Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Getting Sh*t Done! It's My New Talent!

So I read a post the other day that has challenged me.

Simply entitled 'The One Skill That Beats Talent Every Time' it was shared by someone at my work. In summary, the post talks about 'getting sh*t done'. That's the talent.
"The best part about this skill is that it’s easy. Anyone can obtain it. You don’t need to have any particular natural talent. You don’t need any resources or teachers to master it. Once you have it and it becomes a part of your every operation you will begin to achieve at an accelerating rate. Your success will compound and your reputation will bring you more opportunities."
The thing that struck me is that this is so true. 

When I think about my life, our life and the lives of those who I admire - including both sets of our parents - we are all people who get shi*t done.

It used to wind me up no end at school when my group of eight girls would spend lunch times talking about grand plans (or even small plans) but when I would ask 'so when are we doing it?' it was like a stink bomb would go off and everyone would make their excuses and leave. We rarely did anything that we spent time talking about. It took us weeks to agree a weekend plan and six months to agree on a holiday destination!!!

I get it. Some people like to day dream, they like to 'talk' about the what if's, the possibilities and the if only's. I get bored of those people. No offense meant! I have and always will be someone who follows through, does what they say they will and finds a way. When I met Laura we had trips booked within days of talking about them. We had plans and we completed them. We booked to move to Australia for a year within a week of the initial discussion (over a Nandos, of course!) We are still like that. Like I said in our wedding video - 'I can't believe we are finally here after a year of planning'. We plan it and we get it done.

Growing up my parents were the same. While school friends spent holidays at home, we drove the length of the country or went on countless day trips. If we saw something that looked interesting we did it. We never sat back and wished. And it wasn't because we had cash to spare, it was because my parents wanted to make sure we experienced things - even if it was on a budget. They got sh*t done.

Laura grew up with parents who had the very same mentality. They did lots of traveling, moved three times, and put Laura and her brother into afternoon activities, taking them to different cities and states to compete, etc. I think our upbringings are what makes my wife and I so alike in our approach to life. 

The reason that the post challenged me was because of late we have drifted from 'getting sh*t done' to procrastinating....we get there, just later than we should. We book things....after a few weeks. We agree plans.....eventually. We get on with our exercise and diet plan.....occasionally. And it's frustrating. I think part of it is because we were knocked for six with the news of Laura's Mum and so our focus was on making sure we (and especially Laura) were there and okay (both in person and on the phone). Part of it is because we owe money from our wedding/house purchase so our spending has been curbed. And I think being busy at work has given us less time still. They are all valid excuses. But in part there is no denying it, it has also just been laziness. 

However, we are slowly getting back to our former glory. This weekend we managed to arrange a road trip for the up and coming bank holiday - Scotland here we come - and we finalised our route for our American road trip in October! More on that at a later date, I'm sure. 

The thing is, the more sh*t we get done the better we feel. It's like a vicious cycle - only opposite - the more we do the more we get done, the more we get done the more we do. And so from here on in we are getting sh*t done. We will see this year out on a high and it will be awesome. We will show up, be on time, be motivated and most importantly we will get back to being those people.

Well that's the plan :)

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

The 2015 Cockapoo Games

Anyone following us on Instagram may well have seen what we spent our last Saturday afternoon doing- we spent it surrounded by 'poos' of all shapes and sizes.

It's not what you're thinking - cockapoos, you weirdo! They were competing in all sorts of events from the ultra-competitive relay assault course to the ‘just for fun’ waggiest tail.

The event was held at Newark Race Course, an hour from Sheffield, where we spent the weekend with friends. There were stands selling all kinds of dog accessories but the main part of this event was definitely watching the dogs.

With Sara, Sam and Otis!
It was a dream come true for me – if you hadn’t picked up already I LOVE dogs. I especially love our dog, but in general I am happiest surrounded by dogs and anything to do with dogs. This event allowed me to awwwww over so many dogs and Bisbee had a great time too.

Unfortunately we missed the annual photo that was taken just before we arrived but we entered Bisbee into a few competitions to see how she did.

