Make the bold move and take a risk?

With all the chaos of the UK government right now, along comes a video which speaks to me.

My advice is to go for the bold move and take a risk. And if that risk means putting yourself way out there in an interview, or if that risk means having to move to a city you weren’t sure you wanted to live in, or if that risk means trying a field that wasn’t your first choice, do it.

That move is on my mind a lot.

Complaints are welcomed at Channel4

We’ve made a film featuring our talent bringing to life genuine complaints which viewers have made about them. We understand that not every programme, or even every presenter, is going to be everyone’s cup of tea. That’s because Channel 4 was set up to be different, to provoke debate, take bold creative risks and represent unheard voices from all around the country. So sometimes we may cause a bit of a stir, but that’s part of our job.

Do like this video, Channel4’s humour around feedback is very welcomed.

Heartbreak production’s Romeo & Juliet

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Got to hand it to the heartbreak theatre experience. Myself and my partner planned to experience their outdoor theatre play of Romeo & Juliet in Fletcher Moss Botanical Gardens, Didsbury but the Manchester weather is never sympathetic to outdoor events, so we watched it in a church hall instead.

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Regardless it was great to see and very enjoyable, certainly deserved a note on my blog. Really fun and great to see improve working well for this talented group.

There was a feedback paper form but with no pen to fill it in, it seemed like a better idea to blog it instead.

The truth behind the UK’s biggest recycling myths

recycle symbol

Wired magazine have a piece about the myths of recycling in the UK. Quite a interesting reading, as a lot of the truths behind the myths are quite surprising.

Receipts are recyclable – False

The UK still hands out 11 billion receipts every year, and around 50 per cent of these – printed on shiny, thermal paper – are not recyclable. This is because they’re composed of more than one material and contain a combination of potentially harmful BPA and BPS chemicals. If they were recycled, these chemicals would be released into the environment. So, always put these in regular waste.

This one surprised me a lot because I’ve been known to shred all my receipts and then throw the lot in paper recycling. Won’t be doing that any more!

Petiquette in coffee shops

Petiquette at Ezra & Gil

As you likely guessed from previous posts, I’m not a dog person at all. I’ve been bitten too many times and are generally nervous around them. But I get there are people who love their dog like its their family members (ok I do find that odd).

But I find dogs in cafes questionable.

I have seen dogs on seats, chairs and table tops. Witnessed and left as they have barked the place down, attacked each other, seen them walking around loose with no lead. Its seriously not a place where I feel comfortable and I’m sure others feel the same; even the dog lovers.

This is why I was impressed to see Ezra & Gil’s #Ezrapetiquette (even if it looks like Ez-rape?).

  1. Ensure your dog is housetrained.
  2. Your dog is well behaved & can sit, stay & come on command.
  3. Your dog is kept on a lead at all times.
  4. Make sure your dog doesn’t disturb other customers.
  5. Your dog is kept on a floor & away from food.
  6. Your dog is not anxious & uncomfortable around people.
  7. Pack waste bags incase of any accidents,
  8. Dog Lovers – please ensure you ask owners permission before petting their dogs.

This might seem very obvious, but like many conferences include a code of conduct. Some people need a little reminder and theres got to be a clear expression of whats accepted and not. Dogs on tables and chairs wouldn’t be accepted if I was writing one.

Following my partners dog bite in the hotel, I re-read the dangerous dogs act again, and found this part very interesting.

Under the Act, it’s illegal for a dog to be ‘out of control’ or to bite or attack someone. The legislation also makes it an offence if a person is worried or afraid (the term is ‘reasonable apprehension’) that a dog may bite them. So it’s important to ensure that your dog is kept under control at all times and in all places.

Something to remind dog owners of as I head for the door next time.

Son of Hibachi portable BBQ is 5 stars

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Its hot and there’s nothing better than some time outside cooking away. I usually use those portable disposable BBQs when away from home but thats about to change…

I bought the Son of Hibachi portable BBQ a while ago but never actually used it till last week. I was impressed before and after using it even more so.

