Read.Sip

September 20, 2014

| www.lauratosney.co.uk

I’m so excited it’s the weekend! After a heavy workload for a couple of weeks, I’m glad to have a couple of days to lie flat on my face and do nothing; Chief basically has the right idea. Maybe there’ll be a bit of cycling in there, and some errands and maybe brunch, and damn, I do have my final long run before the 10k next week but other than that…! I will not be moving for the world. Here’s some weekend reading for you – have a good one!

- The Disruption Myth

- there’s a giant Hippo in the Thames! I can confirm, it’s adorable.

- The theory of awesomeness

- Time for weekend pinning… Current loves: these gorgeous textiles by Caitlin Wilson and this Apple Crisp ice cream recipe from Fabtastic Eats. Yes!!

- My favourite coverage that came out of the Scottish Indyref was basically John Oliver’s spot. #Unicorn

- Food 52′s 8 favourite food blogs of the week

- 16 instagram accounts that will make you dream of Ireland

- How long would it take you to read the entirety of the Game of Thrones? Or Anna Karenina? This infographic can tell you.

- Moleskine released a coffee journal. Oh. Yes.

- I never found bull terriers cute until these adorable photo/illustrations

No Distractions: week 2

September 19, 2014

Week 2 of the Great iPhone clearance and good things are happening… I no longer have to rely on the Pomodoro technique (e.g. the FocusTime app) to get into a good state of concentration/knuckle down to work on detail-oriented projects. Amazing considering I thought it would take longer for that to return, though it’s good for getting back into work after say, lunch or a tea break. The evenings feel a little longer because I’m not wasting time on sites I’ve been on most of the day anyway…Ideas are slowly blossoming, things being filed away for later use.

This week I came across Jess Lively’s podcasts, specifically the 14th august episode discussing ‘e-brain’; basically everything I was feeling about internet burnout/overwhelm. Even though rationally it’s obvious that you’ll never be alone in feeling this at some point, it’s easy to forget that, so to hear it from other people is a nice bolster. Cut to somewhere about the 20 minute mark and they talk about their own ways of dealing with it (i.e. similar to this: no phone/internet blocked time, make time for walks/getting outdoors/allowing ideas to click). One thing I’ll definitely be taking on board is get a proper alarm clock. That way = no checking your phone last thing before sleep, even just to set your wake-up call.

I think there’s a good amount of underlying anxiety that we don’t notice when we look at a phone full of red number notifications. When we first started with them they were enticing – that little red bubble in the top right of the screen and a little vignette of interaction. But now they’re nothing but headache inducing, in such a subliminal way that I didn’t realise how much better I felt until they were no longer there.

So, week 2 = a success in the most part. I’m more organised because instead of five different to-do apps, everything is narrowed down to notes/lists in one place, and work days are flying by. Sure it’s frustrating when I need to do simple things (such as email an image) and I have to go back into the settings to switch mail back on, but once I’m back to a solid state of concentration/work pace, I’ll slowly allow certain apps back onto my phone if possible, but definitely by no means all. Incredibly glad I’m doing this experiment – it’s certainly helping!

Autumn to-do list

September 16, 2014

Autumn to-do list | www.lauratosney.co.uk

  • Drink all the apple cider (as in the American-style hot drink)
  • Knit a new scarf
  • Gather conkers
  • Find a pumpkin patch in the US in October/go apple picking
  • Make copious (GF) blackberry & apple crumbles
  • Walk in the leaves
  • Watch Hocus Pocus, My Fair Lady and all the other dark-evenings-are-coming ritual films that I love
  • Steal all the hugs, light all the scented candles, wear alllll the crew neck jumpers!
  • Finally get round to a good golden hour shoot
  • Run my third organised 10k of the year (and actually cross something off my January goals list!)

Read.Sip

September 13, 2014

| www.lauratosney.co.uk

Got your coffee? Got your salted pistachio chocolate? (You need some of this in your life) Good. Sip and read on…

- 10 college hacks that actually stand up outside the dorm, including: mcguyvered-one-cup-coffee brewing, how to chill drinks fast & how to stop your drinks stacks taking up all that fridge space.

- The Kitchn Cure - an Autumn clear-out guide to organising your kitchen workspace

- Just in case Youtubers have passed you by, here’s an article about a couple. There’s like a zillion more of them…

- British female jihadis are running al-Khanssaa, an all-women militia set up by IS in Raqqa, Syria

- There are just FIVE female CEOs in the FTSE100. Who are they?

