2021 · at home with lu · random stuff · virtual coffee date · weekly

Virtual Coffee Date #7

Morning CS-HQers,

It’s been awhile since we had a virtual coffee date together. Over 3 months, in fact!

Hope you’re all well especially now as life is returning back to ‘normality’ around the Globe.

Got my coffee, so grab a brew and let’s have a catch-up!

In truth, I’ve not been too great of late. It’s a combination of many things, mostly just how busy life has become recently. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining, however sometimes I’m well aware I spread myself to thinly which causes stressful situations.

I could beat myself up about it, in fact I already have to a point. I could quit but that’s not an option. So I decided I must try to manage my time a bit better which isn’t easy when there’s the School Holidays on here in the U.K.

University wise, an admin error meant I was well over studying which I could do had I not returned to comedy and started a business. So I’m in talks now to try to get that sorted out which means it’ll take a touch longer to get my Masters but it’s ok. There’s nothing wrong with waiting another year or two and I must keep telling myself that.

Comedy wise, it’s been crazy since May! I’m trying not to take too much on as pre-pandemic sometimes I had 3-4 gigs a week which is fine on paper but when you’re driving a total of 5 hours for probably a total of 20 minutes on stage, it’s not that glamorous at all. I’m really pleased with the two venues I run nights at. And I deem it a success that I’ve booked up every date til Christmas with quality new and not so new acts on the Circuit.

This Tuesday, I’ll be performing for Tom Douglas at his night in Sheffield here:

© Tom Douglas

Then on Thursday, I’m running Comedy @ The Commercial again here:

© CSHQ

Consulting/Learning wise, I’m still in the process of getting the first course finalised and ready to go so hoping that we’ll have a fully deliverable programme in the very near future.

Of course with it being the Summer Holidays, I’m absolutely shattered. We aren’t going anywhere this year as it’s not worth the risk or extra costs involved due to COVID19. But little man and I are having some lovely days out and just enjoying being at home not having to do school runs and lazing in pyjamas if the mood takes us. But? I’m really tired. Was chatting to a friend the other day and I realised I’d not read a book since 2018 other than any reading for university. I’ve tried, but I fall asleep after a few lines. This is extremely out of character as I am an avid bookworm and it’s actually quite upsetting because I genuinely feel like I don’t have the time to just sit and read.

I’m not sure if it’s just a case of poor time management, or getting older and losing the ability to concentrate, but it’s frustrating. I’m finding driving longer distances really take it out of me too and that makes me sad. It’s becoming more frequent that I feel ‘mortal’ now and with that comes such a sense of despair.

I still have hopes, dreams, goals, objectives. I’m not ready to die just yet.

So, I’m hoping I can find the motivation to carry on and maybe get a good night’s sleep.

Til the next time!

2021 · bloggers · community · consulting · virtual coffee date · weekly · writing

Special Edition: Virtual Coffee Date #4

25.04.21

Today, I’m joined by Yker Valerio, Founder/Editor of Bon Vivant Caffè. Which makes perfect sense as this is a virtual coffee date! It is almost impossible to not smile when you talk to Yker because he is such a passionate character.

This is his story:


“When the Pandemic began, I was working for a consulting firm. I’d been there almost ten years. I was teaming up with another consultant and a client’s Project Manager. Although it was an exciting project, something felt a bit, ‘off’. I couldn’t put my finger on why though.

Leading up to this, I’d been directing my energy into some freelancing projects, mostly translations and writing. I didn’t realise at the time but I’d found my calling.

Writing is a lifelong passion for me, and I just felt it was time to write more. So in 2020, I made my mind up and decided to start my own business as a freelance writer and entrepreneur”

Yker’s next move is great advice to any budding entrepreneurs out there.

“Well, I decided to start my niche research right away, was a coffee blog a good idea? I took Authority Hackers approach to advance and started working on my coffee blog in July.

Curiously enough, the quarantine helped me to focus and my productivity rose very quickly. Commuting time and small-talk at the office suddenly transformed into productive time and made a huge difference for me.

Then, I realised that I needed some time to work alone. So, I prepared to launch my blog and took a part-time contract as a writer, so I could transition away from my full-time job”.

So as the World rolled down its shutters, Yker was able to reflect on his place and purpose in this world.

“All of my career I’d been around HR-related consulting, with some hints of innovation, transformation, and change.

From my standpoint, I was working in supportive roles most of the time, which was essential to me.

I felt worried about the people around me, but something made me think I would be better working on my own. So, when the crisis was becoming overwhelming for most people, I felt liberated actually.

It sounds terrible, and self-centred, but my experience as a remote freelancer and entrepreneur have given me so much autonomy and productivity I can barely understand how I functioned before this.

It still worries me the current status of the people around, but I can’t think about returning to work the way I did it before. I wouldn’t do it, as I know how I can be a lot more productive now. 

With the support of my wife of course, she has always been very supportive. I was a bit afraid of my parents’ response, but without my wife I don’t think I’d have progressed as well as I have.

Fortunately, my whole family and friends have been at my side at every step. I can’t thank them enough for the encouragement and good vibes.

I think it’s key to have a supportive circle of people around to sort the hard times, and I am lucky enough to have a beautiful family and good friends around me”. 

See? It’s impossible to not smile… 

“I can’t ignore the huge pain the Pandemic has inflicted on so many people.

