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Archive for November, 2012

Space shuttle launch

Final frontier – Image source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01p58r8

I have just been absolutely blown away by an amazing new series on BBC1: Supersized Earth. It was awesome, and I spent a large portion of it “oo”-ing and “ahh”-ing at the amazing engineering feats that humanity has thrust about our planet. I fell in love with the world’s tallest bridge in China, and thought “I MUST go there” and marvelled at the fact there are a million people in the air at any one time!! BUT the most exciting and impressive thing was right at the end, following one incredible woman’s commute to work in the morning, and her business trip to her remote office… in SPACE.

It takes just 9 minutes for the passengers inside the space bus to get to the space station in space (with a further 2 days to approach it), 250 miles straight up.

I want to go to space. Badly. How do I do that? I want to be an astronaut… is it too late? Quickly, I jumped online and started searching… I found this site on How Stuff Works. OK, so:

  • Stage 1: US citizenship. Hmm, I’m not married yet. I could call it off and heat seek out a US hubby in the next 6 months…

  • Stage 2: Bachelor’s Degree in Physical Sciences. TICK. One BSc in Astrophysics. Done done done 🙂

  • Stage 3: Three years of related professional experience. OK, so 12 years “professional” experience, just got to work on the related. Hell, I’m in marketing, I’m sure I can spin something… OR 1,000 hours as a jet pilot, erm, did I say 12 hours professional experience, that’s like, quadruple the desired amount (cough). TICK.

  • Stage 4:Completion of the NASA long-duration, space flight physical exam. Applicants must demonstrate distant and near visual acuity, correctable to 20/20 in each eye, and must not have blood pressure that exceeds 140/90 measured in a sitting position. OK, so let’s break this down a)I love (and don’t throw up on) rollercoasters, which is much like the flight simulators you see on James Bond; b) I don’t (yet) wear glasses and c) I’m pretty healthy (and no longer on the pill) so blood pressure probably good to go! TICK.

  • Stage 5: Height of 62 to 75 inches. 63 inches on a bad day, 65 after a massage. TICK.

Suddenly, this is starting to look interesting.

Sometimes the biggest fear in life is success.

View from spaceAnd, as it says on the How Stuff Works site (probably the best source of astronaut qualifications on the web and definitely NOT just the first link that popped up on Google…):

“In many ways, becoming an astronaut is no different than becoming anything else. It takes a great education, hard work and steadfast dedication. Unlike other professionals, however, astronauts have a much longer commute and a far better view from the corner office.”

So, I was pretty excited about my current business trip plans for next year (including Thailand and New York), but now, hell I have new goals to focus on, with the best business trip ever – TO SPACE (shouts “to infinity and beyond”)!

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I was browsing the net, looking for something “alternative” to do in New York on my free Sunday, thinking I should really start to use my time to get under the skin of some more interesting things in the city, away from the obvious tourist trail. I stumbled across an event called The Accomplice, and the idea of “interactive theatre”. It didn’t give much away on the website, but something about it captured my imagination. So I signed up.

Seaport New York

Sundown at Seaport

The day before the event, I received a call on my phone. I had just walked out of my hotel and was heading south on Lexington. The strong New York accent on the end of the line told me I had to meet him at the corner of Houston and Pearl, near Seaport, by the playground. I was to write it down and then burn the message. There I would await further instructions.

Accomplice clues

First clue

What followed, I am not technically allowed to say, in fact I should really destroy this blog post, however, I think I may be allowed to divulge that it was approximately 3-4 hours of hillarious, strange, intriguing and fun exploration of the finanical district and china town meeting some crazy characters along the way, piecing together clues and watching the story unravell. It was brilliant!

Frog in a bag

The Frog Drop

I was in a group of around 10 people and we bonded pretty quickly over a beer in a nearby bar (our first clue led us there), we were then walking all over the place unravelling the mystery and following the strange plot. We had to approach complete strangers, identify those who were part of the mystery, pick up a live frog and deliver it to a drop spot. We ended up in a basement bar for the finale, which was fabulous. It was just like The Game, but without the blood.

