Monday, 5 September 2016

Why can't I be happy being happy?

Well… hello, hello Mr #Daneyblogs… It has been a while hasn’t it? I’m writing tonight to give a wee nod to the fact that my blog has reached 1-year old AND not only that… it’s had over 3,200 views! How very cool! I’m so touched!

What a year it has been…

I’m typing tonight filled with a mixture of emotions. I feel proud of how far I’ve come in 1 year.

Due to my pluckiness to create THAT PR campaign… I’m now in a job where I’m valued. My creative ‘Dane-ness’ is encouraged and nurtured in a new and professional way. I get to wear a suit and look very dapper, and meet all kinds of really interesting and sound people. I even get to have fun playing a ukulele...

But there’s a catch…  

When I did all my creative initiatives last year, I thought that getting my job would solve all my battles with self-confidence. Pushing myself out my comfort zone. Professionalising myself and seeing things I’m working on coming to life...
Whilst that has happened professionally, personally, despite things going really well for the first time in… forever, I’m constantly picking battles and fights with myself, and it’s wearing me down if truth be told. Isn't this supposed to be my happy ending?
Why can't I be happy being happy?

I’ve made the odd flyaway comment about feeling down, but I’ve noticed it creep in more and more of late, and I’m using my writing as way of addressing and moving forward.

Weighing in…

I’ve noticed more and more that my weight is creeping back up. I’m trying to get more active, and eat better, but it seems the more I think about it, the more I want to eat.

I’ve realised more and more that whilst I’ve got the world and more in my life, I still have this emptiness where I turn to food to fill it.

Why though?

I’ve got the job I love. I’m in the flat I really like and am settled. I’ve got THE best friends anyone could have - who I truly am lucky to have. I’ve got an amazing family (Ma mum's still a wee LEGEND!). But, I still just have this icky, sticky, heart sinking feeling of sadness.

Is this just being human?

Humans do get their heart broken when their close wee aunty Jean passes away, humans do feel empty and disillusioned when the guy they thought was decent, turns out not to be. Humans do need to blog to get it all up what's going on in their head.

This blog has turned into a bit of a journey in its own right. But, I'm determined to climb aboard the positive train again and get the smile back behind my eyes. I’ve got too many reasons to smile to be shadowed by a frown.

Dane – remembering he’s human, even in 2016 xx

Monday, 28 March 2016

Brewed & Baked: Brewing up ideas for the local Musselburgh community

Brewed & Baked: Brewing up ideas for the local Musselburgh community

Hello and welcome to a very special Brewed & Baked blog edition. It’s been a while since I’ve written I know, but I just had to share with you all the great lunchtime experience I had at Musselburgh’s newest café in town, Brewed & Baked today.

I had the pleasure of visiting Brewed and Baked with CHANGES volunteer coordinator, Beth today for a hot chocolate and catch up about my part-time, voluntary PR and Social media work with CHANGES which I do out-with my full time work with bid specialist organisation, AM Bid Services.

I was keen to hear more about all the exciting fundraising activities Brewed and Baked are doing to for CHANGES Community Health Project in the form of their exciting ‘Charity of the week’.

‘Charity of the week’ is a week filled with daily initiatives to raise money for CHANGES. From naming the bunnies, to an acoustic music night taking place this Friday 1st April. This week really has something fun for everyone.

So, when Beth and I got to sit down with Cheri Lynd (who co-owns Brewed and Baked with husband Andy Lynd) we decided to do a Q&A to find out more about this exciting new café and why you should shop local.

Brewed & Baked Quick Facts:

  • Opened in Musselburgh 4 months ago
  • Opened as a one off, with the intention and hope of franchising later
  • Owners are Cheri & Andy Lynd
  • Active in the local Musselburgh community
  • Open 8am-6pm Monday- Saturday & 9am-5pm Sunday
  • Situated on 83 High Street Musselburgh

Q&A with Brewed & Baked Manager, Cheri

D&B: What does the Musselburgh Community mean to you?

C: It is the reason we’re here. Every person who walks through the door is valued. We’re grateful and delighted they’ve chosen to visit us.

We pride ourselves on creating a warm relaxed, inviting café that our local community can come time and time again.  We want our customers to come in, forget about their worries, enjoy our wide range of custom made drinks (we create them how YOU like them) and a delicious snacks selection.

We go beyond just selling food to the Musselburgh community, we’re actively involved in community causes. We’re currently supporting CHANGES Community Health Project by dedicating a ‘Charity of the week’ to raising funds for them.

