Friday, 4 September 2015

Is the blog still on?

Yes, the blog is still on!

A busy few months since arriving back from the UK, clearly. I'm already cringing at my use of the word "busy" here, because it's such a cop out/not an excuse for letting important stuff fall by the wayside, but nevertheless that's what it's been like.

"Busy" is an interesting concept. Lots of us say we are, and so many of us think it's good to be busy. It is, in the sense that if you're busy chances are you're not festering at home. But it can also be a bad thing. Bad if you're so busy doing things that you're not able to chill out once in a while.

I realised the other day that I had been working for about 20 days straight, without a break, except perhaps to eat, sleep and watch the occasional episode of Antiques Roadshow. Scarily, this realisation only came because I finished a major task and had nothing else urgent to do. Post-realisation, I spent Saturday morning wandering around, cleaning things that didn't really need attention. In a moment of desperation, I joined in on the viewing of a somewhat irrelevant lecture, for a course that I'm not even enrolled in.

It was crazy. I was SO bored.

Like, really bored!

When boredom strikes, I have always had trouble recognising it. I'm so not used to being bored that I tend to keep doing things until all options are exhausted. I'm the car that finally stops running, because there is absolutely no petrol left to burn through.

On Saturday, once I noticed the boredom thing kicking in, I found active relaxation to be of benefit. Active relaxation is basically just code for "I can't relax of my own accord, so I have to do things that will trick my brain into relaxing." Reading a good book is one way to do this, I find. Also walking, having a chat with a friend, cooking, card-making, being creative... all the stuff I like to do but never do because I'm too "busy".

Monday, 6 July 2015


Petersham gardens.

Signets at Ham Common.

A new friend.

Carrot cake.

Wishing I lived here.

Teddington Lock.

The Science Museum shop.

A piece of the original model of DNA!

London Zoo.

The vacuum cleaner that will make you WANT to vacuum!

Pub lunch.

Home :)

Thursday, 11 June 2015


I listen to Enya.

Every night before I go to sleep, I put her music on. It's the same CD every time, and I'm sorry to say I don't even know what it's called. But I do know that there are ten tracks, and if I'm still awake by the time the CD ends, there's definitely something on my mind.

I've listened to Enya since I was a child. I expect it was a parent's attempt at helping me get to sleep, as switching off is something I've always struggled with. When I got older, I realised that listening to Enya in order to relax is "a thing", and it became clear that poor Enya has a reputation for being serene and calm and tranquil all the time. I wonder what she thinks about this.

There's this one song on the album I listen to - track 2 - which is surprisingly upbeat for Enya. It's got appreciable momentum and serious rhythm. Again, I don't know what it's called. But the drummer in me likes the feel of it.

During a recent episode of thinking too much, it occurred to me that we often typecast people. Enya, for example. I'm not in the habit of making sweeping statements, and I try very hard not to generalise, but whenever I talk about Enya, it's hard for me not to mention relaxation and sleep-inducing melodies.

What happens if one day Enya decides that she's done with her chill music and wants to move into punk rock? Would it be weird? Well, yeah! At least at first. For those of us who knew Enya as the "sleep lady" when we were kids, it'd be weird.

But it shouldn't be. It should just be like, "oh ok, you're doing that now. Cool! Hope it works out, and have fun."

I know a number of people in their early to mid twenties who are freaking out right now because something they thought was at the centre of their existence has turned out to be massively peripheral. It's awful when you realise that who you are is not actually who you are. This happened to me a couple of years ago, and it was unbelievably confusing and messy. I was trying to be myself, but in doing that I was being the opposite. It was so weird.

So I guess I'm just hanging out for Enya's future career as a punk rocker. Or anyone who's prepared to dive into change, and own it. Because if everyone was as open to changing it up in life as they are to eating different food every day, I think we could all relax about who we're supposed to be, and just be whoever rocks up that day.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Reasons why being a business owner is cool.

1. Avoidance of foul weather.

2. Proximity to feline creatures.

3. Wearing tracksuit pants when nobody knows I'm wearing them.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

On self-improvement.

There are so many people in this world who want to improve themselves.

And there are plenty of people ready and waiting to teach others how to do just that.

There are people who can boost your confidence, and people who can revolutionise your relationships. There are people who can perform healing miracles, and people who can craft major diet overhauls. There are people who can transform fitness phobics into wellness warriors. There are people who can enhance your motivation. There are even people who can increase the speed at which you live life.

All of these pursuits seem legitimate.

However, anyone who is prone to the “I want what she’s having” mentality should probably proceed with caution. The wellness industry might be well-meaning, but it can also be damaging.

The first problem arises because the people it targets often don’t even know they have a “problem”. Sometimes, things become problems when they are labelled as such, by some guru who knows better. And if you happen to be having an off week, or if you are not too self assured as you well-meaningly peruse the internet, then you might be pushed towards thinking that your way is wrong. And not just wrong; very wrong! You must change immediately! Think of all the productivity you’re missing out on!

What happens then is interesting. The same people who tell you you’re wrong then provide a formula for making you right again. (This formula is something they’ve often poured their heart and soul into, and about which they are incredibly passionate, so in the interests of avoiding a bit of passion-bashing, I won’t make this cruel.) It’s great that people are passionate about what they do, and this should be encouraged. What’s not so great is when people assume that their way is best for everyone. That what they have to share with others should and must be taken up by a large proportion of the people who hear about it. This sort of entitlement is something that younger generations are really good at latching onto, and when it comes to communicating such messages, the internet is proving to be a well-oiled vehicle.

When you’re in the market for new habits or clever ways to improve your life, the impressionable mind does interesting things. It forgets the parameters that your personality provides, and assumes that plenty of what is presented will perfectly mesh with your existing ways. It’s a bit like trying to build an extension on your home, using someone else’s tailored blueprint. Sure, it might have the most incredible spiral staircase at the core of its design. It might also come with an air of legitimacy on account of planning approval from the local council. But if the proposed design doesn’t fit into the block of land you’re living on, it isn’t much use to you, is it?

Here's a personal example. I’m writing this now at 5:22am. It’s too early for me to be up. I know this. I am, at present, trying to improve my sleep patterns so that I am not up at this time. But today, 5:22 is just when ideas came. I woke up, and there they were. When this happens, I really have to write things down. It’s a weird sensation that I'm not very good at describing. But what I can say is that it’s very exciting when words just come to me, and I become a sort of physical object that transfers them to paper. I don’t want to change this, not for all the sleep in the world.

Here’s where I think we need to get to. There is so much information available to people these days, and much of that is put out into the world with at least some degree of financial agenda. I would like to see the self-improvement industry become less gimmicky, and less reliant on "douchy marketing", as Marie Forleo puts it. I’d like to see people putting stuff out there with a “Hey, this worked for me and I thought it was great” mentality. No pressure. No elitism. No establishment of exclusive communities or moral high grounds. No "I'm better than you because I drink chlorophyll." Just experiential comments that might -- maybe, possibly -- make other people in this world better versions of themselves. On their terms.