Five Things I Learned This Week – Small Brands are Amazing
Dishwasher salt gets blood out of clothing
This isn’t as sinister as it sounds. Illness has struck our household once more and my oldest son was off school for most of the week. On day 3 he had an epic nosebleed. Luckily, with 2 boys, 1 of whom has cut his head open on more than one occasion, requiring A&E treatment, I’m cool with dealing with a lot of blood. What I’m not so competent with is cleaning it off clothing. The t-shirt he was wearing whilst bleeding copiously, is not one I wanted to bin. Trying to figure out the best way to wash it without bleaching the design off, I asked my friend who is a crime scene examiner. His reply ‘don’t know – if we get blood on clothing it goes off to the incinerator, try Vanish’.
With none of this in the house and not wanting to wait for the next time I’m forgetting it during the supermarket shop, I raided the under-sink cupboard looking for Soda Crystals (my Nana taught me that Soda Crystals can sort out pretty much any household problem). They had clearly been forgotten during previous supermarket shops too. What I did appear to have was a lot of dishwasher salt (no idea why). Figuring that salt was salt, I gave the blood stains a quick scrub with washing up liquid and a brush (did nothing, don’t bother with this step) and set the t-shirt to soak in cold water. A long time (10 hours) of soaking later and the t-shirt was restored.
If you’re hungry, don’t use Deliveroo
It was Sunday evening after a busy week and preparing for half term (why is it more exhausting having kids at home than going to work?) We decided that Deliveroo would be the answer to ‘whose turn is it to cook tonight?’ Spoiler alert – Deliveroo is not the answer – after 2 orders that both got cancelled, over an hour of waiting for non-existent food to turn up, putting the poor person on live chat through the ringer until they said ‘I’m embarrassed and ashamed to be working for this company’ we gave it up as a bad job and ordered from our local Chinese (here in 15 mins – anyone in the Richmond area I totally recommend it). Naturally any poor person who walked through the door for the next couple of days was ‘treated’ to our failed food delivery story and I was unsurprised to hear that they had had similar experiences with Deliveroo. The moral of this story – support your local take-aways.
Small brands are amazing
Hopefully the people reading this blog already know this. Particularly as This Demanding Life is a small outfit and I’m extremely grateful to those who choose to work with me. This last 18 months I’ve got massively more into Instagram and one of my favourite bloggers often promotes small brands. Not because they pay her to, but because the quality, service and personal touch is something that you just can’t get by clicking on Amazon. It’s a big birthday this year for my partner, in April, but I like to be organised and I saw a print from Sketchy Mama that felt just right. I clicked through to her Etsy shop, made the order and 22 hours later it was not only delivered but personalised on the envelope and with a lovely card inside. The quality of the print is beautiful, April was still a long time away so I gave it to him for Valentine’s Day and can now share with the world how fab I think it is. I have ordered some other presents from small brands (just need to exercise the self control to not hand them over before his birthday), which also were a really good shopping experience. I may be late to the party but I did get there and will be shopping from small, independent businesses from now on.
There are many reasons that websites run slow
Lots of us have websites and the main question I get asked is why is my website loading so slowly? This is a major issue as, if a site takes too long to load a page then visitors are more likely to leave and find a website that loads faster. If your website has a high ‘bounce rate’, which literally means that visitors go on a page or two then leave, Google will stop indexing it as highly in search results and your site, no matter how fantastic the content, will get lost in a sea of Google results.
The first thing to do is login to your hosting and check the php speed. The current php speed for regular sized sites is 7.2. If your site is running on 5. something then this could be all you need to do. If you have your php set to the highest and the site is still loading slowly check your plugins and how much room they are taking up on your site/hosting package. This is a good exercise to see if you need all the plugins you’re using. If there are any that are no longer necessary then deactivate them and see if this helps. Often back up plugins are the culprit for sluggish sites and server timeouts. Check that your backups are being sent to an external drive and not clogging up your site by backing up to FTP. If you have done all this (or don’t know how to do this) and you’re still having problems, get in touch and my amazing technical wizard, Stu will get on it for you.
Playdates aren’t always the answer
It’s half term and with it came the enforced fun that is playdates. This used to be a great opportunity for the kids to spend some much needed downtime with friends as well as for me to catch up with their parents. This week it just didn’t seem to work as well. I don’t know if it’s that the kids are now used to being one of 3 and don’t particularly need anyone else around or if this half term has just been too exhausting to then fill the one and only week off. The playdates went ahead, the house got utterly trashed while the kids played, I felt stressed catching up with parents while I should have been using the time to work and the dog took refuge in the car. I knew it was bad when my (long suffering) partner chose to take a walk in the rain, rather than hang around a house filled with noisy children. Time to find a back up plan for the next school holidays which are twice as long and only 5 weeks away.