If you've been following my Instagram endeavours, you'll know I'm getting into my photography in a big way (another of my unofficial 30 Things). At the moment I'm being very self indulgent - over exposing and filtering to my heart's content because the vibrancy and contrast is really appealing to me. I've no doubt my tastes will change as I develop my skills and I'm due to inherit an SLR soon so watch this space. I've barely even begun to master my digital camera (preferring to work on my humble iPhone. Did I read somewhere you can now take a degree in iPhoneography?!) before I'm plunging headfirst into SLR!!! It's all a little daunting...
"Getting into photography" has sparked my interest in the little things of nature (animate and inanimate) and trying to get up close and personal using macro. Before I was only after the big stuff, the safari stuff. It hit me whilst at Arnside in Cumbria last week that stalking nature's minute creatures is just as exciting as stalking the big ones... and when you get the coveted shots, it blows your mind!
With regards the inanimate stuff, that has actually sparked my interest in gardening and all things flowers. I'm starting to appreciate the colours and purpose of the things around me. We've hung a bee and ladybird house in the garden and I've even joined BBC's beewatch initiative because it combines my bee photography with recording and conservation efforts.
Re-designing the garden was another unofficial 30 Things for this year and you can see in my pics the story of what we started with and what we've got now. It's definitely been a journey! Wandering through Shipton Bellinger yesterday in the sunshine, I was reading about the decision to include horticulture into the curriculum which I think is a fantastic idea. There is a distinct lack of skilled and knowledgeable workers in this field and those jobs are currently being filled by overseas experts. It makes sense to me that we should be nurturing home grown talent. Excuse the multitude of puns there. All we ever did at school was grow cress. Now there is a pop up garden initiative being introduced to kids up and down the country. If there's one thing I've learned with my classroom antics, it's that kids today need stimulating activities to keep them interested. Their attention spans are so short - but that's a whole new blog post for another day... Touching on the subject here if you're interested in some facts and figures. Otherwise, enjoy the pics!
I swear the internet weather sites had our study bugged prior to our jaunt up country last weekend. We weren't going, then we were, then we weren't. In the end, we committed and told the owner of the guesthouse to expect us. The weather finally looked promising and I started to pack in a hurry as I'd left it so late. But, as with all things UK weather related - and judging by my luck (all bad) this year in getting the sun to follow me around - the predicted weather did a 180 on us and we were facing cloudy, rainy, miserable days. And to make matters worse, it was going to be the hottest week of the year down south. In fact, everywhere but where we were headed was going to be sunning it up. We looked set to get stuck under a weather front that really wouldn't give us a break all week. Still, the rare butterflies we were after were said to be better photographed in overcast conditions, so maybe we would get lucky. One always hopes!
Starting optimistically I packed for all conditions much like I did for Cornwall last month. We got a few hours up Arnside Knott Sunday afternoon and found one of the three rare species - High Brown Frit. The wind was howling but the sun was shining so that took the edge off a little. Monday was much the same although more overcast. We managed to find one Northern Brown Argus who was so cold, I could pick him up and watch him visibly shiver in my hands. Tuesday it drizzled and rained and drizzled a bit more all day long. By the end of the day I was totally fed up and ready to throw the towel in. Watching the weather back home was not helping my mood. Macro photography, well any type of photography is nigh on impossible in the rain and when that's pretty much the sole purpose of your visit, it gets depressing when you can't do it. But then an amazing thing happened - the sky parted - and we went to bed that night thinking Wednesday might just be our lucky day. And it was! I wouldn't call it a sunny day, more part cloudy with bursts of sunshine tempered with a light breeze rather than gale force winds. Perfect weather for macro photography - and my landscapes. Newly emerged Scotch Argus stole the show today and we got pic upon pic of all three species except a decent side profile of the High Brown rather disappointingly, but still, a good day all round. Our high spirits restored, that evening we ate delicious fish and chips on the pier to celebrate and dried out our soaking wet feet (poor shoe choice!). Thursday was wind down day. It rained in the morning (there's a surprise) and we ventured out briefly during a short spell of sunshine in the afternoon. However, the finale of our trip was the best and I guess it's true when they say good things come to those who wait. Matthew Oates (one of the top butterfly and habitat conservationists in the country, who also works for the National Trust and is a poet on the side) joined us for dinner at the pub next door and then we finally got to see an Arnside sunset. They say the sunsets here are some of the best in the country.
