Our favourite five – February | Food, flowers, and a farm

Our favourite five February

Once again, I’m back to being late with our favourite five – oops! I didn’t manage to get it written up by the end of the month, and March has been super busy so I’ve barely even turned the laptop on! I’m here now though, better late than never, right?

So, what were our favourite five for February? (That’s a lot of f‘s!)

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Protecting yourself from data transfer hacks

Protecting yourself from data transfer hacks

If you have visited my blog recently, you may have unexpectedly stumbled upon a disturbing blog post; it wasn’t my doing, Stacey in the Sticks had been hacked! I wasn’t alone in this; many fellow bloggers suffered the same fate, with very similar posts. I won’t lie, it was very scary and panic inducing. I thought I had lost a whole post that had taken me a while to prepare and write; but any post written would have had the same effect.

To know that somebody had immersed themselves into my world, potentially stolen my data, and imposed their beliefs on my blog and my readers; it was horrible. By imposing their beliefs, this is what I mean (apologies for the unsavoury language, but I wanted a clear picture of exactly what happened):

Hacked blog post
Credit to Zara at www.mojoblogs.co.uk for the screenshot

Not nice, right? When you have taken years of hard work to build up your brand, and then this happens. I cannot stress enough how much it stressed me out. Luckily enough, this was a simple fix to get my original post back. There are obviously many other ways and means that hackers work, and this is just in the minority; though it’s the first time I’ve ever been a victim of hacking. It did get me wondering though, am I protecting myself enough?

There are many ways in which you protect yourself from data transfer hacks and Data Label have put together this handy guide with some steps you can take to make sure your data is kept secure. Admittedly I don’t do all of these already, but I did immediately change all of my passwords again; something which I do regularly anyway. I make sure I back up my blog every month too using BackupGuard, and continually save drafts as I am writing; luckily I was able to retrieve my blog post this way! If you think you may have been hacked, you can also use a tool such as Kaspersky to run a virus & malware check.

Taking these steps may not completely stop data transfer hacks, but they will go a way to helping you retrieve your data if you are ever unlucky enough for it to happen.

Have you ever been a victim of hacking in any way?

*PR collaboration

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Musings of a Slimming World target member | #1

Musings of a Slimming World target member #1

It’s been a few months now since I reached target; just over three of them, in fact. It does actually feel like it’s been longer to be honest. I haven’t shared an update since becoming a target member so I thought it was about time I got my thoughts down on paper; well, virtual paper! I was going to say, I can’t remember the last time I went to weigh in dreading getting on the scales, but that wouldn’t be entirely true. The truth is, I’ve been really struggling for most of the year already, and it’s almost March! Read more

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Our favourite five – January | Bags, bake club, and a book signing

Our favourite five - January

Now I’ve got back into the swing of things with blogging again, I’m going to try and be a bit more timely with our favourite five updates! January has gone by in a bit of a blur if I’m honest; though we didn’t really have a lot on, but time seems to go by so quick these days.

Jacob started back at school; Barney really found his place in our home; I had a little trip away at the end of the month with my book blog partner in crime, to a multi author book signing in Birmingham; and when I came home I had a new neighbour in the form of my brother-in-law!
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Our favourite five – December | Barney, riverside walks, and Christmas

Our favourite five - December

Okay, I know, I know; it’s almost February and I’m only just sharing our favourite five from December now! Since I’ve taken a little step back from the blog for the time being, I’ve not really been forcing myself to write, as such. So I have been meaning to write this, but only just gotten around to it.

Anyway, as with most people, December was quite a hectic month for us! We had a new addition, which I mentioned in November’s favourite five, and then the Elf came to stay again, we had an advent countdown, we were hosting Christmas Day so i had that to prepare for, it was half term, and so on!

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Children’s healthy (and favourite) breakfasts

Children's healthy (and favourite) breakfasts

Anjanette Fraser is a Director of The Natural Alternative Health & Wellbeing Ltd educating companies and their employees on the importance of nutrition in health – both corporate and personal. Since the company inception over 10 years ago its national coverage has been hugely beneficial working with large and small organisations over multiple locations. Anjanette is currently studying a MSc in Nutritional Medicine ensuring the information clients receive is scientific, current, and user friendly. For more information please visit www.natural-alternative.co.uk

Worryingly, children’s breakfasts contain at least half of their recommended daily sugar intake according to Public Health England; that’s before school has even started! Breakfast manufacturers use a combination of sugar and clever marketing to keep enticing children and parents back to their brands, and often under the illusion that their breakfast products are healthy. A survey found that 84% of parents thought they were giving their children a healthy start to the day.