She was robbed of a top 3 waggiest tail place– we agree the winner was justified but how they missed our girls’ wonderful performance is a mystery! Maybe her awesome outfit distracted the judges.

We also had a go at musical mats - the concept was simple, your dog has to be sitting on a mat when the music stops and at the end of each round, one mat is taken away until it is down to one. We made it through five rounds – Bisbee was very quick on her sits as the music stopped. We even got through a controversial round where both Bisbee and another dog went for the same mat but we won out as Bisbee was sitting while the other dog was wandering around.

One of the highlights of the day was seeing her and her pal Otis (our friends Sam & Sara’s cavapoo) racing over hurdles. As neither of them had done it before, seeing them figure it out and get excellent times was so impressive. The poodle gene really does lead to clever puppies.

Also he was dressed as a superhero too, watch out for Bat-Otis!!

The other highlight was Bisbee playing in the bubble and ball play pen - our girl LOVES bubbles. It is quite often the way we wear her out when we don’t have time to take her on a walk. However, with this amount of bubbles she was SO excited and running around in her element. She even figured out that if she stood by the bubble maker she got more bubbles for less work. Otis however was more interested in escaping from the play pen – it turns out enforced fun is not for every puppy!

Lol at Bis's face - action shot!
The lack of signage around the event meant we lost valuable time figuring out how to get to events and how to find information and we very nearly missed the agility for beginners session. Although that may not have been a bad thing in hindsight as the tutor we had insisted on Bisbee walking the course when all she wanted to do was run through it like we do in the park. Next time I think we’ll skip it and continue doing her agility in the park!

The event was definitely worth checking out though. In addition to all the cockapoos there were plenty of other poodle mixes, and all the dogs got on so well. It was so much fun and we will be there again next year!

It's crazy to see how much she has grown up in the 8 months we have had her,,,,check out us bringing her home here:

Friday, 21 August 2015

Life of a Travelling Unicorn!

Certainly in our life a quiet week is a myth, a fairy tale, something to dream of and occasionally it happens and we treasure it but in the main we get to Friday wondering how we got to the weekend again.

This week more than most I am SO ready to shut the front door and not leave Laura's side. There is nothing like time away to make you feel like you never ever want to leave again. I think this week was worse than most to leave as L is ill and I left straight from a weekend away at friends so we hadn't had time to snuggle and recoup before I left.

I had work in Glasgow on Monday and Tuesday and then London on Wednesday so spent Sunday and Monday nights in a hotel and Tuesday night on a friends couch - the glamorous life of a Unicorn! (If I was actually a Unicorn and it wasn't just a job title I think I may have found someway to come come every night!)

This is what my week looks like in terms of travel:

Google figures I've done over 1000 miles and it feels like that's about right! The only good thing was that all of the travel was done on a train or a tube so i could still catch up on the world. Oh except the weekend trip to Sheffield we drove for that one!

My Virgin Train ride up from Birmingham to Glasgow was hellish - they has reduced the number of carriages making the journey so there were more people than seats and after giving mine up for an old lady I spent 90 mins sat on the floors - not good value for my £111 train ticket! Thankfully the journey from Glasgow to London was the opposite a table seat the whole way and only occasionally did I have to share the space.

I have seen the countryside, the cities and A lot of train carriages. I have eaten terribly and drunk an excessive amount of diet coke but now I am home it is fading into a distant memory and I can focus on getting L well again.

As always I caught a few snaps from the trip so here is the UK from my journey:
Glasgow was where I saw most of when I wasn't in an office:

I love the UK:
From Top: Hanging out in the City of Sheffield, Whizzing past Manchester at 125mph and grazing Oxford on a local train.

There is no place like home though

I look forward to a weekend of this

Hope you enjoy yours!!!

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Our First Year Wedding Anniversary Weekend Part 1 - The Book of Mormon

A few months ago, in looking for a 'paper' gift idea for our first year anniversary, I found some tickets to the very popular and often sold-out show in London, The Book of Mormon. I knew Sarah had really wanted to see the show for ages, but it was not cheap nor easy to get tickets, so we hadn't gotten around to it. I quickly text Sarah about the budget, with the site on countdown.
              'Can I spend £££' on your anniversary present?' (I have to check these things, as I have a tendency to overspend for occasions - but what can I say, I love to treat my lady!)

