Pinterest should come with a risk of Addiction Warning.

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A few months ago I discovered Pinterest, this website has been described as “the new Google”, “like getting a new magazine in the post everyday” and as “electronic hoarding” – well I use google as my preferred search engine, love reading magazines,  and have subscriptions to cooking, women’s and gossip mags land on my doorstep weekly, and I am a hoarder, so I guess this is why I like this site so much.

Now just in case you are not aware of the Pinterest phenomenon it is an online pin board/notice board where you can save and share, well anything and everything, and there are a lot of categories to browse through. Now as the name implies you ‘pin your interests’ and it is a ‘visual’ site, it uses images, in a simple format and layout so that images that appeal to you capture your attention. There is an option to add a description of up to 500 characters to an image, but I rarely see anyone using the full capacity.

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Now I love coffee table books, recipe books, and in general any media that shows me ‘images’ of the outcome. It is said that “a picture is worth a 1000 words” and it always amazes me how  our brains, just by viewing an image can quickly take in so much detail and content – it takes seconds, whereas reading a paragraph of information takes longer and (for me anyway) is not always as interesting. If a picture appeals to you, your eyes are drawn to it, whereas words on a page are only words until you make an effort to read them.

One of the things I like about this site is that you can save from most websites (apart from Facebook), you can upload your own stuff, browse other peoples ‘pins’, follow boards, follow individuals and repin other peoples ideas to your boards – all with the click of a button. Pinterest is not just for individuals, you will also find popular magazines, brands and business have boards too.  It is a place to store (albeit publicly) your ideas, wishes and dreams.

My favourite things to pin are recipes, however  I have boards relating to all areas of my life, fun ideas for little one,  things I think are Good Ideas, things that  are Useful to Know and 44 others. I am working through my browser bookmarks at the moment and adding them to the applicable board, so much easier to find what I am lookng for by scanning images, than going through a 40 long list of drop down folders and around 900 bookmarks.

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I currently have 47 boards, have pinned 933 ideas, and have 71 people following my pins. I scan my main page and those I am following every couple of days, and if I am on a website and something catches my eye I will pin it, a lot of websites now have a button for you to pin directly, but you can add a ‘pin it’ button to your tool bar which is a really handy tool. I even follow links in subscribed foodie emails now as I have a place to store the recipes without adding more to my browser or having to log into each different websites ‘My recipe folder’. Its great when I am inspired by something or have an idea for a project that I can just find the method or solution for online and save it to a board for future reference.

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So you know that I check out the site everyday, and have pinned 933 items, so how many of these have I actually done? Well I guess around 20, mostly recipes, which isn’t too bad – hubby has loved a change from my usual repertoire of dishes, and little man has enjoyed trying new crafts and games that I had never heard of before finding Pinterest, and I have had fun pinning and planning, I know that I will never cook all the 93 recipes in ‘food glorious food or bake all the cakes in ‘Let Them eat cake‘ but the ideas are there if I fancy trying something different, and I have ordered some craft supplies to make some decorations for Valentines this year, and have printed off the instructions for a sock monkey and a memory bear, things I would not have thought about doing before becoming a pinner.

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If you are a fellow pinner enjoy my boards and if not I hope I have created enough interest for you to go an have a look, so go on and have a go – just click here – but be warned, if you are a hoarder, read lots of magazines and use the internet rather than the library to search out information, you are likely to become addicted.

Happy Pinning
Sharon x

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Day 101 – January 2013 – 977 days left, 7% Complete

Well here we are, nearing the end of January and as I did not do a resolution but 101 instead, I can actually say I am keeping up my end of the bargain. So how has my 101 been going.  Well deciding my first 67 of 101 was not too bad, I like lists, and had a mental list of things that I wanted or planned to do, however, I never really got on with anything on this ‘mental’ list because my other lists always got in the way – as you can probably tell I am a list person. For the remaining 34 of 101 I looked at other 101 lists, on Day Zero and on Blog sites, and also made a list of ‘things’ I should be making an effort to do – mainly related to my 4 year old son. So pretty soon I had my list, and a print out in my hand. Actually having it in black and white and for myself and others to see has given me the motivation I needed to actually achieve some other things.

