The Last Car Boot Sale

Car Boot Sales!

I have promised Iron Man that this really is the last one.  It’s going to have to be as no loft means no hoarding.

This one has had to be hardcore though.  Alarm set for 3.45, leave by 4.30.  Never before have we been so committed.  The Kid had a sleepover and the attention seeking rabbit was left with enough supplies to see her through the morning.

There is no room for the 7.00 sellers these days.

You end up in the cow-shed and go home with everything you came with and 25p.

That’s enough to rock any marriage.

So here we are at Dunton in Essex and for the first time in weeks, I’m cold.  So cold that I’m tempted to start dressing myself in the very items I am selling.

This will probably be the closest I will get to a modelling career in brown leather boots and a Pom Pom scarf.

In fact, I’m glad to see it’s not just me that’s cold because there are people here shopping in their fleecy pyjamas.

I often wonder what possesses people to get up at such an ungodly hour to buy other people’s toot but wild horses couldn’t keep them away.  Just as well really.

We are rather departmental this time around and Iron Man could easily be cast as Mr Selfridge as he stands over the merchandise negotiating with purchasers that are interested in the giant inflatable champagne bottles.

Mr Selfridge

As I sit in the car, I feel proud that he has stuck to his guns and held out for 50p per bottle. Especially after the effort of blowing them both up.

This is despite being offered 50p for two.

Sale agreed!  Inflatables Are Us!

Our Christmas section has been unveiled and as I have said before, it would rival Harrods.

The 3 sided tree is out in all its glory.  No shift so far.  People keep wanting to buy all three at a heavily discounted price.

I’ve had to impose a limit of one per customer.

No one needs 3 trees.

I can vouch for that because they have been sat in the loft for years.  I am doing these people a favour in not taking their money.

And as for the three sided tree – well, rooms will always have corners.

There will always be a need.

Trade is picking up slowly, very slowly.  As I sit in the car nursing my chilblains,  I can hear Iron Man engaging with more customers.  I think he may have cracked a joke too.  Time to investigate and the sun is out.


I am seriously wondering to myself though whether the days of the car boot are over.  It’s much quieter than it used to be.  Maybe we have chosen a good time to retire and bail out.

It has been a very long slog.

Lots of bartering and haggling and fun.

And lots of nice people stopping by.

Many satisfied customers.

And some unsatisfied.

I am never going to let you have something for £2 if I’ve asked for £10.  This is not the way to successfully negotiate a deal.

The charity shop will always win this one.

I will also never fail to be amazed at the ability of women with Size 7 feet that try and squeeze them into a size 5 and then want a discount because they are the wrong size.  Such are the antics of these places.   You can never have enough shoes of the wrong size at times like this.

It is these things that make the whole thing worthwhile when you have stood on your feet for 8 hours.

Of course we forgot the chairs.  And of course among the 22,000 stalls, we were unable to find a pair.  This is known as Sod’s Law.

The temperature warmed up nicely over the course of the morning and as we queue to leave at 1245 after 8 hours trading, I am a little charred.

In the boot of the car is more or less what we came with.  Including the trees!!

We have made £130 in sales which is not too be sniffed at but we could probably have both done an 8 hour stint in Poundland for more.

And with the car as full as when we arrived, we go home via St Francis Hospice Charity Shop laden down with goodies for them, so nothing is going to waste.

Best seller of the day goes to Barbie.  Her late entrance proved to be worthwhile.

Her authenticity was questioned and we thought we may have to get Ken involved but she held her ground.

I gave her new owners some wise advice.

It is not OK to bend a dolls legs and arms backwards.  EVER.   It is also not OK to imply that my goods are anything other than legit.  Do we look like we are the type to house fake Barbie’s.  No.  Thought not.

Do not even think about asking me to knock the price down.

People can be cruel sometimes.

I do hope we have done the right thing for her.

And the ex soft furnishings from The Kid’s old bedroom are on their way to Thailand with another satisfied customer.

Everyone is a winner.

I can honestly say that I will never do another Car Boot Sale in this lifetime.

Iron Man and I are at one on this.

