Because not everyone is Elite

Onwards and upwards!

I have finally buckled and I am now starting a full blog over at lillyringlet.com where I will bring everything under one roof. This means that all my cooking, sewing, gaming, social media and design related posts will all be there from now on.

Since blogging, I have been tossing and turning whether or not to do this but as I get more into writing blogs, I really want to make it easier and have it all in one place.

Thank you for everyone who has followed me here over the last few years and I hope to see you soon at my website!

Lillyringlet xXxXx

123 Reg review

For a number of years I have had to manage both my own websites and work ones so I thought that I would share my experience of working with 123 reg.

I have been with 123 reg for years for my personal website with the Linux Start up package with the WordPress app. Recently I tried to update the wordpress system as normal and my website died. I find out it is because the control panel has changed for 123 reg and none of the apps are showing any more.

As I have paid for these, you can imagine I contact them (after an hour of finding out how and that none of their support documents cover what I am experiencing). I miss a call at work because I can’t answer my phone there to find an e-mailing stating that I have a response to my ticket.

Despite the fact that I have paid for a service with these apps, the support note just states that I need an upgrade for this app. 

As you can imagine I am peeved, but it appears that there is a second ticket stating that they can call me between 9-5… which is the time I work! I can’t get access to a non-work computer on lunch so there is not much point! Unless you don’t work, freelance or can get to a computer on break, you can’t access their support service.

My response highlights that I have paid for this service and that I can’t take a call at those times.

They finally admit that I have indeed PAID for that service but because they have updated their hosting system I can only get this back with an upgrade…. so I can’t access something that I have paid for unless I pay more money…

So we are going around and around in circles… I will keep you updated what happens but I can tell you that a couple of years ago, you got what you paid for but this is no longer the case, the support to get this sorted it now 10 days on and still just being told I need to throw money at them!

Their website system is now confusing to navigate, if something goes wrong you are screwed (especially if your business depends on it) and the support system is as useful as a mouse coughing on your keyboard.

I was already planning in April to move my hosting to the BF’s as his support and system has been amazing, but now I am demanding a full refund or my service returned to normal.

Support: 0 stars
website system: 0 stars
Server: 2 stars
Prices: 2 stars

 

 

After watching old episodes of Great British Bake off and being obsessed with Tea, I was really inspired to my scones while recovering from the flu at the weekend!

Before you worry about me making others sick, I was getting over it and ate most of them… well 7 of the 9 I made….

I love scones as a treat as you can add as much (or in my case) little cream and jam as you want. For super tasters desserts can sometimes be a bit of a problem with such rich sweet flavours. I love food, especially desserts, where I have control over how rich it is. If you are looking for a treat for a super taster, this is perfect!

The great thing about this recipe, not only is it quick and simple but it also is just made of ingredients that you generally have around the house anyway! For my first batch of scones that I have made, they came out really well and I can’t wait to make more again very soon.

To make these simple scones you need the following:

  • 225g self-raising flour (and extra for dusting stuff)
  • 2 tbsp caster sugarr
  • 1/2tsp salt
  • 55g unsalted butter
  • 125ml milk (I used semi skimmed but whole fat milk is apparently much better!)

You can also add lemon and chopped ginger, but as a supertaster (and through being lazy) I didn’t.

Remember you will also need whatever it is that you want to include in your scone once finished. I went for the traditional clotted cream and jam coz you sometimes can’t beat the classics.

So how do you make these nice and simple scone you ask?

First the basics, pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees or gas mark 6 and get everything cleaned up and ready. Lucky this is a great recipe that you don’t need any mixing equipment other than a butter knife, decent sized bowl, scales and baking tray! I also used a small glass cup to cut out the mix so it is a really handy recipe to do with kids.

Get everything you need ready

Get everything you need ready

Now I am lucky as I do have cute measuring spoons and if you are going to cook regularly I highly recommend them. Unlike trying to using normal spoons and trying to work out how heaped or unheaped you want it, these are designed so that you can get an exact same amount every time!

IMG_6773

Put the flour, sugar and salt into a bowl

Now you are ready put the flour, sugar and salt into the bowl. Then chop up the butter into small cubes. The smaller the better as this will make the next bit a lot easier! Put the butter into the bowl, but try to spread it out otherwise it tries to stick to its self rather than mix in with the other stuff in there.

Now is the fun (but messy part), you need to work in the butter to the mixture. This basically means that you try to squish and smoosh the all the mixture together so that the butter and mixed into the flour, sugar and salt until it all is a breadcrumb consistency. Really make sure that you get the butter throughout the whole mixture and keep going until you are really sure that the butter is throughout the mixture.

Work the butter, flour, sugar and salt until a breadcumb consistency

Work the butter, flour, sugar and salt until a breadcumb consistency

Now this is the part where if you want to add lemon and ginger, this is when you add 2 tbsp of chopped ginger and 1 tbsp of lemon juice to the 125ml of milk, otherwise just pour in the milk to the breadcumb like mixture.

