Riding bikes in the Summer

By | RL | No Comments

There’s nothing like summer for riding bikes. Riding the city streets in this glorious weather is by far the best way to get around the city right now. It beats buses and tubes and ubers by cost, speed and comfort (assuming you’re brave enough to take on London traffic, which obvs yes because adventure). Boris bikes are especially handy – you pick one up at a dock, ride to wherever you need to go and then drop it off at another dock at the other end. Access for 24 hours is £2, and the ride itself is free. So convenient, quite wonderful.

I’ve talked to a few people recently about riding in London and almost all of them have said they couldn’t – that the traffic scares them away. These are people who climb mountains and do amazing feats, and I was a little bit in awe of the reputation that the London traffic has.

Truth: London traffic is no big deal when you’re on a bike. As long as you obey the rules and don’t run red lights, make sure you’re aware of what is around you – it’s perfectly okay for riding.On days like today when the skies are blue, the streets are lined with trees and little flower baskets and you’re speeding down a bike lane past stand still traffic? Nothing better. It’s the perfect way to get around, and I’m 100% delighting in it!

Oh London, you’re definitely more charming than usual!

A few days in Riga, Latvia

By | RL | No Comments

Oh Riga. This was a work trip, and this trip hit me face first with it’s complications and politics and work.

I ran a workshop I wasn’t expecting to run. It went well! Wonderfully well – I was introducing new ideas and a new method and everything was new and scary and different. It was a pretty insane day and a half, but I got loads of wonderful feedback. Nothing like being thrown in the deep end with 23 people you’ve never met who are integral to the product you’re working on.

What I’m trying to say is that the three days I was in Riga – I saw the inside of the Elephant Hotel. There were two meals outside the hotel, and a walk.

And oh, Riga. You’re lovely. Little cobblestone streets and dirt tracks that bypass run down mansions. Overgrown fields taking back estates, and then five minutes down the road shiny fashion boutiques in the city centre. Tables sprawled out in the summer evenings, with lights and a lovely man playing the accordion.

Best walk of the week, I have to say. There’s nothing like taking an hour or two just to wander, and have a look see.

Love it. Thanks Riga, for the adventure.

A day trip to Paris

By | nubbed | No Comments

I spent a day in Paris recently with work. I don’t often travel with work – so it was pretty novel.

That ecstatic ‘Woo Paris!’ feeling lasted all of an evening, because most of the day was heads downs in a workshop. I saw the inside of a little urban conference room/open work space. The content was fantastic though. We worked with Jeff Gothelf working to apply the lean process to an enterprise. 100% relevant to the problems we’re facing at work at the moment. It was interactive, it had good food, we learnt lots…

But as always with work trips, the highlights weren’t the work. I stopped to get macaroons from Pierre Hermé (because Paris = macaroons, obviously). A business analyst buddy and I made the most of the one evening we had and wandered down to the Lourve, as he’d never seen it before. We had dinner with wine and cheese (because Paris = wine + cheese) and oh. Oh Paris.

I love Paris in the summer, it was warm and the sun was shining and the streets were lined with green trees and the boulevards were wide and all the people spoke with that lovely French lilt.

I was only there a day, if that. Paris was oh so charming. Love it!

And so, we’ve moved. 

By | RL | No Comments

We’ve known for months we were going to move, but that doesn’t mean I liked the idea. Our landlord sold our flat, Womp. We hired crates – I was excited about not having to recycle boxes, hurrah for less waste! That part was great. We packed everything up and had a whole host of lovely friends come and help us ferry things to the new place, which conveniently was just down the road. It was really heartwarming to have so many people come help us, it’s a lovely thought to know we’ve got so many friends who have our backs.

Fast forward three months and we’re in our new place. The crates clearly less helpful post-move. We had to give the crates back empty – which meant emptying them. There are little towers of STUFF everywhere. Piles and piles of it. We have too much stuff, clearly. It’s overwhelming, and I’m not sure what to DO with all of it.

It irks, and I’m uncomfortable. Coming home feels is awkward. It feels like we’re forcing ourselves to fit in this little flat. The flat and I are working against each other at every opportunity. Our furniture is positioned awkwardly against walls they weren’t designed to fit against (I’d like to throttle the person who made the radiator placement decisions – clearly they’ve looked at the room and put them in the most inconvenient of places possible, for their future lols as my current furniture place predicament). We’re giving each other the side eye, this flat and me.

Truth is, I miss the old flat. I miss the layout and the familiarity and our routines. It was our first home, me and Zee. A place that we made ours. The new place feels like it’s disgruntled that we’ve dared arrive, and is thwarting us at every turn.

