Yes, I know that sounds selfish, but this weekend, it's just been me, myself and I. After a manic week at work and a busy out of hours schedule seeing friends and family, come Saturday morning I was more beat than I've felt in a long while and sent most of it (read: all) in bed. And whilst I did spend the rest of the weekend more productively, I decided to resist the temptation to fill up my diary and instead pottered around the flat getting on top of my chores and mooched around Walthamtow on me tod.
This afternoon I dedicated to some "me" time - as in, rather than doing stuff that was in some way useful or expected, I decided I should do something purely for my own enjoyment. I admit it's a craft I've not practiced in a while and it took we a while to figure out what I really wanted to do. After some soul searching I ended up in Walthamstow Village, where I checked out Gods Own Junkyard ( a.k.a. Europe's biggest neon sign junk shop!) and perused The Independent on Sunday over a pint. It really was a lovely way to spend a Sunday afternoon, and one I intend to repeat very soon.
So whilst it might be a bit late for you to do so this weekend, I recommend that you block a day or two out soon to do your own thing, and practise getting that balance between doing what is beneficial and what is purely enjoyable. Okay, so next weekend is fully booked - and one I'm really looking forwards to - but I'll be spending a weekend going my own thing again soon.
I hope you are all well? Had a nice weekend? In good health?
It’s nice when people ask after your well-being, isn’t it? Okay, so maybe we can’t have in-depth conversations with everyone we come into contact with about their ailments and gripes, but isn’t it nice when people show you a little bit of courtesy? Are polite? Talk to you like a human being?
I’ve come to accept that, in London especially, a lot of (but not all) people are often too busy getting on with their own lives in their own worlds to bother smiling on the tube, say excuse me when they push past you with their trolley case (and trip you over with it in the process) or to apologise if they step on the back of your heel as they rush to the office. But when it comes to one-to-one interactions, I am getting quite tired of people not showing a little courtesy. When I speak to a member of the public when I’m at work, I don’t except them to shout and swear before they hang up on me, even when I am saying no to their (often unrealistic, sometimes ridiculous) requests. And when I complain in a pub about the service that I receive, I expect the management to respond to that complaint, not to complain about my complaint (true story!).
And another thing – when did it become okay to email your colleagues without starting with the once-customary “Dear,” or even a “Hi” or “Hello?” I’m sorry but I don’t get it. And when you say you’re going to get back to someone by the end of the day about an interview they have just sat through, surely a phone call isn’t too much to ask – especially when an email is met with an “out of office” message?
Okay, so I don’t get the worst of it. At the Green Gym on Friday (which I have an article about in the latest edition of the Waltham Forest Echo J) I chatted to a chap about the pitfalls of working in a supermarket – something I have done before and he is about to start doing. My experience is that, just because you’re in an unskilled job, people think it’s okay to talk to you like you’re an idiot. I for one make an effort to say hello to the guys in my local Co-Op and ask them how they are - at the end of the day, if they weren’t here, where you I get my midnight pint of milk from? We all contribute to society (yes, even people who don’t work Mr Cameron), and all deserve to be treated with a bit of respect.
So this week, a plea; can we all start being a bit nicer to each other? I ain’t a religious person, but I’m a big fan of that “do unto others what you would have done unto you” stuff. Some people call it Karma. But whatever it is, can we have a bit more of it please?
I did say please.
Thank you J
... maybe not always as easy as 1 2 3, but it sums up my last week quite nicely! Let me explain...
A is for... Alcohol Abstinence!
Yep, I've nearly finished Dry January, all in the name of the Motor Neurone Disease Association. Why the MNDA? Well, take a look at my Just Giving page to find out! Or if you just want to throw caution to the wind and support this amazing charity (and inspire me to see out the rest on the month!) text GOMB99 £5 to 70070. Simples!
B is for... Blogging!
Well, duh! But not just here - I've been writing about how my beloved London has kept me entertained during the first 31 days of the year. Yesterday I ticked off three of my own suggestions with some art exhibitions, a walk along the Southbank and a trip to the cinema. Read more of my sober strategies here...and then check out my latest review for Operation:Pizza to see how one of the biggest chains compares.
And C is for... Crafting!
Okay, so I made the bag above earlier this month, but it was a birthday present for my cousin and I didn't want to spoil her surprise! This weekend, however, I finished off my latest upcycling project, turning two pine stools I picked up for £1.50 into Shelly Berry Originals - check it out!
And D? Well, when the clock strikes midnight on Saturday it will be for... drinking!
Okay, so maybe I have a problem...
Hope you have all had a lovely weekend, relaxing indoors perhaps, safe in the knowledge that you go about your business without prying eyes paying attention to your every move? Yes?
Well I'm sorry, but I'm going to spoil it for you.
Don't get me wrong, I've had a lovely weekend visiting friends out on the commuter belt and, prior to that, enjoyed a night out with the girlies in London. But what I have learnt during these jollies has left me disturbed. You see, what I have learnt is about cyber-stalking - and how scarily easy it is.
