Live A Better Life

This is an excellent talk on not only how to increase your longevity, but also how to enjoy the years you do have so much more!
 


 
It’s by Jane McGonigal, creator of SUPERBETTER.

She starts off talking about games, but quickly goes into tips for better living. All the ideas she offers are real and familiar, and are backed up by real world science. But the absolute bonus are the practical tips and exercises she gives you at the end to help you improve the quality of your life.

It’s very fun and life affirming, and I’m glad I watched it (which is why I’m sharing it here!). 🙂

And because I don’t say it enough, thank you all my friends and followers for checking out my blog, leaving comments, and taking an interest in what I do and what I’m doing to improve my life. It really means a lot to me.

Be happy everyone, and remember to follow your dreams! It’s the only thing that makes any sense in the long run. 😉

Something Old, Something New

Now before those who know me start getting all excited by the title of this post, calm yourselves! I’m not getting married all of a sudden or anything like that. It just accurately reflects how things are for me right now.

I was going to call it “Same Old Same Old” but that would have been misleading. Much more accurate to point out that, as some things change, so others stay the same. There’s quite a bit of upheaval in process at the moment, what with me quitting my job and going to move out of the flat at the end of August, so it’s nice to do something familiar every now and then to keep things on an even keel.

So I’ve been working on my swiss roll recipe. Here’s how it looks so far.

chocolate swiss roll no.5

What do you think? It’s really starting to get there. I just need to get the amounts right, and maybe try and take out the egg replacer in lieu of something more natural, but apart from that it’s pretty much good to go.

And I’ve been to do Go Ape again, which would be my fourth time. Guess you could say I’m a bit of a fan. 🙂

aping about

It was a great day out, with some very, very lovely company. 😉 And even though the drizzle afterwards meant we couldn’t do the barbecue I still had the best time, and can’t wait to hang out again as soon as possible (in the trees, and on terra firma).

And so what if the best pic of me also has my belly sticking out, lol. That’s just God’s way of telling me, “You need to cut down on the pies mate!” ..hehehe..

golden brown, texture like sun

But seriously, I do need to do something about the ol’ muffin top though. It’s starting to get in the way of my forward bends. So I’ve taken advice from my friend in Oz who’s a personal trainer, and I’m going to alter my diet to see if that helps.

So from now on it’s no bread, no crisps, no sugar, no pre-made foods. Just lots of veggies and fruit, soups in the evening, and all home made, organic and lovely. Hopefully that, smaller portion sizes, and a bit more exercise, and I’ll be fit and flexible in no time.

Let’s see how I get on eh? 🙂

Where To’s That Then?

(brace yourselves, this is a long ‘un – oo-err missus! :P)

Oh Spring, where have you been? Away for so long, I thought you’d never get here!

tree flower

But now finally the equinox has come and gone, the days are longer, the nights shorter, the sun is out, and we’re about to go into summer time for 2012. Oh yes, things are looking up! That’s up as far as the weather is concerned anyway. Elsewhere the forecast is not so bright.

Work are humming and harring a little about giving me a sabbatical. They’ve sent me a list of questions, the general gist of which is “How will this effect the company?” and “What’s in it for us?” Now of course I’ll answer their questions in detail, but I just get the feeling they’re gearing themselves up to say no.

If they do though I’m pretty sure I’m going to take some time off work anyway (ie: hand in my notice). I mean if it’s a choice between that and my gravestone reading:

Here’s Lies Keith Dickinson
He Kept His Job

I know which one I’d prefer!
 
it's boring waiting for the sun to come out
 
Ok, so never mind spring, where the hell have I been? 2 weeks it’s been since my last post. I feel bad for neglecting my blog like that (don’t take it personally, it’s taking me a week just to respond to personal e-mails at the moment). I’ve just been working constantly, trying to make a bit of money to help pay for future shenanigans.

I have been doing other stuff too though, things more in line with My Brand New Life!

