Goodreads #28

In the last week I’ve been mostly reading about parenting, blogging and work an as always there is a wide range of topics ranging from whether you should stop children climbing up slides to a video about meetings with engineers. I hope you find something enjoyable to read over the weekend.


More Pink and Less Prejudice for Boys

Are you a fan of climbing up slides?

Pretty girls, pockets, and possibilities: how fashion traps girls

9 Skills That Every Kid Should Learn


Five Tips for Efficient Blogging

7 Steps to Proofreading Like a Pro

Peaches Geldof’s death and why I blog


The Expert, A Hilarious Sketch About the Pain of Being the Only Engineer in a Business Meeting 

I work full time and love it


Photos of New York City storefronts taken 10 years apart show gentrification and decay [36 pictures]

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Stats: March 2014

I won a competition in March with my post I’m scared of the cloud and I’m currently waiting for the arrival of my new tablet. When it arrives there is likely to be long discussions about who gets my old one; my husband or my 2 year old who appears to be much more interested them! I recently joined Instagram because I got tired of trying to upload pictures to using the Twitter app on my phone. I love the hints of what we got up to last month, so I’m sharing some of my favourites.

Instagram darktea summary March 2014 - 1

Although I wrote more posts in March, unfortunately none of them were popular enough to make it in to my top 5 most popular posts, which are the usual contenders. However on the positives, I move up to number 85 in the Hibs 100 chart and moved up slightly in the Tots 100 chart so I’m making improvements somewhere.

Don’t forget my survey, I’m going to close it soon and currently the most popular options are more scrapbooking and opinion posts. Quite a contrast to my last survey five years ago when goal identification and achievement was the most popular. How things change after having children!

Instagram darktea summary March 2014 - 2

Most read posts 15 different types of journals to keep
23 ideas for the first page of your journal or notebook
Ask advice: How to label keyboard keys
13 tips to successful hotdesking
Day planner download files
No of posts written 11 Subscribers 221
Top referring site Love All Blogs Most comments Agatapokutycka
Goolge+ followers 76 Twitter followers 587
Pinterest followers 228 Instagram followers 29

So altogether a pretty good month with all numbers increasing and I’m going to try to write posts that do well in Google so I can see some new posts in my top 5. Do you have any tips?

How was March on your blog? How do you include Instagram in your blog?
Instagram darktea summary March 2014 - 3


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Goodreads #27

I’ve enjoyed posts on the environment, blogging, a quote about your home and a recipe using Nutella (yum yum) during the last week.  I hope you find something enjoyable to read over the weekend.


Food waste in restaurants: out of home, out of mind?

Amazing Spiderman-2 film most ‘sustainable blockbuster’ in Sony pictures history

Lack of data is hampering efforts to drive sustainable fashion


7 Powerful Ways to End Your Next Blog Post 


Design Quote: Your Home Nate Berkus 


Recipe: Nutella choc chip cookies



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House renovation activity plan – first draft

A successful house renovation project needs a plan to ensure all tasks are completed and done in the correct order. The details of the plan will depend on the size of your renovation and your building experience (for example do you include a task for finish room or do you list out the each task of wiring, plastering etc.).

Now that we’ve made decisions about our house (we chose a kitchen-dining room instead of a lounge-dining room) and have architect and structural plans we can start planning the tasks and identifying which we’ll do ourselves which we will get a builder in for (such as steel beams and removing the lift). I’ve produced a plan in OpenProj based on my logic and not any actual DIY or building experience so it is certainly a first draft.

Our house renovation has been captured on 10 pages of A3 paper and stuck to the hallway wall. This plan covers the whole house because every room will have at least one wall changed; okay not the downstairs WC but we will need to remove the lift machinery and the bund it sits in.  We are now in the review phase as we draw and write notes on the draft and I’ll use them to develop a second more realistic version.

House renovation draft activity plan - darktea

How have you planned a house renovation? Did you discover any tasks that had to be done in a specific order that you didn’t expect? Do you have any tips for us before we start on this large task?

