I'm a Christian, a designer, and a gadget fan who lives in Cheltenham, UK.

This is my blog, a creative outlet to mess around and play with as well as a place that logs my thoughts and inspirations.

This is a very inter­est­ing arti­cle about the influ­ence of Face­book and Google has over soci­ety and the unbal­anced dis­course that has been grow­ing over recent years. It’s been a recur­ring con­cern of mine about Micro.blog and the many calls I’ve seen on there for diver­si­ty. They have rarely, if ever, includ­ed calls for peo­ple who take a more con­ser­v­a­tive stance. Bal­ance is some­thing that is need­ed if the ser­vice is to avoid the pit­falls that cre­at­ed the echo cham­bers we find on Twit­ter and Face­book now.

Letter Play

When I was back home at my par­ents over Christ­mas I sort­ed through a cou­ple of box­es of bits that were tak­ing up some space in the room I sleep in when I’m there. Dur­ing the process I came across some of my old sketch­books from my Art Foun­da­tion course and had a flick through.
I was struck by how dif­fer­ent they were com­pared to the note­books I’ve been keep­ing for the last few years. They were full of cre­ativ­i­ty. Each page was dif­fer­ent, whether it was explor­ing my own ideas on a project, or a con­tex­tu­al spread about a design­er or artist that inspired me.
The last cou­ple of days have been odd ones for me. After many months of not feel­ing much of the effects of my depres­sion, yes­ter­day when I woke up I could feel the heav­i­ness and fog of it. I had the same thing this morn­ing, so I’ve done what is the only thing I can do. I’ve tried to push on and not let it stop me doing my work.
This evening I put a film on, one of my favourites, Good Will Hunt­ing and grabbed my sketch book, a scalpel, two mag­a­zines I get free from Wait­rose, a pritt-stick, and my Bible. I flicked to one of my favourite vers­es and while I watched the film I sat on the floor cut­ting out words and let­ters.
It’s been a long time since I did any­thing like this and about ten min­utes before the film fin­ished I had fin­ished. It might’ve tak­en me a lot longer than I remem­ber it tak­ing, but for those two hours there was no fog and I was just able to enjoy being absorbed in some­thing a lit­tle more cre­ative than my nor­mal design work.

Establishing New Habits Without Apps ›

I’ve been try­ing to estab­lish some new habits late­ly so this was a time­ly post from CJ Chil­vers. I’ve been using the app Streaks like he men­tions to keep focused on some of my habits, but there is a cer­tain lack of account­abil­i­ty that goes with it. When a big streak gets bro­ken it’s very hard to find the ener­gy to start again.
One thing I’ve found a bit eas­i­er to face when starting—or restarting—a project is to break it down to months. Define the goal, decide to begin it at the start of the next month, and then make sure you’re ready to go in the time in between. The space allows you to process what you’re aim­ing to accom­plish, and allows you the time you need to make sure you’re ready to get going.

In response to my post the oth­er day, John Philpin respond­ed with a quote from his Mum. I real­ly liked it so want­ed to share it here for more peo­ple to dis­cov­er.

Mom: “Remem­ber … don’t for­get to write to me at least once a week – even bet­ter – every day.”
Me: “Every day! There wont be enough to say every day!”
Mom: “You will find that the more you write the more you will have to say, because then every­thing is impor­tant. If you only write once a month, there will be noth­ing impor­tant enough to write about.”

Don’t forget to write

Write More ›

Cameron Moll post­ed a thread on Twit­ter urg­ing peo­ple to write. Here are the four tweets quot­ed:

I’ve found it incred­i­bly dif­fi­cult to make time for long-form writ­ing the past few years. When I have, the cat­a­lyst has been remind­ing myself of the tremen­dous ROI as a design­er, man­ag­er, busi­ness own­er, and so on.
If you want to be a bet­ter design­er, write more.
If you want to be a bet­ter man­ag­er, write more.
If you want to be a bet­ter biz own­er, write more.
You can also sub­sti­tute “speak more” for each of these.
The act of syn­the­siz­ing what’s in your head for an audi­ence of crit­ics leads to increased ana­lyt­i­cal think­ing, self-aware­ness, clar­i­ty, and much more.
Last but not least, you inspire oth­ers to write—or at the very least ‘write’ by join­ing the con­ver­sa­tion you’ve start­ed.

