Been a bit quiet recently….

7.02.2014. Sorry but I’ve been a bit quiet over the last week or so.

A combination of busy at work, a major illness in the family and a laziness on my part are to blame. But I’ve given myself a kick in tonight and I will make sure that I get better. Promise!

So, what’s new?

Well, it’s a period of significant change, more of that in future posts, but in a few words, it looks like I’ll be taking on a new project soon after the client I’m working for now took on a new director to take over the function that I created.

The weather in the UK has been dreadful, very very wet and extremely windy – it really gets me down. It seems so long ago that we felt the warmth of the sun on our backs – I really miss that feeling during the winter.

I’ve signed up to cycle from Barcelona to Nice over 6 dates in the summer so should feel the sun then for certain. Can’t wait actually. Need to get back into training! Maybe tomorrow but listening to the rain and the wind howling around outside now, I may need to rethink that in the morning.

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Burns Night

25.01.2014. Are you off celebrating Burns night tonight?

Unfortunately, I’m not going to be at a party tonight in person but will be at one in thought. Having lived in Scotland, I appreciate the event more than I did before moving up there. I’ve had some really great Burns suppers over the years and if you’ve never been to one, I’d encourage you to put it on your bucket list.

Last years was amazing, hosted by the Caledonian club (a Private Members Club for Scots) in London when rather than just piping in the haggis and doing the usual speeches, the event went into much more detail on the background – educational but oh so funny.

It’s been a good day today. I took up photography seriously last year and started an online diploma. Today, I’ve been into Manchester Photographic for an interactive session – learned some really useful tips and certainly developed by skills further. Looking forward to attending another session in a few weeks

Information overload…

20.01.14. Do you ever step back and consider the amount of information that you are inundated with each and every day?

Well, that is exactly what I’ve done today and I’m completely overwhelmed by the daily deluge. On average over the last few months, I have received over 250 emails each and every day, even over the weekend! I’ve compounded matters by running 5/6 email accounts – to cover off different businesses etc, but although this was originally the plan to make it easier to segment the flow of data, in reality, it has just created an even bigger problem.

Because of who I am and what I do, I’m constantly looking to develop my skills and knowledge and as such, in order to download materials, I sign up to mailing lists and therein lies the problem – as soon as you do this, you open yourself up to a potential deluge of information day after day. I’m getting emails from people that I’ve never even heard of, I certainly haven’t signed up to and in many instances these SPAM messages don’t have the option to unsubscribe.

Aaaargh!

I certainly need to spend some time, systematically unsubscribing from mailing lists and putting my inbox into some kind of order. The challenge is that as each passing day goes by, the problem gets bigger! Although we are blessed to live in a period where we have access to all kinds of information and data, literally at the touch of a button, we have also opened ourselves up to the challenge of information overload – and I’ve not even spoke about Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc. Aaaargh!

Isn’t it wonderful when the world delivers…

18.01.2014 – this morning, I’ve woken up and checked my emails, only to find one from Secret Escapes, in which it talks about things to do ( and not to do) in Venice. Perfect timing this, as we are off to Venice in three weeks.

Although we’ve been to Venice many times before and know the city reasonably well, it is such a labyrinth that there is simply loads to do, with jewels around virtually every corner. Within the article, there was a couple of things that caught my eye – a visit to one of the palaces on the Grand Canal – we stay in one of them the Gritti Palace, but it will be great to see one in its original splendour. Another recommendation is to go to the opera. We’ve been to a Vivaldi concert before but an opera sounds good so let’s mark that down.

I’m looking forward to our four days/ three nights in Venice. It’s such a special place. From the moment you get off the place and onto the water taxi, it feels that you are in the middle of a film set. I just love wandering around, sitting down in one of the many caf├ęs and simply watch the world go by.

Can’t wait!

Why am I so tired today?

17.01.2014. I woke up this morning and I felt tired! All day long, I’ve felt tired. Tonight, I’ve been nodding off throughout the evening. Now that I’ve come to bed, I feel shattered!

Why is that? I felt that I’d had a good nights sleep last night. The week hasn’t been overly taxing? The only thing that I can think of is that my body is full of toxins. Due to the weather and probably my laziness(!), I haven’t really done any real exercise over the last month or so and I can really feel my body getting bogged down. That’s not to say that I’m an health freak – hell no! But I have to say that I feel miles better when I’ve done regular exercise.

