Blank Slate

Sometimes starting over is seen as a monumental waste of time; you’ve started something so you then have to strip back to nothing in order to restart further back than where you were when you first began. I know that in doing what I’m going to do and saying what I’m about to say is going to result rebuilding my blogs from the ground up and that scares me in as much as I’ve been Starfor52 since I started taking the internet seriously.

I posted earlier today for the first time in months highlighting the main reasons for making Starfor52 and this very blog here inactive.

I first want to reassure everyone that while opinions and points of view change over the years, everything I wrote I firmly believe in or did at the time of writing! You were always getting the genuine article, if you like. This blog almost seems like the collateral; the reckless part of rebuilding something that is going to be bigger and better in the long run… for everyone. In effect this is the blog that for the most part delivered what I’d promised. It was here where the chatty, personal side of me was unleashed. It began as kind of the creative, prosey side of things and quickly became a blog that I wanted to use to post about the more sensitive things and the personal events that enriched my life.

With that in mind, that’s exactly where I want to be, Blank Slate is my new blog which can be found at shawncollierblog.wordpress.com. It’s my first in a series of blogs which I’ll start to build up over time. For now though, I need to focus on a single blog so that I’m able to post consistently and about the things that I enjoy so that you guys are seeing the real me.

I’d love every single one of you to come and join me on this new chapter in my blogging life, one which I hope to be my best yet. So come on over when you’re ready!

to recap this blog will become inactive, I won’t be deleting it right away to enable myself and anybody else to take what they want from here, giving credit where it’s due of course, before it ultimately gets deleted a little later on. I’ll post here to let you know when that’s happening.

Don’t Stop Believing 

Today’s post is all about journeys, and is so aptly titled for several reasons. First of all, I love the song, it’s one of those anthemic songs which I feel I need to remember when I’m feeling tired, worn down or anxious about something! I need to hang on to that feeling, the warm positive feelings in life like love, security, that my wedding day is in a year and a half’s time and that I’m so lucky to find my best friend to share my life with. As corny as that sounds, there’s no one on the whole planet I’d rather come home to at 10 o’clock at night when I’ve just finished work and am due in a little under 12 hours.

Secondly, life is all about journeys; Little journeys that you make on a daily basis like running errands and discovering that you have a £5 note in your pocket to bigger things like losing something or someone, finding away to overcome these obstacles and making progress towards the things in life you want to do, and things that enable you to grow both financially and personally to become the best person you can be. It’s the mundane things in life that remind us what life is, it’s getting up in the morning and programming your mind, like you would your sat nav. Today’s way points may be boring, stale and repetitive or urgent, epic in proportion or looming over you! Whatever you’re doing that day it’s about balance, mentally being able to take enough energy and feeling with you to get you to the place you need to be. If at the end of the day you can say that you made it, you put your best foot forward and hit it out of the park then you succeeded. If not, you gather up all you can muster and find a route that’s more suited to you. 

In general, I believe that things turn out as they are destined to, I don’t really know who or what governs that but there’s a natural ‘order’ to things and life has a way of making that happen. Your course changes that, shapes it and ultimately, life responds to the ways you work best; It starts with your first step, and then your next until you find yourself somewhere quite different to where you started, for better or for worse.

 It’s not always about focusing on the outcome but the journey, it’s about the things I’ve conquered along the way and how far I’ve developed within that timeframe, be it a day, a month, a year or however long. Learning from the journey is succeeding in life. That’s what I’m going to remember over the next coming days, it’s not about whether or not I win or lose its about what I did to achieve that, it’s the little steps I took to get me where I am today and over the last 12 months, I feel like I’ve achieved a lot of simple, small steps. Yes the journey forward is longer, more arduous and difficult but the path behind me has prepared me for that and will always remind me that I’m a winner and that I can do life, I can do the journey, as can you. 

Berri Day! The Arrival of a new friend.

