Never Stop Learning….

Yoga in Bristol It’s always important to remember that you are never to old to learn. Not that 30 is old of course! Whether it it learning within your job, or learning something new in your spare time. For me in 2017, I finally took a yoga course as for years I wanted to learn about yoga. In fact, taking a yoga course was in my 30 things before 30 list – I’m just more than a little late completing that one.

I was worried about just attempting any yoga class as practicing yoga on the Wii hardly makes you a yoga expert and as my body always does the opposite as what it should do, I’m pretty sure I was doing it wrong the majority of the time. So back in February I donned my sports kit and joined a six week beginner course at Flow Yoga in Bedminster, which is taught by the lovely Manon – a lady who must have the patience of the saint to deal with all us newbies – especially me with my stiff neck and body that refuses to communicate with my brain!

My stubborn body aside, I absolutely LOVED yoga! The six week course whizzed by so quickly I found myself signing up for the next six weeks just so I could continue practicing. Now this second course has finished, after 12 weeks of yoga, I may not be an expert, but for the first time in my life I can sit on the floor with my legs stretched, and reach down and touch my toes. I know, many of you would have been able to do this your whole life, whereas little old me has never managed to achieve this, so don’t take that away from me! I’ve found that with yoga I can relax, and I enjoy it.

Whole my downward facing dog still needs a lot of work (see picture), I am determined to carry on practicing yoga. I’m just annoyed at myself that it took me so long to start practicing – I may have been able to touch my toes years before!

If you want to try yoga for the first time, check out Flow Yoga and try Manon’s beginner course.

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How Did You Imagine 30s Life?

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When you’re a child, it seems like being in your 30s means your life is sorted. With the majority of our parents, by the time they were in their 30s, they were married, had a kid/kids and owned their own home. Today, we do things a little differently – not always by choice.

At 31, I’m not married, I don’t own my own home, and tomorrow I’m about to start a new job. While I don’t have everything I probably expected as a kid, I’m happy. The dream of owning our home gets further and further away, but we hope that one day that dream will become a reality.

As for now, I’ll focus on each day as it comes. Life may not be perfect, but we have to believe that everything happens for a reason and all that jazz.

So being in my 30s isn’t quite as I thought it would be, but it’s hardly as though I’m over the hill, I’m still ‘technically’ young and I’m still trying new things and trying to be less fussy with my eating – even if I do default to pasta when I’m cooking for myself.

I’ve been trying to think what I could Blog about to get myself writing again, and I decided to try exploring life in my 30s. Sure it may not always be an exciting life, but you only get one, so it’s all about living it and getting out of it what you can.

I’ll go back to avoiding the washing up by watching Netflix now. There’s life in your 30s for you.

Where did you think you would be in your 30s? Or are you exactly where you thought you would be in your 30s?

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Casper and Instagram

While I’m not working, I think it’s important to identify any gaps in my skill set and see what I can do to improve it. As well as reading plenty of articles on digital marketing, and particularly social media usage, I’ve been partaking in a little social media experiment myself. While I’ve had a personnel Instagram account for years, I’ve never had success at creating a targeted Instagram account. When I worked for the All-Wales School Liaison Core Programme, I trialled an Instagram account when we running a campaign on New Psychoactive Substances (legal highs), but didn’t have much success due to not having enough lead time to build the account up before we released the posters being used for a campaign.

So what am I doing to give myself a chance to experiment with Instagram? I’ve done what any sane person does and I’ve set up an Instagram account for our cat Casper. We adopted Casper from Holly Hedge a few months ago and he’s settling in really well. He went from being a quiet, shy cat while in Holly Hedge, to a cat full of character once he had settled in. Casper may be nearly three, but whenCasper the Friendly Cat he isn’t sleeping – which like any cat, he does a lot, he is just like a kitten wanting to play, or will quite happily jump up onto your lap for a cuddle.

I set up the Instagram account on the 26th March and set myself the target of 50 followers in the first week – which I achieved! Now on the 20th April, Casper has 171 followers and has no shortage of likes per post. I think the most he has achieved is 69 likes on one post. Obviously I would like a post to smash the 100 likes mark on a post, but we need to be a much bigger account to achieve that – I can’t even imagine being into the thousands of followers mark like many cat accounts out there.

For Casper’s account, I post between 1 and 3 pictures a day; it averages 2 pictures, but slips to the 3 mark if he happens to do a cute picture and not be glaring at the camera. I try and take a few pictures of Casper in one day so that I have a stash to use and I don’t have to be constantly taking pictures of him. Before I started the account, I did some research and took notes on what hashtags are popular for cat accounts as it is the quickest way to get likes on each post and have a chance of making Casper even slightly Insta-famous. It’s also important to have interaction on the account; I can’t just post pictures of Casper and leave it, I have to like other cat pictures and comment on them to encourage people to do the same to Casper’s pictures. I also have to ensure that I am following other cat accounts – of course I hope they follow me back, but like many other accounts, I don’t unfollow an account just because they don’t follow Casper back. I’ve seen this happen quite a lot with Casper’s account (and my own account), and they must be accounts that are very serious at building their accounts up.

