Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Four years in the blink of an eye

We really need more photos together, this was taken over a year ago

Today Tom and I are celebrating our four year anniversary. I can't believe how quickly it's gone and how much has changed since then. 

Four years ago we were just starting university. Four years on, we've both quit university after deciding it wasn't the career either of us wanted, got full-time jobs, oh and we're engaged. 

Time constantly baffles me. When you look forward to something time seems to drag but when you look back, time constantly flies. Before I know it we'll be celebrating our eight year anniversary. 

I'm not going to go all sappy on you here but Tom is wonderful and sometimes I do think he's more than I deserve. If you read yesterday's blog post, you'll know that he is one of the reasons I'm forcing myself to slow down and appreciate life. I do not want to be one of those people who loses their loved ones because they're spending too much time in front of the computer. 

Tonight we shall be celebrating by filling our face with delicious food and watching Bad Grandpa. 

Here's to many more years of amusement and annoying each other! 

Monday, 22 September 2014

Finding time for the third metric

Arianna Huffington - Thrive

For the past few months I've felt like I'm not giving anything the full amount of attention it deserves and I'm not happy with that, mostly because it means I'm not spending enough time with Tom, my family and friends.

Over the weekend I started reading Arianna Huffington's Thrive: A Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Happier Life. 

I'm just over a quarter of the way in and it's full of common sense backed up by multiple studies that show that the way most of us are currently living our lives is not good for anyone, mostly ourselves. 

We are tired and stressed, which can lead to further health problems, which means we aren't looking after ourselves, we're not productive at work, not spending time with family and are burning ourselves out. 

Do you know what really hit it home to me? Arianna talks about eulogies and says that when people eulogise you, they talk about your personality and how you are with your family and friends. They don't ever say 'they met all their targets at work' or 'always filed their reports on time'. 

It's common sense but sometimes it takes reading it to understand that something needs to change. You are not the one in the wrong because you want to leave work on time to spend time with family or friends, our weird culture that thinks the longer we work the more productive we are is the one in the wrong. 

I'm not saying that this means we should expect maximum output from little effort but working 14 hour days doesn't automatically mean you're productive and will achieve your goals. 

Arianna talks a lot about 'the third metric', which looks at wellbeing, wisdom and wonder, which you can 'find' by taking time out and taking things a little easier. 

At the beginning of the book she says her wakeup call was falling over due to exhaustion and hitting her head on a desk. I'm sure that no one wants to reach that stage and it's important we take time to look after ourselves. 

I've made a personal vow to myself to spend more time finding the third metric.

  • I'm going to implement an electronic devices ban (bar the Kindle) on myself after 9:30PM. 
  • Enjoy listening to music. Actually listening, rather than having it on as background noise. 
  • Better time management. Time management is not my forte but if I can work smarter and manage my time better, things will get done faster and I'll have more time to spend with family and friends. 
  • Meditation. I'm not really sure how this one works yet but the idea of taking five minutes out of my day to concentrate on doing nothing sounds good and there's plenty of sound scientific studies which show that meditation can benefit your health and wellbeing. 
What are you going to do to find the third metric? 

Friday, 19 September 2014

The time I passed out in Blue Banana

Yes, this post comes with an embarrassing
MySpace-era photo of my goodself in my emo days. 
As a teenager I had a half-assed rebellious streak and became an emo kid with a couple of piercings. I had two lip piercings and decided I needed a piece of metal in my nose too.

One Saturday I went to my piercing place of choice, Blue Banana. For those of you who don't know it's a shop that sells emo and alternative clothing and rock band and TV show merchandise. They also do piercings.

I'd never had a problem with any of my previous piercings so I thought nothing of it when she said she'd nicked the inside of my nose - you know the part she wasn't supposed to stab with a needle. 

It wasn't gushing out and I didn't feel ill so I hopped down and walked out into the shop to see my friends.

Half way there everything began going black and I passed out, taking out a shelf with me.

If you have never passed out before, it's really weird. You get black spots on your vision and before you know it everything is black and it feels like you've had a really good sleep. I dreamt about Pokemon (I don't know if that always happens) and it felt as if is been asleep for hours. 

I came around and it was just like waking up in the morning, apart from the huge security guard stood over me. In reality I'd been out  for 10 seconds, if that. Half an hour later with a Starbucks in me I felt right as rain. 

It turns out that my body does not take kindly to blood loss. (Something I later rediscovered when doing the finger prick test at university to test my blood type - I didn't quite pass out but I sat on the floor of a laboratory for an hour.)

The piercing wasn't meant to be though as days later I managed to knock the stud out. I replaced it with another ring but it got infected and a green pussy blob on your nose is not attractive.

