Saving The Planet – Online

Saving The Planet – Online

On The Plus Side…

Covid-19 has wreaked devastation across the world with many lives lost while others have become (and remain) seriously ill as a result of this deadly virus.  ‘Normal’ has changed over the last few months with travel, work and personal restrictions causing much disruption and heartache.  Finances have been seriously challenged for all of us be that directly or indirectly but we have also shown remarkable resilience and a desire to keep going.  Some industries have carried on as normal while others have had to significantly increase working practices to cope with demand.  Others, on the other hand, have suffered greatly with many paying the ultimate price of permanent closure.

On a positive note though, many of us have adapted our working practices to keep going which has in turn resulted in a significant reduction in pollution, fossil fuel emissions and litter.  On a personal note I have significantly reduced my vehicle use by taking my work online.  The knock on effect of that has been that my clients have been able to manage injuries, carry on with their rehabilitation programme under personal instruction, maintain their strength and monitor fitness levels as my training programmes have been adapted for home exercise.  Those training at home have also had reduced car usage of course so the reduction in the burning of fossil fuels has been reduced even further.

While I’m used to visiting clients in their home, the lockdown has made me re-evaluate my working practices.  The home exercise sessions really do seem to be the way forward and I will definitely keep them going.  I had been looking for ways to become more environmentally friendly with my working practices so this is definitely a step in the right direction.

I’m Not Alone

Since many people have turned to working online through Zoom, WhatsApp Messenger or FaceTime video sessions my thoughts have turned to those who have been doing it for some time.  I do wonder why it’s taken me so long to catch up of course but having been forced into a new practice I wonder how many others will continue with the online working practice too.  It’s not until I start to apply the ‘grey matter’ that I realise how many businesses have already been working successfully online.  How many can you think of?  I’m aware that authors have been selling online for some time as we have become accustomed to buying books for our e-readers.  Many courses and tutorials have been firmly embedded into the online platforms too while shopping online has become the norm.

Libraries

Lincolnshire Libraries (@lincslibraries on twitter and Lincolnshire Libraries on Facebook) are set to reopen on 13 July with a phased reopening of their larger premises first and hubs/mobile libraries opening later in the season.  However, although there is a real joy (well, there is for me anyway)! to be had when browsing through the physical books on the shelves it has to be said that our libraries have really stepped up their online services to keep us all happy.  Perhaps you’ve been enjoying some of their audio books, e-books or music from their ‘Freegal Music’ selection?  It’s all online and free with your Library card so if you haven’t already experienced it perhaps now is the time.  Not only will you be accessing the library from your home or mobile device but you’ll be helping to save the planet too by reducing your travel requirements.

If it’s a good read that you’re looking for and are a regular browser of the amazon or Apple libraries youo may have a favourite local author who has been keeping your reading habits and imagination alive.  Some of them have been mentioned in previous blogs of course from the very imaginative books by local Grimsby author Lynette Creswell who sells her books on Amazon (find her on Facebook ‘Lynette Creswell Author’ or via her website www.lynettecreswell.wordpress.com ) and has a new book of short stories ‘The Cat Thief’

Lynette Creswell – A local author based in Grimsby with quite a collection of published books now has a new book ‘The Cat Thief’ – click on the picture for more information.

to factual eBooks about growing vegetables in straw bales.  Simon Gibbins has produced both an e-Book and a DVD which can both be purchased through his website www.strawbaleveg.co.uk

Simon Gibbins is based in Waddington, Lincoln but his e-Book and DVD are both available from his website. Click on the picture for more information

Home fruit and vegetable growing has certainly seen an upsurge during the lockdown so with fresh food readily available in our own garden perhaps shopping habits are set to change again as even more people discover the joy and convenience of home grown produce.  If you fancy giving it a go you can contact Simon through his website or on twitter @strawbaleukman where he also has information about his seed sales as @SeedsSimon

Lockdown Hobbies

While many of us have utilised the lockdown to learn new skills (it’s been blogging for me) it’s worth remembering that many local businesses have been providing their services online for quite some time before the virus hit us.  Rosemary from Inavanti Learning has been providing language courses on an individual basis with online learning to compliment her sessions but during the lockdown she has moved exclusively to online sessions.  It can’t have escaped your notice that Lincolnshire is a large County so for a business based in Grantham it’s important to be able to reach customers both near and far.  ‘Online’ is most definitely the way forward, not just for reach and accessibility but for reducing traffic and helping to look after our planet.  Schools have had to embrace the technology to keep in touch with students but as the schools gradually return to building based lessons it’s important to know that personalised online learning is very much available for you.  ‘Thank you’ to the dedication and hard work of private tutors like Rosemary.

