Welcome to my roundup of all I’ve been getting up to and loving from 25th Feb to 3rd MarchRead More
Welcome back to another weekly roundup where I chat about my adventures and favourites from the week just gone.
The Lord Mayor’s Valentines Charity Ball
On Saturday evening Des and I dusted off our party clothes and headed over to The National Railway Museum for an evening of fun at the Lord Mayor’s Valentines Ball.
The event was all in aid of the York Lord Mayor’s and Sheriffs charities:
My Sight York - supporting local visually impaired people to live independently
The Island - mentoring children and young people in York
York Music Hub - providing inclusive opportunities for children and young people to learn music
We had a fantastic evening and more importantly, I believe the event raised a significant sum for the charities!
Time is running out #SchoolStrike4Climate
Whilst I wasn’t able to join the protest myself, I did manage to catch a glimpse of the York march on my lunch break on Friday.
Thousands of schoolchildren and young people across the UK walked out of classes to join the climate strike due growing anger at the failure to tackle the crisis in any kind of meaningful way.
Climate breakdown is happening and we can no longer stand by and stick our collective heads in the sand - we need to take radical and immediate action if we want to preserve the planet for future generations.
Trying out some plastic free beauty from White Rabbit Skincare [Ad - Gifted]
It would be disingenuous to bang on about how we all need to take climate breakdown seriously without trying to do something about it myself. Over the past few months I’ve made a lot of changes, including dramatically cutting down the amount I drive, but one of the things I still really struggle with is packaging, especially when it comes to skincare/haircare.
I actually came across White Rabbit Skincare whilst putting together a guide to UK plastic free/ low waste beauty brands for this blog.
I have extremely dry and acne-prone skin (despite almost reaching my thirties) which always makes me hesitant about compromising on quality when it comes to skincare. This has previously put me off (rightly or wrongly) from switching from trusty old favourites to plastic free products.
I’m going to be testing out a few bits from their range over the next month or so and am hoping that they tick all the boxes. I’ll let you know how I get on!
If you want to have a try for yourself, I have a discount code for 15% off.
Just enter “BETHAN15” at the checkout.
I’ve dabbled around the edges of learning to code for a long time now, however this year I’m determined to make more of an effort.
You can of course learn at home on your own using online learning tools such as Code Academy or Code School, but I personally have always found interactive classes with other people are much more suited to my own learning style.
Luckily there are a number of groups that exist across the UK which offer this type of environment!
On Wednesday I headed along to York Code Dojo which offers an informal environment for people to come together and teach/learn from each other.
During the session we worked in pairs on some sample interview style coding problems, which was a very interesting way of being introduced to fundamental subjects such as linked lists, recursion and binary trees.
I'm still looking for folks who would be willing to share their stories about resilience and overcoming challenge on @thebravelisten!— Bethan (@BethanVincent) February 16, 2019
Interested or know someone who might be? DM me or email me - firstname.lastname@example.org
Any help sharing this also v. appreciated!
Welcome to my weekly roundup of things I have been doing/loving.
Recording my second podcast episode
Over Christmas I came up with the idea of developing my own podcast, centred around the theme of resilience - essentially exploring how people cope under pressure. Since then I’ve managed to record my first episode, gather some initial user feedback and come up with a name - The Brave.
This week I attempted to record my first episode in an interview format (which will be the arrangement going forward I hope) with guest speaker Alex Burbidge. We had a great conversation about coping with stress at work and climbing the career ladder whilst also maintaining your sanity. It’s hopefully going to make for really interesting listening!
My release plan is to get a few more episodes under my belt, then go live in late February/early March. It’s been a real learning curve, as I haven’t touched any form audio editing software properly in years. Hopefully some lingering nuggets of information from my music Technology A-Level will resurface and come to my aid…
Being pampered at Rush Hair York [Ad - Gifted]
On Thursday I headed into the city centre for an evening of pampering at York’s Rush Hair and Beauty salon. After relaxing and chatting over a few bottles of prosecco, one of the lovely stylists managed to tame my locks into these gorgeous Dutch braids.
Apparently Dutch braids give a less pristine finish than French braids and are perfect if you don’t fancy a super polished look. It was really nice to try out a style which a. I do not have the manual dexterity to achieve myself, b. do not have the time or patience for on a normal morning.
Alongside experimenting with a new style, I also managed to catch up with some of my favourite local bloggers and take a good look round the sparkling clean and obviously well equipped salon.
Exploring Altrincham’s Belgian beer scene
I’ve been getting to know Manchester and its surroundings on a semi-regular basis for a couple of years now and have to say that Altrincham has become one of my foodie favourite places.
