Posted in Uncategorized

Polly’s Pondering’s – Say yes, to less.

Polly’s pondering’s are very quick posts (that I can type into the WordPress App during my lunch break!) It is just me chatting about something that I have ‘pondered’ today and speedily typed up while munching on my bread-sticks and hummus. Consider it a take on modern miscellany with an older person’s perspective. This weeks pondering? Should we say yes, less?

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Full disclosure : I am not at work today, so don’t technically have a lunch hour, but I can sneak a bit of writing in on my phone while taking a coffee break, between wrangling 3 year old twins – hence this one is a bit later today!

Many of my Pondering’s propound the benefits of being polite and nice to people, and I still fully endorse all I have previously written on the subject, but let’s just have a quick chat, you and I.

Does your being polite to people often get misconstrued as a form of weakness?

Are you seen as soft, or a pushover because you don’t scream and rant at the slightest annoyances?

Do you worry that saying no to someone might offend them, and you therefore go along with suggestions you may not necessarily agree with?

Same! I have got myself into alsorts of trouble by accepting things I didn’t want, in fact I put my overstuffed house down to not refusing items at the risk of not being offered again at another time.

Obviously, saying yes can be good, sometimes. It opens us up to challenges and new adventures, and no-one wants to hang with a Negative Nelly who just shoots down all of your ideas and proposals.

But a no – said politely but firmly – is freeing you up to spend time on what you feel is important and helps your growth.

As Shakespeare points out in Henry V (yes, I literally know it off by heart!)

“Self-love… is not so vile a sin as self-neglecting.”

Be kind to yourself, this includes giving yourself permission to not do things you do not want to do.

Practice saying yes, to less, and recapture your space, time and freedom.

What will you being saying yes, less often to in 2019?

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Posted in Uncategorized

Polly’s Pondering’s – The danger of Sales

Polly’s pondering’s are very quick posts (that I can type into the WordPress App during my lunch break!) It is just me chatting about something that I have ‘pondered’ today and speedily typed up while munching on my bread-sticks and hummus. Consider it a take on modern miscellany with an older person’s perspective. This weeks pondering? Is it a bargain if you don’t need it?

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Sales: They don’t make good business sense

When doing my 10 minute research for this piece, I wrote the phrase ‘why discount sales are bad’ into Google, to get some idea about pieces that had been previously written on the subject. I was surprised that the first page of articles was actually aimed at businesses, and was explaining to them why having discount sales was actually bad for their business in the long-term.
The main reason for this being that if you as a company discount your products on a seasonal basis, then your customers begin to expect it, and after a while will actively put off buying from you, as they are waiting for the items to be discounted.

Sales :Are not good personal practice

Scour Pinterest, or those little craft shops that sell wooden plaques to hang in the kitchen and you will be familiar with sayings that people quote to convince themselves that they deserve treats and should buy what they want:

“ I am not a shopaholic, I am helping the economy”

“ Life’s short, go shopping”

“ Whoever said money can’t buy happiness simply didn’t know where to go shopping.”

However there is also the often stated mantra of those who disagree:

“It’s not a bargain if you don’t need it”

Think about it? Why are these things being so heavily discounted in the first place?
And are they actually discounted at all?

There are examples of items being more expensive in the sales than they were previously; people are lured in by the red ‘ SALE’ labels and the claims of money off. These fake discounts are particularly prevalent in the electrical and tech sales, where another trick is to only have a few ‘bargains’, that are heavily advertised to bring in crowds, but that are quickly sold. Once the customers have invested time by queuing to get into a retailer, they rarely want to leave empty handed, and often buy other items instead.

For those items that are being heavily discounted, you have to wonder why the business is so willing to make a loss on them. A glance through most sale rails will reveal the answers: unless you are a size 6 or a 22, you are unlikely to find anything that fits you. Or it will be unsold summer stock, or worse still, unsold stuff from last year!

I would like to leave you with this ( it’s a shorter ponder today as I am very busy in work and have a short lunch!)

Quote for pondering

Will you be visiting the sales? Love a bargain?

Let me know in the comments down below.

Posted in 40 x 40, Bucket List, Regarding polly, Uncategorized

Vlog Link – Sustainable Living.