We are done with this chapter of our lives.

Promise!

The marriage would not survive.

Nicky

 

 

 

 

So Who Is Inspiring the Tweens to Vlog? 

If you are the parent of a Tween and you have noticed them talking to themselves and making weird facial and hand movements very animatedly into a device, the chances are you have a Vlogger in your midst.

That is, of course, if they are not just taking a selfie!

So for ease, I am going to start with a couple of definitions.

Tween – a girl ages about 9-14…too old for toys, but too young for boys.

Very easy to market to, will usually follow any fashion trend set for them, will most likely go through the phase of ‘finding themselves’ as they ‘grow up’.

Vlogger – Video Blogger – One who records a video blog.

A vlog or video blog is a blog (short for weblog) which uses video as the primary content  A video logger who creates video content about their life and travels!

Source : Urban Dictionary

Vlog It!

Has the world gone mad I hear you cry.  First Blogging and now Vlogging!

I may be preaching to the wise and converted here but for those of you that are wondering what it’s all about, I am about to explain my findings.

I thought this would be useful for parents, who like myself, find themselves and their daughters becoming a part of this ever growing phenomenon.

So, as a Blogger myself who comes into regular contact with Vlogs, Vloggers and Vlogging, I thought I would take a peek into the world of the Vloggers and Bloggers that are capturing the attention and imagination of our Tween’s.

As a parent of a 10 year old daughter, as well as being interested in finding out more about these Vloggers, I also have one eye on my daughter’s safety online and the other on making sure that she is viewing appropriate content.

So first up – the lovely Zoella (Zoe Sugg).

I would be surprised if you haven’t heard of her.  You may not have seen her channel but she is often in the news and is always very prominent in the Tween magazines along with her fellow Vloggers.

Zoella reached the milestone of having 10 million subscribers to her You Tube channel this year.  Starting as an accidental Blogger five years ago at the age of  19, Zoella now has a very successful career as a professional Blogger and Vlogger.

As you may or may not know, one can earn money from V(B)logging through brand sponsorship and endorsement as well as from launching their own product ranges and public appearances to list but a few sources of income.

Zoella has had several books published and as I understand it (!) part of the appeal is that she is part of a group of Vloggers and Bloggers that are friends.

I have read the blog and seen her You Tube channel.  The content is varied and covers everything from days out to hair do’s, make-up & skincare tutorials, recipes, friendships, girly stuff, pets and having fun.

Zoella is very sweet in a girl next door kind of way.  She is also squeaky clean which is a thumbs up for parents and she is also very likeable.  Not a bad role model to have in my opinion. She is also very successful through her own sheer hard work.   Another positive.

Some other facts :

Brighton seems to be the mecca for these Vloggers with some of them being based there.

You will also come across the ‘haul’ trend

Haul  a shopping spree

a vlog titled “Makeup Haul” or “(Store Name) Haul” is a video showing a shopping spree in that given area, showing products or clothing that will usually be featured in future How To, or tutorial videos

Source : Urban Dictionary

Of course any ‘haul’ is mainly going to be brand endorsement or sponsorship and is therefore marketing by definition but we have had no demands for purchases made as a result of this.  Also very important when the pound is in the hand of the parent.

Here are some of the other VFFs (Vlogging Friends Forever) who you may stumble upon.

  • Zoella’s boyfriend, Alfie Deyes (Pointless Blog) is also a Vlogger
  • Her brother, Joe Zugg (Thatcher Joe)
  • Marcus Butler (Alfie Deyes friend)
  • Tanya Burr (Zoella’s friend)
  • Jim Chapman (Tanya Burr’s boyfriend)
  • Louise Pentland (Zoella’s bestie) SprinkleofGlitter
  • Caspar Lee (Friend and former flatmate of Alfie Deyes)

And here is Zoella on her You Tube channel with some of her VFFs in case you have no idea of what I am talking about.

 

So What Is The Appeal?

I took the opportunity of asking my daughter this question and I was really interested in the answer.  Obviously I know why people Blog and Vlog in the adult world and why people follow them but the younger Vloggers have been a bit of a grey area for me up until now.