OH MY GOSH, TODAY HAS FINALLY ARRIVED! Honestly this has totally been worth the all caps I used in that last sentence because it’s finally Wednesday, June 8th 2016. There were times when I wasn’t sure I’d even see the new car, let alone get it delivered directly to my door. Well, my parents at least. I’m blogging about this as it happens and I’ve also got my camera on standby – so I feel sure that whatever results will end up here as well. The idea here is that in the spirit of this blog, I’ll kind of be documenting today right here. Firstly, because I think it’s a pretty important day that marks the beginning of a new chapter in my driving history. It’s a commitment I’ve made for four years and so today has to go down, well documented and I’m completely prepared. Bring it on!

7:26am – As I write this I’ve been up a good hour already, which is crazy! I was pretty excited last night and I think after Ben and I had stopped talking we eventually dosed off around 1am! I’m not all that tired at the moment because the adrenaline is still kicking in! I’m off to write a blog for Starfor52, then I’ll probably print my insurance documents and then jump in the shower before heading over to my parents.

7:42am – I’ve already written my second blog of the day, now up on Starfor52, detailing this blog’s existence and precisely what to day is in the hope that more readers may find this blog and follow both of them. At this point not much is really happened, but it helps to be prepared and I’ve not been quite this inspired to blog with y’all and track the story of my life, riveting as it may seem, as it unfurls.

7:45am – The decision was made to publish this post ahead of schedule and update as I go, so stay tuned…

8:30am – I left the house about this time, trying to take pictures of my specifically chosen outfit. (Too obsessive?) Regardless they didn’t come out very well and I felt like actually I might have missed something if I stayed to find my tripod any longer.

8:50am – I arrived at my parents, the other side of town, where my car was being delivered. I got in, greeted them and we had a chat over a cream of asparagus cup a soup.

9:40am – after a false alarm, the car arrived earlier than I had expected but it was good to know that my parents were as excited as I was about Berri’s arrival after I stood watching him come off the recovery vehicle I had the run down from the delivery agent and with that the car was mine! Simple!

9:50am – I took Berri around the block to try him out and park him on our drive and discovered just how light the steering really was compared to MYC. I then spent the next hour or so working out the manual trying to find out how to open the boot, which oils to use, when to check the tyre pressure, how to work the touch screen etc.

11:00am – I was getting quite anxious about Ben’s arrival as he’d been for a haircut at about 10am and part of me wondered if it were possible that he’d overslept!

11:20am – Benji’s arrival!! Pretty soon after we left for Exeter to go have some lunch at Frankie & Benny’s, I had a Margherita Pizza with a side of Fries and Ben enjoyed a spicy meatball sandwich! For starters I had chicken strips and Ben had the dough balls!

1:40pm – We left to have a wonder around the retail park opposing, realising that there was no way the touch screen was going to play ball with the terrific app (blatant sarcasm) Pioneer had designed, it would however connect perfectly via Bluetooth and USB, so we opted for a windscreen phone cradle which we ended up getting from Carphone Warehouse.

1:50pm – We left Marsh Barton, Exeter for Atlantic Village. We went mainly for the Cadbury Outlet Shop in which we both came out with some nice things and Ben tried a strawberry Flake 99 ice cream. We had a look around realising that the shopping centre was mostly full of outdoor and ‘gift’ stores, we did however have a nice sit down in Costa before returning to Poundland, The Works and ASDA in which we stocked up on Nesquik Banana Milkshale and pasta sauce for tea.

6:00pm – we arrived back home, I almost immediately took a vacuum to the boot and my footwell as I’d left some debris in there, following that I took a few more pictures, emptied MYC out and we played a few games of the logo board game to finish off an exhausting day around 10:30pm as Ben had work the next morning at 6am!

House Inspection

Few words fill me with a greater sense of urgency and dread than judgement, and today just might be one of those days where I am thankful for starting work at 11am. Today we have a house inspection and it’s one of those things that reminds me we’re living in merely rented accommodation. I don’t feel like it’s any less our apartment so much as it’s also someone else’s. 

