Chris Croft's Personal Blog

October 7, 2016

Blood Red

Filed under: Happiness, Music — chriscroft @ 12:01 pm

We are a rock band based in Poole, playing original music

bloodred3

Tracks:  

bloodRedSun   Blood Red      

black3   Black Shadow Creek  

Personnel:

Penny Humphries – vocal

Dave Carson – guitar

Chris Croft- sax

Mike Nicholls – drums

Dave Thomas – keyboards and studio work

blood6

 

Contact:

Chris – 07966241750

chris@blood-red.co.uk

bloodred2  red8

 

 

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July 24, 2016

Free sample of my Big Book of Happiness

Filed under: Books and Culture, Happiness, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — chriscroft @ 5:33 pm

CCroftBigBookHappinessCover

 

Hi everybody – in case you’re not able to get a kindle copy (maybe you don’t have a kindle) then please do have a read of this (it’s less than a quarter of the book but it’s still quite long – just skim it if you like) and leave me an honest review on either the US Kindle or UK Kindle pages.  Many thanks in advance for any reviews!

 

happiness star

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(more…)

September 7, 2014

The top ten books that have influenced me most over the years are:

Filed under: Books and Culture, Happiness, Lists, Managing People — Tags: , , — chriscroft @ 6:05 pm

Scott Peck – The Road Less Traveled
Rupert Sheldrake – Seven Experiments that Could Change The World
Susan Jeffers – Feel The Fear and Do It Anyway
James Redfield – The Celestine Prophecy
Rohinton Mistry – A Fine Balance
Ken Blanchard – The One Minute Manager
Eli Goldratt – The Goal
Richard Dawkins – The Selfish Gene
Peter Senge – The Fifth Discipline
Stephen Knight – The Brotherhood
Marlo Morgan – Mutant Message From Down Under

Get them and read them!

June 23, 2014

Positive Attitude – why it’s so important

Filed under: Assertiveness, Careers, Happiness, Selling and Influencing — Tags: , , — chriscroft @ 2:56 pm

1 – Effect on you

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a – What happens to you – if you expect bad things they tend to happen, and if you expect good things they tend to happen.  We attract what we envisage.  I don’t know why this is, but it’s definitely true.  People who are unlucky then expect to be unlucky again, and their expectations come true, and so they get into a loop.  Be in a good loop rather than a bad one!
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b – How you interpret what happens – some people focus more on the bad things, and if you spend more time focussing on bad things (especially things you can’t do anything about, because they are already in the past, or are unavoidably coming up in the future) then you start to believe that your life is worse than it actually is.
Some people get really knocked sideways by the random bad cards that we all get dealt, and they allow those to ruin everything else.  “I can’t enjoy the party, I’m still fuming about that scratch on my iPhone / about what Fred said to me / about the parking at the party”.
Also – do you take the opportunities when they come up?  It is easy to fail to pick up on the good opportunities: “I could have gone to Australia but at the time I was too busy” etc.

2- Effect on others – and therefore you in the end

  • You’ll attract more positive people, because they tend to avoid negative people and gravitate towards similarly positive ones.
  • They’ll want to work with you – when people are choosing teams, or interviewing for jobs, they prefer positive people.
  • You’ll affect their attitude – whether in a positive or negative way – so you’ll get back what you give out.
 

3 – Is it annoying to be TOO positive?

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Not if you don’t talk too much.  Quietly positive is the key.  Whether you are thinking positively or negatively it’s best to be a good listener and ask others about themselves.

4 – Can you change yourself?

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Yes!  And surprisingly quickly!
I mentioned earlier that negative loops are self-perpetuating: thoughts lead to actions which lead to experiences which lead to beliefs which lead back to thoughts.
So the key is to break this loop by controlling your thoughts.  Start a game to never think or say anything negative.  Push those negative thoughts out with positive ones. Say to yourself “The party WILL be fun”.  “The Presentation WILL go really well.”
This feels rather odd at first but becomes a habit very quickly, and then it’s natural and requires no further effort – you have moved up to the positive level!
You might also want to think about the influences of others on you.  Negative people, negative reading (papers, magazines), negative TV programmes, these all drag you down, so it’s better to avoid these and select positive people and experiences so that you feel good from every interaction.
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Onwards and upwards!
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CC

April 28, 2014

PS Collection part 7

Filed under: Gadgets, Happiness, Lists, Music, News and Politics — chriscroft @ 12:36 pm

 

