Saturday, 31 December 2011

Farewell 2011!

You have been good. No, great! Thank you. I've enjoyed pretty much every minute you have had to offer!

Well, except this very minute as I've been smited with a cold which has buggered up my re-charge glitter plan.


It's a time for counting blessings and reviewing.

Being a bit low on energy (due to this cold) I'm going to whizz through this a little bit and try and keep it brief. Ha!

I've loved having this blog this year. It was a great idea and addition to my online presence. It's my place for this, that and the other and I hope you have enjoyed reading it this year!

With that in mind, here's the top 5 most popular posts of the year:


My talk about local work has been extended beyond it's original 6 months and I'm enjoying every minute. I love the team there and the work that we do and this year has seen me on the road more and delivering social media workshops. Good stuff!

I said I would launch my wedding photography services. Well, it's *almost* ready to go. I've got several more weddings under my belt this year and it's still an area I'm enjoying so that will be a go-er for 2012. ( I was hoping to work on the announcement during this holiday, but this cold has slowed me down somewhat). Anyway, it's imminent! 

Consultancy: I said I would set aside a day every month or two for free consultancy to help people. I haven't strictly set aside set days for that this year, though it's worked out anyway as I've helped a few peeps during the year, so this one is getting a tick. Done!


I wanted to perfect my time management and look at areas to improve and thus be more efficient. I have improved on it (and I'll blog about how soon) and I feel that's worked out really well. There's still room for improvement, but I think it's safe to say there isn't much time this year that has gone to waste. Disciplined and organised. Done! 

Social Life:

Hmmm, I don't think I've really improved in this area that much! The trouble is, I'm so happy in my work I find it hard to put it down. Of course I have been social this year, and enjoyed every minute! I can't give this goal a complete tick. Maybe half a tick...

Decision Making:

I think I've improved. I'm listening to my instincts and saying 'yes' or 'no' more easily and that's serving me well. I've stuck to saying 'yes' to only things that are of true interest to me, so that's working out well. Tick!

Self Development:

I wanted to learn more about websites and how they work and are built. This was set to be a spare time activity. I didn't have much spare time, so it didn't happen how I thought it would. But! I have learnt a lot more about Wordpress and it's workings, so this gets a half tick!


I have been working on self development in the business area and dedicated quite some time for that. It's been well worth the time and I have learnt a lot and that will always put me in good stead 


I wanted some more trips away. 

I had planned to spend a weekend with my best friend. Done and done

And a weekend with my aunt and uncle. Not done. And a weekend with my cousin. Attempted, but illness prevented it. 

I wanted to do some more press trips. Done! Prague, Cairo, and Palma. All fantastic trips and great experiences! 

New York. Don't talk to me about it! I haven't been back. The trouble is, I don't want to go for a weekend or a week. I want at least a month, preferably two months there. It's the source of a lot of heartache, but I'm not giving up. I could write a whole blog about NYC, but I can barely bring myself to mention it here. 

Must buy

The only thing on my list - an iPad. Have I got one? No. Would I still like one? Yes please! 


This was the year I got really active. Running, biking, stair climbing, hula hooping! And I reached my weight loss goal to boot!  However, around autumn time (and with a running injury) all this slowed down and I am most annoyed with myself. And with that I have put on a stone! It's not the end of the world, but it's a slippery slope that's for sure. I can't become complacent with weight loss, or exercise. 

I wanted to get to the bottom of my suspected food allergies. I now know I am ok with dairy. I think I'm ok with gluten, but I'm still very hesitant.

Sunday's were to be 'me' day! A day set aside to not work and chill out. I've pretty much stuck with that bar weekends away and occasional other commitments. It's working well and I'll continue that. 

Life blogging. I'm doing it! 

So all in all, I'm going to say I did quite well with my goals. Not 100% but not too badly either. They were worth making and sharing and gave me a great basis for 2011. 

Personal Highlights of 2011

There's quite a few! Let's see...

I wonder what 2012 will bring! Well, I'll be a bit more proactive than waiting to see what it will bring - I'll see what I can make happen in 2012! That's more like it. 

Thank you for reading my blog this year! Thanks to all my friends, and my mum and my best friend and all my twitter friends who have kept me company throughout the year. 

Wishing you all a wonderful 2012! See you next year :)

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Day 3 of Operation Re-Charge Glitter

aka: The Big Winter Relax

I haven't done a thing for the last 2 days. Not a jot!