Furiously yesterday, whilst also ironing and attending interviews I had a huge surge of tidying frenzy! It’s never a bad thing to have a nice, neat and tidy house but it’s crazy that we do these things more through fear than anything else. I doubt I’d have been as deeply moved to do everything we did yesterday had it not been that today we were expecting a visit. It reminds me very much of work as Ben pointed out on more than one occasion. 

We’re frequently informed that a big boss will come into work on such and such a day and the same thing happens. It’s crazy to think that we must believe that how we’re living isn’t acceptable if anyone else should see, so we cover everything up and put up a front out of fear that someone might see the honest, and frankly not quite as beautiful way we go about our own daily routines. It’s so false because we were given ample time to prepare for this so our letting agents have been more than accommodating with this tradition. 

They know that they’re going to walk in to an apartment that’s been staged, where we’ve made a special effort to do things that we perhaps wouldn’t normally do if they weren’t coming and so it says nothing about how we really take care of the property or the general state it gets into. For the large part, we don’t fair too badly, we might get a little untidy at times and could perhaps give the bathroom a little more attention every now and then but we’re clean and there’s a sort of background tidiness that really isn’t all that bad. With our busy lives and everything that goes on when we’re not at home it seems hardly suprising to me that when we get home we’d much rather choose to live than do all the little things that have been nagging us probably since we got up that same morning. 

For now, I should probably get ready to go so I’ll see you real soon guys and have a terrifically awesome day! 

Interviews

Today I had a pretty big interview for a job vacancy that has come up where I work. It just so happens that while it would (in theory) be less hours as it stands at the moment, it still offers me chance for overtime as I still need to be as flexible and free to work whenever I’m asked. The point here is that one of my colleagues suggested taking this interview as both practice for interviews in the future and, well, you just never know.

I’ve always been extremely nervous in interviews and while it’d be unfair to announce to the interwebs everything that went on in this interview, I think all in all it went pretty well. Interview practice I’ve learnt over the years takes many different forms for many different people and while I’m happy to say that I feel really positively, it’s been a very natural process going into and coming out of the interview.

There’s obviously nothing I can specifically say gets you a job, because employers are each looking for different things that suggest you’d be the right individual for the job. While the criterion you should meet changes job to job, there are certain things that set you up as a successful candidate and it’s as much about impressing someone with your attitude towards the job they could potentially be offering you as it is the answers you give to the questions you’ll be asked.

It sounds very egotistical to a certain extent but you should never be afraid to talk about yourself. Your interview is about you as well as yourself in relation to others. Don’t go in thinking solely about you whilst also bearing in mind that your potential employer wants to know as much about your work ethic as possible. They’ll want to get t0 know a bit about you, and in honesty, that’s about showing your passion for the job, that you’ve perhaps read around the role you’re being offered  and in what ways you are already equipped to approach the job at hand.

Notice that I said approach, your employer isn’t expecting for you to go into this omniscient, it’s very rare that you’ll have done the same job role in the same way as is quite the way you’re new employer does it. They’re expecting to train you and explain things to you and a good employer will acknowledge that it’s as much about you testing them as it is them testing you. They want to know that this is the job you want and that you see things in a positive way that’s condusive to the way they work. You don’t have to be exactly the same, but it helps if you have in mind how you measure up to the ideal candidate. In most circumstances this isn’t about how confident you are or how many teams you’ve taught to circumnavigate the globe, it’s really more about naming a couple of examples that you can say have helped you acquire the starting blocks of whatever it is they may be looking for.

They’ll perhaps want to know just how passionate and driven you are in your attitude towards, for example, customers. Particularly if you’re applying to deepen your knowledge in a company they may very well ask you why it is you want to climb the corporate ladder and what you’re future plans are. It’s okay to not know this but these are things you should at least spend time thinking about. Think also about what makes you unique. Everyone can say they’ve made this, this and this achievement but it becomes more of a list of references than an interview if you simply reel of what you’ve done not who you are. These things are only relevant if they show you’re employer that being a skilled mariner will help them in some way.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, be honest. Your flaws are not so much weaknesses as they are differences. Being as self-aware as I am in this respect is very useful because it presents early warning signals, it helps me keep people informed of what I believe I need to work on. Realise to how this job can aid your own development, how can working in this role help you to work on, say your assertiveness or how could your own self-awareness help you in this job.

