How to make Word Clouds – 31 Day Challenge / Day 24

How to make Word Clouds Naomi Mc Laughlan

Last night we had fun with word clouds…

Together with my daughters I brainstormed words we could use to create a Christmasy themed word cloud  and we came up with the following 44 words:

Love Family Peace Holiday Christmas Food Joy Fun Jesus Merry Mistletoe Children Daughter Father Mother Son Presents Turkey Candy Cane Stockings Peppermint Hot Chocolate Santa Wine Winter Snow Frost Sleigh Bells Reindeer Red Scarf Green White Treat Sweater Home Warm Music Carrot Flake Cookies Milk

We found two different free word cloud website generators and played around with the font, colour, size, layout, focal point, first with WordItOut, with which we generated 10 different styles;

Xmas Word Cloud Naomi Mc Laughlan


 

We tried out another 16 styles and colour schemes with WordCouds, which offers the options to change the shape, colour scheme, size, font, flatness, and widen and tighten gaps between words.


 

Both word cloud generators are easy to navigate, whereby the latter needs you to fill words in along with numbers, Xmas Word Cloud Naomi Mc Laughlan examplewhich is initially inserted and you can add your words at the place where the example words are.

 

 

 

 

 

I think word clouds can have many uses, for example to visually enhance your marketing copy, for a school, college or University project or to create a unique greeting card for your loved ones. In any case, they are really enjoyable and entertaining to craft and they don’t take long to make either.

Do you like my word clouds?

If so, you can use download them here.

No login or sign up required! 

Let me know what you think.

All the Best & Speak to you tomorrow,

Naomi xxx

P.S.: I am not affiliated with either of the two word cloud creator providers, but I appreciate their free service.

Oops…Last Minute Christmas Preparation – 31 Day Challenge / Day 23

Prepare for Christmas Naomi Mc Laughlan.jpg

For some reason I am not (yet) in the Christmas spirit, which may be caused by the unlike warm weather in Europe. I honestly just realised today, that I have not been shopping to prepare the three day holiday feast and I am not even panicking at all.

I will have to go shopping later and may face long queues, but I don’t mind. Veg Food Store naomi Mc LaughlanI guess, I don’t need to be worried either, as I am not going to fight over a turkey or chicken anyway, as we will have delicious vegetarian / vegan meals, and I am assuming nobody is going to fight over fruits and veggies…

 


 

Here are my Top 3 Ideas for Last Minute Gifts:

  1. Candy & Hot Chocolate Jar Hot Candy Chocolate Naomi Mc Laughlan.png

Fill a large clean jar, for example a spaghetti sauce jar with lid, 2/3 with hot chocolate powder, then add mini marshmallows and crushed candy canes. Close the lid and tie a ribbon around the top and decorate with a hand written note or tag.

 

 

 

  1. Raw Vegan Chocolate Truffles 

Truffles Naomi Mc Laughlan.pngMix and blend 100g dry dates, 80g ground almonds or hazelnuts, 1 Tsp. coconut oil, 2 Tsps. chocolate powder, and 2 Tsps. water. Form 12 to 15 balls and roll in ca. 5 Tsps. desiccated coconut, chopped nuts, or for a simple finish, roll them in cocoa powder. Refrigerate for 10 minutes to set and  fill the truffles in a gift pouch.

 

  1. Photo Collage

Collage Naomi Mc Laughlan.pngChoose your most favourite pictures and create collage online using Canva or PicMonkey.

Print it on paper at home or at your local stationary shop, where you may be able to print it on a canvas, cushion, cup, or key holder.

 

 

 

I will leave you with a ‘Good Luck’ and ‘Stay Sane’ over your last preparations for the next three days.

Let me know what you think.

All the Best & Speak to you tomorrow,

Naomi xxx

(Can you tell that I LOVE CHOCOLATE? 😉 )

P.S.: I am not affiliated with the two online picture editor software providers, but I appreciate their free to use service.

Have a nice 4th Advent & Games Day – 31 Day Challenge / Day 20

Advent Naomi Mc Laughlan

When I was young my parents, me and my siblings used to play hours of board and card games on each Advent Sunday. Not only because there was not much on TV in the late 1980s, but also because we all really enjoyed the family time.

Game 4 Naomi Mc Laughlan

Today is not only the fourth Advent, but also Games Day, which has been celebrated since 1975 worldwide, after a game convention had to be cancelled.

You can check out Games Day participating county’s here.

Game Naomi Mc Laughlan.png

Do you remember the 2000 piece Puzzles, Marbles, Memory or Yatzy®?

 

 

My 5 most favourite games:

  1. Mau-Mau (card game)
  2. Domino
  3. City-Country-River (download a free template here)
  4. Memory
  5. Tic-Tac-Toe

What are your favourite games?

Game 2 Naomi Mc Laughlan.png

Let me know what you think.

