Nablopomo Day 30: Conclusions

Well, here I am, 30 days later, after I set myself the original challenge of writing a blog post every day for the entire month of November. It’s funny to think that when I started doing this Halloween had only just finished and Donald Trump was still campaigning for a position which, it was widely assumed, he’d never win. Yet look where we are now. Christmas decorations are out, Donald Trump has been elected President and Judge Rinder is still on Strictly after beating Ed Balls in a dance off. What a time it is to be alive.

The main thing which has surprised both myself and assorted members of family is that I have, indeed, been able to consistently write a new blog post every single day for 30 days. Given prior to this month two posts a week was considered an achievement, I’d say that’s pretty good going. Even when I’ve had tough days in the office, or visited friends I’ve somehow managed to stick myself in front of a laptop for at least five minutes to quickly belt out a blog post before rushing back to the task at hand.

In terms of content I think I’ve actually faired better than expected. There were only a handful of days where I had to rack my brains for an idea of what to write. But that said, I never at the point of absolute point of writers’ block that I sat behind a screen staring blankly into the abyss. 30 days and able to write on some incredibly varied topics from Hershey’s to hats, Trump to trains, I can honestly say being forced to write on something everyday has, through necessity, expanded my creative mind. One of my blog posts (The 12:37 Train from Swindon to Bath Spa) even made it to into the paper I write for (and that was only written in 30 minutes). If I can write a blog post on Tuna and a dog on a trampoline then I can write about anything.

Would I do it all again? Now there’s the million dollar question. In all honestly, no I wouldn’t. Purely because to fit in doing a blog post every single day alongside other commitments is just too much pressure to put on myself. Avid readers of my blog will know that this isn’t my only hobby and switching from this to book mode whilst keeping to my journalist deadlines has, at times, been challenging. Add to mix the 9-5 job, running the 18-30 group, commuting, gyming and general life stuff and you can quickly picture how manic my life is without the additional pressure of Nablopomo. That said, would I recommend it to anyone looking for a challenge? Something to help reenergise creative minds? Most certainly. It’s a mental challenge like no other and I’m so glad to say I’ve been able to do it. It’s a mini accomplishment by itself.

And on that note, I’m going into blog hibernation. Wake me up in a few weeks’ time!

Nablopomo Day 29: Reactions to My Nablopomo Challenge

“Is it a charity thing?”

“Nablopomo? What’s Nablopomo?”

“National Blog Posing Month. Bit of a mouthful to say.”

“Never heard of it.”

“Who else is doing it? Which countries?”

“What made you want to do it?”

“So, there’s no direct value to it?”

“You’re crazy!”

“You’re insane.”

“Sounds like a tough challenge to put yourself through.”

“How are you finding it so far?”

“I don’t know how you manage to keep it up day in, day out. How do you think up things to write?”

“You know I bet most people try it for a few days then give it up. You’re a minority.”

“Is this just a con? I mean, who else is doing this?”

“Alice, seriously, I think you’re the only one on the planet doing this.”

“Bet you’ll be glad when it’s all over.”

“Would you do it again?”

Nablopomo Day 28: A Week in Pictures

It may come as a surprise to you, but I can be a bit snap happy when it comes to photos taken on my phone. Not all of these photos make it to the world wide inter web, heck, some of them don’t even make it to Instagram.

I was scrolling through these images recently and realised that some of these actually sum up my week brilliantly (well, sort-of brilliantly). For anyone who wants an introduction to my weekly goings on, look no further than these selection of images.

 

Monday

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How Mondays make me feel

 

Tuesday

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Gym day

 

Wednesday

 

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Shopping day

 

 

Thursday

 

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Sort out/laundry day (always ends up looking like this)

 

 

Friday

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Saturday

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Nice coffee and…
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gift/blog inspiration shopping day

 

Sunday

 

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How I feel after the night before…

 

Nablopomo Day 26: The Black Friday Effect

Here’s a shout out for all my brothers and sisters who are feeling drained after spending endless hours on Black Friday, stuck to a computer screen hunting for good deals online.

My name is Bubble (one half of the cat duo, Bubble and Squeak) and I feel your pain. All this shopping, it’s just too much for us adorable citizens to bear.

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So, on this post-sale Saturday, put the laptop, the tablet and the phone away, get yourself a comfy human and snuggle yourself right in there. Then, using repetitive demands, get another human to bring you some hot milk and biscuits.

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And there you have it, a perfect Saturday night to beat the Black Friday blues.

Nablopomo Day 25: Update on Living Arrangements

It has been a little while since I provided an updated on my living arrangements, so here is a quick summary.

Location: Still based in Swindon

Company: Still working for that same national organisation

Department: UPDATE – back in March I moved from the Commercial department to Marketing

House: Still living in 22 Starfish Road* (*not actual street name)

Housemates: Still living with Cherice and Becki the mermaid. UPDATE – I now also live with Amy who works at the head office of a high street newsagent firm, and Alex who, for whatever reason, can’t tell us where he works (we’re thinking Ministry of Defence or mafia boss)

Hobbies: Still managing the Swindon 18-30 group, hitting the gym, baking and (obviously) blogging. UPDATE – I now also write articles for a local online paper, The Swindonian

Transport: Still car-less. UPDATE – now much better at navigating the public bus system

In general: Still making the same mistakes and being wonderfully me. Classic Alice lives on.

