Shopping Made Easy

Shopping Made Easy

Click on the picture to go to the Twitter hashtag. You’ll see lots of local goodies there

The Funny Thing Is…

Hashtags! Do you find them confusing? Do you use them but don’t know why? The funny thing is that many people don’t really know how to use them so let me try to quickly explain;  A hashtag is just a label or name given to a section in a very large database.  That’s it!  It’s just a database.  Every time you write a post and use a hashtag your post will go to the appropriate folder in the database.  If you use two hashtags your message will go to two folders in the database.  To search for your messages just go to the search bar in your chosen social media platform and type in the name of the hashtag.  From there you’ll find your post as well as everyone else posts who have used the same hashtag.  However, do be aware that the hashtag is specific to the social media platform you’re using so if you type a message on Twitter you won’t be able to find your post if you search for it on Facebook.

At this point you may be wondering what the hashtag has to do with Shopping Made Easy?  The answer to that is quite simple of course.  Using Twitter just type in #LincsArtCraftHour to your search bar to see what local art, craft, sculpture and photographic posts have been included over the last few weeks.  You’ll find everything from needlework to paintings, cards and photography and the list is growing steadily.  Not only will you find pictures but you’ll also discover links to local Etsy shops and Facebook pages too so you really can shop on line while keeping your money in the local economy.  It’s a win, win situation don’t you think?  To make life even easier for you I’ve included links to the most recent artists & crafters below.

Not on Twitter? Not everyone is of course so if you’re a Facebook user don’t despair because you can still access some of the messages from the local artists by typing in #LincsArtCraftHour to your search bar.

Facebook #Hashtags

If you’re a Facebook user please don’t despair because you can type in the hashtag #LincsArtCraftHour to the search bar to find everything that’s been posted there.  You’ll find several blogs as well as some posts by the local artists.  I haven’t tried it on Instagram yet but I can assure you it will be coming.

What’ve You Missed?

Lots of gift ideas have been posted including Christmas decorations and cards but the question really should be ‘who’ have you missed?  That’s easy to remedy; You’ll find a list below which includes some contact details too

Advert

Breakfast £3.70, Afternoon Tea £7.50 and 3 course dinners available too. What’s not to like? Why not visit The Eatery, 36 Park Street, Lincoln next time you’re in town? Please get in touch first though to book your visit. Just click on the picture to go to the Lincoln Age UK Facebook page or follow them on twitter @ageuklsl It’s all for charity and you get fed at a bargain price too! 

The Local List:

This list is set to grow and grow so please do make a note to keep checking in to see who else has joined us:

Twitter                                        Facebook                                        Etsy                                      Website

@MelLangtonArt                        Mel Langton Art

@BurtonWard9                          Burton&Ward                                     Burton Ward

@origartprints                            fiduncart artist 

@elliestreasures                       elliestreasures                                     Ellies Treasures UK

@chrisdobbinart                       watercolourportraits

@Amanda_schonhut               Amanda Schonhut Photography

@jpbphotography                    Light And Dreams Photography 

@Scarletimpress1                   Scarlet Impressions Art                        Scarlet Impressions

@EnglandCreate                                                                                  Create-England

@ShaliniAustin                        Shalini.Austin

@Blackbird1976                                                                                   HDArtIllustration

@KcbraidsBeads                     KC Braids & Beads                              KC Braids & Beads

@Anitas_Cards_4U

Advert 

Mandarin Therapies and @MandarinMothers provide a bespoke mobile complementary therapies service throughout the County and beyond. Call 07966 174878 to book your appointment today. Click on the picture to go straight to the Mandarin Therapies Facebook page.

More To Come 

So far the active hashtags are #LincsConnect #LincsConnectJobs #LincsConnectChristmas and #LincsArtCraftHour but keep watching as there will be more interesting hashtags coming very soon.

In Case You Missed It…

Here are some quick links to take you to some more blogs that you may find interesting:

How Will Christmas Look In 2020?

Help Me, Help You

#LincsConnectChristmas

Charity

AgeUK Lincoln & South Lincoln are a registered charity needing your donations. However, you also have the chance to purchase an inexpensive meal here and be pleased to know that the profits will be going straight to the charity.

Let’s face it, you’re older now than when you first started reading this blog! Age creeps up on us all so it’s nice to know there is a charity here to help us when we need it.  If you would like breakfast, afternoon tea or a full meal don’t forget to book your place early.  Breakfast starts at 9.30am.

Stay Safe

Please go ahead and enjoy yourself but lease also remember to stay safe.  Keeping a social 2m distance, regular hand washing and wearing a mask when required will help you, your family, friends and everyone around you.