This Casper account is a chance to have a bit of fun, taking pictures and seeing what can be achieved on a targeted account, and as long as Casper is happy to have his picture taken – and does more than sleep each day, I’ll see how far I can take this account. The nest step is achieving 200 followers for this week, so wish me luck, and if you want to see plenty of pictures of our cute cotton wool ball (his fur is just like cotton wool when it’s brushed), please following Casper on Instagram.

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Turning 31!

Before I turned 30, I had the list of 30 things I wanted to do before I turned 30. For me, turning 30 was a big deal – well I thought it was. As it turned out, turning 30 wasn’t a big deal. Although I didn’t complete the list of 30 things, I had a good old stab at it and still keep certain things up on it. I still post two Instagram pictures a week and I still make an effort to ensure that everything I buy or wear isn’t black. I’m still even better at trying new foods, so I did succeed in some ways.

Now it’s just over a week until I turn 31 and reality has hit. I am not where I want to be. By now, I wanted to own my own house and be in a job I love. At this moment in time I find myself unemployed and any thoughts we had about taking our first steps into being home owners has been shelved until a much later date.

Finding myself unemployed has been a huge shock to the system. Understandably my confidence has been knocked, but I had two choices; sit and wallow, or dust myself off and get on with it. I took option two. I got straight onto the job centre as I had to get myself registered for job seekers to have some money coming in and I got my CV sorted. This was all on the same day as losing my job. From there it’s been job hunting and trying to tweak my CV as there is so much competition out there and you have to find your own way to shine. I’ve worked since I was 16, so there’s no way I’m scared of a bit of hard work to get myself back on the right track.

Did I see myself in this position at 31? No is the simple answer to that. But at the end of the day, I am not going to let this defeat me and I have to believe very strongly that everything does happen for a reason and that my next big challenge is just round the corner for me!

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2 Months in…

088 So I turned 30 nearly two months ago and it’s taken me this long to login and admit that I failed; I didn’t get anywhere near completing my 30 things before 30. I did tick quite a few off the list that I still haven’t written up; the biggie was that I spent my 30th birthday in New York and got to watch Matilda (amongst loads of other activities that I’ll fill you in on some time) at the theatre on my 30th birthday.

So why didn’t I complete the list I hear you cry; it’s only 30 things for gods sake! Well 30 things may seem like not very many, but when you factor in life, a change in work schedule for your other half (i.e. him not working very much) and job hunting yourself as your work contract is coming to an end, life suddenly seems very busy. Maybe it’s a case of I should have been a lot more organised and assigned myself a rota to get different tasks done.

I’m going to have to look through the list properly and work out what I did do; whether I can look at some things and thing that I did a variation of them, or whether I still need to do them. You see, I’m still determined to finish this list. I may not have completed it in the year I wanted to, but I still want to finish it. After all, it’s got me trying different foods – in fact, I swear my taste buds have changed; it’s got me thinking twice before I wear black all the time (my current favourite shirt is actually a lovely green); I’ve made an effort to pamper myself more; I’m still posting two pictures a week on Instagram and I registered at the dentist and have now been twice – although I don’t like the fact I now have to go to the dental hospital due to damage caused by a wire from my braces (part of the reason I hate dentists). So although I haven’t done everything, small things from the list has made a real difference in my life. And of course, having an up to date CV is helpful when you find you’re out of work at the end of August!

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A Little Update

I am alive, I promise! I constantly say I will sit down and Blog, and I never do it. I’m so organised when it comes to work, that when I get home, organisation goes completely out the window. I put my hands up, I’m awful. I need to sit down and write everything up as I have ticked a few things off my list. There’s no way I will complete the whole list, but I will do my best to tick off a few things.

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Novel Nights with Mimi Thebo

Last night I had the pleasure of once again hearing one of the most inspirational women I have ever met talk about writing; Dr Mimi Thebo.

Mimi was one of my lecturers at Bath Spa University during my time there between 2005 and 2008; there she inspired and encouraged me greatly, showing me that I could achieve anything I put my mind too. Mimi was a great force behind me starting Live-Music-Scene – the music site I started at Bath Spa during one of my courses, and ran until February 2014.

Last night, Mimi was talking about voice at Novel Nights at the Strawberry Thief Bar; it was the first time I’d got to hear Mimi talk since University. Instantly you are transported back to your time in the classroom where you’re keen to absorb every little thing you can. Mimi talks with such frank honesty, wit, enthusiasm and passion. You feel her words inspiring you – and of course, you feel guilty that this woman can get up at 4.30am to go and write in her writing shed before her work day has even begun –  and you can’t find the time to keep updating a simple Blog, or finish one of the two unfinished pieces of work hanging around.