I wanted to understand

Q    Why the appeal?

A    Zoella is likeable, relatable and homely

Q    Do you feel you have to buy/have the things she talks about?

A     Of course not

What Does Mum Think?

From what I can see with my mummy head on, it’s all harmless fun and entertainment.

There is always lots of laughter when Zoella is on and it’s really no different from watching the TV or reading a book to an extent.

Obviously it can be addictive viewing which we will always monitor.

And then there is the marketing element which is, unfortunately, going to be present wherever the kids are looking and watching and there will naturally be some kind of influence.  Thus far I don’t feel that this has been a problem.  Nor does it mean we have to rise to it. What I have seen my daughter and her friends do in this regard is to create their own haul with their own little products.

Any Vlogging that is done by my Tween is monitored and will only be shareable amongst those that we know.  I am mindful that this point in particular is a bit of a moveable feast but our current parental control settings don’t even allow access to Amazon!  We are all over that one.  For obvious reasons.

All in all, I’m liking what I’m seeing.

And Finally!

I would just like to add that we had the fruit picking idea first (*BAE) but I am happy to concede that any future visit to Brighton will be solely for the purpose of being groupies.  I have no choice but to #hashtag along – really!

I can also testify that Tanya Burr’s Chocolate Cornflake Cookies are divine and if this cooking behaviour continues then I would be a fool to complain.

Tanya Burr's Chocolate Cornflake Cookies

What Are Your Thoughts?

Are you familiar with this crowd and the world of Vlogging?  If not, I hope this post has helped and I would love to hear your thoughts.

And, if you are already converted “we’ll see ya in Brighton with your haul”!

Nicky

 

*Before anyone else!!!!

 

Exercise – Getting My Just Desserts 

I have written in recent blogs about my quest to find clothing to accommodate my new shape and flatter my new curves.

You may have noticed that I have very tactically avoided the very delicate subject of exercise and diet, other than the odd reference to Prosecco and salad.

I have noticed!

For the record, I have been one of those annoying people that has glided through life eating all of the wrong things in excess and never putting on a pound.

I’ve also glided through life as a bit of a fair weather exerciser.

So really you could call say that I am getting my just desserts.

And that is of course where the problem starts.  With the desserts.

But I’ve had my moment and it’s time to give something back.

To shape up or ship out.

The problem I have, quite simply, is that I do not like exercising and I do love eating.  And generally I love eating all of the wrong things.

So in my cosy little corner, I have continued to do all of the naughty things very well.

I’ve always had an interesting relationship with exercise.  Interesting in so far as I’ve never really found an activity that has interested me.  Don’t get me wrong I’ve loved a lot of the classes that I’ve done over the years but probably not enough to continue ad infinitum.

And it’s the keeping going that has been the sticking point.  I am very easily able to find a million things I would rather be doing and a further million as to why I shouldn’t be exercising.

I have never been a person that has enjoyed exercising.  I have waited my whole life to experiencing the ‘high’ that people speak of from running but it seems to have just run straight by me – literally.

I guess I’ve always assumed that everyone else is enjoying their efforts and that is why they do it.  So I suppose I’ve always been a bit embarrassed to admit that I don’t enjoy it.  A bit uncool even.  Because whenever I see people showing up either by running or going to a class, I assume that are enjoying themselves and experiencing the ‘high’ of which people speak.

If I had a flag with me, I’d wave them on.

My current loves are Yoga and Walking.  Exercise of course but not the toning, fat burning, pulse racing kind of thing that perhaps I now need.

It was somewhat timely that I noticed an advert for bloggers to participate in a free private coaching session in return for an honest review with Samantha Hadfield, Fit & Flourish, Body Transformation Expert.

Wonderful, I thought.  This ties in perfectly with my series around body changes for the 40+ woman.

I had no idea what to expect from this Transformation Session but I guess in my little heart, I probably had high hopes that I was going to return home sylph like having dropped two dresses all toned and lovely.  In an hour!

See what I mean about my ideology around exercise.

So off I went to meet the lovely Samantha at her new location in Covent Garden.

