Author Archives: robz

Open up

Cool blue sea and sky | robzlog.co.uk @robertz

I am working with a business colleague to launch a new business exhibition in the area. It’s quite exhausting, but also frightening to get this off the ground. A lot of preparation has gone into it and we are just starting to promote it. We’re at the stage when you do things and get no response, and start wondering whether it was such a good idea.

I have organised events like this before for other organisations so know what results look and feel like.

Over the weekend, I relaxed by baking a cake, cooking some meals, working on my art project and reading a history book for my MA, as well as walking with our dog. I deliberately didn’t spend any time on business so that I was fresh this morning.

Just now, I heard an email arrive and when I looked, I saw that our first exhibitor has booked their stand.

I now think: We are on our way.

It’s almost as though I had to back away to give it space and let things start to happen.

Being asked to blog for the Ultimate Blog Challenge on a song lyric or phrase that sticks in my mind, the following suggested itself:

“Just open your eyes, and realise,
The way it’s always been.
Just open your mind and you will find
The way it’s always been.
Just open your heart and that’s a start.”

This is from The Balance, written by Graeme Edge and Ray Thomas for the Moody Blues’ A Question of Balance album way back in 1970, but I think the words have a lot of value.

Sometimes I find myself focusing too narrowly so that I pass by other things without seeing them. I need to consciously relax and open up to other influences and see what happens.

Opening my eyes, mind and heart seems a good approach to life.

Posted in a musing, music, books and writing.

10 years of blogging, so what now?

I was astounded to see that I started this blog 10 years ago with the entry:

Drama coming . . .

. . . soon.

This was a reference to my heavy involvement in amateur dramatics at the time and my role in publicising six or seven productions every year.

Since then, I have blogged about theatre, Ilfracombe in North Devon, England (where I live), food, wildlife and various musings on life.

The most popular post has been this one about the elephant hawk moth in our garden 10 years ago – I still get questions about it.

It’s been an up-and-down blog, as over 10 years much has happened and my life has changed a lot. Illness and family losses have cast a shadow and for the past four or so years I have written little.

But here I am again.

silhouette | robzlog.co.uk @robertz

This is my personal blog – I have also written business blogs at z2z.com and a new one at unfashionable.uk – and I am looking to write more about life in general, food, nature, books and music, and history, as I am studying part-time for my History MA.

If you are here and reading my posts, what do you enjoy reading and find valuable? And what would you like me to write about?

Let me know in the comments or ask me anything else about what I write?

Posted in a musing.

Connecting over cake

I was exhausted this morning and didn’t make it to the beach, much to the disappointment of deep spaniel eyes – we’ll go tomorrow, I promise. This made me realise that I needed to relax today and I decided to make a cake ,as I find baking very calming.

The other day, we had been looking through a recipe book we bought probably 30 years ago – one of four – which we had dipped into for some reason. It’s called A Glut of Citrus Fruit by Ann Carr. I saw a recipe there for Lemon and Currant Cake, which I liked the look of. I prefer sponges and light fruitcakes to rich cream or chocolate cakes, so this sounded delicious to me.

Now, at the moment, I’m taking part in the Ultimate Blog Challenge to reinvigorate my blogging and have committed to posting something every day for 31 days. It was suggested that today we post about our social media accounts and I wanted to do this, but also wanted to write about my cake, so I thought I would combine the two. After all, what better than to connect over cake? But then I thought, we can’t actually share this cake online, so the next best thing is to share the recipe.

Lemon and Currant Cake

Recipe by Ann Carr.

Ingredients

4oz butter
4oz caster sugar
2 eggs
Grated peel of 2 lemons
2oz candied peel, preferably lemon, but mixed is all right
2oz currants
4oz ground almonds
4oz self-raising flour

Preparation

I rinse the currants and candied peel in hot water to rinse off excess sugar of my own accord as I think it keeps the cake lighter, but is not essential.

Beat the butter and sugar together, then add the eggs separately and beat. Stir in the lemon peel, candied peel, currant and almonds. Then fold in the flour.