Inavanti Learning – click on the picture to go straight to the website. This could be the start of your next journey…

 

Inavanti Learning – Click on the picture to watch the Inavanti video and get a feel for your next learning experience.      

 

Download It…

Music is part of the online and download revolution with lots of platforms available to artists of any genre. I often search YouTube to listen to local artists so, as I’m writing about ‘online’ I thought it would be a good time to share some local bands here:

Trak3 Official is a Grimsby based band singing rap. I’ve chosen ‘Caught Up’ as a featured track here but please keep in mind that other tracks of theirs do contain swearing. Click on the picture to hear the YouTube track and don’t forget to give them a follow on Twitter @TRAK3_Official 

If you fancy something different this very young band from Cleethorpes definitely deserves a listen.  This group of youngsters really have been doing some good things and have been getting their name around the music scene quite successfully too.  Have a listen to ‘Bullet’ and don’t forget to see what else they have on their Youtube channel:

Revivalry – A band of youngsters from Cleethorpes doing some great things. Click on this picture to hear the track and don’t forget to give them a follow on Twitter too @revivalryband 

Another great Lincolnshire band destined for great things is Shout Inferno.  They’ve appeared on my tweets and blogs before as one of my featured local bands of the week so it’s no surprise to see them here again:

Shout Inferno – Live at The Sweet Factory. Click on the picture to go to their youTube channel and hear another great song from their library. You can also follow them on Twitter @ShoutInferno 

The Saboteurs have also featured as one of my ‘Local Bands of the week’ and I’m sure you won’t mind if I feature them here too:

SaboteursClick the picture to hear ‘Coraline’ – it’s the latest single from the band and it really is a good one. @sabsbanduk were also a recent addition to my local band of the week feature on twitter and when you hear this track you’ll understand why. I think this band from Sleaford are destined for big things.

Follow The Leader

If you like local music you need to follow Dave @laamb4 on twitter or visit the website for lots more music and arts information.  As usual, you can click on the picture to go straight to the website:

LaambClick on the picture to go to the website. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

A Word From The Sponsor

If you would like to sponsor the next blog please do get in touch.  I hope you like what you see and can see the value in it for local businesses, charities and organisations.  Until next time though, I’ll leave you with a short video by @MandarinMothers who provide bespoke complementary therapies from the comfort of your own home:

Mandarin Therapies and Mandarin Mothers provide bespoke complementary therapies from the comfort of your own home. Why not surprise someone special with a gift voucher today? Visit www.mandatintherapies.co.uk for more info.  Click on the picture to view the video

Back Soon

If you have any suggestions for future blogs please do let me know.

Stay Safe

    Sponsored by Mandarin Therapies. Bespoke complementary therapies from the comfort of your own home.

Food And Drink – Collect And Deliver In Lincolnshire

Food And Drink – Collect And Deliver In Lincolnshire

When The Sun Goes Down…

Are you a lunchtime or evening meal sort of person?  Whether you prefer to call it dinner or tea it makes no difference but I’m guessing the majority of people reading this will have their main meal in the evening.  Perhaps the ‘lockdown’ has helped to change your eating habits?  I do know that initially (way back in March) we were all suddenly thinking about food and toilet rolls.  However, the initial rush and panic seems to be over now and our shopping habits are starting to return to something close to normal.  Have you been missing your normal foods though?  Many of them have been in short supply and we have been discouraged from nipping out to our favourite restaurants to eat with friends.  However, some Lincolnshire companies have come up with some ingenious ways of surviving the lockdown so I thought I would share with you some of the establishments that I know of who are still trading and supplying take-away food and drink for us all to enjoy.

We don’t have to wait for the sun to go down to enjoy our dinner (or is it tea)? but it does pay to plan ahead.  If you’re looking for something for lunch, dinner or an evening feast let’s see if we can share some ideas.  I’ll list some of the Lincolnshire establishments that I know of but it certainly won’t be exhaustive so if you know someone that I’ve missed out please let me know in the comments below:

Alford 

Caythorpe Water Mill are providing takeaway pizzas and burgers so if you’re in the area why not pre-book yours today? Just click on the picture to place your order or telephone 01507 451366   

Lincolnshire Poacher Cheese provide delivery throughout the UK as well as pre-arranged sales direct from the farm. Click on the logo to go straight to their website www.lincolnshirepoachercheese.com or follow them on twitter @Poachercheese

Mail order Poacher Cheese delivered straight to your door. Click on the picture to go to the Lincolnshire Poacher Cheese Twitter page

 

Apley

Apley Lamb (Near Wragby) offers a free local delivery of freshly boxed lamb cut to order. Click on the logo to go straight to their facebook page or follow on Twitter @ApleyLamb

 

Post Covid-19 – Are We Ready?

