Thursday, 25 October 2012

Something New Days 27-33: This is getting hard!

Hey guys! I've decided to start updating in weekly blocks, to make for more concise entries (and to mask my laziness). Actually, I've been very busy, but I've still been trying to do new things.

Day 27 (Thursday, October18th) - I did something that somehow hadn't occurred to me before. I posted a message on a few Facebook groups that are based in Prague, advertising my life coaching services. The first session would be free, I said, as most groups don't let you advertise things that cost money. I was very excited to get about ten responses within two days!

Day 28 - A very simple thing - I tried to walk around thinking "What would I do if I didn't care what people thought of me?" It can be surprisingly empowering to answer, and could make you question the very path you're on at the moment.

Day 29 - The autumn leaves look beautiful in Prague at the moment, so, despite the mist, Jeff and I decided to take the camera for a walk and explore a new part of Prague. We went out to Barrandov, where I often take the tram, but we walked down some roads until we were on a lovely leaf-scattered path. We found a nice little pub there, too, which had a roaring fireplace and nice cheese.

Day 30 - If I haven't already mentioned this, I'm a bit of a nerd. On this misty Sunday afternoon, Jeff and I joined a gaming group that we found online. They're based in Prague, but nobody in the group seems to be Czech (but rather from every other country imaginable). We spent the day playing Talisman, a fantasy board game that takes hours but is a lot of us (until your character dies and you have to start again!).

Day 31 - I tried another new restaurant - the lovely Noi, a Thai restaurant with good prices and a nice, classy atmosphere. The Pad Thai was delicious, as was the Mojito. Oh yeah.

Day 32 - I'm quite stingy. I usually wear my clothes until they're falling apart and refuse to buy new ones because I can't afford it. When I do splash out, I look for the cheapest things possible. My last coat had a gaping hole in it, the stuffing falling out, and after one attempt to stitch up the hole had failed I finally buckled and went shopping for a new coat. I forgot how nice it can feel to have a new item of clothing. I don't want to fuel any shopoholics' habits, but if you're like me and on some level you tell yourself that you don't deserve nice things, it could be good to treat yourself for once.

Day 33 - I met up with one of the people who responded to my life coaching advert. It was the first time I actually coached somebody in a pub (at least officially), and I found the experience very interesting! Hopefully he left with a few goals and a slightly clearer idea of what he wanted to do.

So, how is it going? I know it can get to the point where you feel exhausted with trying to think of new things to do, which is why my day 28 idea might help you out.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Something New Days 23-26:

Well, I'm getting a little better! On Sunday, day 23, I went to the cinema and saw Looper. It was pretty cool, and definitel y got me thinking. Unforunately I am a bit of a nerd and wasn't convinced that altering time would work quite in the same way that the film portrayed, but every sci-fi story has its own version of the rules!

Day 24 - I researched possible causes for my belly ache, and decided that I might be gluten intolerant. Turns out that the more likely explanation is that the antibiotics I was on made me ill, but I get these tummy pains quite a lot so I'm still looking into the gluten-free thing. I researched a lot, and bought some gluten-free bread. I'll be honest, it tasted a little like cardboard, although I've discovered that it's better toasted and covered in avocado!

Day 25 -Pondering ways to promote my blog and coaching business, I ventured over to and churned out an essay, subtly linking back to my blog. Let's hope it brings somebody over, at least!

Aaaand day 26, while browsing through information about South America (as I do) I discovered a lovely new blog - - I'm sharing it because I enjoyed how many resources it had, and how inspirational it is. The couple who run it sold everything they owned two years ago and set off travelling around the world, supposedly forever, making money from an internet business (and from the blog). I'd like to be able to do that, please! :)

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Something New Days 20-22: Switching it up!

Well, despite being quite ill for the last few days, I've managed to do some new things!

Yeah yeah, so Thursday (day 20) was just "staying in bed all day" - not the first time I've ever done it, but definitely something different. If you're one of those people who finds it hard to just "do nothing", who can't forgive themselves for wasting valuable time when there are things to be done out there, then you'll understand how hard it was for me to let myself just be lazy and watch episodes of Glee all day! Heheh.

By Friday, I wasn't feeling much better, but was bored and hungry, so I decided to try a new recipe  again. I found this lovely vegan burger recipe at for sweet potato and white bean burgers, so I got going. It seems that Tesco is one of the only places in Prague that sells sweet potato, so I bought enough to last a while... it's quite easy, really. You bake the sweet potato for 45 minutes or so, skin it and mash it together with white beans, seasoning, and - as the recipe recommended - a little bit of agave (or maple syrup) and tahini. I added more flour than it recommended to keep the mixture together, and as I'd forgotten to buy breadcrumbs, we stuck a few slices in a blender and used that to coat it. Cover your patties in breadcrumbs and shallow fry them until they look crispy, and put on a bun with toppings of your choice - we tried ajvar (which is a spicy paste made with peppers that we discovered in Serbia) and avocado. The burgers did fall apart a bit but they were lovely!

Saturday, day 22 - despite feeling rough, Jeff and I decided to switch things up in our apartment and swap the location of our rooms. We have a bedroom and a living room (plus a tiny kitchen) but, just for the fun of it, we swapped them around! This took all day, of course, but it meant that I could throw away a lot of things that we didn't need, and now the place looks much tidier. A bit of furniture re-arranging can make your place feel like new!