Samantha Hadfield

Samantha is a Body Transformation Expert who helps women who are fed up with feeling fed up, tired of feeling tired, have tried everything and nothing has worked and who just want to do something to transform their bodies once and for all.  The key is to provide women with the tools and knowledge to not only reach out to their body, health and fitness goals but to also maintain their new body for life.

We talked about me, my hopes, my pitfalls and we went through the usual tests and checks to establish my body metrics.

I was weighed on proper scales and not the set that I move around the room until I get my desired weight.  How cruel!

We also did a brief fitness assessment to establish where I was at with my fitness levels.

And then the results.

And I needed to hear the results.  Because actually, deep down in my trainers and in my cosy little eating place, I knew that it was time for some action.

And this is where someone like Samantha comes in.  Because it’s all about accountability.  About knowing that someone is going to hold you to your commitment.  Knowing that when you can’t be bothered, there is someone waiting for you to turn up and help you to achieve your goals.

It was also music to my ears to know that actually most people DON’T enjoy exercise.  This was a revelation to me and it made me feel so normal I wanted to hug this wonderful lady.

Samantha went on to talk about the different exercises she introduces to her clients and how they tend to work in groups.  The main focus being on having fun.  Because actually no one wants to be doing exercise but it is necessary and it does take us to the place we want to be.

We also talked about food.  Again, I love it eat but do I spend time considering what I am eating?  No I don’t.  Again, not unusual.

We then went through a mini training session which I have to say I did thoroughly enjoy.  I also found it difficult which is testament to my current level of fitness. And I ached the next day so I really felt that it had done some good.


There was just time left in my session to set some goals which was a great focus for me.  I talked about what I didn’t want to have to do anymore – keep buying larger clothes and what I did want to do – feel comfortable and get back to wearing the things that I wanted to.  To be able to look in the mirror and say ‘yep, I’m happy with that’.

Unfortunately, I am unable to participate in a regular programme with Samantha because the location doesn’t suit my current commitments but if I was working in London I would have been able to accommodate the schedule.

Samantha has recently moved from her premises in South London to Covent Garden so that she can focus her attention on helping people like me.

People that have a goal, that have struggled to commit to a form of exercise and that need to work with someone that can tailor a programme that suits their individual requirements.  Samantha offers a very flexible programme for working women that allows them to exercise at convenient times (ie before and after work and during the lunch period).  Most importantly, she is there to cheer you on and will be depending on you to turn up.

I have seen some of Samantha’s success stories that she has shared on her page and it is heartening to see the people for whom her programme has really made a difference.  Here is a link to Samantha’s page.

I gained a huge amount from the time I spent with Samantha.  She told me what I needed to hear and in turn I heard what I needed to be told.

My action started from the moment I walked out of the studio.  Knowing that I would be unable to get into town regularly, Samantha shared lots of ideas of alternative exercise programmes that may be suitable for me.

I have started to look at what I am eating first of all because I know that I can do this.  I’m a big advocate of making the change you want to see and this is no different.

It’s not going to be easy, nor am I about to embark on a life-changing journey but now I know that I’m not the only one that finds it a drudge, I do feel a bit better.

So please do smile sweetly if I should pass you whilst I’m out for a spot of ‘mum’ running!

Exercise eh!

Do you love it or hate it?

Nicky

I was gifted the Transformation Session for the purpose of providing a review of the service offered by Fit & Flourish.   All thoughts and opinions are my own and in line with my expectations as if I were a paying client.

I only review products and services that are in keeping with the content and ethos of this blog.

 

 

 

Writing Prompts For Your Business Blog

In a recent post, I wrote about the many reasons why a business should blog.  You can read it here if you missed it Why Should a Business Blog?

What I would like to talk about in this post is some suggestions and ideas for the type of blog posts that you may want to consider writing and sharing with your audience.

Perhaps you are ready to blog but are still short on ideas and inspiration.  If that is the case, I have listed some simple writing prompts below to help get you started.

What Have You Worked On In The Last Week?

This is always a great one for getting the creative juices flowing.

