Update from me

16 06 2010

I haven’t been on my blog for a while. Just to update you, I’ve been very busy making jewellery and selling it on Etsy and Dawanda. If you’re interested in buying my jewellery then go here to buy in USD 


Review of the Arcotel Wimberger, Vienna

6 04 2010

I just got back from a long weekend in Vienna where I stayed in the Arcotel Wimberger. Here’s a quick review of my stay there.

I booked my stay at the Arcotel Wimberger through lastminute and it average at about 50 GBP per night. The hotel is located in the same area as most of the other main hotels and is just next to West Banhoff train station. The airport has a bus which will transfer you directly to West Banhoff for 11.50 euros return. It takes about 35 minutes.

The hotel is not very beautiful from the outside but once you are inside, it is peaceful and elegant. The staff were all very helpful and polite.

Our room was lovely and quiet. Although it wasn’t that attractively decorated. The hotel has a good restaurant as well as an indoor pool, gym, jacuzzi and sauna.

As the hotel is next to west banhoff, it’s very easy to get anywhere in the city. There is also a good cafe about 5 minutes walk from the hotel as well as a big street of shops about 10 minutes walk from the hotel.

How to sell on Dawanda

17 03 2010

My jewellery on Dawanda

The two main portals for selling handmade goods on the internet are Dawanda and Etsy. Etsy is by far the best in terms of layout and number of buyers on the site. However, there’s no point having lots of potential buyers if your products are swamped beneath masses of other people’s products – as is the case on etsy.

 Dawanda does not seem to have masses of buyers but it also does not have that many sellers either – I made my first sale within one day of listing!

 Here are my steps for how to sell on Dawanda.

  1. Register with the site. As with Etsy, your username will be part of your URL so choose wisely. Having said that, Dawanda will let you change your username unlike Etsy.
  2. When you register with Dawanda, you will be registering with either the English, German or French platform. Don’t worry too much about which one you choose.
  3. Produce a banner to go at the top of your page. Think about your brand identity and what you will be selling. Selling on Dawanda is competitive so you need to get all the edge you can over other sellers. It is possible to buy ready-made banners but it is just as easy to make a good Dawanda banner using Microsoft publisher and paint. All you need is a good photo to use as a background – publisher allows you to fade it or change the colours of the photo so it blends in as a background. Choose a nice font and write in your company name. I think it’s a good idea to also write a short sentence about what you sell or your brand motto and include that on your banner too. It is, after all, the first thing that people will see on your site. If you need to resize your banner, save it as a JPEG file on publisher and open it in paint. You can then go to image – attributes. It is then possible to enter in the pixel size required. This is very useful for producing Etsy banners as Etsy requires a specific pixel size for banners.
  4. Once your banner is loaded, you need to think about your shop policies. It is a good idea to offer refunds unless your product cannot be returned for hygiene reasons. Think about what your refund policy will be.
  5. Inform sellers about how you will package their purchase, when you will post it (after payment) and how long it should take for them to receive it.
  6. Set up a shipping profile. Think about how much your product weighs and look at the shipping rates used by other people. Some people opt to offer low or free shipping and incorporate the cost in their price. I’m not a fan of this as I think it is more honest to the buyer to separate out the costs.
  7. If you can, list your policies in German, English and French. It will give you access to a wider range of buyers. But make sure that what you’re writing actually makes sense.
  8. Before you even think about listing something, look at your product. Work out how much it costs to make, what price similar products are listed at, all your hidden fees (5% of sale price on Dawanda and paypal fees) and how long it takes you to make a product.
  9. Take loads of photos of your product. I will be writing a blog post later on that area.
  10. Get listing!

To see my site go to www.dawanda.com/shop/newworldmonkey


How to Deal with Feline Acne

6 02 2010

A while ago I wrote a post about a little stray kitten that we found in the middle of a busy road. Scampington has turned out to be a delightful little chap who is exceptionally loving and rather handsome. However, he can be a bit too aggressive at times. Apparently mood swings and aggression are typical of cats who have been parted from their mother too young.


Occasionally, it feels like we are living with a teenager – one minute craving love and the next minute rebelling. To top off the feeling of having a teenager in the house, it turns out Scamp has feline acne. I didn’t even know there was such a thing as feline acne.

It’s just under his chin and looks like small black flecks – a bit like black heads. Unlike human acne, the flecks rub off. We had fed him out of some plastic bowls which we periodically swapped around but plastic is believed to be one of the main causes of feline acne. We have now bought him a little ceramic dish which we wash daily.