Back in January 2016, I made a video; an introduction to my 40×40 Bucket List. since then I have made one every week. It has since evolved into a Kettle List vlog, what with me turning 40 and getting a new list and all, but the basic premise remains the same – I chat about Bucket List stuff, albeit sometimes tenuouSustainablesly.

As I now have a blog, it would be a bit remiss not to plug my Vlog and try and accomplish my dream of 50 subscribers, so from now on, once a week, this will be my Monday Thing: A rundown on the week that has passed, and what I have vlogged about. This week? Sustainable living – is it on the kettle list? No, but being alive is a prerequisite to completing my list, so it is tenuously linked by default…

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Fun fact: I studied Global Development and Sustainability at University. I was a total green-based hippy sort; into recycling, making my own things and reducing my footprint in terms of plastic, carbon and water use.

Second Fun Fact : I have accidentally been a vegetarian for a whole week. Ruined my streak by eating a chicken burger today, but I certainly intend eating less processed food and meat products going forward. So this week we are chatting about getting back to my sustainable roots…

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We first got a TV during that period when Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall were doing the rounds about free range chicken and eating better food ( I want to say it was around 2008, because Ethan would have been quite small and I remember him chasing the chickens we had up and down the garden) At no point during my experiment with ‘simple living ‘ did I think about going meat free. However my week of accidental vegetarianism has made me reconsider my goals with regard to how I want to progress both my health and my lifestyle.

I remember at that time that I got a copy of the classic John Seymour book on setting up self-sufficient farmstead on a small bit of land; the plan was to grow veg, make my own bread, generally live the ‘good life’.I am currently sat on my settee, on my lap-top, surrounding by tat wondering where it all went wrong. Although I don’t feel as passionate towards the whole eco living life as I once did, I certainly want to return to something less complicated and natural.

My home feels a lot greener now I have introduced so many plants, and this past week, where I have accidentally been a vegetarian has made me realise that I am in control – to a point- of what comes into our house, what I buy and what I eat.

It seems somewhat ironic as Christmas approaches – a time that is notorious for over consumption and temporary throw away tat – that I want to pick-up the green gauntlet, as it were, but I feel 2019 is going to be a year where I have to make a lot of decisions about what I am keeping, and what I am getting rid of, and how I intend living going forward. As part of this, I will be having a mass pre-Christmas clear out, and will be setting up that promised giveaway by the end of the week – Keep an eye on Twitter for info on how to enter.

What little steps are you taking this week that will make your life easier?

Posted in Uncategorized

Weekly Vlog Link – Travel Plans and a Give Away

Back in January 2016, I made a video; an introduction to my 40×40 Bucket List. since then I have made one every week. It has since evolved into a Kettle List vlog, what with me turning 40 and getting a new list and all, but the basic premise remains the same – I chat about Bucket List stuff, albeit sometimes tenuously.

As I now have a blog, it would be a bit remiss not to plug my Vlog and try and accomplish my dream of 50 subscribers, so from now on, once a week, this will be my Monday/Tuesday Thing: A rundown on the week that has passed, and what I have vlogged about.

This week? My travel plans for 2019

Last week was an interesting one: I completed (and passed!) my coach training, (to coach people, not to drive one!) I also started on my Christmas collaborations, continued my Christmas shopping and attempted getting a bit more organised… Which is, of course, why this post is late!

Here is this week’s vlog where I chat about my 2019 travel plans.

I am hoping to get a few short breaks in next year: last Christmas we booked a weekend trip to Berlin for the March, instead of presents, and this year we are looking to do the same, but it is a question of when.

I am hoping to go to Spain in May and possibly meet up with my friend, Yumi.

Another friend would like to go away for her birthday in June. It coincides with Hannah’s 18th birthday weekend, but she is off to London to watch Billy Joel with her sister! – Can’t keep up with these teenagers and their wild party lifestyles! – so I can go away, guilt free that weekend.

The boys have also expressed interest in a break, although their passports are currently expired. Tiggs has suggested Sweden – he is not a fan of heat – so that might be worth a look.

And, of course, the main trip is Hannah’s 18th GTT. For anyone unfamiliar with the Grand Thompson Tour, each of the Thompson Tribe picks the country of their choice as an 18th birthday present : Harri picked Japan, Tiggs is undecided, Eth wants to look after sloths in Costa Rica and Han has chosen the USA. However it will be a quick trip – just 8 days – as she doesn’t want to miss any college. We may also have to book fairly last minute as until we have a date for the 2019 October half term we won’t know what week we are going!

