Saturday, 4 January 2014

2014: Oi oi!

Hello hello!  I haven't written anything on here for AGES.  Months in fact.  Seven and a bit months as it happens.  That's ages innit?!  But if truth be known, I just haven't fancied it.  Life has had it's typical ups and downs; nothing massively 'orrible but I just lost my blogging mojo.  But I thought I'd perhaps dabble a bit, re-dip ones toe and so on.

And what better time to get re-aqcuainted with my blogging self than to review my 2013 aims.....I fell a bit short....

  • Eat some proper macaroons um, fail but I did however gain more weight than I was happy with and then successfully lost it again.  I am currently the healthiest and fittest I've even been....but haven't eaten proper macaroons. 0 POINTS
  • Read at least three big books that I’ve had for ages and put off as I thought they’d take ages I'm going to give myself a win on this one.  I read Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell, Tess of the D'Urbevilles by Thomas Hardy and Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte.  The only admission is that I hadn't owned the latter two for ages but they have existed for ages and they're classics so I'm counting it.  My game, my rules. 1 POINT
  • A third attempt at a Good Reads reading challenge.  This year, 25 books total. 29!  Including audiobooks. 1 POINT
  • Get work done on one of my existing tattoos Fail, nothing beyond passing thoughts about it. 0 POINTS
  • Pay off my credit card Progress has been made but it's not completely gone yet. 1/2 POINT (I paid off more than half)
  • Run non-stop for 30 minutes Fail due to injury but I do go to the gym 3 times a week and walk bloody miles each week so I did what I could. VOIDED
  • Visit a minimum of 10 towns that I’ve never visited before hmm, maybe.  Bath, Bristol, Oxford, Chichester, Hayling Island, Arundel, Cardiff, Faversham.  Damn, that's 8.  I went to other places too but I'd been there before. 1/2 POINT (8 out of 10 is quite a bit)
  • Do my first craft fair DONE.  Didn't set my creative world alight but I did it and that's the main thing. 1 POINT
  • Cook with lentils DONE.  Soup and that. 1 POINT
  • Finish my Copywriting course Nope, did a bit but lost my mojo with that too. 0 POINTS

So I started 2013 with 10 goals.  I'm eliminating one (running for 30 minutes) as the injury wasn't due to anything I did wrong, I've got funny mechanics.  So that was a realistic 9 aims.  Of that I completed 5.  It's alright I guess.  Hey ho, can't win em all.

And on to the next.  For 2014 my aims are-

  • Learn to drive
  • Another bash at the Good Reads Challenge, again at 25 books but this year, I won't include audiobooks.
  • Run a 5k- given my injury issues this is a bigger challenge than it seems
  • Cycle 200 miles
  • Embrace the grey and refrain from dying my hair for the duration of the year
And actually, I think that will do.  Those won't be the only things that I'll achieve this year but they're the only things that I want to consciously list and aim for at this point in the year.

Ta ta for now, good folk.

Thursday, 30 May 2013

A Good Reads review: Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

Cloud AtlasCloud Atlas by David Mitchell
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

For me this was a case of knowing that what I was reading was a good book but not really enjoying it as much as I would have liked.

It's undeniable that David Mitchell is clearly an amazingly talented writer. In one book he transitions through several different time specific styles and dialects flawlessly. SOme of these can clearly be based on knowledge of the past but others project to an imagined future. Impressive stuff.

The nature of the book is that it transitions across several different stories picking up each one at a point which is not clearly a beginning. I'm not quite sure how to summarise it neatly, it does offer an interesting observation of human nature and the transition of society and culture but if that's the point behind it I couldn't say.

I think the reason I didn't quite click with it is the unusual format. There wasn't an opportunity to get attached to characters as ultimately if you did, their appearance in the novel would end too quickly for you to feel satisfied.

I also think it's a book that you need to power through at a reasonable pace. It took me ages to read and as a result I couldn't spot the linking threads that ran though all of the sections.

I would certainly recommend it to others to read as it is a really interesting read. I would probably just flag up that if you're a simple 'beginning, middle and end' kind of gal/guy, like I am, you may end up feeling a little bewildered.

View all my reviews

Also, I'm 15% ahead of schedule on my reading challenge for the year.  I'm kicking this right in the norks!