How would I sum up this trip? Despite plucking numerous ticks and harvest mites out of our bodies, enduring not the best weather conditions for photographing macro, putting up with sopping wet feet everyday and trying to avoid chips with everything, I'd say we pulled it off quite nicely - but I am glad to be back home. Home sweet dear home where at least the sun shines more often!
Summer is finally here she says as a storm rolls in...! I know, I know, but the temps are still in the 20s so who cares. You're probably thinking what, summer was last week for us. Well, true, but I've been upt north getting blown to bits, walking in drizzle, sloshing through mud and praying every second (it seemed at the time) for the teeniest break in the clouds so I could vary up my landscape shots. Amazing what you wish for when you're in the only part of the country that isn't sunning itself! You couldn't write it, honestly, you couldn't. Anyway, more on that in my next post because despite the weather, we were successful in what we set out to do.
As we drove back down the country north to south, it was glorious weather and you could feel the temperature rising (which always cheers me up). The different counties we passed through looked splendid in the sunshine and the colours so vivid everywhere I looked. I wanted to sing out loud - although that would have put Colin off his driving, I'm sure. Anyhoo, after unpacking the car, I hit the shops and bought all the goodies of summer I could find. My kitchen was a mass of colour as I found homes for it all. Notice the chocolate in the fridge. Haven't had any melting mishaps since March. Yes, it really has been that long! (Remember I was in Cuba exploring Trinidad in the pouring rain when you had 28 degrees back here during that week in May).
And now the sun is back out again so all is right in my world.
Seeing more of the UK was one of my unofficial 30 Things, so here we are the furthest I've ever been north (in England) in gorgeous Arnside just across the water from Windermere, the start of the Lake District. The panoramic view from our house is stunning and with a bakery below us, the pub next door and the famous chippy down the road, I can quite happily say we're in heaven. Now, we just need to get the sun to keep shining for us...
Originally I was going to self publish an informative eBook on Amazon to do with all things self publishing for item 15 of my 30 Things project, but then I had a much better idea. Why not visit my old school and create a children's series instead. Everyone thinks it's easy to write for children - few words, nice story, bright illustrations - after all, we were all kids once right. Yet there's actually a lot more to it than that. The words have to be the right words and by "right" I mean a whole definition of things. And the pictures have to be stimulating enough to hold a child's very short attention span whilst telling a story all by themselves. Far from being the most easy, it's probably one of the most difficult genres to write for. Not being a parent yet myself, I was also interested to learn that every age group has a graduated reading and writing ability but often this is so slight, you might miss it. For example, I presumed Year 1s and Year 2s (ages 5 to 7) would all be at the same level give or take a few pupils. This graduation was highlighted to me when I looked back through the stories and pictures each class had worked on for our children's series. Getting them involved meant I had live, hot off the press research in my hands. They were basically teaching me what I needed to know about writing for their age groups!
I don't know much about teaching but I do know (from playing with my nephews and nieces) that it has to be interactive because kids get bored. So I devised a story creation selection process. Volunteers from each class had to select elements out of a hat to build their particular story and this developed the backbone of the story. I wrote down each element on the white board to keep track. To illustrate, these were the building blocks:
BOY OR GIRL OR TWINS (Reception to choose only)
NAME (Reception to choose only)
ANIMAL / INSECT
WONDER / LANDMARK / FAMOUS SITE
Reception had the most important job of all because they were deciding the main character - what gender, what name... then later what hair colour, what eye colour etc etc
And so... Georgie's Fabulous Adventures were born!
Here are some of the stories and pictures I'm now going to work with and magically mock up into first proofs whilst the kids are on their summer holidays.
As this particular publishing journey of mine develops, I'll be sure to update you.