PS – Christmas music:  Rod Stewart’s Christmas album failed to move me. Solstice Bells (Jethro Tull) remains the best Christmas song closely followed by Fairytale of New York. But the Tull track I keep coming back to is Fire At Midnight http://grooveshark.com/#!/search/song?q=Jethro+Tull+Fire+at+Midnight   Even more romantic and perfect is this: http://grooveshark.com/#!/search?q=paul+mccartney+valentine (choose the LSO version not the cover).  If you want something more crunchy, try the amazingly powerful and also clever ‘For Your Life’ by Led Zep, who still stand above the world as the best heavy band ever, and always will do: http://grooveshark.com/#!/search?q=led+for+your+life   Others come and go, but Led Zep will always be there.

PPPPS – Last week I did a course in The City and my chair cost £3,000 (it was leather and it swivelled – it was quite comfortable) (there’s a photo at https://chriscroft.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=1114&action=edit&message=6&postpost=v2 ) and they had 15 of them in the board room. How scary is that?? Still, maybe the company that made them pay their workers really well and the workers spend the money in their local economies and so it’s all OK in the end……

PPPPPS – Several people have recently been amazed by this tip when I show it to them, so I’m thinking there may be more of you out there who I can make happy: if there is no wifi for your laptop then use your iphone (probably similar on android, I don’t know) as an instant wi-fi hub. Go to settings and select Personal hotspot and slide it to On, and then on your laptop you’ll see “Fred’s iPhone” as a wifi source, so just log in with the password that is shown on your phone. Magic! (Though you are now using up your phone’s data allowance. But for just emails that will be minimal).

PPPPPPS – sorry to all the people who asked me to sponsor them this year – I get several a week and can’t do them all, or in fact any of them really. I did my own thing last week though, I ran 2 miles dressed as Santa (I was quite relieved I could do it without collapsing, in fact it wasn’t too bad) so if you want to laugh at photos or even give some cash to the British Heart Foundation then it’s here http://www.justgiving.com/Croft-Centre   As you can see, we’re not quite in the league of Pudsey, but still, everything helps.    This is an interesting site too – http://www.easyfundraising.org.uk/ – check out their unusual model of buying things on line from places like amazon via this site so that a portion of it goes to charity.

PPPPPPPS – Free talk on the radio, which you can Listen Again at any time – me answering the question “Does money make you happy” http://www.letstalkbusinessonline.com/ltb/lets-talk-business-5th-november-2012/   (seven and a half minutes in) (hey, shout out to JB!)

 

PPPPPPPPS –  thanks for all the replies about Retired4hire – I’m going to do it. I’ll let you know when it’s ready.

P -lost count-S  – British Airways let me down hugely on my (work) visit to Budapest last week – 2 hour delay sitting on the runway waiting for de-icing, not even a cup of tea or a sandwich, and on the way back, flight cancelled completely, when other people were still flying to Heathrow, stranded in Hungary, no explanations, had to pay more to get home (to Luton instead of Heathrow where my car was), no idea if they’ll pay the price difference, no email or text, either before to say “cancelled don’t come to airport” or after to say sorry. They just don’t appear to care at all. Certainly not worth paying extra compared to the other airlines. Budapest great though.

PPPS – Favourite phone apps at the moment: Sleep Cycle, which allows you to view your sleep patterns during the night (the phone is under your pillow monitoring your movements) and it wakes you up at the best point in your sleep cycle. The other day I was deeply asleep at 7 and then almost awake at 7.30 so that’s when it woke me up. You set a range of time for it to use. It seems to really work.  I also like Cadence which picks music from your collection at any desired BPM, so I just walked up a hill at 113, listening to Garbage followed by Deacon Blue and then Scritti Politti … mmmm, nice!

PPPPPS – Pet hate of the month: Ramekins. Are you supposed to each it out of the little bowl, or tip it out onto your plate? (bowl is too hot to pick up). And you always get smaller portions when they come in little bowls.

PS – Lewes Nov 5th celebrations verdict: good fun, a nice family evening out, (though for children and fragile people you might want ear plugs for the loud fire-crackers), great costumes, a few amusing effigies of politicians etc, amazingly long / large parade of people. Not as scary and full-on as the Ottery St Mary burning tar barrels which is still the most amazing thing I’ve seen.