Oops, I've already told a lie. I went to the Boxing Day sales in the city centre. Looking back on that experience I can see it wasn't my brightest idea. I blame my naivety in that area. I honestly thought if I got into the city centre early in the morning it would be nice and quiet. By 8am there was hardly a car parking space to be found and packed buses were already delivering loads of shoppers to the city centre. In fact, some shoppers must have had a huge head start (Next!) as they were already loaded down with armfuls of bags. I even saw some ladies trying on clothes in the car park. I only wanted some make up, so I put an invisible shield around me, kept my head down and decided to get what I wanted since I'd made the effort to get up early, and then get the hell out of there. I got speaking to a man waiting outside a shop. He said his girlfriend had already shown him (before Xmas) what she wanted, gave him a list, and his job was to now get these items. He gave me some tips on coping inside the shop, the best one being, "keep your centre of gravity low". Ha. I picked up some make-up and perfume and some lotions and potions and was home again for 10am, but I don't think I'll ever do that again!

But apart from that, I have barely done a tap. The night before last I got 10 hours sleep! That only happens about twice a year. Heavenly!

I have managed to watch a lot of films; March Of The Penguins, Tamara Drew, Monsters v Aliens, Son of Rambow, Rosemary's Baby, The Man Who Would Be King and Mary and Max (again, coz it's the best film in the world, ever. Fact). Lots of bubbles baths have featured in Operation Relaxation too. I've barely tweeted, checked my emails or read my favourite blogs. I've put my phone on silent.

I'm not used to this change of pace at all. It's only been 2 days so far and at times I've felt like I should be doing something more productive, and then I have to remind myself to just chill and stop putting pressure on myself. There will be plenty of time to 'do' soon enough and I want to hit the new year at full speed so I'm seeing this time as reserving and storing energy up for that. I've felt quite tired actually and half suspected I was getting a sore throat, but that doesn't seen to be making a proper appearance.

I spent Christmas day with my ace Mum and my fab step Dad. My Mum wanted to do her own Queen's Speech!

I've just realised that there is only 4 days left of this year! Flip. I haven't been keeping track of the days very well. I'm too relaxed!

I've got a good idea of what I want from next year so I'll be firming up those plans (and having a review of my goals for this year).

Today I think I may do a little light premature spring cleaning, ready for the new year. A tidy house is a tidy mind, or something. I think. Otherwise the day will consist of more bubble baths and films.

Hope you are all having a smashing Christmas! :)

Say Hello on twitter @karenstrunks

Friday, 23 December 2011

Breaking up isn't hard to do

Today is day one of my 17 day break and I'm feeling gooooood!

I managed to do a little Christmas food shop at 8am this morning (and beat the crowds), I've pottered around my flat, I've had lunch at my leisure and had schmaltzy made for tv Christmas movies on in the background.

Last night me and Nicky had the talk about local Christmas do. With the other teams members in various places around the UK, it was only us plus Nicky's boyfriend Karl. It was a jolly good night and I kicked off with a pint (a PINT!) of cider. Whilst I was ordering it I was thinking to myself that it wasn't very ladylike of me to be drinking a pint, but that's what I really fancied. Plus, I don't think I've had cider for over a year! I enjoyed every drop.

We went onto another pub for a meal and some musicians turned up and played Irish music. The little back room bar was really OTT with Christmas decorations, but I loved it.

It was a really lovely night with good friends who I am going to miss very much as they are leaving for pastures new in Cardiff. Of course I'll still be working with Nicky at talk about local and we will be meeting in various cities in the new year when we deliver our social media workshops, plus Nicky and Karl will most definitely be having a house guest in their new Cardiff pad!

I've loved this year. Another great one. One of my busiest and most rewarding. As much as I love what I do, as I've mentioned before here, I'm ready to take the pace down a notch now and the next 17 days will allow me to do that.

I haven't made any plans to do anything or see anyone. No commitments. After a full-on year having a completely clear diary feels so strange yet great at the same time. Jan and Feb are pretty much filled up and March is getting busy now too. So in the meantime, I'll be tinkering about with a few things and firming up plans and goals for 2012 and after my rest I'll hit the new year like a power ball!

Oh, which reminds me, I must review my new year goals from this year and see what's happened, or hasn't!

So other than seeing an old friend tomorrow and my Mum on Christmas day, that's all I have planned! :)

Wishing you a very



Saturday, 17 December 2011

I'm re-charging my glitter

Advice from my best friend. Good advice.

I felt SO tired yesterday. I think it's psychological. A coming-to-the-end-of-a-busy-year thing. When I look back on this year I'm fairly impressed with the momentum I've built up and all the goals, big and small, that I've achieved. I wonder how I've done it sometimes.