Have a think about the things you have been working on in the last week.  Have you worked with a new client?  Perhaps you have been involved in a process that is slightly different to your usual work?  Have you completed a new project? Is there something here that would be of interest to prospective new clients?  Share it, explain the process, tell your readers why it was successful.

Refer to your new client, if it was a business to business transaction, perhaps there is an opportunity for collaboration.  There is a good chance that it may be of mutual benefit to your combined audience.  There are several prompts here that are certainly blog worthy.

Niches That Need To Be Explained

Does your particular business have a niche that needs to be explained to your audience.  Is this something that could be set out over a series of blogs?  If clients understand what you do, it helps them to see why your services may be of benefit to them.  If they aren’t well informed they may not see how you could help them.  Make it easier for people to do business with you.

The Devil Is In The Detail

Don’t fight shy of detail.  You may be the expert at your business but your prospective client isn’t. Sometimes it can be simple blocks and misunderstandings that can prevent us from investing in a service.  Spell it out.

Anticipate Customer Questions

Are you asked the same question regularly about your product or service?  If so, this is certainly blog worthy.  Simple explanations and answers to popular questions make great blog material.  You can refer potential customers to your posts over and over again.

It’s Not Just About The Words

If you have a creative business, let photographs do the work for you.  We are always drawn to an image – look at how popular Instagram and Pinterest are.  Some of your fabulous images followed by a few words about the process or journey can provide a very interesting blog post for your readers.  Perhaps you have a gardening business – let the service work for itself through images.

New Products & Services

Are you about to launch a new product?  How exciting!  Have you told your customers?  If not, why not?  This is fabulous news and you need to be sharing it.  Perhaps you are looking for some feedback before launch?  Again, ask others for their thoughts.  This is also a great way to get a dialogue going through your blog comments section.

Don’t Forget We Want To Get To Know You

We are more likely to place our business with someone that we know, like and trust.  Allow us an insight into the face behind the business.  Perhaps you have a team?  Introduce them if so.  This could be a blog post of its own.  It puts faces to names and provides a personal touch.  Don’t be afraid to intersperse posts with snippets about yourself either.

Be Current

At the time of writing this post, the weather is scorching.  If my business related to fans, coolers, outdoor furniture or such like, I would be missing a trick not to talk about my products on my blog.  Today the hashtag #toohottosleep is trending on Social Media.  Imagine if your product was the solution!

So there we have a few suggestions which will hopefully be sufficient to help you to start popping some ideas down for a blog post.

Still struggling?

In my next post, I plan to share an example of a business blog.

If there are any business owners that are finding blogging difficult to approach or feel that their business doesn’t lend itself to a blog post, feel free to drop me a line via my Contact Page.  I would be happy to include your business as an example.

Good luck and thank you for reading.

Nicky

 

Do Do Dave and Na Na Nicky

So Dave has made the headlines for getting caught humming.

Oh the joy.  The joy of knowing that there is someone out there with my habit.

Music Notes. David Cameron. Humming

Ok – so I don’t have the luxury of a microphone at these times, nor a stage in Downing Street.

But hum I do.

The good news for you Dave is that I can identify with this one.

Bloody hell that must feel good.

I’ve got your back on this one.  I know that there are humming times.

Times that can only be approached with a hum.

And not just any old hum either.

It’s been a rough few weeks and whichever side we are on (and there are quite a lot of them), I’m sure you will agree that you’ve had easier times.

But back to this humming thing though, can you believe that I do it too!!

The annoying thing being that I often don’t realise I am doing it.  I believe this is how you got caught out.  Mine is not a tuneful hum either.  It’s the hum to whatever I may be doing at the time.  A dull, monotonous hum.  A working hum.  A hum that drives anyone around me completely insane.  Particularly Iron Man.

Can you bloody well believe that ye and me have something in common though?!

There will be others too Dave.  People come out of the woodwork at times like this.  A bit like when you buy a new car and suddenly every bugger has got one.  There must be a name for that.

Talking of names, some interesting ones in the new cabinet.  This must be like office gossip at its finest.