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OK, so the challenge is to complete 101 preset tasks in 1001 days, and the criteria is “Tasks must be specific (ie. no ambiguity in the wording) with a result that is either measurable or clearly defined. Tasks must also be realistic and stretching (ie. represent some amount of work on your part).” So I sat down with my print out to ‘make a plan’ and that is when I realised that some of my tasks where not specific enough, some would cost me a small fortune, and some needed time frames added. So a few were amended, realistically I cannot afford to put £2 in a pot every time I complete a task, this month alone I have completed 9, so have reduced this to 50p, £4.50 is a lot more manageable than £18 and I will still have £500 when I finish my tasks. Setting a good time frame is a must too, I read somewhere that if you do something for 2 weeks it becomes a habit, and as I want some of these tasks to become habit they now have a two week time frame. (For my own personal interest I am going to do my best to cost up how much doing my 101 has taken).

So what have I completed:

Create a Day Zero Account – some would say that this should not be a task as you have to ‘do it’ to ‘do it’. That may be the case but I read about 101 on a blog and started making a list to see how difficult it would be to find 101 things and was dithering whether or not to sign up, putting it on my list reinforced for me that I was going to do this.
Cost: Time Free

Find 101 things to put on my list – again you have to ‘do it’ to ‘do it’ but finding 101 meaningful things to do is not actually that easy, I could only come up with 67 of my own, and then this was added to the list as it was a ‘task’ that required me to do some work.
Cost: Time and Brain Power Free

Make a Family Memory Jar – this is a relatively easy and fun thing to do, and I had thought about doing one before but never got round to it, so we now have a 2013 memory jar, with a few things in already, and I really hope I can keep this going every year now so that I can put them away as time capsules for my little boy.
Cost: Pennies as used stuff I already had lying around. Free

Memory Jar

Create a blog – you are reading it. I had wanted to blog for a while, as love reading other peoples, but not sure if I really had anything to share. In the past I had a couple of false starts creating blogs, I would create blog, publish one thing and then forget about it or have nothing to say. Now I have to find something to say as it also ties in with another of my tasks which is to publish 30 blog pieces.
Cost: Time (wordpress free blog) Free

Make a inspirational quote into a piece of home decor/art – have always wanted to do a funky ‘family rules’ for my kitchen and over the years had saved lots of images onto my hard drive of them, so I took all my favourite bits, put them into a word document, made it bright and funky and then printed it out. I had an old picture frame so I cleaned this up, used some spotty wrapping paper as backing and then cut out my rules and popped them in.
Cost: Pennies as used stuff I already had lying around. Free

Family Rules

See if I can sign up someone to day zero: I thought this would be quite hard, as it is quite a challenge to take on, but I posted on Facebook about mine and a friend saw the post, took a look at the day zero site and signed up.
Cost: Time Free

Learn how to Create an ebook: I love my kindle, and love all the free eBooks I have been given and was curious how to go about creating one, so set myself this as a challenge. It took a lot of research and reading, and hours to find the right (free) software, conversion tools etc but I could now confidently create an eBook that would work for kindle and other eReaders.
Cost: Lots of time Free


Coming soon to Kindle
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Buy Martha Stewarts Encylopedia of Crafts: Yep this is an odd one for a 101 list. This has been on my wish list for about 3 years now, but as I am not really a crafter and just wanted it for ideas and inspiration to make me into one, I rarely buy books anymore especially not coffee table ones so it was never at the top of my frivolous shopping list.  Am glad I have finally got around to getting it as it is a beautiful book with some lovely ideas and inspiration.
Cost: £12.99 £

Invite F and N to Dinner: I often feel that I don’t spend enough quality time with friends, and have been meaning to invite F and N over for a while but never got around to it – putting it on my list means not putting it off any longer and an invite has been issued.
Cost: nothing for the invite but dinner will be £££.

Well that’s 9/101 and £4.50 for a the Jar this month, add the £12.99 for the book and we have a respectable £17.49 spent this month.

At this point in time I have 18 tasks marked as ‘work in progress’, these are tasks that have definite dates, e.g. Valentines, or where the task is a monthly or ongoing thing – two new recipes a month, read a book a month, A-Z movies, A-Z music – and I look forward to sharing the what, whys and how’s with you as I complete them.