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Easy to clean, sensible way to start the BBQ. Excellent size and just a amazing portable BBQ. Can’t wait to get it on the scooter and on to a beach. Maybe while playing some Volleyball or something.

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New diabolo tricks with J-sliding

I’m still working out how to do a vertex as I wrote in my new years resolutions. But while looking for videos to help explain where I might be going wrong, I found a new category of tricks called j-sliding?

J-SLIDING is a new style of juggling with diabolo, 
that enables you to do more tricks.

Its not quite the shift of the vertex before this, or the suicide before that and the grind before that. But interesting move forward regardless.

Everyone needs a little self-care time

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Nothing better than a little self-care, by indudging my love of rollercoasters

Its a lesson I’ve learned after many mistakes from a previous life (before my brush with death). Taking some time for myself to chill out a little, especially after one of those busy weeks that I sometimes post.

A while ago during my sabbatical after my brush with death, I did read (listen) to a lot of things, this is also when I decided to get hypnotherapy for my fear of needles. Another thing I picked up was the idea of self-care.

Selfcare is any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health. Although it’s a simple concept in theory, it’s something we very often overlook. Good selfcare is key to improved mood and reduced anxiety.

I tie it directly to the conscious living lifestyle which is simple in concept again but being mindful is more tricky that it first seems. For example one of the things I do is plan in self-care time in my calendar, especially when I identify a potentially stressful period coming up. It could be a great time away for work but flights are always full of stressful moments and finding hotels etc. For example last week, I flew to Madrid to talk at the xR fest. It was great but the weather temperature hit a maximum of 41c and my flights were via Brussels. I knew the connection was tight with 55mins between landing and the connecting flight leaving.

Express connection ticketOf course we didn’t actually get into the air for 45mins from Manchester, giving me no time to run across the airport through passport control with the express connection ticket and luckily catch my flight as it was also delayed and they couldn’t quite close the gate with people arriving from previous flights. Trust me it was a close call!

This is all the stuff I thought about while resting in the hot tub at the Hilton Hotel Manchester Monday July 1st. I had planned in a day off and took advantage of a treatment some kind friend had bought me for my 40th birthday.

While listening to The Nod recently I was impressed with the discussion about Self-Care. There were two aspects I liked quite a lot (wish I could transcribe it). In summary the conversation was about getting men (especially black men, being a black culture podcast) to consider self-care as part of being masculine. The discussion reminded me of a discussion I had a long while ago about the game being a self-help book for men who usually avoided self-help books.

Self-care is clearly important but its equally important to find what works for you. The example of a yoga retreat just doesn’t work for me although it might work for others. My kind of self-care is certainly spas and rollercoaster parks

Maybe your more a sleep in long hours type person or rearrange and clean the house hygge person. What ever it truly is (and I mean truly deeep down) then a little self-care when things get tough is really a life savor!

Where would you ride this in the UK?

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I really enjoyed riding around these around in Bucharest 3 years ago. Its also something I was thinking about when I went to the future of transport futurists a while back.

It was surprising to see it and other things on sale in El Corte Ingles department store (Spanish department store like Debenhams type), in the same place where you might see laptops or something like that.

I was also surprised about the price to be honest. I always assumed they would be closer to 1000 pounds/euros. There was also a electric skateboard which when I lifted it, was better than what I tried before. I have to say these electric roller skates are insane.

Electric skates?

The question still remains about where are you allowed to actually ride these in the UK? I know the UK government set out their strategy for the future of mobility, and a bit more about the last mile transport. But still no clear ruling. I certainly would like to see our streets a bit more like the European cities.

The height issue and self-confidence

I was reading a piece about short kings a new coined term for short men.

The whole thing is about how men under 6ft tall are always the brunt of jokes and bullying. There’s also some critical points about the way society,  masculinity and our culture thinks about short men.

Sizeism is hard to avoid on dating apps such as Grindr and Tinder, where users commonly forbid men under 6ft from contacting them. Tinder even made a 2019 April Fool’s joke about launching a “height verification” update that would prevent guys from exaggerating their stature.