It might surprise you, or it might not that I get sick to the stomach before I have to stand in front of a crowd and present. Five minutes before I'm due to start, I'm ready to bottle it and do a runner instead. What I'm learning the more and more I make myself do it, is to channel the fear into exuberance - and if you know enough about your topic, you won't need any notes, maybe just a few prompts - and it will be your enthusiasm that wins the audience over. I usually do masses of prep beforehand, create way too many note cards, practice in front of a mirror blah blah blah, but for my latest efforts, I just thought about what I wanted to say over the course of a few days. Thinking it over and over was calming and made sure I got some sort of order fixed firmly in my head. I used the visuals to prompt me rather than spilling over my notes. This method forced me to look at my audience actually in the eyes (er scary!) and talk to each and every one of those children (and their teachers), making it a personal (and fun) delivery of my travel experiences. I also gestured a lot to take my mind off my pounding heart beat. My other trick is to deflect the attention off myself every now and then with questions and debates - oh, and games. Give yourself a breather if you can. It will settle the nerves. But this wasn't solely for my benefit. I was thinking about my audience and anticipating their boredom threshold. When I saw a few yawning faces, I knew it was time to change it up. Always have your audience in mind prior to putting the presentation together, then you can be prepared whilst remaining in control.
Why was I putting myself through this? Well aside from being one of my 30 Things, it was also due to the fact at some point or other, if I want to sell copies of my books, I will have to do public speaking. And I need as much practice as I can possibly get. Also, I'm pretty fed up of always feeling sick and nervous over something I actually do want to enjoy. What do they say? If you don't like something - change it!
Going back to my old school (previously Warmley CofE and now St Barnabas CofE) was a great experience. The school was bigger (more buildings meaning more classrooms / activity rooms) but the actual amount of classes had been slashed by half (only 7 now) making the school feel more like a cosy, friendly village school, which I guess was the idea. Break times and lunchtimes were staggered unlike the way I remember with hundreds of us kids running around the playground and the school field that seemed to go on and on forever into the distance and a handful of dinner ladies trying to keep us in line. The gym still smelt exactly the same after lunchtime - that made me chuckle. No sweets or chocolates or crisps in the lunch boxes. Toast at morning break. Calming music to start the day. Maybe I'm just out of touch, but school was a completely different beast when I was a youngster. A different way of thinking, a different syllabus, a different type of discipline...
One thing that doesn't change is a child's unbridled enthusiasm. It's still infectious. I thoroughly enjoyed talking to all the age groups from Reception up to Year 6, but I have to say talking to Reception was the most fascinating. The absolute wonderment on their faces of learning something new was magical and their innocence endearing. They haven't had a chance yet to be tainted by all the bad things of this world and their minds are receptive, open and honest. Nerves aside, I had a marvelous time and I'm glad I made myself do it.
One step closer to conquering the fear!
Before I blog about my double session of classroom antics (involving two of my 30 Things), I promised to post up Year 4, Year 5 and Year 6's answers to the game we played yesterday. These are pupils from my old school - St Barnabas CofE Primary. The object of the game was for them to see how well they know their classmates, as well as get them thinking a little about travel.
We split the classes into two teams and they each had a card to write down their answers, then the teams took it in turns to figure out whose card I was reading out (3 guesses only otherwise the point went to the opposing team).
Great fun, a very high level of competitive spirit and some very funny answers!
These were the questions (and my example answers):
1) If you could travel to any place in the world, where would you go?
My answer: Brazil to see the Jaguars
2) What one item would you take that you couldn't live without?
My answer: My iPod / iPhone as must have music when I travel
3) If you could travel with a famous person, who would it be?
My answer: Joanna Lumley as she's not only passionate about travel, but funny too
4) What one food would you not be able to stomach even if it was the last food on earth?
