Saturday, 22 July 2017

Pausing the blog | The Small Desk

Now this probably won't come as a surprise to any of my regular readers but I am going to pause The Small Desk blog for a bit. I don't want to shut it down completely and I'll still be posting on Twitter and Instagram under '@alicesdesk' so follow me there if you don't already, but I just feel I've become a bit lost with this blog.

I started The Small Desk back in 2013 when I was 25. I'm now 29 and feel differently to how I did at 25. I care less about posting the stuff that's going to get the clicks and more about the stuff I am interested in. That's not to say everything I posted when I started was to get the 'clicks' but I do see my most popular blog posts on the side and think some of them really aren't what I'm 'about' now.

I've had a week off work this week and wanted to think more about my hobbies, and how I spend my spare time. In this time I haven't wanted to blog about any of my usual blogging topics and the blog post I do the most, 'my favourites', is the one I least wanted to blog about. It is great to look over the month and make a list of the fun things you've done but to write a mini paragraph about each isn't the most thrilling thing to do at the weekend and doesn't really inspire me. I want to look forward more.

My plan as it stands for this blog is to possibly rebrand, definitely have a redesign and focus on four key themes: travel, food, health and money. I am a culture vulture but I really do fulfil this side of me through my job, and if I do go to exhibitions in my spare time I just want to enjoy them and not feel I have to write about them.

The reason I have chosen the four key themes: travel, food, health and money is because aside from culture they are the four things I think about the most and have the ones I have most to share about. I want to make this blog useful and I want to make it inspiring and forward thinking.

I need time to think carefully about how I do this and the content I want to produce and with only 6 weeks until my wedding (what?!) I don't have the brain space to give this proper thought. So hopefully I will be back blogging in late Sept/early October. But for now thank you for your support with The Small Desk so far. Watch this space!

Sunday, 4 June 2017

May favourites 2017 | The Small Desk

This is the first time for a long time I've completely forgotten about doing my monthly favourites. I feel like I've been super busy recently and not had a minute to think! It's only 3 months until my wedding now and preparation is well and truly in swing. So sorry if these favourites are a bit short but I'd rather keep them short than not do them at all!

1. Lemon meringue cake
At the beginning of the month I went on a little trip to a cafe with the boy and had a scrummy lemon meringue cake. Love going for a drink and a cake, especially when it's chucking it down.

2. Chinese for one
One of my new favourite past times when the boy is out is to order Chinese for one and watch trash TV. I think it was in my last favourites as well, it's becoming a tradition!

3. Needle and Thread sample sale
I went to another Needle and Thread sample sale, this time with my bridesmaids. It was a total disaster because we didn't find anything, but it was fun nonetheless!

4. Bike ride with the boy and Dad
I cycled about 14 miles with the boy and my Dad. I'm really getting into this cycling game!

5. Uni friend sleepover
I hate sleeping on my own so my old friend from Uni came to stay over when the boy was up north for his Granddad's funeral. It was fun to chat and catch up, although the power cut we had in the morning wasn't fun!

6. Walk with girls
A couple of my bridesmaids came down to my area and we went for a two hour walk with a pub stop.

7. Eurovision
Then they stayed longer and watched the brilliant Eurovision song contest.

8. Friend's for dinner
One of my bridesmaids had a couple of us over for dinner and made us burrito bowl, it was delicious.

9. Wedding dress alterations
I had some more wedding dress alterations done this month, getting more done next month. It's always a funny experience with my Mum.

10. Friends's bday
One of our good friends had his birthday celebrations this week. We went to a pub and then headed back to theirs for food and games. Was lovely!

11. Boy's uncle and aunt over
The boy's uncle and auntie popped over for coffee and cake one morning and fitted a new bathroom fan for us!

12. Somerset house
We went to the Mat Collishaw VR exhibition at Somerset house, it was fun to have a day out together but I got motion sickness!

13. Hen do
I went to the boy's sister's family hen do this month where we made flower crowns and had tea and cake.

14. Family day
My sister came down from Manchester and we spent the day together. We visited my Grandma in hospital, then went for tea in John Lewis and then had dinner with my parents and the boy.

15. Honest burgers
We went for dinner at Honest burgers in Soho with a couple who we're friends with and then had ice cream afterwards. Was yummy.

Those are my May favourites, how was your May? Can't believe it's June already!


Monday, 1 May 2017

April favourites 2017 | The Small Desk

April has been the month of bike rides and birthdays! It has also been the month where my Grandma's health has deteriorated again, but this is a post about favourites and I will try and keep it that way. Obviously it is important to talk about the lows of life and the struggles people face but I strongly believe that needs a separate post entirely and I'm not sure I will be sharing much about it on the blog. All I will say is that my Mum is an absolute inspiration and continues to amaze me every day with how she is coping with it all.

