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.

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I used to post a lot about tech­nol­o­gy, shar­ing links to the lat­est releas­es etc. That’s kind of slipped by the way, although I’m still inter­est­ed in these things there are a lot of oth­er places to find them. That said, this morn­ing I came across a new email app that’s in the works called Big Mail that I think is a real­ly inter­est­ing approach to han­dling email. I’ve looked into Hey and Onmail recent­ly and whilst I’m intrigued by some of the fea­tures they all require using a web app and I pre­fer to have an app for my email. Even bet­ter is that Big Mail han­dles every­thing on device and means I don’t have to trans­fer my email to a dif­fer­ent provider. I look for­ward top giv­ing it a try.

Today has been a grey and fog­gy day, it’s felt like a real reflec­tion of the mood of the last month. As I’ve dri­ven around Chel­tenham today doing some bits and bobs, I’ve seen more and more peo­ple start­ing to put up Christ­mas trees and lights. It’s been nice to see them emerg­ing out of the gloom.

Today marks the start of Advent, with the first can­dle being lit in church­es across the coun­try we are remind­ed of the hope that comes from Jesus. The arrival of the King.

At the start of this year I start­ed to go to a new church, giv­en the pan­dem­ic if might not have been the best time, but the ser­vices I’ve been attend­ing online have been ones of great com­fort. They have shown great care, sen­si­tiv­i­ty, and com­pas­sion through­out the year, and I’m incred­i­bly thank­ful that God guid­ed me to this church. I’m look­ing for­ward to being able to go to a ser­vice again, I hope it is soon­er rather than lat­er. I’m sure it will be.

Roaming around

Since the end of August I’ve been using Roam Research as my notes appli­ca­tion. Hav­ing tried and played around with Notion but find­ing it to be too much work to man­age any­thing, I decid­ed to give Roam and it’s freeform notes a try.

I’ve found it to be one of the most intu­itive note tak­ing apps I’ve ever come across and have since begun using it for more and more things. It’s not just replaced the notes apps I was try­ing to use before, it’s become my jour­nal and task man­ag­er as well. In fact it’s even start­ing to grow into my per­son­al CRM as well and I believe it is behind the desire for me to start blog­ging more because I’m enjoy­ing writ­ing in it so much.

What I like is that is seems to fit the way I think. Despite being a visu­al per­son I often find myself tak­ing notes in the form of bul­let points. When I’m think­ing and work­ing through some­thing on paper I will often write a point and then riff off it with a series of bul­let points below.

The two way link­ing has also been a rev­e­la­tion. One of the things I was try­ing to use Notion for was a one stop shop for my notes and tasks that relat­ed to var­i­ous projects I’m work­ing on. The data­bas­es that make Notion so pow­er­ful seemed like a good fit for this, but I found it to be a lot of extra work to main­tain. In con­trast Roam’s Dai­ly Notes, which I use heav­i­ly, helps to give me both con­text in the form of when some­thing hap­pened as well as an easy way to auto­mat­i­cal­ly link to a project.

What has been sur­pris­ing for me has been how I’ve found it to help me on a deep­er lev­el. The fact that I have a dai­ly note open on my screen all day as I work means that when I find myself hav­ing to deal with some strong emo­tions I am able to write them down to help me process them. One thing I am hav­ing to learn is to not let my thought pat­terns spi­ral. I find it all too easy to get stuck in a par­tic­u­lar thought pat­tern that turns itself over and over in my mind. Hav­ing some­thing open all the time lets me process what I’m feel­ing when I become aware of it helps me to tack­le that spi­ral in a way I’ve not been able to before.

One of my favourite books this year comes from an artist called Char­lie Mack­esy. I dis­cov­ered it by acci­dent when I was look­ing for a Christ­mas present last Decem­ber. I bought it and gave that book as a gift for J and she loved it so much she bought me my own copy and I’ve since bought it for my Mum as well. For my birth­day this year I got giv­en a print of one the pages from the book. It con­tains a quote which is some­thing both a cou­ple of friends and my coun­sel­lor keep remind­ing me of:

“Being kind to your­self is one of the great­est kind­ness­es,” said the mole.