Alongside the thriving food/drink scene at Altrincham Market, the town also boasts three Belgian beer bars (four if you count a small shop you can also drink in). My favourite is the aptly named Belgian Bar which boasts an expansive bottle selection, alongside a few popular names on draught.
Whilst I admittedly haven’t eaten here in a few years (that meal was excellent), the food coming out the kitchen looked and smelled incredible. Alas, we were saving ourselves for one of the various food outlets in the market…
And like that, it’s all over…
We’ve made it to December folks. Congratulations!
Time has absolutely whipped past over the last 12 months and I’m sat here now wondering where it all went and what did I do with it?
2018 has been interesting year. I’ve undergone a fair bit of upheaval in my personal life and also faced a few professional challenges. It’s been a learning experience though and I’ve certainly come out the other side equipped with an improved skillset and the knowledge that I can adapt to change in all areas of life!
My highlights from 2018:
A new roommate
In January we were joined by a very grumpy and demanding old lady called Winnie, who loves nothing more than curling up on the sofa. We are very alike actually…
Lots of food…
As usual, most of my yearly highlights revolve around food and drink consumed in venues familiar and foreign. The beginning of the year was mostly spent sampling York’s thriving food scene, with repeat visits made to consume the excellent street food at Spark York and Brew York.
The really heavy stuff came in Paris though, where I gladly gained some serious weight in the name of sampling every bakery the 11th Arrondissement has to offer. This is not a joke, I had at least 2 pastries a day for two weeks and regret nothing.
The following month this excess was walked off in Slovenia and Venice, despite the fact we also indulged in hearty Alpine dishes and gorgeous Venetian street food.
Summer in Paris
As I mention above, in July I spent two full weeks in Paris due to Des’s work. Before you get too jealous, I will mention that we stayed in a 1 star hotel with no air-conditioning during the hottest summer on record. This certainly made things… memorable….
Alongside profusely sweating and eating croissants, I spent the first week of our trip working remotely at my usual day job. This actually worked really well, especially as Paris has so many pay by the hour co-working spaces. I quickly settled into a good rhythm of working at one venue in the morning, then stopping for lunch and walking to the next spot for the afternoon.
I spent my second week in the city of lights as a tourist, exploring all the sights one would expect! My real highlight of the trip involved taking the train out to Versailles, somewhere I have wanted to visit for years. I had a fantastic day walking around the chateau and then out past the main lakes, stopping occasionally under a tree to escape the heat for a while.
Attending Turing Festival in Edinburgh
Having been to Turing Festival in 2017, I had high expectations for this two day tech conference in Edinburgh. The event comprises of 20 hours of content from over 40 expert speakers who cover topics focused on the areas of Product, Culture, Growth, Engineering, Marketing and Strategy. Basically all the ingredients you need to run a successful technology company!
To be honest, whilst there wasn’t a bad talk during the whole 2 days, I personally found the Growth and Culture tracks to be the most engaging and really rated the following sessions (you can subscribe on the Turing Festival website to see the full videos):
Rebecca Moore (Director of Growth, Skyscanner) - Self-Disrupt for Growth
Des Traynor (Chief Strategy Officer, Intercom) - What We’ve Learned From Scaling to 0-25k+ Paying Customers
Kirsty Lynagh (Chief People Officer, Nucleus) - Architect and Anthropologist: the two roles needed in your team to win in the workplace in the future
Rand Fishkin (founder, SparkToro/Moz) - Why Nine Out of Ten Marketing Launches Suck (and how to be the one that doesn't)
Late-Summer trip to Slovenia and Venice
After returning from Paris in a state of sunburn and exhaustion, I managed to enjoy a few weeks at home before heading off on my next adventure with Des and a couple of friends.
Loaded with supplies and lots of hot-weather clothing, we embarked upon a triple-destination trip through Slovenia and Italy, ultimately ending in Venice.
It was an amazing 9 days, filled with swimming, mountaineering, lots of food and many historical sites!
Finding my Fitness Community
I have been going to the gym regularly for just over 6 years now, with most of that time spent doing solo workouts.
2018 was the year where I discovered training with other people and it has dramatically improved both my motivation and results. (I currently work out at Compello Fitness, a box gym based in York.)
For the past year I have been doing a weekly mix of HIIT style classes and semi-private personal training - 1 personal trainer per 4 people, which is a lot of fun!
Alongside meeting a bunch of awesome people and making new friends, I’ve also found that the variety of workouts has finally managed to pushed me off the fitness plateau I reached in 2017.
This year I’ve lost several % points off my body fat, taken off inches across my body and also increased my strength and cardiovascular endurance dramatically. Most importantly, I’ve learnt to ignore the scale (I weigh more than I have done in 7 years, a fact which no longer terrifies me!)