Highly, HIGHLY recommended.

One of the best parts of an experience like this is chatting to your fellow experiencees afterwards and piecing together just what had happened!

So, reeling from the fabulousness of that experience, and chatting to a colleague in the NY office, I was then told about something else, which was possibly even better! Sleep No More.

I had never heard of this before, but the two days between being recommended and going along, I heard small snippets of information – not enough to give me the full story (as noone wanted to spoil it for me)- but enough to start to become slightly terrified about the experience. The idea is that this is completely immersive theatre. But a bizarre, creepy theatre.

Ticket to the hotel

Room key for the McKittrick

So we went along on Wednesday night and were admitted to the ‘long-time abandoned’ McKittrick Hotel – the setting for the night. You “check in” and are given a card, which then determines when you can be allowed into the rooms. You walk down really dark coridoors into a 1930’s style velvet bar, smoky with a band and absinthe shots and champagne cocktails served. The actors in the bar are setting the scene. Creepy, already. Then you are called to enter the depths of the hotel.

The rest is up to you, and again, I don’t want to give too much away, only to say that the scenes are acted out throughout the hotel and you are truely part of the experience. It’s entirely up to you where you go and what you see, and, as they tell you in the lift on your way up to the rooms, “fortune favours the brave”, you are meant to explore, be nosey, get up close, do your own thing, and enjoy. You wear a mask to identify yourself as audience and allow you to drop your usual inhibitions.

It was utterly amazing. Like nothing I have ever experienced. It was dream-like and although I was apprehensive I found that I let go of all my fears and became inquisitive like a child again. I was happy to be immediately separated from the person I went with and went on a unique 2 hour journey. An adventurer in a 5 storey hotel, each room a mystery, each coridoor leading to another scene. Padded cells, graveyards, bars, surgeries, living rooms, washrooms, offices, ballroom, boudoirs… following actors around the huge spaces as I chose, witnessing murder, orgies, love affairs, fights… and the grand finale, shocking.

At the end I was somehow led, almost as if by an invisible force, back to the smoky bar where I found my friend and we stared at each other wide-eyed and with grins on our faces. What just happened?! That was…. amazing!

We had to leave the McKittrick. We had to get back to the East Side, find a bar, drink some beer, and reflect!

I’m addicted. Interactive, immersive, exploratory theatre. LOVE it. It spun me around, shocked me, touched me, scared me. Invigorating for the senses and baffles the mind. Go, just go. You’ll either love it, or hate it, but you won’t forget it!

So, back in the UK and I’m hungry for more. I’ve been told I have to go to Fuerzabruta next, so have just bought tickets as it’s back in the UK for 6 weeks only this December/January – perfect timing!

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One of the things I love about long haul flights is the opportunity to catchup on films, those I’ve been meaning to watch for eons, as well as those that I would never be able to drag anyone else along to watch with me on the ground. (In fact more and more these days when a film comes out at the cinema I think “I’ll watch that on my next long-haul…) So with my recent trip to New York I was able to settle in, readjust my focal length to approximately 40 cm and scan through the inflight magazine and the long list of “Recent releases”.

So, donning my most serious Barry Norman face, I hereby deliver my own Film 2012 (November edition) from 40,000 feet…

Outward bound, London Heathrow – New York JFK

  • Film 1: To Rome with Love

    This was my first movie of the flight, and when faced with all the possibilities for that first movie, I was wrapped up in the excitement of all those movies I’m desperate to watch – which one to chose? I wanted to start out with something easy and fun, and this one caught my eye. Now, I tried to go through a “Woody Allen phase” back when I was in my early twenties, and I never really got it. I just didn’t like Woody Allen, especially as the characters he’d play in his movies (I also have this problem with Quentin Tarrentino). But I think that Woody Allen movies are a bit like coffee. Something you grow into with age (or at least for me). I absolutely LOVED this movie. I think it helped that I have recently been to Rome, so it felt like familiar surroundings. I loved the characters, the dialogue, I found it hillarious and romantic and tragic, and dramatic. I loved the relationship between the younger and elder architect. I loved the ridiculousness of the shower singer, and I loved Woody’s character. It was the perfect first flight film for me and put me in a sunshiney mood for the rest of the flight.