Mimi was an inspiration the first time I met her, and all these years later, she continues to be just that. I urge you that if you get a chance, go and see this delightful woman talk. You will find yourself entranced about what she has to say – and you will certainly find yourself wanting to write more. Last night at the Strawberry Thief, surrounded by writers – some published – some enthusiastic – you could feel the creativity bubbling away. Thoughts were brewing and people were itching to pick up their pens or plonk themselves in front of their computers. For us former students, like Lara and me, we want to make the woman who helped us so much at Bath Spa proud of what we can achieve when we put our mind to it. As Mimi said last night, start by carving out just 20 minutes a day for your writing. It’s about finding that time when you can focus; you don’t have to call it ‘me time’, it’s time that will benefit everyone around you. It can help your emotional and physical health – and that’s something we can all do with a little bit more of in our lives. Now I just need to find my own ‘writing shed’ and kick myself up the arse to actually finish one of my novels!

Find out more about Mimi at www.mimithebo.net/ and follow her on myglamorousliterarylife.com/

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New food for October: Beer battered hake

The Victoria has proved to be a source of new food during my period of trying new food (especially when it comes to trying different fish), and the other Saturday was a no exception. With a new chef and a new menu on offer (both a good and a bad thing), it meant there was a new food for me to try: beer battered hake.

Normally I don’t haIMG_1229ve anything bad to say about The Victoria; we love it in there – and previously had never had a bad meal – not that this meal was completely bad I should add. The beer battered hake was lovely, as was the minted pea puree – but the chunky chips were not good; they were under-cooked – I’m never normally one for huge chunky chips I should say too.

Hopefully they are going to change their menu regularly like they always have done, as whereas before I was spoilt for choice with food – this time not so much so. I hate being negative about The Victoria, but previously we’ve loved every meal we’ve had there – and it was such a shame to all walk away from there not completely happy with what we had eaten.

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Have a meal in London

It’s a pricey weekend going to London as it is, let alone when you throw in my requests to see Stomp and go for a fancy meal – well Liam did say I had to have a fancy meal in my list in the first place! IMG_1208I’m not a huge one for very fancy food, so when looking for options of where we could go during our weekend to London (and our chance to celebrate our year anniversary), Liam found 20 Fenchurch Street – otherwise known as the Walkie Talking Building. They have a choice of two restaurants; the Fenchurch restaurant and the Darwin brasserie; we opted for the Darwin brasserie on level 36 as the food sounded a bit more ‘normal’ – yes I’m fussy and can’t do very fancy food.

In 20 Fenchurch Street, you go up in the lift to the 35th floor and come out in the bar area where you are able to see 360 degree views of London, while walking through the sky garden I should add. Up on the next floor is the Darwin brasserie itself, where you sit and eat, enjoying the view of London. Liam was nice enough to leIMG_1209t me sit facing the views while we treated ourselves to a champagne cocktail before our food. The food was absolutely gorgeous! I had red pepper and goats cheese pasta for my main and rice pudding (a childhood favourite) and ice-cream for pudding. I was stuffed! I managed all of the main and tried my best for the pudding, but the portion was huge. This was all accompanied by a bottle of wine – of course and finished with coffee as we soaked in the atmosphere of the restaurant; chatty and people watching; guessing the relationships of the different people that were there. I think I was enjoying my food far too much to remember what Liam had to eat; I think it was something like lamb for the main and then panna cotta for pudding – but don’t quote me on that, I’ve more than likely got it very wrong indeed.

The whole meal was fantastic and after we stood out on the balcony looking at the views of London. All very romantic – it really was lovely. I know I sound very corny saying that, but it was a perfect way to spend our anniversary, and of course we had Stomp after that.

 

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See Stomp in London

I can remember being impressed with Stomp after seeing it on Blue Peter many, many moons ago. Since then, I’ve always wanted a chance to go and see it and a weekend away in London with LiamIMG_1210 for our year anniversary finally gave me the chance.

Stomp is shown at the Ambassadors Theatre London, where it’s had its home for the last few years now. It’s the not the largest of theatres, but it’s packed full of atmosphere, especially for the 100 minutes that Stomp runs for (without an interval). Stomp itself is exhilarating! It’s gripping and funny in equal measures; it completely sucks you in so that the minutes fly by. You’re buzzing throughout, eager to see what trick the eight performers are going to do next; to see what sound they’re going to create out of a broom or a kitchen sink; to see what part of the stage they’re going to appear on next. All eight performers own the stage; they make sure you remember every second of their performance. Quite frankly, they leave you wanting more and more.

I’m glad I waited to see Stomp for an occasion, and I would certainly recommend going to see it to anyone. Hell, I would go again! I was buzzing for hours after!

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