Google Algorithm Update 2015 – Is your blog safe?

Google Algorithm Update 2015

Back in February Google announced that starting on April 21st 2015 they would be expanding their use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in Google search results. You can read more about the algorithim changes on the google blog.

Today I tried to view several parenting/lifestyle blogs on my mobile phone and ended up clicking off them as they were not mobile friendly at all.  Rather than write to each of the blog owners which quite frankly would take me ages, I decided it would maybe be better to write a blog post in the hope that one of those blog owners might see it and secondly in the hope that someone might share it so that someone with a site that isn’t mobile friendly will change it.  I appreciate that not everyone checks the Google algorithm updates but if a lot of your viewers visit your blog via google I think it’s important that you have a bit of an idea about what’s going on in the Google world.

If your blog or website isn’t mobile friendly like a lot of blogs I came across this morning, you will see a significant decrease in mobile search traffic which none of us want do we?  Now that more and more of us use out smartphones to shop, email and read blogs it’s so important to make sure that our sites are mobile friendly.  I don’t think the changes will affect search traffic from desktop computers or tablets so if your traffic is from these sources only you have nothing to worry about.

Google have a great mobile friendly test page where you can enter your url and check your site and I would recommend you use this in the first instance.

Your site isn’t mobile friendly, so what do you do now? The answer is to implement a mobile friendly theme.  If you use a Blogger blog you need to choose to use a mobile template if one isn’t set. WordPress users can install an app like WP smart mobile theme plugin.

Many of us spend a lot of time on our blogs building up a relationship with readers, don’t let a small thing like an unfriendly design ruin that.

 

 

Beautiful Brunette

 

I was recently sent some Beautiful Brunette shampoo and conditioner by Creightons which is a new brand to me and also I suppose a new way of washing my hair.  I usually buy a shampoo and separate conditioner to suit either my hair type or to work on a problem area which lately has been postpartum hair loss which I’m still suffering with two years after giving birth to Arthur.

Beautiful Brunette Shampoo

The tubes of Beautiful Brunette shampoo and conditioner are 250ml so you could say they are very generous, I’ve found that a little of both goes a long way and you really do only need one squirt.

You can click on the video above to hear and see my thoughts on the product.

I’ll start off with the cons of the shampoo, there is actually only one in my opinion and that is the fact that the shampoo does contain sodium laureth sulphate and Butylphenyl Methylpropional which can sometimes irritate my eczema but not every product can be perfect can it?

Now on to the pros, there are many.  The shampoo cleans well, your hair actually feels really clean after use and quite often I don’t get that feeling from just one wash.  The same thing can be said about the conditioner, you hair really does feel conditioned after use and doesn’t have that feel that you can sometimes get with a conditioner were your hair feels like it needs a few more rinses to get all of the product out.

Both the shampoo and conditioner contain Pro-vitamin B5 which helps to replace moisture and strengthens the hair and that’s probably what gives it the soft feeling.

My hair colour is natural, I’ve not actually had anything done to it for a few years due to excess colouring which left it damaged but I did find that after using the shampoo it didn’t seem as dull anymore. Coincidence? maybe.

wet hair_Beautiful Brunette

When my hair was wet I could see that it wasn’t as dried out as usual, it had bounce and shine.

dry hair_Beautiful Brunette

Once dried my hair had bounce, shine and was extremely smooth.  Hair loss during drying was minimal compared to usual and for the first time in a while I actually felt happy to wear my hair down for the day.

Oh and did I mention that each tube costs £1? Yes you read that right. 1 whole pound each from Poundland. Bargain right?

Race for life training update 1

training Diary

I’ve now been training now for a couple of weeks and I’m actually very surprised to say that I’ve dropped a dress size!  When I started my training journey I didn’t do it to lose any weight, I thought I might tone up but to drop a dress size in such a short space of time has really shocked me.

I’m using a variety of apps to monitor my walking/exercising and although I haven’t actually done any real running yet I have done a few 6+ mile walks and a fair bit of yoga.  I’m currently using the MapMyFitness and MapMyWalk apps which I downloaded from the apple app store and they seem to work really well with the MyFitnessPal app which I’m using to log what I eat during the day.

My current training schedule is 5 days of exercise and 2 rest days however I still seem to do 3-4 miles of walking on a rest day but it is at a leisurely pace compared to my usual fast paced walking.  We have been to London twice and walked 14 miles the first time and 9 the second, my legs felt so sore after the 14 mile walk but I think it was due to the fact I hadn’t used some of the muscles for such a long time.

running clothing

I’ve bought some rather jazzy running leggings from Next as I’m just too self conscious to wear shorts at the moment, I’ve been covering myself up with a Nike jacket, I don’t seem to be able to find a vest top that is long enough for me under £25 so until I do so the jacket is staying.

I think I’ll have to find a different pair of trainers for the race for life as they are going to get pretty muddy and as my current shoes are so comfy I don’t really want to ruin them.

Are you doing the race for life this year?  Do you have a training schedule?