We have also been washing his chin with 6% hydrogen peroxide. Luckily his chin hair is white otherwise it’d get bleached!

It’s early days but hopefully these efforts will work.

10 ways to deal with the blues

29 12 2009

It could be worse. A random giant could pick you up whilst you're in the middle of pootling about.

At the moment I feel deeply blue. It’s a combination of a number of factors – returning to work, leaving my home country, missing my family and feeling a bit confused about what I’m doing with my life. I think everyone gets a bit depressed at times and the dark winter weather doesn’t help!

There’s not much that one can do about feeling down, you tend to have to just ride it out until it goes away. Usually trying to get into a routine helps as you can go on autopilot until your mood has improved. However, here are 10 ways to deal with the blues:

  1. Accept it. Trying to analyse why you’re sad or work out ways to change your situation will probably make you feel worse. If there’s an obvious cause to your unhappiness then do something but otherwise just try to accept it as one of life’s low times. The high times will come eventually.
  2. Eat well. Eating healthy food and not resorting to too much sugar will help stabilise your energy levels and make you feel more in control.
  3. Exercise. Even a short walk will make you feel more energetic and the fresh air will help clear your head. Try to focus on all the beautiful things around you. Remember that the world is an amazing place.
  4. Do something with your hands. Try cooking, painting, cleaning or craft. By concentrating on a manual task, you will enable your brain to switch off and relax.
  5. Get comfy. Put on your most comfortable clothes, light some scented candles and listen to music or watch a happy movie. Smells can really affect your mood so surround yourself with an uplifting fragrance such as citrus.
  6. Read a book about someone in a similar situation to yours. It is very comforting to know that other people have experienced the same things as you.
  7. Take care of others. Give your loved ones, pets and plants some attention. Nurturing others will help take your mind off yourself and will make you feel better.
  8. Plan something fun. Plan some kind of outing or holiday for one or two months time. It will give you something to look forward too and it will make the time in front of you seem more manageable.
  9. Buy a gift for yourself. The best thing to buy is either the starting kit for a new hobby or an item to make your home prettier.
  10. Remember that nothing lasts forever and that life changes all the time. Try to just appreciate the present because one day you will look back and not understand why you wasted so much time being miserable. Also, forgive yourself. People tend to think that their actions are very important to other people. They aren’t. Just let go of things and where necessary simply say sorry. Try to keep calm and not panic about your sadness but instead try to just focus on getting through each day.

Dead Sea Mud Mask

6 11 2009

During my recent trip to Jordan, I stopped by the Dead sea and picked myself up some real dead sea mud. Okay it wasn’t completely real as in I didn’t go and dig for mud and then put it in a little pot but it was genuine Dead sea mud in a pretty container. In keeping with my post about using simplified, natural products; Dead sea mud is perfect. A few nights ago I decided to try it out and see if it had any miracle properties.

Dead Sea Mask

Not one to do when waiting for pizza delivery

First I had a hot shower to open my pores and then I slathered on a thick layer of Dead sea mud. You can tell that it is genuine mud as it smelt strongly of clay and you have to mix it before putting it on as it contains sea water.  I left it on for approximately ten minutes during which time my skin slightly tingled and I felt a bit as if I was sitting in a bog due to the smell of clay. I then washed it off and put on a moisturiser.

The smell did linger for a while, but it wasn’t a horrid smell. In fact it just smelt earthy. My complexion was ‘glowing’ afterwards but my pores were not significantly improved.

A few days later I repeated the process and this time, you could really see a difference. My pores were smaller and cleaner looking and for most of the week my complexion was shine-free. It was definitely more effective than any other face mask I have ever used!

Make your own

4 11 2009

Recently I have fallen victim to the craze for eliminating harmful ‘chemicals’ from your life. Now, as someone with a science background, I know that everything is a chemical so there is nothing that is free of chemicals but I do think that it is important to try to cut down on all the gunk that we are putting into our bodies.

The other day I was thinking about how everyday I get up and watch my face with a cleanser, put on moisturiser, deodorant, perfume and make-up. During the day, I might use a hand cream or more make up. I come home and wash my body with shower gel and my hair with shampoo and conditioner then I moisturise my body and my face again. Put on more deodorant and often more make up and perfume. We all do it and it means that we are actually putting a lot of stuff onto our skin. Plus when you add in all the rubbish that we have in our food, you can’t help but worry a little.

However, I am a rational person and I do think that people are worrying too much about it.

This is a great article written by a scientist where he talks about how these issues have been over-dramatised.

Nevertheless, I still plan to remove some of the unnecessary chemicals from my life and I will be posting anything good that I find.