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Mollbird in the wild: My first craft fair

I've had my Mollbird crafty initiative for quite some time now.  I've had little shops first on Etsy and now on Folksy for a good while too.  Sales-wise I'm not setting the world on fire but then I do this because I like it, not because I'm expecting to earn a living from it.

However, in all this time I've never done a craft fair.  Previously I never thought I could make enough to cover a whole table and then backed that up by being a scaredy cat.  But having been to a craft fair in Dover Town Hall last year and picking up a leaflet listing 4th May 2013, it seemed like something I could have a go at with enough time to both make plenty of stock and also psych myself up.

It's funny how time flies!  I ended up in my full time temping job for longer than I was expecting (started last September, was meant to be there for 4 weeks....I'm still there) so what initially seemed like bags of time was quickly whizzing by!  A few weeks back I did my first Mollbird stock take to gather together the various bits and bobs that I've successfully spread around the flat and with that done I had an idea of what I wanted to aim for and set to with hook and needle to make that happen.

I got WELL nervous but having committed so much time to getting ready for it and having put all other creative exploits on hold to make this happen, I was ready to get the job done.

Considering I used a lightly mutilated fitted bed sheet, a random bit of spotty fabric that someone had given me and plastic cups and glasses, I was really pleased with how my little display came together in the end.

And even if it was bloody freezing in there, over Town Hall is a very impressive building from the inside with beautiful stained glass and an impressive array for pointy looking weaponry on the walls.

Here I am with my wares looking nervous and awkward, one of my speciality faces in front of a camera lens.

In total I sold 1 whole toilet roll my fella's Mum.  However I did have very in depth conversations, albeit a bit one-sided, on the topics of Status Quo with one lady and gliders and gliding with a gentleman.

I think I will do another one at some point but I don't think Dover is quite ready for the Mollbird style.

Friday, 29 March 2013

Gots me some wheels!

I've got a bike!  She doesn't have a name yet (she's a she, you know) but that will come in time.  I got her from Winstanleys Bikes and I loves her.  I can't wait until it gets a bit warmer out and about so I can go adventuring.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Pilates at home

I've talked about running many a time before but alas in more recent times by body has been behaving more like a shack with badly hinged doors than the temple I would prefer it to be.  I've had a run (ha!) of unavoidable injuries and once again I'm back getting treatment from a physio.

I have a fairly well evidenced theory that physios are OBSESSED with Pilates.  Well maybe that's a bit strong but in my time I've seen 3 for my varying physical breakdowns and each of them had said that I should really be doing it.  Plus a Chiropractor too but I've only met one and therefore don't have the hard scientific proof to conclude that the profession is obsessed.

I've done Pilates on and off for a while but I've always ended up not sticking with it because either a) I've got monterously bored of doing the same DVD over and over again or b) I've tried doing Pilates that was WAY too hard, broken myself and really not fancied trying it again for a while.

Well this time I'm trying harder to stick with it as I'm off running with Plantar Fasciitis so thought I'd experiment with my fitness routine a bit. (Please note: I don't look like a gym bunny, I only wear leggings with a dress over the top and have never knowingly eaten or drunk wheatgrass).

My first dabbling with Pilates have been with the Pilates Weight Loss Workout for Dummies DVD and while it is pretty good, I've watched it way too much and am now having to limit it's usage.  Despite having used it quite a few times, I'm still entirely cream crackered by the end so would recommend it if you asked.

So I've now been branching out onto youtube videos and feel like I've struck gold.  That was of course after striking not gold a few times, by which I mean striking sources of unbelievable pain a few times.

So far I've been really impressed by all of the videos I've tried from the eFit30 channel.  Admittedly I've only done about 3 of over 140 videos but those 3 have been really good.  As I'm not a mega-fit type one of the things that drives me nuts about some videos is the excruciating enthusiasm of the instructor.  I prefer helpful and realistic, not squeaky and overly familiar   In short, I don't like the "come on guys, lets really go for that burn" type that lead me wondering if they might be on speed.  Well these instructors have really matched up with my requirements, they've not skimmed over the easier versions of moves as if you should feel ashamed doing them and come across as real professionals.  The videos aren't too hard but incorporate ways to make they more challenging when you're ready.  When I've done them, I feel like I've exercised but don't feel like breathing might be a challenge the next day.

Here are the videos that I've enjoyed the most.  If you're an exercise at home type, I'd certainly recommend checking out the channel for some of the other exercise options the offer.