 

PPS – ‘The Nasty Alphabet’ – thanks to Cathi Driver for finding this clever collection of words that you can use when spelling out your postcode in order to make it very hard for the other person to understand (though that’s a fairly niche market!) http://www.ooblick.com/text/NastyAlphabet.html   “A as in Aubergine” – hilarious!

 

PPPS – Inspiration Corner – a brilliant little audio clip about forgiveness and friendship:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/the-listening-project/conversation/p010nswp

 

PPPPS – I’m being plagued by texts from PPI insurance people – very irritating and not sure what to do about it. Joined TPS but I think that doesn’t cover texts. Any suggestions welcome!

 

PPPPPS – Sorry that some people got their emails filtered last time, I think it was the mention of the special IAT mug in my Christmas present ideas list. Anyway, the mug and all the other things, plus a few new additions, are all viewable at https://chriscroft.wordpress.com/tag/xmas-christmas-presents-suggestions-ideas-list/

 

PPPPPPS – Enjoying the new Killers album, Battle Born. They are slowly changing into Bruce Springsteen, but I think that’s OK, as long as they still preserve that fragile Killers essence too. For example, Deadlines and Commitments – very nice.

PS –  Time Management: you can hear the first of a series of 20 ‘Management Moments’ by me on the radio here: http://www.letstalkbusinessonline.com/ltb/lets-talk-business-29th-october-2012/   I’m on first but the whole show is pretty interesting so why not listen to it all?

PPS – James Bond and The Rolling Stones – why are they both suddenly cool again? And did you know that I am the same height as Daniel Craig with the same eye and hair colour. Just saying….

PPPPPS – Negotiating: written by my daughter so I’m a bit biased, but this is a great list of tips for bartering when shopping abroad (or even possibly in the UK?) http://pauper-to-princessreviews.blogspot.no/2012/10/how-to-barter-abroad.html Somehow you can tell that she really has done them all!

PPPPPPPS – Inspiration corner – great speech on Leadership and Success performed by Al Pacino http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yyiohbbM51g&feature=fvwrel with sporting video clips behind it.

PS – Why can Italian men look cool with a man bag when I can’t?? Very annoying!

 

PPS – Wow – music: reviews of any album by every reviewer!   Very useful but might be expensive – for example I think I might have to get the new Bob album…. http://www.anydecentmusic.com/review/4849/Bob-Dylan-Tempest.aspx

 

PPPS – things to do in Siena: See if you can find and photograph all 17 of the fountains – each part of the city has one. Clues here if you want to cheat a little bit, but it’s still quite a challenge in a day

https://sites.google.com/site/betsydonnelly/siena%27scontradafountains

What would be a London equivalent? Email me!

 

PPPPPPPPS – if you’ve not heard this then blow your mind here, Sunscreen Song, and do everything he says without arguing – and then make your kids listen to it!

 

PS – if you don’t have an electric blanket, on a timer, then you’re missing out on an autumnal treat. They might even stock them at Robert Dyas, I’m not sure.

 

PPPS – an interesting checklist: http://wrightcreativity.com/2011/04/are-you-easy-to-work-with/

PPPPPPS – Inspiration Corner: the Olympics already seem an age away, and you may feel that getting fit is too hard, but look at this: http://www.godvine.com/Man-Barely-Able-to-Stand-on-his-Own-Does-the-Unthinkable-Amazing-1476.html

 

PPPPPS – ‘Worst ever album cover for an album that is actually very good’: The Poet 2 by Bobby Womack http://www.zemaitisclub.com/bobby-womack-the-poet.htm   Can anyone beat that?? Every track has a little bit of cheese but is still a classic, for example http://grooveshark.com/#!/s/If+You+Think+You+re+Lonely+Now/4sNzAM?src=5   Love his voice too! He’s still releasing albums and produced a pretty good one recently. Check him out if you like music with soul.

 

PPPS – And in DIY Corner this week: I successfully fixed two torches (with the help of my dad – What is it about dads and torches?) and in both cases the fault was the same – old batteries had leaked, and the bottom end cap (other end from the bulb) was where the circuit was broken. Capillary action seems to pull the battery acid inbetween the spring and the casing, where it then solidifies and blocks the current. So you need to pull out the spring, scrape the white powder out the end cap with a screwdriver, and reassemble. Done!

PPPPPS – Wondering what sport would suit you best? Why not compare yourself with the top people and find your Olympic doublehttp://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-19050139   It reckons I ought to be a fat bloke on a horse. Oh well!