Without doubt things have changed.  The way we have lived our lives, the way we have thought, the way we have communicated, the way we have shopped….. A huge proportion of what we’ve done over the last few months has changed compared to what we were doing in February.  I never would have thought that I would have managed without my car but since the Covid-19 outbreak my car has been on the drive and hasn’t moved other than to roll it forwards or backwards a few inches to prevent flat spots on the tyres.  There will be a time in the not too distant future when I’ll be using it again of course.  Being a mobile masseur and Personal Trainer I’ll need to be thinking of ways to see my clients again while keeping them (and myself) safe.  We do of course, have the threat of re-infection looming over us so now is the time to make adjustments to help prevent that from happening.

Social media has been a lifeline for many of us as it’s allowed us to maintain contact with friends and followers throughout the lockdown.  I’ve used it to collate lots of information and keep in touch with all sorts of people.  It’s reminded me just how resilient we are and how well we can adapt.  However, we are entering a new era at the moment where some of our old rules and precautions need to be revised.  Shops are starting to open again which really is positive news but I wonder how many shop owners and local businesses have really thought through the precautions required for safely re-opening or increasing the staff levels in the immediate aftermath of Covid-19?  Social (or should that be ‘physical’) distancing is at the top of our agenda at the moment of course.  Those of us who have used the supermarkets recently have become used to it very quickly and the small businesses (butchers, bakers, local food stores) have become adept at restricting the numbers of people allowed in the shop at once.

Recent conversations on social media with Alex of The Specialist Safety Group have made me realise that many of us may not be as ready as we thought we were for the ‘grand re-opening’ of our businesses.  Yes, we all know about distancing and restricted entry to our businesses but have we considered other Health & Safety at Work issues too?  We don’t want, or anticipate having a fire at work but we have to plan for it.  How would fire evacuation change with the new distancing precautions?  Perhaps we have a dedicated first responder at work should someone be taken ill.  Have rules change with the distancing precautions?  Perhaps insurance companies may require us to have new documentation/risk assessments post lockdown?  What about cleaning?  Will our ‘normal’ cleaning practices need to change?  I know my cleaning practices will have to change.  My massage couch and exercise equipment will need to be cleaned with different solutions from now on.

If you have any concerns about starting up again and returning to ‘business as normal’ you might like to chat to Alex at the Specialist Safety Group Ltd.  He has a dedicated ‘Return To Work Safely’ package that normally costs around £339.00 but by quoting this LincsConnect blog you’ll be able to receive a 10% discount.  I’m sure this offer won’t last forever though so contact Alex on 07870 760 145 to confirm your discount.  You can also email him at specialistsafetyoffice@gmail.com or click on the logo above to go straight to the website

 

Baumber

Stourton Estates is delivering Venison around the County and orders over £25.00 can enjoy FREE delivery within 20 miles of LN9 5PB

 

Boston

Mountain Abbey Parks Farm Shop selling fresh and cooked meats, chutneys, plumb bread….. You’ll need to click on the picture to follow the link to their Facebook page for a full list!

Follow @MountainsFarm1 on twitter for more info

 

Brigg

Fully online and sold locally around the County you can easily get your hands on some of these award winning botanical chocolates. simply click on the logo to go straight to Fionas’ website to learn more or click this link Sciolti Chocks to follow on Facebook

 

Caistor

Sandhams Wine Merchant in Caistor offer both in store (social distance rules apply) and mail order options with a huge range of wines and easy to navigate price list. Click on this link to go to their Facebook page or click on their logo to go straight to the website

 

Cleethorpes/Grimsby

 

Docks Beers is more than just ‘beer’ but you’ll need to visit their shop to discover their full range – and it’s all delivered too! If you fancy a gin, they’ve got that covered too. click on the logo to go straight to their website/shop.

For more information about Docks Beers click on the photo to go to their facebook page or follow them on twitter @DocksBeers

 

Message In A Bottle deliver a huge range of drinks across Cleethorpes & Grimsby. From local to international beers, gins, rums…. You need to check their website for a full list. You can find them on Facebook by clicking on their logo or or on Twitter @miabcleethorpes

This picture says it all so just click on it to go straight to the order page. Enjoy

 

Let’s Get Back to Doing What We Do Best

I don’t know about you but I’m really ‘chomping at the bit’ to get cracking again.  I love helping people and making them feel better whether that’s through exercise, massage, injury rehabilitation or injury prevention.  Many people will have been suffering with stress related problems since the lockdown and my diary is already starting to fill with new clients who are suffering with neck, shoulder, back and sleep issues as a result of the lockdown.  If you are in need of help please feel free to contact me at martin@mandarinleisure.com or pay a visit to my website www.mandarintherapies.com or www.mandarinfitness.com where you’ll get a better idea of what I have to offer.  I’m also on facebook of course Mandarin Therapies & Mandarin Fitness so feel free to follow me there too.

