Thinking over Christmas

I find it difficult in this massively connected world not to feel involved in these events that have occurred. There are (sometimes live) pictures of everything, videos, people who are actually there telling you what is happening as it happens – so it is expected that people feel involved when things like this happen.

The lesson that I am starting to learn, especially with the perpetual driving of life pushing us along, is to protect an area of your life where these things can’t effect you. For me it’s my home. We have just decorated for Christmas and it easy to think – as you’re putting up baubles, “what does this matter when bombs are being dropped? Or people are fleeing for their lives?” but this is a situation that you can’t allow yourself to be drawn into. All the problems of the world are too big for a single person to worry about and when it comes down to it, sometimes the small problems in your life mean more than the worries of the world.

With this in mind, I am really looking forward to our first Christmas together. The house has new floor down and the Christmas shopping is done! We have our plan of attack set out for Christmas day too – so this will be my first time going to Laura’s family meal on Christmas day! We also have the Christmas meal with our friends coming up, so there will undoubtedly be many picture of that with last years being an absolute storm.

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Christmas Meal (with friends) 2014

I’m back on decorating duties again this year. Which, as you can see were top notch when we were at Carl’s.

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Enjoying our Costco bounty whilst watching the final of I’m a Celeb. It didn’t make it past the first ad break.

I have a great load of time off over Christmas too, so I am looking forward to spending it at our home and with family over the Christmas weeks, especially after such a busy year. Then, once New Year comes the real count down to the wedding will begin, plans for the stag do and a trip to Newcastle with work for filming.

It’ll be go, go, go!

Finding Time

Dear Reader,

 

I have been struggling to find time lately to write anything on this. In fact, I have a whole pile of pictures to share with you from my trip to Wales which  I haven’t even edited yet! But I thought I’d drop by and let you know how things are going.

Recently I have been scouting out small production companies around the UK and watching their short films. There sure are some talented people out there! And, I have been reading the tweets of people who work for themselves – filmmakers, authors etc.

In doing so I have given life to the embers of wanting to create.

It is my dream to work as an editor on feature films or television dramas. That is where my passion lies. But – as all industry individuals will know, you can’t get there by sitting on your hands and whistling Dixie. My new years resolution, which I aim to prepare well for, is to take that small tentative step forward into inspiration. I’d like to write a script for a short film and then actually produce it.

Nothing crazy.

Just something simple.

Something to help stoke the flames and breathe life into my ambitions. I’ll update you along the way with the process of this endeavor, starting with getting over the fear of actually making anything in the first place.

Until next time.

 

Edinburgh Trip 2015

If you read my last post then you will know that myself and my friends went up to Edinburgh for a short weekend trip. There will be a post coming about it with photographs, but for now I will leave you with this to give you an idea of what went on…

Our Trip: Edinburgh from matthewjdaniels on Vimeo.

Weekend Update: Blackpool, Breakout, Derby

Getting chilly at Blackpool 3.10.15

Winter is most definitely coming.

This weekend we visited Blackpool with the kids and Laura’s family. It’s a place that I vowed to never return to the first time I went and upon a second visit, cemented my original views. I have no qualms about the city, its buildings, its streets or even the illuminations. But there is just far too many people for me. It’s too over crowded in tourist season and I get the general feeling of being unwelcome. Is that strange?

Walzers make me puke.

The kids had a great time on the rides, though we managed to avoid most of the arcades and after well deserved (and long-awaited) meal in a pub we headed home. Opting (mistakenly) to walk back. With Laura feeling under the weather we should have gotten the tram, but hindsight is a blessing after all.

Blackpool family pier , 3.10.15

Sunday was derby day, a big day in Liverpool where the two local football teams come head to head in the league. They play it twice a year, and this years primary fixture was at Goodison. We witnessed a hearty 1-1 draw in the raucous atmosphere of the Camp and Furnace where there was more beards than beer and the hipsters reigned supreme.

Break out rooms have become one of our favourite past times as a group of mates, and Sunday night we took part in a new(ish) one in Manchester. After taking way longer than expected to arrive, due to an anti-austerity march in Manchester.  We tackled the room, and although by the time the 60 minutes were up, we hadn’t got out. We were annoyed because we felt like we had solved virtually none of the room, only to find out we were one clue away from breaking out. Foiled again.

This week entails another lone sitting – with business as usual a week today.

Wedding Update: Hotel is booked!

Just when you thought it was safe

Invasion of the body snatchers

My fiancée just tackled this beast with a glass and a wedding magazine. The only casualty being that magazine as the spider moved too quick to save it once they were outside. Thank you for your sacrifice!

Pavement pounding

Recent picture, pre-run, obviously looking forward to it. 29.09.2015

At the beginning of the year it is safe to say that I wasn’t feeling happy biologically. I felt slow, lumbered and in a pretty shitty mood. I decided it was my general health and fitness that was the cause of my perpetual grief, so I decided to do something about it – pulling on my running shoes and shorts and getting out onto the open road.


