Thursday, 8 July 2010

How I conquer my fear of climbing a mountain

Does climbing a mountain sound daunting? That’s what I thought before taking the plunge to climb Mt Snowdon. I decide not to give in to my fears about height, worries about whether my legs can carry me and I am glad I did that. It was not as difficult as I thought it would be and the views were simply breathtaking. Every corner and turns reveal a different scene and its picture perfect most of the time.

Mount Snowdon (Yr Wyddfa in Welsh) which stands at 3,560 ft (1,085m) is the highest mountain in Wales and the second highest in Britain. The mountain is situated within Snowdonia National Park in the county of Gwynedd in North Wales.

There are many ways to explore Mt Snowdon. The easiest ways to get to the top is with the Snowdon Mountain Railway. It’s a single carriage hauled either by a diesel or steam locomotive on the narrow gauge rack and pinion railway. We did consider taking the train but the price of £25 for a return ticket changes our mind.

Armed with determination and spirit of challenge, we begin our route using the Llanberis path. The path runs parallel with the Snowdon Mountain Rail track and as I found out later, it is one of the easiest but longest paths to the summit. Its sounds quite misleading to call it a path, the initial road towards the gate are tarmac and it’s pretty steep. After which, the path are made up of rocks, sand and rock debris.

We decide to walk towards the grassland where the sheep were grazing. As we do not know where we were going, there was a feeling of adventure. As we trudge past the staring eyes of the sheep and their lambs, sounds of laughter and water came up in the distance. It was a low lying rocky stream and a family enjoying the sun on a big rock boulder. It was a pleasant and relaxing sight.

Our walk finally brought us in the view of an oncoming steam train and we were able to capture a few photo shots of the steam puffing train. The Llanberis path becomes clearer as we head uphill and much to our amazement, it have so far been easy and we congratulate ourselves on the distance and the height we have surmount.

The rest of the path was gradual, a little bit of a steep climb at times but nothing that I can’t handle. Stopping occasionally to catch my breath and the scenery makes the walk pleasant. There was no rush and we even have time to chat with fellows walkers about their adventure.

As we reach the halfway point, a quaint stone cottage appears before us. It is also a cafe, which is simply delightful. Dusk is upon us and after 3 hours of walking, we decide to head downhill as it was getting dark.
We may not have reach the summit this time but the experience of being able to climb half way up Mt Snowdon makes us determined to come back for the summit. It was an exhilarating time for me as a novice mountain climber. I would never thought that I can make it this far and the admiring look from people in the train as they pass is pretty satisfying.

I have learned that I should not allow my fears to control my life. When nothing is venture, nothing‘s gain and what I gained from this walking experience is it isn’t as bad as what I thought it would be.

Hillwalking in Snowdonia: Glyders, Carneddau and Outlying Areas (Cicerone British Mountains)
Walk Snowdonia and North Wales (Walks Guide)

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Facts and myths about Coffee

Ia 'Java' the universal name for coffee? what's the truth about Fair Trade Coffee?

Some of us can't start the day without a cup of freshly brewed coffee. I know I can never resist ordering coffee from a cafe when I see one. How much do we know or not know about coffee?

Well, the article below definitely answer a few questions. If you like the article and want to read more about coffee, check out my page on There is something about coffee and Coffee 101 .

Coffee Myths vs Facts - The Truth Revealed
By []Tom Vincent

Over the years of being in the coffee industry and hanging around "coffee geeks" I've heard just about every form of coffee misinformation and lore known to man. I'm not exactly sure where it all originated, or why for that matter. These myths always gave me a good chuckle, but as of lately I have been encountering these imaginative illusions on a much more frequent basis. I went from having a chuckle, to being slightly annoyed, to downright frustrated. It's time to set the record straight on some of the most commonly circulated coffee myths.

Myth: Storing your coffee in the freezer will keep it fresh.

Fact: This is absolutely false. Coffee's big enemies are air, moisture, and time. If coffee is stored in a freezer, moisture or condensation can form on the beans, which can start the extraction process prematurely. In addition, coffee, just like baking soda can absorb odors right out of the fridge - destroying it's natural flavor profile. (Gross!)

