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Simple SEO tricks bloggers should know

December 1, 2015
Simple SEO Tricks

I have been blogging at Hello The Mushroom for the past few years and to be honest, for a long time I’ve always heard things get thrown around about SEO all the time. “What is SEO? What can it do for you and your blog? Does it really work?”. Who hasn’t seen these floating around the internet or wondered about it themselves?

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Beat the January blues

January 17, 2014

January has to be one of the worst months in the calendar. The post Christmas depression with all the lights and colour (and the money) gone, is just dreadful. I made a list of nice things that help me go through it. I hope you like it!

  • Book a holiday somewhere sunny (going to Morocco did wonders for my SAD).
  • Organize a clothes swap with friends/ bloggers. It’s so much fun and will leave your bank account alone after all the Xmas spending.
  • Start the year with a whole new wardrobe by organizing and streamlining it.
  • Do some DIY. Nothing like making something with your own hands for a nice sense of accomplishment. Also valid for finishing those projects you’ve left unfinished all those months ago. (check out my bejeweled jumper and my studded denim jacket for some inspiration)
  • Wear something colourful.
  • Quit drinking for the month of January. I joined Dryathlon, to raise money for Cancer Research. Please donate generously on my donation page here.
  • Go out for a walk for a bit of fresh air and some exercise. Bonus points if you take your camera and snap up anything that catches your eye.
  • Organize a Twister party at home.
  • Take up embroidery – it has a surprisingly calming effect.

How about you? what are your tricks? I want to hear all about them!


The Giving Tree

May 24, 2013

Recently I read the book The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein, as it had been recommended by a friend. I read it in 5 minutes… but these were 5 minutes that will stay for a lifetime. It really got me teary eyed! Such a beautiful and simple story. I had to turn to google  to find out if I was the only one (it felt a little silly to be honest), but no. Many people report crying like babies every time they read it. Phew!

What is it about this book that causes such a strong emotional reaction or shock even? I wonder if it’s because people identify themselves with the characters… You can either be the ever giving tree, whose happiness resides in providing for others or be the boy, who just takes everything from the tree until there is nothing left to give. Or you can be both.

I am sure we have all been one and the other at different points of our lives, no one is perfect and life certainly has many shades of grey. Just don’t tell me it’s 50, please! Anyway, I don’t think that any of the characters should be taken as role models – certainly not the self-centered little boy, but I also don’t think that being the tree  is entirely something to aspire to, despite how good it might look on paper. I’m saying this because I’ve been the tree too many times and taken advantage of by less deserving people. Life does end up making you cynical but no one wants to be cynical, right? There is a lot of joy in giving without expecting anything in return but we need to learn to choose those who deserve it. Life and experience should teach us to tread carefully and pick who is worthy of our unconditional love but we also need to be on the look out (unless we are talking about children but that goes without saying). If you find yourself feeling a bit cheated… it’s probably because you are!

So what can we do to avoid becoming an old stump like the tree in the book? Cultivate your self esteem. All the time. When you love yourself you have a better chance of avoiding getting stuck in poisonous relationships, be it of the friendship or the romantic type. How can we do this? There are plenty of ways! Here’s only a few examples:

Look at yourself in the mirror and look for the things you like about yourself rather than the flaws.

Read a book – there’s nothing better than feeling like you’ve learned something new.

Stop comparing yourself to others. It’s difficult, particularly in the blogging world, as people will naturally tend to show the rosy part of their lives, to feel like you are missing out on something. Remind yourself that just because you only see the nice bits, it doesn’t mean that everything is perfect and that you should be living someone else’s life. Everyone’s got their own and it’s up to each and one of us to make the best out of it.

Pamper yourself – If you can’t afford to go to the spa, bring the spa home! Get some scented candles and some nice bubble bath and allocate a little bit of “me” time for yourself regularly.

Try something you’ve been afraid of trying before. It’s a great feeling when you’ve conquered your fears and you’ll have something to talk about at cocktail parties.

Be crafty. Making something yourself is a great source of contentment. Look at some of my projects for inspiration! (here or here)

Get a notebook and keep it on your bedside table. Every night think about something that made you smile during the day and write it down. Every month read back all the reasons you have to smile. (as suggested by Lali)

If you’re not very inspired to write, read a bunch of quotes by other people.

Don’t say yes when you really want to say no. What an amazing feeling of empowerment!

There are plenty more things that you can do to improve your self esteem. Having a good self esteem is halfway to happiness. I’ve always said that if you don’t love who you are, hardly you will know how to love someone else. So there, cultivate your tree and don’t let anyone cut you down! Do you have any other tricks for when you are feeling a little less brilliant?

If you’ve never read the book, you can watch a reading here:

Photos taken by myself at Kellie Castle, adulterated on Paint using frame images pilfered and scribbled on from google images.


Road trippin’

May 3, 2013

Road trippin’ with my two favorite allies
Fully loaded we got snacks and supplies
It’s time to leave this town
It’s time to steal away
Let’s go get lost
Anywhere in the U.S.A.

(excerpt from Red Hot Chilli Peppers – Road Trippin’)

I’m so happy that I am travelling to see the husband in Florida again soon… Skype is very useful but it gets old after a while. We only see each other a few times per year so we like to do something special when we meet. I want to go to Disneyland but we can’t really afford it so instead we will be doing a little road trip. We’ve had so much fun before singing along to classic rock on the radio and driving into the sunset, we thought we’d do it again. Nothing like being stuck together in a car for some real bonding.

As we are planning a road trip ourselves, I thought I’d put together a little list of what we ( and you would) need if you are going driving around Florida or anywhere hot, for that matter. So, after you decide on your destination, it’s time to start preparing!

You will need:

  • A GPS or a map. We prefer the GPS option as it is so much more convenient and you don’t need to worry about folding it right when you’re done with it.
  • Plan your trip in advance and check what might be of interest on the way to your final destination – we’ll be having a picnic in one of the National Parks. It’s cheap and you get to relax close to Nature and see some funny critters.
  • A car! We will be driving the Miata but if you’re not local, you can check what car rental is closest.
  • Verify the weather forecast – you might want to postpone your plans if a storm is on the way. It’s no fun to be caught in a hurricane, I can tell you (remember my encounter with Sandy in NYC?).
  • Wear light clothes even if your car or apartment has AC as you will melt once you set foot outdoors.
  • Sunnies and sunblock are a must – the sun can get really strong and if you don’t protect your skin you’ll end up looking like a lobster.
  • Stay hydrated – drink plenty of water or natural juices, avoid sugary soft drinks – they rot your teeth!
  • Don’t leave the house without applying plenty of mosquito repellent. Take the bottle with you to reapply as needed. Those bloodsuckers are nasty, last year the bite scars lasted for months!

Other than that, just use your imagination! You might want to do a music compilation for driving (did you hear that Mr D?) or get some camping gear if you want to go away for longer than a day. If you’re not a fan of camping, there’s plenty of B&B’s you can stay at for cheap. Stop the car and walk when possible – you will save some gas, you will exercise and have plenty more photo opportunities -there’s lots of great scenery for outfit photos! For more ideas on places to go and what to do, check out the Guardian’s Florida Road Trip live blog here.

Do you have any more suggestions of your own? I’d love to hear them!