All the Best & Speak to you tomorrow,

Naomi xxx

How to start a Hermann – A German Culinary Friendship Chain Cake (+Letter) – 31 Day Challenge / Day 12

 

How to Start a Hermann Naomi Mc Laughlan

You may be wondering – What is a ‘Hermann’ exactly?

…Okay, let me start at the beginning…

In West Germany where I grew up, in the early 1980s to the late 1990s, almost everyone I knew either started their own Hermann or was given one by a friend. I was received many by my dear friends too.

Hermann was a liquid, bubbly cake sourdough that came in a Tupperware box, accompanied with a letter of how to look after him. The instructions outlined how to ‘feed’ Hermann and how to bake one and share three, after a ten day ‘growth’ period.

I have honestly no clue who initially came up with the idea and even a Google search did not clarify who the inventor was, although according to Wikipedia it has been around since the 70s and was also called ‘Good Luck Cake’ and ‘Vatican Bread’. But I wasn’t born by then and I have never heard the other two names before, so I cannot account to it 😉 . Anyway I think he or she made thousands of people happy.

Last weekend my kids were super bored and I remembered how much fun I had when I took part in the friendship chain cake, so we started one ourselves.

Use the below ‘Dough Approach’ to start your Hermann and use the below letter to give to your friends 🙂

Herman A German Friendship Chain Cake Naomi Mc Laughlan


 

Hermann Raise and Care Naomi Mc Laughlan

I have created another printable version of this recipe, and the letter so that you can print them out and start giving it to your family, friends and colleagues after starting your own Hermann.

 

Let me know what you think.

All the Best & Speak to you tomorrow,

Naomi xxx

Why & How I started my first Successful Business at Age 21 – 31 Day Challenge / Day 8

My first Business Naomi Mc Laughlan

By the time I was 20 years old I had two young kids; a new-born and one in kindergarten age. So there was no way I could have continued what I was doing before, which was being a model and broadcaster, as that would have required me to work at inconvenient hours throughout the week and travel.

Take away: Fancy jobs don’t work well with family live!

So I decided to take part in a six week ‘Start-Up’ training course, which was offered by the local jobcentre in the town I lived in, in Germany. The course offered a broad overview in terms of how to start a business, how to legally employ people, how to complete an income tax sheet and so on.

I decided to set up a business which would allow me to take my kids to work, without disturbing anyone. I also considered what I am able to do and for what type of business I would not necessarily need further training courses. After an initial market research, I realised that the town I lived in lacked a selection of baby and toddler groups, after-school clubs and programs. So I decided to get into this sector and further ‘niched’ it down to teaching English in small group settings.

I inquired what qualifications are a minimum to start a teaching business and completed several courses, which included Paediatric Fist Aid, Leading a Child and Parent Group and a Cambridge University Fist Certificate in English.

Take away: Training is very important!

Then I wrote up a basic business plan and outlined what I want to offer, at what price and so on.  As I did not want to take up a start-up loan, I planned my business while taking my savings into account only. I also created lesson plans, which I would use for my classes.

The ‘Little People’s Training & Education Center’ was born.

Take away: Creating a business plan is key, to map out the direction of any venture!

Next I searched for available, affordable and suitable premises and found one in walking distance to where we lived in a small alley, just behind the high street.  This was very important, as I wanted to be able to fit my work around the kids and be near my home, in case they were sick for instance and wouldn’t be able to accompany me at work.

I made a list and bought furniture and learning materials, which sounds easier as it actually was, because I had to buy almost all of the English picture and reading books in the Netherlands , as there were very few available in Germany at that time.

The ground floor building with two rooms, office, small kitchenette and restroom was empty when I took it and within a week or so I was able to renovate it with the help of family members and my dear friends and placed chairs and tables, books, toys and everything else in it.

My first Business 3 Naomi Mc Laughlan

Take away:  Finding a suitable business setup and property is an important factor for a Mumpreneur!

Before the grand-opening I designed my branding. My cousin made a large metal sign for me as a present.  I stack decals on all windows and printed t-shirts, baby bibs, flyers and other marketing materials, which were all part of my initial branding strategy.

Take away: Branding helps potential customers and clients to recognise a business, as it aids to differentiate them.

Lastly, I invited the local press to write about my new venture to create as much as free publicity as possible. This really helped me create awareness, to sign up my first full classes and even let to nurseries calling in to book sessions for whole groups of kids.

My First Business 2 Naomi Mc Laughlan

Take away: Local media outlets usually love to write about people who start a new business.

My first Business 4 Naomi Mc Laughlan

Are you thinking of starting or growing a successful business?

Check out my ‘Start-Ups on a Shoestring Budget’ online training course!

All the Best & Speak to you tomorrow,

Naomi xxx

P.S.: I will tell you why and how I eventually sold the business in another post. So stay tuned! 😉

6 Vegan X-Mas Desert Inspiration – 31 Day Challenge / Day 7

Time for Desert Naomi Mc Laughlan

Are you planning your Christmas meal yet?