Obviously you don’t know me (but I know you) – now that must be kind of weird.  It’s less weird if you are on Facebook and Twitter though because you can be friends with people that you don’t really know. You can follow people too.

That’s known as stalking anywhere else but on Twitter, you can fill your boots.

Also, Facebook suggests people you might like to be friends with and I’m just thinking that would probably have been the case for us.   Certainly several reasons for an association.

Because I just see more and more things we have in common.

You are of course about to move and that’s a big upheaval.

You probably won’t have had a chance to read about my loft conversion (understandable) but we are about to go through a similar upheaval.

Actually if you do get a chance, can you have a look and see what you think of the bathroom idea.

I’m guessing that you also live in an older style house and I just wondered what your views were on the high flush cistern?

Maybe run it by Sam and whilst you are about it, ask her if she’s finding she is starting to get hot flushes too.  We are similar in age.

I could go on, there is a rich vein here.

But what I’d really would love to know though is what you think about the new cabinet appointments.  You’ve obviously not always seen eye to eye with Teresa in the past but I’m guessing that you are able to take an objective view. A bit like we all try to.

I know I wouldn’t have wanted to be in her leopard print kitten heel shoes over the last few days.

I don’t suppose she would have wanted to be in ours either.

Boris was a surprise though.

I’ve never really been a fan.  Of course I’d never be rude or pass up an opportunity for a photo though.  Especially if he’s going to hang out in our area.

And talking of Boris, I hear he is going to have to share a home.

That’s really unfortunate – but do not and I repeat DO NOT let on that we will have a spare room soon.

It won’t work.  Not with the snoring.  I really need to know that I have your trust on this one.

But anyway,  back to the microphone thing.

Most of us you’ll find generally use one for Karaoke rather than for our day to day business.  And oh you should see me at Karaoke.  Forget the humming – I’d see you off the stage before you could say I’ve had the time of my life.

And talking of having the time of your life, I’m guessing your kids are breaking up soon, like mine.

I suppose you will be around a bit more this summer.  I will too. You will be muscling in on the many day trips with Sam and the children to all the local sights and parks.  Your picnic hamper will be so used to going out that your bread rolls will be lining up at the door with their coats on.

Believe me when I tell you that you will not want to see another sandwich until Christmas evening.  Neither will you ever want to eat Pizza & Chips from a polystyrene plate with a plastic spoon in a canteen ever again.

Oh and don’t forget the 2 for 1 offers on the Rice Krispies.  They will certainly save you a few bob.

I’m guessing some of your children are similar in age to my daughter.  Tweenage.  I find I have to work a bit harder on the entertainment front these days.   As in, I’m not very entertaining.  Well I am – but just not to The Kid.

Anyhow don’t get too carried away though because that’s probably where the similarity stops.

I mean it’s not all of us that get our ditty turned into a rendition of Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony on Classic FM is it.

I know this to be true because my sister-in-law told me.  She also knows you.  And she listens to Classic FM.

What luck you have!  Not that I’m jealous or anything.

Duet?

Thought not!

See you at the park then.

I’ll be humming away.

Nicky

 

 

A Woman In A Man’s Loft

We took the ‘Man Loft’ by the horns this weekend.

There was only ever going to be one way to do this.

There is simply no time to be lily-livered.

I have surpassed my own expectations and have gone from a hoarder to a hurler (check out the arms below if you don’t believe me).

And oh how therapeutic this weekend been.

The whole house has been like a building site but my *soul is beautifully cleansed.

*Note to self – too much Shakespeare on a Friday night is not good for a loft review

So here I am on my tea break surveying the efforts of my project management.  If I’m going to do manual labour, tea is an essential.  Well actually, tea is essential full stop.

Notice I’m doing the unthinkable here and instead of showing a picture of my hot steaming Latte, I’m showing a picture of me steaming in the extra hot loft drinking my tea looking – well, Lofty.

Nice Cup of Tea

Credit : Industrial Lighting courtesy of Iron Man

I always ask myself whether posts are going to hit the right note and be of interest before publishing.  Lofts are a bit of a dry subject and there is nothing special about mine but I’m guessing you have one too or have been on this same journey and I hope that you will humour me with this series.