Now the next bit may sound werid but rather than using your finger, a mixer or other normal mixing utensils, you actually use a plain old butter knife to roughly mix everything together. This means that you get a really rough mixture that you associate with scones. Mix it up too much and it will be more like cake.

Stop when you get a nice looking mix like this

Stop when you get a nice looking mix like this

Now you need to knead the mix briefly (again remember that too much pounding and you won’t get that scone texture we are looking for).

Pat out the mixture

Pat out the mixture

Using your hands, pat flat the mixture till it is about 2cm thick. Remember if you are pat it too thin you won’t get good height on your scone. It is quite deceiving so don’t make it too flat! Patting it flat gives it that nice top texture and makes it harder to make it too flat.

I used a small glass to cut out the scones (in fact I used an old nutella glass) but you can use other cutters. You should get about 6 scones, however you will need to roll together the leftovers to make the final scone. If you pat the mixture too thin, you will find you get more than 6.

Cut out the scones

Cut out the scones

Now is time to take those cut out scones and put them on a baking tray lightly dusted with flour.

Almost ready

Almost ready

Lightly brush the scones with milk. You can do this with clean fingers or with a pastry brush.

Brush the scones lightly with milk

Brush the scones lightly with milk

Now it is time to put your scones in the oven for 18-20 minutes until nice and golden. Let them cool and then gobble up with clotted cream and jam!

Yummy looking simple scones

Yummy looking simple scones

These are quick and simple scones that will be sure to please most people. Because of the nice simple texture and taste, even super tasters will love this as they will be able to add as much or little filling as possible.

Mine came out really well but I would love to hear how yours came out! Will you be adding any additional flavours or ingredient? Or any tips that you have that you found when making yours?

Now the famous debate… do you put clotted cream or jam on your scones first?

Three years ago I met my wonderful other half who introduced me to making food from scratch. Previously food was difficult to explore for me as everything tastes so potent or rubbish as a super taster. By making everything from scratch, I am able to experiment and find out what it is that I do and don’t like, as well as why!

Bread has always been a favourite food of mine because as super taster it can really be incredibly delicious and different. When my mum first found out that I was a super taster, she helped me start to love food by exploring different bread. Now that she understood that I could taste all the little differences, we started to experiment with different bread.

10 years on I made bread from scratch with BF shortly after we started dating and now I make it regularly. Through experimenting I know have a bread recipe that everyone loves more than any other bread they have tried. The other day I was given bread by a specialist food store when they found out I was a super taster and I was going home to make bread. They believed that I would love their bread so much that I would come back and purchase more. What they did not account for was just how good my bread is.

Everyone has a favourite type of bread, so always remember to experiment to achieve yours but this is how I make mine:

  1. Measure out 500 grams of bread flour. I like to use Allisons Strong White Bread Flour, or Waitrose Strong White Bread Flour. Put it into the mixing bowl. Now I have Kenwood Chef with a bread hook, which I would highly recommend getting. Bread hooks are a must if you plan to make bread regularly.
  2. Measure out 2 Tsp of quick acting yeast. I use Dove Farms Quick Yeast.
  3. Add 1/4-1/2 tsp of salt to the mix.
  4. Start slowly mixing the flour, salt and yeast together. I put my Kenwood to under 1 while I prepare the water mixture.
  5. In a measuring jug, add 200ml of filtered water, 1 tsp of caster sugar, 100ml of boiling water and a splash of olive oil (I personnaly like to use Jamie Oliver Olive Oil). Mix together and then very slowly add to the flour mix as it continues to mix together.
  6. Once all the liquid has been added I turn up to 1. After 10 minutes of mixing, I remove the bread hook. Check however that the mix is together in a ball of dough. Put a wet cloth over the bowl and leave for an hour.
  7. After an hour wait (I either clean or watch TV for an hour)
  8. Turn the oven on to 190 degrees.
  9. Prepare a floury side for you to manage the dough. I personally use a silicon mat and put flour on top. This allows for me to quickly clean and use the side for other purposes. This is really useful when you have limited space in the kitchen.
  10. I cover my hands in dough before pulling all the dough out and putting on my flour mat.
  11. Fold the dough repeatedly for 5 minutes. I do this by flattening the dough, folding in half and repeating. Keep regularly re flouring the side/mat and hands to keep dough from sticking everywhere.
  12. Break into 8 equally sized pieces. I do this by getting the dough into a ball and then cutting the dough with a knife. I have found this gets it equal and makes it easy to quickly roll into a neat little balls
  13. Now I roll the pieces into a ball before placing over my thumb to create a deep dip, and pulling the dough together over the now hole formed. I have found that this reduces the likelihood of big air bubbles (ironically) forming and gives an interesting bottom to the bread.
  14. Leave for 10 minutes (for me usually until the oven has warmed up enough). This will allow the bred to rise further and grow before going back in the oven.
  15. After 8 minutes, turn the rolls around and leave in the oven for another 6-8 minutes
  16. Take out of the oven and rest on a cooling tray for 10-25 minutes depending on how warm you want them (I love to get Brie melting in them as soon as possible personally!)
  17. Enjoy!

