Saturday, 29 October 2011

Winchester filofax up for sale

I previously blogged here about the vintage filofax I was given, and I have finally got round to listing it on eBay. After lots of TLC and airing, it's scrubbed up beautifully and I decided to list it before I seriously considered keeping it! I admit it did cross my mind to give my Uncle-in-law some money and sell my Malden. However, I know I'd really regret getting rid of my wonderful Malden! 
If you're interested, the listing can be found here.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Competition time

After the recent filofax competitions, I've decided it's time to host my very own here!
I recently purchased some beautiful leather covered notebooks and decided one of them would make a lovely prize.

Up for grabs is an A6 hardback lined notebook with a red leather slip cover. The finish reminds me of the Amazona filofax range, feels great to touch and smells scrummy. The great thing is that the cover isn't permanently attached, so you could swap it to another notebook once you've filled this one up.

Front
Back
Inside
Interested in winning this beauty?? Here's how to take part:
  1. What time does the second aikido class finish?
  2. What is the name of the aikido club teacher?
  3. How much does your first aikido class cost?
  4. What colour clothes am I wearing in the shiatsu video?
  5. What was I diagnosed with that led me to complementary medicine?
  6. How much do I charge for 10 minutes of seated massage?
  7. What are the names of the main contributors to Philofaxy?
  8. What is the date of the next Philofaxy London meet up?
  9. Who is Filofax collaborating with to create two limited edition organisers to be launched during London Fashion Week 2012?
  10. What country does Steve live in?
The closing date for the competition is Sunday 13th November, and good luck!

My 1st dan grading

I've been a bit hesitant previously about putting the video of my grading on my blog and I'm not sure 100% why. So, here it is!


Since my grading, I've been helping out more in our first class and it's becoming easier to find the words to explain movements and principles. Previously, I found I could do a movement, but couldn't explain it in a clear and concise way to some one else. Then again, this will be some thing that needs practise. Going back to basics with a beginner will only enhance my own understanding, which is funny as I used to find it hard to understand what a more experienced student would get out of practising with me!

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Michael Franti & Spearhead at Koko, London

We went to see Michael Franti and Spearhead for my husband's birthday and stayed overnight in Camden, rather than rushing back for the last train. Thanks to lastminute.com, I managed to get the hotel room at a third of the price and nearly shrieked out loudly in reception on seeing the normal £299 per night price!!
It seems most people we know have never heard of the band, which surprises me considering how long they've been together and how awesome they are.
You can find out more about them here and see more photos from the concert on Facebook here.


After enjoying being near the front at King's X, we decided to get to the venue earlier to reserve our space. I am so glad we did! (You can enlarge any photo by clicking on it)
 




It's the most fun I've ever had at a concert and we met the wonderful Hanka and Tanya, also pictured here with J Bowman who is lovely.
To my delight and slight disbelief I was called up on stage to dance!


We jumped, danced and laughed during the 2 hours that they played, and the photos on Facebook are a good reflection of the smiles and enthusiasm of the fans! I found the music so positive and the band has so much energy. 

The next morning, we had breakfast at the Diner and blimey, I underestimated the size of their blueberry pancakes with maple syrup! I also ordered french toast, which was scrumptious too.
Before and after... I was never going to finish them. 
We then took a leisurely stroll to catch the train at Waterloo, which I enjoyed much more than taking the tube. I was quite excited to pop into AcuMedic which is a Chinese medicine and acupuncture centre/shop. Eventually I had to drag myself away from all the books, and purchased The Medical Classic of the Yellow Emperor and some Ylang ylang floral water.

Photos courtesy of Michael Franti and Spearhead, Hana and my hubby.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Blogging from the heart

I've realised recently that I've been limiting what I post about, and for no good reason really. I originally started the blog about studying shiatsu, and then slowly aikido and other subjects snuck in. And I think I've felt I shouldn't write about other ideas or subjects which interest me, which seems a bit silly now!

So, I guess this is to introduce the idea that I'm planning on posting more about what's important to me or interesting at the time, rather than restricting myself to certain subjects. I hope this means a more interesting and varied blog :)

Things I have an interest in and haven't blogged about much:
  • Minimalism, simplifying my life and working on wanting less
  • Improving my productivity (Getting Things Done, Inbox Zero and Zen to Done mostly)
  • Improving my positivity, ability to relax, self confidence and mindfulness
  • Learning to embrace change
  • Reading
  • Meditation
  • Qigong
  • Tai chi
  • Becoming greener 
  • Becoming more creative.
For example, I recently took up tai chi and am absolutely loving it, but as it doesn't neatly come under the heading of shiatsu or aikido I didn't mention it! I practised for about 2 years a long time ago and thought I'd take it up again one day. One of our newer aikido students teaches it and I was hooked after one class with him. I'm finding it quite challenging and I'm always mentally tired after a class, with slightly shaky legs! I had originally taken up kick boxing as my second art, but kept finding excuses not to go to training which is a sure sign for me that it's not what I want to do. It hasn't been exactly a conscious decision, but shiatsu, aikido and tai chi will all feed into each other as I become more experienced in them.  

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Inbox Zero using Gmail


My email always used to be out of control, and many replies would start with a 'sorry for the delay in getting back to you' line. I found I dreaded opening up Gmail and looking at emails that I'd read, but hadn't worked out what needed doing on them. I tried all sorts of ways to tame my inbox like starring emails, creating tasks, and using an add-on called Taskforce but found nothing really worked until I came across Inbox Zero.  

'Inbox Zero is a thing that was cooked up by Merlin Mann, the cre­ator of 43fold​ers​.com.
It’s about how to reclaim your email, your atten­tion, and your life.
That “zero?” It’s not how many mes­sages are in your inbox–it’s how much of your own brain is in that inbox. Especially when you don’t want it to be. That’s it'.

If you need to bring some sanity to your email, then I'd really recommend this. There's lots of good ideas offered, but the important part for me is that any email has a limited number of actions possible.
In preferred order, they are:
  1. Delete (or archive)
  2. Delegate
  3. Respond
  4. Defer
  5. Do.
Generally I try to handle an email only once, but some times I won't have the time, energy or interest to deal with them there and then. This is where my labels come in as you can see below:

As this is mainly my personal email account, I don't normally need to delegate, but I immediately label a message and then archive it. As you can see from my screenshot, my Inbox is empty which I absolutely love! At the time of this screenshot, I had some sub-categories of my @ do and @ reading labels to make it easier to spot what's outstanding, but I've now deleted them as those specific messages are dealt with. When I first started using Gmail I went a bit crazy with the labels, but have found the less the better, especially where the search function is so good (unlike Outlook!). As you can see, I also use @ someday/maybe and @ waiting for which I've been using since getting into GTD. I do have other labels, like shiatsu and aikido, but they're more for archiving. I've set most of the labels to only show in the list if there are unread items, and many @ reading emails skip the inbox and show up as an unread count instead.

At the moment I have a fair number of emails to work through which is just down to sheer laziness. I've realised recently that I'm not as good as I thought at completely relaxing, so I'm being lazy on purpose, if that makes sense? I do feel though that getting to zero won't be hard work, which is a real change. If you could peek into my filofax, you'd find next actions called 'get @ do to zero' and 'get @ reading to zero'.
I then use use an online timer called Tick Tock to help me focus solely on that task for the given time, after clearing away any distractions and making a lovely cup of (normally rooibos) tea. I'll then treat myself to some thing like reading the Philofaxy web finds or playing Phoenix Wright on my DS lite!