    My rating – 7/10

  • Film 2: Moonrise Kingdom

    Moonrise KingdomI had heard a lot of great things about this film and was excited it was on the menu. I love love LOVE other Wes Anderson movies, but you do have to be in the mood for it. Anyway, I started watching this and was instantly captivated by the kookiness of the set, style, characters. This film was so amazing. It was beautiful and tender and kooky as hell. 110% my cup of tea. I thought Bruce Willis was awesome, but it was the two main characters who I fell completely and utterly head over heels for. This is one of the most touching love stories I have ever seen. Wes has done it again, this sits up there with Life Aquatic in my top 20 films of all time. I’m not sure everyone will get it, but I got it. This is my kind of film.

    My rating – 8.5/10

  • Film 3: The Avengers

    I nearly watched this film first as I was so excited to see it on the listings. Again, I’ve heard great things about this movie, and being a big fan of Marvel superheros, I couldn’t wait to see what would happen when they all came together. Perhaps I made the mistake of making this the third movie in a row (with small breaks and refreshment inbetween).. I was seriously disappointed in this movie. So much so I wasn’t able to finish it. I think I turned it off about 20 minutes from the end. The best bit about it was Iron Man, and I think I could have just watched another Iron Man film. I really wanted to like the hulk, and I did, until he hulked out, then I lost interest. Scarlett’s character was annoying and Captain America was just wet. The whole Thor section looked like it was part of another movie, bolted on the side and the villian reminded me of Transformers. It was just weird, and I didn’t get it. Perhaps it just wasn’t built for a 7 inch screen, but I got extremely bored in this film. Perhaps it was film-fatigue. And I wanted SO badly to like this film. Something must be wrong, it scored highly on IMDb..

    My rating – 5/10

Inward bound, New York JFK – London Heathrow

  • Film 1: Ted

    TedHil-ARIOUS. This was a funny funny film. But it won’t be to everyone’s taste. I couldn’t stop laughing all the way through. I fell in love with the bear, in his early days. Once his voice broke I fell out of love and into disgust, but chuckling in disgust. The relationship between the two main characters was brilliant – my idea of the perfect fun relationship – really convincing. Oh but that bear was funny. This felt like I shouldn’t like it, but I did. A lot. Chuckle.

    My rating – 7/10

  • Film 2: Brave

    BraveI only really ever get to watch cartoon films when I’m on a plane, and this one I’d been looking forward to. It was a really pretty film, in parts looking like one of those adverts you see on TV for the Scottish tourist board. It was very cute with a message and the main character was an awesome kick-ass female character with wild crazy hair who rode her horse out into the forest shooting her bow, which appealed to me on every level. So I was able to escape into this wild-girl fantasy landscape, which was dappled with magic and witches and spells – the kind of world I hope is secretly out there somewhere. I really enjoyed this film, I almost shed a tear at the end, and would recommend it to wild women everywhere.

    My rating – 6.5/10

So that’s it for a month or so, stocked up on films, I’m not sure if the altitude, small screen, or expectations play a part, but my ratings are topsy turvy compared to those the rest of the world are casting at IMDb, but that’s my little dose of film reviews from 40,000 feet – until next time!

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Do you sometimes have those moments when your heart is just bursting with love for the world? And for no reason? I do.

Heart shaped worldI was on my flight home from New York yesterday morning, it was pretty early and I was in a bit of a zombie state, I had discovered that I had three seats to myself for the flight home, so I was busy making my den across the seats, blankets, pillows, a full set of movies and my kindle close by. I was in heaven. There was a really cute girl, probably around 4 or 5, and she was walking up the aisle and making friends with people. Smiling, shiny eyed, completely innocent and carefree. So cute. I swear I nearly cried.

