Angry Cleaning

0a05ece42ff2654029544b9cc0f1840aIt’s been a really irritating day, in a First-World-Silly-Problem kind of way.

I woke up this morning and started my usual routine. I logged onto my social media, checked the blog and replied to some of my messages before being interrupted with a notification to let me know that there was a new update, iOS 9.3.3 was available. I started the update, and then… nothing. My phone completely died – even the usual reset attempts didn’t have any impact, teasing me with the occasional Apple symbol, quickly followed by another blank screen.

I immediately rang The Bloke – I’ve no idea what he could have done about it at the time as he was at work, but I was starting to get a bit anxious. He sent me a web link to issues with the latest update, which then led to me discovering different ways to restart the phone by using iTunes. I logged onto the home computer, waiting for the necessary things to download. An hour later, the computer monitor went black, but the computer sounded like it was still running, so I left it and went to check on my friend’s bunny, who I am looking after for the week. Two hours later, I got home only to discover that it was still the same. The computer had crashed.

Three hours later, I was almost in tears. I hate the feeling of helplessness that accompanies something that is out of my control. I attempted to use The Bloke’s laptop to do the update (his suggestion as he already has iTunes installed), only to discover he didn’t have enough space, so I then had to download iTunes onto my own laptop and do the update from there.

Six hours and three computers after the initial breakdown, it was still downloading, so I dealt with things the only way I could – I started angry cleaning. Now, cleaning is not my favourite thing to do, but I find it immensely therapeutic when I’m angry, and I tend to work at a much faster rate as a result. The vacuum came out (much to the cats dismay), the clean laundry was put away, the kitchen was mopped…

As I was stomping around and huffing to myself, I felt a little bit silly. It’s only a phone, I kept saying to myself. And yet, I almost felt like a part of me was missing – this one little device contains so much of my administrative life, and I particularly need it for this weekend (more on that in a later post).

Eventually, the download worked (yay!) and I instantly lost the motivation to stop cleaning, but I’d managed to get a decent amount accomplished by that point, so didn’t feel too guilty. My reunion with my homescreen was like the opening scene from The Lion King, with me holding up the phone in the air while the cats looked on from the comfort of the sofa. It was a beautiful moment, and a better end to an almost wasted day.

Thanks Apple… or not.

What about you guys? What makes you irrationally frustrated?

RENT at The Old Rep

imageI’ve been a huge fan of the music from RENT since my teens, yet have never seen the musical live, so I was ecstatic to receive an invitation for the opening night of RENT at The Old Rep Theatre in Birmingham.

Directed and choreographed by Michael Neri, with a stellar cast of up-and-coming local talented performers, RENT tells the story of a group of young adults who are struggling to survive in New York’s East Village, dealing with issues of AIDS, drug addiction, homosexuality and homophobia.

The set is cleverly simple, with effective ideas used for projections and lighting to suit the small stage in the theatre, and we were given a lovely welcome by the staff when we arrived.

The cast were incredible, with each giving wonderful individual performances in their own right. In particular, Jessica Singer (Mimi) and Joe Ashman (Mark) commanded the stage throughout and Rhys Owen’s performance of I’ll Cover You (Reprise) in the second half was so inspiring that the audience were compelled to give a standing ovation before the song had even finished. Seasons of Love, the opening of Act 2 (and the song I’d been most looking forward to) also didn’t disappoint, with the harmonies on point and a brilliant top note from Alys Wood.

Unfortunately, there were quite obvious issues with sound, meaning that dialogue was frequently lost throughout most of the first half, and there was an imbalance at times between the band and vocalists, resulting in some of the songs almost being drowned out. I particularly felt for Sophie Poulton (Joanne), whose mic was consistently temperamental, which was a shame because when we did get to hear her voice it was stunning! There were also several prop and costume malfunctions (opening night inevitability), but the professionalism (and improvisational skills) of the cast meant that this did not detract from their passion and performances.

RENT is currently at The Old Rep Theatre in Birmingham until 30th July, with tickets priced at £24.00 plus booking fee.

Worth every penny…

Meet ‘The Bloke’ – Instagram Meet and Greet!

imageThose of you who follow the blog regularly will know about The Bloke – my partner-in-crime of the last 6 1/2 years. What you probably don’t know is that The Bloke, as well as being my best friend (and now my fiance after he proposed outside a 13th Century Scottish castle earlier in the year – the boy done good!), he is also a fantastic landscape, nature and urban photographer.

Meet Duncan – The Bloke. Duncan has been passionate about photography as long as I’ve known him, and I’m truly gobsmacked at the stunning pictures that he takes. He seems to have an eye for things that I can’t see, and can easily lose himself for hours with his camera whenever we visit somewhere… Continue reading

50 Easy Steps to Make Life Better

Easy steps and life hacks

This was a list of physical, psychological, financial and emotional things that I created a couple of months ago to make life that little bit easier… and it really works. Of course, it’s impossible to do all of these in a day, but I have broken it down into smaller chunks – I’ve found that incorporating things into a daily routine, while occasionally adding in a few extra tasks makes day-to-day life easier and good for the soul.

1. Find a mantra. I have one that I refer to regularly during difficult times: Create a life that you don’t need to take a vacation from. This is what drives me in almost everything that I do.

