Yes, yes, yes, the rumours are true. The Juice has been squeezed for the last time. But fear not, the blogging shall continue via Overground Underground with even more news and views in the Waltham Forest Echo.
What can I say? It's been emotional, but it's time to branch out and focus on new projects, all of which I will keep you all to date with right here at Shelly Berry Original, as well as on Twitter and Facebook.
And I shall leave you with my latest here - not finished, but an nice illustration to end with I hope.
Stay in touch.
Okay, so it's easy for me to say that, what with having the week off work and all, but in the spirit of last week's blog, this week I am keeping things simple.
Things have been going pretty well with the whole writing thing at Shelly Berry Towers - my dabble at writing a script for a short film is progressing nicely (watch this space), as is my stab at journalism, what with a couple of juicy pieces for the Waltham Forest Echo working themselves out of the woodwork (again, keep your eyes peeled). Edit of novel number two is getting closer to completion too, despite my wavering confidence in the project. The problem is, it is all starting to feel a bit manic, and, having committed to a college course starting in September, it is going to get worse.
Or is it?
Maybe I just need to do what I keep telling myself to do; keep it simple. Stop putting pressure on myself to get things done that can wait and enjoy those little pleasures in life, like cooking and reading. I've been trying to read Iris Murdoch's The Sea The Sea for weeks now, but keep finding myself distracted by things I ought to do, rather than settling down with a good book and a nice cup of tea. And, rather than cooking the food I really want to eat, I end up churning out the same old thing night after night, rather than taking an extra 15 minutes to experiment and try something new - something that a recent meal out and a weekend with friends has made me determined to do.
So, when I get my train home tomorrow, I shall read my book. And when I go shopping, I will buy ingredients to make Moroccan Lamb and Aubergine with pomegranate and tabouleh salad, just like I had at The Bell in the Stow, and even more aubergine to make Simone's Melanzane parmingiana. And, before my next batch of leave, I will make a cake to take into work - I have a heap of cream cheese icing in the freezer that desperately needs using up, and quite a few colleagues who I really owe a slice of my grandma's carrot cake for one reason or another. And, hell, I like baking. So that is what I am going to do.
Emptying the loft, cleaning the bathroom and redecorating the kitchen can wait. I am on a new kind of mission, my friend...
Okay, I admit it - last week I was well and truly on my soap box when I blogged about Amy. Yesterday, as I considered what to write about this week, it nearly happened again. The most obvious topic I came up with was recent documentaries I have watched about racism. Inside the Klu Klux Klan and Extreme Russia had made my blood boil, and How to Get a Council House had illustrated quite bleakly how some members of the public have fallen for the Right's scaremongering about immigrants.
Naturally, rants on Twitter ensued - and comments on Facebook followed. "Well I went to see Dirty Dancing at the theatre last night. Low brow fun wins every time" quipped my sister after my rage about white supremacy in Russia. "This is why we need Masterchef" noted a friend.
I'm not sure if they were trying to, but they both made a good point. I am guilty of getting caught up in all the woes of the world and getting a cob on when I hear yet another story of ignorance or hate. Whilst it's important, sometimes I need to make myself take a step back from it all. So, I am going to promise myself that for every hour I read or watch something depressing, I'm going to read, watch or do something uplifting. Yesterday I cancelled out all the negativity of the week's TV with a double dose of Come Dine with Me followed by a boogie at a colleague's wedding do. In fact, I boogied so much I reckon I'm in credit for the rest of the week. And I feel better for it, even if dodgy knee is protesting about it today.
That said I'm still going to indulge in a bit of Friends later. Just to be sure...
Happy weekend everyone!
My sincerest apologies for not blogging last weekend - my normal blogging slot was taken up by a trip to the cinema. I went to see Amy, the documentary about Amy Winehouse's life and, you know what? I'm still thinking about it. So, without any spoilers (promise!), I'm going to tell you what I made of it all.
I imagine that, like me, most of you are familiar with Amy's work, as well as her difficult relationship with drugs and alcohol. Even those of you who again, like me, don't really read celebrity gossip magazines or tabloids, will have seen photos or news stories of her getting into yet another scrape after a night that went a bit wrong. I remember seeing footage of her on the news when she was outside some court or other trying to have a quiet fag - I say trying because, even when going through what was no doubt a difficult experience, the cameras wouldn't leave her alone. Another photo I remember was one of her looking less than happy at her front door. Apparently the singer didn't like paps camped up on her doorstep either.
Amy of course talks about her relationship with the press, as well as with those closest to her. It gives in sight into what really went wrong and how, even as a teenager, she was at significant risk of falling into a pattern of self destruction. It also shows the part other people had to play in her demise, people who I hope have come to realise how harmful their behaviour was for this young woman and have since taken action to make amends with the universe for the damage they have caused.
It's a film I reckon everyone should watch. For me, someone who was worked closely with people who misuse drugs and alcohol and knows more than the average Jo about addiction and why/how it effects some people the way it can, it was like watching a tragedy; her fate was almost sealed from the start. But for other people, especially people who know little about these matters, I really think it would be an education. Hell, I think it should be shown in schools - if it is it could save lives as well as increase understanding and empathy which, in turn, could reduce the pain felt by victims (controversial word I know) when judged so unfairly by their peers, the press, and society at large.
So, my message? Go see Amy. And let me know what you make of it. Just don't have a go at me if it makes you feel uncomfortable. It probably will.
Good evening my little bloggees!
And so, here I am, two weeks after my little gloat about having a fortnight off work... and having to mentally prepare myself for the 9 til 5 once again. It's done me the world of good to have such a long break, and has also given me time to mull over those aspects of my job that don't sit well with me - well, the ones that I can do something about anyway...