Today, back in the UK, I had to walk to the post office and I took a short cut through the park, the leaves look amazing, all scattered on the floor. I saw a beautiful deep red leaf, perfectly formed, on the ground, then another, and another, and I just couldn’t stop looking at them. Thinking that something so beautiful could exist in the world filled my heart with joy. I nearly cried again.

To beat the impending jet lag, I just went along to my local meditation spot, InnerSpace, and attended a talk called “Why Women Believe in God” by author Liz Hodgekinson. It turned out to be more of a discussion and was pretty interesting. Lots of ideas around women needing to be pushing to be at the top of organisations – in industry, commerce and in the church and other places of faith. It kicked up a few interesting debates.

One of Liz’s opening statements was about how we live in a world which is more greedy and more violent than ever. I had an immediate reaction to this and challenged it. I was curious to know how she was measuring violence and greed and how she knew it was worse than ever. I agree that with the global ecomonic crisis and most recent wars that we have made huge mistakes and developed the most ferocious weapons, but has the fundamental desire for things and want to hurt people increased overall? We also are the most educated, communicative, connected population ever, more people than ever give to charity and work to help others, there is more empathy than ever before… is that taken into account?

Feminism posterAnother thing that emerged was her opinion about women needing to be looked after, thus putting them in a postition of weakness. Again, I was unsure of this, firstly don’t men need to be looked after? Aren’t they looking for a mother replacement when they get married (slightly controversial). That didn’t go down too well, but the most inflammitory conversation happened when the idea of “motherhood” came up. Liz doesn’t like that idea – it should be “parenthood”. I’m all for equal involvement of parent’s in a child’s upbringing, but she was very anti the role of mother – believeing that it oppresses women and prevents them from getting to the top. It felt like she was opening attacking the women in the room who were mothers for making the choice. Fiesty! I made the statement that I am having a career, I want children, and when I do have them I want to be able to have the choice (and take the choice) to be a mother for them 100% of the time, if I want to, and I don’t believe that that opinion has been placed in my mind by a man. She disagreed.

One final comment was made at the end by one of the few men in the room, which really resonated, that the important thing is that your actions and decisions come from a place of love, and not anger. It was timely and sits with me. The whole way through I felt like all my opinions and views in that discussion came from a place of love. Defending the world (which I love), our society (which does have good in it) and mothers (who I respect). The author was very much of the Janet Street Porter, Germanie Greer mould, she was interesting as well as quite closed to other’s opinions and very aggresive in defending her ideas. I am really facsinated and intrigued by these women, and I appreciate their contribution to the world of feminism, however they seem a little out-dated and less emotionally connected to the world (and the next generation of women) in which we now live.

I don’t know whether I consider myself a feminist. Labels freak me out. I know I’m an optimist, and am happy with that. I’d like to think I have a slither of feminism in my make up as I love the strength and creativity and power that seems unique to women, but on this occasion, I’ll have to pass on buying LIz’s book and instead take the comment from the gentleman in the corner. Come from a place of love.

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I was up bright and early yesterday, 6am on a Saturday (very early for me). I had a bus and a plane to catch. 24 hours later I was dancing to some hot soul tunes at an underground cafe in Greenwich Village, holding a bright green drink and thinking that I really should get home to bed. The city that never sleeps had beaten me.

I’m back in New York, having moved my trip back a week due to Hurricane Sandy, for work, and getting my slither of ‘down time’ on my arrival weekend. On landing in JFK there were random piles of snow, which gave away the unusual weather fronts that have been battering this shore, and the air was strangely warm. Or at least I thought so, I was in my tshirt whilst the locals were all wrapped up in puffa jackets and woolly hats!