#LincsArtCraftHour

#LincsArtCraftHour

Click on this picture to go straight to the Facebook events page for this exhibition

7 September 2020 – A Very Important Date

Monday 7 September is a very important date for several reasons.  The new #LincsArtCraftHour stars at 12.00pm and all Lincolnshire artists, crafters, sculptors, jewellery makers….. are invited to post their promotional messages using ‘two’ hashtags.  I’ll explain more a little later but for now, let’s focus on the date.  7 September also sees the launch of the ‘Mel Langton Solo Art Exhibition’ at the Gallery of St. Martin’s in Lincoln ‘and’ it’s the launch of #LincsConnectChristmas too.  Yes, I know, you’re probably thinking ‘it’s too early for Christmas’ but the reality is that NOW is the time to start planning and advertising Christmas to raise brand awareness in time for the Christmas season!

#LincsArtCraftHour 

The #LincsArtCraftHour will be on Twitter from 12.00pm – 1.00pm every Monday lunchtime from 7 September.  The idea behind it is to highlight the talent that we have in the County and to allow you to view what’s on offer.  You’ll find everything from cards to jewellery and paintings to sculptures with everything ‘arty’ in between. While many of us are still either reluctant or unable to go shopping on the High Street this weekly hour will give you the opportunity to see what’s on offer.  Those posting will be able to include links to their Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, websites and online shops while at the same time showing off their huge talents.  ‘Christmas’ is coming but don’t just see this as a virtual shop window for your Christmas shopping.  A gift for yourself, a ‘thank you’ card, a birthday gift or even a Mothers Day gift for next year are all possibilities.

Rather than running through all of the information again I’ll let you have a look for yourselves by following this link to the relevant blog:  lincsconnect.co.uk/blogs/artcrafthour You’ll also find some info on the Lincs Connect Facebook page too so please have a look to see what you think.  I’m still looking for interest in other specialist hours so if you see anything on the LincsArtCraft blog that takes your fancy please let me know.  I’ll also be interested to hear if you have any other ideas of course.

Click on the picture to go to the #LincsArtCraftHour blog 

How It Works

If you’re posting messages on the #LincsArtCraftHour slot follow these simple steps:

Be sure to have your tweets ready to post (in real time or scheduled) by 12.00pm on Monday 7 September

Include a picture (or two) to show what you are advertising

Include a link to your website, Facebook, Instagram or online shop for people to follow

Include the two hashtags #LincsConnect and #LincsArtCraftHour in your tweet

Search the #LincsArtCraftHour hashtag to retweet and support others and to do your own free networking either live on the day or later in the week.  You can search the hashtag at any time 24/7.

Don’t ‘dump’ a load of tweets on the hashtag in the first couple of minutes (even if they are scheduled tweets) as it won’t look good on you.  Make sure your tweets are spread out over the hour.

How To Search The Hashtag

Searching the hashtag may be easier than you think.  Simply go to your search bar, type in #LincsArtCraftHour, click search (or enter – depending on what device you are using) then go to ‘Latest’.  That’s it! It really is that easy so make sure that we make the hour a success by supporting each other.  Finally, don’t forget to let your contacts know too.  Obviously the more people we have using, searching and talking about the #LincsArtCraftHour the more likely you are to increase your following and make more sales.

Old Maps

Click on the picture to follow Fiona on Twitter or click on this link to find her on Facebook: @fidunkart

I know I’ve posted this before but it’s worth another mention.  I think these painted old maps are an excellent idea.  If there was ever a way to bring a map to life, this is it!  Why not give Fiona a follow on Twitter or Facebook to see what other delights she has in her portfolio?

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Mandarin Therapies provides ‘the’ stress buster you’ve been looking for. Bespoke complementary therapies from the comfort of your own home with full Covid-19 safety certification. Gift vouchers available. Call 07966 174878 to book your appointment. Click the start button to watch the video.

Christmas Is Coming…

Like it or not, love it or hate it, celebrate it or ignore it… It’s still coming and we need to start preparing for it.  Consider this scenario:  You wan’t to get the spare bedroom plastered and decorated before the relatives come to stay – too late! Many of the tradespeople are already fully booked until after Christmas!  That’s just one example but there must be plenty more.  Unless you’ve been living on a different planet you can’t have escaped the devastation that Covid-19 has wreaked on local and national businesses.  Many are suffering with lost sales since March so if you are going to recoup anything from this shocking year ‘now’ is the time to start planning it.  Christmas markets are cancelled across the country and town centres may still be in restricted shopping mode for our safety.  NOW is the time to plan your advertising for Christmas.  If you don’t, someone else will.  If you want to salvage some of your lost selling opportunities, NOW is the time to do it.  From 7 September I’ll be starting the #LincsConnectChristmas hashtag so lets all get on board with it and start to plan.  After all, its just 124 days to go as I type this blog.