PPPPPPS – Music: Did I mention The Fall? Criminally I only discovered them recently, (thanks Adam!)  thinking they would be too inaccessible and tuneless, but on the contrary, they have a great groove and the vocal is hilarious and brilliant – for example, a cover of the old Sister Sledge classic http://grooveshark.com/#!/s/Prague+91+Mr+Pharmacist/3k1LfO?src=5 which feels like it’s being jumped on by a tramp but still strangely wonderful.

 

PS – As a couch potato for the last two weeks I have discovered that the best cook-your-own-from frozen pizza is Pizza Express’s Sloppy Giuseppe, available from Sainsburys and others – excellent!!  http://www.ocado.com/webshop/product/Pizza-Express-Sloppy-Giuseppe-Pizza-12/23100011    Don’t forget to drizzle on some olive oil before you cook it! Does anyone else have a recommendation? Most frozen pizzas are rubbish!

PPS – Problems with neighbouring cats  digging and dunging in your flowerbeds? Someone on a course told me they buried a fully-inflated balloon just under the surface, and when the visiting digging cat burst it with its claws it decided not to visit that particular garden ever again…..! Sorry if you think this is cruel – I think it’s not as bad as many other methods people use….

PPPS – A time management related jazz title: Make A List, by Art Pepper. Also a completely brilliant performance:  http://grooveshark.com/#!/s/Make+A+List/46mGM7?src=5

PPPPS – Dog years aren’t as simple as just x7. It seems that I am a ten year old dog (that’s quite alarming!) and my dog is a 37 year old (lucky thing!). http://www.onlineconversion.com/dogyears.htm

 

 

October 16, 2013

Christmas Present Ideas 2013

Set of 8 different coffee spoons £30 – very beautiful!

http://www.millyskitchenstore.co.uk/AlessiIlCaffeTeAlessiSetof8CoffeeSpoons-Product-20527.html

 

cheap and fun way to make your keys easier to find

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Indie-Rock-Keycaps/dp/B0076LB776

 

Increased safety when running or cycling at night – £14

http://www.buffwear.co.uk/buff-headwear/reflective-buff

.. and look at all those other buffs!

Handbag that holds a secret wine box

http://drinksbagcompany.com/

£45    So many places you could use this!

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Hilarious calendar: hot guys with baby animals: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Guys-Baby-Animals-2014-Wall/dp/1449435904/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1384720433&sr=8-2&keywords=hot+guys+and+baby+animals    £8

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I’ve got one of these and I love it

http://www.amazon.co.uk/TeckNet-Dual-Port-Lightning-Sensation-Blackberry/dp/B00A0NALHE

It can charge my iphone 5 times, (or any other phone or ipod etc) so if I’m away for a few days I don’t need to worry about power

£20

Slippers that look like cool converse sneakers

http://www.presentsformen.co.uk/sneaker-slippers-prod14367/

£20

And crocs that also look like cool sneakers, but have lovely comfortable soles

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Crocs-Mens-Hover-Lace-Boot/dp/B004M8HPGI

£30  But what’s a cooler colour, black or red??

Our waffle maker has delighted kids, visitors, and me for about 20 years now.  The best £20 ever

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gourmet-Gadgetry-waffle-maker-Waffle-Maker/dp/B00AN1WIGA/ref=sr_1_9?ie=UTF8&qid=1381776369&sr=8-9&keywords=waffle+maker

How about a pink one?

Most people reckon the new Bridget Jones is hilarious.  If it’s half as good as the others then it’ll be LOL

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bridget-Jones-Mad-About-Boy/dp/0224098098/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1381776196&sr=1-1&keywords=helen+fielding

Six crazy golf balls for £13

http://www.presentsformen.co.uk/sports-golf-balls-prod13184/

Not sure if you’d be allowed to use them at a club, but I love them

Practical and also made me laugh – the crime scene beach towel – and it’s only £8

http://www.amazon.co.uk/GHI-POLICE-CRIME-SCENE-BEACH/dp/B005JZAIN0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1381776459&sr=8-1&keywords=CSI+towel

Animal face t-shirts ~ I’ve not seen them on a person yet, but in the pictures they are pretty spectacular

http://www.presentsformen.co.uk/big-face-animal-t-shirt-pug-prod13401/

£20

This little speaker is really loud, and you don’t even need a wire – it picks up what your phone is playing and belts it out.  Can use outside etc

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Veho-VSS-009-360BT-Portable-Rechargable-Bluetooth/dp/B007I03494/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pd_nS_nC?ie=UTF8&colid=1W1ARY3RCTL92&coliid=I2K8XO4HVB880Q

£28

Wearable 4GB flash drive

http://www.boysstuff.co.uk/girls-stuff/heart-flash-can-4gb/

possibly more suitable for ladies, but whom am I to presume?

these passive phone speakers are an interesting idea – no batteries needed, and they do work

http://www.boysstuff.co.uk/iphone-ipod-ipad-accessories/horn-stand-iphone-4/

Window bird feeder

http://shopping.rspb.org.uk/mobile/window-bird-feeder.html

£11 and you’re supporting the RSPB too, which is nice.

