The iterative way to write a book, by Leo Babauta

This is an interesting application of the MVP (minimal viable product) and Agile approach.

I particularly like the idea of having alpha testers.

“Write a minimum viable book for alpha testers. I wrote each chapter for a group of 10 alpha testers who generously agreed to read early versions of the book and put it into practice. Because I was writing for them, I was more motivated to write regularly.”

Read blog post: Writer as Coder: The Iterative Way to Write a Book, by Leo Babauta

Hobbies

pianoOnce in a restaurant* in Brussels my mum and I sat at a table next to an elderly couple who were celebrating their 50th anniversary. Our tables were close enough that the interaction between us happened naturally. I say naturally because my mum is incredibly interactive and communication with strangers is not uncommon for her.

By seeing that we were impressed by how long the couple were together, the man gave us a piece of advice:

“Hobbies! That’s our secret for staying together for so long. You need to have hobbies. Hobbies that you can do together and, most importantly, hobbies that you do on your own. Because when it all goes, jobs, kids, that’s what you’ll have and what will keep your minds sane.”

This kept in my mind and I believe it has directly influenced me to start a few hobbies like learning to play the piano. Sometimes it can be difficult to fit hobbies in our day to day, when we’re so busy, but it’s worth the effort (for these reasons). Who knows, when we’re celebrating our 50th anniversaries, we can then pass on the advice.

*If you like mussels and you go to Brussels, check out the restaurant Leon de Bruxelles. They are also located in London and in Paris, but if you can, go to the original.

Beautiful Reykjavik, Iceland

We went to Reykjavik for 5 days. It is absolutely beautiful and I totally recommend a visit.

One day we hired a car and did the Golden Circle tour, which includes seeing the huge Gulfoss waterfall, Geysirs and tectonic plates. They are super impressive! On another day we went to the Blue Lagoon, a geothermal lagoon.

We tried a few traditional Icelandic foods. The main one was Hákarl, a fermented shark. The smell of ammonia is so strong that the tiny pieces of shark come in a small closed jar. I hope I’ll never have to eat it again. After this experience we tried other traditional “safer” foods like their famous tasty lamb, the lamb hotdog from the most famous stand in Reykjavik and Skyr which is a no-fat type of yogurt. More about Icelandic traditional food.

We went to a the Reykjavik 871 +/-2 The Settlement Exhibition which gave a very good overview on how Reykjavik was settled and formed.

For a more complete blog post about this trip, check out my husband’s blog post.

Running out of patience

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Running has been a good exercise for me not only for the physical aspect of it but for the mind. Besides being a good way to release stress, running long distances (10k, 15k, 20k) has been a great exercise for patience and determination. The former I find the most challenging.

In our day to day, we are constantly connected and being distracted. We are not used to feeling bored anymore, we change subjects, we change channels, we pick up our phones. Being on your own with your own thoughts for a long period of time, whilst struggling, can feel boring. Oh, so very boring at times! “Why am I doing this? I want to stop.” but you just keep going.

While running, you hit the famous “running walls”. For me these are around 3k, 5k and 10k. When you hit these walls, you are aware of how much more there is ahead of you. This is not an easy thought. Boredom is a big part of running but you just learn to be more patient and you keep going because you know that at the end you’ll feel awesome because you made it!

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Photo copyright: Photo by Glen Carrie (Licensed under CC0 1.0)

The making of the Lambeth Parks Challenge

Was very happy to receive by email a lovely video made by Stephen the project manager I worked with last year on the Lambeth Parks project at White October. In this project, I was responsible for the creative direction and user experience. The team included Sophie Klevenow, who did the amazing illustrations and animations and Pete West, who did the development.

See the project on my portfolio or see the Lambeth Parks Challenge website.