Charity

Visit the Louth Age UK website for more information about their charity shop. Your safety is in mind and fundraising for those in need is at heart. Click on the logo for details

Are you a ‘vintage’ fan? If you are I think you’ll like this room in the Louth Age UK Shop. It’s your chance to grab a bargain while supporting a local charity at the same time

Click on the YMCA logo to find out how they serve our community and discover why they need our financial support

YMCA Pop Up furniture and Brik-a-brac shop, The showroom, Tritton Rd, Lincoln.  The next dates are 26-29 Aug from 10.00am to 3.00pm.  Click on the picture to find them on Twitter 

Advert

Mandarin Therapies & Mandarin Mothers provide a bespoke mobile service throughout the whole of Lincolnshire and beyond. Call 07966 174878 to book your Covid-19 safe appointment or click on the picture to go to the Mandarin Therapies Facebook page for more info. 

Mel has a solo art exhibition in Lincoln starting on 7 Sep at the Gallery At St Martin’s, Lincoln with lots of new original artwork. Entry is FREE and there is no need to book but please be aware that the usual Covid-19 safety rules will apply so don’t forget your mask. The art will be on sale of course and the gallery is happy to take card or cash sales. Click on the picture to find the link for more information

That’s about all for now but please don’t forget to make a note in your diary for the #LincsArtCraftHour on Monday 7 Sep from 12.00pm.  Tell your friends too

Stay safe everyone

#ShopLocal?

#ShopLocal?

Hashtags – Do They Work?

The simple answer here is ‘yes’ and ‘no’!  How many times have you seen posts on social media with the hashtag #ShopLocal on it?  As crazy as it may sound, the hashtag really isn’t much use if you’re using it to help people find you.  It’s fine as a statement of fact on your post but when you search for it you’ll find that the posts are anything but local.  In fact, the posts you’ll find there are for all around the world so if you’re expecting people to find your cheese that you produced in Sleaford I strongly suggest you think again!  When I set up Lincs Connect in 2012 I experimented with several hashtags and names before settling on #LincsConnect.  Other examples of my trial hashtags included #ShopLocal (ironically I created this hashtag in January 2011 for use on my @MANDARINLEISURE account but scrapped it because it went global) #SupportLincolnshire #SupportLincolnshireBusiness #SupportLocal #SupportLocalBusiness with the latter being shortened to #SLBiz. However, my early research made me realise that the ‘Support…’ hashtags were just too long and people refused to use them because of the amount of space they took up on the posts.  Another reason for scrapping them was because they start with the word ‘Support’.  When searching social media for relevant hashtags to do with Lincolnshire you’ll find that typing the letters ‘Linc’ into the search bar will give you LincsConnect on twitter and Lincs Connect on Facebook in the top three names to visit. Compare that to typing in ‘Support’ which will give you all sorts of connotations from TwitterSupport to a whole host of other national and international business support sites. It makes sense then that the hashtag to use on your tweets needs to be #LincsConnect as it is at the top of your searches and is truly local to Lincolnshire.

How To Use A Hashtag

If you’re happily adding hashtags to your post but never searching them you’ve truly missed s trick!  Here’s what to do:  Type in #LincsConnect in your search bar then press enter. Don’t click on the account @LincsConnect as that’ll take you to the account only which means you’ll miss all the good information.  Once your device takes you to the messages on the #LincsConnect timeline you need to look for the ‘Latest’ tab at the top of the Twitter page.  If you type #LincsConnect into the search bar on Facebook you’ll need to look for the ‘Posts’ tab at the top of the page (this’ll also show you related Instagram posts). Once you’ve discovered these pages you’ll realise that there is a huge amount of information, business posts, personal posts, charity posts and requests for help etc etc that are all related to our local area.  Try it now to see what you can find.  It’s a fantastic way to network and find out what’s going on locally.

Supporting Local

How do you support local?  Is it as easy as going to the local shops and picking something from the shelves?  In case you hadn’t considered it before, let me share some of my ideas about shopping and supporting locals:

  1.  Shop locally – supporting local traders by buying their produce in local shops, garden centres, farm shops and markets
  2.  Online – Many local traders have online shops.  A more cost effective way of selling may be via platforms like Etsy shops or even selling directly via social media
  3.  Don’t forget the local charity shops.  Dropping off your unwanted items is absolutely crucial but don’t forget they are there to help raise funds for the many worthy causes that otherwise would’t survive without our support.  Buying from the shops is absolutely essential if the charities are to survive.
  4. Social media – In the 10 years that I’ve been running #LincsConnect I’ve noticed some big changes in how people use the various platforms.  I’ve noticed a big rise in the professionally run accounts (some companies run several accounts for different clients) and I’ve also noticed the reluctance of many accounts to share anyone else messages or support others.  I’ll talk more about these two subjects later.

Obviously there are many other ways to support local businesses, charities and organisation but I’ll focus on my main observations first if that’s OK?