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Goodreads #26

Just a few goodreads as it has been another quiet week for me and my unread posts in Feedly is very large. I’ve also listed the discussions I’ve started on Google+; come and spend a bit of time chatting.

I’ve had several responses to my survey however so far almost all the topics have the same score, so it would be great if you answered the question to tell me what you like to see on this blog.


Ride like you have no fear 

Lifestyle and Health

Luck comes from hard work
Just being me


These are discussions I’ve started in Google+, please add your opinion or start your own in the community because I want to take part in more discussions

Mindless eating: The way to get children to eat their greens?
What’s The Best Way to Back Up My Data for the Long Haul?
Pink – just for girls?


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Sibling scrap pages – February 2014

There were many opportunities to take pictures of the children in February and I’ve created scrap page compilations of the random every day photos (a mixture of posed, on the sly and at their request). I’m still struggling with my scrap pages and found these difficult to complete so these took longer than I’d hoped but I’m pleased I’ve completed them before the end of the month. Siblings scrap layout February 2014 - darktea

Siblings B scrap layout February 2014 - darktea

Siblings M scrap layout February 2014 - darktea

 1st layout template – A cherry on top, 2nd layout template – Speedscraps. All other supplies – Scrap Girls

I’ve finished these pages just in time to include them in the Sibling linky (I’m aiming to be earlier next month).

dear beautiful

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Goodreads #25

My goodreads this week include more Team Honk (can you believe it has almost finished) and cycling. As I’ve had a quiet quiet week for blog reading (and writing), I’ve also included the topics being discussed in a Google+ community, please come and join in.

Plus don’t forget about my survey so you can tell me what you’d like to see more of on my blog. It is just a list of tick boxes under one question  so doesn’t take long and I’d love a few more responses before I close it.


calling in favours

#TeamHonkRelay, Sport Relief, Twitter and Me (and You).


Top 5 cycling wish list – March 2014

Facing the fear


Christina Bianco’s ‘Let It Go’ cover as Idina Menzel, Demi Lovato & Others (YouTube)


These are discussions I’ve started in Google+, please add your opinion or start your own in the community because I want to take part in more discussions..

What are you first memories of the worldwide web

Do you have to have an opinion on breast or bottle feeding?

Is it possible to read wrongly?

Is it a surprise graduates marry other graduates?

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Goodreads #24

My goodreads this week include blogging and the web, charity, memories and organisation and productivity. I know  I’m sharing these later than normal, but I hope you still find something enjoyable to read.

I would love it if you could answer my survey about what you’d like to see on this blog in the future. I’ve also created a community to help me find more discussions on Google+ and it would be great if you joined.

Blogging / Web

Loud ‘n’ Proud

The Author Rank Building Machine [INFOGRAPHIC]

Internet Archive: Wayback Machine

World Wide Web born at CERN 25 years ago

The rise and rise of Google+


Team Honk Nottingham: Every picture tells a story!

2011 Japan earthquake


Chocolate mousse 


The Big Bang Theory extended for three series


Artful memory-keepers: Jenny Frith

Organisation and Productivity

How to Declutter Fast

Lifestyle and health

Change Your Life by Changing Your Bedtime Routine


The case for making Hebden Bridge the UK’s second city


Business attempts to consult with the public as citizens lack creativity


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7 years blogging, 17 years online

It is no wonder this blog feels like a major part of my life; I started it 7 years ago, before I had any children, before my mum died and before we moved to our family house. Yes my posting has had its ups and downs, but just like diary writing it appears I can’t stop blogging.  To help me on topics you want to read it would be great if you would answer my 1 question survey about what you’d like to see  here.