Regardless of what you've been told, coffee has a short lifespan after roasting. Once roasted, it starts going bad (the same way food does after it is cooked). In-general coffee needs to "rest" in it's sealed air tight bag for about three to four days after roasting so it can release CO2 caused by the roasting process. Once the coffee has rested, it reaches it's "peak" flavor profile. If it is stored at room temperature in an air tight bag it can stay at peak flavor for about a week. The older a coffee gets, the faster it goes stale and loses it's intended flavor profile.

It is said that coffee can stay fresh in it's original unopened air tight bag for about two months. HOWEVER, once the bag is opened and the coffee is exposed to air; it will go stale rapidly (usually in two or three days).

Myth: Espresso comes from a specific type of coffee bean.

Fact: There is no such thing as an "espresso bean". By tradition, espresso is defined as: "A strong coffee, brewed under pressure, and served immediately to its intended consumer." In practice, however, we use a more strict technical definition. Below is the definition created by the World Barista Competition.

"An espresso is a one ounce/30 ml liquid including crema, brewed using an appropriate and consistent amount of ground coffee at a temperature between 195-205 degrees F where the machine brewing pressure is between 8.5-9.5 atmospheres of pressure. Extraction time must be between 20-30 seconds, and the beverage should be served immediately."

Myth: Bold (darker roasted) coffee has less caffeine than medium to lighter roasted coffee.

Fact: This one can be difficult. It really depends on how you measure the caffeine. When coffee is roasted the beans lose some water content (somewhere in the 20% range give or take a few percent). At the same time it is losing weight it is gaining size. This leads to a situation that makes this one a bit tough to explain.

Assuming all other variables are the same, if you measure by weight you actually have more caffeine in dark roast because the water loss is faster than the minimal caffeine loss during roasting. If you measure by volume you have less caffeine because the beans expand as they roast. This seems to confuse some people so let me restate the above. If you measure your coffee using a scoop you will have less caffeine per cup using dark roast coffee. If you measure your coffee by weight you will have more caffeine per cup using a dark roast. The difference one way or the other is small.

Roast magazine published rel=nofollow []an article about this a while back stating: "Popular lore has always been that the darker the roast level, the lower the caffeine content. This is not really the case, as caffeine changes very little during the roasting process. Caffeine has a very stable crystalline structure with a boiling point above 600 degrees Fahrenheit, far above roasting temperatures, which rarely exceed 470 degrees Fahrenheit. This means there is very little change to the caffeine during the roasting process."

Myth: "Fair Trade" coffee is the only coffee grown and sold using sustainable practices.

Fact: This is a very common consumer misunderstanding. Think of fair trade as "minimum wage". It is a benchmark that guarantees farmers no less than a minimum designated "floor price". There are actually far better fair and sustainable prices paid to growers under "Direct Trade Certification". Counter Culture Coffee in Durham, North Carolina paved the way with their Direct Trade Certification program that guarantees growers at least $1.60/lb. for green coffee purchases, a minimum price that exceeds the Fair Trade Certified floor price by 19%. While $1.60/lb. sets a new, higher standard for green coffee purchases, they usually pay more than this minimum price for most Direct Trade Certified coffees, not including the additional financial premiums paid for exceptional quality.

"Myth: The best coffee in America comes from the Northwest.

Fact: This is rather subjective. A number of America's most famous coffee companies originated in the Northwest (i.e. Stumptown Coffee, Starbucks and Seattle's Best). All of which had a giant affect on the industry and established a "Second Wave" in coffee. That said, formidable coffee cultures have risen all over the U.S. with a focus on the "Third Wave" of coffee. ("The Third Wave of Coffee is the genesis and establishment of coffee growers, coffee roasters and coffee retailers that are focused on achieving the highest form of culinary appreciation of coffee.")

Some of the most prominent "Third Wave" coffee companies are based in Chicago, New York City, North Carolina, Oregon and California. Recently a number of new small artisanal coffee shops and roasters have been rapidly taking off in cities you wouldn't expect. Atlanta, Austin and Dallas in particular.