Shop Local

This concept certainly isn’t new.  However, during the Covid19 pandemic it has become much more important and (thankfully) much more prolific.  We know how important our local CoOp, Post office, newsagent and Spar shops are.  Many of them are in walking distance (for those who are able) and stock locally produced products.  Perhaps, with the use of ‘people power’ they might be able to stock more local local produce to help the local economy even further.  A polite request from customers or local traders may be all it takes.  It’s worth a try! In addition to helping to support local traders (including the shop owners and staff) it must have also come to your attention that during the lockdown there have been less emissions, less fossil fuel burned and less litter.  All of these positives are good for the planet so let’s see if we can maintain our recent good practices.

Online

This isn’t something that I have ever considered for my own businesses before Covid19 but it is something that I have been doing during the lockdown.  FaceTime and WhatsApp video calling has been a fantastic way to maintain contact with my clients while reducing my fuel usage in my truck.  It’s definitely a practice that I intend to maintain. During the lockdown I’ve been busy writing blogs and searching for companies who sell online.  Some are using Etsy, some use Facebook and others use Twitter.  I’m sure there are other platforms that are equally as good or even better but I haven’t come across them yet.  The obvious choice and probably the most popular is direct selling from websites.  Many people have their own eCommerce shop on their website which is easily maintained by the trader and convenient for the customer.  If, like me, you are a bit of a technophobe you’ll be able to find website designers who will be able to build a site for you or help you with your existing site.  If you would like to get in touch with any designers please feel free to ask me for some suggestions.  After all, that is what Lincs ‘Connect’ is for!

Charities

I often include charities in my blogs because I feel they need all the help they can get.  I’ve focused on very small charities through to the very big charities and the one thing that they all have in common is their use of social media.  The posts may not raise funds directly but their constant presence certainly helps to raise your awareness of them

Share The Love

Looking at the various accounts on social media I often make up my mind whether I should support them or not simply by looking at their posts.  The ones who never share anyone else posts, have conversations or try in any way to support anyone else is a big red flag for me.  I find myself asking the question ‘why should I support them when they don’t support others and are very unlikely to support me?’ I’m a big believer in helping others so when I find someone who shows no interest other than to post their own tweets I tend to move on to find someone who is more sociable and supportive.

Buying And Selling

I’ve noticed Fiona @OrigArtPrints on Twitter while searching the #LincsConnect hashtag and really like what she has been painting on old maps.  Her main sales come from Craft Shows but obviously they haven’t been open over the last few months so, being creative she turned her attention to Facebook and Twitter for her sales.  Facebook has been successful but Twitter less so.  However, her Twitter account is a good platform for showcasing what she does and for directing people to her Facebook account.  It is important to use more than one platform on social media if you want to increase your client base.  It’ll be interesting to see if future sales turn more towards social media and less towards the craft fairs.  Only time will tell. I think these paintings on old maps are fabulous.  You have to admit, they do bring the map to life. Here is another example:

If you would like more information about Fionas art just click on the picture for a link to her Facebook page. I’m sure she will be happy to see you there and you’ll be Able to see selections of her cards and key rings too.

Websites, Social Media And YouTube

I’m no expert of course but it does appear to me that one of the best ways to find a website (given that you probably didn’t know the sites name or even that you wanted to make a purchase) is through social media.  I’ll say that bit again just to clarify, “through ‘social’ media”.  Why the emphasis on ‘social’?  Well, I’ve noticed far too often that many people are using Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to show off their products and gain new customers but quite often don’t realise that they need to talk to their followers to get continued engagement and (hopefully) new sales.  Put it this way, if you don’t talk to me on social media I’m not likely to notice you.  On the other hand, if you do talk to me but I don’t talk back you’ll soon stop talking to me.  Either way, I would be the loser so that’s why it’s always best to be ‘social’ on social media! While being pre-occupied with social media I almost forgot about YouTube.  Surely I can’t be the only person who searches YouTube on a very regular basis for music and information?  I do think it’s a great platform for showing your products (you’ll have seen some of my YouTube videos if you’ve been reading my other blogs), courses and skills.  While the social media could drive potential customers to your website the same driving force could apply to YouTube.  I feature a local band of the week each day on twitter and invariably I find the bands on Twitter or Facebook first then either follow a link to their YouTube channel or take a few seconds to search for them in the YouTube search bar.  This band (Saboteurs) from Sleaford have really got my attention this week.  You can follow them on Twitter @sabsbanduk for regular music posts and updates about upcoming gigs when Covid19 restrictions allow.  Alternatively you can go straight to their website www.saboteursband.co.uk for lots more info and a chance to purchase their new album.

The Saboteurs YouTube channel – just click on the picture to go straight there. It’s as easy as that and if you like good Indie music I think you’ll like this too

See You Soon…

I hope you like my brief blog about using social media for selling and finding new customers.  Please feel free to leave a comment below and share the post with your friends and contacts.  Hopefully I’ll see you when I search the #LincsConnect hashtag again soon.