All of this travel is going to be pricey, so expect lots of future posts on money saving and selling stuff! One thing I need to cancel is those Kawaii boxes which seem to keep arriving!

While all of the stuff is adorable, I am trying to go a bit minimalist, so I think the best idea is to have a Give Away – which I will get on as soon as I can work out how to do it!

So that was last week, better get on with this week I suppose! If anyone has any tips on holding a giveaway, or, indeed, suggestions for weekends away let me know in the comments.

Posted in Uncategorized

Polly’s Pondering’s – Create Verses Consume

Polly’s pondering’s are very quick posts (that I can type into the WordPress App during my lunch break!) It is just me chatting about something that I have ‘pondered’ today and speedily typed up while munching on my bread-sticks and hummus. Consider it a take on modern miscellany with an older person’s perspective. This week’s pondering? How am I spending my time? Am I creating or consuming?

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I literally just had a mini heart attack.

The bullet point notes I had written for today’s pondering have not saved and now I have had to create a whole new idea, on the fly. Which, luckily has given me an idea…

Have you ever considered your Create to Consume ratio? I am sure it is a thing, and some smartie somewhere will have made a calculator, that I now don’t have time to look it up and research, but it does raise an interesting point. Has Google made us less creative? Instead of figuring things out for ourselves, we turn to the Internet to look for other people who have laid a path, as it were, and use their ideas.

I am very conscious of this, as I always used to be incredibly creative; give me some tissue paper, a toilet roll and some glitter and I was away! I am now more likely to type the ‘ingredients’ in a search engine and see what it suggests. The access to everyone else’s ideas has made me lazy and complacent; I don’t need to create when I can consume.

In fact, I didn’t even create this concept; The Minimalists mention it on their website. That doesn’t mean, however, that I can’t work with it, I just need to add value, so let’s look at how we currently do things, make a list of things we consume and how we can change our ratio.

On an average day I go on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and my blog. I read, I cook, I go to work, and I interact with my family (grunts from them in reply count as interaction).

In each of these areas – with perhaps the exception of my blog, and the gutteral utterances of my teenagers- I am mainly receiving information; liking the work of others, commenting on others creativity, sharing other people’s posts, pictures and pins.

When do I create? How can I counteract the balance?

Now that I am conscious of it, I am making more of an effort, so here are some suggestions to help you find a happy medium.

Instagram:

Instead of just flicking through, or writing inane ‘great pic’ comments on people’s shots, craft a reply that will add value to the post. Remember to create decent images of your own. You do not have to be an amazing photographer, those filters work magic! Try out different styles, experiment and see what seems to be resonating with people.

Twitter

There is an unofficial rule regarding twitter that you should retweet 3 things from other people for every self-written tweet. I can see why this would be useful; not only does it fill you feed and increase your reach, but it shows you to be a caring and helpful member of the Twitter community. I have often seen feeds, that are littered with nonsense one liners that give the impression that the tweeter is just screaming into a void, with very little interaction. Making useful comments on others posts – and then retweeting them is combining the best of create and consume; you are promoting others while providing additional content.

Pinterest

I am quite new to this medium, but have taken to creating pins using my own pictures, as well as pinning the work of others.

Starting up boards that can link to your work, is also a good example of creating over consumption.

Everyday Life

Are you reading the work of others? Or are you writing?

Are you thinking of starting a course?Or could you produce your own?

Are you following a pattern? Or are you making one up for yourself?

No one can be expected to constantly inovate, some ideas are constantly reused because they are one of the best ways of doing things – the wheel is still going strong, for example!

However if you become conscious of the fact that you often turn to others for ideas, be that people, social media or search engines, then consider areas of your life where you can make opportunities to generate new things.

Have a go today, what will you create?

Posted in Uncategorized

The Versatile Blogger Award

So this is … a thing, that I have actually been nominated for! I am feeling fairly loved among the twitter/blogger community at the moment, so thought I would have a go at this, although I do not have a Canva for this and will have to go make a new one!

Versatile Blogger award

Hey Hey Polly People (that probably only works on the Vlog, pretend I didn’t say that!)

