What’s In The Bag? 2018 Edition

So, I’ve began thinking of ideas for blog posts so that at least I’m writing 2 or 3 times a year rather than once or twice every 2 years. An example of a blog post I thought that I quite like is “What’s In The Bag?” posts I’ve seen doing the round. It’s interesting to see how people’s bags and rucksacks develop over time, so I thought I’d do mine. Here’s my bag, and what’s currently in it – as well as it numbered so you can easily follow below. Or I think easy to follow – my graphics skills aren’t the best!

  1. Wiwa OnePack – This was a fairly ill advised kickstarter, but it came through and it’s decent. A roomy backback which is easy to carry and two major compartments, one fairly roomy main backpack designed for 2 or 3 night stays (I will disagree mind), and a “work” area for laptops and notebooks. It is an okay backpack, slightly soured by how long it took, but it’s okay.
  2. 2015 Macbook Pro – Love, love, love this machine! Absolute beast and runs along quite nicely. Still only 3 years old and whilst I covered it with stickers it’s still chugging along without any problems. I wish the hard drive was bigger though. Charger is beginning to get the same issue all chargers for the Mac seem to suffer.
  3. World Civilization Laptop Sleeve – Because I’m forever dreaming of going away and this is a useful laptop sleeve.
  4. PROGRESS Wrestling Tote Bag – always need to be representing my fellow ultras.
  5. 7dayshop Aero Freedom Noise Cancelling Bluetooth Headphones – My hearing is poor, and I like the Noise Cancelling aspect. It’s pretty decent in noise cancelling, compared to earphones.
  6. Clas Ohlson USB Double Charging Plug & EU Plug Adapter – after a trip to Italy where I forgot all my plugs and adapters, I’ve made a reason to always carry these two items in my bag, so I’m not without power.
  7. Puridea Phone Power Bank – A decent sized (10000mAh) charger. It’s slightly too big for my liking, but it can fit in my bag and not take up too much room.
  8. Small Notebooks – Used for small note taking, such as – for example – when I’m giving a talk (I used one for my WP Leeds talk recently).
  9. Nifty Kitchen Bento Box – Love this little Bento Box! I’d highly recommend anybody to get a Bento Box. I cook for 2 and now eat a delicious lunch the next day. It’s expensive for a lunchbox, but it’s save me more money in return.
  10. WordCamp Manchester 2015 Tote Bag – as you can never have enough tote bags, this was from WordCamp Manchester 2015, one I helped organise.
  11. Business Cards Holders – Holding business cards for Winwar Media as well as stickers for Winwar & WP Email Capture.
  12. LFC Notebook – Used for taking meeting notes, more long form writing that I need to do occasionally.
  13. Intelligent Change Productivity Planner – I’ve started using this to plan my days. It’s pretty good but I’m still getting the hang of it. Will let you know how it goes but it’s working with my Pomodoro technique, though one task every day may just be “Small Work jobs on my Remember The Milk list”
  14. (Above 12) Belkin Boost Up Wireless Charger – I thought this was a fad, as was the Treasure Truck, but I bought this on The Amazon Treasure Truck and it was a good purchase. Just makes my life easier. Can be temperamental at times though.
  15. (Above 13) Small Tin full of USB Cables & Bits and Bobs – I bought the tin in Dublin, as on my flight to Dublin I broke my USB cable, leaving me in trouble for a week stay there. This keeps the cables safe and secure. This does contain the Volutz Charging USB Cables, which are the best USB cables I’ve ever owned, so tough!

Anyway, that’s what’s in my bag, what’s in yours? Leave them in the comments!

Parties And Belgrade

“How have you enjoyed your stay here? Well I hope you come back again, but if not, I do hope you come back to Belgrade. You are always welcome here.”

Those were the parting words of the receptionist of Hotel Inn Belgrade as I left after a week in the Serbian capital. It felt like it summed up my stay in the Serbian capital. People are really friendly here. Like bordering on the “Why are you being so nice?” friendly. It was bordering on the unnerving and it was for the first day, but eventually you find a city full of warm, hospitible people who want to sell their city to you so you tell everybody about them.

Mission, accomplished.

I arrived early afternoon, and then immediately I went on a Belgrade Walking Tour, which was fascinating as well as slightly drunken due to the spirit given towards the end of the tour (thanks Godaddy for sponsoring!). After a bit of food (unfortunately I cannot remember the name of the place I attended) the night was capped off at the absolutely fabulous Samo Pivo, a craft beer bar located in an underpass. This was a real gem of a place and I was sad I only went once during my time in Belgrade. From the underpass you are lead to an outside terrace with a fascinating view of the city.

The second day I spent looking through the Nikola Tesla Museum as well as The Serbian National Bank, both fun little distractions and diversions. The evening was eventually resulted in food at Ambar, with their “All you can eat for 2990 Dinar” (about £20), we had a great filling meal that went on for hours, with many beers. Top. Notch. I cannot remember what it was, but there was an absolutely delicious hazelnut butter that was to die for. I cannot remember anything else about it, but it was superb, as was much of the food there.

The next day saw the kick off of the World Cup, and I ended up in another cracking bar – Berlin Monroe. Located off a car park in the old town, this craft beer bar has a great staff, friendly service and a superb selection of Serbian craft beers. No food is served, but there’s a pizza place nearby that does massive pizzas for not much money.