- The inside story of how Microsoft killed the Courier, i.e. the only tablet I’ve ever, ever wanted to own and Microsoft were all “BUT THE EMAIL. WHERE IS THE EMAIL”. Sigh.

- “if money were no object”

- Viking Warriors: also actually female

- Latest pinspiration (slow cooker baked apples, rainy scenes, all the autumnal things and the most beautiful J.Crew scarf ever)

- And finally, 50 brilliant long reads for your e-reader

No Distractions

September 7, 2014

Distraction-free iPhone | www.lauratosney.co.uk

I love my phone. I hate my phone. I love it and I hate it and it feels like I’m stuck to it 24 hours a day. My relationship with my phone is making me lazy, short of concentration, devoid of my own creativity plus – conversely – stoking that inherent desire in me to do everything and see everything to a level that makes it impossible to do anything or go anywhere. It’s sort of…paralytic.

As someone for whom social media is a large part of my working life, I find it hard to justify not using it out-of-hours, because it’s often when you’re using it for yourself that you get an idea for a cool project or campaign or you notice upcoming trends & patterns . Plus, I genuinely enjoy it. There are hundreds and thousands of interesting, beautiful, arresting, thoughtful things on the internet alongside the bad. Except, when you’re stuck to it for too long it turns your brain into a creative desert. The platforms themselves lose their lustre; one pretty picture is just like another and please tell my I’m not the only one who started getting sucked into the facebook-Twitter-Instagram-Facebook-Twitter-Gmail-Facebook-Pinterest cycle? Ugh. Even just reading that makes me feel dull.

So having read this article about a year with a ‘distraction-free’ iPhone, this one about best ways to stop procrastination, this one from Matt Andrews on his own ‘no consumption‘ experiment a couple of years ago, and listening to a ton of After the Jump episodes (check out ep. 83) while I run, I’ve decided it’s definitely time I took control of my own habits.  I’m going to keep a diary, see how I get on from week to week, chart any changes in work output, creative output, life output. And that means putting. down. the phone.

An Update from Week 1:

First, the purge.

Deleted:

  • all non-essential/unedifying/’infinity’ apps including: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Path, Steller, Pinterest, Tumblr, 2048, charity running apps I’ve had on there forever and never used, shopping apps, random game apps, random quiz apps, Reddit, etc etc
  • Safari (‘disabled’, because I previously deleted the Facebook app and found myself looking at it in the browser anyway)
  • Email accounts

Kept:

  • Productivity apps such as Focus Time, CoffitivityEvernote
  • Useful apps (bus timetables, Uber, WhatsApp)
  • Music and exercise apps
  • Two news apps – BBC, and Pocket so that I can finally catch-up with the articles I bookmark during the week
  • Camera apps (though have streamlined and deleted the 5 or so editing apps that were languishing on my phone unused)

And, randomly, the Duolingo app…because if I’m ever really that bored, and I don’t have a  book with me, then I’m better off practising some French and German than I am scrolling through endless Twitter angst.

I set out loose ‘rules’: personal social media during allowed during breaks and at home if using browser. Try to limit time in the evening and weekends. Okay to briefly re-install apps that you need to upload new content you’ve created yourself (e.g. Instagram/Stellar). Keep notebook close for personal notes, ideas, things I need to check up on etc. (I.e. try not to break work concentration to Google random thoughts – jot them down, sort them out later).

How it went: Coupled with a change in seating at work (i.e. no longer next to a door and constant flow of disrupting traffic) and an insanely busy week of deadlines, I’ve had a much better week of concentrating than most of August. Using FocusTime means I feel like I”m ”cheating” if I look at something not of the task in hand, and I’ve whizzed through a lot of things.  Still find myself reaching for my phone for no reason, but now, instead of getting stuck into a cycle of social media apps, I put it straight back down because there’s nothing to look at. I”ve started using the app Happier with a locked-down profile to keep hold of those small, fleeting feel-good moments. A long week has left me too tired to start on personal projects at home, but for the first time in a long time I feel real ideas bubbling away that I’ve put to one side for later. Progress!!

Cons: I did however find my first issue – stupidly, deleting gmail from my phone meant my calendar reminders disappeared too and I found myself missing a night at the theatre (to see King Charles III) I’d been looking forward to for a long time, but in the midst of a hectic week, had slipped my mind and there was no pop-up to nudge me. GUTTED. Also realised I use the Pinterest app as a shopping list for my favourite recipes more than I knew, and by getting rid of Safari too, I couldn’t jot down a shopping list on the train home without reinstalling. Both lessons in organisation to be learnt from! But also means I’ll be reinstalling Gmail but blocking actual mail notifications for the rest of the time.