I’ve not been blogging, as in seriously, for very long but thought if I was going to have a go at it I would make an effort and try and up my social media game. Since I re-launched (Polly’s ‘Launch’ pad! See! I don’t just throw this stuff together..much) the blog at the end of September I have got involved with the blogger community on Twitter, initially to steal tips and ideas, but also now as a platform to share my posts and discover other writers. It was through this I have been chatting to a few people, and I have consequently – and somewhat undeservedly- been asked to participate in the this Versatile Blogger Award.

First of all, a big shout out to Lavrax, of Lavrax Blogs for my nomination – go read her cool True Crime posts! (Actually just read all of her posts and tell her Polly sent you)

So these are the Rules I have been given…

RULES:

• If you are nominated, you’ve been awarded the Versatile Blogger Award (Why Thank you!)
• Thank the person who gave you the award (A ‘shout out’ is a thank you right?)
• Include a link to their blog (Done that too!)
• Select 15 blogs/bloggers that you’ve recently discovered or follow regularly (15! Okay, better look through my Reader, and check they aren’t on Lavrax’s list as well! Pretty sure most people have done this by now!)
• Nominate those 15 bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award (Okay – Will do that too…once I work out how to do that…)
• Finally, tell the person who nominated you 7 things about yourself (Hmmm…)

7 THINGS ABOUT ME:

1. I am preternaturally obsessed with Korean music

Not just K-pop boy bands (although I LOVE them!), but Indie, rock and hip-hop… just their entire music scene has something about it.

2. I am trying to learn Japanese

I have been at this for a while, and though I am able to slowly read, and make basic sentences I am still pretty terrible. The aim is to film an entire vlog in Japanese… I will get my friend Yumi to vet my script first though!She keeps telling me off for using teenage slang and I don’t want to unintentionally cause an international incident by pronouncing something wrong!

3. I went to the same school as Stephen Merchant

I was even in a school play with him – it was called ‘C’mon Everybody’ and was based on Eddie Cochran’s visit to Bristol, for his final show before dying in a car crash on the way to London in 1960. I played Deirdre, the coffee bar owners daughter, while he played the vicar!

4. I have an unnatural hatred towards tomato sauce.

It is evil stuff and that is all I have to say about that.

5. I have had a YouTube channel for almost three years – that literally no-one watches!

It is basically a vanity project now – you know when you get a Snap-chat streak and you don’t want to break it? Well I have put out a Vlog come rain or shine; whether I was in the country or not, every Monday for almost three years. Feel free to go pity watch and subscribe. I would one day like 100 subscribers…

6. I love Street Art – and live in Bristol, the home of Banksy.

We have some amazing street art in Bristol, and are home to one of the best annual Street Art Fests in Europe: Upfest.
If you are ever in the area and I am about, I will happily take you on a tour! I am also pretty handy around Bath too if you are ever visiting there.

7. I have run a Girl Guide Unit since 2009

Volunteering with the Guides has enabled me to learn some great skills – especially craft ones – to try out new and adventurous activities, like kayaking and abseiling and even visit new places. I once got to enrol a Guide on top of Mont Blanc in Italy (and France, we were straddling the border at the time!)

Now for the hard bit; I need people – I actually wrote this post 3 weeks ago and just as I am about to publish it one of the people puts their award post up, so I have gone with 5 instead.

  1. Rock And Raven
  2. Asiasami
  3. Marie-Celine
  4. Sophie
  5. Louise
  6. Sophie

No pressure to participate at all guys, but I follow all of you and I would love to know more about you because I think you’re all awesome!

Posted in Uncategorized

Polly’s Pondering’s -Why are school Photo’s still a thing?

Polly’s pondering’s are very quick posts (that I can type into the WordPress App during my lunch break!) It is just me chatting about something that I have ‘pondered’ today and speedily typed up while munching on my bread-sticks and hummus. Consider it a take on modern miscellany with an older person’s perspective. This week’s pondering? Why are parents still paying out silly money for school photos?

In this day and age, when we all pretty much carry a camera around with us daily in the form of a mobile phone, why are school photos still a thing?