Or this ones a bit posher

http://www.presentsformen.co.uk/window-bird-feeder-prod8526/

£17

I’ve got one of these ( the cheaper one ) and they discovered it very quickly, and you do get an amazing close up view of birds.  I really like it.  And despite being held on with just suckers, it hasn’t dropped off yet.

Tetris light that you can plug together in lots of ways – £23

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Tetris-Version-2-Tetrimino-Light/dp/B009USUO68/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1381777055&sr=8-1&keywords=tetris+light

Rugby ball wash bag – well, I think it’s cool

http://www.presentsformen.co.uk/leather-rugby-wash-bag-prod13912/

Not cheap at £30, and possibly not great for compartments and mildew, but still, it’s so manly!

What I’d really like is a Go-Pro for £300, but for occasional use this £25 camera might be good enough

http://www.boysstuff.co.uk/spy-and-survival/mini-dv-camera/

You can put it on your cat or dog and see where they go, or use the motion activated feature to investigate , well, anything really.

and it films for 2 hours which seems plenty.

At the boat show I was really impressed by a man standing in a tank of water is just some socks – they were SealSkinz

http://www.wiggle.co.uk/sealskinz-mid-weight-mid-length-socks/ “7, merino lined.

They also make gloves and hats.  A baseball cap that was waterproof would be quite a useful thing to have, I reckon

http://www.wiggle.co.uk/sealskinz-waterproof-cycling-cap/ £22

(for cool people they have beanies as well)

Great skirts

http://www.nicolaquilter.com/products-page/skirts

this one is my wife’s favourite: http://www.nicolaquilter.com/products-page/skirts/navy-knee-globe-trotter

These little sub-packages allow you to find your socks etc when you’re travelling with a large suitcase – you don’t want everything just flopping around loose in there do you?

http://www.presentsformen.co.uk/luggage-packing-cubes-set-of-3-prod8969/?src=base&utm_source=google&utm_medium=base&utm_campaign=products&gclid=cj6op9kzh7ocfzmbtaodtvmalw

Not very glamorous as presents go, but I think i might as, for some for myself this year.  £13

Of the many jokey toilet books this seems to be the one that most people like – visitors are always outraged that it says Bob Dylan is a waste of time.  but apart from that, which is clearly an error, its targets are spot on.   http://www.amazon.co.uk/Cant-Be-Arsed-Richard-Wilson/dp/1906032378 £8

Save the life of a deer, maybe, as well as being safer when you drive – this is a really interesting gadget.  http://www.presentsformen.co.uk/deer-deterrent-prod14509/?src=base&utm_source=google&utm_medium=base&utm_campaign=products&gclid=covihmy0h7ocfclhtaodjbwa2g

£8

Possibly only for children (or men), luminous laces are only £3

http://www.presentsformen.co.uk/luminous-laces-prod9817/

You’d be mad not to have one of these, because sooner or later you’ll get locked out, it always happens

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sterling-901R-SafeCan-Key-Rock/dp/B002ATR0DO/ref=pd_sim_lp_3

Needs a garden to be effective though!

This one seems big enough to hold most sizes of key.  £6

I wish I could afford the £40 for one of these

http://www.winebase.co.uk/tempour-4-in-1-modular-wine-gadget-cooler-pourer-filter-stopper.html

It has an aeration vent and an omni-gasket – how have I lived so long without those??

My gadget of the year, in terms of actual amount I’ve used it, without even changing the batteries yet, is my bluetooth keyboard which types straight into my iPhone, making it almost as good as a lap top.  £37.  works with any bluetooth phone.  Great for travelling light, using on trains, or abroad.  Full size and really nice to type on.  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Logitech-Tablet-Keyboard-for-iPad/dp/B0053FAL24/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1381242194&sr=1-1&keywords=logitech+bluetooth+keyboard

Folding ones are interesting but I think might be prone to breaking, and less good to type on?