HTML site

However, this was not my first web presence, that goes back another 10 years! I created my first website in 1997 at university from scratch using html code. I kept a record of what I was doing and shared some of my amusing pictures (through static pages not in the form of a blog). I kept a site for 5 years, although it focused on photo sharing in the last few years (no wonder I like self hosting my pictures). Thanks to Wayback Machine I can share my first site; looking good with a guest book, animated email link and a frame; the must have feature at the time!

darktea first website 1997


I created my first  blogger site in March 2005 as a way of sharing book reviews. I started my second Blogger one in May that year and appears to be collating my input from other sites about progress towards my goals (I’m guessing mostly 43things a site I haven’t been on in years).

Mambo CMS

I progressed my book review site to a self hosted Mambo site, I’m guessing at sometime in 2005. I used  the CMS features of Mambo, but also included a blog.  This site is no longer available, but again thanks to Wayback Machine I can share what it looked like. I’ve progressed from black to a lighter colour scheme and love the poll to get input on my next book to read (on the right of the screenshot). I’m almost tempted to do something similar again ..

mambo cms - book review website


I started my Livejournal blog in February 2006, because a lot of my online friends through Bookcrossing were using it. It was great being able to connect to people outside the restrictions of forums.


And in March 2007 I started this blog, a picture of my original design is here and shows my current one isn’t that new anymore. I’d been reading about blogging (through google reader, even that sounds old now) and realised I wanted to have a go at writing in a different style to my informal writing on Livejournal; I also wanted the challenge of writing for an unknown audience.  I didn’t know what I was doing, but just jumped in; and seven years later I’m still going.

My online future

I have no plans to go anywhere. Sure I have my concerns about the cloud, but the web is a key part of my life – for learning as well as sharing. I suspect I will keep experimenting and trying new things, because really I’m a geek at heart.

Thanks to bookcrossing I’ve met online friends in real life before, but I’m very excited about going to my first blog events this year (do get in touch if you’d like to sponsor me to go to BritMums Live) and I suspect these will lead to a large increase in my enthusiasm and motivation.

I would really like to write about topics you are interested in, and in formats you like so would appreciate it if you could answer my one question survey, or let me know in the comments. The current favourites are to have more pictures and  more discussion / opinion posts covering topics of scrapbooking and collecting memories – do you agree?


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Inspiring women, making a #lastingchange in Tanzania

International Women’s Day is celebrated around the world on 8th March; recognising the achievements of women for over 100 years. Tanya, Annie and Penny, the Team Honk founders, are learning about female achievements in Tanzania thanks to Sport Relief. Working with The Gatsby Trust donations have helped created female entrepreneurs leading to lasting change for women, their families and communities and beyond - rippling out #lastingchange in Africa (find out more at the bottom of the post).

Sport Relief funds projects in Tanzania that “provide mentoring, coaching, technical and business training to women in three areas – food production, textiles and soap making”. One of the women they met is Eliafura a batik artist who sells her patterned materials to the local community. To help celebrate Eliafura’s achievements Tanya, Annie and Penny sent me a digital postcard of Eliafura and one of her lovely and bright batik pieces (that they bought).

Eliafura makes batik with help from Gatsby Trust and Sport ReliefEliafura makes the most beautiful batiks and tie dyed material.  With the support of the Gatsby Trust Eliafura has registered her business and learned important health and safety rules around the chemicals she uses.   Eliafura now also trains other women in the village who bring material to her and she shows them how to create these beautiful patterns.   They sell easily to not only local schools where teachers like to buy them but also overseas.   We bought her entire stock because we loved them all so much and are now working out how to sell them on so we can complete the circle of donation, funding, training, selling, donating.

You can read more about how Eliafura makes her batiks on Penny’s website. I found it fascinating to read because I made batiks as part of my art GCSE, but they were no bigger than A4; I’ve now learnt the secret of making really large pattens – a sponge pattern.

I love the colour of the material in the picture and I keep thinking what would I do with it, make a skirt, bag, cushion. I look forward to finding out the Team Honk plans. What would you do with it?

How can you help?

Please RT, share and support any updates you see with the #lastingchange hashtag.

