Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Nanowrimo Begins

As you will have seen from my blog post yesterday, I have signed up to undertake the Nanowrimo writing challenge this November.  So it is day 1 and my procrastination techniques are out in full force.  Thus far today, I have been out for a run - which let me tell you never happens, pottered around tidying the house - something else which is quite rare for me, dropped my car to have a puncture repaired, dropped my tax papers with my accountant and now I'm writing this blog.  What does this all mean?  It means that as yet, I've not written one word as part of this challenge. On the upside though, it could mean that all the other jobs that I usually procrastinate about could get done during November as a means of avoiding writing.

Actually I shall be making my way into Chester shortly to meet up with some other people from the region to begin writing.  And so it starts.

Are you putting something off today?  Why not just make a start and see how good it feels and remember if you can't face it alone, why not see if you can find someone to help and support you.  We all need a helping hand from time to time.

Monday, 31 October 2011

Facing your Fears

Halloween is here once again and we are reminded of witches, vampires, werewolves and all things that go bump in the night.  It seems that despite ourselves we still like a bit of a scare - whether that be watching a scary film, riding on a funfair ride that takes our breath away or by doing things that create fear for us.  And so it is with this sense of fear, that I announce to you - drum roll please - that I have signed up for nanowrimo which is a 30 day writing challenge.  Check it out at www.nanowrimo.org The basic principle is that during November each participant will write 50,000 words and effectively write their novel.  There are regional events called write-ins at which writers gather collectively and write together as a means of keeping up your word count or at least the opportunity to talk to others about your various methods of procrastination or plot failings.  It all begins tomorrow when I know that I have a commitment to write 1,667 words and if I don't that on Tuesday that total doubles.

I have to admit that I am slightly anxious about what will happen during the next 30 days and whether I'll be able to keep up but I am also excited about the prospect of reaching the end of November and being able to tell you that 50,000 were written by me.  Isn't that what this type of fear is about - it's the excitement and anticipation of doing something that scares you a bit, but which you know if you finish will lead to a wonderful sense of achievement.

So I shall be updating you on my progress on my blog site here.  You can probably expect some exhilarating posts, some oh crikey posts, some we're almost there posts and some posts telling you about the things I have done to distract me from actually getting down to writing.  If you have any great ideas to help me on my way, I'd be happy to hear from you as always.

Is there something that you're a bit scared of doing but know that if you did it, you'd feel just fantastic?  If so, why not join me by making a start on doing something about it.  Good luck!

Friday, 5 August 2011

What we can learn from the humble broad bean?

I have in the past been suspicious of the broad bean. How can that be, I hear you ask. Well I had an inkling that even when you cooked them, you then really had to do something else with them, but I've never bothered to find out what that was. So in green grocers and supermarkets, I eyed them up, but they never made it into my basket and they never featured in childhood menus so I really had no idea what I was missing.

Being a regular Riverford vegetable box customer though, broad beans suddenly started to appear. What was I to do? I could hardly just ignore them and I hate wasting food, so as with all questions that I don't know the answer to I consulted the Internet to find out more. And of course, it was quite simple - it was all about blanching them. But was this going to make them more interesting? What benefits would I get from going through this process?

So I gave it a try. I took the beans from their lovely furry pods (how soft and comforting do those pods look?) and thrust them into some boiling water for a minute. I then drained them and let them cool and then removed their outer skin. I decided that I needed to know what the difference was, so tasted a couple of beans with the skin on - they were ok, but nothing in comparison to the lovely sweetness that erupted once the skins were removed. They even look lovelier - all green and smooth and bursting with flavour. And how versatile they are - they can be eaten as an accompaniment to other dishes, added to a salad, blended into a pate. Is there no end to their versatility?

But those beans also got me thinking. It made me think about what things we keep deep inside us and don't always expose to others. Do we too have hidden treasures and depth of flavour that we keep inside? Perhaps we are fearful of what others might think, or we have let that flavour lay dormant for so long that it has become forgotten about. Perhaps we have a public persona that we like to display to others and this has taken over. 