(Or him!)

Cash in The Attic

So upon realising he is about to lose some vital man space, Iron Man has entered into the spirit of cash in the attic and having realised he has got some pretty top retro gaming equipment, he is up and down the ladder quicker than you can shout ‘I’ll take it’.

And whilst he is caught up with the world trading markets, I am taking the opportunity to get some organisation going on in the space that he has called home for all these years.

I’m guessing there’s going to be some kind of mourning period for him as we say goodbye to the loft ladder for the last time but we are ready to catch him when he falls.

This loft is testament to the fact that I love a lever arch file.  My passion for a course is evident here.

img_7094

And of course there were going to be ‘finds’.

This is the tankard presented to me when I moved on from my time in the Harrier Project Office at the Ministry of Defence.  Oh how I loved it there.  The tankard was a rite of passage presented to those that had successfully achieved membership of the Friday lunchtime drinking club.  In my early 20s, I joined the service men and women for a weekly tour of some of London’s finest public houses.  I wonder where they all are now.

White van driverAnd then there was the floristry business and my little van.  A real life lesson on how to go to Plan B when Plan A fails – and quickly.  Some wonderful support from family and friends for which I will always be grateful.  Lots of shoe leather, sweat and tears and recoveries from doors closing in the face.  And then success.

And the opportunity to provide flowers for some wonderful weddings, events and venues including The Queen’s House and London Zoo.  These are photos of photos so the quality is not great.

My little business which I started after quitting many years of work in the City.

I kept going through to my seventh month of pregnancy where size dicated that I was no longer able to climb into the mystery machine.

And then for a few months after The Kid arrived.

Talking of which, here she comes ……….

Kid in the Loft

Look at all of that clear space!  I still cannot imagine it being a bedroom though.

And then some oldies and goodies.

Rowntrees Dairy Milk Box

A chocolate box belonging to my mother and father.  Used by my father for paperwork after the chocolates had been eaten.  He was a very organised man but also loved to keep things in case they came in handy.  There is a lesson here.

Really cute to see that they had written their names next to their favourites.  Nuts for dad and Aero and soft centres for mum.  That never changed.  With Coffee Cream and Turkish Delight being the poor relations, not much has changed there either.

And as was the East End way, the beautiful wedding china – saved for best.  22 carat gold.  One can only imagine how precious it must have been to receive these.  They are too good to be in the loft but then there is the fear of breakage.

I need to give some thought to where in the house they can be safely displayed.

So that is the first cut – still a way to go but we are on a roll now.

I have found it very easy to clear and chuck.  If things are important they stay and will be included in the fabric of the house.  Other essentials will go in the eaves.

And in lieu of a treat for The Kid for her school report, I gift her these beauties so that she may know how important it is to grasp the basics.  She will be expected to use them during the summer holidays in a logical manner, concurrent with a child of her age.

Accounting. Quantitative Analysis

And, if she chooses to stand on them in order to reach the mirror to apply her lip gloss then she will do so will my full blessing.

Because, here within these books is a month of my life that I won’t get back.

No further education on this subject required – thank you very much.

There will now be a temporary interlude in loft updates until the big build commences.

Feel free to share your stories in my comments section.

And, once again, thank you for reading.

Nicky

 

 

 

 

 

 

When Scary Mary Shows Up

Stiletto Shoe

I refer to Scary Mary as the one that shows up when you are about to do something that is out of your comfort zone.

Sometimes she even brings her mates!

Scary Mary will often show herself when you are taking a step into the unknown or doing something that is a leap towards a goal that is for the greater good.

Often we play safe and keep on doing things the way we know.  We will continue on our journey in a way that is comfortable.  If we keep doing the things we are good at, then we don’t get found out by Scary Mary.

Conversely, this is generally the time when playing safe is a luxury we can ill afford.

Quite often we can find ourselves plunged into change that we hadn’t planned for.  And never one to miss an opportunity for a holiday, this will be when Scary Mary turns up with her suitcase.  She will bang on for hours and hours about ‘pitfalls’ and ‘shoulds’ until we want to jump into her suitcase and hide.