Take scenario number one. Girl goes to an open mic night. Girl sees boy and decides she quite likes him, but can't quite muster the courage to begin a conversation. However, her interest surpasses her shyness and she "friends" him on facebook, looks up where his next gig is - and drags me along (after I've looked him up online myself, of course!). Girl again couldn't bring herself to talk to the said young man, but has sent him an innocent query via the medium of social media about his work
And then there's scenario number two. Girl visits wildlife hospital with mates. Girl comments of attractiveness of male giving a talk about, let's say, hedgehogs. Later that evening, after a couple of glasses of wine, girl and mates, armed with his first name, place of work and home town (more fool him for disclosing this during talk about his prickly friends) are able to locate him on Twitter, facebook and You Tube. Girl promptly follows boy, but will be unfollowing him before posting this blog (for obvious reasons). Besides, his girlfriend looks really nice, and is only 20...
Finally scenario number three - girl and mates then start googling each other and their other mates. Girl is relieved to find nothing too incriminating about herself (well, under her real name anyway) - apart from an email sent for her day job that has been released under the Freedom of Information Act - eeek! Luckily it was very short and did not include any bad jokes, but STILL! Another mate came up a little worse for wear, with names of siblings, ex wives and financial situation being easily accessible. Yikes...
So... the moral of the story? Look yourself up - and get yourself removed from any sites you don't want to be named on. Oh, and if you want to find out the relationship status of "Dave" who works at your local, message my mate Jules - damn that girl is good!
Oh, and if all that stalking makes you hungry, go eat pizza. I recommend my mate Phil's creations but, if you don't fancy a trip to Bucks and live in London,, check out Operation:Pizza - new blog posted on Friday.
Of course if you do fancy Phil's Parma Ham Special, just look him up online - I'm sure you can find him...
So. I usually get this blog out every Sunday. But for some reason I've been really tired the last couple of days and just didn't really have the energy to write it.
I have no idea why. I mean, I've had a five day weekend to get it done. Okay, so I've been out and about a bit, meeting friends for food and drink, going to the Stow Music Festival...
... and checking out other artists at work at Making:Uncovered, but the rest of the time I've been chilling. Well, apart from replacing the light fitting in my lounge, sorting out my electricity account, setting up my life insurance, and registering with a GP that is.
But other than that I've just been pottering at home, mainly sat on my backside writing my Operation:Pizza blog, my Overground Underground blog and doing a bit of editing.
Hey, I even sat on my butt when I did a bit more work on my latest picture and cracked on with some up-cycling - hell, I was even on my arse for half of yoga! In fact, the only thing I didn't do resting on my behind was paint the hallway.
Yeah, I've no idea why I don't feel fully rested...
I have a confession to make.
For the last five hours and 14 minutes I have been checking my mobile incessantly. Why? Because that is how long it's been since I heard from a guy I've been chatting to online, a guy I've arranged to meet for a drink next week. And it also happens to be how long since I sent him my picture...
Yes, yes, I know I'm being pathetic - he's probably busy seeing his friends or something and, if he isn't and he's decided to retreat in horror after seeing my mugshot, then, well, sod him! But, as with all these things, it's all very well knowing the theory...
And the theory is something I've been researching of late. As you may recall, as few weeks ago I mentioned that a friend and I were going to join forces and explore the industry that is dating - or, more specifically, dating advice for women. Well, I have to say, it's a fascinating subject. I've been reading blogs and watching videos made by one dating guru who tells me that in order to find and keep my man I need to sign up to his online coaching course or risking being alone - for EVER. I'm waiting for my copy of "The Rules" to arrive in the post and have been mesmerized by Neil Strauss' "The Game" - a look at the underground world of pick-up artists, which, whilst rather shocking, does not strike me as that dissimilar to the advice us girls are given all the time. Last night I (shamefully) admit I went on a singles night where the ladies were advised that the key to nabbing a man was to wear heels and ask to use his phone. Yes, really.
At the end of the day, it all boils down to the same thing. If you're a guy trying to get laid or a girl looking for the love of your life, all these people are telling us that we need to arm ourselves with an arsenal of manipulations to get what we want, pure and simple. Apparently being your charming, honest self just won't cut it - in fact, it can lead to a lifetime on the shelf.
Interesting? I hope you think so. Because there's more to come...
Dating isn't the only thing I've been researching this week either. I am on a mission to find the best pizza in London - a mission I am taking VERY seriously. Read my brief here and watch this space for updates on Operation: Pizza.
Well, that's it from me tonight. I'm off to bed - and taking my bloody phone with me. Just in case...
Well - you don't have to but I seem to be doing rather well at getting out of the big smoke these days. In fact, if I count next weeks Bank Holiday (house party in Stafford coming up!) I will have been away four out of five weekends! No wonder I'm struggling to get anywhere fast with the decorating...
