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2011: An Early Review

I know it’s not the end of the year, but I don’t think we have to pass some kind of an official calendar landmark in order to look back and evaluate.

So, this year started really badly. I failed 2 modules of my CIM Post-Grad, I had a really bad first quarter at work, then the realisation that a relationship that never really got off the ground was never going to, oh, and my ex, who I’d managed to stay in touch with for the best part of 6 years, decided to cut me off – ouch!

The odd thing was, it didn’t feel so bad and here is why…

I decided to leave the CIM course. I wasn’t the only one, though a couple of my friends on the course have just completed it and I am very proud and happy for them. They worked ridiculously hard, forfeiting their social lives to get their Post-grad. They were already great Marketers though and will continue to be. Caroline is about to embark on her own business and Ingrid has a mouth-watering new cookery blog. Congratulations!

One Tree Hill can actually be pretty inspiring sometimes (yes, really) and I have just heard the quote from Clay to Nathan’s lecturer

“You’re teaching theory, while I’m living practice.”

After failing my CIM, I decided to give up the theory route in favour of practice. In May I booked a function room at the Park Plaza, Cardiff and set about organising the Cardiff Clothes Sale, which I mentioned yesterday. I’ve learned more about Digital Marketing in 5 months, than I did in 18 months of studying for my Post-Grad. As nervous as I am about the event, I’m also pretty excited. Jonah Hill recently said this in an interview and it really resonated with me.

Jonah Hill on whether he is nervous about unveiling his new project:

No! F&$# being nervous, man! It’s amazing! If you believe in it, who cares? It’s so easy to judge stuff, but, you know, put stuff out there! When Conan left NBC, he gave this beautiful last speech on his show. I literally was crying, because it was, “Don’t be a judgmental asshole. Put something out there, and then even if everybody hates it and it sucks, you say, ‘Okay, I’ve got something else — how about this?’” It’s so easy to judge. So I’d rather put myself out there and be judged than be too scared to put anything out there.

So there we go, I’m putting myself out there and I am nervous and it is scary, but it’s definitely better than not having a go.

The relationship that never got off the ground. Yeah, played that out all wrong. My analysis of the situation leaves me concluding that we were trying to act like what we thought a couple should be rather than what we would have been comfortable being. The perils of trying to attach labels. Luckily, though I think it’s more effort than luck, we’re still friends. I don’t mean that we’re civil when we see each other; he’s one of my best friends; random ‘in’ jokes, long rambling, non-sensical emails, spontaneous confectionary purchases, all the stuff I look for in a friend and how often does that happen? Not really much to complain about there apart from the lack of…

…On to work. The first quarter of the year at work hit me hard. I was out of my depth, yet still surprisingly cocky. I failed to get a job that really should have had my name written all over it and I was slowly demolishing my relationship with my actually rather impressive line manager. It was him that managed to get me to turn things around. He rapidly realigned my priorities and changed what I was working on. My work became more structured, I was forced to engage with new stakeholders and meet deadlines. Since then I’ve had a couple of good quarters. Though they’re restructuring again at work, so I might not have a job come Monday; I’ve been dealing with that situation too.

As for my ex, well, that kind of hurt my feelings. Actually, I’m fine about it, I just wanted an excuse to throw in this video. Classic Flight of the Conchords.

[youtube=http://youtu.be/6lg51dzWHJE]

So, the year to date could have been pretty gloomy, but I’ve been open to asking for help and letting people help me. I’ve tried to be less all-or-nothing with my relationships and being grateful for even the smallest bits of kindness and fun. I’ve worked harder, whilst cutting my losses on other things. No, not everything is perfect, but it’s so far from being imperfect that I’m allowing myself a little smugness tonight, but not for too long.

x

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Cardiff Clothes Sale

Why have I been so quiet of late? The title says it all! If you’ve spoken to me in the last few weeks, you’ll know about this, but if you haven’t I’m telling you now.

I’m running an event in Cardiff on Sunday 9th October at Park Plaza Hotel. The event is the Cardiff Clothes Sale. The concept is that people, mainly women, will bring along unwanted, but still good quality clothing, accessories, shoes, bags, anything you might wear and other people will come along and buy these things.