Myth: "Java" is a universal name for coffee.

Fact: This is false. For some reason, virtually every food writer refers to coffee as "java" at least once in coffee related articles. Java is simply an Indonesian Island that coffee happens to grow on. Coffee that comes from this Pacific Island IS known as Java, however coffee that does not originate on this island should not be referred to as "Java". Does this remind you of another popular beverage?

(For more on up-and-coming Third Wave coffee cultures check out this article:

To find more from Tom Vincent or to learn more about coffee education, barista training, and coffee company consulting - check out Texas Coffee College ( or follow Texas Coffee College on Twitter (@TXCoffeeCollege).

Article Source: [] Coffee Myths vs Facts - The Truth Revealed

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

A Review of Blogging To The Bank 2010

Blogging have been around for a long time. Many people use blogs to record their thoughts and lives while a select few use blogs as a free way to make a fortune. Creating a blog is easy but making it work is challenging especially if you are thinking of earning an income out of it. I have been throught the ups and downs of blogging for a few years. But it was only in the last year that I discovered a full proof way making my blogs work.

Here's a review of Blogging to the Bank 2010*

Blogging to the Bank is created by Rob Benwell. Early in 2006 he shared his secrets with the world in his highly successful Blogging To The Bank ebook and tons of people got rich from using his techniques. Just over two years after the success of his first book with over 20,000 copies sold of it and in July 2007 he released Blogging to the Bank 2.0 which showed users his new methods to creating online wealth using blogs. In total both versions have been read by over 50,000 people across the world.

He is now releasing a brand new, fresh off the press Blogging to the Bank 2010 system. I got this book as soon as I could and it covers quite a lot of new information and techniques to adapt my blog to the new demands of the major search engines.

Rob Benwell is unlike most marketing 'gurus', in fact he doesn't consider himself to be a 'guru'. His style is pleasant and easy to understand. He doesn't talk down to you like most of the other guys do.

The methods and strategies he use is simply brilliant though it takes me a while to fully comprehend it. Blogging To The Bank 2010 teaches you new step by step blueprint to creating highly profitable long term niche blogs using the newest optimization techniques. There’s even a section on advanced Search Engine Optimization. Most people think SEO is difficult but Rob explains this nicely and simply so even the blogging newbie will understand it. There is also his 5 Blogging Commandments for 2010 to help you make you blogs successful and keep them future proofed.

Blogging to the bank 2010 is full of great new techniques that will work online right now. Everything is explained in plain English with all the fluff cut out. if you are out there in the blogging world and want to make money the easy way then I highly recommend Blogging To The Bank 2010.

Click here* for more information on Blogging to the Bank 2010

*This is an affiliate link

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Can Copy Paste Systems help you make money online?

Are you tired of reading and learning from internet experts and yet not really making great progress? I was in the same situation not too long ago. Don’t get me wrong, some of these experts are really good and I can see how following what they preach can help someone become a success.

However, frequently I have to figure out what how to put what they say into action. It’s really not easy. It requires lots of hit and miss and waste of energy and money at times. Not giving up on ‘gurus’ I decided to look around again and found a very different and interesting concept to internet marketing.

The concept of Copy Paste Systems is based on allowing their members to replicate the same online campaigns that have been and is still bringing in profits. Everything from testing, market research, landing pages, keywords, ads and others are all done to ensure that they are profitable campaigns.

What I like about the system is there is no learning involved. All I need to do is to find the campaigns for me to execute and there are many campaigns in the package. Copy Paste System is extremely useful for people who are new to internet marketing as it helps them to get started correctly. For people like myself who have a little knowledge, it propels me to another level. Not only am I able to quickly implement effective campaigns, I learnt the secrets of how to make my online business a success.

Anthony Robbins once said “If you want to be successful, find someone who has achieved the results you want and copy what they do and you'll achieve the same results.”

If you would like to find out more about Copy Paste Systems, there is a short description of the package here..

