30 Things update
The penultimate 30 Things blog update is upon us!
I took stock of the list this month and, when putting together one of two iMovies I’m making to celebrate the year, realised I’ve actually completed quite a few projects outside of the 30 Things – those unofficial 30 Things I was always throwing in:
1. See more of the UK
2. Mega eBaying
3. Clear out office
4. Garden re-design
5. Make an iMovie
6. Get some real life interview practice
7. Experience an England Wembley International footie match
8. Climb the Rainforest Lookout at The Eden Project
9. Visit the British Music Experience
10. Climb Up at The O2
11. Take the new Emirates Thames cable car
12. Work on my photography
13. Go to a long awaited concert – Alanis Morissette
These will now be classed as official 30 Things as I roll the following bigger projects into my 30th year:
5. Sort out proper storage for my favourite belongings
7. Walk the beautiful Jurassic Coastline
14. Finish writing The Dalton Bridges Saga
15. Self publish an informative eBook or a children’s book on Amazon
18. Catalogue my last 10 years of travels
20. Host a dinner party from scratch (3 courses)
21. Build a new desk area for the office
25. (Market and) sell 100 copies of Little Child
26. Take a weekend TEFL course
28. Make some serious progress on my Writers Bureau course
29. Local book signing
I still hope to tick off item 16: Publish a paid article and item 17: Feature photos on shutterstock.com but should that not happen, I’m thrilled to announce I will complete 30 things to do before I’m 30!!!
This month I’ve walked the Thames trail section I wanted to walk (still so much to see and do but for the purpose of this, I’m happy) so I can tick off item 30 (and I made my first ever iMovie – another unofficial 30 Things), which brings my total to 26 leaving me with 4 items left to complete.
I’m well on the way to losing 14 pounds (item 19), I’m halfway through clearing out our office (another unofficial) and next month I’m going to New York (item 24). I’ve also got Alanis at The O2 (another unofficial) booked as a post birthday treat - something to look forward to after the big scary event of turning 3 0!
I know, I know, technically it happens after the big scary event, but I’m still going to count it in the list because it’s just way too cool not to.
As for the big day itself, I plan to be supping champers and taking afternoon tea at the delightful Blenheim Palace. Well, you're only 30 once, right! A charming end to a fantastic year.
Here we go then, the final push to the finish line :D
My first grey hair
I got so distressed about this, I decided to write a poem:
MY FIRST GREY HAIR
Oh my gosh
the time has come
to join the club
of the elderly one
Above my ear
I see you there
a little to the left
you nasty grey hair
I pluck and pull
with all my might
There's no denying
it's quite a sight
Mustn't let myself go
Taking it easy
Taking it slow
This silvery wisp
can go do one
It cannot take away
all of my fun!
British Music Experience
This is a must visit for all music lovers out there. I knew it was going to be good, but it surpassed all my expectations as soon as I entered the Intro booth. I had the Introduction to the BME to myself - it's like a mini cinema telling you what to expect and how to use your handy little Smarticket to capture bits and pieces of musical info. you might want to read up on when you get home. When I entered into the main event, I can only describe it as walking into Aladdin's cave of musical gems. A plethora of all things music awaited from costumes, props, instruments and memorabilia to famous concerts, important musical related dates and iconic singers, bands, movements and songs. On the face of it, that might sound a little dull, but let's add the funky lighting, the awe inspiring technology beaming out over 3,000 images, 600 video clips and 3,000 artist videos, and not forgetting The Core, the Edge Zones and the Gibson Interactive Studio. Everywhere you go music in all its forms bombards every one of your senses. This is the stand out feature making the exhibition so special and unique.
I was there to absorb the history of British music so spent most of my time in the Edge Zones. I used my Smarticket a lot because there's no way you can take in what each segment has to offer. My Smarticket now has the background to such things as the Mods & Rockers fighting it out in Margate, Band Aid, Britpop, and the birth of Rock n' Roll...