Activities done towards ‘Work in Progress’ tasks:

Movies – The Hobbit, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

Book – Your Heart Belongs to Me, Dean Koonz

Savoury Recipe – Garlic Dauphoniose Potato

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Library image, mine was browner on top

 Sweet Recipe – Jammy Coconut Tarts (Essentials Magazine Clipping)

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Little Man Craft – Cloud Dough (Pinterest – http://pinterest.com/shazziegee/fun-for-little-one/)

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Find my list here: http://dayzeroproject.com/user/ShazzieGee/list/64563

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Roller Derby Part 3 – Roller Derby & Retail Therapy

If shopping was an Olympic sport, and not the mundane grocery type but the full on retail therapy type, then I would be a contender for a gold medal, especially if I was sponsored. When taking up a new sport, especially a full contact one, I needed to be prepared to spend some money, clubs do have loan kit that you can borrow until you decide to commit and buy your own (and I would recommend this), but from past experience I know that if I am borrowing kit I tend to drop out of the sport after a few weeks, and for me having my own gear is a sign of my committing myself to whatever I am doing. I am an ‘all or nothing’ type of girl and roller derby is an intensive and serious sport and I know that I am more likely to stick it out if I have spent money – the upside of this is that I have kit I feel comfortable in, that suits my style and it means I can SHOP and indulge my inner ‘Retail Demon’, the downside, I never have any money.

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I had already been recommended skates and hubby had kindly got them for me as an early Christmas present, I just went for some cheapish Anarchy Mayhems as OWG have those as spare kit and they would be good enough for learning to skate and passing my mini-skills, at which point I assume I will upgrade, and have already been virtual shopping and bookmarked some Super Grip Rock Flames in Purple (nom nom). But anyway, that is jumping the gun a bit, and it will be a while before I am ready to upgrade let alone have the cash to do so, but a girl can dream, and I have a birthday in July.

Anyway I digress so should get back on track (no pun intended). In reality you don’t really need that much kit to get started and some websites do some great ‘Fresh Meat Packs’ where everything is in for one price – so your basic kit will be:

Quad Skates
Knee/Arm Pads – (Aggressive skating)
Wrist Guards
Mouth Guard
Helmet
Toe Guards/Snouts

When you are a newbie, there are other optional extras you can get too, like knee gaskets to give extra protection and support, padded shorts, and of course you will want to buy a team t-shirt (I am so looking forward to rocking up to the pub in my OWG Tee) and going forward your full team kit and some scrim t-shirts. If you want to skate outside of training you will also need to invest in some outdoor wheels. Then there are all the ‘frivolous’ things you can buy, OK you don’t really need it, but for a shopaholic like me it is great fun finding things I like and then saving for them, or persuading darling hubby to treat me. My frivolous purchases have included no fear eyes for the back of my helmet, leg warmers, and more recently a lovely purple no fear 18″ suitcase for carting my gear around… and I still have a list of things that would be nice/fun to have.

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Now luckily for me I found roller derby in November, and up till that point did not have a Christmas list, so one suddenly appeared, and by donation the mother in law bought my pads and helmet, my hubby got me my skates and Father Christmas bought me a whole stocking of roller derby inspired gifts –  stripy tights, funky pants, a Workout DVD, an RD Book, a balance board and a skipping rope (apparently great for working on core stability).

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So for now I have everything I need, not everything I want, just everything I need and I will just keep on dreaming and  pinning all the lovely derby things I would like onto my Roller Derby board on Pinterest. http://pinterest.com/shazziegee/all-things-roller-derby/

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To finish off here are some Shopping Tips/Lessons Learnt:

* Always buy the best you can afford
* Ask your team what they like/recommend
* Special deals – ask your team and look on forums for any special deals (I got a half pricestarter pack of pads thanks to a link Pina Collide Her posted)
* Borrow different skates and Pads
* There are some good groups on Facebook where you can get advice/recommendations – try UK Derby Dialogue
* When it comes to mouth guards go for one like a potech dent™ – you will be able to talk and not have to keep emptying out spit.
* Google Shopping – enter the product into google search and then hit the ‘shopping’ tab – a great way to see who sells what you want and compare prices.
* Team Discount – ask your team manager as some teams have arranged discount with retailers.

I ordered most of my stuff online going for the lowest price seller for the product I wanted so ended up buying from different companies/stores. In all honesty they have all been good, quick delivery, no complaints or problems with the gear.

Coming soon, Part 4 – Training. 

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Lost in thought

The last few days have seen the UK buried under a blanket of snow. In spite of this having become a seemingly annual occurrence, most of us Brits still appear to be unable to function when the white stuff hits. Our driving turns to pot and we panic buy all the milk and bread in sight.

This inability to function most often forces us to work from home. Having being put in this position on Friday (when my poor Peugeot was physically incapable of moving off the driveway), I thought it would be helpful to think up all my top tips for surviving working from home. 

