A fantastic hen do in Brighton

Last weekend was my best friend’s hen do. Luckily for me it was in Brighton so there was no travelling required!

We stayed in a gorgeous Victorian terraced house which we hired from Brighton Holiday Homes. It was on a little street in Kemp Town – so right near the seafront. It spanned over five floors and slept all 12 of us.

our Brighton hen weekend house

I would recommend hiring a house like this if I go on a hen weekend again, it was so much better than a hotel for socialising, because we had a kitchen, dining room table and living rooms for us to spend time together in rather than huddling together in one bedroom like you would have to in a hotel.

On the first night we stayed in and had some food and drinks together.

friday night hen do drinks

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Eight-legged housemates

We’ve got a new housemate that’s moved into our spare room. An uninvited housemate, I’d like to add. Luckily we still manage to store our stuff in the room, as he’s moved in with very few belongings, but he’s a bit funny about letting us back in the room to access our things. He’s a bit aggressive and not very approachable. I should mention that he also has eight legs.

He’s a skinny, spindly fella. I’m not normally that bothered by his kind. It’s the bigger, dark, chunky buggers I don’t like. Neither does Rob though, and despite the fact that he’s a big, tattooed, bearded bloke (most people think he looks a bit scary), spiders always win the fight. He normally runs off screaming while I, shaking with terror, have to tackle them with a pint glass.

So the skinny housemate shouldn’t really be feared by either of us. But the difference is, he’s attached himself to a step ladder by the door, which is leaning up against the wall right by the main power point. The power point I use for my computer – my main reason for entering the room.

I think the fear stemmed from the way in which we met. I first discovered he’d moved in when I felt him running around on my head. I’d bent down to plug in my computer, not realising he was centimetres from my brow. He realised, panicked and ran for his life. On my head.

This morning I found out he’s sublet the room to a friend of his. His friend has parked up right across the door frame, rendering the whole room out of bounds. I suspect they came in with washing from the garden yesterday, which is now drying off on clothes airers in the room. I guess I’ll kiss goodbye to those clothes then.

spider's web
Image by scoobygirl via Flickr

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How to poach an egg

Poached eggs are my favourite kind of eggs. You get the lovely flavour of the yolk that you miss with scrambled egg, but you get to skip the grease that comes with a fried egg. It’s like a tastier, healthier fried egg.

I’ve always found them a little tricky to cook in the past, which has been so frustrating. I’ve had all the gadgets – the little bags you put them in, a special poaching pan, the rubber cup things. But no matter how hard I try I can’t get them right. Either the yolk is cooked through (no thanks!) or the white is still a bit runny (yuck!).

But I’ve finally done it: this morning I finally made the perfect poached egg.

perfect poached egg

Some may not think this is enough of an achievement to warrant a blog post, but I’m very pleased about this so wanted to share it!

1. Boil a saucepan of water and add a pinch of salt

2. Create a whirlpool by stirring quickly with a spoon

3. Crack the egg into a small cup and pour it into the middle of the whirlpool directly from the cup

4. Bring the pan back to the boil

5. Take the pan off the heat, cover and leave for four minutes

Serve and scoff up!

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Top marketing tips for bloggers

Lbloggers chat Twitter page

On Wednesday I hosted the #lbloggers chat on Twitter, a twice weekly chat between lifestyle bloggers all over the world which is organised by @LbloggersChat. I chose the topic: blog marketing. I asked four questions around the topic using the hashtag #lbloggers – and although it was really fun, I was overwhelmed with tweets! I used Hootsuite to manage the chat and set up a new stream to track all the various conversations. The stream refreshed every two minutes in which time there’d be about 30 new responses! So apologies to anyone I didn’t get around to replying to – but I read all the comments and I really appreciate everyone taking part.

It seemed to be a successful chat, I got loads of great feedback and there was some brilliant advice flying around. So I thought I’d write a blog post sharing some of the best replies. So here are the top marketing tips for bloggers – by bloggers. Continue reading

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Essential SEO basics to optimise your blog

SEO word cloud
Up until recently I worked in the SEO team at a top search marketing agency, so learned about optimising websites and blogs from the best of the best. The great thing about that is I’ve been able to take away loads of great tips that I can implement on my own blog and share with friends.

When you’re a blogger, you might think of SEO and think of outreach people at agencies, trying to get you to link to them. The reason they do that is to improve their client’s search visibility and get more (hopefully relevant) traffic. But what I’m writing about today is how to do that for your own blog. How do you make your blog stand out from the rest, rank in search engines and get you more traffic or enquiries?

SEO is a complicated game and it’s forever changing, so this only touches upon some of its elements. I specialised in web content so I’ll focuses on some of the simple and more essential things you can do to optimise the content on your own blog (or ‘on page SEO’). Without optimisation, readers are unlikely to even find your content!

One thing that’s important to mention first is that when it comes to website content, quality definitely wins over quantity. Don’t write something for the sake of it, really make sure you have something useful, interesting and of value to say. Provide your reader with value. That way, after optimising for search engines you’ll naturally get traffic and links as people share your posts with their friends. Continue reading

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