Wednesday, July 13, 2016

3 Places to Visit in England, and No London Is Not on the List!

Quote of the day: 
Certain things in life simply have to be experienced -and never explained. Love is such a thing. 
-Paulo Coelho

Tell someone you are travelling England, and their first thought will be: London. Being such a cosmopolitan city and one of the most famous in the world, its not hard to see why visitors would prefer to visit the city known for its landmarks.  But when you do visit, and after taking in the sights there are other beautiful areas of the country that hold vast beauty and landscape.

Below are a list of 3 places -out of many, in England that will prove to be worth the effort in visiting.

1. Exmouth, Devon 

image: Devonguide

Exmouth is a picturesque port town and sea side resort situated in the county of Devon, South West England. Surrounded by the Devon countryside, Exmouth is a bustling town offering a wide array of things to do, from wining and dining to entertaining things like bowling and water sports -which it is famous for. The air is clean and its got 2 miles of sandy beach. Not bad for a small town. Exmouth is over 3 hours from London.

2. Brighton 

image: Bhmpics

Brighton is said to be the most vibrant seaside resort in England and has been voted as one of the top 10 cities with brilliant beaches. A seaside resort, Brighton is the largest part of the city of Brighton and Hove in East Sussex, south east England. There are numerous attractions including the Brighton Pier, the Royal Pavilion, and the Brighton Marina -said to be the largest man made Marina in Europe when built. It is has also long been considered as the the UK's gay capital. Brighton is about an hour from London.

3. Cambridge

image: Imperialinnovations

Cambridge is a small but beautiful city worth visiting. It is the county town of Cambridgeshire, situated on the river cam, in the East Anglia area of England. A city famous for its scientists and universities, one of which is among the best in the world. Its historic town center can only be visited by foot, as no cars are allowed. Its greater to explore by foot as its a relatively compact city -famous also for being the cycling capital of the UK (one in four residents cycle to work) and one of the safest places to cycle in the country. Things to do include: checking out its great and majestic architecture, colleges, museums, shops and cafes, going punting on the river cam, and the Cambridge University Botanical Garden. Cambridge is less than an hour away from London.

As with all things, this is only a small list of places I've been to, and I may compile another travel list soon. Have you got any favourite places you've visited in England, or planning to visit? Do share in the comments below.

Peace. Love. Light* 

Current Listen: Moby -Everloving

Monday, July 4, 2016

Book of the Day/ The Castle by Franz Kafka -short review

Quote of the day: 
Instructions for living a life. Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it. -Mary Oliver

The Castle is a classic by Franz Kafka. I must admit that this is only the second book by the Prague born author, and German language writer of short stories, novels and the like- that I have read. Often hailed as one of the most important authors of the twentieth century, Kafka has mass appeal and his works gained much more fame after his death. The Castle is one of his most famous writings.

image: Amazon

Its an obscure and narrative tale about a land surveyor who believes he's been contracted to be a land survey in a town that is filled with varying characters, and a castle where the town seems to be governed from. There are high ranking officials, administrators and all sorts of bureaucracy and from the moment the land surveyor, known as 'K', arrives in the village, the events that play is a constant struggle for acceptance from such elusive powers who run the castle, leaving him with barely no contact with the department who hired him .

He searches for the reason for his non acceptance, and that forms the basis for the book. He is not accepted and yet cannot return to where he has come from. It is a long read, and if you enjoy Kafka's writing you will find 'The Castle', a worthy companion in times of solitude.

So what book(s) are you currently reading? Happy July!

Peace. Love. Light* 

Current Listen: U2 -With or Without You

Friday, July 1, 2016

I went Offline for 16 Days and this Is What I've Learned (6 Things)

Quote of the day: 

I am not pretty. I am not beautiful. I am as radiant as the sun. 
-Suzanne Collins

You've probably felt the need to stay away from the internet at some point. Without having to check for those things that you are used to (insert favourite social media platform here), but gravitating away from them even for a few days can turn out to be a struggle. I should know, as I've been mostly offline for since my last blog post over two weeks ago. This purge was indeed needed - a time for mental and physical reflection, incense burning, detox, and a host of other names to call it.

Now, getting back into the real world, into the mix of things, what I've learned can be summed up easily as the following:

1. It Is Perfectly okay to Break Away: 
If you are feeling overwhelmed, tired, and feel an overload while being online, there's nothing wrong with admitting that you need some time offline before you burnout. Its not like the while internet will stop working if you don't visit. Life will go on, events will keep happening and most people may not even notice your absence.

2. Do Something Worthwhile
Being offline has its perks like doing things with your hands, meeting people for face to face conversations, and actually having a proper conversation without having to check your phone every 5 minutes.

3. Get Some Rest
Hours spent online can be used for other things, like relaxation, and going to be on time, waking up on time and basically just having a great day with limited internet access for emails and updates.

4. Spend time Outdoors
Go out, enjoy the weather, soak up in the sun whenever its out and just be grateful for nature all around you. Touch leaves, smell the flowers and breathe in the clean air.

5. Read a Book
What better time to read than when your are offline. So get a book, one that you can get lost in, read the chapters, immerse yourself fully into the story till you get to the end. Get a new book and repeat.