I hope this will work better than a car-boot sale because the audience should be more discerning, therefore attendees can expect higher quality goods and sellers can hopefully achieve slightly higher prices. I’m trying to bring the right audiences together. This is also better than eBay if you have a lot to sell, because it’s less laborious and the fee is fixed; a flat rate of £10 and you can sell as much as you want (or £3 entry to buy as much as you want).

I have a real mix of sellers, so there should be a good variety of items to buy. I know that I have so much stuff myself.

Check out CardiffClothesSale.co.uk for more details and spread the word.

Cardiff Clothes SaleThanks. x

 

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Saturday Superstar: Stephen Gook

A bit of an odd choice, you may think, for today’s Saturday Superstar, but this is my buddy and one of my favourite people, Stephen, Steve, Gook – I’m sure many people know him by many names, but I wanted to recognise him today because yesterday he left his job and on Tuesday he moves back home to Brisbane, Australia.

Stephen Gook

Stephen is an entertainer. He recently wowed a crowd on unsuspecting individuals at the Buffalo Bar in Highbury, London, at their monthly Indieoke night, with an extraordinary rendition of Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit. I’d upload the video, but I’m not sure you’re ready for it’s awesomeness.

He’s also got me  through some pretty annoying, stressful and difficult times at work with his practical and direct advice. Plus, he’s sent me some of the funniest, smartest emails I’ve ever received, bring consistent comic relief to otherwise mundane days.

Did I mention that last summer he created a new cocktail in celebration of the Football World Cup in South Africa, named after the sound that became synonymous with the event, that of the vuvuzela? It was called the Woo Woo Sailor, made with Sailor Jerry’s and fruit juice. He can also happily eat 4 McDonald’s cheeseburgers in quick succession and provide amusing commentary regarding his night bus journey home after a night out.

Anyway, he’s heading back to Australia, after officially becoming a Pom and embracing the British culture of binge drinking and commenting regularly on the weather. Along with his lovely wife, Bek, he will become a parent in a few months, which is obviously super exciting stuff.

So Stephen, thanks for the memories. It’s been pretty amazing. Keep in touch, chief!

FYI He can wear the hell out of a blazer, like a boss!

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Before normal service resumes…

I know I’ve been a little lax of late, but I do have good reason. MY BIG BROTHER GOT MARRIED!

Yep, after 6 years of being together and 2 years of engagment, my brother made an honest woman of his girlfriend, Anne and now they are Mr & Mrs Darby. They are currently enjoying their honeymoon in Italy.

Here they are below with their guinea pigs, Poppy & Daisy.Chris & AnneSo, we’ve now got a new Darby and I’m connected to this whole other family – pretty exciting, huh? (She has 3 brothers who are a lot of fun!)

Anne bought us a cake decorating course for when they return from honeymoon and I’m really looking forward to spending more time with her.

They are a wonderful couple and I am extremely happy for them.

So, that’s what I’ve been up to. There have been a few other things too, but they are for other blog posts. I hope to start posting a little more regularly after the 9th October.

Congratulations, Chris and Anne!

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‘Are you OK?’ Day

Today is Thursday, but as well as that, it’s ‘are you OK?’ day.

This idea was brought to my attention by Checks & Spots. The concept is simple. On a Thursday, you reach out to someone you care about, or even just someone who looks like they’re struggling a bit, and ask them if they are OK. In the time it takes for you to maybe have a coffee or relaxing cup if tea with them, you can have a quick chat and see if there is anything you can help them with or just offer a bit of support and empathy in order to try to stop little problems becoming big ones.

Gavin Larkin founded this idea after his father, Barry, took his life at 55.

It’s a very rare occasion, but I am with my dad today. I am working from home (my mum’s home) and he is working from Birmingham in the UK, which coincidentally is the same house (he normally resides in Kenya). So I took the opportunity to check in on him. Apart from a little gout, I’m happy to report that he is doing pretty well. His oldest offspring, my brother, gets married on Saturday, he’s happily making me coffee and his projects abroad all seem to be flying. He’s super excited about them.

It was good to double check he’s alright though. Will get mum later too and maybe my brother and his wife-to-be as I’m seeing them this evening.

