I really enjoyed this talk at Playful a couple months back by George Rowe and Dan Efergan about easter eggs in games:
It’s taken me a while to finally write this post. I started it back in September after what turned out to be a rather introspective week for me. Yesterday I celebrated a somewhat belated Thanksgiving with friends and I realised it was the prefect moment to finish this piece.
The introspective week I was talking about? It was a combination of three things: firstly, I watched Emma Watson’s great UN speech about feminism and the He For She campaign, which started to make me think about what feminism means to me. That same week I organised a dinner with a group of awesome women, which led to some good discussions about being a woman in tech and how we got to where we are today. Finally, my colleague Tess held a great internal talk about youth unemployment and what we (as a company and as individuals) could do to help make it better.
And all of this made me realise: I’m extremely lucky and thankful to be where I am today.
I am thankful that I’ve always lived in countries where I can vote, where I can go to school, where I can choose who I want to marry and where I can determine what I do with my body.
I am thankful that I have parents who have always supported the decisions I made and who have always told me I could be anything I wanted to be. They never stopped me from playing with LEGO or video games or other supposedly “boy” toys, they never once told me I couldn’t do something because I was a girl. They instilled in me that knowledge and learning were things to strive for, that libraries and museums were places to treasure, that solving puzzles and playing games were good ways to spend my time.
I am thankful that as bad as the tech community sometimes can be, I’ve been lucky enough to always be surrounded by lovely people. There are so many fun and interesting events in London, and apart from the odd comment I’ve always had great experiences. I am lucky that in all my years of blogging and of going to events the worse that has happened to me is being told I don’t belong (yet I still find it a very disconcerting feeling that I count myself “lucky” about this).
I am thankful that I woke for a company (FutureLearn) that not only is doing something good, but is filled with some amazing people who have been supportive with helping me learn the things I needed and wanted to learn. I love that we have a culture where it’s okay to try to work on something that you might not necessarily be good at, as long as you know who and where to ask for help. I love that since working here my confidence in myself and my work has increased a lot, due in no small part to the atmosphere and people here.
I am thankful that in the past year I’ve had the opportunity to speak more at events and share what I know with others. I’m still learning what it means to give good presentations, but I do enjoy doing it and seeing that people appreciate my talks and ideas makes me want to get better at it.
Most of this might seem pretty obvious, but I thought it’s worth getting down on paper (well, the digital equivalent of paper) and reflecting on how and where I ended up doing what I’m doing.
So I want you to stop and think. What are the things you are thankful for?
The past two months have been insane! I’ve been speaking at and attending various conferences, going to more evening meetups and just generally being very busy. I’ll be trying to do several roundup post to cover the most interesting things I’ve been to the past few weeks!
Last October’s LRUG featured a great talk by Sam Aaron (@samaaron) and and Xavier Riley (@xavriley) about how to live code music with Sonic Pi. It looks like so much fun; I really need to try it out and see if I can actually make some music myself! The entire talk is up on the Skills Matter site, so check it out!
Pokemon TCG Launch Event
Last Tuesday I got invited to the launch of the new expansion of the Pokemon Card Game: XY — Phantom Forces. It’s been ages since I last played TCG, but we got to play two of the new theme decks (Burning Winds and Bolt Twister) with trainers on hand to help out explain some of the rules. It definitely was a fun evening with Gengar themed cocktails and even a Pokéball pizza!
Video Games Live
I love modern orchestral music, be it for movies, TV shows or video games, and I’ve been wanting to go for ages to Video Games Live. I weirdly enough first heard about it 7 years ago in 2007, while queuing outside the Apple store, by the guy in front of me who had just gone to see the concert the previous weekend. I then missed out on tickets the year after, and then had to wait 6 freaking years until they were back in London! I really enjoyed the concert, although I was a bit disappointed that it wasn’t a full orchestra. Still: hearing the Kingdom Hearts, Metal Gear Solid and Journey themes all live was so awesome!
I always find the London Educational Games meetup fascinating. Even though I’m not working on an educational game, FutureLearn is obviously very learning focused and I find it’s interesting to see what we things we might learn from the games industry. This month’s meetup featured Santeri Koivisto of Teacher Gaming, the team that created MinecraftEdu and KerbalEdu. Here are my sketchnotes from the event:
Ada Lovelace Day Live
I’m still hoping the videos of all the talks of Ada Lovelace Day Live will be available, cause it was such a fun and inspiring evening! The highlights for me were: learning all about bridges from Roma Agrawal, a civil engineer from the team that built the Shard, finding out about how the remains from Richard III were discovered from Dr Turi King and hearing Konnie Huq rap about social media.
I love this idea. Of course the first thing that comes to mind to me is a book rest, but obviously you could use it for other stuff (gadgets, wine, remotes, cat, etc).
It’s available for £97.13 from the etsy store KeoDecor, but sadly they don’t ship to the UK.
I’m not familiar with the musical this movie is based on, but this looks like fun!
Starring Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, James Corden, Anna Kendrick and Chris Pine, “Into the Woods” is a humorous and heartfelt musical that follows the classic tales of Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, and Rapunzel—all tied together by an original story involving a baker and his wife, their wish to begin a family and their interaction with the witch who has put a curse on them.
Since it was Halloween last Friday, I thought I’d have some fun with my Twitter stream that day and pretend I was in an apocalyptic version of London. What started out as a handful of tweets turned into a fullblown story by the end of it, much to the confusion/worry of some people. It was a lot of fun and I’m now wondering how I can do better next year!
It’s Halloween! I’m not really celebrating it this year, except for attempting a Hipster Belle outfit today (and not even a very good Hipster Belle), but that doesn’t really count, does it?
Anyway, to celebrate I’m sharing my favourite Halloween items. Enjoy!
What are you doing this year Halloween?
Brrrr, it’s full on Autumn now! Despite the brief warm stint we got recently, it definitely feels like it’s time to wrap up and bring out the proper winter coat and gloves.
I got asked by ModCloth what my best layering techinque is to keep warm, so I thought I’d share that with you: a simple yet elegant ruched dress paired with a stylish blazer and a nice warm coat. I’ve got several blazers and dresses that all combine well together, so I’m always on the lookout for new ones to add to my collection.
I love the elegance of the This is Fête dress; the colour is stunning and the neck line looks interesting without revealing too much. Plus ruched dresses are the best – they look stylish and are flattering on almost everyone!
I also love the Pumpkin Patch Pose coat; it’s exactly the right type of autumn orange. Can you imagine wearing this while running through a lane filled with autumn leaves? Perfect.
And obviously you need to pair it with some simple accessories to finish off the look. Here I’ve gone for the Right Here heels, the Cents and Sensibility bag (awesome name!) and the Hedgehog Pledge necklace.
So what do you think? What is your favourite layering outfit?