Although I love the hustle and bustle of my life in London, it is nice to get away from it all. Three weekends ago I came up north for a friend's hen do - and saw her get married this Saturday. What made it all the more special was the rural setting of the reception - said friend lives in the middle of the Nottinghamshire countryside where you can see nothing more than fields as far as the eye can see, and the nearest convenience store is a good 15 minute drive away - and even that closes at 10.
As a city girl of thirteen years, I forget what it's like to live out in the sticks. When I was camping near Stratford Upon Avon recently I was delighted to learn that there was a bus service into town so the dedicated driver in our party could enjoy a drink. Needless to say my plan was foiled by the last bus, running at a mere 6.10pm. Oh well...
I guess both ways of life have their pros and cons. Whilst London offers me everything I could possibly want when I want it, getting away from the 24 hour society helps me to slow down and recuperate - something that I really have to work at back in the city. So, whilst I will be relieved to see my local Co-Op open when I get back to Walthamstow tonight, I know that I will have to make myself breathe more deeply and let the chaos wash over me once in a while.
And on that note, I shall say adieu - I have some serious chilling to do...
Okay, so maybe not - but wasn't the weekend great? Well, sorry to brag but mine was - not in a particularly flashy way, but in a rather smugly satisfactory way.
First, there's the writing. On Saturday I finished the first draft of my second novel. Yes, you read that correctly. FINISHED. And I admit without shame that I did a little jig once I'd hit the save button.
But that's not all: I have made an appointment to meet with a professional editor who has agreed to look at novel number one. This is somewhat terrifying (what if she says it's shit?) but really rather exciting...
And then, my dear friends, we have my other creative pursuits. I have started a new painting AND am planning to record a podcast with mate and stand-up comedian Chris. You see, after a rather heated (and alcohol-fuelled) debate about the advice given to women on dating by supposed experts, I thought it would make a rather amusing discussion - as well as future blog (watch this space!). And Chris, I know you read this blog, so there's no getting out of it now: We've gone public.
Then, of course, I have to say something about my little flat (come on, it's been a least a week since I last did...) Whilst the flaky paint situation continues to flout my attempts to decorate the kitchen (I suspect it hadn't been treated with much TLC by the last owner), everything else is coming together - it was only half an hour ago I received an email confirming that my service charge had finally been sorted after a two month battle. And, to top it off, the more time I spend in the area, the more I like it. Yesterday I headed back down to Hackney for a swim in the London Fields Lido and a mooch along Broadway Market - a lovely morning topped off with a walk along an achingly cool bit of canal. Yep, I admit it, East London has got me hooked.
Funnily enough, my happily hectic weekend has left me rather tired, even if in a rather satisfactory way. And, what with all the warm weather and paint fumes in this flat (oil + emulsion = interesting concoction), I think I may have to love you and leave you so I can head off to my pit. Or rather, my lovely boudoir in the making. As soon as I get that bloody kitchen finished...
It's Monday! Hurrah!
Yep, you guessed it, I haven't been at work today, which means I've been at liberty to do whatever I darn well fancy. The problem is, I do have an awful lot of things I should be getting on with but, quite frankly, I can't be bothered. In fact, I think the only thing I've managed to get done over the last five days away from the office is to knit my mate Lexi a phone sock which, although it looked pretty cool in the Good Mixer last night, wasn't exactly a major project.
On my short term "to do" list I have a variety of bits and bobs that I need to finish off, and, in all honesty, none of them will take me that long, or be that difficult. My Peru collage just needs a lick of paint and a blob of extra glue here and there, the polyfillering of the smattering of holes in my walls won't take
more than 15 minutes and, whilst the last occupants left it in a bit of a state, the worst of the kitchen's deep clean is over. However it seems that today I have done everything to avoid tackling any of these tasks. Instead I've updated the playlist on my phone, read my magazine and been for a lovely walk through Walthamstow Marches - anything, but ANYTHING other than what I should really be doing.
If I'm honest with myself, I think I know what this is about. This morning I made a start on the penultimate chapter of my second novel, which means that, by the end of July, the first draft will probably be complete. This also means that, after a couple of read-throughs and the odd tweak here and there, it will be ready to share. With other people. People who might not like it. Which is fine, except I've really enjoyed writing it and really hope that, even if like Faith, it goes nowhere, people get it - and find Emily's story as absorbing as I have.
So there you have it. I've developed a fear of finishing. Let's just hope it doesn't develop into writer's block and remains a simple barrier to me getting off my butt and cleaning the oven. Only time will tell, and also reveal whether my novel is enjoyed by anyone other than myself. Just remember, if I ask you to ready it, be honest, but if you don't like it, let me down gently... like my protagonist, I don't always like to face up to reality...
Happy Sunday everyone!
Yes, I know, it's Monday tomorrow, which means we all have to go back to work. I'm relieved to say that I'm only in for two days before taking some annual leave - a much needed break from what often feels like Groundhog Day.
But whilst work has been rather tiresome, this week I've noticed a few firsts. Okay. maybe they aren't anything major, but little things that, when I think about it, show that, whilst making the most of life, I might actually be getting somewhere...
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...