It’s some­thing I’ve been think­ing about lots the last cou­ple of weeks. I’ve been want­i­ng to post to my blog more because I think it will be ben­e­fi­cial for me in many ways, one of which to help me build dis­ci­pline and self-con­trol in oth­er areas of my life.
The thing that real­ly strikes me about this Twit­ter thread, the whole thing would make a good blog post. It prob­a­bly would’ve been eas­i­er to post to a blog as well, like­ly have a longer life span, and con­se­quent­ly have more of an impact. Not all writ­ing on a blog has to be long to have an impact, if it’s worth string­ing four tweets togeth­er in a thread to make a point, it’s wor­thy of a blog post.

Thoughts On Just Turning Up

I’ve been think­ing a lit­tle more about the link I post­ed to Austin Kleon’s blog the oth­er day. I fin­ished it with the line

Instead there should just be turn­ing up to write down a thought and see­ing where it takes you.
It’s a sen­ti­ment that you hear quite reg­u­lar­ly around the Inter­net these days. Just keep turn­ing up every day and do the thing—whatever your thing is.

The phrase turn­ing up is just a less intim­i­dat­ing way of say­ing be dis­ci­plined. Turn­ing up to write a blog post every­day is a dis­ci­pline, just as read­ing your bible every day is or get­ting up with­out press­ing the snooze but­ton.
As I get old­er I’m under­stand­ing more and more that learn­ing to be dis­ci­plined is one of the most impor­tant things you can do. It can effect every area of your life and it’s easy to assume that dis­ci­pline is some­thing that you have or you don’t. That you’re either able to be dis­ci­plined or you’re not, but that’s not the case. Dis­ci­pline, I’m learn­ing, is some­thing you can devel­op. It’s like a mus­cle, the more you work it the stronger it gets.
The hard part, I believe, is not get­ting start­ed but main­tain­ing and devel­op­ing. Every­one can start some­thing, doing it for a cou­ple of days before they get dis­tract­ed or it begins to feel like work, and then stop­ping because it requires effort to con­tin­ue. But that’s where you need to begin exer­cis­ing that mus­cle of dis­ci­pline, when things feel too hard keep going regard­less, over time how hard it feels will dis­ap­pear and instead it will become some­thing you do each and every day.
So join me in learn­ing to be dis­ci­plined. Start­ing tomor­row morn­ing decide what time you’re going to get up, set your alarm and then get up when it goes off. No snooz­ing, no rolling over, just turn off that alarm and get up. Then do it the next day, and the next, until it becomes some­thing you just do.

Thoughts as Nest Eggs ›

Today when you say “nest egg” many think of mon­ey saved and put away, but a lit­er­al “nest egg” is a real or fake egg that you put in a nest to encour­age a bird or a hen to lay more eggs there. So what Thore­au is say­ing is that by sim­ply writ­ing down a thought, you encour­age more thoughts to come. When you have enough thoughts pushed togeth­er in the same space — a col­lage of thoughts, jux­ta­posed — they often lead to some­thing total­ly new.
This is the mag­ic of writ­ing.

Austin Kleon wrapped up a recent post with the quote above. The post on one lev­el is about jour­nal­ing and writ­ing in gen­er­al, but do you know what else that quote describes? A blog.
A blog is noth­ing more than a series of thoughts writ­ten down over a peri­od of time. When you think about it that way it’s incred­i­bly free­ing. There should be no pres­sure. Instead there should just be turn­ing up to write down a thought and see­ing where it takes you.

Self Portraits ›

This is a real­ly inter­est­ing post from Col­in Walk­er about what we have effec­tive­ly been doing on social media for the last 10 years. Paint­ing a self por­trait of our­selves over time.
I’ve nev­er thought about it like that before, and when you add in you’re own blog or per­son­al site, it makes for a rich and tex­tured ongo­ing piece. His con­clu­sions at the end of the post are chal­leng­ing…

We can tell the sto­ries we think oth­er peo­ple want to hear. We can tell skewed sto­ries as we are often not tru­ly hon­est with our­selves. We tell oth­er people’s sto­ries rather than our own, with­out com­ment, with­out opin­ion.
What use are the wrong sto­ries and are we doing our­selves a dis­ser­vice by telling them?