CLICK ON THE PICTURE TO PLAY THE FULL VIDEO

When I say I have a website; if you visit it you’ll quickly notice that it’s a very old site.  I do have a new one but I would much rather be doing my fitness and therapies than ‘wasting time’ on the website stuff!  Am I alone?  Does anyone else put off doing admin ‘stuff’ in favour of getting on with the real work?

As a sole trader I really value my time with clients and would much rather be doing what I do best than shuffling paper and files!  Needless to say, much of my admin work gets put off to the last minute before getting actioned.  I know I shouldn’t but…!

Perhaps I should consider the services of a Virtual Assistant (VA)?  I’ve been chatting to Nikki from www.Time4U-VA.co.uk who certainly seems to have the admin sorted!  My muddled, dyslexic brain is reflected on my muddled and (seemingly) disorganised desk.  Unlike Nikki who is adept at multi tasking with a clear desk.  Is there such a thing as desk envy?

Perhaps it’s time to re-think my working practices?  I know that I’m going to have to work very long hours (and probably 7 days a week) to catch up with the backlog of work over the months between now and Christmas.  I’m guessing that my experience will be mirrored across many industries and not least by the food & drink industries.  Let’s face it, Lincolnshire has some fine artisan food and drink producers as well as some fantastic restaurants and bars.  Preparing and serving or delivering these fantastic products is a passion for most but I wonder how many really have the time for updating menus and completing the admin?  Don’t get me started on book keeping! Thankfully I don’t have payroll issues being a sole trader but I can imagine they will be a necessary evil for many businesses. Perhaps ‘now’ is the time to consider how we are going to tackle the admin while staying on top of our game with our work.  Perhaps Nikki can help you?

Click on the logo to go straight to the website

 

Gainsborough

Fully Online – You can order your No 12 Chocolatier handmade chocolates online now and receive them in the post. That’s an offer you can hardly refuse! Follow @No12Chocolatier on Twitter and just click on the picture to go straight to the online shop.

 

Uncle Henrys Farm Shop is providing a home delivery service within a range of 10 miles but don’t let the Gainsborough address fool you as it’s situated on the A15 and the delivery range is quite extensive. Click on the picture to follow them on Facebook or follow them on twitter from here: @unclehenryslinc

 

Grantham

Brakes Food Hub in Grantham provides the full call & collection service for all of your food shopping from fresh to frozen to cake to…. you’ll need to click on the picture to go to their website to see more. Offering a call and collect service 7 days a week. Tel 0344 800 4900 (option 4) place your order. Follow @John_Nicky on twitter too for more updates.

 

Gelston Lamb deliver in the Grantham/Sleaford areas. Click on the picture to go to their Facebook page or follow them on Twitter for more updates @GelstonLamb

 

Teaspoon Tea Company have a free local delivery service and a full mail order selection including tea, coffee, gift packs, gift vouchers, birthday cards, chocolate by @No12Chocolatier honey by @ArtisanHoneyCo and quite a bit more. Click on the picture to go to their website. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised

 

Heighington

Anderson’s Family Butchers are providing a ‘text and collect’ system in Heighington. Simply text our order then collect when it’s ready. 07983003435 or 07880745083 – click on the picture to follow on Facebook

 

Ingham

The Inn On The Green, Ingham (on the outskirts of Lincoln) are providing a local takeaway service of food and drinks. Click on the photo to go straight to the order form and you can follow them on Facebook The Inn On The Green Ingham  

 

Lincoln

The Bowl Full Tapas restaurant will be providing pre-paid take away meals from 15 May. Click on the picture to go to their Facebook page or follow them on twitter @BowlFullTapas

 

Browns Pie Shop – Orders are cooked and delivered cold for re-heating at home. Orders can be delivered or collected. Click on this picture for more info or call 07809 477126 to pace an order

 

Cafe Portico are now providing take away pizza for your delight. Orders taken from your car (or on foot if you’re walking there), cooked to order and delivered fresh to you when it’s ready. All made possible with mobile contactless payments. Click on the logo to visit their Facebook page or go to their website for the latest menu www.cafeportico.co.uk You can also follow them on twitter @CaffePortico