Friday, 29 January 2010

Valentine day gift ideas for 2010

Valentine's day is a special time for many people. It's a day of love, love for your spouse, children, parents and special friends. For people in a love relationship, it symbolises commitment and adoration.

Every year, millions are spend on roses, chocolates and cards. Should Valentine's Day for 2010 be any different?

Here are some Valentine's day gift ideas:

Give a gift of experience It could be taking control of a light plane during a flying lesson,indulge in a relaxing spa retreat,challenging Ferrari or Porsche driving gift, experience the tranquillity of soaring and circling on the thermals, drifting silently on the wind in a Gliding Lesson or learn the skills of taking great photographs.

Prepare a sensual, romantic dinnerwith the food of love. Oysters, garlic, honey, asparagus, banana, almonds and chocolates are food known for their aphrodisiac effects. Create your Valentine's day meal using these foods and have a love filled romantic time.

Take a romantic break Whisk your loved one off on a romantic trip or to a luxury hotel this Valentine's day. Since Valentine's day in 2010 falls on a Saturday, why not start early and take the weekend to visit one of the beautiful cities in Europe or some of UK's famous country houses.

Valentine's Day flowers It's not the
same without flowers on Valentine's day. However, instead of just giving a bouquet of roses, why not make it unique. Instead of roses, choose daisies, lilies, gerberas, present it together with a bottle of wine or champagne and yes, you will never go wrong with a box of lucious, rich chocolate.

Give a helping hand. Sometimes, a gift of love can be something to help your loved one solve a problem, kick a habit or improve their life. It might not seems romantic as a Valentine's day present but your thoughtfulness and care will be greeted with great appreciation and gratitude. Here are examples:

Has he or she been feeling self conscious about the colour of their
teeth. Perhaps there is an upcoming important occasion and they
want to look their best.Teeth whitening pen kitcould be the quickest way to help that special someone get the 'million dollar' smile.

Has he been feeling lethargic, is his weight affecting his health? Show that you care about his well being by helping him find an easy and effective weightloss program

The appearance of cellulite have troubled many women. It stops them from wearing their favourite minis, shorts or bikini. Have she been complaining about the awful 'orange peel' looking skin on her thighs? Cellulite gelcould be the perfect gift and solution to help her get rid of her problem.

Disturbed by his or her snoring at night,Snoring solution could be a subtle way to let them know that you want to be able to sleep peacefully. Furthermore you could be helping your loved one get proper sleep at night,feeling more energetic in the day and reduce the possibility of obstructive sleep apnea.It might not be a romantic gift but it ahows the stability in your relationship.

Make Valentine's day in 2010 special and memorable. Be different, you can try some of the suggestions above or create your own Valentine gift.

Source: Shop and Save

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Can positive thinking solve your problems?

Have we been fooled by all the theories of positive thinking? When I saw the interview with Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Smile or Die: How Positive Thinking Fooled America and the Worldon News Night, my first thought was ‘At last someone is coming out to disprove the positive thinking hype’.

I agree with her that it’s no point telling a person who is suffering, in this case, she has breast cancer, and that she needs to be positive to get well. That’s not empathy, that’s dismissing her feelings of fear, anger and sadness.

Many of us are told that our problems will be solved if we think positively. Some of us are even made to feel that it’s our negative thoughts that are making our life miserable. Is this true? Can positive thinking solve problems?

As I thought further on the truth about positive thinking, I realised that I cannot dismiss the fact that positive thinking have in some point of my life help me overcome problems. The positive thoughts and positive changes I have made to my life have worked well for me. For those things that have not come into fruition, I accept that it is probably not right for me. I know this cannot be compared to someone who has a terminal illness and there is not much they can do to change their predicament.

The interview with the Smile or Die author have led me to realise that perhaps the truth about positive thinking is not about psyching ourselves into believing that saying daily affirmations and ignoring negative feelings is going to solve our problems. Positive thinking is about acknowledging and accepting that there is a problem; understand why we have negative thoughts and making a decision to make positive changes to our life.

