Coffee is brilliant. Coffee is terrible. ☕️

Coffee is brilliant. Coffee is terrible. ☕️

As I write this, I glance up at the time displayed on my iPhone. It’s 4:34am. I’m in bed, on my belly, tapping away on my phone because I’m still up and a load of thoughts are buzzing around my head. I can’t nod off. Maybe this is because I’ve just watched the 2017 Royal Rumble which has left me with lots of questions, (why let Goldberg boy Lesnar like that, why Roman Reigns at #30, why no throwback entrants?!) but the reason why I’m still up at almost 5am is probably the double-espresso I had at about 10:30pm. A terrible, terrible idea. 

I like coffee. I like to grind my own beans in my ceramic burr grinder to use in my chrome-effect cafetière, and I have a mason jar full of espresso-ground coffee that I use when I want to treat myself to a tiny cup of awesomeness. But amidst all the ‘way-too-late’ delirium I had an epiphany: why not make espresso at work? WE HAVE THE TECHNOLOGY. 

Now, far be it from me to be a coffee snob, but I don’t like the idea of the capsule coffee makers. It’s shitty coffee and it just feels super wasteful to chuck away those little plastic pods every time you want a cup of the black stuff. So I had an idea and Google gave me the answer:


DESKTOP ELECTRIC HOB
All you need to do is buy one of these bad boys, take it in to work along with your espresso maker (those beautiful, octagonal, screw-apart little beauties that everyone needs) and bob’s your uncle! Awesome coffee for the same price, if not cheaper, than buying a terrible coffee machine! It’s bound to at least quadruple my productivity, I’m sure of it.

Not sure what the rest of the people at work will think about me lugging in what is essentially camping equipment in to work just to fanny about and make coffee, but I’m willing to find out!

☕️

New Year, New Me: Priorities

New Year, New Me: Priorities

So I’ve not added to my blog in ages. Ever since I got my new job in fact. When I say “new job” it’s actually been almost six months since I left retail and started my career in digital, so I’m not sure if that can even still be described as ‘new’.

I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions, but I’ve taken the new year as an excuse to re-focus on what’s important to me. Or to prioritise what I want to be important to me; I want to write more. I want to run more. I want to read more. I want to make time to see my friends and family more. I want to do more stuff, rather than buy more stuff. Now, it’s impossible to have five priorities – because you can’t completely dedicate yourself to five things at once – so I’m starting with something that I can remedy quickly. Stop messing around and write something. A different day might bring a different focus, a different priority.

Deciding on what your priorities should be is a simple + vs – equation, or a balance of pain vs pleasure. So, today I’ve decided to get up at 6am, instead of 6:30am. Because the pain of getting up half an hour early is less than the pain of not being able to say “Yeah, I write a little.” And it’s outweighted by the pleasure that writing gives me. So instead of using this half an hour to scroll through Twitter or Instagram – which I still enjoy and won’t ever condemn people for using – I made the conscious decision to spend that time more creatively. I really want to work harder with my writing, and although I’m not really sure in what direction it’ll take me, actually sitting down at my laptop, opening the WordPress app and tapping away is a good start. Who knows, maybe I’ll write a book that gets adapted into a Netflix special?

Already I feel a little happier with myself for finally being able to get something down and post it out. I’m starting to feel like we could all do something different to re-focus on what truly brings us happiness. So if you COULD do one thing today to make your self happier – just get on and do it.

Make a habit of doing more of what makes you happy. Work at it and it’ll become your passion.

Week 13: Dear Retail…

Tomorrow is my last day in retail (see my previous post for more info on that), so I’ve decided to write an open letter. 

Dear Retail,

You’ve been a part of my life for nearly fourteen years. That’s all of my adult life. Ever since I first took work experience in school at fifteen, to getting my first part-time job at sixteen. Moving from shop to shop in the Outlet Village to igniting my love of trainers at Nike. From my smug little 9am – 2pm shifts at River Island to climbing the management ladder at Ted Baker, retail has been my bread and butter. And I’ve loved it.

The job I’m leaving is one that I have truly enjoyed, and I’ll be leaving a company that I honestly believe has the strongest team of people anywhere in the industry. They were more than co-workers, I feel like we are – and will continue to be – a band of brothers. This might sound a little over the top, but pulling six to seven-day weeks, for most of November and December to deal with the Christmas rush brings you closer together!

I’ll always be thankful to Andy, Des, Kiran, Quinny and all the other people who have come and gone during my last eight years at The Forum. I started as a boy, but I leave a man. Working there, so closely with some properly inspirational entrepreneurs, has given me an insight in to the inner-workings of an independent business and the strongest work ethic imaginable that I can take forward in to my new job, and for that I’ll be forever grateful.

I’m not going to lie, I’m looking forward to having my weekends back and having some time off over Christmas to spend with my family, but I’ll always look back fondly at my time in retail.

Thank you. It’s been emotional.

Week #12: It’s A New Day, Yes It Is.

As you may know, it’s not long until I stop selling t-shirts, trainers and other fancy clothes and get behind a laptop to start my new job. I’m going to be a Social Media and Content Executive for Total Guide To Ltd. In short, I’ll be writing online articles for a website that promotes local events and businesses in Swindon and Bath, as well as writing various pieces for our clients.