But yesterday I had a big dip in the energy that carries me forward. I just felt plain tired, but frustrated at that tiredness at the same time. I missed my sparkle! I had a bit of a moan about it by text with my best friend which led to a phone call in which I was reminded that it's OK to take it easy and chill out and that I can't do everything. I can't do everything?! How annoying ;)

So, this is what I am going to do - re-charge my glitter. As I mentioned in my last post, I've got a full two weeks coming up soon where I have absolutely nothing planned and I'm going to use that time to invest in a bit of rest and relaxation without putting pressure on myself with a list of to-do's and deadlines. Though I know I'll do some tinkering and I will definitely be putting plans into place for 2012. There's no way I'm wandering haphazardly into a new year without knowing what I want to get out of it!

I'll take a bit of time to look at my goals that I set for this year and see what's worked and which I've achieved.

I LOVE New Year! More so than Christmas. I love the clean page feel of it. I love relishing the moment the old year passes to the new year. It's such an exciting time!

In the meantime, it's the weekend and I'm going to start on that glitter re-charging :)

Say hello on twitter! @karenstrunks

Friday, 9 December 2011

Winding down for the rest of the year

Or that was the plan. But it hasn't really work out that way. It's my own fault. I find it hard to slow down. Besides, what would I do if I wasn't doing the things I love?

Having said that I've blocked out 2 weeks over Christmas and New Year and there's NOTHING in my diary! And I have the best intentions of keeping it that way. No schedule. No appointments. No commitments. No nothing. Looking back this year, I've only had one week off and even then I was away somewhere or other. I'd like to think I'll spend my two weeks off chilling at home and watching films and pottering about. Let's see what happens with that idea, ha!

A quick blast of some of the highlights of Nov and this month so far.

Fierce Earth Course.

This was 2x two days away at the Stratford Manor Hotel (4 stars! yay). I could write a years worth of blog posts about this course I'm sure. If Fierce Earth run the course again, try and get on it. Before I went on it, I asked an attendee from a previous Metapod course what they thought of it, and would they recommend it - "It's changed my life!" they responded. What a testimonial! But do you know what, I can understand it. It's helped me shape a sharper picture of my work, ideas and business. Things that have been milling around in my mind for the past year are now taking shape with more clarity and focus. If I could do the course again, I would.

talk about local 

Myself and Nicky delivered a workshop on hyperlocal blogging in Evesham which went really well and all the participants were up and running by the end of the day. We also had a big team visit to That London. We are quite geographically dispersed as a team, and while it's great to be able to work from anywhere, it's always fab to get together offline too.


I've already blogged about a ace weekend I had in York with my mum. We are aiming for a weekend away together in Canterbury next year!

Birmingham Youtube Gathering

A couple of weeks ago I popped along to my first youtube meetup. It was really well attended (over 50!). It was held over the Saturday and Sunday, but I just went on the Saturday afternoon. If you love youtube and love meeting up offline watch out for the next one in 2012. Keep an eye on @chapperztv @jordanngv @gordycamp as they are the organisers. If you can't see my video here, pop over to youtube

Birmingham Social Media Cafe

I held the last Birmingham Social Media Cafe event of 2011. Christmas is in the way of this month, but the cafe is back on 27th January! If you haven't been before, please come along! It's held on the last Friday of every month and it's for anyone with an interest in social media, whether you use it for work or play. It's a great place to meet people offline, make new friends and connections. It's also a really casual and friendly event. You can follow BSMC on twitter @birminghamsmc and join the 500+ member facebook group too! Meegloo is sponsoring coffees in January. Check it out - it's a fab, free, social media app for your iphone, ipad or ipod. If you or your company would like to sponsor coffees (up to £200) at a social media cafe event next year, just give me a shout. It's a great way to reach the social media community in Birmingham!

Birmingham Airport's Christmas Drinks

My first Christmas 'do' of the season! It was held at Hotel Du Vin in the city centre. I've done some social media reporting for the airport on my press trips so it was really nice to get an invite to the night. There was a mix of airports, airlines, media peeps, press and travel bloggers there and it was a fab night out.

Fierce Earth's Christmas drinkies

As this post is a bit devoid of photos - The People's Shop festive window display!
And that brings us up to last night! This get together was for all the peeps that went on the Metapod course this year and was held at The People Shop in Kings Heath. I had my first mulled wine of the season and it was lovely to catch up with peeps and get an inspiration fix.

This week coming is nice and varied. Sunday lunch with a friend. A meeting about Birmingham and mapping city council service request data. A twitter Secret Santa meet up. A day delivering social media training.

In the meantime I'll leave you with one of my fav Christmas songs! Christmas doesn't officially start until my friend Midge posts this video! :)

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