Who’s The Daddy?

I’ve mentioned before that my day job means that I come across some pretty interesting, inspiring and often entrepreneurial ideas. Sometimes this happens during my commute, other times they just drop into my Inbox at work, waiting patiently until I take a moment to convert the un-reads to the reads.

I seem to be drawn to the diverse and unusual. Like there’s an inbuilt radar for the out of the ordinary, A curiosity for the quirky so to speak. So maybe the job happened as a result of this – like nails to a magnet. The universe provides or something like that.

Anyhow, for a few years I have been subscribing to a fab e-newsletter from springwise.com which provides a daily three-pronged fix for my innovation itch. Springwise uses its global network of some 15,000 Springspotters to find the clever, the quirky and the downright random.

And earlier this month I saw something that made me laugh out loud.

Photo credit: springwise.com

It’s a roving Paternity Test!

Apparently you swab on the spot and Bob’s your uncle…or maybe even your Dad!

What will they think of next?

(Actually, I’m not sure I want to know…)

I Could Have Been Born A Turkey…

Yesterday I was catching up on some emails and opened up Dr. Alan Zimmerman’s Tuesday Tip.

This motivational email gets delivered to my inbox every Tuesday but it’s been some time since I’ve read one. I’m not sure what made me open this email rather than deleting it like I have been recently. Maybe it had something to do with the title…

The BIG Lie About Success and the Little Secret of Happiness

Dr Zimmerman provides his own personal commentary every newsletter. It’s wedged in between adverts for his courses but there’s always a gem or two. Something to make me stop and think. Sometimes it reminds me to get back into good habits at work or refocus my energies on some simple basics. Sometimes it reminds me that people are people everywhere, wanting to be heard and make a difference, even when they appear belligerent, uncooperative and downright irritating.

Other times, like yesterday, it reminds me about the importance of being happy.

Those simple, often unexpected moments of quiet peace or contentment. The moments where I do what I love and love what I do – at work, at home, with friends and strangers. On the train, at the supermarket, in the coffee shop, walking in the park. In the midst of the familiar and in the maelstrom of the new. Everywhere and anywhere.

Not all the time. But creating the enviroment for happiness to occur is important. It’s like opportunity – if you stay open, things show up. Stay closed and what’s often right in front of you stays invisible.

The newsletter shares some tips – and I found myself nodding…

1. Learn to be happy with less

I am reminded not so much of stuff  itself but of stuff to do. Busy-ness. It’s easy to get busy in life with stuff to do that merely fills my time and does not make me happy. I want to invest more time and energy in the things I love to do – expanding my horizons at work, writing, theatre, books, music – and the people that make me feel good. The ones I know about (you know who you are) and the ones I’ve yet to meet.

2. Seek silence

Peace is an amazing discovery. It took moving across the world for me to find it. I’m not sure whether it’s connected to my physical location or my state of mind but my promise to myself is to stay in touch with what speaks to my soul, even when the route there looks scary.

3. Remind yourself things could be worse

Zimmerman shares a snippet from the cartoon series Peanuts which sums it up perfectly:

Snoopy…was lying in his dog house on Thanksgiving Day, he mumbled about being stuck with dog food while all those humans got to be inside with the turkey, gravy, and pumpkin pie. “Of course, it could have been worse,” he finally reflected. “I could have been born a turkey.”

Wise dog that.

4. Understand what you seek is spiritual not material

Zimmerman refers to this as mastering the ‘art of living’. Being able to handle anything that comes your way. I’ve heard people say that God never gives us more than we can handle. Well I don’t really do God stuff. But I have to say something always ‘turns up’. The universe always provides and I have belief that it will all turn out in the end. It just might not be the end I was expecting. But there’s often happiness there all the same.

5. Look for evidence of peace

There’s a longer list in the newsletter itself but these were my top 3 so I’m keeping an eye out for: 
  • Less interest in judging other people as to what they “should” do.
  • Less interest in the conflicts and gossip that surround me.
  • Contented feelings of connectedness with others and nature.

So here’s to making Gidday from the UK a space for happiness to occur.  Let connectedness abound and “shoulds” die a thousand deaths.

But I give you fair warning. Look out for frequent attacks of smiling.

Remember you could have been born a turkey!

The Dating Game…

Source: pinterest

As a single lass whose broken heart has been carefully glued back together over the last year or so, I am starting to notice more and more avenues  available for me to meet my next conquest, the man of my dreams, a fella.