Big thanks to Guy Osmond of http://www.ergonomics.co.uk/ for showing it to me in the first place.

For all your royalist relatives, how about a solar-powered waving queen?

http://www.glow.co.uk/solar-queen.html?gclid=CMLktJbuh7oCFRIPtAodvwsAeg

£15

How about a ‘Hogitat’ hedgehog shelter for £19

http://www.nhbs.com/title.php?bkfno=191397&ad_id=1495&gclid=CKD4wv6jiLoCFQbJtAodtTcAPw

They need help at the moment, and how exciting if/when one moves in!

A chemistry-based necklace with a time management theme! http://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/58770171/focus-necklace

Pity it’s £70. but then it is Christmas…

Solar System necklace http://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/123552050/planets-necklace-solar-system-the-nine?ref=cat_gallery_3 £20

Will your friends realise what it is?

Amazing colours-in-bottles necklace http://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/105989082/rainbow-necklace-nature-findings-in £20

For people with a bit of OCD, like me, these pictures of coloured things neatly organised are really nice

http://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/sugartowne  £12-£15

I can’t decide if I prefer teh Garden Collection of the Sugar Series…

£80 but beautiful, especially if you like red wine (and Chemistry!)

http://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/62148227/red-wine-resveratrol-molecule-necklace

Pandora bracelet bead charm made with the real footprint or handprint of your own children £40 – £65

http://www.timestotreasure.co.uk/

Book scarf! £27

http://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/129986759/little-women-book-scarf?ref=shop_home_active

Personally I love a nice fleece-lined buff

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Multifunctional-warmer-balaclava-fleece-section/dp/B005U439LI/ref=sr_1_11?s=sports&ie=UTF8&qid=1381576576&sr=1-11&keywords=Buff

Swedart bracelets are very in at the moment

http://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/161173200/swedart-b02-moose-lapland-reindeer?ref=shop_home_active

Funky watch bracelets

http://www.shopbop.com/mer-collections/br/v=1/2534374302164012.htm

Compass ring with secret word inside

http://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/97448586/the-original-custom-compass-ring-sale?ref=related-3

Mobius one sided bangle with Buddhist peace prayer

http://www.museumselection.co.uk/metta-prayer-silver-bangle-prod6506/

£85 but then it is solid silver

Have your own handwriting, or loved one (deceased parents?) immortalised in jewellery

http://www.etsy.com/uk/search?includes[]=tags&q=handwriting+jewelry

3D printed  Icosohedron with captured sphere

pendant £22 http://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/118227189/icosohedron-with-captured-sphere?ref=related-5

Amazing 3D printed object

http://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/112706208/geometric-intertwining-pendant-in?ref=sr_gallery_24&ga_search_query=3d+print+metal&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_ship_to=GB&ga_page=2&ga_search_type=all&ga_facet=3d+print+metal

£22

I wish I was cool enough to wear this men’s version of pandora

http://www.notonthehighstreet.com/sallyclayjewellerydesign/product/personalised-your-story-bracelet-necklace

£65

or this for £80 http://www.notonthehighstreet.com/fingerprintjewellery/product/men-s-leather-and-silver-story-bracelet

or this for £27 http://www.notonthehighstreet.com/chambersandbeau/product/men-s-personalised-rope-beads-bracelet

Expensive but beautiful

http://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/163917157/motorized-steampunk-usb-flash-drive-with?ref=sr_gallery_41&ga_search_query=steampunk&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_ship_to=GB&ga_search_type=all&ga_facet=steampunk

Maybe for your cool teenage kids?

http://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/88113391/steampunk-necklace-sightmares-pocket?ref=sr_gallery_36&ga_search_query=steampunk&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_ship_to=GB&ga_search_type=all&ga_facet=steampunk

A nice personalised jobs to do list chalk board for your kitchen £22

http://www.notonthehighstreet.com/seahorse/product/personalised-heart-chalkboards

some brilliant fun hats!

http://www.snorgtees.com/hats

and finally, the must-have item of 2013:

David Cameron pants for £16 http://www.notonthehighstreet.com/twistedtwee/product/man-pants-boris

August 26, 2013

Possible life plans

Filed under: Careers, Happiness — Tags: , , , , — chriscroft @ 3:33 pm

Hi everyone

I’ve been thinking about whether I would advise my kids to have a career like I had, or to go self employed like I am now, or something else. And looking at what my various friends have done with their lives, there seem to be certain patterns or shapes to people’s lives, as follows: (can you see yourself there?)