We also support ‘Reading is braw’ which is fantastic initiative designed to encourage and inspire children to read more.

As someone with an art background, we support the local arts and are looking to expand on this further as Brewed and Baked grows. Whether this is supporting local school clubs or commissioning local talent to put pieces in our premises.


D&B: What are you most proud off?

C: Continually being able to serve the Musselburgh community. To see the hard work, we’ve put into giving great service transpiring into people coming back again. I was so touched when a woman (who I sat down with as she seemed like she just need to talk) said to me “you’ve really cheered me up, I feel so much better after chatting with you”.

D&B: What does the future hold for Brewed & Baked?

C: Continuing to build on what we’ve got. Getting involved in more community causes. Developing our presence even further on social media, and most importantly, hearing more of our customer’s stories. Everyone has a story and we can’t wait to hear more of them.

Closing Note

When I walked into Brewed & Baked, I was instantly blown away with the attention to detail. From drinks being crafted exactly how you ask them for, the reading section for kids, the great upbeat choice of music, that feeling that you could sit and enjoy, as opposed to being rushed out. I think it’s fantastic what Cheri and the time are doing. I’ll be paying them a visit for a hot chocolate again very soon. If you haven’t already tried Brewed and Baked. You really must go! Support local!

For more information on Brewed & Baked :
Premises: 83 High Street Musselburgh
Facebook: Brewed & baked

For more information on CHANGES:
Facebook: CHANGES Community Health Project
Twitter: @changes_muss

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

From Burns to the Blog | A special CHANGES Volunteers Get Together

From Burns to the Blog | A special CHANGES Volunteers Get Together

Hello and welcome to the very special CHANGES Musselburgh edition of the #Daneyblogs.

This blog will be a fun review of the fantastic volunteer’s event held on Friday 29th. It will tell you more about who CHANGES are, what my role is with them, why they have a special place in my heart and of course…. how I introduced social media to them through a comical  game of ‘Burns & Blogs’ bingo…

First of all….who are CHANGES?

CHANGES Community Health Project are a Health & Well-Being focussed charity based in Musselburgh > They are celebrating their 20 year anniversary this year and just keep getting bigger and better!

 Check out the following #CHANGESFacts:

·         CHANGES open their doors to over 70 dedicated volunteers year in year out (psst! they do have room for more if you want to volunteer with a brilliant charity > email )

·         CHANGES have 7 well-respected board members who have been with the organisation for a number of years

·         CHANGES run  an exciting range of courses/ programmes from well-being walks to singing for fun- check out the list here >

So Dane… what is it you do with CHANGES?

CHANGES Community Health Project holds a very special place in my heart both personally and professionally.

Personally, they’ve really been there for me when I’ve been down and struggling to cope with life’s pressures. I attended their fantastic First Steps Towards Positive Mental Health & Wellbeing course, and found it to be positively life-changing. I was in attendance with warm, friendly, caring people and could talk openly about what mattered with a comforting chocolate biscuit (who doesn’t love a chocolate biscuit!). I found that having such a positive place to go to when things were on a downward spiral at the time, was just a real help to me..

Professionally, they’ve opened their minds, hearts and door to me and allowed me to use my PR and Social Media skills with them to both develop myself whilst on the job hunt as well as take charge developing their social media presence (as their Social Media Guidance Officer). Speaking of social media … Check out CHANGES out on Twitter > @changes_muss and keep your eyes peeled for the fully launched Facebook page CHANGES Community Health Project coming VERY soon.

So tell us more about the Volunteers night….

As a thank you to us volunteers for all our hard work with CHANGES, the staff decided to organise a fabulous Scottish themed Volunteers Get Together at the lovely wee Inveresk Bowling Club filled with fun, food and certificates of thanks to each of us.

We had the wonderfully talented piper David Spiers who kicked off and closed the great evening: Check out his website here for more details:

There was fantastic, traditional Scottish music provided by the East Lothian Fiddles who had us dancing all night:  

There was even delicious food provided by PIMM’s Outdoor Bar Services (from traditional Haggis to stunning tasting Curry… we were spoiled for choice) | Check out their website here:

We had a Scottish quiz (which my team the ‘Bingo Callers’ lost….but never mind…you can’t win them all ;)) and there was even a game of ‘Burns & Blogs’ social media bingo hosted by yours truly (with my lovely assistant Beth Ekman, CHANGES Volunteer Co-ordinator)


So…. I thought it would be a really fun and engaging way to introduce social media with a game of bingo and call it ‘Burns & Blogs’ (see what we did there!).