So, are you OK?

Feel free to drop me an email any time at Pose83@hotmail.com if you’re feeling a bit rubbishy.

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We Went To Morocco: The Basics

We went to Morocco and more specifically Taghazout, just north of Agadir, which is where we flew in to from London, Stansted.

We surfed with Surf Taghazout / Maroc Surf Camp

These two websites appear to be for the same company. As a Digital Marketer I can see the sense in that, rank for different keywords, etc, etc.
They are both are owned by Mohcine Ababssa, who is of Moroccan origin and Maria Teles de Silva, who is Portuguese and met Mochine, her now husband, on a surf camp some 7 years ago.
The package we opted for was c€430 each, of which we paid an initial deposit by Paypal of about €165. We were a little dubious of the security of this, but we needn’t have been. The rest of the money was paid in Euros on our second day.

Accommodation

Our accommodation was a two bed apartment, with a double room and twin with a bunk bed in it. We also had a basic kitchen with gas hob that never worked, though the constant smell of gas lingered in the air, a sink and a refrigerator. We had a perfunctory bathroom, a lounge area with TV that we never used and a balcony with sea views, which was wonderful. The door leading out to the balcony also had a shutter. At night the door remained open, with the shutter closed, except for the last few inches. We could hear the sea at night. I miss that now I’m home. All I get now is the bin men dragging the wheelie bin off the curb at 6:30am.

Meals

Included in the price we received 7x breakfast, 5x lunch, 7x dinner.

All meals are served about 200m away at Cafe La Paix.

“Breakfast Complete” as it is known consists of:

  • English tea or coffee- you’ll have to ask for cold milk
  • An omelette or fried eggs – though he fired eggs are a little on the runny side, so we consistently opted for omelette
  • A basket of fresh French bread served with butter, jam and an a uniquely scented honey, which we believed to be eucalyptus
  • Fresh (the freshest) orange juice – super sweet

Lunch, as we understood it, could be taken from the cafe in the morning, but this was never necessary for us, as a packed lunch was provided every day on the beach.

  • Large, round, flat white bap filled with salad and alternations between chicken, sausage, egg and tuna
  • Fresh fruit – oranges, bananas, watermelon, pomegranate

For dinner, we could choose from the menu at La Paix.

  • Bread and olives
  • Salad for a starter – these were varied including tuna fish salad, carrot and cumin salad and eggplant salad, consisting of fried, battered aubergine
  • Main – Anything from the menu excluding lobster. There was a large variety of dishes including pizza, tagine, kebabs, paella, couscous and sandwiches
  • Drinks – Anything but alcohol, this isn’t on the menu anyway

Surfing

Surfing was scheduled as 5 hours for 5 days, with a day off when we wanted. As the week we went (week commencing 3rd September) was right at the start of the surf season, there were no other guests surfing with us. It would have been good to meet some other people, but the local boys were so much fun, this wasn’t a concern by the end of the week. The absence of other surfers in our group meant that surf times were a little more flexible.
Apart from being picked up promptly at 9:30am each day, everything else was quite relaxed, though every day did also start with a run up and down the beach, followed by some old school stretches.

Usually after at least 2 hours in the sea, we would break for lunch. Dependant on the afternoon surf, we would either return to the sea for surfing in the afternoon or read, swim, play bat and ball or just sunbathe. I know Surf Maroc were getting up for 7am surfs, but I enjoyed our ad hoc day. It gave us a little more freedom. However, if you’re going solo, Surf Maroc is probably advisable as you will meet other people. From my understanding they have more British tuition and all eat together. I don’t think we would have changed our holiday though.
We returned to our apartment between about 4pm and 5pm most days. On our day off we went to Agadir.