Stay Safe 

Sponsored by:

Bespoke Complementary Therapies from the comfort of your own home

 

After The Coronavirus… What’ve We Got To Look forward To? Part 4

After The Coronavirus… What’ve We Got To Look forward To? Part 4

To order your massage vouchers email massage@mandarinleisure.com or call 07966 174878. Click on the picture to go to the Mandarin Therapies website.  Click here to view the video

Stress Buster

After the recent few months of lockdown stress levels certainly reached a peak for many people and for some those stress levels are still very current.  Many of us have been confined to our home while others have been working at heightened levels of pressure, stress and anxiety.  We are looking forward now to the end to the lockdown and the stress levels experienced by our emergency services and key workers may well be levelling off.  However, where some stress levels are lowering, others may be finding that their stresses are really only just beginning.  The latter is a reference to the teachers and shop owners who have had to make big changes to the way they work in order to keep themselves safe as well as the pupils, staff and customers around them.

Massage For Stress

It’s well documented that massage helps to reduce stress and anxiety levels.  The physical touch and deep relaxation experienced during a massage can last for hours, days or even weeks afterwards.  If you’re familiar with research methods you’ll understand that researching this subject will be difficult, if not impossible!  However, you might like to take a look at this post by Prof James Lake Massage Therapy for Anxiety and Stress

Emotional Benefits

Touch can certainly help to improve your emotional state but unfortunately during the recent lockdown human contact and touch has been severely restricted.  Humans are naturally ‘social’ so these restrictions are bound to have had a detrimental affect on our wellbeing.  However, the good news is that regular massage sessions can help to reverse that problem. The massage effect can certainly be enhanced with the use of essential oils too.  They have been used with massage for thousands of years and the benefits can be quite extraordinary. Each essential oil has its own unique properties but you can be forgiven if you thought they are ‘just’ about the smell. Over the years I’ve witnessed some remarkable outcomes with my Aromatherapy massages.  I’ve used them to treat headaches, insomnia, PMS, fluid retention, back pain, anxiety, stress, depression, and many other problems including pre & post cosmetic surgery treatments

Home Treatments

Treatments range from 1 to 2 hours and are all conducted from the comfort of your own home.  Relaxing? Oh yes! I have clients who leave the massage treatment and go straight to bed leaving me to pack up, put the cat out and lock up!  The last treatment of the day is around 9.00pm so a 2 hours massage will be finishing at 11.00pm.  That’s the perfect time for those who, for whatever reason, have problems sleeping at night.  The salon experience really does come to your home – a professional couch, towels, pillows, oils, relaxing music and over 27 years of experience.  What more could you ask for?

A Mobile Salon could be on its way to you. Call 07966 174878 to book your appointment

Advance Bookings

Although the treatments are all on hold until the official government restrictions are lifted it is still possible to purchase your treat now to enjoy later.  Personalised gift vouchers are available for 1, 1 1/2 or 2 hour treatments from £50.00.  There will be a price rise in August but buying your voucher now will secure the price as the voucher will be valid for 12 months.  Perhaps now, as we can see the end of the Covid-19 restrictions in sight, is the time to purchase your vouchers for a treat for yourself or as a gift for someone special in your life.  It really is the ideal gift.

Gift Vouchers can be personalised with your own message or you can order a eVoucher to be delivered straight to your inbox

Truly Inclusive

The Mandarin Therapies/Mandarin Mothers treatments really are truly inclusive.  Nursing and care home visits are included as well as end of life care.  Everyone deserves the gift of touch and the luxury of a bespoke massage.

Home visits, Care Home visits, Nursing Home visits…. Everyone deserves a massage

Book Now…

If you would like to book your massage or order your vouchers please feel free to email massage@mandarinlsiesure.com

Charity Events

Mandarin Therapies is always happy to support local charities wherever possible especially at this difficult time where many charities have been hit quite hard with reduced income.  With that in mind, Mandarin Therapies will donate 20% (split evenly) of the price of the massage to YMCA Lincoln and #teamleonie  Please quote this blog when ordering your treatment to ensure the donation goes to the right place.  Don’t forget that a discount of 20% is also available for our emergency services and serving military members.  This offer has been available for 27 years and has no end date.

