Finished a lovely weekend celebrating my Mum’s birthday with a delicious meal out.

I’m also aiming to find a way of introducing exercise into my weekly routines. I walk a decent amount already, but I need to do more and regain my fitness alongside improving my diet.

Realising I need to get my diet under control, this year I’ve gained weight rather than lost it and it’s mostly through diet. Anyone got any suggestions for quick, low prep, easy meals for one? Also open to suggestions for meal planning methods, whether they are apps or analog, but one thing that I know doesn’t work for me is the burden of tracking calories with apps like MyFitnessPal.

Anyone in need of a good playlist to work to, especially if you’re designing or coding, I’ve been really enjoying this cracker on Apple Music today.

I really dislike WordPress paging and custom queries. No matter what I do it never works and it drives me mad.

Put my Christmas tree up tonight and wrapped my Secret Santa ready for the first Christmas work so if the year. Starting to get into the festive mood now, just need to buy some presents, watch Home Alone, and eat some mince pies.

Two States of Perfection

For as long as I can remember I’ve had a sketchbook on the go. I think I established the habit when I started senior school, but I remember having them back in junior school as well. They’ve been a companion beside me all that time, whether I’ve been drawing, writing, brainstorming, planning, or something else, they’ve helped me to be creative in some form or another.

When a new sketchbook arrives, it always brings a moment of joy. The moment the wrappings come off is one of the two moments that a sketchbook is perfect. There are no creases on the spine, no scuffs on the cover, no page corners curling up or folded in, everything sits square and compact, full of potential. I always enjoy that moment. When a sketchbook is first opened it’s exciting, there’s potential on those pages, but with it comes a hesitancy, it’s something that I don’t want to ruin.

It’s the fear of the blank page.

Over the last few years when I’ve started a new sketchbook I’ve developed a habit. I open it to the first page, grab a pen and I write the same sentence.

I give myself permission to mess this sketchbook up.

From then on I use it how I want and it doesn’t matter what goes in it.

It might seem a bit silly to write that sentence on the first page, but without it it would take a lot longer for my sketchbooks to get to their second point of perfection. The moment they are finished, either because they are completely full, or the year has ended. At that point it’s done it’s job and deserves it’s spot on my shelf alongside all it’s older siblings, it’s perfect because it’s been used and not wasted. It’s helped me think, helped me create, helped me process events that have passed, it’s potential has been met.

Without that first page sentence and my natural state of being a perfectionist, there’s a chance those sketchbooks would remain on the shelf in their first state of perfection. And in that state they would be a waste. What would be the point in owning them, if they remained forever in their first state of perfection and never made the journey to the second state of perfection?

It’s not just a sketchbook that has these two states of perfection. A blog has them, a canvas has them, a book has them, a roll of film or an SD card in a camera has them. The unused perfection, and the finished, full, complete perfection of a job well done.

The Blogging Habit

When I first started writing a blog I was 20. It was my first year of university, and I’d somehow stumbled across a couple of random blogs, I’m not entirely sure how, but I know one thing. As soon as I saw them, I wanted one.

I dabbled with a free blogger account, and then in my second year at university I bought my first domain and installed WordPress. That was the beginning of having my own personal website, a place where I posted to almost every day, where I taught myself how to build websites. I looked at other peoples blogs, I copied what they were doing and began adding my own twist on to things. It was fun, a hobby, a thing I did to stretch my creative muscles, a thing to learn on. A thing to think on.

In the fourteen years since I first began to blog, I’ve posted to my site at least a few times a year, often several times a month, and in a few bursts everyday for a couple of weeks. This year has been one of my most active on years for a long time, but most of that activity has been short posts or photos. There has been very little in the way of full blog posts, everything has been verging on the micro end of the scale. Whilst that’s fine, and has coincided with me using Twitter and Instagram less, over the last few months I’ve been fighting an itch to try and start writing a longer blog post a day (in the working week at least) but for whatever reason I’ve resisted it.

Over the weekend I spotted a tweet from Austin Kleon in my timeline. He was linking back to a post he wrote just over a year ago after he had kickstarted his daily blogging habit. A couple of sentences in that post jumped out at me.

I had no idea how badly my writing muscles had atrophied. After a couple of weeks, I could feel the sentences coming easier.

It began to sink in, that rather than thinking about trying to write a post a day, I should just get on and do it. It doesn’t matter really how good they are, the thing is to just get on and do it. But, I still managed to put the thought to the back of mind. Then I read the final point of his post.

Maybe I’m weird, but it just feels good. It feels good to reclaim my turf. It feels good to have a spot to think out loud in public where people aren’t spitting and shitting all over the place.

I identified with that. The whole reason I started a blog fourteen years ago was because I wanted to. I enjoyed it. It felt good to have a place on the Internet that was mine, it was fun to have a hobby. So here I am, posting again. In a slightly longer format than I have been doing for most of the year. We’ll see how long it lasts, but the main focus, is to have fun and develop my hobby again.

Watched the new Coldplay film, A Head Full of Dreams, this evening. Fascinating insight, and a great reminder why they’re my favourite band all these years later. I really hope they continue making albums and AHOD isn’t their last one, despite what Chris Martin keeps saying.

Spent what felt like an age trying to work out why my WordPress query wasn’t working correctly, turned out I’d typed a hyphen instead of an equals. Typos in code can cause so much stress and frustration sometimes.

New slippers have arrived and I am unreasonably excited by this. They look good, they’re very comfy, and they’re warm. I’m pretty sure I should insert some sort of old man hashtag here…

Saw First Man at the cinema this evening. Brilliant film, wasn’t quite prepared for the level of intensity it has, but absolutely engrossing. The only downside, some of the cinematography made me feel a little motion sick at times, but without it the film wouldn’t have worked as well. 🎥

Man alive the new iPad Pro is insane. I’d love to have a play with one of those, just hope that some of the software I need for it to be a viable work alternative arrives soon.

Catching up on the Apple Event since I couldn’t watch it live while I worked today. The new MacBook Air looks great, I wonder if it’s powerful enough to do frontend web design/dev on.

In an effort to be less reliant on my iPhone, and to improve my morning routine by not having my phone wake up, I’ve bought myself an alarm clock. It’ll sit on the drawers opposite my bed so I’ll have to get up to turn it off. The best thing about it? No glowing.

I told Alexa to speak less, not my Echo just makes a noise when I tell it to change my light setting. It’s exactly how it should be, I wish there was a way to make Siri behave the same way in my iPhone/iPad.

Saw my second NFL game in London last night, the first time the Seahawks have been in the UK so the first time I’ve seen them. What a show! Great atmosphere, even up in the sticks where we were sat. #GoHawks #nfluk

Winter is coming. Leaving for work in the dark. I don’t like it.

Thinking about participating in Movember again this year, did it a couple of years ago and with today being Mental Health Awareness day it’s brought it back on my radar.