My biggest tip with bread is experimenting. You might find that you like your bread differently than me. I know that BF loves his with 1/2 a tsp of salt compared to me who prefers it with only 1/4 tsp of salt!

What are your biggest tips in making bread? What is your favourite type of bread?

In the last year I have fallen in love with cooking, baking and sewing so I have decided to start writing about it. I am still very new to it all still so there is a lot for me to learn a long the way.

I have always been curvy since I was 14, so I have always struggled to find clothes that properly fit. At one point I had a size 6 waist and a size 14 bust… you can imagine the Jessica Rabbit shape made me popular with certain people! On top of this, I am a super taster, so I have more taste buds than normal people. At 14 I was curvy and found out why it was so difficult to find food I could eat.

Now over 10 years on, I have been able to explore food and sewing again now that my life has settled down, and it is fantastic! As there is so much I am learning with each bake, cook and sewing project, I thought that I would share this with everyone.

I have struggled to find healthy food that super tasters can eat, so I will also be creating a super taster recipe series for those who are looking to eat well but struggle with the overly flavoured healthy options.

I really hope that you follow me on this adventure, and I would love to hear about your sewing projects and dishes!

Now this story requires some back story but is important for an important point in tight knit digital communities and why you should never assume students are social media experts.

A few years back I was a member of the Brunel Climbing club, and every year I could I would try to go to Annual Dinner. Every year though that I went there was a major accident. The first year a member went to clip in his rope only to fall, get his arm caught in the rope as he fell and was left hanging from his arm (causing permanent scaring). The second year a student luckily had a helmet on when there was a rock fall and her head was saved, but the helmet was almost split in two.  The final trip involved a friend being dropped by a fresher leading to a shattered wrist. 

The events that lead to that event involved

  1. a committee who decided to go to a seperate site to the freshers and non-committee members they were there to protect, 
  2. a non committee member having to talk to the indoor climbing centre that everyone had completed a basic belay course  and on a leading course
  3. myself and the finally injured other ex-member climbing by ourselves a number of times while all the other climbers were slowly getting ready.
  4. finding one of the freshers on their own and asking if he wanted to climb with us (as everyone else had paired off)
  5. After his first climb (and him claiming he was about to climb 6a-c climbs and a great belayer and showing he understood the basics with the rope) offered to belay my partner so I could rest after a tiring climb.
  6. When my partner had reached the top of the wall he began to lower her only to completely let go of the rope when he panicked when he realised she was descending too fast.
  7. Everyone panicked while we got an ambulance (luckily the fallen victim is a health professional and there was a doctor climbing behind us) and people ran off to inform the non-committee member leading the trip and I called the committee members who had headed to an wall else where. The non-comittee member who had lead the trip to the indoor wall was informed and cried out “Why did no one tell you he’s not safe! He didn’t pass his belaying test!” Other current members also confirmed his inability to belay and that they were holding their breathe when originally the centre was going to make everyone show their belaying abilities before being able to enter as they knew he and another student would fail.
  8. As someone who had an open ticket from where we were (and not a current member) I went with my broken companion to hospital with her s shaped wrist to find it was shattered. 
  9. She asked me there to make a statement of exactly what happened that day in case she needed to take any legal action against the centre. Once i returned I started it right away while everything was fresh and sent it to her to use.

 

A few weeks later she told me her lawyer was taking action against the SU because the fault was actually with them rather than the centre as they not only had all but one committee member been at the other site (and the only committee member present was not trained in anyway to handle the situation or leading the group), technically lying to the centre or their “test” not being to a suitable level or warning non members of capabilities of its members who were also on the trip. There were a number of other issues but based on the statements provided from myself and others. 

When the SU found out that the action was against them statements from current students started to be removed on their request, with some current students coming to me in tears sometimes because of the bullying they had received from the club and the SU about making their time at the University difficult. As you can understand they had to do what was best for them but as the only graduated member and only witness to the whole event the only statement that remained was mine that was written on the day of the event stating what happened with no sway against the SU. Nicki was asked not so politely to leave the club’s Facebook group, talk to members or even return to the ex-bums group which has no association to the SU. The treatment to Nicki while shocking was expected as they were trying to protect themselves.