Being quite an open-minded sort, in the past I have ogled the online options, given the introduction agency scene a whirl and speed-dated (the rapid, not drug-induced, kind) with assistance of locks and keys. No, not like that – that would be another type of blog entirely. It’s actually quite harmless fun, until you realise you are – at 34 – the oldest in the room by a long way. And that was 8 years ago.

Today I read about a new method for the time-poor and travel-rich. Those clever pragmatists over at KLM have developed Meet and Seat which allows you to choose your on-board neighbours based on LinkedIn and Facebook profiles. They say it is an ideal opportunity for ‘networking’ but some pundits suggest it will be used more for matchmaking, whether that be between long term relationship seekers or those looking for the more abridged variety. I will use it to avoid crying babies and large, smelly people.

There’s been a ground swell of news and opinion about purposeful singledom too. Each week, I read Hannah Betts’ ‘Things You Only Know If You’re Single’ column in The Times Magazine (which you will have to pay to read for yourself thanks to bad Uncle Rupert). Last week’s was ‘…that one should forget dating sites in favour of realism.’ Nuff said on that score. She also writes stuff for The Telegraph which I fall over intermittently and which you can read online for free.

And just prior to Christmas, Elizabeth Tannen shared her thoughts on the whole scene over at The Huffington Post in Five Excuses For Being Single  By the way, Elizabeth has written a fab post called ‘Letting Your Silly Out’ on her own blog but I digress…again.

So this led me to think about dating. My approach in the past has been underpinned by the philosophy that if you open your eyes/mind, ‘the universe provides’. But I’ve also read things which suggest we should treat finding a partner in the same way as finding a job. Know your ‘audience’, targeted selection, tailor your ‘CV’. It just doesn’t seem to have that joyous and romantic ring to it, does it? Nor does it sound fun.

My theory is that life happens the way it happens and if we remain open along the way, we stand a chance in spite of the pitfalls.

But I’m not quite sure what you would put on this CV.

My last relationship began as a friendship with my next door neighbour and, if I exclude the last couple of months, went on for five and a half very happy years. I’ve met others through common interests (there were a few of these during my ballroom dancing days), chance encounters at bus stops and all sorts of liaisons in between. There have been the short and sweets, the long and lingerings, the quick fizzers – and then the gaps in between where I get to immerse myself in all the things I love to do without any of the negotiation or compromise.

And there, in that unequivocal indulgence of all the things I love, lies the rub…

Source: pinterest
The defence rests.

The Universe Is Testing Me…9 Sleeps To Go

The Universe is testing me.

Really it is.  I kid you not.

Absolutely, unequivocally testing me. Pushing my buttons. Stretching my patience.

All in the space of the last 24 hours.


Weekends are a highly valued commodity where I come from, as I’m sure they are for you, so I like to plan a bit of stuff but also make sure I have time to chill out, avoid doing chores, write – you know the drill.

(The current silence tells me that the wet washing is ‘ready’ and will not hang itself out.)

With a weekend plan including a photos viewing Friday night on the way home, a haircut on Saturday morning and then off for a mani-pedi Saturday afternoon, I was looking forward to firstly feeling rather productive then followed by some serious chilling as a busy Saturday mellowed into a Sunday of pottering about.

So Friday morning I pick up a message from my hairdresser asking me whether I could turn up 15mins early.  Sure, I think, no problem.  I call back to confirm that this is ok to be told ‘No it’s ok we worked something out – turn up at 11.’  Great news but I’m glad I rang back instead of turning up early – tolerating lateness is not my strong suit.  Anyway, moving on.

I leave work a little early on Friday to get to my appointment to view my photos at 6pm (a 90min trip but it is a stop-off on my regular 2hr commute home. I know it’s long. Don’t ask.)  I reach Clapham Junction station which is about a 15min walk from the studio and get a message – which had obviously arrived during the underground portion of my journey – asking me to come at 7pm instead.  With an hour and a half of travelling under my belt already, my weary brain shouts ‘NOOOOO!’.  Long story short – we settled on 6.15pm instead. 