My answer: Tarantulas
And now for the kids:
1) America 2) iPod 3) Rihanna 4) Snails
1) Africa 2) Money (Euros) 3) Cheryl Cole 4) Tarantulas
1) Egypt 2) Inhaler 3) Michael Morpurgo 4) Fish
1) Spain 2) iPod 3) Joanna Lumley 4) Tarantulas
1) Australia 2) PSP 3) ? 4) Monkey brains
1) Hawaii 2) Xbox 360 3) Brian Cox 4) Tree Netter
1) Spain 2) DS 3) Justin Bieber 4) Tarantulas
1) Spain 2) iPod 3) Katy Perry 4) Bugs
1) New York 2) Xbox 360 3) Jeremy Clarkson 4) Tarantulas
1) ? 2) My family 3) ? 4) Tarantulas
1) Greece or Rome 2) A story 3) Harry Hill 4) Sheep brains
1) Spain 2) My dog 3) Messi 4) Tarantulas
1) France 2) iPod 3) Jowan J 4) Tarantulas
1) Africa 2) iPod 3) Steve Backshall 4) Tarantulas
1) Greece 2) DS 3) Lewis Hamilton 4) Tarantulas
1) Spain 2) My cup 3) Simon Cowell 4) Tarantulas
1) Africa 2) Teddy 3) Katy Perry 4) Tarantulas
1) Egypt 2) I could not live without my phone 3) My friend Imogen 4) Tarantulas
1) America 2) My teddy 3) David Beckham 4) Spiders
1) Spain & Egypt 2) iPod 3) Katy Perry & Selena Gomez 4) Tarantulas
1) Corfu in Greece 2) Phone 3) Santa 4) Sharks
1) Africa 2) Camera 3) Cheryl Cole 4) Tarantulas
1) Africa 2) Shoes 3) One Direction 4) Snails
1) Africa 2) Camera 3) Harry Hill 4) Lambs testicles
1) Africa 2) iPod 3) Gray Barlow 4) Tarantulas
1) Brazil 2) Laptop 3) Harry Styles 4) Tarantulas
1) China 2) Shoes 3) Reana 4) Snails
1) Africa 2) Laptop 3) Rihanna 4) Snake
1) Egypt 2) Phone 3) Bear Grylls 4) Mosquito - JACOB
1) Greece 2) Xbox 3) Bear Grylls 4) Slugs
1) Cyprus 2) Laptop 3) David Beckham 4) Pig's legs
1) Jamaica 2) Camera 3) Will Smith 4) Slugs
1) Jamaica 2) Xbox 3) Alan Carr 4) Poo
1) Caribbean Islands 2) Computer 3) Gary Barlow 4) Snails
1) Brazil 2) Pony 3) Jessie J 4) Spiders
1) The Maldives 2) iPad 3) Cher Lloyd 4) Tarantulas
1) Africa 2) iPod 3) Katy Perry 4) Scorpions
1) Greece 2) Phone 3) Bear Grylls 4) Gherkins
1) Spain 2) Phone 3) David Beckham 4) Snake
1) America 2) Computer 3) John Terry 4) Bugs
1) Egypt 2) Phone & iPod Touch 3) Jessie J 4) Tarantulas
1) America 2) iPad 3) John Cena 4) Pig's nose - ETHAN
1) Brazil 2) Xbox 3) Randy Orton 4) Poo
1) Paris 2) My teddy bear 3) Jaqueline Wilson 4) Sprouts
1) China 2) Water 3) Lewis Hamilton 4) Bananas
1) New York 2) Phone 3) Selina Gomez 4) Beetles
1) Egypt 2) Chocolate 3) Bruno Mars 4) Gravy
1) Spain 2) Clothes 3) Stacey Solomon 4) Centipede
1) Libya 2) Laptop 3) Steven Gerrard 4) Worms
1) China 2) Water 3) Bear Grylls 4) Scorpian
1) Costa Rica 2) Water 3) Bear Grylls 4) Poison
1) Australia 2) Toothbrush (iPhone) 3) Prince Harry 4) Witchetty grubs
1) Spain 2) Phone 3) Jessie J 4) Spiders
1) Benidorm 2) Laptop 3) Jessie J 4) Tarantulas
1) Egypt 2) Money 3) Bear Grylls 4) Poo
1) Australia 2) Phone 3) Taylor Swift 4) Snails
1) Africa 2) Phone 3) Cher Lloyd 4) Snails
1) Africa 2) Phone 3) Jessie J 4) Fish eye balls
1) America 2) All my DVDs 3) Seth McFarland 4) Spiders
1) Brazil 2) Shotgun 3) Bear Grylls 4) Insides & bugs
1) Niagara Falls 2) Phone 3) Steve Backshall 4) Tarantulas
1) China for the pandas 2) Phone 3) Robert Pattison 4) Fish eggs
1) LA in America 2) Laptop 3) Michael McIntyre 4) Pig's ear
1) Australia 2) Phone & Camera 3) Steven Gerrard 4) Rabbits
1) Africa 2) Laptop 3) Bear Grylls 4) Nothing
1) Chad 2) iPod 3) Bear Grylls 4) Poo
1) Australia 2) Phone 3) Jessie J 4) Fish eggs
1) Australia 2) Camera 3) Jacqueline Wilson 4) Tarantulas
1) Barcelona 2) Laptop 3) Lee Evans 4) Tarantulas
1) Chad 2) iPod Touch 3) Bear Grylls 4) Dung Beetles