Positive thinking can’t solve your problem; it wouldn’t heal you or keep you away from dreaded illnesses. Positive thinking can however help you decide on how you can make your life better in the midst of your problem.

Positive thinking can’t solve your problems. It wouldn’t shield you from negative feelings and life’s obstacles. It can however help you face your problems, make improvements to your life and keep you motivated in achieving your goals.
Positive thinking can’t solve your problem but having positive attitude can help make your life better. Believing in yourself and your capabilities whilst acknowledging your weaknesses prepares you for life challenges.

There is no doubt that having a positive attitude is healthy. You find a purpose in your life and you feel more fulfilled as you start to do the things that make you happy.

More self improvement articles can be read at Learning Curve

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

How to lose body fat around the waist

Is losing weight one of your New Year resolutions? Many people find it necessary to make this resolution especially after weeks of unrestricted eating and drinking. Like many, I would tell myself as I devour a piece of Christmas cake that I will start my weight loss plan in the New Year.

True to my word, I weighed myself on New Year day and was delightfully surprised that my weight hasn’t really gone up. However, I do notice an increase in my waistline or rather lack of a waistline. I attribute this increment to all the rich food, alcoholic drinks and minimum movements during the festive period.

My desire to do something about the body fat around my waist is further enhanced when I saw a BBC report on January 4, 2010, it states that:
Almost nine in 10 people are not aware of the risks of carrying extra fat around their waistline.

A survey of 12,000 Europeans found most had no idea that a thick waist was a sign of a build-up of a dangerous type of fat around the internal organs.

The waistline is probably the area with the most stubborn fat for many people. Usually in the initial days of a weight loss program, many would see encouraging results in our face, some seeing a more defined neckline minus the double chin. Somehow, every other areas seem slow to respond especially the body fat around the waist.

How to lose body fat around the waist?

1. Eat healthily, reduce your meal intake but do not go on a diet. There is a saying that goes like this: eat till you are 70% full. Don’t overload your plate with food. Eat slowly and chew your food thoroughly.

2. Do food combining. I found the food combining diet to be very effective for losing body fat around the waist. By not eating protein and carbohydrate in the same meal, I am helping my stomach to digest the food more effectively.

3. Alongside food combining, eat food high in carbohydrates for lunch and protein food for dinner. This is because least energy is expended in the night and in my opinion, the benefits from carbohydrates will not be utilised effectively and could turn into fat.

4. Drink before and after eating to give you a feeling of fullness. This will prevent you from snacking in between meals.

5. Help your body to naturally fight obesity with natural health supplements. I believe in the effectiveness in some of these herbal weight loss supplements. Super fruits like Gogi berries and Resveratrol from grapes have been used for centuries by people for its health benefits. Goji berries with its high fibre content moderates blood sugar levels and is rich in nutrients that help to convert food into energy. Resveratrol which is found in grapes can help people to lose weight by triggering the body’s natural fat burning process. It works by activating the SirT1 gene in our body, sending a calorie restriction signal to the brain which in turn breaks down stored fat and increase our energy level. Resveratrol help increase in the body metabolic rate, make us feel more energetic and eventually help us to reduce weight naturally.

6. Concentrate your exercise on your waist. Do daily waist rotation for about 100 rounds (both ways) is a good way to tone the muscles around the waistline. Make exercise fun with hula hoop or join a belly dancing class. Aerobic exercise, swimming, walking, cycling and leg lifts are effective whole body exercise that will also help you get rid of body fat around the waist. Make your exercises last for more than 30 minutes to effectively activate the fat burning process.

7. Stay hydrated. Drinking at least eight glasses of water will help your body flush out toxins and boost metabolic rate.

Whichever weight loss program you choose, it has to be something you are comfortable with. Of course, losing weight is never easy; it takes lots of discipline and will power to exceed. For a weight loss program to be effective and long lasting, you have to be realistic about your deadline. An unrealistic deadline can create stress and make you feel discouraged.

Take your time and be patient. Soon you will lose the body fat around the waist and be the picture of health that your friends will be envious of.