I know this is temporary. I know that we’ll work it out, and it will be fine. But until that, I’m awkward and uncomfortable and still sad to have said goodbye to our old flat.

Oh moving. Oh change. Oh goodbyes.


Grace in small things

Despite the position of this post, I am still attempting positivity. It comes and goes in waves, and I’m trying to smooth out the peaks and troughs. We’ll see. Things I’m grateful for:

1. Zee.

I get to do this with Zee who is infinitely patient with me and my moods and furniture struggles. This would be horrible without him and I’m glad that’s not the case. We’re in it together, there’s comfort in that.

2. Our friends are awesome.

I am overwhelmed with gratitude for people who came to help – we had a great crew. It really was heartwarming to have a small army of people take time out to help us. Warm fuzzies all round.

3.The new place is actually lovely, first world problems.

Sure, the layout is awkward and we don’t know where everything fits yet but in the scheme of things? Our new flat is actually lovely. It’s modern and has well proportioned rooms and has everything we need to go about our lives. We’re warm and dry and have place for our too many belongings. It’s safe, and has a balcony. I’ll take it.

4. Time is moving forward, we’re not stagnant.

Sometimes I forget that change is hard, and uncomfortable and needed. As much as I could have happily settled into the old flat – the new one forces a perspective change and offers new nuances that I hadn’t considered before. I know that I thrive when things are kept a bit interesting so as much as this was forced rather than chosen – change can be good, right?

5. We get to stay in our neighbourhood.

This is a definite boon. We’ve got friends close by, it’s safe and has everything we need within walking distance. It’s familiar. I did several days of house looking in other areas. North of the river, east of the city, in little industrial on-the-verge-of-hipster neighbourhoods. It felt very different, and I’m glad that we managed to find a place local. Bonus was that we didn’t need to hire a van!

Actually Practicing Positivity (and not talking about toast)

By | RL | 2 Comments

That sounds a but more soppy than I intended, but truth – I want to get in the habit of complaining a bit less and being generally more positive a lot more. Also, truth – it turns out that talking about how grateful I am for toast is a bit of a cop out, isn’t it?

It’s not like I’m a negative person, but I’ve found that there’s a lot of complaining going on – annoyances make a better story, get better reactions, better commiserations. When I realised this and tried to cut back – I realised just how much complaining I was doing (too much!) and just how many of the conversations I was having were often complaint based. Easily 30-40%. I starting noting when other people kicked off a conversation with a complaint or criticism and it was something like every third or first conversation. Womp.

So, two things. I’m going to try talk about five things I’m grateful for, and I’m trying the Tim Ferris/Will Bowen anti-complaining experiment.

There’s a theory that the more you talk about something, the more that influences what you think about something, which guides how you feel about it. If I’m constantly complaining, then my mindset for how I think or how I feel is automatically on the negative. That sucks, right?

This anti-complaining experiment is pretty simple. The aim is to go 21 days without complaining. I have a bracelet and every time I complain I move the bracelet across to the other wrist and start from 0. Sounds doable, right??

Essentially it’s metacognitive awareness training – the more aware you are of doing something the more likely you are to change that behaviour. It’s the same reason why taking photos of what you eat and weighing yourself regularly is super conducive to weight loss. I’m using Tim Ferris’s definition: “describing an event or person negatively without indicating next steps to fix the problem” and so far, two days in it’s been hard. It’s getting easier though – I definitely have increased awareness of what I’m saying (although, haven’t get made it through a day!)

We’ll see. I’ll let you know how it goes.

The other part, practicing gratefulness. Three things I’m grateful for right now:

Zee is away this week, and is currently on a completely different continent. I’m grateful for the opportunity to miss him. There’s something in a brief absence that cuts through all the ordinary bs. I miss him, and it’s nice to be reminded how much I do care. The missing part is shit but I enjoy the reminder + slight perspective change.

I’m in a time in my life where I can stretch my legs and really pursue whatever it is I want to. There is literally nothing stopping me from doing what I want to. I earn a pretty penny, I don’t have children or a mortgage or any kind of restraint or responsibility that would hold me back. My problem right now is that I don’t know what direction to go in (I feel like a bit like a headless chicken) and so I am trying half a dozen things. I’m grateful that I have this freedom, many people don’t.

It’s almost summer! London has thrown off the grey skies temporarily and I’m amazed at the rich expanse of blue overhead. It’s not quite warm enough for bare arms (I’m still rocking several layers + a jacket) but with the greenery finally growing and the sun out – it feels like a completely different place. I love London in the spring – it’s glorious!