Exploring the world through the web

Experiencing life in any way you can.

Blessing 101 – Hitting the front cover! April 10, 2012

Today I woke to a tweet saying Disabled woman ‘s virtual holiday to London will bring the Olympics closer to home. It was sent out by the local newspaper Twitter account and I realised with a burst of excitement that my article on the new Holidays From Home virtual London trip must have been in. I was so relieved and pleased. I followed the link and saw the brilliant article. I was really happy with it, it covered everything I wanted to say.

I dispatched Mum to go round to the paper shop, where she got several copies; but I was amazed and slightly horrified to see my face on the front cover! That’s the first time I’ve been on a cover and I was on page 9 – my lucky number!

Front cover of the Evening News

Mum took me round to the shop later in the day because they had a board up outside with a headline about my being in the paper and I had to see it for myself. We even took a picture….

Holidays From Home in the Evening News, the board outside the paper shop.


When you send out a press release, you never know if anything will come from it; but I was so delighted with the coverage and very, very grateful.


Blessing 96 – The Support of Others – Ventures into video. April 5, 2012

This week I started my video rockstar university course and I was really nervous when I signed up. Sitting in front of a camera sounded horrifying and completely terrifying. Turns out it’s not as bad as I imagined. In fact I kind of enjoy it! I’d never have guessed it.

It’s much easier sitting with just you and a camera than having to ring someone up out of the blue. When you realise that you have all the power, you can edit, delete, do whatever you want with the footage, the fear factor just disappears. I still get a few butterflies and worry I’ll go blank; but then I just go for it.

The great part of the group is being able to share the experience and the journey with others who are going through exactly the same thing. Everyone is so lovely and supportive, they boost your confidence no end. It also helps seeing other people’s videos because you can be more objective and use that knowledge to apply to your own. I realised that it’s fine to stumble on words, to pause to think what to say, not to stare the camera down the whole time and that relaxed and normal is so much more engaging than word-perfect and polished, in fact those people feel more real and approachable than any professional video I’ve ever seen.

This week we had to make a 1 – 2 minute video a day, which was hard going at first and then got easier, especially as I didn’t always use a script. I played around with lighting, being inside, outside, even doing one with no makeup on which was the scariest one of all, I felt so vulnerable; but it came out okay and everybody was really lovely about the results.

I can’t believe I’m only one week in and I already feel so much more confident about the whole process, I can’t wait to see what else I learn during the rest of the six weeks! It started as a tool to help make videos for Holidays From Home; but it’s really helping my confidence as a whole.


Blessing 88 – Life Changing People March 28, 2012

Have you ever met someone and thought this person has changed my life forever? I met someone like that today, a designer I met through my Networking Group. We barely spoke at the meeting; but I’d sent out to the Universe that I needed help with the design of my virtual holidays and then up popped Sara. I just knew I had to give her my card.

She came round for a meeting this evening and not only solved the problem of how to design my holidays, something I have been struggling with for years; but she is also going to help me learn to do it. I feel like I’ve been given the keys to the kingdom and it’s amazing! I’m so grateful that we were destined to meet and feel hugely relieved that I’ve got some answers to my questions. Now I just want to make it all a reality!


Blessing 86 – Creative Community March 26, 2012

I’ve just joined a group on Facebook for people with chronic illnesses who enjoy creative activities, like arts and crafts, cake making/decorating, photography and writing.  A friend set it up and I wasn’t sure what to expect; but it’s really cool. Everybody is sharing things that they have made and done and it’s inspiring to see what incredible things people can create despite being really ill.

I always feel in awe of people who can make things, especially artistic/graphic design people. I can take things and put them together, like patchwork or even scrapbooking; but people who can start with a blank canvas (real or digital) and then turn it into a piece of art is amazing! I guess writing is the literary version of that and I would rather be a writer than an artist; but it would be lovely to be both!

I’m enjoying doing my quilt, which is nearly finished and of course all the writing I’m doing at the moment. It feels so good to be back into writing properly, not just the virtual holiday; but I’m working on a novel and planning my script too – no writing until Script Frenzy in April though.

I’m looking forward to getting more inspiration from the group and the chance to share some of my own work with them.


Blessing 85 – Script Fenzy – I must be slightly mad! March 25, 2012

Yes that’s right I have signed up to do Script Frenzy! Eeek! For those of you that don’t know, it’s an off-shoot of National Novel Writing Month  (NaNoWriMo) with the aim to write 100 pages in 30 days. Doesn’t sound too bad, that’s four pages a day; but I don’t think it will be that easy.