Go Green

How green are you?  A few years ago I wasn’t green at all, I rarely recycled, was wasteful with food, didn’t turn appliances or lights off, left taps running and bought anything I needed for myself or my home from new.

Over the past 5 years my attitude towards green issues has changed considerably, regular readers may remember that I started an Environmental Management degree before I became pregnant with Arthur.  My decision to change from my goal of pursuing a career in medicine came about after a lecture during my Applied Science diploma where environmental issues were being discussed, we had to do a group presentation on how we thought the earth would look within the next 50 years based on scientific evidence and it really scared me to make a change.

Go Green

Intellicig are running the #gogreen campaign and they sent me the fabulous little window allotment kit pictured above.  I know I talk about my allotment a lot but you really don’t need to have acres of land or an allotment to grow your own.

If you have a windowsill or balcony you can start to grow basic herbs and vegetables and I hope to show you some easy things that you can grow in a small space, once my herbs have grown I’ll show you some delicious dishes you can cook using your herbs over on my food blog Madame Gourmand.

I don’t have a favourite herb, I love fresh Oregano and Coriander so I imagine the dishes I’m going to make for you will contain at least one of them.  A simple pizza is one of the best ways to showcase a herb and I have fond memories of making a 6 herb Persian cabbage rice dish which was like a taste explosion in the mouth.

I would love for my readers to #GoGreen this spring and to help you on your green journey Intellicig will send one lucky winner their own window allotment kit like the one shown above.  Let me know what your favourite herb to grow on the window is?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

Kenilworth Castle

We have passed Kenilworth Castle many times over the past three years and have always wanted to visit but never seemed to get round to it until Sunday.  I actually picked up a leaflet from the library on the Saturday and as I knew the majority of places would be shut  due to it being Easter Sunday I figured there would be no better day to pay a visit.

Kenilworth Castle as the name suggests is situated in Kenilworth which is a lovely little town ten minutes drive from our house.  You can actually walk to the castle from the town but from looking at the packed car park a lot of people decide to drive there, we offer a free shuttle bus from Kenilworth town centre. Town centre car parks are not managed by English Heritage so parking charges may apply. A free shuttle bus service is offered on bank holidays when the car park is busy which leaves every 10-15 minutes from 10am to 5.30pm from the Kenilworth clock tower stop, outside the Holiday Inn.

entry price

Entry is reasonably priced and in our opinion worth every penny, children under the age of 5 are free and as I’m still a student I got my NUS discount so we paid £18.20 for our visit.

The grounds are accessible for wheelchair users and prams however I’m glad we didn’t take a pushchair as there were quite a few areas we would have struggled with, if you do have a baby carrier I would suggest taking one and leave your pushchair in the car.

The main points of interest at Kenilworth Castle are Mortimer’s Tower, The Stable, Leicester’s Gatehouse, Elizabethan garden, Great tower, Kitchens, Great hall, State apartments and Leicester’s Building.

grounds_gardens

grounds

The grounds are vast and because of this toddlers like Arthur have so much area to explore.  I would recommend taking a change of shoes/clothes for children.  Arthur’s shoes were soaking by the time we got back to the car and his knees and bottom were covered in mud.

garden view garden side 1 garden 2

garden side 1 garden view garden view2

We started our exploration in the Elizabethan Garden which is actually a modern recreation of the garden that was planted by Robert Dudley for Queen Elizabeth I’s visit in July 1575.

fountain

The Atlas Fountain is situated in the centre of the garden, made of white marble the fountain includes carvings of Neptune, Triton, and Proteus with their attendant marine creatures, we didn’t get the chance to see the fountain in action during our visit which was a shame as I’m sure it’s rather exciting seeing people caught unaware when the water starts.

aviery birds

The timber Aviary is a lovely addition to the garden, it contains a range of different birds and Arthur was quite taken with this little yellow fellow.

leicester's building

Fireplace long window stairs window

 

 

The staircases and platforms take you 18 metres up into the tower, to the level of the fireplaces and windows built for the royal visit.

It’s an amazing feeling standing looking at where the queen’s private staircase, and the long gallery where she could have private time with her most intimate friends was.  You can really visualise how they would have looked back in 1575 when these rooms were luxurious, elegant and flooded with light from enormous glass windows.

great hall

John of Gaunt’s Great Hall was one of the finest of its kind and at the cutting edge of 14th century architectural design.  The windows are quite imposing and you can only begin to imagine the events that took place in there.

kitchen

The picture above shows part of the kitchen, you can see the ovens where the bricks change shape.

apartments building

Stables Cafe stables

The Stables tea room served a good selection of food and drinks and is very spacious with both indoor and outdoor seating.  At the other end you will find interactive displays, clothing for children to dress up in (Arthur didn’t want to participate), a history of the castle and scale models.

We spent about 1.5 hours walking around and exploring and if Arthur had been a little bit older we probably could have been there longer.  We both thought the visit to Kenilworth Castle was well worth the money, we can’t wait to go back again in the summer when we can really explore the grounds.