Is it time to peel away your layers and let others see the depth of your flavour? Is it time to take the trouble to look out for what's good in others and look beyond their outer shell? Perhaps the humble broad bean has something to teach us afterall!

Monday, 1 August 2011

Focus of Attention

In my last post I talked about the fact that my attention had been focussed on other things, meaning that I had not had the opportunity to write for the Coaching and Cakes blog. However, isn't it easy to blame the situation, blame our circumstances or blame someone else and turn the emphasis away from ourselves when we don't get to do the things we love and the things we really want to do in life.

In fact, there are always choices in relation to every situation. I was choosing to put my attention elsewhere rather than choosing to put it into writing for this blog. There has of course been ample opportunity to sit down in an evening or first thing in the morning and pen my thoughts, but instead I have chosen to watch TV, catch up on Twitter or purely lay in bed for an extra hour. These were all choices made by me and so when I reflect I can see that there was time available, I just chose to do something else with that time.

I therefore throw down the guantlet to you and ask you what are you choosing to do with your time? Where are you focussing your attention? Is it on the things that bring joy and happiness into your life? Are you choosing to spend it with people that make you happy, that lift your spirits and who are good for you to be around?

Is this a good time to review your choices and where you choose to focus your attention?

It's been a while but.....

It's been a while since I have written any posts for this site as there has been much happening and as I am sure you all know it can be difficult to know what to do first and where to focus your attention. 

However, I have missed writing for the Coaching and Cakes site and am happy to be back. I hope that you will join me again dropping in for a cup of tea, a spot of cake and to share my life and views on all manner of things.

Come back soon, the kettle is on.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Happy New Year

So it's that time again.  Time to think about the year ahead, what you would like to achieve this year, what changes you would like to make in your life, what experiences you wish to have and what places you would love to visit.  From one perspective, it's a time for thinking about change and from another, what things do you definitely not wish to change in your life?  I can certainly name some great things in my life that I'd like to continue - whether that be relationships and friendships or personal traits or things that I just wouldn't want to lose from my life.  Yes, have a think about those things too - the things that you are really grateful for and that you don't wish to change.  They are important too.

I had been thinking about my New Year goals over the last couple of days and wondering where to put my focus.  Yes I have a new business venture I am involved with and there are plenty of goals to work towards in relation to that opportunity (that's why you've seen me less on www.coachingandcakes.co.uk) and on my list every year is the goal to eat healthily and maintain a healthy weight which I have been more or less able to do in the last two years although it needs a good kick start again after the festivities.  However, I had an experience on the 2nd January which altered my perspective on the goal setting process. 

We decided to take a drive to Abersoch and to have a walk on the beach on Sunday and the weather was supposed to be dry and a bit brighter.  After a lovely drive through the countryside, we arrived at our destination and headed to the beach for a stomp.  There were a few people on the beach included a couple walking hand in hand.  We passed this couple as we headed closer to the sea and something made us turn round and look at them again.  In that moment, the man was down on one knee and was proposing to his girlfriend.  It was a a beautiful scene and from the kiss that took place once he stood up again, I presume that she said yes.  Call me a romantic, but that moment has stayed with me for a few days and made me go a bit gooey.  It was a scene that gladdened my heart and filled me with joy.  I don't know the couple and the likelihood of them ever finding this blog are remote, but I certainly wish them a lifetime of happiness together.

So what's that got to do with settings 2011 goals?  Well it made me think about setting goals that gladden the heart.  Think about things that fill you with joy and that when you make them happen will give you that warm glow of happiness deep inside you.  Is there somewhere that you really want to visit and you haven't got there yet? Perhpas this is the year to have that experience or do you really want to invest some time in helping a charity, but you've not quite got around to investigating what possibilities are open to you, or would you like to revisit an old friend that you haven't seen for an age. 

Go on, give it a try this year.  Find some things to add to your list of goals that will lift you.  Make sure that you find the time to do some things that you really want to do, rather than what you feel you should do.

Happy New Year everyone.