Blue chip career ~ upwards towards management. Staying in one company or passing through many

Use your skill for life. e.g. Engineer. Expert in your niche. Gives you some security.

Self employed – lifestyle business where you don’t employ anyone else, you just earn decent money doing your thing.

Build own company for sale – and then retire, or do another one!

Drop out from system, focus on a hobby eg music. Maybe do some basic work, that you don’t care about, just to keep solvent.

Combining work and hobby eg professional musician

Continuous study ~ search for a (mythical?) meal ticket, or for status from qualifications, or to avoid a job and the pressure of a career, or just because you love learning

Focus on family and house – work is something boring that is not important

Crazy changes throughout your life as you search restlessly for the perfect thing – which may or may not be out there

Burn out in some high pressure job, but save enough money to retire early

Second life: ~ semi retire early and do the thing you’ve always wanted to do

——————————————

So – what did I miss?

August 7, 2013

Things just aren’t black and white

Filed under: Happiness, Lists, News and Politics — chriscroft @ 4:15 pm

When you’re young you know everything, and life seems so simple. Then a few shades of grey creep in, and before you know it, even the obvious stuff has a flipside.
Some examples that have happened to me recently:

1 – What are your kids doing?
I used to think “How could those irresponsible parents have been letting their wayward children run riot and steal/vandalise/whatever. That parents are clearly to blame!”. Until my kids reached teenageness, when of course you have to trust them, and they go to see their friends or go out shopping with friends, and you actually have no idea where they really are. Not quite as clear cut as I thought!

2 – Should the church allow gay marriage?
I’m totally 100% in favour of a person’s right to be gay, whether they were made like that from birth, or whether it’s a choice. The church is bigoted, discriminatory, and old fashioned, at least that what I thought until last week, when it dawned on me that the church has a right to be those things, hasn’t it? If an old fashioned club doesn’t want someone to join, what gives a person the right to force that club to let them join? In fact why would that person WANT to join that club? Let’s ignore that club, move on, and leave them behind. Forcing an unpleasant club to change seems just as unpleasant. Hmm, tricky!

3 – I want my kids to get good grades at school
This seems obvious, but then, will good grades lead to a better paid job, and will the extra money make them happier? Will good grades lead to a more enjoyable job? They won’t do any HARM, but then, they will make you more likely to be tempted into the rat race. The links are really hard to prove, and I’m not convinced that anyone really knows the answers.

4 – Should Muslim women wear hijabs/burkas?
Surely having to cover themselves (whether it’s a scarf or a full body thing) is repression of women, right? The fact that they have no choice in the matter? But then I read something where a Muslim lady was saying that she likes to be covered – she can see out to the world from the safety of inside her burka. So now I’m thinking that it’s almost unfair that they get this option and we don’t – though I suppose I could wear one if I wanted. I still think that they should have the choice, but I can see that covering up is not all bad. Oh dear, is there no preconceived prejudice that I can fall back on??

Still, it’s fun to learn and change, and to think about things like this. By the way, I’m not asking for answers to any of the above, they are just examples, and they my own personal views and not views that I want to push onto you – I’m just saying that a lot of these issues aren’t black or white when you look into them.

August 5, 2013

Life in six words

Filed under: Books and Culture, Happiness, Lists — Tags: , , , — chriscroft @ 10:36 am

or “The meaning of life in 6 words”

I greatly enjoyed the item on Radio 4’s The Today Programme where they got people to send in their lives summed up in 6 words.  It was interesting to see that most people were a bit depressed about their lives – or maybe these just made the best quotes.  Here are the ones I thought were really good…

(and by the way, mine is not nearly as witty, it would just be “Burned The Candle At Both Ends”).

Foetus, son, brother, husband, father, vegetable.
Dick Hadfield

Conceived, implored, employed, adored, retired, ignored.
Joy MacKenzie

Beginning, gurgly. Middle, sombre. End, gurgly.
Roger Noble

Slow lane. Fast lane. Hard shoulder.
Alex Hansen Today.

Bantam, Anglia, Midget, Alfa, Volvo Estate.
Neil Feldman.