2. Learn the power of no, and recognise what you do and don’t owe others.

3. Declutter. Be ruthless. Anything that you haven’t read, worn or listened to in a year serves no purpose and is simply taking up space. Sell, give away and/or upcycle. For that extra feel-good factor, take your unwanted items to a clothing bank or charity shop.

4. Create a meal plan and, where possible, prepare food in advance. To make it more exciting, research cheap and easy recipes that you have never tried before. Pinterest is a brilliant place to find these.

5. Exercise. Go for a walk. Swim. Cycle. Run. Anything to get those endorphins going. Continue reading

Guest Post: Ben’s Bitter Blog

toucan punI never had a sense of humor growing up. Well, I did, but it was never really realized until college. As fun as high school was, college is where I met my real friends. My real friends taught me how to meet, talk to, ask out and kiss girls. They taught me how to study, how to party, and how to laugh.  But most of all, they taught me that I had a sense of humor. I was educated in razor sharp wit. I was taught how to tell a funny story, how to make a good comeback and how to be witty. I got so good at having a witty comeback for everything, that when I went home for Christmas, my parents said, “Wow, college has taught you to be so mean!” Continue reading

How to Build Your Tribe: The Power of a Blogging Community

imageI’ve made no secret of the fact that blogging has changed my life beyond all recognition – my initial post was published without any expectation and my journey over the last three years has been so amazing that I have to stop and pinch myself every so often to check that it actually happened.

I’ve documented my blogging process on many occasions, creating a number of advice posts based upon what has or hasn’t worked for me. It’s hard-work and can be a time-consuming and often lonely business, with countless hours easily being spent just on the writing, publishing and promoting of a single post, and I’m beyond proud of everything that this little space of the internet has achieved. However, none of this would have been possible without the support from the community, and, above all, my tribe.

Actually, if I’m being honest, I’m not a fan of the word ‘tribe.’ It sounds cliquey, which is one of the things that I dislike most within the blogging world, but it is inevitable that you will naturally gravitate towards certain individuals online in the same way that friendships are formed in real life. So, for the sake of this post, I’ll stick to using the terminology, just for now… Continue reading

Old Meets New (With Bonus Orb)

Helen has a lovely new theme, and I loved her post on her recent visit to London… Please don’t like or comment on my reblog – hop on over to Helen’s blog and say hi!

Journey To Ambeth

IMG_2551 The infamous ‘walkie-talkie’ building

I was in London this past Saturday, catching up with one of my oldest friends. She’s lived in London for many years, so whenever we get together we like to explore places she’s never been to before. This trip was especially poignant, as she is moving back to her native Canada shortly, so will likely be our last adventure for a little while.

IMG_2553 A glimpse of The Shard

So where did we go? We ended up taking a detour from our planned route to visit a building that encompasses the history of London almost in its entirety, from the Roman tiles underground to the modern ceiling, put in after an almost direct hit during the Blitz rendered it a shell. So that was kind of cool (and will be the subject of a post later this week). But one thing we both remarked on, as we…

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Affordable Luxury at Farringdon and Forbes

Farringdon and ForbesThose of you who follow the blog regularly will know of my penchant for independent businesses, particularly when the products are of a high quality, ethically sourced and made locally.

Farringdon and Forbes is an independent home fragrance and interior gifting store, situated in the Resorts World leisure complex next to the NEC in Birmingham. Founded by Jules Cardozo-Marsh, the brand seeks to provide affordable luxury for the home, as well as catering for corporate events and weddings across the UK, and only opened it’s doors eight months ago.

There are an enormous range of products available, including scented candles of all sizes, tealights and diffusers. The candles are made from 100% soy, with all of the raw materials sourced from around the UK and handmade in Warwickshire. The company prides itself on supporting UK trade and being environmentally conscious, so they have stripped away the packaging from the products and offer a recycling facility, with a 10% discount offered on a future purchase with the return of empty glass jars once the candles have been used. The materials used in the production of the products means also that they last longer – the tealights burn for approximately seven hours, which is double the length of time for a standard tealight, and the diffusers can last up to six months. Continue reading

It Smells Like Summer

SummerIt smells like summer this morning.

Despite having a bad night’s sleep, I woke up in a disgustingly good mood. The current heatwave we are experiencing means that it’s already beautifully warm, even at 8.00am, and when I stood outside the scent in the air somehow reminded me of foreign holidays I have been on. My Facebook feed is littered with complaints from hot and uncomfortable friends, and The Bloke, who can’t handle any sort of weather except temperate, clear and dry is struggling, but I love it – after what has seemed like an age of living in the cold and dark, it’s nice to feel some real sun on my face.

I did my last bit of freelance work yesterday for the summer, which means I now have two months off. Two months. I can’t believe how quickly this academic year has gone, and the fact that I have remained reasonably financially stable throughout. There were so many worries and anxieties that accompanied last summer, but I’ve been able to prepare for this one over the last year, and I know that as long as I don’t go out and blow all my money on cocktails (which is always a temptation), I should be fine until Christmas at least. I’ve been enjoying the last few weeks and for the first time ever I haven’t felt like I have counted down the days or desperately wished my life away just to have a break. How lucky I am. Continue reading