 

Grow Your Own

Isn’t it fantastic that we have all of these lovely local Lincolnshire restaurants, cafes and takeaways who’re working hard to serve us during the lockdown and beyond.  They really have been up against it and are a testament to the resilience that has been so evident during the lockdown.  Being in Lincolnshire we’re lucky to have such wide open spaces with lots of farmers producing some superb crops for us and for the local restaurants.  Wouldn’t it be nice though if we could produce some of the fruit and vegetables for ourselves?  Not all of us are able to enjoy a large garden so perhaps a vegetable patch isn’t a high priority when we need to consider making our space into a multi purpose area for children to play and for us to relax.  However,  having chatted to Simon (you may remember him from previous blogs) I think he’s found the perfect solution.  If you have space for a straw bale in your garden or yard it appears that you have space for a vegetable patch!

Having looked around Simon’s website I’m at a loss as to what to include here.  Not only does he run StrawbaleVeg growing courses from your own home (corporate events too) but he sells own brand seeds at realistic prices.  I was very impressed to learn that while some others had increased prices significantly during the lockdown Simon kept his prices static.  Well done Sir, I’m very impressed.  It’s little things like this that catch my attention and impress me the most. I digress – who would have thought that you could grow your vegetables in a concrete yard or in such a small space?  Obviously Simon did and I think it’s a fantastic idea.  I was going to include pictures of the vegetable seeds that he supplies but there are far to many to list here.  If you click on the picture above you’ll be taken straight to the www.strawbaleveg.co.uk website where you’ll be able to make your won selection and have them delivered.

Click on this picture to purchase The Strawbale Gardeners Handbook Vol 1

Would you believe that Simon has also produced an eBook which can be downloaded by clicking on the picture above ‘and’ a DVD that can be purchased from the website www.strawbaleveg.co.uk – you have been busy Simon!

Curry Jacks provides a mobile service around the Lincoln area on a Pre-Order basis. Take a look at their Facebook page for regular updates by clicking on the logo or follow on Twitter @CurryJackscaf 

 

Damons, Doddington Road, Lincoln will be offering a drive through service from Thursday 21 May 20. Call ahead with your order (01522) 887722 or click on the menu to visit their website

 

Doddington Hall Farm Shop are still open for your shopping but please obey the social distancing rules. Follow them on Twitter @DoddingtonHall or click on the logo to find them on facebook.

 

FAB Craft Beer from Fiskerton are busy delivering boxed beer as well as bottled beers around the Lincoln area so why not click on the picture to follow them on Facebook or perhaps follow them on Twitter too @FABcraftbeer

 

The Garden Tea Room in North Hykeham is providing a Lincoln and surrounding area home delivery service for a modest £2.00 and they also have cakes, cheesecakes and lots more goodies to choose from. Click on this picture to follow them on Facebook and take a look at their menu below:

 

Burton Waters is the home to The Greek House who are now providing takeaway meals. Have a look at their menu and pre-order on 01522 542758. Click on the menu to follow them on Facebook

 

Imperial Teas of Lincoln are providing FREE DELIVERY on their mail order teas and coffees right now. That’s a great offer that can’t last forever so be sure to get your order in quickly. You can follow Imperial Teas Lincoln on facebook or on Twitter @Imperial_Teas Click on the logo to go straight to website to make your order – If you like your coffee strong I can personally recommend the Voodoo Comet.

 

Lincolnshire Brewing Company – delivering a selection of beers to suite every taste or collect directly from Langworth. Click on the picture to find them on facebook or follow them on Twitter @LincsBrewCo

 

MaCH Indian Restaurant (Wragby Road) are now offering a takeaway service. Click on the logo to find them on Facebook or go straight to their website to place your order www.machrestaurant.co.uk

 

Ole Ole Tapas Bar offer a delivery and (social distancing) collection service for their meals. Click on the logo to go to their Facebook page and click on the link here to go straight to their menu/order form www.oleolelincoln.co.uk or call them on  01522 534222

 

Lincoln & Gainsborough – Redhill Farm Shop offer a delivery and contactless collection service with safe in-store shopping too. Click on the picture to go straight to their website or follow them on Twitter @RedhillFarmPork

 

Sammys Chinese takeaway is set to open again on 20 May with social distancing rules in place (of course). Click on the picture to go to the ‘Lincoln food To Go’ Facebook group page. You can find Sammy’s Kitchen at Unit 11 Lambeth House, Woodhall Drive and you can call to make your order on 01522 567333

Cafe Shanti Vegan restaurant are now doing take away hot and frozen food (including breakfasts and curries) so why not order yours today? you can call them on 07735161481 or find them on twitter @Cafe_Shanti and Facebook by clicking on the picture