I’ve already had my first taste of the new job as I attended my first ‘networking event’. My company invited all of their Swindon- and Bath-based clients to a local gin bar and we ‘networked’. From what I gather that just means have a massive laugh on free gin, something I can definitely approve of!

I had a bit of training today on how to physically get my work on to the relevant sites, and I’ve chatted a bit about some work going forward with the likes of Bath Rugby and Swindon Town Football Club. So all in all, I’m really looing forward to getting started!

My last shift at The Forum will be Saturday 30th of July, so if you’re about, roll through and say hi!

Week #11: Let’s Kick Negativity Out Of Football.

Football is England’s national sport. It’s a passion, an obession, almost a religion. In fact, it’s incredibly similar to religion because everyone thinks theirs is the best and it occasionally causes unjustifiable violence. Growing up as a young boy, the first thing that a new friend would ask you was “Who do you support?” and during the early 1990s, if you didn’t reply “Manchester United” then you were an idiot, apparently.

I grew up a fan of Swindon Town FC. My local, perennially sub-par football team. Back in the day I knew my Wayne Allisons and Shaun Taylors from my Razor Ruddocks and Fraser Digbys, I followed the scores and league standings, even went to a few games. I remember going to a Swindon Town vs. Bradford City match for my birthday and my Dad – who is not a football fan – was sat with us in the Town End trying to look interested.

I am currently trying to re-connect with those feelings. My love for my home town has, if anything, grown in my old age and the chance to cheer my town on in any capacity is important to me. But I forgot why I fell out with football: the [vocal] majority of fans are a bunch of negative nellies (excuse my French.) I joined a few Facebook Fan Pages for Swindon Town, asked about the current state of the team and was met with such abject pessimism it bothered me. Aren’t these people supposed to be fans? Arent’t they supposed to SUPPORT their team? Even if the team is doing poorly, how is moaning about it fun? Luckily I’ve found two organisations that want to put the fun and positivity back in to supporting Swindon Town, Great Western Reds and Red Army Fund.

The Great Western Reds – which I was instantly drawn to because of how great their branding is – is an independent supporters’ group with the goal to get behind the team and create memorable matchday atmospheres home and away, and the Red Army Fund is a crowdsourcing body that wants to get a 10% stake in the club and fund projects like ground and facilities improvements, better communication with the club and a community garden. How lovely is that?!

These two organisations give me so much hope. As discussed in a previous post, Swindon was known for clubbing together and making our town better when those at the top weren’t prepared to take action. These people have seized the power for themselves and, I hope, can make a difference.

No more moaning, time to enjoy football.

Week #10: Double Digit New Blog Party!

This week’s entry is a bit of cheat because I don’t actually have a lot to say apart from I’ve been playing around with blog services, and have migrated everything over to WordPress. It seems to be the one everyone else is using and far be it from me to buck the trend I thought I’d sign up too!

I’ll no doubt be playing with the layout and the look as the weeks go on, but here we are. Consider this the manky bathroom wall that I can scrawl my thoughts on, for you to read while you’re pooping. You’re welcome!

Week #9: Voting About the EU.

There has been a lot of debate about which way we should vote in the EU Referendum. A lot of “keyboard warriors” and a lot of “part-time politicians” clogging up our collective timelines. Some people see this as a bad thing, I see it as a good thing. Engaging in politics is great, it means you care. What I don’t like is how it has divided us lot, the people.

I’m voting to say IN Europe for a variety of factors.

·      NOBODY KNOWS what will happen if we leave the EU. Everything that the Leave Campaign has said will happen is all guess work, nobody knows for sure what our PM will negotiate with the EU in the terms of our leaving. As I’m not an expert in European politics, I think we should Remain as we are as I don’t definitely want to leave.

·      The EU, while not perfect, is a relationship. Relationships need work and if we are to tackle global issues like climate change, poverty, immigration, this needs to be done in collaboration with other countries.

·      I don’t think the Tory government have my best interests at heart. A simple, divisive statement, I know. But I don’t like that pink-faced pig lover and wouldn’t trust him with a pair of scissors, let alone my future.

If you take the stance – like many people who will vote Leave do – that the influx of EU immigrants has strained our schools, hospitals and housing, then I’m afraid I can’t accept your argument. The global population is getting bigger. People are living longer. The free movement of EU people throughout its’ member states is something I am al for. If there are more people using these services, it is down to the government to make sure these things are invested intelligently in and are correctly funded. The problem is not with people coming in, it’s with the people at the top mismanaging the country. Maybe build more hospitals and treat nurses better? Maybe build more schools and treat teachers better? That’s why there have been strikes.

Having not done enough research, I like many of us have put my trust in people that seem to know what they’re talking about and vote they way they’re voting. The only politicians who support us leaving are from the far-right, ‘ban all the Muslims’, thinking parties or from wealthy backgrounds which have proven in the past to be more concerned with individual gain, sometimes at the expense of others. In other words, people I don’t relate to. The politicians who think we should stay are the more level-headed people that I share the same outlook with.

That’s why I think you should vote ‘Remain’ today.

This post will probably be met with opposition, which I welcome. Just don’t be a dick about it and let’s have a conversation.