Womb, Play, Learn, Work, Decline, Tomb.
Jacquie Smith 

Start – programme – error – control – alt. – delete.
Alan

Outside lavatory, worked hard, now flush. Ashley Errington

Battered ball-bearing traversing pinball machine.
Nancy Connolly

Unravelled career reknitted as baby blankets.
Clare Hobba

Dot, two, six, three, one, wicket.
Tony Powell

Head in books, feet in flowers.
Heather Thomson

Trust me, I did my best.
Ray Kemp

An embroidered sampler, with some unpicking.
Sian Martin

Wrong era, Wrong Class, Wrong Gender.
Patsy Wheatcroft

Love Mountains both ups and downs.
Dennis Lee

Wasted my whole life getting comfortable.
Richard Merrington

Worry about tomorrow, rarely enjoy today!
Richard Rabone

Pass the bottle before clarity returns
Gail Edmans

I’m just happy to be here!
Graham Marsh

Not quite finished, tell you later.
Dave Nicholson

Hasn’t Been A Jane Austen Romance.
Alexandra Lackey

Bored, so bored, so very bored.
John Doyle

Run over twice, thankfully still alive.
Trudi Evans

Married childhood sweetheart. Two kids. Content.
Steve McMullen

Born London, lived elsewhere, died inside.
Patric

Some no-balls but several boundaries.
Di Attwood

Apple leads to eviction of two.
Una McMorran

Unfortunately I didn’t buy the t-shirt.
Caroline Ryan

My life? Six words? God knows.
Helen Underwood

Knight on white charger never showed.
Jane Kirk

No A Levels but a millionaire.
C North

Any chance I could start again?
Sunny Tailor

Lived, loved, laughed liberally a nd left.
Vince Horsman

Found it, Lost it, Found it.
Lucinda Lavelle

Worked all life still paying taxes.
John Ball

Born, bred. Work, wed. Dad, dead.
Colin Penfold 

Aspirations compromised by procrastination, then children.
Harry Beighton

Started slowly, then dash to line.
Richard Draper.

Happy days, sad days, empty days.
Richard Smallbone

Too many sausages, not enough sex.
Andrew Wilson


Laughed out loud, cried in silence.
Lisa from Weston

Age crept up and mugged me
Bill Cowan

If only I had turned left.
Robin Pickering 

Still searching around for the reins.
Jessica Kane

Blankets, books, bottles, books, blankets.
Margaret Melling

Ditched the map, found better route.
Gillian Smellie

 

 

If these weren’t enough (!) there is a book called “Not Quite What I Was Planning” which has loads more.  Would probably make a good toilet book!

May 12, 2013

Top 15 Tips for Success

Filed under: Careers, Happiness, Lists — Tags: , , — chriscroft @ 12:51 pm

1) Be yourself. This may require courage & honesty. Believe in yourself. You can do anything you put your mind to. Strengthen this belief by saying to yourself “I can do it”. Instead of thinking “Why me?” – try the more empowering version “Why not me?”
2) You reap what you sow – make an effort to give everyone really excellent service in everything you do. Take every opportunity to go the extra mile.
3) Help others – as well as meaning that they will help you, it’ll make you happy.
4) Make it your ambition to be liked by everyone. A good way to do this is to be interested in them: ask questions, and be a great listener. Don’t talk about yourself more than 10% of the time.
5) Keep in touch with everyone you meet whom you like. Now may not be the time, but the time will come.
6) All success needs an efficient foundation. Get your time management sorted out – don’t waste time on things that bring you neither achievement nor enjoyment. Have lists of what you want to do, and do them.
7) Be reliable – always keep all your promises. Be easy to get hold of and easy to deal with. Be on time and have all work done on time.
8) Know where you’re going. Have goals for work & home which are clear, and excitingly big. Enjoy paying the price to achieve these goals. The journey is as important as the arrival. If you don’t enjoy paying the price, are you sure that the goals are the right ones for you?
9) Live in the future and in the present, not in the past.
10) Volunteer for challenges. Take every opportunity to try new things and come out of your comfort zone. Who knows where it will lead? At the very least you’ll learn something!
11) Set up a “mastermind group”. This is a group of positive people who help each other to think big.
12) Choose the people you associate with for their value. If you don’t get either enjoyment or learning or achievement from the relationship, end it.
13) Look after your health, especially exercise & sleep. A day (or a life!) is wasted if you are going through the motions because you are unfit or tired.
14) Read lots of books. All the knowledge in the world is in books. Self-development is vital since in the end all your success is going to be produced by you.
15) Be the best “You” that you possibly can – that’s what we are all best at, but practice still makes perfect!

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