For one thing I met up with a friend of many years, Rakka, who I’ve actually never met before in real life. She’s a Flickr Friend, someone I’ve followed for 44 months (literally the third person I started following on there), and a very creative artist and photographer. It was her ‘My Name Is…’ Diego Montoya that caught my attention, and I’ve been an avid fan ever since.

She comes over to the UK once a year or so to get her fix of Britishness (a wee bit of an anglophile she is) and so we reckoned it was high time we met up. Actually we tried to meet last year but she was so ill we had to call it off.

Anyway, we met up in Islington where she and the guy she came over with, Leff, were going to be meeting a famous cat (?). Hey, who am I to judge, lol.

I took my friend Amanda along coz she works in the area and she was highly amused by the idea of meeting up with someone you only know through the online world. Rakka also invited along another online friend of hers, Nathalie, to meet for the first time, as well as another guy they know from the States, Chris, who just happened to be over here, so all told it was a pretty mixed bunch!

I have to say I wasn’t sure how it was going to go. Who knows how you’ll get along when you know someone one way and then meet them in an entirely different context. But I needn’t have been worried. She’s lovely, her friends were lovely, my friend got on with her and her friends, and all in all we managed to prove that the world is indeed just a great big onion, lol.

We had a right laugh once we were comfortably ensconced in the pub (alcohol helps in these kinds of situations, though I’m glad to say the fact that I don’t drink anymore didn’t prove to be a hindrance). Topics of conversation included (but weren’t limited to):

* Which parts of the UK are like which parts of America? – The North of England is like the Deep South (apparently, though I contest this a little), London and Edinburgh are like New York and L.A., and Leicestershire is like Ohio (ie: boring, hehehe ;))

* Icelandic Emo Ponies (or Ice Po’s, as we called them) – check out this link if you don’t know what I’m talking about.

* Portlandia – “It’s true. It’s all true!! They think they’re making a joke but they’re not, that’s what it’s like!!!

And…

* Sexy Neaderthals – Which is just so (unintentionally) hilarious! You’ve got to check it out. Just be sure to stick with it to the end.


 
As you can tell, we had fun. It was so great meeting up with everyone, I’m so glad we did it, and it just goes to prove the old adage –

‘There’s no such thing as strangers, just friends you’ve not yet met.’

 
So, apart from that, what else is going on? I’ve been writing a bit, which is nice. Actually coming up with some good stuff at the moment. The hard part is finding the time to write. For example I haven’t had time to do anything yet today, it’s nearly midnight, and I’ve got work tomorrow. Not conducive to good output. But that’s just an excuse. I need to make the time, and come Monday I will! It’s all good. 🙂

I’ve got a 10 day residential meditation course coming up which I’m really looking forward to. It should be amazing. Very intensive, quite hardcore (up at 4:30am!), but definitely worth it. Can’t wait to see what I learn from it.

Between now and then it’s just work work work. Might get some cooking done, in fact I better! I’ve bought the domain name http://www.myveganlife.co.uk (which you can type into your browser but it just leads you back here at the moment, lol) and I’m going to start an all vegan blog which I’ll be launching in a month or two (haven’t even started building it yet!). It’ll be the public face for all my cooking shenanigans.

Don’t worry, I’ll keep this little baby going. This is where I come to share silly things, make dick jokes, and talk about all the weird stuff I got going on. I just need somewhere I can build into a ‘proper’ foody site that people can really enjoy (and that might lead somewhere in the future). Coz that’s the one thing all this faffing about with work has taught me, that not only does no one get rich working for other people, and if you always do what you’ve always done then you’ll always get what you’ve already got, but if you don’t do it now, then when?

So it’s time to crack on! Who’s with me??? 🙂

Reasons To Be Cheerful… 1, 2, 6!

Recently I’ve been concentrating on the negative side of things, and whilst this has been helpful in instigating change, it doesn’t help to wallow. After all, the negative is just one side of the coin. Sometimes you’ve got to accentuate the positive too.