1) Kenya in Africa 2) Camera 3) Steve Backshall 4) Crocodile tongue
1) Argentina 2) iPod Touch 3) Matt Smith 4) Black Widow spider
1) Japan 2) Xbox 3) Jackie Chan 4) Fish
1) Australia 2) Blackberry phone 3) Justin Bieber 4) Squid or fish
1) Australia 2) Phone 3) Justin Bieber 4) Squid & insects
1) Brazil because of the view in Rio de Janeiro 2) Phone to text my mum how I'm getting on 3) Lionel Messi 4) Mushrooms
1) Las Vegas 2) Xbox 360 3) Ed Sheeran 4) Maggots
1) Brazil 2) Penknife 3) Russell Howard 4) Snails
1) Kenya 2) Penknife 3) Bear Grylls 4) Rats
1) Egypt 2) Xbox 3) Keith Lemon 4) Squid
1) Germany 2) iPod 3) Eddie Murphy 4) Tarantulas
1) Spain 2) iPad & charger 3) Bear Grylls 4) Squid
1) San Francisco 2) Phone 3) Amanda Holden 4) Insects
1) Australia 2) Clothes 3) Rizzle Kicks 4) Mushrooms
Here we go then, the highs and lows of my published year (06 July 2011 to 06 July 2012) and being connected with a rapidly changing industry - and I've gone back through my 2011 and 2012 diaries and made notes so I don't miss anything...
The first thing to say is, I knew Little Child was not about to sell a million copies... not a thousand either... not even 100. One always hopes of course, but thanks to several workshops and networking events leading up to publication, I was brought to my senses in time learning how the publishing industry is a completely different beast to what I remember fifteen years ago. Net result? I was only going to sell masses of copies if I put in some serious leg work. And I mean serious. Like basically doing everything from editing to researching to marketing - myself. Oh, and giving up my full time job.
As with any topic and debate, unless you have a keen interest in the subject matter, why would you know anything about it? So, quickly coming to the realisation that nobody around me had any of this knowledge, I was keen to explain how the industry was in turmoil - but even then, I had no idea of the potential.
On 10 July 2011 I launched my website as a follow up to my Little Child Facebook page. I started tentatively blogging, dabbling in HTML coding and thinking of ways to get the knowledge out there so I could help fellow aspiring authors and writers.
13 July 2011 saw the Amazon launch (along with other book websites) of Little Child and the eBook format for Kindle came out a day later. That was a highlight for me. I was finally on the giant Amazon!
Now, I'm the type of person who likes all her ducks in a row, so when I got to see the pricing and the delivery details on these websites, I can't say I was happy. The pricing was high and the delivery info. was inconsistent. But I couldn't do anything about either and that was that.
14 July 2011 was the day I started thinking about my marketing plan - not much of which I've ticked off to this day hahaha !!! With the best intentions, I will get to it. It's all about priorities and my priority is not to hard sell Little Child at this time. You will see why as you read on...
19 July 2011 I received my copy of Little Child and I was over the moon, not even caring that I looked ridiculously flushed in the photo I took in very crap lighting (more chuckles). The next day I started researching into self employment and setting up my own writing business.
I signed my first ever book on 25 July 2011. That was another big moment. And that's when I started to realise it's actually the little achievements which are more rewarding and fulfilling at this point in my career.