6. Things Change each Minute
No matter what everything will change either-way -online or offline. Events will happen, seasons will change, there will be moments of laughter and sadness, and so on. The point is to live your life regardless. Savor each precious time you have, do the things you enjoy the most, with the people who matter the most.

The bottom line is this: take small breaks away from the internet, notice the things around you that you've taken for granted, and lastly be quick to adapt to changes in your real life as you would with technology.

Peace. Love. Light* 

Free Image via: Pexels Current Listen: Jamiroquai - Seven Days In Sunny June

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Three Things To Inspire Your Weekend #50

Quote of the day: 
If you remember me, then I don't care if everyone else forgets. -Haruki Murakami

Where does inspiration to spread love and happiness come from? A good answer may be derived from the stories that are shared below.

Photo of Philip Sossou behind some of his charcoal portrait sketches
Photo of Philip Sossou behind some of his charcoal portrait sketches /Image: NEWSCODEX

The first is of 18-year old Philip Soussou. As all 411 seniors at Boston Latin School in the US arrived for their final day of classes they stumbled on portraits of themselves along the corridors.
Philip sketched self portraits of his entire class as a parting gift, using charcoal and worked on the project sometimes late into the evening. He worked on it everyday for four months and although he didn't know each student personally, he got names from the school registry and used Facebook and sometimes his phone camera to take photos without giving anything away.

Owen who has brain damage and his support dog, Blue /Image: Facebook/Lowes

American home improvement and retail store Lowe's presented two of its newest hires on social media, Owen and his service dog named blue, both employed to greet customers at their new store in North Regina, Saskatchewan. A message on the store's twitter page goes, “Our recent hire couldn’t find a job due to brain injury & a support dog. So meet Blue, our customer service canine!”.

As seen on Arch Daily, 'Valeria House', by architects Luciano Kruk, María Victoria Besonías. Located in Valeria del Mar, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Its great design is simplistic, 'It is ground in a new development, with lush vegetation and crossed by tall dunes'.

Peace. Love. Light* 

Current Listen: Kygo -Firestone

Friday, June 10, 2016

How to Put a Stop to Spam Comments on your Blog or Website (Blogger)

Quote of the day: 
A nightingale does not stop singing its beautiful song at the intrusion of an annoying woodpecker. -Suzy Kassem

After having spent half an hour sifting through an old blog post, which for some reason is popular with spammers, I couldn't help but be left wondering how devastating these individuals can be. Don't get me wrong I am used to receiving spam in the comments section -as if those that appear in my email aren't enough, and of course with being owned by Google, it should leave little room for spammers having a field day no? Wrong. It gets worse. Asides from bombarding your blog or website with irrelevant comments, they also leave lots of dubious links.

I've read many bloggers complain about the spamming issue -at the last count I've had to delete dozens of such comments from numerous posts. Some blog owners prefer to moderate comments before they appear live on their blogs and I can't blame them, as I've thought of doing the same especially when things get to a frustrating level.

A screen capture from an old post showing spam messages

Why Worry about Spam ?

Spammers are like party crashers who basically invite themselves to a party they are not invited to. They come bearing goodwill, and leave a trail of destruction in their wake. Unfortunately, there is no remote control to block them completely. I'm unsure about Wordpress or other blog platforms, but with Blogger, Google does recommend reporting any offending website and I've seen some blog profiles deleted in that regard.

Although spamming appears to be a never ending battle between good and evil, as these spammers will stop at nothing to enrich themselves, there are a number of steps that you can take to reduce their frequency.

1. Check the spam folder (Blogger)

Spam folder view on Blogger
A snippet of the Spam folder view on Blogger

If you are on Blogger, you can keep an eye on your spam folder -as you can see from the image above, mine stood at over 400 spam messages from both new and old posts. In this way Google helps filter out spam from appearing on the blog, but its not 100% effective as some still find their way -which will have to be deleted manually. Its also good to look at this folder to make sure genuine comments are not being flagged. One of the reasons I have chosen not to turn to moderating comments is due to this spam detection tool.

2. Report Spam
As I said above, you can report any inappropriate and offending URL links via Google's Blogger support page. Asides security, these spammers prevent genuine visitors from easily accessing your blog or website as they slow it down with all the irrelevant visits and links. No one should have to put up with that.

If you are on Wordpress, you may want to have a look at their 'Combating Comment Spam' page

3. Moderate Comments

You can manage who can comment on your blog, and in effect the type of comments that readers can leave. This also includes Google + comments. In case you are wondering how, this Blogger help guide talks about how to go about managing and moderating comments on your blog.

4. Show Word Verification
Another tool that can be turned on is the modern word verification which is popular on most blogs, Its simple, and I think user friendly.


It is known as reCAPTCHA and according to Google it 'protects your website from spam and abuse while letting real people pass through with ease'.

In conclusion, spammers will never go away and the best option for us is to fight back as much as possible. Its enough to ask what's wrong with the internet? and although this post focuses mostly on Blogger, there are online resources and tools that you can use to manage your blog, or website against spammers.

Do you have a problem with spam on your blog? How do you deal with the frustration and what tools if any do you utilize?

Peace. Love. Light* 

Current Listen: Gnarls Barkley -Crazy

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