To kill the time, I take myself off to Caffe Nero for a white chocolate and raspberry muffin and a soya cappucino, thinking I will just chill for a little bit before wandering up Lavender Hill towards the studio.  Another message arrives, this time from the Mani-Pedi salon.  There’s a problem with my 2pm appointment on Saturday – can I come earlier?  Brain swears loudly.  Despite the ensuing conversation confirming that someone else will be available at the time of my booking to pretti-fy my paws, I feel mildly nervous walking up Lavender Hill, wondering whether I will receive an apologetic phone call Saturday morning (or better yet, be mucked about upon arrival).  I have next Friday off so I call back and agree to have pretty paws then.


Photo viewing goes well (pics look amaaaazing – I will collect my chosen ones mid August and share with you) and I go to bed last night, thinking I will get up early-ish and dash into Kingston to do my errands before my hair appointment.  I’m up at 8.30am and, feeling mildly awake and presentable after my ablutions, am eating some vegemite toast before heading out.

There’s another message. 

My hairdresser (a new one, the lovely A having decided to embark on some world travelling for a while) has called in sick.  Brain sighs resignedly.  Little voice in my head reminds me to ‘breathe’. 

I’m going at 12.30.

In, out. In, out. Breathing, breathing. Time for a coffee.  And a post.

And if it’s really lucky, the washing will get hung out to dry.

ps…as I’m a little intolerant of lateness and would really love a chilled out, low-irritant birthday, I thought it prudent to remind you that there are now only 9 sleeps to go. We are now into single figures peeps so don’t be late – I can just see the good ship 42 coming into view.

Of Hearts And Minds…(NB: 15 Sleeps To Go)

I have just spent a lovely few hours this afternoon with my friend A-mother-of-N, and little N.  They live on the opposite side of London so we catch up on alternate ‘sides’ once every couple of months or so.  Anyway, we were chatting today about how much life has changed for us both, particularly for me in the last 9 months, the challenges we have faced and the little victories we’ve celebrated.

One of the things we spoke about was my writing.  I will have been writing my blog for 3 years next month but it’s only been in the last 9 months, I’ve started to consider where it all might lead.  I’ve ‘guest-posted’ a couple of times and been acknowledged by generous fellow bloggers (you know who you are – and for everyone else, you can find them on my blog roll) but am now starting to get encouragement from outside the blogosphere with family and friends commenting ‘how well I write’.

Recently I started writing for weekendnotes, my first ‘paid’ gig depending on how many articles I submit and how many subscribers and page views I get.  I have just submitted my second article for publishing today. (My first, about my visit to the Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising, which I have also blogged about, was published last Monday.)  I love London. I love writing.  It seems a match made in Heaven.

But I feel…hesitant. 

You see, I am completely besotted with writing.  Even more so than when I was in high school (high school, not secondary – now that ages me!).  Some days I write what I see, hear, experience in the small things.  Other days it just seems that I can’t help but put my heart on the page.  It’s a joyful feeling, sometimes emotional, but always satisfying.  An expression of my creativity and passion that feels both cathartic and right in its current proportion.  

And that’s the thing – the balance.  I also love my work.  It’s commercial and fast-paced and dynamic and I’m part of a team – and it’s a big part of me as well.  And right now, the two things together feel balanced and right.  Yet I can’t help asking myself, could I still do both if I wrote more?  Could I keep managing the balance or would there come a tipping point, where the single, albeit dual purpose, path may naturally divide and I find myself standing at a fork in the road?

One of my favourite poem’s of all time is The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost.  There’s a line in it ‘yet knowing how way leads on to way’.  I feel like that now.  I am desperate not to lose the joy I have rediscovered in writing but suspect that life will take me down the road that it will. 

I will just have to be brave enough to keep my heart and mind open to whatever happens next.

The Universe Provides…Adding A Blog Page…

I have been racking my brains (and surfing the net like mad) trying to work out how to add more pages to my blog.  You see, I found out that you could add a menu bar across the top (which I did quite easily) and then thought to myself ‘adding of a page must be a cinch!’

Well not really…I searched through what I thought were all the logical places, and then turned my attention to the not so logical places, followed by a menu by menu trawl through my ‘blogger dashboard’ and then finally a google search…to no avail.

But the power of the internet showed its stuff and thanks to fellow blogger Kate (Marmite and Fluff), I have today added my first extra page – The Great Bake-Off, where I promise to share all of the highs and lows of my baking journey.

ps…for those of you who want to check it out, visit my blog – http://www.giddayfromtheuk.blogspot.com/ and click on the The Great Bake-Off tab at the top – or you can just click here.