Pour the mixture into a greased 8-inch tin and bake at 180°C (350°F/Gas Mark 4) for 30-40 minutes or until an inserted knife or skewer comes out clean.

Lemon and Currant Cake | robzlog.co.uk @robertz

Connecting on social media

I hope you enjoy the cake, if you decide to bake it, and hope the photo and video don’t make you too hungry. I post my kitchen adventures on my social media accounts, as well as photos and videos of adventures with our dog, walking in the countryside, views of Ilfracombe where we live in North Devon, business information and comedy.

I enjoy discussions, but not hard sell, so while I’m happy to see everyone promote their businesses, I don’t like being sold to. I think that building relationships is what is important. Sometimes these will be social, sometimes they will be about business and occasionally they will combine the two.

It would be good to connect at:

Posted in food & drink.

My life’s essentials 14: Canon PowerShot SX500 IS

Canon PowerShot SX500 IS | robzlog.co.uk @robertz

I have always enjoyed photography, although for much of my life did not spend much time on it. Moving to live by the sea and walking with our dogs have given me plenty of opportunities to take more photos. Five years ago, after we lost our dear two spaniels and there was a lot of family illness and pressure around us, we welcomed a new puppy into our home. My old digital camera had just packed up and I replaced it with a Canon PowerShot SX500 IS bridge camera. We had other important spending priorities at the time and this was yet one more thing added to the list, but we thought it important to capture the memories of the early days and weeks of our seven-week-old puppy.

Sprocker spaniel | robzog.co.uk @robertz

Almost five years later, after much battering by wind and rain, being gummed up with sand on the beach, and accompanying me all over the place, I am so attached to this rugged little camera. I have a digital SLR with a selection of lenses, but that takes planning to carry with me for a photoshoot. The little Canon fits in my pocket, a bag or in the car glove compartment, and has taken thousands of photos, from sunrises and sunsets to family and our dog. It has been repaired once, but I’m astounded it keeps going, especially after going on the beach so much. Sand gets everywhere and the inside of my car looks like I am building my own beach resort.

As well as having a 30X zoom and shooting at 16 mega pixels, the facility to manually set shutter speed, aperture value and ISO speed has enabled me to experiment more than ever with photography, which I throughly enjoy. While I take photos with my dSLR and iPhone, I usually have this little camera at my side too. I’ll be sorry when it stops taking photos because it has given me the ability to take photos that I would have otherwise missed.

I enjoy sharing photos on social media as well as seeing other people’s photos. If you want to connect, please follow me on:

 

Posted in my life's essentials.

Time to try something new

I’ve been doing pretty much the same thing for work and business for 35 years – can’t believe it’s that long – and that is: writing.

I’ve always enjoyed writing, and I still do, but there are some aspects of work that don’t excite me so much. For example, in my corporate days, I was only too keen to take the opportunities I was given to experiment with computers. In several jobs in the 1980s, my bosses knew what they wanted me to make the computers do, but didn’t have a clue as to how they worked. I had to figure out hardware and software, often because the IT support departments still operated with the mindset of computers being for technical people. They were horrified that users were taking more control and knew more about desktop publishing, graphics and digital communications than they did. I would stay late in the office figuring out how things worked and thoroughly enjoyed it. However, these days I would rather walk on the beach as I have come to realise that every software package you learn becomes obsolete and that you have to learn a new one after 18 months or so.

This and the fact that marketing and PR are seen very much as a young person’s industry led me to realise that we – my brother who is my business partner – must differentiate ourselves from those in their 20 or 30s or even younger.

And so we have decided to embrace our age as an asset that differentiates us. We thought about a brand that would sum this up – it’s difficult finding words and names that have not already snapped up – and we hit upon: unfashionable.

We’ve never followed fashion for its own sake and always tried to see humour in our business, so we’re very comfortable with this.

Will it work? I think there are times when you have to try new approaches and so we will see.

Are you trying anything new or making changes?

Posted in a musing.
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