Yet short-shaming isn’t harmless. “There’s a host of studies that show short men are stigmatized in many ways, not only in people’s perception, but in actual real world outcomes as well,” says Joseph Vandello, a social psychologist at the University of Southern Florida. “People perceive shorter men as having fewer leadership qualities,” he says, citing findings that majority of American CEOs are over 6ft in and voters prefer tall presidential candidates (including, at 6ft 2in, Trump).

All this starts early – even in kindergarten, studies have found, teachers perceive the shortest boys in their class as less academically capable than their peers.

Height is also perceived to correlate directly with masculinity. As Vandello explains: “Because of [the correlation between height and perceived masculinity], a lot of men feel kind of a chronic sense of anxiety and uncertainty about their manhood status.” Insecurity generally manifests in oversensitivity to insult (which may contribute to the stereotype of short men as angry, resentful, over-compensating Napoleons.)

I’m almost 6ft tall at 5ft 11 so rarely gotten much of the criticism of others much shorter than myself.

It got me thinking about a few things related to height in the past. Okcupids the big lies people tell in online dating and also the discussion we had on BBC Radio Merseyside about height. Even then, I was thinking there’s got to be a connection with self confidence here, for example a lot of the women I spoke to who couldn’t imagine dating someone shorter than them was shocking. Likewise men who wouldn’t dare date someone taller was equally shocking. This is where I started keeping a rough tally on how self-confident they appeared, and it seemed my rough theory might have something about it?

Like many short men, Steven recalls an adolescence spent believing masculinity was defined by a set of immutable characteristics – like being tall and imposing – and that by not fitting that ideal he was “kind of cursed.”

But as he grew up, he began thinking about manhood as something he could develop by embodying his values, rather than a blunt appraisal of his physical self. “I think to be masculine, to be manly, whatever that word means, is about doing good in the world. It’s about contributing. It’s about finding a way to serve other people, to be kind, to be strong in defense of those who need strength in their corner. The more masculinity is an idea of service the more I think it is helpful.

Now happily committed to a taller woman, Brendan hardly thinks about his height at all. “Once you get into that sense of self-confidence the height issue kind of melts away,” he says.

In agreement on how to taste chocolate

Join about the way to taste chocolate

So a while ago I wrote about Zotter chocolate’s tasting tips.

Savouring chocolate?

I shared it out as usual via Twitter and Mastodon. But didn’t really think much more about it, till yesterday during TVX 2019 when a Austrian man offered me a bar of  Zotter chocolate from Zotter, who happens to be just around the corner from where he lives..

Zotter schilcher-kurbisnougat chocolate Amazing gift and completely out of the blue, I forget people actually read my posts. I was dumbfounded when he offered me the chocolate and explained everything, so shocked I forgot to take his name while taking the selfie. Hopefully he  will see this post and add a comment.

The chocolate is tricky one, as I’m not totally sure whats in it.

Using Google translate, it says

Schilcher + pumpkin nougat

Two Styrian specialties mix with unique dark milk chocolate with 60% cocoa content. A ganache with sparkling Schilcher rosé wine combined with a tenderly melting layer of pumpkin seed nougat. 

The ingredients translate to

Extra dark milk chocolate ° filled with Schilcher ganache ° (30%) and pumpkin seed

nougat ° (16%) – containing alcohol Ingredients: raw cane sugar °, cocoa butter °, cocoa mass °, pumpkin seeds °, whole milk powder °, butter °, glucose inverted syrup °, grappa °, Schilcher ° (contains sulfites), raisins °, skimmed milk powder °, sweet whey powder °, rock salt 
Emulsifier: soya lecithin °, whole cane sugar °, vanilla 
bean powder °, cinnamon ° Cocoa (cocoa mass and cocoa butter): 60% at least in extra dark milk chocolate ° Tradeed

May contain traces of nuts, peanuts, eggs and sesame.

So nothing I don’t think there is anything I can’t eat in it, except I wonder about Nougat.