Speaking at Dot York
After attending DotYork in 2017, it was an honour to be chosen to speak at it in 2018!
In case you aren’t from up North, Dot York is a digital conference based in, you guessed it, my fair city of York. The event is focused on bringing engaging ideas and content to a mostly tech/design/digital audience. The themes for 2018 were wide ranging and ambitious: Survival, Money, Freedom and Identity
My talk was scheduled for the Survival session and focused on my work in the ethical business space. I wanted to use my allotted time to explore the big question of how do we make decisions at work that have a positive impact?
Contained within this question there are a number of sub-questions that I also felt merited discussion:
Who, or what, gets to decide what is good and bad in this context? (i.e. is this prescribed by top-down by an authority beyond individuals, who makes the rules?)
Can we actually make a difference, is it worth even trying? (e.g. is it too late to save the planet and late-stage industrial societies from ecological, social or political collapse).
The whole day was an awesome experience and despite my (probably very obvious) nerves I felt I did a decent job of providing an engaging and thought provoking talk to the audience. You can be the judge of that yourself though, as videos will be online shortly.
Watching my sister on the big screen!
My incredibly talented sister, Catrin, is the lead singer in London based indie band Another Sky.
2018 has been a seriously good year - they have been played on Radio 1, appeared on Late Night With Jools Holland (jealous? Moi? YES! ha) and also played on the main stage at Citadel Festival in London.
Not wanting to give up the chance of guest-list tickets and a day out in one of my favourite cities, I decided to head down South and watch the band in action alongside a couple of other favourite artists of mine (Dermot Kennedy, Tame Impala and CHVRCHES to name a few).
There’s something pretty surreal about seeing your former nemesis and playmate 20ft high on a big screen in front of a massive crowd. She rocked it!
I honestly feel like I have just been let loose on the world as a fully formed adult - school and sixth form is a recent memory in my mind, despite being over 10 years ago now.
I used to be scared of getting old and the responsibility that age brings, but with every year that has gone by since my early twenties I feel like life is getting better and freer. I am currently in the best shape I have ever been and feel genuinely satisfied with my lot in life (not that there isn’t room for ambition or growth!).
Bring on 2019.
Sometimes we all need to take a break from the glowing boxes that dictate most of our waking hours. It’s all too easy to find yourself sucked into Instagram or scrolling through Facebook, especially if you’re feeling at a bit of a loose end.
Here are some of my suggestions for alternative activities to soothe those moments of boredom in a non-digital manner.
Play a game IRL.
Think cards, board games or something like dominoes. You could even have a go at making up your own game if you’re really feeling the need for a creative outlet (go all in and make your own card deck and playing board).
I must caution that you should avoid Monopoly if you’re super competitive and don’t want the aggravation of an explosive family argument.
Call a friend for a catch up
This is kind of cheating as you do need to use a phone to make the call, however once you’ve dialled the number and pressed go, you can sit back and relax into a good old chat/gossip/whatever floats your boat. If you can meet up in-person, even better.
Bonus points are available if you call up/meet someone you haven’t spoken to in a very, very long time.
Attempt to make something from a new recipe
There’s a running joke in my house that I have more cookbooks that I will ever need in one lifetime (I think my collection now is about 50… I can’t help myself!). Despite having a lot of material to choose from, I always find myself going back to a few tried and tested recipes, mainly because I’m lazy and like routine.
Instead of reverting to something easy and known, challenge yourself to try and make something new. Not only will it add some variety to your food routine, you might also pick up a new culinary skill.
Go for an aimless wander
So much of our daily lives is spent moving “in pursuit” of things - whether that’s to get to work on time, pick up something from the shops or go and meet someone. Moving without purpose might seem a bit nonsensical in our results driven society, but it is quite relaxing and liberating.
Slip on your shoes, head out the door and see where your feet take you!
Curiously mine always seem to take me to the local corner shop for a bar of chocolate…
Organise and deal with the pile of documents on *that* shelf that you keep on meaning to do, but always lack the motivation to tackle.
Just do it. You’ll feel a million times better, I promise you.
Go to the open mic night at your local
Support local talent and drink beer - win = win.
Yes, most of the acts will be pretty poor. But in my experience every once in a while there is someone amazing that will make sitting through all the crap totally worth it.
Write a letter to yourself to be opened in 1, 5 or 10 years time (or whatever timescale suits you).
What do you hope for? What do you want older you to remember? What do you want to remind them about?
Ages 25 I wrote a letter to 30 year old me. I can’t wait to find out what she had to say.
This is very much cheating when it comes to the no tech thing, but you can use FutureMe to write a letter that will be delivered via email on your date of choosing.
This is my ninth post in my attempt to write something on this blog everyday in October. Find my previous post from the 8th here.