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Dickys Barbecue Pit

Hey Cats,

For all my UK readers who love to travel like me and love to eat a place you must go if you hit the US is Dickeys barbecue pit franchise. The Dickeys franchise was is tun by Roland dickey jr. and Laura rea dickey and not only is it a restaurant but a great family business.


One thing we are yet to master here in the UK is the art of a great barbecue restaurant. Using great quality meats and sides and creating simple but wholesome foods. I love trying all kinds of different smoked meats and the meat industry in the UK is huge so should we be encouraging Dickeys to bring themselves over here too! I love the fact that Dickeys is a family owned business currently based in Dallas Texas.

It was first founded in 1941 and has now grown to be the largest BBQ franchise in the united states. The amazing thing about a franchise is that it isn't just a restaurant but an opportunity for people to join an amazing team and help grow themselves and reach their own potential. At the heart of the business is also a charity foundation which helps firefighters. I always really respect when a business gives back to the community



Eating at Dickys you can typically find yourself tucking into an array of meats such as pulled pork, beef brisket, pork ribs, polish sausage, hot link, chicken and spicy cheddar sausage. These are typically cooked over burning pits which are hickory smoked to pack in that extra flavour. The best bit about a BBQ is all the sides though and there are a great selection to choose from. You can find yourself filling up on green beans with bacon, barbecue beans, waffle fries, jalapeno beans, corn on the cob, salads, Okra and so much more. I think a quality selection of sides is so important as I love to mix and match.

As a growing business we can only hope it finds it's way across the ocean but until then I know where I will be planning a trip to for all my BBQ needs. Have you been to Dickys? Whats your favourite BBQ foods?



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Take On A New Challenge

Hey Cats,

It is coming up to the end of the year and it is always a time where we reflect on the year gone by and the goals we set for ourselves. Did we manage to achieve everything we wanted to and even if we didn't that is fine because life happens and we never know what it will hand us from one day to the next. I think no matter what it is still important to keep setting those goals for ourselves and keep striving to achieve more. I was asked by hydrosolar.ca and Northern Mat & Bridge about new skills that are never to late to learn. So lets explore a few.

A musical instrument



We all envy that person that's amazing on the piano or guitar and our instant reaction is usually...."Oh I wish I had learnt to play" but what is actually stopping us from learning to play now? It is all about practise and you may find you have a hidden talent or you may have to work hard at it but until you pick up that instrument you will never learn it. Ontario Conservatory of Music help thousands of people learn to master their musical skills every day. However in a technical world online tutorials you can learn to play almost any instrument out there. I had the awesome gift of a melodica a few Christmas ago and I have to admit it has been gathering dust but this next year I am going to pick it up and learn even just one song and then annoy the hell out of everyone until I learn another.

Climb that mountain

This could be literally or even metaphorically I know every year I threaten to take on a big challenge be it actually climbing a mountain or planning a huge fundraiser or even both. Stop putting it off and do it there are lots of great ways to break down a big challenge. I am a big fan of mapping out the idea and then thinking about all the things stopping me and breaking down those barriers one by one. Maybe you would love to start a new job but need a new skill to get there and the end goal seems so far away? Break your goal down into manageable ideas then it won't seem as far away as you think when you focus on one step of the goal at a time,. For example, I really want to learn to drive but to get there I need to first get my eyes tested to see if my eye condition allows me to so instead of panic and worrying I need to book an eye test and then worry about the next step when the time comes.




Learn something physical

Getting physical doesn't have to mean going to the gym all the time. You can get physical by learning a new skill like archery or cross bow shooting like on this website. You could go on long walks with your friend while you catch up on some gossip. When we think of getting physical we instantly think of the gym when there are so many more options out there. Challenge yourself to find something both entertaining and physical that you can do on your level and work on it.


Is there anything you're thinking about putting on your goal list this year?




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Can The Legalisation Of Cannabis Bring Business?

Hey Cats,

The world is every changing and seems to be moving at the speed of light with how fast things are progressing. Our American and Canadian neighbours and some parts of Europe have moved forward in allowing cannabis to become a legal product. The question is if we do the same can it bring us business?