It struck me as I was writ­ing this that hav­ing the space to process my feel­ings and let myself feel them is being kind to myself and that per­haps we all need to be a bit kinder to ourselves.

An acknowledgement

I’ve had this blog in one form or anoth­er since I was 21, ear­li­er posts have been lost in the many tran­si­tions it has made but it’s always been there. A hob­by that taught me how to design and build web­sites that has since become my career.

At the moment I think I am in one of the longest streaks of not post­ing to the site that I’ve ever been on. For the last few weeks I’ve want­ed to start post­ing again, I’m seek­ing to revive a hob­by that was once very enjoy­able to me. The trou­ble is I don’t know where to start or what to write. So, I’m writ­ing this post as an acknowl­edge­ment of some very dif­fi­cult events.

The last two years have been two of the hard­est of my life. This time two years ago I was work­ing part-time in a spe­cial­i­ty cof­fee shop, doing some free­lance design work, and con­tract­ing in to a local stu­dio. There was a promise that my con­tract posi­tion would become full time in the next six months. At the begin­ning of April last year, a con­ver­sa­tion that I thought would be about going full time was a con­ver­sa­tion about the stu­dio chang­ing their mind. A month lat­er I was no longer work­ing there. A month after that the final client for my free­lance busi­ness, which I was wind­ing down due to the afore­men­tioned promise, under­stand­ably told me they had made oth­er arrange­ments for their website.

Along­side the work sit­u­a­tion I was deal­ing with some things in my per­son­al life. The cul­mi­na­tion of all these events, along­side an unsuc­cess­ful gru­elling sev­en week inter­view process, result­ed in a men­tal break­down and the return of my depres­sion in August last year.

One pos­i­tive is that some­how, in the mid­dle of that break­down I man­aged to think clear­ly enough for an hour-long inter­view that result­ed in the job I have now been in for over a year. I can only thank God for that.

Then 2020 hap­pened. A glob­al pan­dem­ic has thrown the world into chaos as Covid-19 has swept across the world. Nor­mal life has been tak­en away which for every­one has been a dif­fi­cult adjust­ment. In the midst of this my Mum has been under­go­ing treat­ment for can­cer and my Dad has had and recov­ered from a stroke.

I’m hop­ing that by writ­ing this post it will help to remove the block I have been strug­gling with when it comes to post­ing to this site. Through coun­selling I have come to realise the impor­tance of tak­ing care of your­self prop­er­ly. I have realised that I need hob­bies in my life and I would like to start blog­ging here again as a first ten­ta­tive step to build­ing some healthy habits. I didn’t feel I could get that going again with­out acknowl­edg­ing recent events, so here I am tak­ing a scary step and dar­ing to put into words some of the hard­est expe­ri­ences I have had to go through.

I keep find­ing myself look­ing at the Apple Watch a lot late­ly, some­thing about the Series 4 is mak­ing it a much more appeal­ing device than pre­vi­ous versions.

Think­ing about par­tic­i­pat­ing in Movem­ber again this year, did it a cou­ple of years ago and with today being Men­tal Health Aware­ness day it’s brought it back on my radar.

Ah man, all these macOS app updates are mak­ing me want to update to Mojave as soon as it’s avail­able but I don’t want to break any­thing. #dark­mode

There’s some­thing about hav­ing the test match on in the back­ground while I work. It’s as if it’s not a prop­er British sum­mer with­out a bit of crick­et going on while I work.

Unsplash ›

I love Unsplash. When­ev­er I need an image that I don’t have in my own library this is my first port of call. It has been for quite a while, but recent­ly I’ve noticed that it’s library has grown so much I can reg­u­lar­ly find images for spe­cif­ic loca­tions in the UK.