Just quickly, I’d like to mention that you’re first impression is very important.Dress appropriately, let other people see your best self. Whether that’s a more creative outgoing side or a serious business style approach. Dres to represent how you’d function in your role. How you dress says a lot about how you hold yourself and how seriously you’re taking this interview. While it would be unfair of someone to not give you the job because you don’t look the part, it says a lot about your approach, your daily routine and the job you’re applying for.

Lastly, I’d always like to wish anyone going for a new job the very best of luck. It’s really not easy for everyone and different people react differently to situations. It’s often not how nervous you are when you go in to these things but how you best utilise your nerves that make all the difference. I hope that whatever you’re doing in life opens up a whole host of possibilities for you in the future and I’ll see you real soon. 😉

 

Family Games Night

Since we moved in to our own Apartment in February, I feel like my relationship with my parents, for the most part, has improved. My phone conversations with mum last a fair while, I can pop in and see them whenever as they live just down the road but I have the personal freedom of going home to my own space of an evening.

 Of a Sunday night, it’s become a sort of tradition, that we get together, cook dinner and play board games. On the odd occasion we’ve played fibbage (which is actually tablet, phone and computer based) but for the most part we play things like UNO, Cluedo, Frustration, you name it. I’ve always loved games and up until this point we’ve never really had any real motivation, with possibly the exception of Christmas, to sit down and play them. They’ve been up in my bedroom collecting dust and generally sulking about their lack of use. Believe me, I’ve heard! It’s the most amazing thing to happen because it means that instead of doing things individually we actually get quality time to do the things we enjoy instead of nagging each other and life related paraphernalia getting in the way. The main culprit as to why I wasn’t enjoying the time I used to spend living with my parents, I believe.

Just recently there’s been an explosion of games that we’ve played which I can honestly say I’ve not played in a very long time, if ever! We played Cluedo for the first time a few weeks ago, a game which I’ve played electronically and I believe at some point we had a Harry Potter spin-off version of but is never played proper Cluedo ever! It’s meant that any board game conceivable I’ve attempted to purchase, so we now have quite the collection in our flat. It’s also lead to me getting back into what I love in a big way which you’ll see with the coming week. 

As for this Sunday, it’s the master collection of Trivial Pursuit for us. Ben and myself have been playing this one over the week and it’s safe to say that we be playing in teams to ensure a quicker, less brain-aching victory! Some of these questions are not friendly, nor for the faint hearted. Stay tuned. 

Exciting News.

I don’t feel like I’ve really posted on here in quite some time. I’ve been putting a lot of energy into Starfor52 of late and between that and work, this pretty much sums up life. Here’s a little update for you though, nonetheless. I finally become the owner of fabulously brand new Citroen C1 Airscape in a little under a week (make that 5 DAYS time)! I can’t honestly tell you a lot except it’s smalt blue (a nice metallic dark blue colour) and that’s he’s been nicknamed Cali Berri (or Berri for short) thanks to the registration plate.

This year has been full of excited, yet frightfully adult prospects for both Benji and I and this new car is just one of them. I’ve been driving for six years next month and while I’ve been driving around a perfectly satisfactory Ford KA since I passed, it hasn’t felt like mine. Until last December I didn’t even legally own the car, thankfully being a named driver counts for something these days, and since owning it I’ve felt like I wanted something that was a little more modern, up to date and not showing signs of rusted like I’ve never hoovered it out! Well maybe once or twice in the last year. A fresh start means that actually all of those things will be my solely my responsibility, I’ll be the only one driving Berri and that makes all the difference.

As for blogging, I’ve definitely found a place in my life in which to do it and actually, i’ve found a surprising amount to blog about and long, I hope, may that continue. Blogging here though is a much more intimate affair and means that you’re basically coming along for the ride if you follow this blog. I’ll certainly be aiming to update this twice, if not, three times a week.

So goodbye for now, see you around I guess.

Shawn