I could have easily spent several more hours wandering around but the O2 climb was calling, so I headed into The Finale booth and luckily enough, got to experience this all to myself. WOW WOW WOW. Described as "a complete sensory experience" it certainly lived up to the hype. I just stood there for 5 whole minutes completely lost in the thrilling visual and sonic montage of life-size scenes from the best concerts and acts in the last 60 years. The concert experience always gets me right there, and this was no exception. I almost blubbed in the sheer joy of it all. Well, when you love something that much...
Officially and unofficially I wanted to sample London's trio of attractions. The London Eye has been around for a while so it was on my 30 Things to take a "spin" this summer. Apart from being amazingly photogenic both during the day and then at night when it lights up, the Eye is a great experience for viewing London over this particular stretch of the Thames. I bought a flexi fast ticket, but still had to queue because it was so busy pre Olympics. We moved slightly faster than the queue with standard tickets and for the extra few quid, I guess it was worth it.
Just recently I took the new Emirates cable car over the Thames to whet my appetite for climbing the roof of the O2 later that day. I've travelled down to this part of London quite a bit over the years but never taken in the sights, so this was the perfect opportunity. I love cable cars and go on one whenever I get the chance during my travels. My favourites have to be Grouse Mountain in Vancouver and Table Mountain in Cape Town - and this one easily slips into my Top 3. Well, it's on home turf isn't it :D
When I heard you could climb the entire roof of The O2, I had to do it. Remembering the scenes in James Bond's Tomorrow Never Dies and it was a dead cert! It's all very safe and the guides are great fun. Just be prepared for a bouncy surface and using your arms to drag yourself up a lot on the ascent. The angles are steep (max 30 degrees) although it plateaus off towards the top. It would be cool if you could slide down the other side, but alas you have to walk it. Enjoy the feeling of your calf muscles working! All in all though, it's magical being above the Thames and well worth the effort.
Diary of a Freelancer
Depending on the phase of the moon, it takes varying amounts of motivation to get me started on a project. Once up and raring to go, I hit the other extreme and take on too much. The most annoying thing about myself is that I rarely see any of these things through to completion, but that's all about to change. In fact, I've already started this turn around mindset with my 30 Things which handily includes projects I desperately want to FINISH.
I love everything about magazines - the colours, the art work, the clever headlines and bylines, the mostly excellent writing, the glossiness, the fact they are jam packed with information just waiting to be absorbed... So now I want to be a part of all that. I have had some modest unpaid success - and looking back through those little gems was part 1 of the inspiration on this particularly relaxed Sunday afternoon. Part 2 came in the form of Roy Stevenson's article in Writers Forum where he divulges his secret formula for getting a 90% success rate when submitting ideas to Editors. Nothing that I didn't already know, but the key in the article was to give each link in the chain the same amount of undivided attention and not to neglect any of the stages. For example: Don't spend all your time on your query letter / email without properly researching some great facts and figures to whet the Editor's appetite.
I've been documenting my publishing journey where I blog about the highs and lows of my experiences and I'm desperate to attempt paid article writing (yes, one of the coveted 30 Things). So to kick off, yesterday I re-worked an article I wrote for Real Travel magazine 2-ish years ago on Responsible Tourism that got the "OK" from my Writers Bureau tutor. It was never acknowledged because said travel magazine went into financial difficulty shortly afterwards, but I hate to waste good material (and we are always encouraged to recycle as writers) so I cut the thing in half, updated the content and submitted as a column to National Geographic Traveller. I must point out here that you shouldn't wait as long as I have to resubmit to an alternative magazine, but, like I said, I go in fits and starts! Anyhoo, let's see what happens. In the meantime, it's high time I started Assignment 3 of my course (another 30 Things - to make some decent progress - considering I've been "studying" for far too long) which happens to be an open assignment where you can submit multiple offerings for review from your tutor.
I already have a great idea... must capitalise on it whilst it lasts.
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.