 

Veg Out Lincoln provides a delivery service in the Lincoln area including a vegan inspired recipe box and plant powered food plan. Gemma will have her new online booking site and new website ready very soon but in the mean time you can contact her through twitter @vegoutincoln or click on the picture for a link to her book

 

Louth

Beaumon’t Deli on Bridge Street in Louth are open to take your orders. You can follow them on Facebook Beaumont’s Deli or call 01507 355927

 

Market Deeping

Takeaway Weekends. Call 01778346952 to order or click on this picture to go to the website

 

 

Market Rasen

Cote Hill Cheese delivers cheese and milk locally. Click on the picture to go to their Facebook page

 

Minting

Minting (near Wragby) Farm Shop has a collection service with your safety in mind. Give them a call today to place your order. Click on the logo to go straight to their website

 

Skegness 

Lymn Bank Farm handmade cheese. FREE delivery on orders over £20.00. You can follow them on Twitter @lymnbankfarm or click on this logo to go straight to their Facebook page

FREE DELIVERY. Go too www.postacheese.com for details and your order form or click on this picture to take you straight there.

 

Sleaford

A Little Luxury Distillery is still taking orders for Gin & Rum which will be delivered direct to your home. Click on the picture to go to the shop or follow on Facebook A Little Luxury and Twitter @ALittleLuxuryLt

 

Spalding

A real pub providing real beer. Buy a bottle and bring it back to get a refill – what an excellent idea. Click on the picture to find them on Facebook for an up-to-date- list of times and ales

 

Spilsby

Takeaway Afternoon Tea from @TheElm_Tree just outside Spilsby. Click on the picture to find them on Facebook and don’t forget, you can buy gift vouchers too!

 

Woodhall Spa

Woodhall Spa Bakery & Delicatessen provides fresh bread, cakes meats and much more. A gem in the Woodhall Spa crown offering Safe Distancing shopping. Click the picture to go to their Facebook page

 

The India Village restaurant and takeaway are providing takeaway meals during the lockdown. If you would like to order your meal click on the logo to go to the website or follow them on Facebook India Village. Alternatively you can give them a call on 01526 354657 or 01526 352223

 

The Tea House In The Woods is providing a range of foods from Afternoon Tea to Roast Meals and they’re all Take Away too with strict social distancing rules. click on the picture to go to their website or give them a ring on 01526 354455. You can also find them on Facebook at Tea House In The Woods

 

All this talk of food has made me quite hungry!  This list is going to be added to but I’m going to get myself something to eat now.  Bon appetite everyone and please don’t forget to let me know if there are any takeaway/safe shopping food outlets that need to be on here as I can add them later.

 

Stay Safe

 

Mandarin Therapies provides a bespoke mobile complementary therapies service from the comfort of your own home. Gift vouchers are available now then book your massage for later in the year. Mandarin Therapies “Feel the difference”

How Secure Is Secure?

How Secure Is Secure?

As A Blogging Novice I Wonder How Secure A Blog Can Be

Having experienced several scares on the internet I wonder how secure a blog, website, smartphone or social media account can actually be.  I’ve been lucky enough to have some fantastic support around me to help and guide but (is this a ‘man’ thing)? I’ve also been determined to do things by myself.  Getting things wrong is part of the learning curve and I can’t blame everything on my dyslexia.  That leaves me with only one conclusion then;  Sometimes I get it wrong!

As usual though there is a ‘however’ to add to that.  Having had a few comments on my last blog my suspicions were raised as I noted the addresses of the emails.  Although it’s nice to think my posts may have reached .de (Germany) and .xyz (who knows where?) I’m not likely to approve those comments without first checking their credibility.  Putting the question out to Twitter I received an interesting tweet from Liam @ZaddleMarketing who advised me not to click on any links or even the email addresses in those suspicious comments.  Confirming my fears that these posts were in fact SPAM but also advising me to look at a good security plugin for my WordPress site.  Liam is a very knowledgeable and trusted member on Twitter and I won’t hesitate to recommend him.  Of course there are lots of good people on social media that you know you can trust so it’s always best to ask the question of your contacts if ever you’re in doubt.

Thank You Kerrin

Thank you Kerrin @Kerrinwilson999 for your hospitality (and the lovely cake of course).  It was really nice to meet you and I’m looking forward to extending the reach of  LincsConnect to include regular posts by you and your team across the whole County.  Thankfully I have already had some security tips from some of your colleagues and that information has proved invaluable.  Hopefully you’ll enjoy my short post here today and will have time to add a comment too.

