No more face washing

For the past 3 months, following on from a trial that my wife did, I have stopped washing my face with soap and a washcloth.

Before you start freaking out, this does not mean that I have thrown personal hygeine to the wind: I am instead opting to wipe my face with a wetted konjac sponge and no cleanser.

Dew Puff is the brand of konjac sponge that I use and I’m very happy with them. They last about 3 months and they’re made from the root of the konjac plant, a material which, when wetted, becomes very smooth and sponge-like. Continue reading No more face washing

The burden of debt

It all started when I went to university. During Freshers’ Week, several events are put on to acclimatise you to life at your university and student life in general and some of the many vendors at the events included banks and credit card companies trying to sell you on student bank accounts and student credit cards.

It’s a little too tempting. A credit card / loan designed just for me and my needs as a student? It can’t hurt to sign up. I’ll just pay off the balance every month.

It really is a slippery slope. When I went to university my fees were paid for because my family had a low income so I only needed money to live. Given that I was living at home and had a job, I didn’t really need the student loan that was available to me, but again, everyone else was doing it and who would turn down a loan that doesn’t accrue interest until you leave university, has an interest rate equivalent to the inflation rate (a few percent) and only gets paid back once you’re earning a moderate wage? Continue reading The burden of debt

Early retirement

What does early retirement mean to you? Retiring at 60?

55?

40?

Retiring at 40 (or earlier) really isn’t all that impossible, especially if you set your sights on it early on in life.

I was prompted to write this little piece by a piece I read on BBC Capital about retiring early. With some diligence, tough decisions and very intentional frugal living, those with a decent job could save a good amount of money. Continue reading Early retirement

How to spell a name

I certainly don’t think of myself as old-fashioned, but when I see names spelled incorrectly, I’m sure I come off that way.

This became especially noticeable to me when I moved to America. Evidently, there is a cultural trend here of giving your child a unique name for the sake of them having a name that no one else does but also it seems as something of a status symbol, that you were free or daring enough to spell it differently.

To me, alternative spellings not only look weird and ugly, but they just cause confusion in life.

And what is your name, ma’am?

Michaela. With an A, not an I, a K, not a CH, and a Y not an E.

It’s also just a progression of the bastardisation of language that people feel that they should just spell things how they sound or how they want in the name of expression. It’s the kind of attitude that is seeing through spelled as thru all too regularly and even in professional contexts.

Call me what you will, but to me, Rebekkah will always be Rebecca, Jacklynn will always be Jacqueline and Mikeal will always be Michael.

Further reading: Does a baby’s name affect its chances in life?

Using a VPN to protect your online activity

There was a time when the Internet was used by just academics, governments and a few major corporations as a way of sharing information. The data was very intentionally public and was intended for consumption by all.

Now of course the picture is much different. Few may have foreseen just how quickly the Internet would be adopted in our homes and businesses and just what we’d be doing with it. The ways in which we use the Internet has changed drastically. We now use it for all manner of transactions, like banking, shopping and entertainment. Many of these activities are no longer things that we would like to be public.

Adding security to the Internet has long been an option but only recently is it becoming more of a standard. Web addresses used to run over HTTP, which means that information is transmitted unsecured, allowing anyone to intercept it between its source and its destination. More and more, site owners are switching to HTTPS, which encrypts the data between the users offering another level of security.

HTTPS is somewhat effective, but still won’t do much good to those who are really intent on seeing what you’re doing online, especially those with unlimited resources behind them, like governments and large corporations. Continue reading Using a VPN to protect your online activity

Don’t fret over a diagnosis of complete praevia

Last August, we found out that we were pregnant with our second child, Jack. To both get a better idea of when we could expect him and to ascertain his gender, we went for an ultrasound in November when we got a firmer due date and confirmation that we were expecting Jack and not “Maggie”.

What we didn’t find out during the exam, but which came later after the doctor had reviewed the ultrasound imagery in the days following the exam, is that Marti had complete praevia (previa – American English).

Praevia is a condition that means the placenta is covering the cervix. For those who need a basic biology lesson, the uterus (womb) contains both the foetus and the placenta which sustains the baby. The two are connected by the umbillical cord and the placenta is attached to the uterine wall, where it passes blood, oxygen and nutrients back and forth between the mother and the baby. Continue reading Don’t fret over a diagnosis of complete praevia

A Valentine’s Day gift from Ellie

This Valentine’s Day, I got a special present from Ellie. She gave me a little token to go on my keys. It reads:

You will always be the first man I ever loved. – Ellie.

I love it and I have to give props to Marti Ellie for being so thoughtful and getting this for me. It’ll live proudly on my keys. Continue reading A Valentine’s Day gift from Ellie

Thug Kitchen Cookbook

If you’re not familiar with Thug Kitchen, I first wrote about them about 18 months ago.

They’re a pro-vegan blog that doesn’t take any bullshit. They don’t mince their words and their vulgar and tough-guy approach to telling it how it is resonates with a huge swathe of people that think that eating vegan is for hippies.

We’ve been laughing along and cooking along with them ever since we heard about them and when they said they were writing a cookbook, we were quite excited. Continue reading Thug Kitchen Cookbook