Of course the sensible thing to do would be to have a short power nap at my hotel before heading out, but I could feel tha adrenalin rush of just being in the city. Just knowing that I’m in a hotel when New York is waiting for me outside is too much to bear, so I changed tack and decided to try and beat the jet lag by just staying up as long as I can.

Darth Vader TinI love walking the streets of Manhattan. I play the Green Man game, following him as he blinks at every corner. Weaving my way through the grid. How long will he guide me along Madison until he flings me off down a cross-street? So I walked. I headed to the New York Cake & Baking Distributor on West 22nd to purchase some food colouring ready for my Rainbow Cake. This place is insane. It has every kind of cake shape tin, cookie cutter, food colouring, cake embellishment and baking gadget you can possibly imagine. I was distracted by the aisles of amazing stuff. I think I got off lightly with only buying one more thing than I intended – a space rocket cookie cutter WOW.

Empire State Building and Broadway marketsMy next shooping mission was my ritual knicker shop, working my way back up to chaos central – 34th street and Broadway and over to Victoria’s Secret. This place is a knicker-and-glitter disney land. It’s so pink and so glittery and so sickly. But I just love their pants. So an hour or so later (and a queue longer than the one at immigration…) I emerged with certainly more than I intended. Enough knickers to stay 2 weeks!

After a quick change (wonderwoman style) back at the hotel I decided to walk the 24 blocks (!) down to the Village where I was meeting an old bellydance friend and her fiance for dinner. They took me to a “Vegetarian Soul Food” restaurant called Red Bamboo, and we ordered huge plates of fake meat. (Not)Chicken Wings, (not) satay sticks (not)beef thai curry (not)Chicken sandwich. It was really tasty but sent my head into a spin. It looked like meat, it kind of tasted like meat, but it wasn’t. My head was not computing and I felt like I was eating some kind of science experiment. A delicious one, though.

Cafe Wha musicianThen we rolled around the corner to Cafe Wha. THis place rocked. It was an underground jazz/funk/soul joint. We ordered cocktails and watched the warm up act – one of the funniest (and most outrageous) comedienes I have ever heard in my life, just gutted I can’t remember her name… THEN came the music which was incredible – really funky covers from some of the most talented musicians and singers, so funky the place was jumping and we were all up on our feet dancing into the early hours.

So if you want to beat the jet lag, get your ass to Cafe Wha…

This morning I had plans to go to the Natural History Museum. There’s an exhibition called Creatures of Light, about the world of bioluminescence, which I really want to go to. I also fancy the “Night in the Museum” tour where you see all the exhibits from the film. But after an exhausted 24 hours yesterday and the hugely cash-zapping ‘cafe wha cocktail bar tab + knicker free for all’ of yesterday, I thought I’d trap myself in my hotel room and lock my wallet in the safe. New York’s still out there though, tapping on my hotel window. Oh, I can’t resist, it’s time to have one more round of the Green Man game…

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Be better post-it noteI read a lot of stuff about productivity. Emails, newsletters, articles, books. I’m always hungry for “top 5 ways to increase productivity” or “master your inbox” or such. I wonder if my parent’s generation clamoured for the article on “how to create more space in your life”. No, of course not, they didn’t have computers and so didn’t need more space.. right? Did that mean they didn’t have the same pressures on them as we do today? Of course they didn’t. Not the same pressures, different ones, equally as challenging and putting the same little nuggets of doubt in their minds that they weren’t the most successful, efficient, effective people on the planet, but hey, one day you might be (just keep striving).

Man on bikeI seem to be torn towards two camps at the moment. For a long time I’ve believed in the art of balance – making sure that I have as much going on in my life as I do in my work. Making sure I spend good time with the love of my life and good time with friends. Making sure I try, every now and then, to rebalance my energy with a massage or a yoga class or an attempt to meditate. That was all blown out of the water last night in a book I have just finished reading that has absolutely inspired me and fired me up, and right at the last chapter the author – Danielle LaPorte declared that there is no such thing as balance in life*, or at least you shouldn’t strive for it because you can’t have it and you will never achieve your dreams if you strive to get it (since you’d spend all your energy trying to balance).