To keep in with the Scottish theme, we decided (Beth and I) to mix Scottish words in with social media words, all with basic definitions on the back of the sheet so everyone knew what was what..

…the sheets were ready to go, the crowd were ready for the bingo (with their eyes on the chocolate prizes)… and I was armed with my slips to read out and had my puns and laughs at the ready….

Only one problem I didn’t anticipate…. everyone had the EXACT same sheet…. So as I read out…. everyone shouted BINGO at the SAME time!

We all giggled, we all made jokes and most importantly, we all had a great time during it. I flashed my smile, kept my cool and just laughed.
One woman (a fellow CHANGES volunteer) approached me and said “oh son, that was honestly the best game eh bingo I’ve ever played” which was really touching.

CHANGES have played a great part in helping me laugh and see the funny side of life again. They’re a fantastic organisation and I’m eternally grateful for everything they’ve done for me.

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Hello 2016…. Daney will see you now!

Hello 2016…. Daney will see you now!

Hello and welcome to the first #Daneyblog of 2016. I can’t believe it’s been over a month since I last blogged. In one quick month we’ve all found ourselves out with the old 2015, and in with the new 2016… which has come with rain (well… lots of it actually!), Adele’s album STILL being at number one (I can’t say Hello anymore without being ready to break into song!) and of course….. the fabulous brand new series of Birds of Feather premiering (you knew I was going to mention it!). Birds of a Feather for me is my go to every time when I need a good laugh, and it really has did that for me so far this series!

So what’s being going on with me and why am I writing tonight?

Can’t we talk real here? I walked into this year absolutely terrified if I’m honest.  Unemployed and staring at a blank calendar, daunted by the thought of starting a business, being alone with my laptop, going through the process of applying for jobs again and searching out new opportunities all with an unhelpful mental backdrop of ‘you’re not good enough, why are you even bothering’ accompanied by a nasty cold really hasn’t been easy.

It’s lonely when you’re job searching. Despite being up against others in the same situation (who are more than likely feeling the same as you), you feel like you’re the only one in the planet having to deal with the no replies, the standardised ‘no thanks’ responses which all hurt more because I genuinely care for the jobs I apply for. I’ve felt alone. However, I’m not alone, and I’m going to tell you why I now feel ready to say ‘BRING ON 2016’

Changes happened…

Despite feeling in lower spirits, I went to my voluntary shift at Changes Musselburgh last night (I’m their social media volunteer and have loved my time with them doing work that I really enjoy!) and caught up with their lovely Volunteer Coordinator, Beth. We chatted all things rainy, all things social media’y (yes, I’m just inventing words now!), all things 2016’y and most excitingly, my role in helping them with this year’s Burns themed volunteer event. She was blown away by my ideas (which I will keep sealed until another blog… I know! I’m being cheeky). It just felt good to be of use and for someone to be so encouraging of my creative ideas.

And then there was my mentor meeting….  Decisions were made…

Today I saw my fantastic mentor Chris, who I’ve been very lucky to have acquired through Adopt an Intern. He brings a wealth of experience and ideas. He is so switched on and really ‘gets’ what it’s like for a grad like me looking for a job.

At our meeting today, I was very open and honest. I decided that in order to move forward, I need to focus on gaining employment, as opposed to self-employment.

The harsh reality of self-employment for me just now is, funding and money. I’ve had some really good creative ideas spring to mind, but when I’ve investigated them further… it comes back to ‘who will pay for this’? & when looking at the time frames attached, it’s just too long... The harsh reality is, I have bills to pay and I want to stand on my own two feet sooner rather than later.  I need a bit of security in an unsecure job world, and self-employment for me at this time isn’t going to do it. In a couple/few/ several months….? Who knows!

So we looked at my overall strategy and I have got some real pointers and things to be working on. Keep your eyes peeled for developments!

Let’s tie up a few loose ends from 2015…..

·         I will be continuing to blog (I’m not going anywhere don’t worry!)

·         #IndustryChats will carry on and I would love to hear from you if you’re interested! Drop me an email >>

·         #DaneyForADay I will be looking at this initiative and making tweaks, I’m thinking a revamp in order to support one of the charities I volunteer with.  

And that’s a wrap…. For now!

So this blog is really a ‘here is where I’m at’ right now. I’m feeling exciting about more work with Changes Musselburgh. I’m looking forward to more board meetings with Support in Mind Scotland (I’m now a board member – woohoo!) and I’m just embracing the uncertainty ,putting my seatbelt of ‘I can do this’ on for the rollercoaster ride of finding a job. 2016 is my year.