The fact is that the UK needs a booming economy we have an amazing health care system to support and nobody wants to take that away as it is something that makes us an amazing country. We have a growing problem with poverty and homelessness and a spike in income for the country means a spike in taxes going into the system which can help use provide a solution to problems instead of a plaster.



With businesses ranging from recreational to medical there are a range of products that are not just wanted by the general public but in some respects also needed. There are lots of medical uses for cannabis which can help people with chronic pain there are already American and Canadian companies catering for this such as bcbudsmedical.com and healingempire.ca but also recreational companies like WeedAF and click here

Personally I think filling this need through a taxable business is a fantastic opportunity for the UK. People already recreational use cannabis for either relief or pleasure. Whichever the reason if this was brought above board and taxed in the same way alcohol and cigarettes are not only would the income be great but so would the safety aspect. So many people complain about the idea that cannabis is a gateway drug that could lead to harder places but if you don't go meet a strange person in an alley way who may have malicious intent and dubious strains of weed then some of this fear is taken away.


When cannabis is bought and produced illegally there is no monitor on what goes into the growing and production. This means that harmful pesticides or even other drugs can be laced into the product. If this became legal then growing and distribution could be monitored and maintained safely. This would also produce jobs and trade for those in need.

What do you think?



*collab


Upgrading Your Home To Make A Work Space

Hey Cats,

So often as we lead up to the new year we start thinking about all the changes we want to make and sometimes that includes home improvement. Part of my new year plan is to convert one of out rooms into a home office for both my blogging and Body shop and just have a nice space to go and get creative! If you have some home improvements plans in place then here are some great things to keep in mind.

Plan It

One of the most overlooked but important things when making any changes at home is making sure you plan it all out. Get your mind mapping on and think realistically about your budgets and what changes you can make with the space that you have. You don't need huge spaces to have a great usable space there are lots of organisation hacks that can make the most of smaller places. Disensors.com suggesting making sure you use the right tools to measure out the job properly so you can make sure that you can make practical use of all the spaces you have. If you're a crafter use some calibration weights so you know how much your materials weigh so you know how Strong draws have to be as you would be surprised how heavy materials can be and if you check all these things out early you can make sure you have quality storage in place.



Invest

If you're going to be using a home space for work then make some investments to make it really comfortable. I don't just mean a cosy chair and a cushion or that instagramable sign but things you don;t often think of like a better Heat-line. Think of those cold mornings or long days and the extra impact you will putting on the heating system by working from home. I say as I sit hugging a radiator on this freezing morning.

Another investment you may need to make is better software https://librestream.com have some great deals and can have you covered for this. Making sure your home office is up to date and means you can do any work at home will get you productive and stop you nipping off for a brew all the time.

Action

Now you have all the ideas in place all you have to do is put them into action. This may mean streamlining some of those plans into what is affordable for right now. Then get the ball rolling and lets be honest the easier and more functional the room the more productive you will be when working in it. I need a great organisational system to ensure I do not end up with a ball of mess to work with.

Do you have any home improvement plans for the new year?



*collab

Get Your Business In Order

Hey Cats,

This one is going on to the high flying business folk so if that's not your bag you have permission to skip this one. However if you need some help moving that business forward with a few tools then this could be the post for you so keep reading. This isn't really one for small businesses but those that are in the need to move from small to big when there is lots of staff jumping on board and things need to move to the next level.

Get Your IT In Order

Lets face it we live in a digital world now and any business can't avoid using IT at some point and especially anywhere processing orders you will need to buy professional IT services. This means having a proper system in place and being more organised but it also gives you the added security of a helping hand. An IT service isn't just a system you use but also a way of backing up all your important and hard work and having a support network if something goes wrong. It services are continually adapting to bring you the most streamline and easy to use systems and buy working with a service you continue to get those updates instead of having to upgrade your systems at an expensive cost all the time.



Contractor Bonds

 For any contractor bonds you can check out https://bondsexpress.com/performance-bonds/ who have you covered for performance, bid bonds and payment bonds. Perhaps you want to be considered for a job then you can get put into the bidding system to get more work from a reliable place even if you already have a contract you can get added to the list. Companies like Sprott inc. buy gold use similar methods.

