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!

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.

What do you want from 2014?

1.1.2014. A New Year, a new start, a new opportunity.

What does 2014 mean to you? For me, it’s all these things. It’s the chance to carry on the significant progress I made in 2013 to create the life that I desire. A life full of opportunity, a life full of fun, a life full of new experiences and a life full of laughter.

I’m really looking forward to realising this lifestyle in 2013. What this means is that I need to build my business development activities so that I have a team of people delivering our core consultancy offering, rather than being reliant on my time to deliver projects. In addition, I need to continue to develop and deliver my online business. This will result in me being location independent and allow me to follow my other passions of travel, photography and cycling.

We have already scheduled in some travel – we will be visiting Venice again in February and a tour of France in the summer. We also hope to take in New York at some stage so lots of photography opportunities – the 2014 photo book promises to be a cracker!

In terms of my cycling passion, I’m hoping to invest in an updated carbon fibre bike and take in another challenge – I’m looking at the Milan to Monaco or Paris – Nice rides, ahead of an attempt on the Lands End – John O’Groats ultimate challenge in 2015.

Reviewing the year…

30.12.2013. I read a very interesting article in Psychologies Magazine, Jan 2014 edition, earlier today that made me think.

The premise of the article was that we all tend to head into the New Year full of promise whilst ignoring what has been achieved during the existing year. They propose that you ask yourself 6 questions to get you ready for the New Year ahead. I won’t go into these now, but it did make me think about the year just passing and during dinner we had an interesting debate about what 2013 has meant to each of us.

What are we most proud of? What have we achieved? What have we enjoyed?

It wasn’t hard to come up with lots of good stuff, things that happened throughout the year that, if you didn’t sit back and think about, would probably be forgotten about. Places we’ve visited, things that we’ve done, major challenges that we’ve met head on and overcome, significant successes in both business and personal life.

This discussion has set us up nicely for our traditional New Years discussion about what each of us want from the New Year – what do we want to do, what do we want to achieve, how do we want to feel etc.

But, that’s for tomorrow!

Do you have a birthday over the Christmas period?

27.12.2013
It’s my birthday today!

It’s always been my birthday on the 27th December yet, probably due to the excitement around Christmas, so many people forget, including at times members of my own family. It can get annoying to be honest and why for the really big birthdays ( strange phrase really – ain’t all birthdays big, given the alternative! ) I tend to have to do something big, like a party, a trip or a full blown holiday.

The 27th is a bit of a fully day – in the UK, it tends to be the first day back to work after Christmas, it’s the second day of the sales and it tends to be seen as the calm before the build up to the New Year celebrations. We were having an interesting debate a few days back about New Years Eve and whether anyone really enjoys it? The consensus amongst our group was that they preferred New Year’s Day, as it signals a new start, rather than the end of the year that is New Years Eve. What’s your view?

We also thought that the fun around New Years Eve probably goes in cycles – when you’re young, it’s a night of drunken stupor, and when you are older, it’s a time to celebrate with a close set of friends. However, during the middle phase of life, when children are involved, it’s less exciting and probably more of an hassle as you try to juggle child care, taxis etc.

We are certainly in the middle part at the moment and will be for the next 7/8 years, although I’ve got another big birthday coming up in a couple of years so maybe that will bring us an opportunity to celebrate New Year in another culture….

Just starting to plan a trip that will provide many great memories, so open to ideas.

Well, better go and enjoy the rest of my birthday.

Out with the old….

20.12.13 – today has been a significant day for me. After driving leased vehicles for the last 16 years, I’ve finally handed them back, closed out the contracts and bought myself a couple of older, practical cars that will get me, in reasonable comfort from A to B.

Why is this significant?

Well, it’s the latest step in my journey to simplify my life. I’ve always enjoyed driving nice cars and saw them more as a symbol of my success. In recent years, I suppose as I’ve got older, I’ve come to realise that such status symbols are meaningless and realised what really matters. As such, for the last 2 years, I’ve been systematically removing things from my life that cause stress, and are now approaching my ideal state – to be able to live in the ‘now’ as opposed to worrying about tomorrow.

Life isn’t about the things that you have. Life is about the experiences that you have and the people that you share these experiences with. It’s taken me a few years to get there, but I’m there now and it feels great.

One of my passions is travel and I have spent part of this evening laying outline plans for 2014. Really looking forward to going back to Venice in February – the Carnivale will be on – we were there earlier this year and it was awesome.

Later in the year, we are planning a tour of France, staying in gites and visiting a number of the amazing regions during our three week vacation. Just been looking at likely places to visit, and will now start to look into specific gites and boutique hotels. I really enjoy the process of putting such tours together – definitely something to complete during the festive break, I think.

The weekend is upon us…

13/12/13. Friday the 13th. So far, nothing spooky has happened but you never know, I may get lucky tonight!

Now that would be spooky!

The penultimate weekend before Christmas and we are getting all geared up. Panto tomorrow and then a Christmas Dinner on Sunday with my folks who always go on holiday over Christmas and New Year. Panto should be fun. We’ve been going for many years with the same group of kids who all met at nursery. Not too sure how many more years the tradition will last but hey ho, let’s make the most of it whilst we can. “Oh no you won’t” I hear you shout…..

Funny old day, travelling again for a relatively short meeting, but one that was much more insightful than many. I’m sure that Virgin trains restrict the 3G signals on their trains to encourage you to buy their wifi – I simply couldn’t get a signal today so unable to take advantage of the 4 hours on the train.

I did catch up on some reading though, which is always useful, as well as listened to some music. The track that sums up the day is Ho Hey by The Lumineers. Great song.

What do you think?

11/12/13 – what a day to start a blog!

11/12/13

What a bloody day!

Spent 7 hours in a car travelling to and from a meeting that lasted 30 minutes! And I screwed it up!

But on a positive note, this is the last time in my lifetime that there will be an alignment of the date – 11th day of the 12th month in the 13th year if the century, so seemed a perfect date to start a blog.

What’s the blog all about? I don’t know, you’ll have to read each post won’t you!

Basically, it will include my view of my world each and every day for the next 365. So expect some great days, some really interesting days, some days when I wished I’d stayed in bed and other days when nothing really happens so the post will be short!

So back to today. Important ‘pitch’ for funding on a project that my team has been working on for the last few months and I balls it up! No excuses, just really bad approach and execution. The result…

Got agreement to proceed! Amazing I say.

So back in car for the drive home. Listened to a great ‘Confessions’ on the Simon Mayo Radio 2 show, which culminated with a large antique dining table collapsing on Christmas Day just as the Turkey was served. Forgiven as far as I’m concerned. Then took advantage of my iPod – what an eclectic mix of music I’ve got on there.

From Buddy Holly in the 50s to The Lumineers in the onesys, I think my favourite was also the last to be played – Don’t Look Back in Anger by Oasis. Watch the video here.

Sums up the day and way I feel perfectly.

See you tomorrow.