27 July 2011 my contact at the Publishers was replaced. This was also the day my Agent uploaded a press release to lots of Newswires.
I was understanding my place in the Industry much better and it made me want to work harder - for me and me alone. I knew it would be a steep learning curve - and I also knew it was going to be rocky, difficult and at times utterly soul destroying.
More happy news now. On 02 August 2011 I received my first ever book review - and thankfully it was positive!
07 August 2011 I submitted my Author info. to Amazon for them to approve and upload.
Then I hit a low. I was getting criticism from the people I least expected to hear it from which is hard to chew on let alone swallow. Unedited typos were being brought to my attention and I don't mind telling you now, I felt an absolute fool. I'm a perfectionist and these were tough times.
Good always comes from bad and on the upside, I was also receiving some blimin' fantastic feedback. People who had gone through depression, child abuse, drinking all relating to the story. People who hadn't read for twenty years plus picking up my book because I'd written it. People congratulating me on the rollercoaster pace, the packed emotion, the complexity of the characters... This was feedback I welcomed with open arms. Even if there were negatives, there were positive too.
On 17 September 2011 with the help of a friend, Little Child was featured in an iPaper - newspapers that exist purely on tweets and links - and now I was blogging regularly gaining more and more hits on my website (talking early hundreds, not thousands though).
26 September 2011 I registered as self employed and a month later on 26 October 2011 my writing company Piara Strainge was official.
03 November 2011 I received my hilarious Royalty Statement which wouldn't even buy me a grocery shop - but we all have to start somewhere right!
In the rundown to Christmas I was still blogging, interacting on Twitter, making friends with other Indie Authors with varying degrees of success in Indie Publishing or Self Publishing ventures and generally really enjoying my social media networking and maintenance.
On 27 November 2011, after talking to a friend at work, I got a "30 Things to do before I'm 30" idea into my head and I couldn't shake it. My contract with my Employer was being extended month by month and I knew I had to cut loose, or I never would! So on 30 November 2011 I signed a contract for the last time up until the end of the year. And I felt so good once I made that decision.
03 December 2011 I booked my three weeks in Canada. This was going to be my "get it altogether" time with family and that's exactly how it went down.
06 January 2012 I blogged my initial 30 Things list. Two months late but oh well. I'm not one to hurry.
10 January 2012 I began my "Am I bonkers?" blog series which detailed starting life as a freelancer. Originally I was referring to being a writing freelancer but with the advent of my 30 Things project, I seem to be freelancing in anything and everything!
11 January 2012 saw technological advancements as I linked my website to Twitter, which then automatically updated Facebook, making light work of my social media antics.
On 08 February 2012 I got 100 followers on Twitter and two days later, I finally had a 30 Things plan of action.
You know that marketing plan I started thinking about on 14 July 2011, well I looked at it again on 11 February 2012 and put it in some sort of order. Think I may have even ticked a few things off!
An unofficial 30 Thing took over for much of February as I eBayed like crazy getting rid of some of my old stuff.
On 04 March 2012 I re-wrote my Homepage making it more anecdotal, a day later I re-categorised the tags on my blog and three days later I bought my domain name for another 12 months, set up Google Analytics, gave my website a design overhaul and added a Live Twitter Feed to the Homepage.
More unofficial 30 Things came next emptying the large guest bedroom for redecorating and re-designing the gardens. Also plans to see more of the UK this year...
On 21 March 2012 I sent my 1000th tweet!
10 April 2012 I received my first self assessment return but no earnings yet hehe
May and early June saw quite a few 30 Things being ticked off plus I slept overnight at an airport for the first (and probably not the last) time due to a very delayed flight, watched an England International at Wembley and enjoyed the Diamond Jubilee celebrations.
On 12 June 2012 I returned to my old school and started creating a Children's story with the kids. I also caught up with my first ever teacher who taught me to read and write!
19 June 2012 I finally set up Hootsuite to help me with my social media exploits.
03 July 2012 I set up my Author page on Facebook so I could use Hootsuite to send tweets through Twitter to this new page. I've been scheduling tweets (thanks to Hootsuite) which boosts website traffic and keeps my followers engaged. I also have PhotoInk tweeting on my behalf.