Getting It Right By Chance

I’ve heard that smart speakers listen in to our conversations and it’s not uncommon for adverts to pop up on our social media platforms directly relating to a conversation at home the previous day.  I know I’ve had issues with my iMac and I’m convinced it had been infected with some sort of malware.  It’s taken a long time to convince the experts that this is the case but after trying to rebuild my computer it has become obvious to them that some sort of infection had occurred. Thankfully it has been stripped back to factory settings now and re-built.  It’s extremely uncommon (I’m led to believe) that an iMac can be infected but if it’s going to happen to anyone, it’ll happen to me!  Technology and I don’t gel all of the time I’m afraid.  However, having feared the worst following a rash of phishing emails (ransom emails sent to my inbox supposedly from my own address) I decided that the only course of action was to contact Lincolnshire Police Cyber Crime Unit who responded very quickly with a visit to my office.  A full inspection of my computer confirmed that the emails were really just phishing emails and should be deleted.  However, the nagging feeling that something wasn’t quite right stayed with me and after several incidents with my computer Apple decided that a full restore and section by section re-build was required.  Needless to say, I’m happy now that my computer and details are safe once again.

What If…?

What if it’s true that the smart devices can leak our information?  A recent BBC Panorama programme about Amazon revealed that they knowingly and openly use our information for marketing and advertising purposes. I don’t think that the machines (or people) are listening to our every conversation but when key words are detected the link is made with you, your device, your email address and your broadband hub.  Recent news reports have also highlighted that smart devices can be hacked and accessed remotely.  The video doorbells, video baby monitors and even smart TVs and smart fridges are all susceptible to the unscrupulous hackers who want our information.  Accessing our personal data can be very upsetting and worrying of course so we need to protect ourselves.

Basic Protection

If we can access any devices from our smartphone it’s a fair bet that the unscrupulous criminals can do the same.  The smart fridge, smart monitor and smart TV come with factory settings and passwords that can be found easily online and it may not be possible to change those settings.  Hacking your fridge isn’t too much of a problem of course.  Let’s face it, what’s the worse case scenario with that?  Perhaps someone could remotely alter the temperature or turn it off?  I’m sure that isn’t going to be at the top of the criminals priority list but accessing your router from your fridge Or your smart TV etc may be more sinister.

Passwords

The obvious and most basic form of self protection is strong passwords of course.  Whenever you get the chance, change the passwords from factory settings to something that you can remember.  Names aren’t usually a good idea for passwords as we would tend to use names of relatives, pets or celebrity/sporting heroes.  All of these names are likely to crop up on your social media pages at some point so can easily be guessed.  Random passwords are by far the best option but it’s important to have different passwords for different logins so that your security is as high as possible.  There are some very clever Apps around that can store your passwords for you but I’m sure you will have your own remembering system that works for you.

Privacy

I’ve had a few scary moments that have made me review my security of course but thankfully, as I don’t trust myself with technology, I don’t keep any client information on computer or electronic device.  The closest I get to storage of any data is the phone numbers on my smartphone.  That’s protected by a security password as well as facial recognition, finger print and VPN (I’ll cover VPN later).  It’s better to be safe than sorry!  Keeping your personal information safe should be a high priority and simple precautions can be all you need.  If you have data stored on you mobile device make sure it’s protected with a security code and backed up regularly.  My devices can be deleted remotely which is a good feature.  If you’re not sure if you can do the same with your own device it’s best to check for peace of mind.  Two factor authentication is handy too – that’s when you get an alert on your chosen device to tell you that someone is accessing your other devices.  My iPhone will prompt me to confirm that I am who I say I am when I log onto my computer and I have to type in a one time only code before the computer will let me in.  It takes seconds and provides an extra level of security.

How Secure?

You’ve changed your passwords from factory settings to secure ones that aren’t easily guessed.  You have a different password for every device so you’re good to go….?  Well, not quite!  Your router may not be secure so if you’re not sure ask your provider to guide you through changing the factory set password.  You’re ‘almost’ there…  You’re now safe in your own home but what happens when you are out and about?  Do you log in to the Cloud or other public WiFi to use your device?  How secure is that system?  The truth is, you have no idea.  Your final piece of security is VPN.  What is VPN?  This is the explanation from Wikipedia: “A virtual private network extends a private network across a public network, and enables users to send and receive data across shared or public networks as if their computing devices were directly connected to the private network.”  You might want to look this one up for yourself.  It is a ‘belt and braces’ approach to security but if you have any private or confidential information on your devices you might want to read a bit more about it.  It is a ‘paid for’ service so you’ll need to be aware of that and you’ll also need to be aware that not all internet routers are capable of installing it. However, once installed on your home router ‘all’ devices using that WiFi connection will be protected under the higher level of security.  I have it installed and the one I chose covers six devices. I have it on my iPhone and iPad so that I know I’m secure whenever I log into a public WiFi system.

