Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Targets

250 Kilometers cycled in a month trophy

We are officially on summer time,  the evenings are lighter.  We have no excuses for not to get out on our bikes.  March was a good start to the cycling season, I'm proud to have completed over 250 K, a first distance trophy, of course we can all, always do better.  so for me what comes next?  500 K, or am I being an April fool?

Have you set yourself a target for spring.   I have many, and they are not all related to my cycling!

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Trophies

Digital Trophy, with my results as Queen of the Mountains on All Saints avenueStava certainly know how to keep your business, a certain glow in the cheeks after a pat on the back and nice comments that keep us motivated and returning for more.

Queen of the Mountains arrived in my inbox today.




Now all I have to do is go faster than the men, or find a quieter stretch of road with a bit less competition.

All the same check out the Max speeds, nothing like a bit of bragging!


Friday, 21 March 2014

Second Place -against the Ladies

Should be happy with second, but was giving it my all and going for the 1st place.

Feeling a little gutted

Snap shot showing route map,  and the results leader board where I reached second place
See more on Strava.com
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Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Hot Cake

Hot Carrot Cake
The smell of hot cake baking, and the delight of turning out the tin, without it breaking, are just part of the process of cake making. Leaving it long enough too cool before adding the topping, is the hardest part of baking.

There won’t be winning any prizes for cake decoration, but who cares  that the cream cheese icing is running down the sides, when I just know it is going to taste good.

Admit, I've already had the first slice, and tempted for a second. I did adapt the recipe, reducing the huge amount of sugar, even so I dread to think about the calorie intake.  It contains a pound of carrots, so it must be one of my five a day and good for you right!

Taste test over, the safest thing for me to do is slice it up and put it in the freezer, just to pull out a large slice to defrost, just before I go out on a long cycle ride.


No prizes for icing
slice of cake on white plate, with a for fork, ready to eat.
Taste is good


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Friday, 7 March 2014

Reaching Goals

In life, we're told to dream big. Reach for the stars. Go for the gold. While I think everyone would agree that having big aspirations is admirable not to mention inspiring, we should take a more calculated approach when setting goals. The truth is that even when people have the best of intentions if the goal is too big, we fall at the first hurdle, or in my case hill. We need to break the big goal into small achievable targets, that can help you both physically and mentally, and we all need an excuse to celebrate the small successes too.

My goal on Tuesday was to get up Brook Lane Hill in one go, and made it to the windmill without stopping, I got up the other side and over the bridge too. I haven't managed that since the excesses of the winter months. My goal on Thursday was to make it to Wingham, a distance further than my normal ride :-)

Today I cycled Brook Lane Hill in the other direction and failed to reach the top without stopping and pushing, so the plan is to do it before the end of the week, and hopefully I will exceed the 150K in a week marker at the same time.

log of training miles  - showing distances
And now I have shared that goal with the world, I just have to make sure I do it.

It’s been proven that it takes 3 solid weeks of consistency in order for a new habit to form so stay true to your goals and track your progress – a true recipe for success!

Those of you that know me, know that I love my gadgets, the beauty of the smart phone apps like Strava is you can track your progress without the need for complicated log books and stop watches, set yourself goals and targets, and improve on your achivements on every ride.

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Thursday, 6 March 2014

First Ride in Shorts

Working on tan line and waist line! Spring is on it's way and the blossom is starting to show on the hedges

Avg Speed 16.9km/h
Max speed 55.1km/h

Im especially pleased to have managed the Dean Farm Lane Climb, to be in the top ten is one thing but to do it on a hill that's something else.

Monday, 3 March 2014

Soft Diet: Doesn't need to be boring

After dental surgery, and not eating solid food for a couple of days, I needed something that tasted good and quick and easy to make.

Sweet Potato, Coconut Soup

An onion, chopped and softened in a little oil, a small teaspoon of curry powder added and cooked just long enough to enjoy the smell, meanwhile peel and grate a sweet potato, add to the onion mix, and cover with boiling water, thrown in a chicken stock cube.  Boil for five minutes to cook the potato, and then puree with a stick blender.  Stir in a small can of coconut cream or milk, served with a sprinkle of chilli flakes if you like it hot.

From the cupboard, to the bowl in ten minutes and tastes fantastic

Should have made double and frozen some!


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Monday, 24 February 2014

Online Interview


It is very excited to be chosen an online job interview, very forward thinking, I like the idea, impressed by the organisations innovation, and doing something and new.  After googling “Online interview tips” I had think, and then re-arranged the furniture so my kitchen junk could not be seen in the back ground.  Adjusted the lighting and put on a full face of makeup before sitting at the screen in a smart jacket and shirt, over my jogging bottoms and slippers.

So late into the night, at a time convenient, I had first round interviews for a volunteer position at the Grand Départ. In case you don’t know The 101st Tour de France is starting in Britain later in the year, the UK section is called The Grand Départ. It has three UK stages Leeds to Harrogate, York to Sheffield, & Cambridge to London finishing in The Mall.  

As a keen cyclist, to be there to see some of the great names in cycling competing for the famous yellow jersey is enough, but of course I want to be part of the action.  It would be good to do a bit more, than just stand by the side of the road with cow bells and cheers,  a few 'Cheers' in the pub with a big screen to watch the racing highlights, at the end of a hard days work, is still likely to still happen.  I'm happy even tempted to go to France for the finish too.