Interesting. There goes the spanner into the works. So what’s a girl to do? I do feel balanced, and I enjoy my life and enjoy the challenge of retaining that balance. At least at the moment, I know everything I do at the moment is purely selfish and therefore probably easy. The minute a baby comes along, let’s see how long I hold it together… But I know I want more. More from my career? Perhaps, well, no definitely. This is a battle I seem to have on a regular basis – perhaps every two years. Just when I feel like I’m getting on top of my current situation, I seem to heat seek out the next challenging situation. Don’t stay still, the hunters will catch up.

It comes back to this question of where I’m going and what I want to be doing at work. I’m content where I am, infact more than that. I’m happy, challenged, sometimes I get mad at work, sometimes I’m so ecstatic to be there. Weird. I know I’m capable of more. But is that “more” where I am now, doing what I’m doing now? Last night I was on the internet reading Danielle LaPorte’s webpage and she has this idea of setting up “Circles of Fire” as part of her “Firestarter” concept (love it) and I was suddenly thinking YES I can do this and this is perfect, exactly the sort of thing I love to do. But does this fall into the work camp that I should be focusing on right now, or is this falling the other side of the fence – after I’ve had kids? Perhaps it’s something I should experiment with now and see where it takes me. Who knows maybe it’ll interrupt my choices for my future, why do I have to wait until later to find out.

It seems I’m impatient and can’t wait to get started with the rest of my life.

I went to drumming last night after work, which is always a lot of fun. It takes me out of my head and right into my body. Or at least into the connection between my brain and my hands. Pure electrical impulses. It feels like I am slowly rewiring an old tumbledown house. Anyway, I got home, it was around 8.30, had dinner and then hopped on the PC to put together a blog post summarising a few bits and pieces that I’d been learning, and doing over the last couple of months. Him indoors was saying “are you trying to build an empire from the PC?” and in my defence I shout back “no”. But what am I doing? Should I be building an empire? If not an empire at least more connections out into web space. What is this technology and, in fact, this time for but not for building connections with people around the globe. Embrace the technology. Be in this generation, don’t fight against it. The ironic thing is that the more technology and gadgets and gizmos we have, the more time we have to spend writing and reading articles about how to save time and become more efficient, now that we are more distracted.

It makes me want to go and plough a field.

Talking of field, time to go to work.

Ploughed field

Ploughed field from http://fineartamerica.com

*Sweeping summary of Danielle’s theory – read The Firestarter Sessions to find out the rest – it’s AMAZING

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The clocks have gone back, and it’s now dark most of the afternoon. The temperature has dropped and the pavements are slippery with wet frosty leaves. We are delving head-long into winter and at this time of year I fancy “making like a hedgehog” and curling into a ball under a huge pile of warm leaves at the bottom of a garden. Hibernate, I mean.

However, it turns out, quite against the odds, that this last month has been pretty darned productive really, and I’m not quite sure why, perhaps down to a series of activities that I had lined up as we started to reset our clocks, kind of a preventative barrier of achievements to fuel me through these months.

Progress on my to-do lists:

Wedding planning. This is quite a bizarre one, it turns out, after my initial panic of “the big event”, I kind of relaxed a little, went along to the Wedding Show in London, entered a few competitions, tried on a dress at a local shop, and somehow, just over a month later I have purchased my dress – for less than half the original ticket price (freak closing down sale), won a honeymoon to Tobago for next April (nevermind that the honeymoon is before the wedding the point here is ENTER COMPETITIONS – people win!!!), decided on my wedding venue, almost completely by accident (driving home from the obvious one, I stumbled upon a little charmer – more soon…) ans started my wedding theme/idea scrapbook, thanks to a weekend at home with the gals and a copy of Bridesmaids to fuel the evening.