I think, that with­out real­is­ing it, over the last few months of try­ing to revi­talise my blog and using Micro.blog I and many oth­ers are try­ing to reclaim our sto­ries and take hold of the paint­brush.
Post­ing to Twit­ter through your own site first changes the focus of the ser­vice entire­ly. We go from being a pas­sive con­sumer, lik­ing, retweet­ing, reply­ing, with the occa­sion­al orig­i­nal post, to an orig­i­nal post being the focus. We are cre­at­ing and adding to our own sto­ry rather than expand­ing and adding to some­one else’s. Of course it’s not wrong to be involved in oth­er people’s lives, we are cre­at­ed to be in com­mu­ni­ty, but by cre­at­ing first the involve­ment turns into a con­ver­sa­tion rather than just turn­ing the vol­ume up for some­one else. There’s a bal­ance to be found.

A mid-year review

Last week I was away at the CMJ Con­fer­ence, I had the plea­sure of join­ing them to take pho­tos of the event, post to social media through­out it on their accounts, and to hear some excel­lent bible teach­ing in the process. It last­ed from Fri­day after­noon to late Sun­day after­noon, and by the time I got home I was absolute­ly exhaust­ed. I spent most of the week recov­er­ing whilst try­ing to work and, thank­ful­ly, have spent most of this week­end doing some seri­ous intro­vert­ing at home.
Last Sat­ur­day after­noon while I was sat on the sofa read­ing and watch­ing Le Tour, it struck me that we are near­ly at the end of July. We’re over halfway through the year and it seemed like a good time to review some of the goals I set out with at the start of the year.
For those who don’t know, I laid them out in my now page at the start of the year, which saw an update in April. Whilst I didn’t make a post here about those updates, a mid year review of those aims seems like a good thing to make note of.

Health & Personal

One of my aims at the start of the year was to take bet­ter care of myself than I’ve done in pre­vi­ous years. I bought a Fit­bit and set out to hit the 10,000 steps per day goal. That aim is going rea­son­ably well. I’m hit­ting an aver­age of 9,219 steps per day, which isn’t quite the 10,000 I’m aim­ing for. How­ev­er when you con­sid­er that I’ve spent a total of 2 weeks tak­en out by ill­ness (thanks for­mer house­mates for shar­ing your bugs) or my wis­dom tooth oper­a­tion when I bare­ly hit 1000 steps a day, I’ll take it.
In terms of exer­cise, I was play­ing foot­ball most weeks until it stopped for the sum­mer, although I wasn’t enjoy­ing it quite as much as I had done. The couch to 5K plan hasn’t real­ly hap­pened either, run­ning is some­thing I do not enjoy, I find it frus­trat­ing and bor­ing so eas­i­ly become demo­ti­vat­ed to do it. I have how­ev­er been doing a Fit­star work out most weeks since May, although I con­fess that June/July has not been great on this front I’ve start­ed that up again this week­end.

Faith

I’m pleased to say that I am still work­ing through the 5 Day Read­ing Plan. I’ve got­ten behind a few times but nev­er more than a week, and what’s more, I don’t find myself read­ing out of oblig­a­tion but out of desire to keep read­ing The Word of The Lord.
My use of the Prayer Mate app has also con­tin­ued although much more spot­ti­ly. I go through phas­es of using it every­day and then phas­es of only using it here and there. That’s ok though, it’s a tool after all and not an oblig­a­tion or the only way to pray. The times I’ve used it well it’s been ben­e­fi­cial, but so have the times when I have not used it as much.
When it comes to the mem­o­ri­sa­tion of scrip­ture, I’ve not been quite so good. The Vers­es app is still on my iPhone, but I haven’t used it as much as I hoped. I plan to be more inten­tion­al over the sec­ond half of the year to make use of this app.

Freelancing

I’m still con­tin­u­ing to do this, and in fact the last cou­ple of months have been busy and very enjoy­able. Please do rec­om­mend me or get in touch if you know any­one who might need some design work.