Are you up for trying a distraction-free month? Or do you have any favourite tips for productivity? I’d love to hear them…

 

Smushy face

August 31, 2014

Corn dawg // www.lauratosney.co.uk

There is nothing better than going home and being greeted by the dog of a thousand faces. Say ChEEEEse Chief!

Cheeese // www.lauratosney.co.uk

LOOK AT THAT FACE! I don’t believe there is a person on earth that couldn’t love it. He is the happiest, most spoilt rotten dog ever.

Playing catch // www.lauratosney.co.uk

Shall we throw this slimy, saliva-filled ball for you Chief? Of course we shall. Oh are you a bit pooped? Let’s have a rest, right here then. And then later you can have your slightly stiff hip rubbed and lay down on a soft bed. Or the sofa, because I think you’ve claimed that too.

English spaniel, cute dog, dogsofinstagram, spaniel

It’s the life, Chief, isn’t it? And so is mine. Because I too had my slightly stiff hip massaged, and my stomach filled with home-cooked food, and I was picked up and packed off from the train station with big hugs and love. We’re the luckiest, aren’t we Chief? Yes. Yes we are.

(a bit of a different) Monday Reminder

August 25, 2014

Sad times that this is the last summer bank holiday of the year…

// www.lauratosney.co.uk

It is, of course, raining today.

beach2

But yesterday wasn’t too bad…
Brighton Pier // www.lauratosney.co.uk

It may have actually been sunny at one point!

Out to Sea // www.lauratosney.co.uk

Sea air! All the sea air! And gelato. And some craft cider.

// www.lauratosney.co.uk

Annnnnd then I came home to find out my sister had so lovingly nominated me for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

She’s sooo kind, that one.

gulls  // www.lauratosney.co.uk

Still, money where my mouth is and all that.

Brighton PIer // www.lauratosney.co.uk

…actually, it woke me up today. Quite enjoyed it!
(I may have used a small bucket)
(not that I could lift a big one)
(oh well)
(…I tried*)

(*donated anyway)
Time to make comfort food and zone out to some filmage!

Why I’m all for the #icebucketchallenge

August 20, 2014

20140820-230228-82948388.jpg

So, bout that Ice Bucket Challenge, eh?You literally couldn’t miss it, even if you wanted to, and I actually, for once, really don’t want to. And I’m not just saying that for sopping wet Tom Hiddleston reasons. (…honestly).

I absolutely hated #nomakeupselfies. Sure, it was raising money for cancer research and that’s all to the good, but it was mainly making money for an organisation that pretty much poops £££ already, comparative to some charities in the same space. But more than that, I disliked it for what it was and what it said about us as a society. Here was a “challenge” involving taking a photo of your own face.

I mean…really though.

Forgetting the sheer vanity of that for a second, let’s also remember that the challenge was mainly “accepted” by women because let’s be honest, the vast majority of men don’t wear make up, and it played on the idea that not wearing makeup was something…noteworthy. Because god forbid a woman should exist on the planet in a sort of natural state and not be feeling that she’s making a big political statement, amirite?

But the ALS challenge (for Motor Neurone Disease, or Lou Gehrig’s disease) is crazily brilliant because it isn’t just fun to watch famous folk and friends do something daft like drench themselves in iced water, it actually very momentarily replicates the freezing and lack of control you have over your muscles as a sufferer of a degenerative disease. Fun and empathetic? Someone out there was an evil genius to spot the link and jump on it. Yes, some slebs aren’t getting a good plug in for the charity, but lots ARE and it’s raised over $22 million for a charity that probably wouldn’t see that kind of income in a long time…never mind over the course of one heady week.

I know in days of Ferguson and Gaza and IS in Iraq and James Foley and all the heaping, bloody, barbaric things happening in the world, this can seem…inconsequential. Frivolous maybe. Wasteful, even. There’s often a sense of hopelessness that can fall over the whole idea of online activism at times; how often have you thrown a link out into the void (the same one that thousands and thousands of others are too) and known deep down that no matter how loudly you try to shout about the subject matter, or how deeply you feel the injustice or horror or truth of a matter, that pixelated point won’t make the slightest bit of difference to the outcome? But these buckets of water are turning into literal buckets of cash that will fund real research, that one day years from now will mean the difference between life and death for the diagnosed.

So I’ll leave you with this video I saw today – of 26 year old Anthony Carbajal who did the ice bucket challenge but then went on to explain why it’s a seriously good thing for him. Watch it to the end, especially if you’re lairy about the whole shebang…maybe it’ll persuade you that it’s a good thing after all.