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Happily uncreative

I aspire.

I desire.

(I perspire).

I want.

But, it seems, it’s just not meant to be.

Whilst I can appreciate art in many forms, place value on the productions of others, it seems that I’m just not particularly creative.

Not that I can’t be creative to a certain level but I’ve long since realised my limitations in that area.

But realisation doesn’t stop the longing, the niggling feeling that I should be able to create something that is borne from me, something with meaning and value.

So I keep trying.

I conjure up word play in silly stories, blast out blog posts, tinker with web pages, play with photography.

None of it sticks.

But that’s ok.

Every time I try I learn something else, there are no failures, how can there be? I’m not doing any of it for anyone but me, so as judge and jury it is my own counsel that is silently kept. My inner critic happily announces that my latest offering is “not quite good enough”, or “could be better”, and the expectation is set anew.

I wonder how it would be were I to look at something I’ve created and instantly think “yes, that’s good”.

Will I ever know?

Regardless.

Happily imperfect.




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Hello 2013

Around this time last year I realised that I had already begun my resolution. Not that I do the whole New Year Resolution thing, and technically this change of attitude had already kicked in but, regardless, it became a bit of a theme for me.

Largely my focus was to avoid negativity and, for the most part, I did pretty well. I relaxed. I calmed. I stepped away from conflict.

Sure, I screwed up a few times but that’s part of life.

So, what will this year hold? No resolutions but another change in attitude for sure, I can say that with some confidence because it’s already started. A determination has, over the past month, slowly been building and as other pieces of my life fall into place I think 2013 will be a good year. Of course I’ve no idea if that will hold true but the signs are good.

Some things that are definitely going to happen, new tattoos (I have one still to book for my last birthday), Glastonbury, and I turn 40.

The latter might be more of a driver than I care to admit.

There is one thing that I am going to focus on. Not the guitar lessons (which I got a starter of for my Christmas from my gorgeous girl!), not the weight loss and general ‘health kick’ which I will get back on, not the hope of reading more books, not the desire to spend less time wasting time (Playstation, social media consumption), instead I’m going to focus on the one thing which I already know has a big impact on me and my life.

Sleep.

I’m a bit of a night owl, always have been, but add in my desire to manage my own mood in the morning by avoiding traffic and most nights I’ll end up with 6-7 hrs sleep. That’s fine really, but it’s the weekends that skew things. Late nights I can handle but I’m beginning to realise that the long lie-ins add to my ‘I should be doing something’ itch.

Don’t get me wrong, some mornings they are needed, and I do love lying in bed next to Kirsty, supping coffee and swapping stories, jokes, pics and anecdotes (from Twitter, Facebook  and so on, obviously), but some mornings I end up with that nagging feeling in the back of my brain, the voice that says “you could’ve been out for a cycle and back by now”, or “why not go for a nice walk”.

I’m going to try and start listening to that voice a little bit more often I think.




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One for the men

I have been converted.

It started as a bit of a whim, a bit of a ‘hey, I might try that’ but it’s already blossomed into a wonderful ritual and, quite possibly, the beginning of a slightly fetishistic obsession.

I’ve started reading blogs about it, watching videos about it, and with each new piece of paraphernalia I discover I disappear down yet another rabbit hole of delight, a warren of wonder awaits.

For many years, every since I started doing it when I was barely into my teens, I’ve not really given it much thought. You learn one way of doing it and go with the flow don’t you. Sure there are trends and new ideas that come on the scene but, fundamentally, things don’t really change.

But I’ve finally seen the light and in the last couple of weeks, despite the odd mishap, I’ve been converted to a new way of thinking. There is something about the fact it takes a little longer, that it needs attention to detail and a slow, steady hand, that appeals. It’s not often in today’s hectic rush that we take the time to do something properly, although I think it’s a trend that is reappearing as we all start to rebel against the manic pace of modern life.

If I’m honest, I was a bit wary at first but it took only one go to convince me that I had found a wonderful thing. It’s a bit like discovering that there is coffee beyond Nescafe, fillet steak beyond McDonalds hamburgers.

I can still remember that slightly nervous feeling I had but the minute I was finished, and ran my hand over my face I was amazed!! Who knew switching to a double-edged safety razor would have such an effect!!

What prompted this? One article on the excellent Wirecutter website on the best safety razor (seriously, check it out, if you want the best of things this is the place to go).

If I’ve piqued your interest, then I’d suggest you do a quick bit of learning and as an inexpensive way to start, as you probably already have shaving gel, grab this Wilkinson Sword Blades Classic Double-Edged Razor +5 Blades for less than £7.

The handle is plastic, so it’s light and easy to use and after a couple of shaves you’ll have the basics down. You will notice an immediate difference to those safety bladed shaves you are used to, and yes there is an increased danger you’ll nick yourself so be careful.

If, like me, you like the better things in life, you’ll start to look around for something a bit classier and soon you’ll realise that there is a wealth of choice available. You’ll probably want to look into getting a good shaving brush, soap, and a heavier weighted shaving handle and the minute you start reading up on this stuff, well it could take you weeks.

If it helps, here is my current setup:

It’s not that cheap to get started and I’ve yet to get a shaving mug (used to generate a good thick lather) as I’m still learning the best way to handle the razor but it’s next on the list, but once you have the basics, the only things you need to replace over time is the shaving soap (or creme) and the blades themselves. The rest of the kit should last a lifetime.

A while ago, I had a shave with a cut throat razor. It was a gift, the full experience, hot towels, preparation balm, massage, before the shave itself. I can honestly say that I am getting a better shave with my current setup (although that’s likely down to the training of the woman that shaved me, and I’m not convinced her blade was sharpened properly either).

I urge you all to try it, even if you start with the cheap Wilkinson option, it will change your approach to shaving and become something you enjoy, rather than a chore.




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