My first few runs, when I look back now, were pretty abysmal, though were expected of someone who had done little more than walking to the fridge for exercise in the previous 12 months. I was averaging around a mile and a half and I’d come back sweating, sore and feeling worse than when I started.

However.

It was amazing how fast this changed. Like the changing of the tide, I awoke the next morning with a spring in my step, my lungs felt great – like a muscle that has been stretched and is ready to tackle the days work. I no longer felt downtrodden and tired. I had slept better than ever due to my excursion and had awoken a new man!

I endeavoured.

Six months later and I had been running once or twice a week, periodically I admit, usually using the excuse of “not having enough time” to go for a run. It is an excuse people in the fitness industry, most probably, hear a lot – but it’s ridiculous. Even if you put aside 40 minutes of your day, you can get a great run in. For those even more pushed for time, a surface skimming search on Google can unearth some fantastic pulse racing, lung busting exercises that can be completed in 20 minutes.

There is no excuse.*

When I started running I set my sights on each kilometre.

1K .. 2K… 3K…

Then after 3k was down, I dived head first into my first 5k run.

It was tough and it took its toll. Unlike the runs I was performing twice a week, I didn’t enjoy my first 5k as much as I thought I would. I harked back to younger days when I played Rugby for my secondary school and could breeze through a 5k in 25-30 minutes, but this time around I was pushing on 40.

Flash forward  and I have had an outrageously busy year. Work picked up, we moved house and my running schedule took a hit over Christmas. I had lagged too far behind the pack and was now struggling to get back into it. Then a few months ago I began again. I started using an app called “Zombies, Run!” and it was a revelation. An audiobook style running companion that tells a tale, incorporating sprints and objectives to your standard everyday runs.

I began clocking up the miles again and within a few weeks I had burnt through 6/7 4k runs on my new route and finally decided to tackle the 5k once more.

First 5K back into training
First 5K back into training

I felt a lot better than the first time I had tried the 5k. Something was different, maybe it was an easier route, or maybe after weeks of longing to make something of my self the simplest thing had occurred – a change in my attitude.

Change can be big or small, obvious or discreet. Sometimes it can even be bad – but for me, the smallest change in my attitude towards running made the world of difference. My choice of run is a 5k and I feel disappointed when I can’t complete the distance. Within a week or so of finishing the 5k pictured above, I set myself a new target – 10k.

Ridiculous isn’t it? Someone who runs 5k in 38 minutes wants to run a 10k?

Not ridiculous, it’s a target, an ambition, a goal.

It’s one that I hope to achieve quickly, as you see I have signed up for two 10k races in November, one of them being Men’s Health Survival of the Fittest and I fully intend on smashing them both. Initially I don’t care what time I bring in, I just want to finish the distance. Then I will know whether that small change was really worth it.

For now, I will focus on bringing my 5K time down, at least for a couple of weeks, then I will begin to really push the distance. Then, hopefully by the time the 7th of November rolls around, with a bit of will power, adrenaline and foolish confidence, I will be able to drag myself over the line with the rest of my team.

Latest 5K, time falling.
Latest 5K, time falling.

*unless there is some sort of underlying medical condition – in that case you’re okay.

The Engagement (2015): An open letter

Dear party people,

Everybody has those life events that we celebrate like it’s the end of the world.


For us, Saturday was one of those celebrations. It was a night to celebrate my engagement to the wonderfully angelic and mesmerisingly beautiful Laura, and to preempt the many years of happiness that await us.

One of the items abandoned and recovered Sunday morning
One of the items abandoned and recovered Sunday morning

Family from all corners of the Kingdom arrived and friends from all walks of life added to the fervour of a party that was hosted at my parents house. It was a night to remember, but unfortunately one that I can not.

Party scenery at Mum and Dad's - Sunday 27/09/2015
Party scenery at Mum and Dad’s – Sunday 27/09/2015

Although I am left with few memories of the events that took place (with the void being sporadically filled by hazy flashbacks) I have the overwhelming sense of enjoyment and love from all those that turned up and those who passed on their condolences for their absence.

I don't even know what this is or where it came from!
I don’t even know what this is or where it came from!

I thoroughly had a good time and I owe it all to my fantastic family and friends who made the night what it was. From playing complicated drinking games in the kitchen which we finished with a hailing of “Shall we just do shots?” – to singing and dancing the night away in a cramped living room at 3am Sunday morning.

Best man and myself - sometime Sunday morning 28/09/2015
Best man and myself – sometime Sunday morning 28/09/2015

I am also elated  that all of our groups of friends were able to mingle and get along seamlessly – a testament to their character and their attitudes. I think I can speak for Laura when I say that I don’t know what we’d do without you all and we greatly appreciate you all being there on Saturday night.

Wife to be and the girls - 26/09/2015
Wife to be and the girls – 26/09/2015

I am looking forward to celebrating our wedding day with you all (and a few extras) in 313 days time, but let it be known, that you have set a precedent from the Engagement Party which I expect to either be met or preferably exceeded by the time the 7th of August comes around next year.

Thank you all again, I am now off to practise my whip  and naenae.

Matt

[photographs provided by Paul Daniels & Amy Davies]