So that was over a year, so why is this important today and why does it involve digital communities? Earlier today a girl asked if she could join the society even though she will be studying at a separate University but living locally. Based on my experience of that day, having worked as a Clubs and Societies Coordinator at Bournemouth SU and all of the other accidents I was very cautious with my response with “No due to insurance issues, especially after what happened at annual dinner a few years ago”. I was clear to not be specific but was clear enough to give an answer of that there is a reason and a consequence to why it is not possible. I also updated her on how girls often arrange an out of lesson training session so there are no boys about trying to show off or distract.

A minute later my comment is removed and replaced with one claiming it was for “clarity” claiming this is a group for the BUMs and not for the wall and the answer giving instead being unclear just stating to go to another group (with no link). As this is a group that is normally very kind and welcoming I responded again commenting on the “clarity” and repeating about girls often grouping together. 

It isn’t long till I get a private message that is full of slander and incorrect information, but also poor community engagement. Tom Mulder, tells me off for even pointing to that accident (and later to any accident occurring ever), especially when I’m apparently suing the Student Union (having not met with a lawyer apart from a networking event) and trying to use it as a play to win over support for my case (which doesn’t exist). 

Annoyed at the slander, rude approach and poor management of the whole affair I make him aware that I in no way was trying to cause problems, not suing anyone, or was happy with the approach that he has taken. I gave advice from managing social media campaigns and profiles for so many organisations on how to manage issues in the future so not to annoy any one else. I even apologuise for being annoyed but stated that I just wanted to set the record straight only to have a backlash of even more slander, rude and horrendous messages which included claims that the incident was both mine and Nicki’s fault, that I had been personally chasing students to make statements that were full of lies in the weeks that followed the incident, my own employment history and expertise questioned and finally impolitely asked to leave the group.

For someone who has over 6 years of social media experience, with so many successful campaigns under my belt, my own profile clearly stating my experience working in Student Unions, even the clear insults to my knowledge and experience in those fields was mocked and tossed a side while claims that could not be at all feasible.

For someone not even holding a rope, up a rope was who was resting her tired muscles at the time while the accident in questioned happened… I am still trying to get round how this accident was my fault? Or how I was able to chase students for fake statements when I have talked to very few people who were there since it happened due to living over 100 miles away and having a lot on my plate at the time. I am struggling even more that he still thought I was taking action against the Student Union and the club when I have never met a lawyer since the accident other than to take their photograph at a fundraising event for work or over a sex tape scandal I had to manage at another job.

So here is a student who, rather than taking critism on how to manage issues and communities, he starts using slander and lies instead, sending three messages, each one filled with more and more vile lies and mockery and this is not a stand a long case. Yes this is the first where I have had emotional ties due to the wonderful years I have spent with the club learning about a wonderful sport and about amazing people but I have seen so many more students and graduates like this at the helm of a social media platform and group.

So why do so many companies still continue to hire graduates just because they have their own Facebook or Twitter account? Even as I was leaving an organisation, I was shocked when I requested that clear social media experience was important for the new candidate for the CEO to come out with “But all students know how to use social media, right?”

A clear answer is no. If you are going to hire a graduate at least look for someone who has done a marketing course or has clear examples of campaigns that they have run for societies and groups. As social media exploded when I started University, there are so many 25-27 year olds that will have a much better idea of how campaigns evolve and grow, but also where to look for the next trends, or even how we found ways to push the rules. 

So I hope that someone reads this and finds one story that will make them really consider who they are hiring to be the first point of contact that your customers face, especially when so many like my self will go to Twitter before calling the complaints line!

Recently I have found Once Upon a Time, a fairy tale land transported to a modern american town. The first season is a slow build up with no one believing the leading little boy Henry in who they all are. The mix of bright beautiful visuals mixed with darker undertones only occasionally appearing, mainly surrounding Ragina and Mr Gold. Even their dark characters has a glossy appearance with their terrible nature gleaming through all the more.

Come the second season and without spoiling anything thing, it has a very different flow to how the episodes run, yet this only gives the series the ability to evolve and grow stronger. It is able to take normally short and sweet children’s stories in to beautifully intertwined lives both in the “real” world and the fairy tale ones.

When you first watch OUAT you will be able to guess some characters easily, and others will grow and show their true character. Like most great series it does need some investiment but by the end of season one you will be firmly under its spell of wonderful visuals, great story telling and amazingly deep and complex characters. Good and bad lines are torn to sunder (especially in the second season) as you find the truth to what has driven them to their actions. This makes things exciting to watch as you meet new characters you don’t know which way they might ultimately sway.

 

While this show is clearly not for kids, it is a great show for those who are a kid at heart with its awe inspiring scenes that make you feel like a kid before finding your self reaching for a tissue with heart breaking scene. This is a great series which I fear is under rated and missed by many due to its fairy tale visuals being often so beautiful and the many Princess or heroine storylines. The female lead can’t help this image but hopefully this show will continue to grow with more and more people finding its wonderful delights.

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