Other useful information about Morocco

 

  • The native language of Morocco is Arabic, but most signs are also in French. Most people we encountered also spoke some English, but having a basic grasp of French is useful.
  • At the time of writing the exchange rate was c11 Dirhams to the Euro and 12.95 Dirhams to the GBP.
  • However, you might find it difficult to get Dirhams in the UK. Take some Euros. There are some cashpoints where these can be exchanged for Dirhams and most banks will also exchange them, but you’ll need your passport to do this.
  • Though informed that I could withdraw money from my credit and debit cards abroad (Mastercard and Visa Debit respectively), this actually proved to be problematic. The only bank that I seemed to be withdraw money from was the General Societe, in Agadir.
  • There is no cashpoint in Taghazout. Get your money out at the airport
  • You can barter pretty much anywhere, in the Souk (market), on the beach, in shops. Never accept someone’s first price.
  • They drive on the right hand side in Morocco. I found the driving entertaining (I’ve driven in Kenyan), I think my companions found is terrifying.
  • If Moroccan’s offer you tea, it’s usually a sweet tea made from dried citrus, mint and apple. It is very refreshing and aids digestion.
  • A strict Muslim country, we found it difficult to find alcohol. We bought ours in duty-free before we left. We probably bought a little too much.

 

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We went to Morocco

Gone surfing, back soon

Gone surfing, back soon

I’m sorry I’ve not been posting this last week. Though I am regularly irregular with my postings, I don’t usually let so much time elapse between commentaries. However, I have been typing for as long as my tired eyes will allow me on my return journey from my holiday and now hopefully I should have a week’s worth of posts for you to enjoy.

So, I’ve been in Morocco for the last week, Taghazout to be precise, which is a little North of Agadir

[googlemaps http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?q=taghazout+morocco&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-a&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Taghazout,+Agadir-Ida-Ou+Tanane,+Souss-Massa-Draa,+Morocco&t=m&z=14&vpsrc=0&ll=30.512102,-9.677249&output=embed&w=425&h=350]

I probably should have left you with a simple ‘gone surfing, back soon’ sign up here or something, but I didn’t and I’m sorry. We did some awesome stuff this week though and if you enjoy reading about it even fraction as much as we enjoyed doing it then I’ll be happy. The next week chronicalises our surf trip to Taghazout, Morocco.

I’ve been accompanied by Claire Foley, who I think I have mentioned before. We met about 18 months ago on a Hofnar holiday and she rapidly became one of my favourite people. It probably helps that all we tend to do is fun stuff together; skiing, surfing, learning to snowboard, drinking, concerts. Along with Claire Foley was Clare (note the variation in spelling) Guest, who we met this year on yet another Hofnar holiday. Clare was the key instigator of this trip and really made it happen. She did a lot of the research and ultimately encouraged us to book, for which I am very grateful for. Clare also brought along her friend from work, Georgina. So there were four of us waiting at Stansted airport on 3rd September 2011 unsure what lay before us.

We have varying degrees of both surfing and travelling experience, Clare being the most proficient surfer, with me probably being the most inept.

I hope you’ll come back each day this week to discover how our holiday unfolded.

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What’s in the box?

??My brother’s soon-to-be wife, Anne, was kind enough to send me a box of products that she likes for me to review.
They include
- The Clinique 3 step system for dry skin
- 2 x Barry M eyeliner pens
- Barry M waterproof eyeliner
- Body Shop mascara
- Simple make up remover pads
- SP Colour protect shampoo & conditioner

Below are the videos I made to talk through the items. I have also discussed some dry skin remedies and a few other bits and pieces. The video is in 3 parts.

 
 
 

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What to expect from a Brazilian wax

I’m going to Morocco on Saturday and after months of self-waxing, I thought I’d treat myself to a professional de-fuzzing.

After driving passed Tans & Hands in Cardiff yesterday and recalling that a friend had recommended them for a manicure, they seemed like the obvious choice for my intimate waxing, naturally!

Checking out the website, the options are as follows:

  • Full Leg & Bikini Line – £20
  • Bikini Line – £6 (outside knickerline)
  • High Bikini – £10 (high sides and a bit off the top)
  • Forearms - £7.50
  • True Brazilian – £20 (all off except landing strip)
  • Playboy Bikini – £23 (all off except pencil thin strip)
  • Hollywood Bikini – £25 (all off)
  • Buttocks - £10
  • Las Vegas Bikini – £30(all off except bikini gems)

I didn’t need my legs doing. I shave them. I know, it’s not advised, but it’s the summer and I haven’t had chance to ‘grow them out.’

