part of my life. I’ve entered many competitions, raised money for good causes and gained good friendships out of the experience. If anyone has ever wondered whether they should join a Crossfit box, then I 100% recommend it. It’s a social experience like no other where no one judges and everyone encourages progression.

Another positive side-effect is that it’s really helped with my anxieties. I feel more positive within myself and feeling stronger every day is amazing, what’s not to like about that?

Raising money for cancer

Local Crossfit competition at Newton Abbot Crossfit

Categories
General

My 2 year journey at Lightfoot

Advertisements

A little back story

My journey at Lightfoot all started because of my struggles with a previous company. I had been given a 3-month trial and during this trial, my work was struggling. The company really liked me as a person and wanted to see me succeed there. They extended my trial by another 3 months and by the end of it, I was still struggling to keep up. I then had to start looking for a position elsewhere, and that’s where I found Lightfoot.

My background in web development

My background in web development is mainly backend technologies such as PHP, MySQL and server related admin. The position I went for was a frontend technology I had never used before called ReactJS. I told them during my interview that I had never used it, but I was very happy to try.

A long and windy road

Thankfully, I got the job and was able to start on January the second 2017. I had no mentors in the office, and my one mentor was a remote developer in London. When I struggled with code, I would constantly hit a wall, but I didn’t want to say anything. My mentor was busy elsewhere and couldn’t always respond. The two other developers sat beside me couldn’t help as they didn’t know anything either. Their background was in PHP and MySQL, the same technology I knew and loved.

This got picked up on fairly quickly with my boss, we had many meetings because he wanted to see me succeed. I said I would ask more questions and be more involved, which I did, but it still wasn’t quite enough.

All the while, at home I would be panicking that I’m going to lose my job. Having had so many web development jobs in the past, I’ve now picked up quite a sixth sense to these situations. I had a panic attack here and there too.

Please stay

After my first 6 months, the developer who helped mentor me left to work elsewhere. I was alone on something I didn’t know enough of, to keep up. During my mentor leaving, we employed someone else who was remote and knew ReactJS. I mentored him as much as I could, but he soon overtook me as he was more knowledgeable than I. This was the 6-month mark where my boss took me aside and said: “If you really want to stay, we can move you to any department you like”.

We came to an agreement that it would be better to move me over to PHP and MySQL. At last, languages I was more comfortable in. You also have to bear in mind that our code base is huge, although I knew the language, getting around our project was a minefield.

Again, I would be getting my head stuck in the sand because I was worried that if I ask too many questions, I would be seen as weak. Of course, this was not the case and my boss would beg me to please ask questions. Everyone was there to help when the help is needed. It came to Christmas and although my confidence was a hundred times better, I still wasn’t 100%.

Christmas should be a time to relax

It was coming up to Christmas and I had time off work which doesn’t help with my anxiety. If there’s time off, then there’s time for my brain to worry and think I’m going to walk back in with no job. I was literally sick with worry throwing up everything I had, I was exhausted. By the time we reached new year though, my mind was a little more at ease.

A new year, a new start

I head back into the office with everyone around me smiling and happy. A few months pass and it’s going great until my appraisal gets booked in. My head goes into overdrive. “I’m going to lose my job”, my mind says to me. Before the date of my appraisal, I start looking for work elsewhere just in case.

My head is in overdrive and I’m sick with worry again. The day of my appraisal comes around and it was a very lack luster appraisal. My boss says to me that although I have improved, I need to improve a lot more over the next year as this is my final chance.

Fast-forward to now

A whole year after being employed and almost a year after my first appraisal, I’m feeling a lot more confident. I did have another little shift within the business, but it’s still with PHP and MySQL as my main languages. My new boss is also my mentor which is perfect and he seems very happy with me and my progress. My previous boss is still here, he just doesn’t oversee my work as much any more.

I have yet to have another appraisal, but I am confident that I have done well enough to continue on with the company. Overall, I feel like my experience has been worth it and I wouldn’t change it for anything else. The company I work for now is the most empathetic and helpful company I’ve been with.

Categories
General

Happy new year 2019

Advertisements

I just want to use this post to wish everyone a happy new year. I hope it’s enjoyable, prosperous and is everything you could hope for.

Categories
General

Looking to 2019 and my personal goals

Advertisements

Looking back this year

2018 has been massive for my wife and I. I helped her start her business Brooks Pet Sitters, and although it’s been tough, she’s loved every second. Our goal was to have 20 clients this year, and we now have 45. Some have been incredibly supportive, while others not so much. We learnt how to pick our clients and separate the good from the bad.

Tiff left a company to work on it full-time as business was going well. We then had a few months of quiet which meant Tiff had to go back to work. She’s now working full-time and using petsitting as a side project until we gain more clients. This is fantastic news as she was going to pack it all in, but she loves and already has bookings for next year.

As for me, my training has been more consistent throughout the year, and I’ve taken part in more competitions. I’ve raised money for cancer with Battle Cancer and invested money in Plum, me@mybest and Your Sommelier.

Goals for next year

To keep myself accountable for next year, my goals are as follows…

  • Clear my £10k credit card debt
  • Go abroad for the first time ever
  • Raise more money for cancer and mental health
  • Stop being last in Crossfit competitions
  • Be happier and have 0 panic attacks
  • Help create an incredible business for my wife
  • Save for a house
  • Post more on my blog
Categories
General

Biggest achievement of the year 2018

Advertisements

My biggest achievement for this year is staying with my current company for as long as I have. This may sound daft, but bare with me…

A rocky journey

My journey as a web developer has been super rocky, my first job only lasted all of 3 weeks. I can now look back and laugh at just how short that was, but at the time it was soul destroying. Any sane person would have given up there and then, and tried another career, but not me. I went back to my old job as a cashier and I applied for more web development jobs.