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Something New Days 13-19: Busy times!

Whew, hey guys - sorry that my update has taken so long! Let me give you a run-down...

Thursday (day 13) brought something I had been waiting for years to happen - new episodes of Red Dwarf! I have to admit it's my favourite show - perhaps not the funniest, now, but I started watching it when I was 10 or so, so it has always had a special place in my heart. I've even been to a convention and met the cast... too much nerdiness? Anyway, last year they filmed six new episodes (I watched one being filmed in London, too!), and on Thursday they finally aired the first one. It was better than I'd expected, and great to see something new from them.

Friday was the graduation party for my latest trainees (English teachers in Prague) so I joined them for their celebration. We went to a club I'd never been to before, which was quite cool.

Saturday - my fiancé persuaded me to come for a morning jog with him. I got into my sports gear and we ran (if you don't count the few times I had to slow to a walk) around 3km. I'm not in great shape, really, so it was quite hard - but I did feel good after it, so maybe it's something I can start doing a bit more often. Later that day, his best friend arrived in Prague (from the States), so I got to meet him at last, too!

Sunday we visited a restaurant in Prague that was new to me - a place with six of their own microbrewed beers.

Monday - I joined a Czech coupon website, where you pay £1 or so for a coupon that entitles you to 50% off at a selected restaurant. We bought three coupons for a curry place nearby, and tried it out. Very nice, too. Yes, there were a lot of restaurants, mostly because of the friend being in town.

Tuesday/Wednesday (today) - I burnt myself out. So, it hasn't been a good "something new" these past two days, as I sit here now with glands the size of golf balls and a hoarse whisper when I try to speak. Somehow I worked/partied too hard over the last few days, and now I'm paying for it. The Doctor (I wish I meant Mr Tennant in his TARDIS) says that I should stay in bed for a few days... so I'll have to cancel a lot of lessons, if I heed the advice. But even getting sick can be seen as positive, in a strange way - when you wear yourself out, your body will try to slow you down. It seems to me that other people can power on (working long hours and getting little sleep) a lot more effectively than I can, but everybody is different, so it's important to know your body and find a lifestyle that suits you. I'm certainly taking this as a lesson that I need to look after myself more carefully, and that sometimes "something new" can be as little as giving yourself space to breathe. So, now I'm going back to bed with Game of Thrones and a cup of honey and lemon tea...

How is it going for you guys? I've had a lot of nice comments, and the Facebook event makes me feel happy - it seems that this has inspired a few people to do new things, and one girl even told me that she's been happier since she started. I'm glad to have given people some ideas, anyway, and I hope that this grows and continues!

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Something New Days 11 & 12: New bar and songs

Well, on Day 11 I finally had a beer at the bar under my house - you'd think I would have gone by now, but when things are so close we normally seem to ignore them, thinking "I can go any time". I finally decided to go, and while it was nothing special, I did get to see a little dog trying to navigate the spiral stairs, and the beer was nice enough.

Yesterday (Day 12) I learnt a new song with the choir that I joined - it was Trench Town Rock by Bob Marley! Pretty cool... even a bit of Patois in there (which I can kind of understand thanks to all the Jamaicans I met in Japan!). Always nice to learn a new song!

So, my ideas for you for today... learn a new song (so that you can sing it without looking at the words), or check out something that's very close to your house that you haven't got around to visiting yet!

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Happiness Tips: Focusing on Now

What will I make for tea? What will my career be? What if it all goes wrong? What if the world comes to an end?

Did I make a mistake at work today? What did he mean when he said that? Have all of my relationships been like this? Could it have started during my childhood?

If you really stop and examine your thoughts, I'm willing to bet that most of them refer to the past or the future.

It seems almost strange to think about right now, this very moment, because even as you do it, your mind will draw comparisons from the past, references to pop culture, thoughts of the future. Try it now. Look around the room and try not to think about the past or the future at all.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Something New Days 9 & 10: Home-made pizza and sharing tables

On Sunday I decided to do something that I haven't done on my own before - make pizza from scratch! I used to make them in my university days, but always with someone else. This time, I tried it myself. It's very easy... flour, yeast, a touch of salt, sugar, olive oil, and lukewarm water in a bowl. The fun part is mixing it all together by hand - very sticky!! Then you leave the ball of dough for an hour or so to rise. After that, roll it all out and put on any toppings and whack it in the oven. I have to say, it was really good!! I probably made too much (and the accompanying salad was a bit overkill) but it was nice.

Today something "new" happened by chance - I sat at a table in a restaurant, by myself, and some other people asked if they could share the table with me. I suppose this is quite normal in busy places with big tables and small groups, but for some reason I can't see it happening in the UK or Japan, and it hasn't happened to me here (in the Czech Republic) before, either. Ideally I would have liked to strike up a conversation, but hey!

So, any new things going on with you? Why not ask a stranger if you can sit with them? It might freak them out, but you can smile to yourself. I've started nice conversations with strangers on trains and buses in the past, too... of course, your gut instinct should be able to tell you who to avoid!