The rest of the holiday was spent mainly at the aforementioned WordCamp Europe, which you can read more about that if you so desire here. But here you are after pictures aren’t you? Here’s some of my top snaps from the trip.

Thirty-Four

This weekend I turn thirty-four.

It’s been quite a weird year. Thirty-three wasn’t a great year, starting off incredibly rubbish due to losing Bonnie and going through a breakup. July was when things started improving, thanks to some cool people coming into my life, and also reconnecting with some old ones (mainly the Manchester SEO crowd thanks to events like Media Poker), and although since about October 2017 I was pretty much waiting for the year to be over.

2018 has started well, I feel more focused, and more driven. I think the waiting for the year to end wasn’t necessarily the best course of action, but I’ve definitely got a plan for 2018 going forward. It’s going well so far too. Yes, this is vagueblogging. More will hopefully be revealed soon.

Regarding the things I love, I travelled to a new country for the first time whilst being 33 (Ireland). My Germanophile nature was fed further as a long weekend in Köln was spent following my love of professional wrestling, as well as falling in love with Berlin in November. I also took my main holiday in the UK for the first time since 2012 with a week spent in London and Brighton. I played a bunch of new games and my time playing video games has creeped up. Gym has taken a hit, but I’m walking a lot more these days. I also think I drink less, and eat slightly better.

Now, suggested by Nichola Stott, here is the first of what I hope will be an ongoing series, here is my life-by-life comparison with Reese Witherspoon.


Rhys (With a Spoon)
Rhys (With a Spoon)

Reese Witherspoon
Age Nearly 34 Nearly 42
Oscars (Nominated) 0 1
Books Written 1 0
Marriages 0 2
Children 0 3
WordPress Plugins Written 10 0

I'm not sure how much further I can compare my life to Reese Witherspoon, so if you have any suggestions, leave them in the comments!

Previous Versions: 30

Loot Gaming August 2016 Unboxing – Mecha

Today we’re focussing on Loot Gaming August 2016 unboxing, which is entitled “Mecha”. Yeah it’s a couple of months old, but this may be my last Loot Gaming review for a while.

This month I am a fan of none of the franchises. Zero. Which is a shame as the early boxes had a mix of stuff both quite old and quite new stuff. Now it seems pure epic modern franchises, which bar a select few, I’m not a fan of.

So I’ve cancelled the box for now. But I did review the final one – Mecha – which contains items from Deus Ex, Bioshock, Borderlands and other franchises I have never played. Here is the video.

Loot Gaming August 2016 Unboxing Video

So as you hear, the items themselves are nice, and it’s a really high quality box, but I’m just not a big a fan of the games to justify this box going forward. Which is a huge shame.

I’m probably not 100% done with Loot Gaming though, I’ve still subscribed to their newsletter so if a box tickles my fancy I’ll pick one up, but I think it will be a month by month thing.

Anyway, I’m still going to review loot boxes (I’ve a new one to do soon), so you can see what happens  if you subscribe to my Youtube Channel here.

Own Part of the Crate!

From the crate, I’ve put the following things on eBay:-

To to subscribe to Loot Gaming, check out the official site here. You can get $5 off your first crate with that link!

Only Here for the Kraków (Oh, and a Wedding)

The final trip abroad for me this year saw me spend a fair few days in Kraków, in Poland, for my brother and now-sister-in-law’s wedding. Poland struck me as one of those places I’d go eventually, and seeing my brother tie the knot seemed like more than a good excuse to go.

I’m not going to talk about the wedding. I don’t feel it’s the place to talk about it here. Besides, if you really want to, they may share a video on their YouTube channel. But I will say fact it was wonderful and followed the Polish tradition of weddings going until silly-bugger-o’clock in the morning, but here are some highlights for me.

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Things I did in Krakow

On the first morning, I took a walking tour from The Free Walking Tour Foundation. It was there we found out about the history and culture behind Krakow, as well as the weird quirks. One such quirk is the bugle player playing every hour. We also found out lots the castle’s connection to Australia, as well as lots about John Paul II.

The second day I took in a museum, the rather brilliant Krakow Pinball Museum. We’re fortunate in Manchester in that we’re close to the rather brilliant Arcade Club, but this was good fun. I’ve given full thoughts over on Retro Garden on the Krakow Pinball Museum.

Towards the end of the holiday I took another free walking tour, this time of the Jewish quarter. This tour was recommended to me to get a better understanding of Krakow. This was interesting but I feel I should’ve done this on the first day, though we were fortunate as I did this on a Monday, where many of the museums and Synagogues on the tour were open for free, and the company were licenced to take us around, which was great. I ended the day going into the  Oscar Schindler Museum, which is free on Monday. The museum focuses mainly on Krakow during the Second World War. It only has 2 or 3 rooms dedicated to Oscar Schindler. It is well worth going to, especially on a Monday.

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Where I Ate In Krakow

Food wise, I spent a lot of time in the Alchemia Pub & Restaurant, which had a great range of not-exactly-Polish cuisine, with great beer. I also found a delightful coffee shop called Cytat Cafe which was quirky and gave you quotes with every coffee.

I also loved the food at Pimento Argentine Grill – I loved the Sweet Potato and Chorizo.

But the main event, the wedding, was the highlight of the week. I wouldn’t change that for the world.