This Site

I am post­ing to this site more reg­u­lar­ly, although the major­i­ty of the posts are small sta­tus type posts I have been able to post a few more con­sid­ered posts. One thing I’ve noticed it that I am post­ing less links which means that more of the con­tent here is orig­i­nal and not point­ing to some­where else. One thing I have decid­ed to do is put less pres­sure on myself to post, it’s my site after all and so why should there be a pres­sure to put some­thing here if I’m not feel­ing cre­ative in that way.
I have also start­ed anoth­er side project, and I can’t decide whether to dual post here as well as there. In the mean time it will remain where it is and on Medi­um as a pub­li­ca­tion.

Reading

My Goodreads Read­ing Chal­lenge is on track. Of the 25 books I pledged to read I’ve read 13 so far and am a good chunk through 2 more. Once again the num­ber of fic­tion books are out­weigh­ing the non-fic­tion ones, which is under­stand­able as I read at the end of each day to help me relax, it is some­thing I would like to be more even over the next half of the year.


On reflec­tion it’s been a pret­ty good first half of the year, both in terms of the goals I set out to accom­plish and in some of the things that hap­pen in life. My prayer is that the sec­ond will con­tin­ue in this vein, per­haps with a bit more progress on the health­i­er liv­ing side of things than I’ve had so far.

Walking

Back in Jan­u­ary 2015 when I realised I was ill, and con­se­quent­ly start­ed a course of anti­de­pres­sants, many peo­ple encour­aged me to exer­cise. I had been a keen cyclist and they encour­aged me to keep at it and get out on my bike as much as I could. I was told, and in fact read many times, that exer­cise was a great way of coun­ter­ing some of the symp­toms of depres­sion. My issue was that the thought of going out on my bike caused me anx­i­ety and stress, both things which I was try­ing to avoid and so I dis­missed the notion as not for me. Near­ly two and a half years lat­er I’m start­ing to under­stand a lit­tle of what the mys­te­ri­ous they were talk­ing about.
About a month ago I moved into a new flat, one which I’m liv­ing in on my own, it’s great to have my own space again. As a con­se­quence of that move I’ve been doing a lot more walk­ing. It’s locat­ed in such a place that I can walk to pret­ty much every­where I need to go on a reg­u­lar basis. I can walk to my shifts at the cof­fee house, my church, a cou­ple of super­mar­kets, as well as the cen­tre of town, and I’ve been doing that as much as is prac­ti­cal­ly pos­si­ble. It’s become a time that I enjoy, an oppor­tu­ni­ty to pop my head­phones in and lis­ten to some music or catch up on a few pod­casts.
Over the last cou­ple of weeks I’ve begun to notice some­thing, when I don’t get my dai­ly walks in my mood suf­fers. The real­i­sa­tion has come home to roost this bank hol­i­day week­end. On Sat­ur­day and Mon­day I did­n’t real­ly go out. I stayed home in my flat tin­ker­ing on my web­sites, mak­ing a few adjust­ments, watch­ing some TV shows, what most peo­ple call relax­ing. And it has been just that, but today I noticed the heav­i­ness creep­ing in, it made me realise what effect going out for a walk has on me.
It’s not just the small amount of exer­cise that a brisk walk pro­vides that I’ve missed today, it’s the inten­tion­al­i­ty of going for a walk. Instead of the day just pass­ing by, the act of walk­ing to work is inten­tion­al and pro­vides an ele­ment of struc­ture to my day. I need to sched­ule in the time for my walk to work oth­er­wise I won’t get there on time let­ting peo­ple down. It helps that my walk to work is a pleas­ant one down an old rail­way line, that’s what’s in the pho­to at the top of this post, for a moment I can be lost in the won­der of look­ing at the trees and green­ery as I walk. It pro­vides a chance to look at God’s cre­ation and see how the same place changes from day to day. It’s a chance to walk and lis­ten to some new music or the lat­est pod­casts, in my own lit­tle world that’s out­side in the wider world. It’s a chance to pop the head­phones out and walk lis­ten­ing to the birds and rustling of the trees. When the sun’s out it’s espe­cial­ly enjoy­able, but even on a rainy day I look for­ward to my walk to work.
Almost by acci­dent I’ve dis­cov­ered that the act of walk­ing to work pro­vides me with a moment of calm. In that walk there is noth­ing I can do for my design busi­ness, noth­ing I need to do for my cof­fee house shift, no tweets or Insta­gram pho­tos to catch up on (unless I want to walk into my fel­low walk­ers or be run over by the many cyclists), I can just enjoy the sim­ple act of walk­ing.