DONATE You can help create #lastingchange by sponsoring #teamhonkrelay for Sport Relief

GET INVOLVED Join up for your local Sport Relief event here.

Please continue to support #teamhonkrelay, we will be cheering them madly too!

Why the Gatsby Trust?

Comic Relief has awarded Tanzania Gatsby Trust a grant of £264,959 over three years so they can continue helping women in Tanzania.

The number of women running small businesses in Tanzania has increased dramatically in the last 20 years; but these women have faced many challenges, for example, harassment, and demand for bribes from police and officials.

They also face challenges as a result of their gender, a culture that sees them primarily as wives and mothers rather than businesswomen, the demands of being primary carer, their lack of influence in decision making at home and beyond. Loans and finance are harder to access as a woman. Lack of education leaves women without essential literacy and numeracy skills they need.

The Gatsby Trust helps 1000 female entrepreneurs by educating both women and their partners about women’s rights and providing support and training, it has been around since 1992.

Why women?

The stastistics speak for themselves:

  • 70% of the world’s poorest people are women and they own only 1% of the world’s property.
  • Nearly 50% of all sexual assaults worldwide are against girls aged 15 years or younger
  • Domestic violence is the largest cause of women’s injury and death – leading to more deaths and disability among women aged 15-44 than malaria, war, traffic accidents and cancer.
  • The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that female genital mutilation (FGM) has affected as many as 138 million women and girls in Africa, and the numbers continue to rise every year.
  • Many women and girls have poor access to education and about two thirds of all illiterate people are women.

The UK Government matchfunded the £16 million which Comic Relief had already committed to spend helping change the lives of women and girls across Africa, using money raised through public donations for Red Nose Day 2013.

This combined total of £32 million from DIFD and Comic Relief will:

  • help girls get a better education
  • address violence against women
  • make childbirth safer for both mothers and babies
  • make it easier for female farmers to make a better, more sustainable living
  • and empower women to become leaders in making decisions that affect their lives.

“The message is clear – we must help to give girls and women a voice if we’re serious about transforming not only families and communities, but economies and whole countries as well”

International Development Secretary Justine Greening , March 2013

Why Tanzania?

Tanzania is a politically stable country, but, it is still one of the poorest countries in the world with one third of its population living below the poverty level and over half of the rural population living with no access to an adequate water source.

We will be in Dar es Salaam, one of the fastest growing cities in the world.  Unfortunately, this rapid urban expansion also means Tanzania has one of the highest rates of slum growth in Africa.  The UN estimates that 70% of the population of Dar es Salaam now live in slums.

Tanzania has spectacular nature and wildlife including Africa’s highest mountain, Kilimanjaro, and national parks such as the Serengeti. The country’s main exports include gold, sisal, cloves, coffee, cotton, cashew nuts, minerals, and tobacco. Yet trade is still an issue. If Africa could regain just an additional 1% share of global trade, it would earn $70 billion more in exports each year – more than double what the region currently receives in aid.

Since Comic Relief began it has funded 128 grants to organisations working in Tanzania to the value of over £46.8 million.

  • 28% of the population is living below the poverty line.
  • 5.1% of the adult population is living with HIV—that’s 1.5 million people.
  • 1.2 million children have been orphaned by AIDS.
  •  1 in every 19 children dies before they reach their 5th birthday.
  • Nearly one third of the adult population is illiterate.
  • 42% of children have had their growth stunted due to poor nutrition.
  • 16% of children are underweight.
  • Only about half of the population has access to clean water.
  • Only 12% of the population has access to adequate sanitation.
  • Only 49% of births are accompanied by a skill birth attendant.
  • 1 in 5 children is involved in child labour.
  • 1 in 4 girls aged 15-24 is illiterate.

Stats thanks to Comic Relief. The trip has been funded by public donations, this is further explained here

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  • About

    My name is Kate Davis and I'm working towards a productive and successful life and this blog follows my progress. I work almost full time as an environmental consultant and project manager and I've got two young children. More
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