Click on the Discount link below to see more:

Discount

Luxury Is A Mandarin Therapies Massage

Book yours today by email massage@mandarinleisure.com

For Everyone

Over the years I’ve been lucky enough to meet some genuinely nice people who have kept a special place in my heart.  I used to visit one dear lady who, following a car accident where someone drove into the back of her vehicle, suffered with fluid retention her legs. I visited her twice weekly to perform Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) massages.  We had a routine where I would leave to wash my hands while she got undressed and climbed onto the couch.  The routine worked well until one day when I came back into the room I sensed something wasn’t right.  Hazel was on the couch as normal but her arms were by her sides instead of on the cradle. During the 30 seconds conversation that took place about her arm placement I realised that something was seriously wrong!  Hazel had suffered a stroke.  I immediately dialled 999 and the paramedics and ambulance arrived within minutes.  Being with her at that moment, having the immediate attention that she needed and the follow up care that was provided by the Stroke Unit at Lincoln County Hospital made all the difference.  Hazel made a full recovery and was soon back home doing her daily The Times crossword.  Her brain was as sharp as ever and her mobility was no worse than it was before she suffered the stroke.  There is no doubt in my mind that my quick phone call and the rapid response by the emergency services saved Hazel from suffering irreversible damage. Hazel died of old age at 92.  I still miss you hazel X

Stroke 

“Still Here, Still Safe, Still Open”click on the picture to wee the Lincolnshire Stroke Unit video 

F, A, S, T.

  1. Face (first check for facial weakness. The face may have drooped on one side.  The person may not be able to smile.  Mouth or eye may have drooped)
  2. Arms (check for arm weakness.  The person may not be able to lift both arms)
  3. Speech (check for impaired or garbled speech)
  4. Time (dial 999)

Stay Safe

Food Glorious Food…

Food Glorious Food…

15 Years And Going Strong

There have been some lovely stories emerging about the organisations that have sprung up recently who’re providing food for those in need during the Covid-19 pandemic but we mustn’t forget the organisations that have been providing food and support for the homeless and vulnerable all year round.  I can think of several and during this lockdown period I have had time to contemplate and decide what I value and what I am truly grateful for.  As I look around and see more and more people doing wonderful things for the community I realise that I could and should (and will) be doing more.

I find a lot of my contacts through Twitter and several people really stand out for their kindness, selflessness and community spirit.  Some of the things they do without the need for praise or recognition is truly humbling and it’s worth remembering that they don’t have to do what they do.  They could have an easy life and leave the volunteering to someone else.  That said, if all the volunteers stopped what they were doing to leave the help for others to do, nothing would get done and the country would really be in dire straights!  Society owes the volunteers a great debt and with that in mind, I hope to write about some or all of them in my blogs to let their stories be known.

One such group is the Grimsby Food Kitchen which is run Cath and Ken with help from some of their lovely volunteers.  In normal circumstances (outside of the Covid-19 restrictions) Cath and Ken provide emotional support to the homeless and vulnerable people in the area with hugs and smiles flowing freely.  I can’t imagine what it must be like to be homeless and without human contact but I can imagine that the Grimsby Food Kitchen is much more than just a place to visit for Sunday lunch.

Grimsby Food Kitchen – The GFK provide so much more than just Sunday lunch. The smiles and kind eyes say so much more… Click on the picture for a link to the Facebook page

Sometimes, when you’re faced with the worry of having to move premises the answer is right on your doorstep.  A very generous donation by Pete and Tricia saw the GFK move into new premises rent free for as long as they need it.  Along with a donation of £4000 from the Lincolnshire Community Foundation @LincolnshireCF as well as generous donations from the Rotary International, Humberston Lions and many others including the general public of course plus outstanding support from the local press who regularly contribute on their twitter feed @GrimsbyLive and through their website GrimsbyTelegraph.co.uk  Cath and Ken are able to make bulk food purchases from the cash and carry in order to cook the Sunday lunches and Wednesday hot dogs.  Support is always helpful of course but when you’re volunteers providing a no cost service I’m sure you’ll agree that the support is pretty vital.

 

5.00am Start

GFK Ready for service on Sunday and Wednesday lunch times

Alas, it’s not just a case of ‘turn up for work, cook, serve and leave’!  There isn’t a kitchen in the centre so Cath cooks everything at home then transports it to 18 Clethorpes Road, Grimsby where she, Ken and their volunteers prepare for service from 11.30am through until around 1.30pm.  The additional voluntary help is essential if everything is to run smoothly.  Cath and Ken are always on hand to ‘dish out’ the smiles, hugs and support to those who need it and guide people to other agencies for additional support when required.  I can imagine that the room is normally full of chatter and laughter but, with the Covid-19 outbreak they have had to adapt to a take-away service and social distancing.  That must be difficult on many levels I’m sure.

I had a lovely chat with Cath yesterday and she explained how everything works.  Although it’s very generous of people to turn up with a food parcel you can imagine the storage needed for small items of perishable foods – it just isn’t practical.  The new Wednesday Hot Dog lunch sessions alone will need around 150 sausages each week so bulk buying is really the only practical way forward for this project.

Having chatted with Cath I can tell you now that she just isn’t the sort of person who will ask for glory, praise, recognition…… or cash!  So, on her behalf, I’ll ask for her.  If you can spare ‘any’ cash please get in touch via Facebook Grimsby Food Kitchen or Twitter @CathHomewood to make your own arrangements.  Let’s also keep in mind that the GFK isn’t the only charity in the County that needs your financial help so if you would like to make a donation to a charity in your local area perhaps this short blog will have helped to jog your memory.