04 July 2012 saw my first celeb follower on Twitter - fabulous!
And bringing us right up-to-date, on 06 July 2012 I flew a Tiger Moth to celebrate Little Child's first anniversary.
So as you can see, not much room for marketing and selling Little Child although I've still got plenty of ideas running through the old brain box - and I will get to it eventually. I'm not measuring my success on monetary value, but instead against the happiness meter. And I'm happy with how it's all going right now whilst I flit from project to project. I may not have sold many copies, my Royalty Statement may be pittance and my Amazon rankings poor, but once I get the bit between my teeth, I'll go for it and we'll see what happens...
To celebrate the first anniversary of Little Child, I completed one of my 30 Things - flying a Tiger Moth!
Check out the video below:
If I thought May whooshed by, I have absolutely no idea where June went. Terribly aware I'm two thirds of the way through my project time frame ahhhhhhhhhhh
Here's a 30 Things update for June:
As I mentioned in last month's post, items 2 and 23 are complete - photography course (and tour of London) and ride on the London Eye.
Still "in progress":
The children's stories (15)
New desk area (21)
Thames Trail (30)
My Tiger Moth flight (item 10) got postponed by two weeks so hopefully I'm doing it this Friday - that's if the weather can be kind - and I'm going back to my old school for a second visit next week to present about travel and writing to the Juniors (item 22).
Talking of the weather and how dismal it's been; if it ever cheers up, I'll be ticking off walking the beautiful Jurassic Coastline (item 7) and completing the parts of the Thames Trail I'm really looking forward to. Chomping at the bit to get these things in the diary!
Another unofficial "30 Thing" under my belt - haven't visited the Eden Project for a few years now, but went along there last week during my stay in Cornwall and climbed up to the Rainforest Lookout which gives you views over the complete Rainforest biome. Pretty awesome.
Finally, I've been working hard on my photos attempting to get 10 ready to submit to Shutterstock (item 17) and I'm about to book my weekend TEFL course (item 26) for September. Actually hoping to have a very productive July and get most of the remaining items in a state of progress, but won't set myself up for a big fall yet *chuckles*
1. DONE - Fly First Class long haul from anywhere to anywhere
2. DONE - Take a photography course
3. DONE - Experience the Caledonian sleeper train to Scotland & ride around Edinburgh in a funky Billy Connolly style Trike
4. DONE - Visit 1 of the countries in my Top 3 “before it changes forever” list - Cuba
5. IN PROGRESS - Sort out proper storage for my favourite belongings
6. DONE - Try 3 new variations of foods
7. Walk the beautiful Jurassic Coastline
8. DONE - Complete a family tree with at least 50 people on it
9. DONE - Fun family photo shoot
10. BOOKED - Fly in a Tiger Moth
11. BOOKED - Tandem sky dive
12. DONE - Bake a marble cake just like my mum’s
13. DONE - Make a decent curry
14. Finish writing the Dalton Trilogy
15. IN PROGRESS - Self publish an informative eBook or a children's book on Amazon
16. Publish a paid article
17. IN PROGRESS - Feature photos on shutterstock.com
18. Catalogue my last 10 years of travels
19. Lose 14 lbs
20. Host a dinner party from scratch (3 courses)
21. IN PROGRESS - Build a new desk area for the office
22. BOOKED - Do 1 presentation to an audience
23. DONE - Ride the London Eye
24. Interview 3 Indie authors from Twitter
25. (Market and) sell 100 copies of Little Child
26. IN PROGRESS - Take a weekend TEFL course
27. DONE - Achieve 3000 unique visitor hits on my website in a month (Feb 2012 was 2816)
28. Make some serious progress on my Writers Bureau course
29. Local book signing
30. IN PROGRESS - Walk parts of the Thames Trail
Blogging is an amazing concept so here I am giving it a whirl. You'll get words. You'll get pics. Sometimes a vid or two. You'll get tongue in cheek, the odd humble opinion and an honest insight into my travels and writing life. Maybe even a few gems along the way. I'll be musing on home turf as I see more and more of the UK and sharing my experiences further afield on holidays and adventurous trips across the globe.