Outside knickerline – amateur.

High sides – I guess I could have gone down this route, but it’s still pretty tame in the name of research.

Forearms? – I’m fair, I don’t need this.

So now we come down to the real competitors…

Playboy bikini – I really didn’t like the idea of asking for anything Playboy. It reminds me of the hideous mess of a man that is Hugh Hefner. [Dry heave] Yuck!

Hollywood – As glamorous as this may sound, I didn’t want to look like a child, you know, down there. Plus, according to my waxer, that last little bit in the middle, the landing strip, is the worst to remove.

As for the Las Vegas – glitzy? Maybe. Practical? Not so much.

So I went for the True Brazilian and, well, it was an experience, which I will share with you, just so you know what to expect.

This was my first Brazilian and when the waxer told me to remove everything, I wasn’t sure if I’d miss-heard her. I had not. Every item of clothing on my bottom half had to be removed. She gave me a ‘modesty towel,’ which was rendered effectively useless by the end of the session.

She used hot wax, which is different from regular waxing with strips. With this method, the wax is applied hot and left to set. Once it has set, it is whipped off, much in the same way a wax strip would be, but this technique does not tug the hairs so much, so is a little less painful.

She started across the top and then went right down the sides, where I had to bend my leg up in a frog-like position, concluding with my, er, ‘crack’ as she put it, which involved lying on my side, bottom leg straight and top one bent. This area wasn’t actually too painful. There were only a few incidents where it really smarted, inducing a sharp intake of air through clenched teeth. After the waxing, she tidied everything up with tweezers and applied some sort of soothing lotion.

I am not to exfoliate for a week now. The area looks a little red and feels a little breezy.

Yes, I felt a little exposed, I never even knew my waxer’s name and I kind of felt like I should have taken her for dinner first, but I’m strangely proud of the result. It looks clean, but still adult, without looking too much like I work in the adult film industry.

I can’t imagine I’ll go for this wax too regularly, but it wasn’t as hideous as it could have been.

Any questions, feel free to ask. Oh, and I’d definitely recommend Tans & Hands if you’re in Cardiff.

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Bank Holiday Superstar: You Deserve To Be Loved

I hope you’ve had a good bank holiday weekend if you’re in the UK and that your Monday hasn’t been too painful if you’ve been working, but it’s over now and I hope this will make you smile, even just a little.

Saturday Superstar hasn’t featured for a while, because there is no point in having one for the sake of it. I think that defeats the point. Now, I know it’s not Saturday, but it is Bank Holiday Monday and this person made me stop and think and ponder. It’s amazing how a strangers actions can elicit this response. While I have done very little this weekend in the grand scheme of things, he reminded me of all the little things that have happened over the last couple of days which have made me feel loved.

I Skyped my mum this weekend, which was very funny, especially when she waved a slightly bemused cat in front of the monitor. She helped me choose the earrings for my brother’s wedding and we waved manically at each other via our tiny webcams, pretending we were back on the game show my family were on when I was 9 years old.

My dad called (from Kenya, where he lives) and we ended up speaking for almost an hour. He reminded me of how strong I can be and I really needed to hear that from him. He then regaled me with stories of his judging for Miss Kenya. There’s a blog post coming for that, I think.

My brother’s fiance got in touch too, to ask my opinion on eyeliners for her wedding make up. This may seem like a small gesture, but we don’t always get on the greatest, so I really appreciated how hard it must have been for her to call me.

My best friend from school phoned too and we discussed swim suits, work and men. And as I said goodbye and walked away from my sweet, funny housemate, who was off to watch Jersey Shore and drink champagne, I walked in to the path of this busker singing Coldplay and Adele.

You deserve to be loved

So, if one sign can encourage me to recall all that, this man is a superstar. He seemed to be doing pretty well in terms of earnings and while many people may have wandered by, without even acknowleding this simple sign, I thought about how he’d conceived it, crafted it, painted the letters, outlined them in black, carried it in to town with him and drawn attention to it by singing behind it.

You do deserve to be loved and there’s a good chance that you already are well and truly adored. So, maybe this post will make you stop and consider just how many people are loving you and who deserves your love in return.

Enjoy your week. x

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