I waited for the five minutes I had before I lost the tickets online, with no reply, so I purchased them, and felt very smug about my awesome anniversary present. About another ten minutes later, a text came in. 'WAIT NO THATS WAY TOO MUCH!! CAN YOU RETURN IT???' But they had been purchased. I was in trouble a bit more 'You spent HOW MUCH on a piece of paper??' but managed to come to a compromise when I said the present would be the full budget, so the gift would be for the both of us.

Then a few weeks later, I got a text when Sarah was on her train home from London.
              'I found some tickets, should we go see The Book of Mormon for our anniversary? Need to know quickly!!' Immediately I felt many emotions - joy that we are so meant to be, picking the same show for the same night for the same occasion!! - thankful that she had thought to ask my opinion instead of booking them as a surprise, and panic that she might go ahead with it!!

I quickly put her off with one of her lines 'Are you sure we can afford this right now, especially with my gift already costing £££?' Of course the answer was no, and she seemed a little disappointed. I decided I couldn't wait any more, and gave her the tickets when she got home that evening. Great minds!! And we were officially off to see The Book of Mormon!!

So on Friday, I headed into London on the train, and met Sarah in Soho. We were running a little late so stopped off for a quick dinner at Herman Ze German. We shared a currywurst and fries, it was delicious, and really hit the spot.

The show was fantastic from start to finish. The jokes, jokes within jokes, and within songs, it captured us from the introduction until the final curtain and became my favourite musical (surpassing Pricilla, Queen of the Desert, which I saw 5 times in London!). It was witty (and a bit crude) and poked fun at the LDS church without pulling at the religion too hard. The characters were well formed, multi-layered, and you could tell it was by South Park creators (the devil looked exactly like the one in the TV show!) but it was still genius for non-SP fans.

At intermission, we got the surprise of our lives, and were gifted a strawberry ice cream from the woman below us who got too many. Score!! We also ate the Hummingbird Bakery Red Velvet cupcakes we'd brought in, so we had a thoroughly delicious intermission. Then it was back to the laughs!!

Everyone else we know who has been to see it loved it as much as we did, so if you have the chance, DEFINITELY GO!! It is almost sold out months in advance, but it is worth it!

If we ever get missionaries at our house, we will invite them in for tea (though more to talk about their journeys and to find out if they are from my hometown than to speak about the word of Jesus!)

Friday, 7 August 2015

Brighton Pride 2015!

We love Brighton Pride.
We love Brighton.
But we especially love Brighton Pride!

The reasons are simple:

  • Brighton is an awesome city
  • Pride brings the city alive
  • The parade is always fun
  • The crowd are diverse, brightly coloured and a wonderful mix of LGBT and allies - in fact the whole city is so friendly
  • Pride is always early August - perfect summer weather and allows a post parade chill out on the beach, what more could you want?
  • Oh yeah the chance to enjoy fresh Fish & Chips - check!
  • You can stroll through the Lanes to check out all the unique shops 

In addition I have family down in the East Sussex area so can make a family tour post or pre-Pride.
And Brighton is dog friendly (everywhere except the beach) so there were plenty of places to take Bisbee if she needed to get away from the crowd - although she is amazingly happy to be surrounded by noise and chaos as long as people are willing to give her attention.

In fact Bisbee had to watch the parade from the front so I was standing slightly back holding her against the rail, as I wasn't enough support she lent on a lady also standing on the rail. Thankfully the lady was accepting of the unexpected attention and I was somewhat dumped. They even had a selfie together!

The only downside to Brighton is the hills! Seriously if you live in Brighton you must have great lung capacity and strong legs. All I know is every time we have gone we have struggled to drag our sunburned bodies up to the car!

This time we were met by a flat tyre, not at all the end we wanted. But filled with Pride buzz it's amazing how even that can't put a negative on the day.

So here are a few of our highlights:
The Parade:



And of course a trip a pit stop in Nutley needed a photo - it is after all where my family originates or so rumour has it :)

Well I was a Nutley for 30 years :)