Because don’t let it fool you… working from home is in many ways harder than working at the office. It takes far more dedication and focus to turn away from the daytime TV and change out of your pyjamas when this temptation simply doesn’t exist in the workplace.

So…

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Roller Derby Part 2 – Scrim & Skate

On Sunday 25th November 2012, with my hubby and 4 year old in tow, oh and my brand new, just out of the box, Anarchy Skates –  I headed to ‘Zombieland’ AKA Upper Heyford Gym, the home of OWG, to watch my first in the flesh Roller Derby Scrimmage. (I wouldn’t be human if I had not utilised YouTube to see what I was letting myself in for). Now hopefully you followed the wikipedia link in part 1 and know all about the sport …. ok, not to worry if you didn’t, here is a brief synopsis from Wiki just to get you up to speed:

Roller derby is a contact sport played by two teams of five members roller skating in the same direction around a track. Game play consists of a series of short matchups (“jams”) in which both teams designate a scoring player (the “jammer”) who scores points by lapping members of the opposing team. The teams attempt to assist their own jammer whilst hindering the opposing jammer — in effect, playing both offense and defense simultaneously. 

OWG are going up against SRT (Severn Roller Torrent) in a closed door scrim, meaning a) that as a scrim, rather than a bout, no points would be allocated to the league table and b) that as closed door, it was not a ticketed event or open to the public. This is also a special occasion – it is OWG’s first birthday and food and a roller disco are planned for the evening

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So I find myself a seat on the ‘bleachers’ with hubby and little man and get ready for the action to start. Some official stuff is going on in the centre of the rink with Refs, Team Captains and NSO’s (non skating officials) and then the music starts and  SRT skate out, as each skate name is called out a girl stands up and gives a wave, cool just like I have seen on YouTube, but better because I am here. Next OWG come out for a lap of honour and the same roll call process, some looking a little nervous but all obviously happy to be there. Then OWG line up with their hands out as the SRT girls skate past and hand slap along the line with lots of smiles and cheers. Let the game begin.

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Now this is where the problem starts for me, I only have a basic idea of game play, I do not know how points are scored, I do not know what counts as a penalty, and have a sports mad hubby asking me lots of questions. Now luckily for us, one of the OWG team was a spectator, how could we tell, well ST was holding her team shirt that she had just collected, so hubby asked her for answers to his questions and then relayed the information back to me. All too soon, half time came and it was time to say bye to hubby as he was taking little man home – and I was left as Billy no mates. So I joined ST, who skates as Misty Knight Mare, and had a chat about derby until the teams came out for the second half. Now going into half time the score was pretty dire in favour of SRT, they are an experienced team, whereas the current OWG line up have quite a few newly signed off skaters. Well I don’t know what happened in the changing rooms, but OWG really pulled out the stops in the second half, OK they did not reduce the score margin, but hell, they were fired and spectator wise it was great to watch. Now this is what I signed up for.

All too soon it was over, SRT did a victory skate around the rink to applause from the audience, they were then joined by OWG … and the roar of the crowd got even louder and it was time to PARTY … and to put myself on roller skates for the first time *Gulp*

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The main lights dim, the disco lights come on and music starts to pound from the stereo system. Luckily all the skaters have disappeared to get changed and ready to party meaning that I can put my skates on and wobble onto the rink without anyone noticing. At this point I am reciting a mantra to myself … you do not need to hold on to the side, you do not need to hold onto the side, you do not need to hold on to the side … and before I know it, and even if I am on shaky legs and frequently walking and moving like Frankenstein, I manage to get around. Go me!

After a few circuits I am already feeling the burn, well what do I expect, I have done no real exercise since becoming a Mum four years ago – chasing my boy around has been exhausting enough – and the teams are filtering out of the changing rooms now and into the foyer and they can see me. OK, they can see me, so self consciously I decide that this would be a good time to ‘take a break’. So I take my skates off, and wander outside for a smoke and bump into a couple of the SRT team who are getting some air and having a chat. One of the skaters makes eye contact, and with a grinning face and shining eyes (probably euphoria from the win) says Hi, I say Hi back, the way you do and the next thing I am asking how long she has skated and she is asking if I am a skater and I say that I have just signed up and start my basic training with OWG the following Wednesday. The skater in question was Beatrix Got’er, and her enthusiasm for the sport, and for anyone joining was immense. Beatrix basically welcomed me to the family and told me about some bouts coming up along with ‘You must come along and have a skate with us after’. I did not know her, she was on the opposing team, which in other sports generally means the ‘enemy’, and here she was giving me the equivalent of ‘verbal hug’.