It’s also something to do with the amount of chocolate I’m eating!

But I’d rather not think about that too much!

James Cracknell life story

15.01.2014. Funny how things happen. I mentioned yesterday that a family member was undergoing a massive brain operation, which in the end lasted 11 hours. Tonight, I switched on the TV and started to watch a programme on James Cracknell, the UK Olympian who 3 years ago endured an horrific accident that caused massive brain damage.

If you get the chance to see the programme, you should do so, as it is inspirational, not just in terms of what he has achieved after the accident but for his sheer focus on goals and challenges throughout his life. It provides a real insight into the mindset of a professional athlete, something that most of us can only just imagine, much less achieve.

I have no doubt whatsoever that he is alive today and appears to be enjoying life to the full again, because of this absolute focus and belief.

A major operation…

14.01.2014 – A close family member has gone into hospital today for a major brain operation.

This will be his 7th or 8th similar operation and each time, it is a life or death situation. The problem he has is a brain tumor that is constantly growing within the crevices of his brain. The operations require the surgeon to effectively scrape back these tumors – a delicate activity requiring a very steady hand, because it is so easy to damage the brain tissue and ultimately damage one of the major faculties.

He went in at 14:15 and he is still in theatre. Over 9 hours so far!

These surgeons are just amazing!

50th celebrations

11.1.13. No not mine!

A friend whom I share a birthday with, celebrated his 50th in style, taking his family on a cruise through the Panama Canal. Last night he continued the celebrations with a fantastic private dinner at the Inn at Whitewell in Lancashire UK. What a great night. Great company, great food, great event. Simple, no fancy disco, lights how etc, just a group of 24 friends enjoying each other’s company.

It was certainly a long one, didn’t get to bed until 3 this morning, hence the delay in my daily post.

Pressure us on now to make my 50th equally as good.

Oh to be a West Ham fan!

8.1.2014. It’s semi final week of the Capital One cup, the second rate football trophy in the UK.

It’s had many names over the years. It started off as the League Cup, became the Milk cup, the Carling cup, the Littlewoods cup, all dependent on who is sponsoring the thing in any particular year.

This year, the semi finals are pitting the two big Manchester clubs against two smaller premier league teams, Utd against Sunderland and City against West Ham. The semis are played over two legs and this week has seen the first of those legs being played.

As a Utd fan, I’m disappointed that we are 2:1 down after the first leg, but how are the West Ham fans feeling after the game with City earlier tonight? They lost 6:0!

The funny thing (if you’re not a West Ham fan that is) is that in two previous times that they have been to the semi finals of this competition, they lost the first legs 5:0 and another 6:0. I was at the second of these games, because they were playing my home town team, Oldham Athletic and the great Frankie Bunn scored at least five of the goals.

To make matters worst this year, West Ham got knocked out of the FA cup at the weekend against Nottingham Forest. The score. Yes you’ve guessed it 5:0! At least they are consistent! Consistently bad!

Oh to be a West Ham fan!

Do you have a life plan?

5.1.2014. The last day of the holidays. Back to work/ school tomorrow and 2014 starts in earnest.

Today has been a funny day really. A mix of tidying up after the holidays and getting ready for the week ahead, as well as a little thinking time to ensure that my head is in the right place. I’m determined that 2014 will be my best year yet, the year that I make significant breakthroughs in my chosen fields, the year when I finally create my desired lifestyle.

I know what I need to do to achieve this. The trick will be to undertake these activities whilst living for today. I’ve been guilty in the past of living for tomorrow too much and not enjoying today. This is an interesting dilemma I think, and one I know I’ll be grappling with this year. How do you balance the delivery of your life plan yet live for today?

Most, if not all of my building blocks are now in place, so I’ve created a set of regular activities that I need to do each day/ week to ensure that I progress with my plan. However these are not onerous and should enable me to leave sufficient time to enjoy each day to the maximum.

Today has been such a day. I’ve taken some small steps required to move things forward with my plan, whilst spending time with my parents, enjoying my daughters stories of her day and chilling with the missus!