Communication Systems

The most important thing in any business is being able to communicate efficiently and that means having great communication systems in place. The IT system may help with your data consolidation and emails but you also need a fantastic telecommunications system for one on the go click here. Owners and management should be able to be reached on the go so there is no breakdown in communication. It is also vital to be able to have face to face contact with both clients and staff a like and that any information especially about products and payments is clear and easy to understand. A break down in communication can ruin any company and cause lots of sets backs that could have been avoided.



Great Staff

The key to great staff is an excellent recruitment system and getting to know your existing team. Take your time when interviewing no matter how small the role and don't be afraid to take on people who need training. Often starting with no experience can actually be an advantage as long as you have an excellent training system in place. Taking the time to get to know your staff and encouraging team bonding sessions and rewards will create a more motivated environment, Reward outstanding behaviour and give regular praise for good work. Keep in mind you and your staff spend more time at work than you do at home and if great incentives are in place and staff feel content and motivated the quality of work will be incredible.

Do you have any business advice?



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Get Organised Before New Year

Hey Cats

Every year I swear I am going to be more organised and in control for the next year and every year I seem to slip back into old ways and when you bring old things into the new year you kind of feel like it is dragging you down. It really just takes some organisation and taking 5 minutes to sit down and organise your day is so important for your own sanity.

Write it 

First you need somewhere you can write it all down be it a notebook, a diary or a spreadsheet. I work best on paper so have notebooks and diaries and love them. I am determined to start a bullet journal this year as they are the best form of planner you can have they are adaptable to you and encourage you to get creative. I always seem to buy a planner and then forget about it half way through the year and the beauty of a bullet journal is if you have taken so long working on it you will not forget it and even if you do you can just start on the next page without the guilt of having to go past all those empty pages. Take some tips from rebeccamountain.ca she helps get your life on track.



System 


However you choose to organise yourself it is a great way to track all your progress from drinking enough water to getting that important bill paid. If you have a system in place and reminders set you can't forget to do those important things. Stop putting off sorting out those injury claims valentlegal.ca can help you out. If you need organisation at work then bciworldwide.com have some great logistic systems that can get you organised there too. The main thing to keep in mind is if you put a system in place you can work through those jobs you have and they will not seem as bad.

De-clutter

De-clutter your house of items you don't need or use anymore and go into the new year with a more open space and mind. This is a fantastic time of year to give to charity more as it is a time they struggle and your donations are vital. That pile of books you read a million times or that dress you never liked can be loved by someone else and raise some amazing money. Perhaps you need to hold onto some big items but they are cluttering up your space a great way to do that is use a storage place like the Calhoun super structure this is especially good for those big bulky items you don't use all year around.



Action

The most important step to all of this is actually putting your plans into action. So if you say you will check out all your bills then do it. If you want to see your friends more then give them a call or if you want to give your blog a make over then jump on it! It is only you who can action your goals and get them moving! Just focus on little steps to get to your bigger picture.


How do you get organised?





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Don't be Lonely This Christmas

Hey Cats,

Christmas time is the time of year when it is easy to start over thinking and feeling down. It is a time when people celebrate the love of their families and those around them. This can often make you feel like you have nobody or can add extra stresses financially which can put a strain on your mental health. First it is OK to take a moment to remember those you have lost in fact it is really important and taking some time out to think of those loved and lost can be hurtful but is important. I am not really a religious person but every year I go light candles for friends and family lost. Just remember that it is absolutely OK to take that time and you can do this in your own way!

Take the time to let people know how you feel. If you really think that you don't have anyone to talk to there are people out there and sometimes it can be easier talking to a stranger. The Samaritans do some amazing work and are always there to listen.



Sometimes even just asking a friend over to have a coffee and a chat. Everyone has their favourite coffee expert Roland Dickey Jr or Anthony Expresso are just a few, so you can stay in the comfort of your home or if you need to get out it is a great excuse to go try all the new Christmas flavours. If  friend can't come then even just getting out can really help and lots of people go to coffee shops alone. Getting out the house and being around people can really help even if you're just reading a book or doing some work. Sometimes when I can't write I love to go to a coffee shop and it really helps clear my mind a little.