Map in yellow with route marked out in black Tour de France and dates in french logo

The interview questions were fairly simple, and the computer software easy to use. I chose to use the desktop computer, but was impressed to see the option of doing it from a smart phone. Now that’s amazing, truly mobile in a global audience. I could do my interview from anywhere in the world.   I wonder how long it will be before ALL first round interviews are done in this way, it certainly is cost effective for employer, convenient for the interviewee too.  No need to take a day of work and spend sixty quid on a train to London for the day, for an interview.  They get an idea of who I am, my interests, skills and knowledge before taking it further.  They record the questions just once and use them countless times, reviewing candidates at a time that is convenient to them, it's got to be a win/win solution saving everyone time and money in the costly process of recruitment.

According to, Road.cc:  26,000 people have applied, more than double the number of people that are needed.

I'm one of the lucky ones to have got this far.  If it’s anything like the London 2012, Gamesmaker application it will be months before I hear anything more, and depending on what my role is going to be may have to go through the whole security vetting process all over again.  So it’s fingers crossed and watch this space in the meantime, take a look at Sonru.com to see how online interviewing could work for you.


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update:: #WIN

Crowned in sunshine

Just popped out to do some chores, a quick trip to the shops.  The sun is out, so opted for the pedal power rather than the car.  This wasn't a fast ride, or a particularly long one. I wasn't giving it any effort at all, just pedalling along, thinking "I'll be in shorts, working on the tan lines soon!".  Getting home, as always I went straight to the computer to analyse the data, utter delight and surprised to pick up a Strava Crown on Nash Road, top speed of 43.2Kph

Nash Lane!


Saturday, 15 February 2014

Does your e-mail show you or your organisation in the best light?

Over the years I have tried many signatures, from an image of a business card, to a fancy logo, more recently simple text full web addresses that were linked. Even the standard Apple product signatures of  “Sent from my iPhone” or “Sent from iPad”

You cannot fault Apple for their marketing, when you buy a shiny new product, you are proud to show it off to the world, and they take advantage of that, or perhaps they play on the fact you might not even know: You are giving them free advertising and promoting their brand.  

In these days of mobile working, does the world really need to know you are writing an important communication from the airport departure lounge, outside the school gates or at half time of the sports game you are watching, it is also completely irrelevant what device you are sending it from.

Your mobile signature, should look as professional as your desktop.

The uses of email and online file storage is now becoming ubiquitous - and most people, now have high speed Internet Access with capabilities to download graphic files and links, so any respectable organisation, has signature files that promote both branding and marketing.  

The worst I've seen, sport colours that do not match or even compliment the logo, links that don't work, or take you to naff pages, prehaps years out of date.  Should you be creating and forcing the reader to download, thousands of bytes of data, on the green message?  

Your e-signature, it's part of your branding, extremely visible, so get it right.


Four things to include in your email signature:


Include the Important Information
Name and Job Title, Contact Information, Direct email address? I'll come to that later, a mobile number (which by the way should be answered by the team and a dealt with promptly)

Include Branding and Marketing
Company logo (image)  Website- detail in Hyperlinked-text (useful- for those who still print things or can't actually see) linked to a good website.

Must be Mobile
Does it work on a tiny phone screen or a large TV. Not just the signature, but also the web pages that it takes you too.
Facts:  
86% of people in the UK today - now own smart phones (double that of two years ago) 
57% of people wouldn't recommend organisations which have poor mobile sites. 
So checked your content on all sizes of screen.  TV, desktop tablet or phone.  It must be todays priority to think mobile and portable.  This is the computing of the future. Time spent on mobile devices compared to desktops is growing at an amazing rate and has now overtaken desktop use.  So continue to plan ahead, think mobile, because one day soon, we will not use an office!

Social -  
Under the contacts name and job title, come social links, directly to individuals personal Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook profiles. Note: not organisational one, your reader should feel they are talking to a real person, and building a true connection.  

Below that, an Organisational twitter feed, lated jobs/ news. That is, if you want people to look & share?  Background, logo, company livery, branding etc, that matched the organisational website colour and design, pixel perfectly. Overall excellent professional presentation.  Tweets well constructed, headlines, which linked back to website posts, the same design throughout.  Timed, so as not to arrive in flurries, a common mistake, one like many others, I too have made.

So I sat down to reprogram, personal e-mail signature files, which may appear simple, but I have give it much thought.
  • I decide against including direct email address, it isn’t necessary, if you print or save, it's in the header info.  If you don’t - then that is what the reply buttons is for.   Less is more, or am I missing something?  (OK maybe if your mail is sent from team address, even Team Working in distributed environments, work should be signed from authors and co-authors, only the return address should be from the team who will be replying.)
  • I opted against Facebook links in email, my reasons are many, why is for  another day, of course you are welcome to Share this on Facebook but that a different post for another day.
  • The links to social sites are in hyperlinked text, not logo images - making it both quick to load and practicing the green, value. Accessible for visually impaired user has also been considered. Like everything else online, your signature content should be accessible for all.
  • The disclaimer and legal bit is reduced to the minimum size.
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Here is the finish signature file.

Text only for Mobile devices
——————————————————————This is a screenshot, a graphic picture, in the email application the Follow Links have been tested and are all working! 

Like the rest of my work the signature is ever evolving.  For now I'm happy with the results....  Your comments are welcome and ideas are welcome.

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