Nearly 20% of children are obese by the time they leave primary school, and 25% of five year olds have tooth decay. A lot of this is due to sugar. A survey of 200 parents with children aged between four and 10 years old found kids were eating more than 11g sugar (3 sugar cubes) for breakfast. It’s not just cereals (some contain up to equivalent of two sugar cubes); chocolate spread (three sugar cubes) and fruit juices (five sugar cubes) are also culprits. Read more

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Easy banana ice cream | Recipe

Easy banana ice cream

I know it’s not really the weather for ice cream at the moment, but ice cream is completely fine any time of the year, right? When I saw the frozen function on the Panasonic Gourmet Processor I had just the recipe in mind; this easy banana “ice cream”. I say “ice cream” as it isn’t really ice cream, but it looks like it, feels like it, and almost tastes like it; but it uses just one ingredient – bananas!

I have added a couple of extras to this easy banana ice cream, but you could add whatever you fancied, really. It’s delicious with a drizzle of honey on the top, and it really does feel like a naughty treat. It takes just seconds to whizz up in the Panasonic Gourmet Processor; though there is a little preparation required first.
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New year, new…blog?

stacey in the Sticks. New year. new blog

You may or may not have noticed (if you didn’t know my blog title before, anyway), that the name of my blog has changed. There’s no “new year, new me” here, instead it’s “new year, new blog”; well kinda.

For the last few months I haven’t really had much motivation regarding the blog; I felt like I was just churning stuff out, and not really getting anywhere. The previous name – Nobody Said It Was Easy – was given when I started this blog baby six years ago, when we were struggling with trying for a real baby. I had infertility issues, which you can read about here, and the title seemed pretty apt at the time.

As the years went by, I had even more struggles with depression. And then I had a miscarriage, with the depression continuing and after Noah’s pregnancy; so the name just kind of stuck. But, in the last year or so, I haven’t really blogged about any of these things so the blog name just didn’t seem very fitting any more; hence me losing motivation.

A few months ago I decided it was time for a name change and re-brand; my lovely blogging friends came up with some great ideas – as I’m obviously incapable of choosing one myself… Anyway, Rachel at Coffee, Cake, Kids suggested Stacey in the Sticks and I thought it was absolutely perfect for our new (ish) life in the country. So, with the help of Kip at Three Fishes Design – here I am!

I’ve also decided to take a little step back from this blog; to be able to concentrate more on book reviews and the book blog I co-write. So, I’ve also decided to refine what I blog about. Instead of a little bit of everything, I will mostly be concentrating on recipes (still including Slimming World), food & kitchen reviews, and our country lifestyle & interiors. Kind of an easy-living style blog I suppose. I may throw a bit of the old random into the mix, if I have time or reason!

I really do appreciate all of my readers, and I hope the regular readers who have come to love my blog and been with me since the beginning, will continue to stick with me, out here in the sticks 🙂

Stacey

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#ParcelPerfect – How do you wrap yours?

ParcelPerfect - How do you wrap yours

If there is one thing I always leave until the last minute at Christmas, it’s wrapping presents. I have been known to be sat wrapping at 10pm on Christmas Eve, finishing up; but obviously that’s only possible with gifts I am giving over the coming days. Over recent years I have taken part in Secret Santa exchanges with various online communities I am a part of, and this means my recipient is usually across the other side of the country. Hence, I need to send parcels via mail or courier.

Contact Numbers UK have launched their #ParcelPerfect campaign; aiming to ensure all parcels get to their destination, or any potential issues are sorted ASAP this Christmas. Contact Numbers UK have produced this comprehensive guide to posting Christmas presents. When wrapping presents and packing parcels, I definitely have my own meticulous way of doing so!

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Our favourite five – November | Awards, fireworks, and lights

Our favourite five - November

I can’t quite believe it’s December already; this year has gone so quick! I started joining in with our favourite five back in May and the months just seem to have flown by. I’m surprised I have managed to join every month; but I think I do so because it’s nice to look back on our month and see that even if I’ve had bad days, there has been good too.

Anyway, I’m a little late with November’s favourites, for a reason you will discover when you read on… The beginning of November was fairly quiet, but towards the end seemed to be filled with preparing for the aforementioned, and for our advent and Christmas countdown!

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