Upon reflection, many of the things that have been bugging me I can only address by asking for advice and support. So, on my "to do" list for Monday is to arrange a time to receive feedback on my latest unsuccessful interview and to arrange a supervision with my manager to discuss my career progression - something that he has hinted he can help with but I've never really taken him up on. And, having chatted to a friend about some of my other work-based gripes, I will be asking a few other questions of my management team about how we can make the demands put upon our service (and me!) more manageable - and will be offering a few solutions too.
I've been deploying this new problem-solving tactic out of the workplace too. Having realised that the diploma I want to study will cost me twice what I expected, I've asked for a loan. And, having had a situation play on my mind for a few months, I've asked the other person involved about it - and was relieved to hear that what I had perceived as a major difference of opinion was, in fact, not much more than a misunderstanding. Within the space of a day, by asking questions of people, I've had two loads lifted off my mind. Happy days.
So, my new motto for life? If you don't ask, you don't get - whether it be a promotion, some support, or clarification on a situation that has been getting your knickers in a twist. And, although it's a new mantra, it's one that I can already highly recommend.
So I was at Glastonbury this weekend. I admit that, on the train to Castle Cary last Wednesday, I did start to wonder if my memory of it was rose-tinted, the reality more mundane than my recollections of the ultimate festival experience.
I really had no cause for concern.
Not only was the music amazing (where do I start? Flo? The Chemical Bros? Patti?) but, despite its continued growth over the years, Glastonbury remained true to its grass roots.
I was inspired by Patti Smith and George the Poet.
I was humbled by Pussy Riot and the Dalai Lama.
And I was touched by the charity and the spirit of the place, which left me feeling surrounded by happy, compassionate peeps who basically all wanted the same thing - to have fun, to listen to music, and to share the amazing experience that is Glastonbury with 199,999 equals.
So what have I taken away from Glastonbury? Well, as well as the memories and the tan (a.k.a. sunburn), my growing desire to refocus my life has been given yet another boost. Now I just need to figure out how to do it...
Ideas on a postcard please!
So here we all are. It's Sunday evening and we're all winding down our weekends before another week in the office. Unless....
YOU HAVE TWO WEEKS OFF WORK AND YOU'RE GOING TO GLASTONBURY NEXT WEEKEND. WOOOOOOOO!!!!!!
Not that I like to gloat. Ahem.
Anyway, I want to pick your brains. Yes, youse.
I know that some of you read this blog regularly and quite enjoy it (well, that's what you say to my face anyway!), but I'm wondering if it is time to knock it on the head and concentrate on writing for websites with a wider readership - or perhaps reduce to one post a month? I'll keep everyone updated via Twitter and Facebook and still do the odd newsletter, but what I'm trying to do is make the most of my time - and yours. I for one am crap at keeping up with other people's online ramblings and, after some feedback from my survey, am wondering is less is more for everyone involved...
Any hoo, let m know what you think here. I'm off to try and do some editing before diving into my pit - alas a common cold has dine little to relieve my fatigue. And one has a wee music festival to get in shape for....
Ta ra chuck
... you want to kill everyone who seems to struggle with the concept of lane swimming.
... you feel like crying when you have to share a changing room with screaming children and littered with soggy USED nappies and sanitary towels.
... you want to kill everyone who gets in your way at Ikea.
... you need a mid-afternoon nap after a trip to Ikea.
... you feel like crying at everything you watch on telly. Including TFI Friday.
... you feel pissed after one G&T.
... you want to kill everyone who gets in your way in Lidl... and feel like crying when you see the queue at the checkouts.
... you lose the will to live when you realise the lid on your punnet of blueberries you bought at Lidl has come off on the journey home.
... you lose the will to live halfway through preparing your lunch for tomorrow.
... you decide to go to bed at 9pm on Sunday night.
Night night ;-)
Yes, I know, I'm predictable - it's Sunday, the day is drawing to a close, and so it comes to pass that I get round to writing my blog. But that's because, as my day job has become more and more bananas, the weekend has become the only time I really have to get anything constructive done as well as have a bit of fun. So, me being me, I cram in as much as I can...
inspired that when I met some friends for a crafty picnic today, despite some previously unsuccessful attempts, I decided to give crochet another go. Guess which one is mine...
Okay, so maybe I've got a bit to go before I can make my own jellyfish, but the trail gave me the creative kick up the arse that I needed. So watch this space...
Anyway, on that note, I shall leave you to enjoy the rest of your Sunday. I think I'll spend the evening eating leftover picnic food, watching a movie and knitting. As in, things I know I am good at.
Okay folks, I'm going to keep it brief. It's nearly 10.30 and I've been sat at my computer on and off all afternoon working on some job applications and I'm pooped. But I couldn't go another week without saying hi...
Last weekend I was in Dublin. it was only the day before I departed that I realised I was going to be in Ireland during the Referendum on Gay Marriage. It was a really exciting to be there at such a defining moment, and after a rather challenging conversation from the airport to the hotel with my taxi driver (who also wondered why he couldn't ask for a n****r coffee and why Muslims were taking over the world, I got into the full spirit of "Ta," shouting it at anyone wearing a badge asserting the same (NB: There was Guinness involved). Needless to say I was chuffed to bits with the outcome and hope that it helps the world understand that, when it comes to your sexual preference, it really isn't anyone's business other than the couple in question - and they should be free to express their feelings for each other the same as everyone else.
Anyway - rant over. I shall shut up now and share with you some of my photos from my trip. I admit, it's a heavily edited collection, but some of the evidence is best deleted....
Here you will find my latest news, including what I have been up to and what I have been writing (and making). Hopefully you'll like what I have to say - and perhaps I will motivate you to get creative too...