Oh and I found the perfect idea for my wedding cake – Rainbow cake – going to practise making it myself for my alternative Christmas this year (held on 1st December, since I’ll be in Costa Rica for the 25th…)

Personal development. Always a favourite of mine, an addiction to learning, improving, discovering. I went to an amazing event “The Future of Travel” at the School of Life which gave me a completely new perspective on travelling and gave me an insight into the pain that I sometimes feel connected with my intense desire to travel. It made me understand the origins of the need to travel and see things (ticking things off the list) – connected to history and The Grand European Tour of the aristocracy – one for another post some time, but good to realise my desires are rooted in history and not some weird internalisation of something else!

I also attended an amazing Women’s development course on Powerful Communication led my the company Aspire. This was a really amazing day, covering key channels of powerful communications, understanding the differences between feminine and masculine communication. But the key part of the day for me was the intense emotional connections I made with the women in my group. It was crazy! I think it was connected to an exercise we did where we spend a few minutes reeling off positive first impressions of each other and then asking the focus person to chose one of the qualities to amplify to become a more powerful communicator. It was an incredibly intimate and intense experience and I think it caused us to bond intensely in that short period of time. Anyway, again another blog post, but it was truly amazing.

Back in September I signed up for an online course called Unravelling. This was an interesting 8 week online course built around taking photos and writing assignments based on various aspects of your self and over time you unravel different parts of your life and being. This is all done in the safety of a private Flickr group where you can share your thoughts and experiences. I started off at full speed with this task, loving the photo assignments, struggling slightly with the written ones, but then after about 3 weeks I ran out of steam. I was trying to work out why it wasn’t working for me. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s incredibly powerful and brilliant for some people, but just not for me at this time. I think it’s because it was too introspective – too much delving around in your past and issues, which felt like it was draining me of energy. I’m attracted to something that ENERGISES and INSPIRES me POW POW POW! So I kind of let it fizzle out for me, and I didn’t knock myself for doing that. Not the right time for me, not what I need right now. I need energy, almost like RAVELLING! I’m actually reading a book at the moment which is 100% what I am all about – it’s called The Firestarter Sessions and it’s completely AMAZING. So much so I don’t want to finish reading it. In fact I want to stalk the lady who wrote it and force her to coach me, I just want to be around her. She’s inspiring me to put together an online course myself to do with energising and inspiring creativity, rather than introspection. Different strokes for different folks.

Performing. YES we got back on the bandwagon. After a quick pow-wow at the start of October with two of my most fun-loving and up-for-it gals from Shimmyshimmy we decided that yes, we could pull it out of the bag and do a Shimmyshimmybangbang bellydance performance at a local open mic night. So we lined up our specialty spooky bellydance action for the Halloween night special and did it – it felt GREAT! It’s been about a year since we last performed and it was so nice to be up performing again, even if it did mean trying to move around on a teeny tiny stage whilst battling with fake bats hanging from the ceiling. Rock on Christmas open mic, Santa Baby Miss Piggy style here we come!

Work. And I finally seem to have found a bit of a breakthrough way of organising myself at work – a colleague sent through an amazing link – you have to watch the I Love Lucy clip – it’s hilarious – and then do the Ready, Doing, Done wall chart – it’s working a dream for me at the moment – I’m getting the important stuff done and everytime a new project comes in, I write it on a post it and have to get up (stretch) and put it on the chart, Blue Peter style – it gives me visibility of all my projects, is a little bit creative and makes me get up off out of my seat, if only for 10 seconds!

So perhaps I don’t have to curl up into a little ball and hide under those leaves after all. The creeping gloom and penetrating chill of an English winter can be testing at this time of year. By making small and steady steps and keeping interested in the world around us, and dreaming of those sunny places that still exist in the world, we can hop skip and jump through the frosty streets and blow a big raspberry at the murky sky. It may be dark but we’re still getting stuff done!

Pumpkin

My Jack Pumpkin

p.s. Happy Halloween!!

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