Nablopomo Day 24: Can We Trade Black Friday for Thanksgiving? (An Open Letter to America)

Dear America,

Here in Britain we don’t have a lot. We have tea, cake and Benedict Cumberbatch but that’s about it. Every year at around this time we experience on our television sets what can only described as TG-Fest (Thanksgiving Fest). All of our imported shows from your country suddenly switch on the Thanksgiving story plot without warning in blatant disregard for the storyline of other episodes. That cousin who flew out to Australia last episode? He’s now back on the scene. The dog who was very much dead and/or non-existent? Well they’re now scampering about with Grandma May’s sausages (in an apparently hilarious fashion). It makes no sense.

This however is nothing in comparison to how us Brits react to the general concept of Thanksgiving. Every year we get caught up in this moral no man’s land of envy and pride when your national celebration comes into conversation. We envy you because we in Britain have no such celebration of ‘thankfulness’. We have Christmas, sure, but Thanksgiving is a festival with actual historical routes, a festival which doesn’t bond itself to a particular religion or custom. An alien from Mars could rock up the day before Thanksgiving and quickly understand what it’s all about. While Christmas truly is a great occasion, it’s a festival that often seems embarrassed by it’s own upbringing. It’s as if God is the most uncool parent figure of all time. You watch any Christmas film released in recent times and you’ll find it to be a movie completely devoid of religious connotation, but instead shoved full of Santa, presents and generic ‘festive’ music (i.e. everything commercial). You’ll struggle to find so much as an extra muttering the phrase ‘fully booked’ out of fear it’ll make the movie religious – even though Christmas has the word ‘Christ’ in it…

That said, we in the UK hate the thought of having to spend more time and money on family than needs be, so we also look down on Thanksgiving. We will happily sip on pumpkin lattes while you toil over pumpkin pies. For people like me who have their birthdays around this time of year, the thought of having three big events happen in the space of two months sounds like a social and logistical nightmare that I’d rather avoid. How do you guys coordinate present and card drops alongside work dos and catch up drinks? I feel stressed just thinking about it. I may pine for an extra day off to do nothing, but I certainly do not envy the chaos that must ensue beforehand.

Regardless of how we react to Thanksgiving, you guys seem to be content on exporting your culture, like it or not. This, dear America, is where I and many, many, Brits take issue. What the stuff is this Black Friday nonsense you’ve decided to dump on us? In the form of the mighty Amazon.com, your country bestowed Black Friday on us a few years back, it was like a neighbour who you’ve lived next to for ten years deciding to randomly give you a bottle of shampoo. You don’t need shampoo, you don’t particularly want shampoo, yet you’ve been handed it and, because you’re British, you’re morally obliged to accept it. Worse still, you feel bound to acknowledge this as normal. You’re bald-headed, it’s not ruddy normal, but then Britishness always trumps the bleeding obvious. This is what Black Friday is to us. Pointless but tolerated. It’s a needless excuse for companies to make us buy stuff we don’t want, to make us panic buy. Let me tell you America, if there’s one thing we don’t need to be taught, it’s how to panic buy. We’re pretty dam good at that already thank you very much.

I like to think myself in the growing minority, now borderline majority, who think this post-Thanksgiving festival is a joke. Last year my Black Friday purchases came to a total sum of £2.70. I went into a department store to buy tights, saw that everything had 10% off, shrugged shoulders and bought the same pack of tights for 30p less. From the multitude of ten elderly ladies in that shop, I can confirm that my feelings were replicated store-wide. It is no coincidence that said department store chain (BHS) has now closed down.

In short America, the residents of the United Kingdom do not care for your tat festivals. We do not give two hoots for Black Friday. You won the battle with Proms, Halloween and McDonalds, but you will not prevail with Black Friday. We have honestly got enough political tat of our own to be dealing with before we start maxing out our credit cards on Rod Stewart’s Greatest Hits CD. Maybe you thought you were being nice to share, maybe you don’t want us anywhere near Thanksgiving, but either way you made the wrong call. You and our British-based consumer giants went one step too far.

Behold, Black Friday in 2014:

Back Friday, 2015:

Based on this trend, I’d predict Black Friday 2020 to be little more than a racist parade staged by the English Defence League. But you know what? I’m not even surprised. I’ll actually to be happy to see the back of Black Friday in fifty years time when you guys finally stop flooding our airwaves with adverts for ‘deals of the century’, where stockists take £20 off that cheap Chinese drill they can’t shift.

So, happy Thanksgiving America. Us Britons wish you all the happiness and peace you seek on your special day. Suggestion; next year we take all your spiced pumpkin pies and paid leave and, in return, you can have 18% off selected toner cartridges. Seems fair, right?

 

Yours Sincerely,

Alice E. Bennett

British Resident