I would also like to say a special thanks to @GrimsbyLive for the use of their pictures for this blog.

 

“Never Betray Anyone’s Trust”

When dealing with people it’s important to be approachable and trustworthy.  That applies every day of course but when you’re talking to vulnerable people it’s important that they are able to trust you.  Cath told me that she won’t tolerate ‘he said, she said’ conversations where people are talking about others.  It’s probably fair to say that the people who are turning up for food are like an extended family so when they need help or advice they need to know that the person they are talking to will be there for them.  In Caths’ own words “never betray anyone’s trust” seems doubly important.

Bless you Cath and Ken, you’re doing a fantastic job.  Keep smiling and keep cooking.

 

Did Someone Say Food?

This year the Louth Pie Day (#LouthPieDay) had a bit of a setback.  Just about to celebrate it’s second year….. and then we had the lockdown for Covid-19.  Not to be disheartened Justine and Kiat made a subtle change to the hashtag and called it #VirtualLouthPieDay.  What a brilliant idea!  The idea of Louth Pie Day is to encourage visitors to visit the various shops in Louth to sample and buy a variety of pies and if there is any competition going on I certainly wouldn’t like to have to select an overall winner from the many entries.  What’s your idea of a pie?  Is it a pork pie?  What about a steak and ale pie?  Vegetarian pie or vegan pie?  Oh yes, and then there’s the fruit pie of course…

Click on this picture to go straight to the Facebook page

Unfortunately the shops were closed for customers this year so there were no pies to be bought.  However, the #VirtualLouthPieDay was conceived and facebook and twitter followers were invited to make their own pies and share pictures of their creations on the Facebook and Twitter @LouthPieDay pages.  If you would like to see what happened just type in #VirtualLouthPieDay to your search bar on twitter or Facebook to see all the pictures and comments.  You might also like to follow the pages to make sure you don’t forget to enjoy the fun next year.

#LincsConnectJobs

The #LincsConnectJobs hashtag is still live so if you have any jobs to advertise Just add in the hashtag to your advert and tweet it or post it on Facebook.

To follow @LtsaSCITT on twitter just click on this picture to go straight to their profile, click the follow button and search their tweets for more information.

If you’re considering a carer in teaching, recruitment is still going ahead for 2020 via Zoom.  If you are interested email pslack@lincstsa.co.uk today for a Zoom link and an appointment.  Don’t let Covid-19 deter you.  Where there’s a will, there’s a way!

 

Are You A Reader?

Author Lynette Creswell from Immingham

Author Lynette Creswell has several books to her name already and has now produced a book of short stories which is due to be released very soon.  Being dyslexic I much prefer to read short stories so this book will be perfect for me.  Do you have a preferred genre or do you just pick up a book that takes your fancy at the time?  I know some people can read a whole book in a weekend (or even faster) but I’m afraid a ‘normal’ sized paperback can take me up to a year to read.  It’s odd that I can enjoy writing so much and can plan a blog like this one in my head in seconds and take around half a day to research it, put it together and post it but when it comes to reading….. Well, a year to read a paperback kind of tells you what I’m like at reading!

There’s an empty space where a book should be!

I’ve been invite to the ‘Cover Reveal’ for the new book of short stories titled ‘Cat Thief’ and I’m pleased to be able to extent that invitation to you too.  Don’t worry, it’s all online so we’ll all be safe and secure;  Hopefully I’ll see you (virtually) there on Saturday 2 May from 11.00am to 12.30pm

Click on the picture to book your virtual place….

 

Looking Forward…

I’m certainly looking forward to getting back to some sort of normality and I’m sure everyone else is too.  With that in mind, I’ll leave you with a gift voucher idea that’ll give you something to look forward to.  You can buy your voucher now and look forward to enjoying a bespoke massage from the comfort of your own home later in the year.  What’s not to like?  If you would like to order your e-voucher just email massage@mandarinleisure.com

Click on the picture to go to the Mandarin Therapies website

 

Stay Safe everyone

Home Is Where The Heart Is

Home Is Where The Heart Is

It’s Not Just Lincolnshire…

Just putting the record straight to prevent any ambiguity; There are a whole army of extra volunteers across the country who have stepped up to lend their help during this Covid-19 pandemic.  They are working in the community and from home and I’m sure the whole nation supports their selfless actions and deeds.  I salute you for your kindness.

Whether you use social media or not you must surely be aware by now that there are some fantastic initiatives across the County of Lincolnshire so by touching on just a few here I hope it highlights the hard work that everyone is putting in.  Writing about this single initiative will hopefully help to highlight the many, many other selfless acts of kindness (too numerous to mention) that are happening here daily.

When Charity Really Does Start At Home

Nerves of steel – I wonder how many onions Barry has had to chop in his kitchen?