Wonderful present and massive thank you…

 

32 times for the love of Shambhala

Shambhala is a steel roller coaster located at PortAventura World, in Salou Spain. The ride opened to the public as Europe’s tallest roller coaster, taking guests up 76m (249ft) high before allowing them to plummet back towards the ground below. In this video we’ll explore the type of ride experience Shambhala offers, as well as its many statistics and developed theme.

Its certainly one of my favourite rides. With 32 rides in one day.

Savouring chocolate?

Attention do not eat chocolate but savour it
Attention do not eat chocolate but savour it. If you would like to be a chocolate connoisseur, you should not munch the chocolate, savour it by letting it melt

Little reminder of how to really eat chocolate.

Place the chocolate on your tongue and press it to the roof of your mouth. Within thirty seconds, the chocolate should slowly begin to melt around your tongue. Take a deep breath, aerating your palate as you stimulate your sense of smell through the back of your throat.

Try doing this with bog standard mass produced chocolate and you will get a very different taste.

Bitten by a dog in a hotel!

Dog

My partner was bitten by a dog in a hotel (the dark horse pub) when we rented a room in Bristol.

It sounds nuts or like there more to the story but its pretty much that.

Here’s my review on Googlemaps and here’s my partners review on tripadvisor

We stayed in the hotel part of the pub, which is upstairs overnight. While climbing the stairs trying to get into the hotel part with a member of staff. A white dog aggressively barked at us from a fenced area. The fencing wasn’t strong enough and on exiting the hotel room chased us out of the pub on the first night. We came back later that night with no problem except dog poo everywhere! Really hard to see in the midnight light.

In the morning the dog went straight for my partners ankle, when she woke up early and decided to get some fresh air. It was not tentative and both fangs went in. I seen the bite mark and shes got multiple photos.

I personally didn’t feel safe before and when I found out wanted out straight away. My partner knowing I was terrified of dogs, choose not to tell me till we were clear of the whole place.

The response from the hotel/pub owner was a joke and its been horrible trying to get hold of them, They took the full money and only offering 25% off our next stay! Thats it for being bitten!

Next stay?!

I say never and they are bloody lucky I wasn’t bitten because I would have called the police and the dog would be put down. The dog poo irresponsible, being chased by a dog is irresponsible but being bitten is totally unacceptable and dangerous!

The thing you have to remember is this was a hotel, we paid money for and we were guests. I don’t care if the pub is dog friendly, you can’t have dangerous dogs running around lose biting guests. I say guests because although my partner was first to be bitten, the same dog a few weeks before had attempted to bite someone else. Here’s a review from Susan from bookings.com

Very noisy, steep stairs to sleeping areas, ear plugs supplied by Pub because of noise. Noisy main road. Small dog tried to bite my Husband on the leg when we went to leave. Dog poo on wooden veranda.

Its a matter of time. Avoid the dark horse pub hotel!

3 parties in a week, and all for 40

40th Birthday

My parents asked me what I want to do for my birthday late last year. They were thinking I could do a big party in Bristol. But I suggested why not have three of them instead?

Each party/bash representing a section of my life so far.

  • Bristol (0-19)
  • London (19-28)
  • Manchester (28-40)

40 years of opioninated conversation and living life to the maximum

Of course my parents thought it was too much, but I was certain it was a good idea and I could do it.

Happy to say I was right. I had planned to put in sometime at the theme parks of England (Alton Towers, Thorpe Park, Blackpool) but due to half-term decided I’d better not because I would end up in queues (Love the European theme parks for this). Plus I decided I could fit everything around work (or work around everything). I won’t lie, I would have been absolutely exhausted if I did!

Manchester party

So it happened and I was blown away by the friends and family who attended but also helped make the whole thing happen. Couldn’t have done it all without them! Thanks to everyone who came, gave their time, cards (I got so many cards I had to shift them around the flat) and even gifts. Also thanks for all the people who wanted to be there but couldn’t make it for different reasons.

Thank you to everyone again! 40 started with a bang, look out for 50 – ha!