It’s Good To Share

All of this information comes from people I have spoken to who have been kind enough to guide me.  I’m not an expert in this field at all but hopefully some of the things I’ve learned along the way and printed here will be useful fo you.  If you have any other tips that may be useful for other users please feel free to add a comment and send a message on twitter or Facebook using the hashtag #LincsConnect

Helping each other is always good of course but if you need any additional help I suggest you contact your Internet Service Provider (ISP), local IT specialist or if you’re worried about cyber security you could contact @lincspolice to ask about their Cyber Security courses.  I have been on one and can highly recommend it.  After all, these are the experts who really want to help you to prevent crime.

 

Back Soon

Thank you all for taking the time to read my ramblings.  I’ll be back soon with more blogs of course but keep watching as they are about to evolve into something quite unique.

Best wishes

#Hashtags – What Do You Need To Know?

#Hashtags – What Do You Need To Know?

Understanding the difference…

While trying to update and secure my website I really do understand how frustrating and confusing this ‘tech stuff’ can be.

On social media (Twitter in particular) the difference between the ‘#’ and the ‘@’ signs are significant but can easily be confused. Let me break it down into very simple terms which I hope you will appreciate:

Think of the hashtag as being a file that everyone can search and view. When you type it, it’ll light up in blue instead of the usual black text. You can use it for your own marketing and advertising by creating your own words that will follow the hashtag sign. Here are a few examples: #LincsConnect #Scunthorpe #Lincolnshire – if you are using this hashtags you are targeting anyone who may be searching for tweets that are pertinent to Scunthorpe and/or Lincolnshire. You are also targeting people who are looking at the hashtag file for #LincsConnect.

Creating a hashtag

You can easily create your own hashtag of course. Simply type in the words after the hashtag sign. Let’s pretend that your company is called ‘Grow it’ and you sell seeds for the garden. You want to create a special offer of £10.00 discount for every £50.00 spend. You could use the hashtag #GrowIt10 and tell everyone to use that hashtag to claim their discount.

Own the hashtag

You’ve created your hashtag but you really ought to make sure that no one else is using the same hashtag. To do that, simply type the words GrowIt10 into your Twitter search bar to see what comes up. Hopefully you’ll see a note displayed saying “No results for growit10”. If that’s the case, you’re good to go; use that hashtag as your own and search it regularly to see who has used it to claim their discount. If you see a string of tweets displayed using the hashtag or words ‘growIt10’ I suggest you have a re-think to come up with something that isn’t already in use. If you do use it regardless of anyone else using it you’ll have a job finding the tweets that are relevant to you.

Have fun with the hashtag

Twitter isn’t just about selling and information though. It’s a place to have some light hearted fun. If that is what you are doing, you can make up some tweets that are purely nonsense but funny to read. #SillyTweet #fun #IDidntMeanToSayThat #HarryPotterWouldBeProudOfMyEfforts …. Anything goes really! If you’re having a joke with someone the hashtags can serve as a great punchline.

Hashtags and grammar

When creating or writing a hashtag you mustn’t use punctuation as the computers don’t understand it. Likewise, it doesn’t matter if you use all upper case, all lower case or a combination of the two.

What does the ‘@’ sign mean then?

Where the hashtag sends your tweet to a specific file or files (it could be #LincsConnect #Scunthorpe and #Lincolnshire as highlighted above), the ‘@’ sign is like a postage stamp because it sends the tweet to a specific account. If you post a tweet using @LincsConnect it’s because you want to speak to me personally. Only ‘I’ will see that tweet. If you want to let everyone in the County know about a sale, event or piece of information you need to be using #LincsConnect.

If you use multiple addresses ie. @LincsConnect @MandarinLeisure @MandarinLocal you’re involving those accounts in your conversation. It’s a handy way of talking to several people at the same time but can get confusing if they all answer at once!

Should I use @LincsConnect and #LincsConnect in the same tweet?

Generally speaking, ‘no’! If you want to contact me tweet me at @LincsConnect but if you want to get your message out to all followers use the hashtag #LincsConnect.  There is really no advantage to using both the hashtag #LincsConnect and the address @LincsConnect in the same tweet.  In fact, using the address @LincsConnect can result in other people having their messages missed as the ‘chatter’ on the account increases significanty. 

       

I hope this helps some of you. Happy tweeting…