When the staff of the NHS, police, fire, first responders and many others were asked to step up to the mark and the lockdown was announced a whole army of volunteers sprang into action to lend a hand.  Barry is the head chef at The Pyewipe Inn Lincoln but with the lockdown he had no customers and nothing to cook. That is of course until he teamed up with his neighbour Laurance in Bardney to start cooking from home for the frontline services!  Apparently you don’t need a kitchen the size of a small village hall to cook a thousand meals as these two have proven.  Cooking from home in a domestic kitchen while spending no money and having no ingredients is a pretty tall order.  However, the generosity of local businesses and the public knows no bounds.  In fact, people have been so generous that Barry and Laurance have managed to prepare and cook over a thousand meals for delivery to the staff at Lincoln County Hospital, Grantham Hospital, Sleaford Fire and police crews, Nettleham police HQ, Metheringham Fire station, ambulance crews….. With over a thousand meals produced there will be far too many to mention here!

The men behind the meals… You can find them on Twitter @BarryLaurance or click on this picture to find them on Facebook

Personally I think I might have caved in after chopping my way through my second or third batch of onions so hats off to these guys.  They could see the queues at the local supermarkets and experienced the empty shelves so decided to put their skills to good use to make sure that our frontline services were fed.  Having food and ingrediants delivered from The Pyewipe Inn, (Lincoln), The Old Angel Inn (Bardney), Jordans/Ryvita (Bardney) and Moy Park (Sleaford) to name just a few the meals are produced at home then locals collect and deliver the finished products to the front line workers.

Cooked and portioned. 

Lids and labels.

Baked with love

Appreciated by all

It’s Not Just About Feeding The Frontline

Taking meals to the workers isn’t just about making sure they are fed and able to do their job.  I think it’s much more than that; many of us have struggled to get the ingredients we need for our meals (thankfully that has eased considerably lately) but we have managed to get something.  Perhaps putting the situation into perspective and showing a greater understanding and appreciation for the jobs and risks of our key workers is paramount.  We all know what a fantastic job all the NHS staff, police, fire crews and paramedics are doing at this difficult time but the key worker list is much bigger than that.   I think the farmers in the picture would have been surprised to receive their free lunch but without them we won’t be getting fed in the future.  #StayHomeSaveLives is still a very important message for most of us but perhaps we tend to forget just how many key workers there are who still have to go to work to make sure we can be safe at home and have a future to look forward to.  It’s not just about the food then, perhaps it’s also about the recognition and gratitude.  Being on the receiving end of a gift is always nice but perhaps in these difficult times it means so much more.

Delivering 250 Meals Each Week

You don’t need to be too much of a mathematician to work out that delivering 250 meals a week will soon lead to 1000 delivered.  In fact, the 1000 milestone was reached last Monday so it won’t be long before we are looking at 1500.  The whole system relies on people delivering the raw ingredients and then others collecting the cooked meals for distribution.  Logistically it must’ve been a bit of a headache and I’m sure the pressure has been pretty high since day one.  The project would never have taken off without the enthusiasm of Barry and Laurance, the support and more than generous food donations from Sarah Pickles (The owner of The Pyewipe Inn) and help in the kitchen by Julie Ann Clark who also helped to provide some of the fresh veg.  You can visit Julies charity shop in Horncastle and visit her on Facebook too Thrifty’s Community Charity Shop.  Huge respect to everyone involved but especially to Barry and Laurance who had the vision, skill and foresight to make it all happen.

 

#LincsConnect Music

The Tin Pigeons are a duo from Rutland…

Being a music lover I follow quite a few local bands, orchestras and choirs so I thought you might like to hear what I’ve found.  I follow @TheTinPigeons on twitter and this one is from their back catalogue (click on the picture above to hear their song ‘Steel’). If you like what you hear why not nip across to their YouTube channel, give them a follow on twitter or Facebook 

Revivalry – A young band from Cleethorpes

Revivalry are a young up and coming band from Cleethorpes who I’ve also been following on Twitter @RevivalryBand and I’m really pleased to be able to post their first studio recording ‘Run’ here today.  If you click on the picture above you can have a listen through YouTube. I get the feeling this won’t be their last studio recording and it may well be the beginning of something rather big.  You can follow them on Twitter, Facebook or on their YouTube channel.  Enjoy

If you would like to hear more Indie bands you could give Dave a follow on Twitter @Laamb4 or better still give his website a visit https://www.laamb.co.uk where you’ll find an update for lots of local music and arts plus regular charts and much more:

“This site is dedicated to promoting Artists and Musicians in Lincolnshire. We aim to combine the marketing of local art and music, with features and sales of material produced within Lincolnshire.”

Click on the picture to go straight to LAAMB

 

That’s just about it for this edition but let me leave you with one more note.  Please keep it in mind and pass it on whenever you feel it’ll be appropriate:

If you know someone who may be affected call 0808 801 0327

Stay Safe