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One of the things I love about my kids having either left school (in the case of my girls) and being in senior school (as my boys are) is that I am not being constantly badgered for money. I don’t know if it was my son’s primary school specifically, or if this is something other parents of school age kids can relate to, but not a week went by without requests for money, or cakes, or donations for a sale… But mainly money.
The one thing that particularly annoyed me about primary school? Their attempts to guilt me into buying the school photo’s. There are a number of reasons why I am morally opposed to the concept.

1. I own a camera, my kids own cameras, my mum is an actual photographer – I have plenty of nice pictures of my children and they are not unrealistically posed in front of fake bookcase backdrops in a bright blue sweater. They are wearing their own clothes, and are looking happy rather than forcing smiles.

2. What am I supposed to do with 28 of the same picture in a variety of inconvenient sizes? How many of these do you actually expect me to fob off on my family. My mum has 6 grandchildren, should she be expected to have pictures from every year of their schooling littering her walls! (In fact, she has only 2 photos of family up at all, one of my brother’s wedding and one of my nephew… Totally not bitter about it…)

3. How much!!!!

I am not forking out the best part of £40 for 28 copies of the same picture! I can literally buy my son a cheap smart phone and he can Snapchat filter to his hearts content for that price!

You may notice that I feel particularly, and possibly unnecessarily, strongly about this, and I think I have discovered why, let me tell you a tale…

First off, I have a confession to make – despite having had four kids pass through ‘the system’ the one of the only school photos I have ever put up is one from 2006. Mainly because it is one of the few that has all of the kids in it and back in the day I didn’t know better; I thought all good mums always bought the school photos. Now I know better and I want to reassure people that it is okay to refuse to buy them.
I think my experience during my youngests ‘prom’ really consolidated for me why my whole anti-school photos stance was justified – he was 10 and was leaving primary school; what used to warrent a school disco back in the day, now apparently requires a suit, a vintage bus and a £30 a ticket party at a golf club!

All of the kids met at the local park to wait for aforementioned vintage bus to take them to the party. My mum came with me to drop him off for one very good reason. She is a photographer and was going to get some shots of Ethan and his ‘squad’.

She got some amazing pictures of him with all the people he wanted pictures with, there were even some cool ‘hanging upside down’ casual shots; candid, fun photos that really captured Eth and his friends.

And then a few weeks later, the school sent home the ‘official’ prom photos. I am not going to lie and say they were rubbish, they were lovely pictures. One of them has him wearing his trilby on a jaunty angle and looking very cheeky. They were, however, no better than the ones my old dear had taken, so I opted not to buy them and save myself £30…that was my first mistake.

Do you know how I can remember exactly what those school pictures looked like 2 years later? Because one of them is sat on my mantal piece right now.

Did I cave and buy them? Did I bollocks!

We had been having problems with school for a while, mainly because they seemed to be obsessed with us being ‘poor people’ ; as full time students we were entitled to child tax credits, so got free school dinners. Therefore when we opted out of trips or buying hand made Christmas cards we were contacted to ask if was because we couldn’t afford it. This same scenario played out when I turned down the prom photos.

I used to hate how, in the old days, the photos were sent home, unrequested, so you either had to send a cheque in, or hand the pictures back in. Photographers got wise to people scanning and copying the pictures, so started sending thumbnail sized snaps with watermarks home instead and encouraging people to buy them online.

I think the prom photographer was pretty sure he was going to cash in on the whole ‘last photo at primary school’ vibe and an entire set of pictures was sent home… And promptly returned back to the school.

Then I got the phone calls – there is nothing that makes your stomach turn over more than call from the school in the middle of the day. Have they had an accident? Has someone beaten him up? What’s happened!

Turns out ‘what had happened’ was the school team had decided I must have been mistaken in my decision to not buy the photos, and were phoning to check I was sure… I got about 4 calls in all.

On the last week of term Ethan came home and the photo pack was casually thrown on the sideboard.

“They thought you would want them”

he stated. I was ready to make the offending package bounce back to school, when he added.

“They said we can have them”.

I will never know if they still talk about the tight-assed mum who refused to buy the end of school Photo’s, and I don’t care as now they are both in High school and the only calls I get are ones telling me Ethan will be late because he has detention… But at least they aren’t asking for money.

And there are now only two school pictures on my mantal; one of an adorable baby and his older siblings, taken in 2006 and one of a cool looking 10 year old wearing a trilby on a jaunty angle. It is actually a really good picture.