Still, it has forced many organisations, institutions, and individuals to be more open about remote working, engaging in chats, social media, and all-sorts of new conversations.

I have enjoyed many online events during this year, including some coffee-related stuff like High Density, which was completely mind-blowing. I still watch the replays and learn from them.

E-learning was another huge part of my year, since I developed lots of new skills through online learning. I worked, and studied, and researched, and wrote, round the clock. I can’t imagine how difficult it’s for people without access to the internet to face this pandemic.

Every time I hear the story about people struggling because they don’t speak English, or don’t have access to the Internet it saddens me.

I honestly wish more people could have more opportunities to thrive, even in these challenging times.

Many people are afraid and anxious. Others are optimistic. Still, I think the major difference between them is those want to return to the old normal opposed to those who want something different.

As I touched on before, when I realised I was more productive and energetic working on my own, I chose to take the entrepreneurial path.

It’s risky, but no one is safe during a crisis like this one. So I took the bold step.” 

I agree with Yker, it was a risk though I understand the motivation behind it. 

“Energy or lack of, was the biggest reason that compelled me to take action. I felt tired after a meeting as a consultant, but could write the whole Saturday for my blog! 

When I noticed I could focus for 10 hours in a row on my writing, I decided that I needed to take it seriously.”

I asked Yker to reflect on the decisions he made, here’s what he said.

“I have had my ups and downs, but I feel confident that I took the best decision.

It’s challenging to deal with financial instability, but I didn’t have any guarantee it was going to be any different as a full-time employee anyway.

I have a lot more mental stamina than before. The Pandemic put everything in perspective and it’s easier for me to see petty obstacles, just as they are.

Additionally, I am more creative and productive than I was. On the downside, I am more sedentary!” 

Yeah, you and most of us now! 

“I care more about impact than perceptions now. Working as a full-time employee I did my best to contribute to my employer’s bottom line, while presenting myself as an expert consultant.

Today as a freelancer and business owner, I can only see clients, providers, and partners as people. It’s incredible how alienated I was from this simple idea, but as I see human beings in business, my decisions are better grounded and easier to make.”

And that’s not all Yker learnt from this experience… 

“Process and results are equally important. We tend to focus so much on goals that we forget that they come from our effort, energy, time, and skills. The pandemic has made me think about my fragility. 

My advice is don’t overthink about your purpose, and put top. skills to work instead. I tried to convince myself about my purpose. Yet, my goals and skillset are evolving, day after day. Looking for a purpose can be exhausting and confusing. Since I found that out, I do my best to put my skills to work whenever I can.”

And last piece of advice? 

“Love. Sounds cheesy, because we’re so blind that we’re afraid of loving and even say the word. It’s the most powerful thing we have, so sharing love with everyone has become crucial for me”.

Yker drives home a great point here. 

“There’s no magic solution or a Eureka moment that deals with lack of purpose or an odd feeling about your job or your business. It’s easier to find good things in what we have, than waiting for dreams to come true.

I just prefer to enjoy the journey as much as the destination. And I honestly believe everyone can do that as well”. 

And as that concludes our interview, readers can connect online with Yker.

Photo credit © Yker Valerio

“My passion in hobby and business is coffee and writing about coffee, so the easiest way to know more about me and engage with me is on the Website

You can also connect via:

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2021 · at home with lu · blogging101 · community · random stuff · virtual coffee date · weekly · writing

Virtual Coffee Date #2

11.04.21

Good morning HQ-ers,

Back on the 3 in 1’s just for convenience… I ain’t judging you!

Since the last coffee together, we had the Easter Break, some of Europe went back into Lockdown as the U.K. is starting to come out of it.

There’s been a couple of high profile and celebrity deaths, it’s also snowed here for the first time in April since 1984! I remember the day well as I was going to hospital to have my tonsils removed.

I will address the Sarah Everard story eventually. I’m still processing it and the aftershocks it has caused. Every time I try to finish my drafted thoughts on it, I just can’t finish it because you can’t finish a story like that. How do you just write ‘The End’ to such a tragic story? I’ll figure it out no doubt, just not right now. However, please do get in touch if you feel you’ve something to add or just want to vent your thoughts.

Lu Williams, Virtual Coffee Date #1

Schools reopen tomorrow and boy, will I miss my child terribly. Many people are so happy for their kids to return having gone stir-crazy yet my son really is my best mate so I’m going to really feel his absence.

It does feel strange, venturing back to some semblance of normalcy after a year of restrictions. And if I’m really honest, I’m not looking forward to it. I noticed my local shop getting busier and people not keeping 2 metres away in the queue and it unsettles me. I realise just how much I dislike anyone in my personal space, now and it can be quite anxiety-inducing.

Having already been through such an emotional rollercoaster of a time, I’m taking stock just how much my mental health has been tested.

On the plus side, I live in the hope that soon my wingman and I can travel again. I’d love to know your holiday plans, so please do tell me in the comments!

Join me again next week for a virtual coffee date!

Have a great week.

at home with lu · daily · everyday inspiration · random stuff · writing

Everyday Inspiration: Day 13 and 14

Playing with word count and Recreate a single day

Another lightbulb moment here meaning I will do Day 14 by adopting the Day 13 strategy and posting a short read inspired by one day in the past that changed everything for me.

I do hope you enjoy it as much as I loved creating it!

*United Kingdom: Samaritans: 116123 Outside the United Kingdom: Global Directory