I don't really know why I felt the need to share this story with you. Well actually I do. Last night it suddenly came back to me and I found myself chuckling and thought it was worth a blog. 

Have you ever passed out somewhere or had a ridiculous reaction to a piercing? 

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Ripped jeans | Jamie - Topshop

It's been far too long since I wore a pair of jeans that had tears in acceptable places. 

I'm the kind of girl who wears jeans to their death. Until I can no longer wear them because I would be showing the world my pants. 

About four and a half years ago when I went to New York I bought a pair of ripped jeans from Forever 21 and they lasted about two years. I wore them to the point where they grew holes in the crotch and I was forced to say goodbye to them.  

I'm ridiculously fussy when it comes to jeans in terms of fit, colour and material so it has seriously taken me two years to find another pair that I consider right for me. 

I spied Topshop's Jamie ripped jeans a few months back but I'm far too tight to spend £42 on a pair of jeans. Luckily for me my sister gave me a gift card for my birthday which took most of the damage. 

These jeans are insanely cosy, the fit is brilliant and they are high-waisted. I've recently come to appreciate high-wasted jeans, no risk of builders butt! 

I've seriously missed my ripped jeans. You know what I haven't missed though? Smart ass comments like 'did you fall over?.' I'd forgotten how annoying that was. 

What do you think about ripped jeans? Yay or nay. 

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Pizza wars: Italy vs Germany

Pizza Wars: Germany Vs Italy

It's fair to say I'm a bit of a pizza fanatic. Some of my friends wonder if I even eat anything else (I do.)

For years I have longed to go to Italy and eat their pizza. With the taste of that glorious pizza I had in Germany (this must be the 6000th time I've mentioned it now) fresh in my memory, I wanted to find out if Italy could beat it. 

With my constant waffling about the German pizza, I think we're all aware of how high the standards are. I was confident that Italy, the birthplace of pizza, would have no problem kicking German pizza's butt. 

I was wrong. 

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Triptych - Karin Slaughter (Will Trent #1) | Book review

Source: Goodreads
Spoiler free! 
Title: Triptych (Will Trent #1) 
Author: Karin Slaughter
Genre: Crime, thriller

Goodreads descriptionIn the city of Atlanta, women are dying—at the hands of a killer who signs his work with a single, chilling act of mutilation. Leaving behind enough evidence to fuel a frenzied police hunt, this cunning madman is bringing together dozens of lives, crossing the boundaries of wealth and race. And the people who are chasing him must cross those boundaries too. Among them is Michael Ormewood, a veteran detective whose marriage is hanging by a thread—and whose arrogance and explosive temper are threatening his career. And Angie Polaski, a beautiful vice cop who was once Michael's lover before she became his enemy.

But another player has entered the game: a loser ex-con who has stumbled upon the killer's trail in the most coincidental of ways—someone who may be the key to breaking the case wide open.

It appears to have become a bit of a habit that I read a Karin Slaughter book every September. 

I've read two of her books from the Will Trent series, Fallen (my review) and Criminal (my review) and really enjoyed them. Before picking up the next book in the series I decided I would start the series from the beginning to do it justice.  

Monday, 15 September 2014

The next step...

Today I wanted to share a dream and a fear and beg for some advice. 

Some of you may know that outside of my day job I am a Formula One journalist and it is my dream to make a living out of writing. 

For almost two years I have been writing for F1Plus.com and over time my responsibilities have grown. I began submitting the occasional opinion piece and then I started to pick up some news stories and now I cover a large portion of the news on the website as well as attending races. 

As a fellow blogger you can probably understand how difficult it can be to hold down a full-time job, blog and live. I feel things are beginning to come to the point where I need to take the plunge and try to quit the day job because I don't feel that my day job, my writing job or my family and friends are getting enough attention. 

All three of those are suffering and I think it's time to focus on writing. If I really want to make writing work, I have to quit the day job so I can spend more time writing about F1 and try to create some kind of income from that and freelance SEO and writing work. 

I'm lucky that I live at home so I don't have huge bills to pay however I do need to afford to get to races. I keep thinking that if I don't try it now I will regret it but I'm pretty sensible so the other part of me is thinking, 'Yeah but what if it goes wrong? How are you going to get a job again? You're going to end up working in a bar forever.'

I'm worried about taking the plunge and failing and I need your help, lovely readers of mine. 

I'm willing to bet that some of you are freelancers, or maybe you do a bit in your spare time, so please, please, share some tips, useful blogs or your thoughts on your experience with me. 

I've read a few books and a few blogs but to my mind, there are still a lot of questions unanswered which I think I have to find out by doing. 

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