What can be really confusing though is when we really do want to make a leap. And then out of nowhere, we are suddenly overwhelmed with ‘what-ifs’.  I can only assume that ‘what if’ is a distant relative of Scary Mary that shows up when she is busy.

It is generally the case that the thing that terrifies us the most is the thing that ultimately pushes us on to something better.

I say this with confidence as I know that this is certainly the case for me.

The phone call we don’t want to make, the meeting we don’t want to go to or the event that we are about to attend – the one that scares the hell out of us.  I’m sure you can think of more examples.

A fear of failing, looking daft, supposing this happens, supposing no one is interested, I really shouldn’t be doing this, this is absurd and so it goes on.

Been there?

A fear of failure and success in equal measure.

At times like this and when we feel this way, it is very hard to imagine what might happen if we just allow ourselves to show up.

That we might actually get the gig or stumble upon a true gem.

I always work on the logic whenever I am about to do something ‘scary’ that whatever happens there will always be at least one benefit to having just ‘shown up’.

I used to be incredibly shy and a roomful of strangers would send me in to a tail spin.  And although I do still have a quiver in large groups (small groups are my preferred arrangement), I’ve got it covered now and will always truck up to events, often by myself.

I’m sure even the most confident of people have to give themselves a pep talk in the toilet sometimes.  I comfort myself with this fact.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m also a realist and there are times when the best advice would have been to stay home and wash my hair but these times are generally the exception rather than the rule.

One of the biggest examples for me of ‘showing up’ was being dragged along to a business networking event by a dear friend many years ago.

To say that I was terrified is an understatement.  It was one of those events where I was scared to shake hands with anyone for fear of sweaty palm syndrome whilst at the same time praying that no one would ask me about myself.   I  stayed terrified during the whole event despite having a great time.

And I went again and again.

That event was probably one of my defining moments.  I met people that day who I consider to be among my closest friends now and I have to say that the people and business owners I have met, and continue to meet through networking, have taught me more than I have ever learned anywhere else.

Equally, there is generally always humour around at times of a wobble.  This means you get to sit in the loo having a pep talk with yourself while giggling at the same time.  It is when we are trying to act normal that we find ourselves doing or saying the most random of things.

If you happen to find someone that also finds it funny, you’ve probably got yourself a friend for life.

I once went to an interview which involved climbing lots of narrow stairs. So narrow that I had to walk sideways.  A bit like a crab.   Naturally, I wore my ‘bestest’ high heels.  Just as naturally one came off and bonk, bonk, bonked down the stairs in slow motion past the interviewer.  This meant that I very unnaturally had to hop down the stairs in my suit to reclaim the shoe at the bottom of the stairs while trying to make a ‘normal’ conversation about it.  That was interesting.  I drew the line at making a Cinderella crack.

Stiletto Shoe

Sometimes you just know that you aren’t the person specified.

No amount of over-planning could have prevented that one.  There is always an element of fate in our day.

And I think sometimes it’s the over-planning that is part of the problem.

Because shoes will always be shoes and they are unpredictable.

Scary Mary is also unpredictable.

She comes and she goes.  She will rarely share any wisdom or advice.  She will be clean out of ideas and she will certainly never warn you against wearing stilettos.

And no matter how fearful I may be, I will always show up.

As the great saying goes, if you keep doing what you’re doing, you keep getting what you’re getting.

It is so easy to think of reasons why not but it is generally only the reasons why that are worth pursuing.

I know that I am not alone in this.

These are the types of conversations that people have with each other all the time.

In fact, my daughter expressed concern recently about attending an event.  I shared with her the fact that it is quite usual to be a little bit nervy when we are going somewhere new or with people we don’t know.  That grown ups feel like that sometimes too.

And I would be a bad mother if I didn’t warn her off the stilettos wouldn’t I!

So that’s me.  How about you?

Do you glide into new situations naturally and with ease or do you skid in with your shoes glued on and a comforter in your bag?

Nicky

PS No offence if your name is Mary by the way!