If you have any older people in the family check this out it may help but mostly remember the importance in including them and making sure they have the right support this Christmas too! If you can't make it to see them and they are in a home at least send a care package so they can have a few luxuries. Reaching out to others in need at this time of year and any time of year is priceless and so important.

Look after your own wellness (thewellnesstemple.ca has some tips on how) you can feel alone in a crowd of people so make sure you keep toxic people to a minimum. It is OK to remove yourself from difficult conversations and to stand up for yourself when someone tries to shame you for having that handful of celebrations. 



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4 Ways You Can Make A House Feel Like Home

Hey Cats,

Moving into a new property can be a stressful experience. Everything from furnishing to decoration, from setting up bills to allocating rooms and finding schools for your kids (if you have any) needs to be considered, so it pays to approach a move with a clear and focused mind. You should know exactly what you need to do and when you need to do it while you move; once it’s all done, you can relax and enjoy a hot drink while you congratulate yourself for your achievement.

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After the initial move, though, there’s still the question of how to make your house feel like home. In order to truly take ownership of your property and start building a life there, you’ll need to decorate, furnish and generally give the place your signature aesthetic. Here are some tips that are guaranteed to help you make a house feel more like home. These tips work for a new place or an old one, so don’t feel like you can’t follow them just because you aren’t moving!

Custom art

There’s nothing that spruces up a room quite like art on the walls. Art can say a lot about a person; what kind of art you like and where you place it in the room speaks volumes about your personality and preferences. With that in mind, why would you settle for something generic or obvious? You’ll benefit greatly from shopping off the beaten path, looking in thrift shops and less obvious places for artwork that screams “idiosyncratic”. Even better, why not install some custom art? Find yourself a great photography studio and schedule in a photoshoot for you, your family and perhaps even your pets! Having pictures of your nearest and dearest on your walls won’t just make the house feel more homely, it’ll provide a great talking point for guests and visitors and give you a warm feeling every time you enter the room.

Unique furniture

While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with furniture from flatpackville, it’s not particularly inspired on the aesthetic front. Most build-it-yourself furniture is designed to be functional, not beautiful, and although the minimalist visual style has an appeal of its own, it’s never going to beat the kind of elaborate creations which custom DIY furniture studios are capable of. Again, if you’ve got the money, find yourself a great DIY furniture place which will assemble bespoke furniture for you and schedule in a consultation. Most of these places will work closely with you to discern exactly what you want in a room, and will create a custom arrangement that’s purpose-built for you and you alone. Why fill your house with the same stuff everyone else has when you could make a bold, individual statement?

Decoration

So you’ve got some nice art of your family on the walls, and you’ve built a custom shelving arrangement that works for you. What next? Well, now it’s time to fill the shelves. Again, what you fill your shelves with will speak volumes about who you are, so this is your chance to express yourself through decoration and adornment. Are you a sculptor? Why not line up a selection of your best pieces on your shelves? If you’re a musician, you could decorate your shelves with miniature instruments and models of musical objects, or you could find a quirky way to express your musicality through unusual artifacts and antiques. Perhaps you love gardening – if so, why not install plants around the house? Plants are a great way to make a house feel homely, and they’ll also improve the air quality of your house, which will make everyone inside feel better.

Get a pet

This only works for the animal lovers, but if you do love our furry friends you’d be amazed by the degree to which they can enrich your life. We’d strongly recommend you adopt rather than shopping, as there are plenty of adorable animals who need a forever home. Adding a smaller and furrier member to the family is a great way to create an everlasting bond – if you’ve got kids, they will absolutely love the little scamps, and they’ll learn a valuable lesson about friendship. Having a cat or a dog scarper about the place lends character and charm to a house, and it’s a great way to entertain guests too! Make sure you’ve got the resources and patience to look after a pet if you’re going to adopt, though, because – as the old saying goes – a pet is for life, not just for Christmas.

These are just four ways you can spruce up your house and make it feel more like a home. There are plenty of other methods through which you can do this, but these are (relatively) easy, no-fuss ways to help you settle into your new place or add character to an old house.

How do you get cosy when you move somewhere new?