I’ve been umming and ahhing about it for a while; but going on the script writing course yesterday has inspired me. I think it’s a little mad, as I’ve got lots to do for Holidays From Home with the virtual London holiday, that has to be done by the end of July. I’d also love to do a virtual Diamond Jubilee party and I’m doing a virtual party for a friend; but I really want to give this a go and I’m hoping that I can manage it on evenings and weekends. We’ll have to wait and see.

I’m not as determined as I was for NaNoWriMo; but I would really like to complete it. I think I’m going to use the idea I came up with at the course; but I also have a back up story that I had been planning on writing. I’m going to do my best to keep up with my regular blog posts; but I’ll have to see how I go. I’ll probably end up doing a few short status posts about how I’m getting on. Is anyone else doing Script Frenzy? I don’t think there’s anybody near me doing it, which is a shame as I really enjoyed the support and companionship of NaNoWriMo. Let me know if you are and we’ll have to do a bit of online support.

I’m excited and now want April to begin, so that I can!


Blessing 83 – Peer to Peer Mentoring March 23, 2012

Tonight I went out for a meal with my mentoring group. We wanted to meet up and have a catch up, to see how everyone was getting on. It was really lovely to see everyone and to realise just how far we’d all come since we first joined the group. It was run by Kate Wilde from Engage with Business, who is really motivating.I love interacting with other people who are facing the same challenges. I love being able to share experiences and also just have a good chat, which our meetings seem to always become. There’s often food involved, normally cake; but tonight’s meal was delicious!

When we first started, Kate got us all to fill out a card with three things we wanted to achieve in the six months the group met for. Tonight we got our cards back and I took mine with a small amount of trepidation. Had I don any of them? How much had I really achieved?

This was my list:-

  1. Create a London holiday that I’ll be proud and excited to market.
  2. Increase my marketing online. Reach out to more communities.
  3. Film a video about the holidays and how they work, show the fun.

I was delighted to realise that I was part way through each goal.

  1. I’ve started the London holiday, with two days written and two almost finished. The rest is planned and ready to write.
  2. I’ve been doing regular blogging on my Holidays From Home Blog. I’ve also upped my Facebook interactions and I’m looking at ways to connect with more online support groups for things like carers,  specific illnesses, anxiety, agoraphobia, fear of flying, as well as parents at home with kids looking for things to do to keep them entertained.
  3. I start a course a week on Monday learning how to do my own videos, so I’ll have some ready to upload and get out into the world.

It’s reassuring to know you’re on track with your goals and that you are going in the right direction. The coach I’m working with suggested having a book and keeping a list of my goals written in it, so I can check back to see when I achieve them. I have to do lists; but this sounds much easier to maintain and keep track of. Fun even!

I’m sad that the group is over; but I’m sure we’ll all keep in touch, social media makes it so easy now. It will be great to watch people grow and to share my own progress with them. You can check out their sites here.

Loved it – www.lovedit.co.uk/ Second hand children’s clothes.

Rebecca Coulby Interior – www.rebeccacoulby.co.uk Kitchen, Bathroom, Interior Design

Wright Learn – www.wrightlearn.co.uk/ Driving Instructor

Gary Smith Property Solutions – I’ll add his site when it’s done.

Engage With Business – www.engagewithbusiness.co.uk/ – Business Coaching



Blessing 80 – Lighter Evenings and Singing Birds – Spring is Sprung. March 20, 2012



I’ve been gradually noticing the lighter evenings; but tonight for the first time I really appreciated that spring was here. I’ve even been able to sit out in the garden the past two days which has been wonderful! The spring flowers are out, with lots of brightly coloured daffodils and the fresh green of new leaves is emerging on the plants and shrubs. It feels really hopeful.

I’m making the most of the nice weather while it lasts, since we had a great spring and then a poor summer last year. You feel like you have to be out in the sun as much as possible, I’m doing all I can to up my vitamin D levels. I even took the laptop out and sat writing some of the virtual London trip today. Topically I did the day set in Kensington Gardens and drew on the sounds and senses around me, including some very chatty blackbirds, to help imagine the experience. I did visit the park years ago; but I’m going to be roping in some of my London friends and traveller contacts to help add some more details to the virtual experience. I’m going to create some virtual Olympic games events to do while at the park, that will also be living room /bedroom friendly. That’s tomorrows task – I’m hoping I’ll be able to get outside again, I feel much more creative when I’m in the open air!

Spring is probably my favourite time of year. Everything feels so much more hopeful, anything seems possible and there’s the promise of a beautiful, warm summer ahead. Let’s hope the weather listens and delivers on the promise this year!