In regards to birthday times it was my 29th birthday this month. So crazy to think I'll be 30 next year! I'm in a good place for turning 30 but it still feels a bit scary – I feel like everyone says to you when you're at school 'where would you want to be when you're 30?'. It's something that has been made into a massive milestone in society when really it shouldn't be. You don't need to be completely sorted at age 30, it's still really young! If anyone reading this is freaking out about turning 30 – stop, think, age is only a number!

Anyway, onto the favourites...

1. Spring market
I stumbled upon a Spring market in the town where I live with my partner. It was basically a fancy farmer's market. I had a lemon and sugar pancake and it was scrumptious.

2. Work filming in Bristol
I've never been to the centre of Bristol before so it was exciting to see it and all the cool independent shops. The artist I was filming with in Bristol was super talented and really inspirational and only 21!

3. My birthday
On my birthday I went to Bloomsbury bowling with a group of friends. We played for 2 hours and I was terrible. Afterwards we had yummy pizza in the diner next door.

4. Day out with the neighbours
On the Friday of the Easter weekend our lovely neighbours took us to a local antiques market. It had a restaurant attached so we had a delicious lunch there and went out for drinks later as well. We have been so incredibly lucky with our neighbours, I couldn't have wished for better neighbours!

5. Prezzo with family
To celebrate mine and my sister's birthday we all went out to my local Prezzo and had a three course meal. It was lovely to celebrate with my close family, and share pressies.

6. Bike ride with sister
My sister persuaded me to go on a bike ride with her near where my parents live. I was initially a bit nervous about it because I don't think I've ridden a bike in about 10 years! But I really enjoyed it and it made me want to buy a bike!

7. Easter Day dinner with family
This was a funny one as we were meant to spend it with my grandparents but they were too ill to do so in the end. But we had a nice time in the end just me, my partner, my parents and my sister.

8. Staycation
I took a week off work in April and had a 'staycation'. We stayed at home but took day trips almost every day. It was nice to switch off, I really needed it as I hadn't had a proper holiday since Christmas.

9. Brighton
One of our day trips was to Brighton. Me and my partner go at least once a year and it has a special place in our hearts. I think if it it didn't have such a terrible train line (aka Southern) then we probably would be living there and commuting to London. I love the sea, the cute shops and all the veggie cafes.

10. London
We also went to London on one of our day trips, and even though we are there every day for work there is something special about going there purely for leisure.

11. Visiting partner's family
Another of our day trips was visiting my partner's family in Oxfordshire. We went for a lovely walk in the countryside and had a nice lunch at a local pub.

12. BBC Young Dancer 2017
As part of my birthday present my partner bought me tickets to see the final of BBC Young Dancer at Sadler's Wells. It was absolutely incredible. So many talented young people and so great to see such a buzz around all the different types of dance.

13. New mirror
For my birthday my parents bought me a Habitat mirror I'd been lusting after for our living room. It is round with a gold trim and it gorgeous. It really completes the living room. How old am I!?

14. New bike
As I said earlier – I went on a bike ride for the first time in about 10 years and it made me want a bike. Then I found out you can buy bikes on 18 month 0% finance deals and I was sold! I bought a gorgeous new bike and am now a cycling pro... well almost...

15. Wedding dress alterations
I had a pretty intense morning with my Mum going to a wedding dress alternations tailor. It was an experience and a half but we had a laugh about it afterwards. Also very pleased that I've left enough time to get changes made.

16. Bike ride
Is this my third favourite about bikes?! Who am I!? I went on a bike ride with my partner in our local area – we cycled 9 miles and it took about an hour and a half. I have no idea if that is good, all I cared about was that I didn't fall off!

17. Neighbours over
Finally, last night we had our neighbours over for drinks.

How has your April been? I can't believe it's already May!


Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Five ways to shut down being spoken down to | The Small Desk

Ok, rule number one: no-one has the right to talk down to you, they don't deserve your time and they don't deserve to be heard. You need to shut them down, and walk away whilst at the same time retaining your dignity and containing your anger. That way they look stupid, feel stupid and you don't waste any energy and stay positive.

Here are five easy sentences to say to people who are putting you down and that allow you to leave the conversation and stop and make the other person think.

On the phone:
1. "Hang on, I need to call you back. I'll ring you back. Bye." And don't ring them back.

In person:
2. "I just need a moment." Walk out of the room and round the block and go back to what you were doing before – do not put yourself back in the situation.

3. "I don't know the answer, but I'll find out and get back to you." And leave.

4. Zone out, stop listening and answer with "I'll email you further tomorrow". And leave.

Over email:
5. Thank you, [your name]. Keep it simple and do not enter into a discussion.

Basically what I've found is if you hit back with more anger it just gets worse. The most irritating thing for someone who is putting you down or trying to make you feel stupid is you not caring. There are better people in your life to care about. End of.

Also, small disclaimer, these are tips I've found work in an office. I don't have these problems at home!

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