This morning, I went to Nottingham for the first time and I was looking forward to it. On the one hand, I was going to a city I had never been to before, and I would spend the day catching up, cooking and eating with Emily, from ‘A Mummy Too’.
On the other hand, we were going to be filming all day, and I would be in front of the camera. That is way out of my comfort zone, you see. As comfortable as I feel behind a camera, I am not a ‘natural’ in front of one, especially a video camera (yuck, yuck, yuck!).
This blogging thing is really pushing me to do things I would never have dreamt of attempting, and I find it quite healthy to work outside my comfort zone, despite the butterflies in the tummy, the sweaty palms and the dry mouth.
To be perfectly honest, had I had a choice, I would probably never have left teaching. After over a decade as a secondary school teacher, I could teach with my eyes closed. OK, maybe not. That would be weird! I loved teaching, I loved the children, I also loved ‘performing’ in front of a live audience and turning reluctant learners into less reluctant ones, if not French lovers.
The truth of the matter is it had become a pretty comfortable job. Not ‘unenjoyable comfortable’, more like soft, squishy, warm and ‘not stretching myself’ sort of comfortable. Every new initiative started to feel like an old one we had dropped ten or twelve years before. That was definitely a sign I had to move on to pastures new!
Blogging is different. It is exciting, full of new opportunities. You have to innovate, push your boundaries constantly if you are to succeed. The beauty of it is you are your own boss, so you have a choice. You can be whoever you want to be and work with whoever you fancy. That is priceless. It takes time and effort, and definitely involves taking risks.
Whenever I plan something I am not 100% comfortable with, I just book it without thinking too much about it and I try to forget about it until it is actually happening. I find that 90% of stress is what you imagine. The actual ‘doing’ is quite enjoyable, so I try not to over think and make myself sick with worry.
More than that, if you never do anything out of your comfort zone, you do not move on. You do not change, everything stays the same. Having no projects or prospects would be boring and risk-taking makes you feel alive, constantly on your toes!
If you think about it too much, you tend to focus on everything that could go wrong rather than the positives. “What if the recipe I have made 50 times simply does not work when I am in front of the camera? What if Emily hates me after spending a whole day with me? Are people going to comment on that damn French accent? Please, please Mel don’t screw up and forget half of the ingredients…” All those questions did go through my head, but it was only 10 minutes before my train arrived in Nottingham, so I think I did not do too badly in terms of not stressing ahead of the day.
I only firmed up plans with Emily yesterday evening, straight after a tiring but wonderful short break to Nantes with Wriggly. I had no idea what I was going to cook on camera and only decided by looking at what I had in my cupboards (no time to go shopping, it was after the children had gone to bed).
I would make my free from pancakes, turning them vegan, as well as my no bake cereal bars. These recipes are two of my family’s favourites and they are both over two years old. Choosing them gave me an incentive to update all my photos that night. I had taken them a few weeks previously, but never found the time to swap the old ones for the better quality ones. Done now!
I packed a few bits and bobs (ingredients mainly), and Emily was going to bring everything else. I had a nice, quiet journey and as soon as I got off the train in Nottingham, a lady saw I had no idea where I was going. She asked if she could help and pointed me in the direction of the taxi rank. The taxi driver was also happy to tell me about the city as we were driving towards our destination.
First impressions of Nottingham? It is a bright, clean city where people are friendly. I particularly liked the architecture and seeing that lovely red brick throughout the short drive. It was a sunny day and flowers were springing everywhere.
The location Emily had booked for filming was absolutely stunning. It was the sort of house you only ever see in magazines. Emily and her team were incredibly organised and efficient, so we had a really productive day, laughing and eating a lot in the process. Thanks for having me, Emily!