I had a moment today as I strolled through the rain to the shops where I passed under a tree, and the pitter patter of drops on my umbrella ceased briefly.

In an instant I remembered how much I like being outside in the rain (provided I’m under cover that is). I remembered the day when it rained back home, and I took a chair and an umbrella out into the garden and just sat there enjoying the rain and not getting wet.

I was young, it was a simple pleasure, and remembering that made me think of all the other things I enjoy in life. Here, so far, is my list for today.

1. Being outside in the rain

cottage in the woods

I love the atmosphere in the air when there’s a good rain on. If I’m indoors I’ll open a window or a door just to enjoy it. When I build a house I’ll have a massive covered rear doorway so I can open it wide during a rainstorm and enjoy it as much as possible (without getting wet).

2. Cherry flavours

fruit n' cake

Dunno what it is at the moment, but I’m loving all things cherry. Cherry yoghurt, cherry apple juice, no cherries as yet (out of season I think), but it’s just a matter of time.

3. When God wakes me

hyde park at dawn

I hate my alarm. It’s just wrong on so many levels. The best days are when God wakes you. When you rise of your own accord feeling refreshed and alert and ready to enjoy the day.

4. Richard Stark

richard stark

I love his books, not only for what he’s written, but for the inspiration he’s given me to start on a novel of my own for the first time in ages. Seeing that an author can get published for writing such simple, concise, yet gripping stories has been a real eye opener for me, and in many ways has given me permission to value the way in which I write and to do it for the love as much as anything else.

5. Tea

tea at the tate (with soya milk)

There’s nothing like a good cuppa, either with a good book (see above) or, even better, to share with a good friend. Lazy afternoons down the Kitchen Pantry chatting nonsense and dreaming of better things in lovely company; there’s no better way to spend the day.

6. A full English

square meal

If a picture paints a thousand words, then nuff said methinks. 🙂

So what do you enjoy? What makes it worth getting out of bed in the morning?

Money money money…

In trying to decide what to do with your life, one thing generally rears it’s ugly head; money.

day 3 - this is your life

“How are you going to live?”, “What will you do for cash?”, “How will you pay for it all?”, these are the types of questions you hear from people whenever you talk about doing something new, about “…making the choice between liberty and security.” And with good reason.

For example, last week I was idly contemplating pay day, making a list of what I was going to buy with this month’s cash (which included a tri-monthly bonus), when suddenly I chipped a tooth, and I discovered my car hadn’t had a proper service in over a year, and there’s a friend’s birthday coming up, and… well, you get the picture. I went from buying a new stereo to dipping into my savings in a matter of days. Such is the way of things.

But should this be a reason not to try? Hell no! You can live in fear or take risks and have fun, and either way there’ll still be unexpected things to deal with along the way. For example, I used to share a house with this lad who never worried about what he spent his money on. If he saw something he liked, he bought it. Every time he came home he had something new and interesting to show us.

I, on the other hand, was eternally frugal. I was digging my way out of debt and so was counting every penny. I bought shop brand goods (ie: non-Heinz baked beans), thought hard about any major purchase, and never did anything on the spur of the moment.

And you know what, at the end of the month we were both skint, but he’d had a lot more fun than I had. It was a revelation the day I figured that one out. That was when I stopped worrying about money, and started using it to my own advantage.

I still budget, and I still save, but once the bills are paid I allow myself free reign to quite simply spank the remainder on whatever the hell I want, and I have a lot more fun doing it than I ever did feeling guilty for enjoying myself now and then.

Don’t ever be too hard on yourself; there’s plenty of people out there who’ll try and do that for you.

Speaking of fun, meet Thumb Face. 🙂

thumb face

I’d explain him, but I think he’s pretty self explanatory. You’ve got amuse yourself somehow, eh? I’ve got a feeling Thumb Face will make a few more appearances in the future. He has a tenacious curiosity.