I do. So I hope the following six recipes may inspire you.

Why vegan, you might think, well in my personal case I have a daughter who suffers from multiple extreme food allergies, plus the fact that we are against animal cruelty. But they really taste nice too!!! The following recipe ideas are easy, quick, non-complicated and fun to prepare with your kids!

I have used wheat flour, but you can substitute wheat flour with gluten free soy flour, tapioca flour, brown rice flour, white rice flour or a mix with potato starch.

Another reason you might like them for, is that sometimes you naturally just run out of ingredients, like milk or eggs which are usually required when making any type of mainstream desert.

Vegan Apple Banana Pie naomimclaughlan


Vegan Prune Rock Buns naomimclaughlan


 

Vegan Strawberry and banana kebeb naomimclaughlan


candy-apples n

 


 

Vegan Vanilla Waffles NaomiMcLaughlan insta


 

Maple Syrup Cookies naomimclaughlan

I hope you like them as much as I and my family do!

Enjoy & Let me know what you think!

All the Best & Speak to you tomorrow,

Naomi xxx

Develop your mind – 31 Day Challenge / Day 3

As humans Naomi Mc Laughlan

Are you dreaming of learning something new, but there is no time available at this point in time?

If so, you may want to refer back to my last blog post ‘Early starters conquer time – 31 Day Challenge Day 2’.  

As you may already know, I am a HUGE fan of personal and professional development and since leaving school 17 years ago I have been learning and added to my knowledge and skills in vocational and academic courses on a continual basis.

If you believe that learning is expensive, think again and check out this list of #FREE interactive courses you can discover and make use of:

Alison

Alison currently offers 750 online based courses for free, in the following categories:

  • Languages
  • Business and Enterprise Skills
  • School Curriculum
  • Finance & Economic Literacy
  • Digital Literacy & IT Skills
  • Health & Safety & Compliance
  • Health & safety (Irish Legislation only)
  • Personal Development & Soft Skills
  • Health Literacy

Some course providers are British and US based Universities and some courses have been developed and are offered by private learning institutes. While all courses are free, you have the option to get a Diploma for just above £60 or Certificate for about £20 send out to you, after you have completed a minimum of 80% of the course and have passed a number of tests.


 

Creative Life

Creative Life offers several daily live classes and tutorials in the following categories:

  • Photo & Video
  • Art & Design
  • Music & Audio
  • Craft & Maker
  • Money & Life

All live ‘on air’ classes are free of charge and you have the option to pre-register for classes and get a reminder of the upcoming live session. There is also an option to purchase a class after it has been on air, but that is no requirement to take part in any sessions.


 

Future Learn

Future Learn currently offer 58 online based courses, in the following categories:

  • Language & Culture
  • Business & Management
  • Science, Maths & technology
  • Health & Psychology
  • Creative Arts & Media
  • Teaching & Studying

Most courses are offered by British Universities and while all courses are free, you have the option to get a ‘Certificate of Participation’, for just above £30 after you have completed a minimum of 80% of the course and have passed a number of tests.


 

Memrise

Memrise currently offer several hundred online based courses for free, in the following categories:

  • Languages
  • Arts & Literature
  • Maths & Science
  • The Natural World
  • History & Geography
  • Professional & Careers
  • Entertainment
  • Trivia

I love the fact that not only the typical languages (English, Spanish, German etc.) are offered, but also languages like Mandarin Chinese and Japanese and even Ashanti Twi, the language I ‘really’ want to learn to speak, read and write fluently, as I am half Ghanaian 😉


 

Vision2Learn

Vision2Learn currently offer 12 NCFE Level 1 and 2, online based courses for people who are 19 years or older and who live in the EU, in the following categories:

  • Business
  • IT
  • Healthcare

The courses are offered in collaboration with British based colleges. After completion of the online course and passing of written assignments, each participant receives a Certificate free of charge.


If you really have no time to spare to sit down and learn, why not try to enhance your knowledge by listening to an audio book instead?

Amazon.com

Amazon currently offers 27,116 results for “free audio books” in a mix of categories, including:

  • Classic Literature & Fiction
  • Children’s Classics
  • Suspense Thrillers
  • Mythology & Folk Tales
  • Horror Literature & Fiction
  • Literature & Fiction
  • Coming of Age Fiction
  • Sea Stories
  • Children’s Action & Adventure Books
  • Children’s Books

So if you prefer to download and listen to new things, rather than learning at your PC or MAC, this may be the ideal way to listen on your mobile device while you drive, do house shores or lay in bed.

 

Please Like & Share and Let me know what you think.

All the Best & Speak to you tomorrow,

Naomi xxx

 

P.S.: By the way, I am not affiliated with any of the course providers mentioned above, and I have sorted them in alphabetical order, as I have no special preferences for any of the courses mentioned.

I find them all to be great, as they offer you and me a learning opportunity in the comfort of our own home at a convenient time, plus being free of charge.