ImageA Beatrix Got’er hug.

We all headed back inside and I took some time to chat to some of the OWG girls, better to break the ice now, when they were not focused on training, than wait till Wednesday when I would be too worried and nervous to even look anyone in the eye. All too soon it was time for me to head home, leaving the disco in full swing, and put my little man to bed. I went over to say bye to our Derby Mamma SmackHer Lazarou and the first thing she said “I was watching you and you did OK” – music to my ears. With some time and effort I can do this …. and it seems a few others know I can too.

My next roller derby blog will be all about my favourite pastime – shopping!

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RIP Beulah Ballbreaker

Today I have felt sadness for the loss of a well respected, much loved, Derby Girl. I did not know her personally, but recognised the name – I was doing some blog writing this evening and the name ‘Beulah Ballbreaker’ was in my notes because of a blog she posted in October, I had flagged this as ‘inspirational’. 

Beulah Ballbreaker did not only inspire her team and her family and friends, her passion for Derby also inspired others who she did not know. My thoughts and prayers are with her family, friends, team and anyone who feels saddened by this loss.

If you would like to read the blog that I liked so much you can find it here:

http://www.rebellionrollerderby.co.uk/?p=1161

RIP Beulah Ballbreaker

 

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Roller Derby Part 1 – My Journey Begins.

A few years ago I was fortunate enough to spend some time chilling out (OK working) in the USA, and this was the first time I saw Roller Derby, not in the flesh but on a trashy 3 am sports channel – yep jet lag had me. My first impression – cool outfits, cool girls, cool sport, however I was completely obsessed with skydiving at the time and did not have room in my life for anything else.

Fast forward 20 years to November 2012 (jeez, has it been that long) and I am vedging out, channel hopping the TV, looking for something to kill an hour without leaving me brain-dead, and end up watching an American Cupcake challenge programme … guess what, the final challenge was to make cupcakes and a display for a Roller Derby Convention. OK they did not show any skating but they did show stripy tights, and hot, funky self-assured women (and a few dishy refs too). I remember thinking to myself … wish there was something like that in the UK, and then I forgot about it.

A chance chat a couple of weeks later with our local Christian youth worker SRG changed all that. SRG mentioned that she ached all over, “why?” I asked, “oh I had Roller Derby training at the weekend and it nearly killed me” was her reply. OMG OMG OMG (yes I was that excited) and asked in my usual impetuous way “Where, when, how, can I come”, “Sure” SRG replied “the team are recruiting now so I will let them know you are interested”.

So via email it was arranged for me to go along to a Wednesday night training sessions with the ‘Oxford Wheels of Gory – Roller Ghouls” to see what I thought and have a go on roller skates. Now, as often happens with email and chat, wires get crossed and no one was expecting me. So I stood a lonely old soul – and probably looking like a pervert – in a cold ex-army gym while girls with brightly dyed hair, tattoos, with both toned and voluptuous figures skated in their underwear.


http://www.oxfordwheelsofgory.co.uk/

Eventually I got the courage up to ask the caretaker who the boss was and a few minutes later I was being introduced to ‘SmackHer Lazarou” (JC). JC chatted (with passion) to me about Derby and the team and handed me a ‘Fresh Meat’ pack (Newbie Pack) to have a look through and apologised that there were no skates in my size free as they did not know I was coming. Was I disappointed – NO, the gym was cold, this was obviously a serious sport, and the coach “Pina Collide Her” (NM) appeared to be pushing the girls to the limit. To be honest, for once in my life, I had second thoughts. I was too old, too tired, too_________ (insert excuse here) to do this. So I left and drove home.

On the way home I thought about JC’s passion, I remembered the looks of determination on the girls faces (even the newbie skating up and down holding the side of the rink), and it made me think, this is something I could do where I could wear my underwear on the outside, dye my hair various colours, and show my tattoos without feeling like an outcast – I was going to overcome my nerves, bite the bullet and do this.

I arrived home and hubby raised an eyebrow and said “Well”, my reply “I need your credit card, I have to get some skates” “oh, and if your not doing anything this Sunday do you want to come and watch a scrim”

Hubby: “What’s a scrim”

Me: “ I have no idea, but do you want to come anyway”

Yes, at this point I knew nothing about the sport that I was going to sign up for.

… To be continued

NB:
Scrimmages are essentially practice bouts – find out more about the sport and game play at:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roller_derby

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