After what seemed like hundreds of CVs for applying, I managed to land an apprentice role in Devon. Accepting this job meant leaving my then girlfriend (now wife) at home on her own. My mum wanted me to stay, but Tiff knew I had to do it in order to further my career. At the time there were no opportunities in Cornwall.

I headed to my friend’s house share and I worked as an apprentice for 6 months before my official apprentice would officially start. 5 and a bit months later, Tiff and I managed to find a house we could live in. Then a few weeks later, I lost my job, right before my apprentice officially started. Tiff was rightfully furious with me, making us do this huge move only for me to lose my job.

You’d think this would get easier

I then went on and worked as a cashier again for the same company as before, but in Devon rather than Cornwall. I carried on applying for positions and a few months later, I found another job, only to be let go due to them having funding issues.

This sucked, and my confidence was hit massively, but it still didn’t stop me. I applied for more jobs, left a few of them and then found another job which I enjoyed. Then a year and 6 months later, they let me go because of funds. It wasn’t hard to find another job after this, however my 3 month trial got extended by another 3 months and then they let me go due to me struggling with their workload.

Where is this going?

And now here I am, employed by a company called Lightfoot which is coming up to my second year of employment. It was a rocky start as I went from frontend development on a language called ReactJS (something I never used before, but they knew this) to my more comfortable languages PHP and MySQL. I’ve now been working with the backend lot for a year and it’s going strong.

I think it’s safe to say that I will be working here for another year at least. This means it will be the first company within my career that has lasted 3 years, and I am happy with where I am. Who knows, maybe I can progress up the chain even further with Lightfoot.

Categories
General

Challenging myself

Advertisements

Something I would like to try out for this month is post less on social media (excluding Instagram) and post more on WordPress. I rarely spend time posting to social anyway, but it could be interesting. Even if it’s just comments on other people’s blogs.

This will help me gain a larger blogging circle which I feel I am missing at current. I always want to encourage new readers to like and comment on my own posts, and I feel I should return the favour. If you can recommend anyone to follow, then please let me know.

This doesn’t include Medium, because I feel there’s too much “Premium” content now. It’s frustrating, because you can no longer invoke a conversation. The only thing you can do is applaud. This takes away from the whole “conversation” of blogging. (I’ll post more on this later).

If you would like me to follow you, then please comment below. Alternatively, if you know of interesting bloggers, then please share away. The more of a community we can create, the better.

Categories
Crossfit

On 27/04/2018 I entered my first CrossFit Competition

Advertisements

My first CrossFit competition outside of my own box

I know that date has pretty much long gone. However, I want to get into the habit of updating my blog more often with what I’m doing, so thought I would add this while I still can.

I entered my first CrossFit competition a few weeks back. However, I wanted to share with you how I felt before, during and after the event. It was also my first team workout and usually I’m a bit hard on myself and think “Why would anyone want me in their team? I would only let them down”.

It turns out, I did no such thing and we ended up having a great time. We didn’t worry about what place we came, we just came to compete and have fun. We entered the scaled division (this means the workouts are slightly easier to compensate for abilities, but it’s still just as hard).

My week running up to the competition

Okay, I was a little nervous during the week running up to the event. They started releasing the workouts on Facebook and they all looked painful, but fun. (Us CrossFitters strive for the pain threshold). Then our coach announces that we will be meeting up on Saturday (day before the event) to talk strategy and try the workouts to get a feel for the event.

This is the moment my nerves went into overdrive. I’m thinking to myself “What if I can’t do this? What if my teammates are trying to rush me?” And the list went on… I get into the box, we talk a bit and then give the workouts a try. I came out feeling a lot calmer about the situation and this is where I had to remind myself, we’re just there to have fun. No biggie at all.

I went home and cooked a bite to eat. After my food, I gained this huge headache that felt like a hangover despite not drinking any alcohol. I drank water to keep fluids up as I did so much working out that I believed it was due to dehydration. I was hoping I hadn’t poisoned myself some how. That night, I went to bed and couldn’t shift my headache.

Luckily, I did manage to sleep it off and it was a relief that morning. I then made some breakfast (porridge) and took some Bulk Powders Scottish oats mixed with water to take on the road. I threw my gym gear on and hit the road meeting up with some of the others from my box.

I‘m not organised at all

I drive up into CrossFit box and meet my fellow CrossFitters. I then feel a lack of energy and know my sugar levels aren’t quite right so I had to text my wife and ask her to buy me food. There were no shops nearby and I needed to warm up and make sure I was ready for the competition. I also tell me buddies who then give me some bits to help me out which was actually pretty funny.

The come the workouts, they were all very testing and took a lot of work, but we enjoyed the whole experience. The final workout was a secret and we didn’t know what it was until we finished all other workouts. He then explained to us how it would go and it looked like an absolutely dreadful workout (mainly due to the running). However, it actually turned out to be one of the most fun workouts. There was more teamwork involved and we did better than expected during our runs.

Overall, it was a fantastic day and one I would do again. If my other team member would have me again, I would be happy to join them. If you want to know more, the CrossFit box is called Crossfit Plymouth and their competition is called Primal Games.

Enjoy reading this blog? Please consider subscribing using the form below.