What 278 days of Pokémon Go has taught me.

I got my first iPhone on Wednesday 2nd November 2016 and the first thing I did was download Pokémon Go. For the next 278 days I would play this game multiple times a day. Sometimes for a few minutes, sometimes for hours and hours. Sometimes on my own, often with others. This morning I realised that I didn’t think about Pokémon at all yesterday for the first time since November last year.

 

This post is my love letter to Pokémon Go. A thank you and a look back on this crazy adventure.

Exploration

In my town, in my county and in my country I have explored so many new places thanks to those little digital creatures. It’s getting sort of ridiculous the amount of times I’ve said or thought ‘we wouldn’t know about this place if it wasn’t for PoGo!’

I have learnt that however well you think you know a place there is always more to discover. 

Social Anxiety

I have struggled with a few aspects of social anxiety for many years. The subconscious idea that everyone is watching me, the need to avoid crowds and a heart-beating, hands-shaking, stomach-dropping dread of talking to strangers.

It wasn’t an overnight fix but I’ve definitely noticed a change in my perception of the world while playing PoGo. Of course no one is watching you – everyone is the centre of their own universe! It helps to stand around awkwardly for a while (fighting gyms) or to walk past the same people multiple times (circling Pokéstops) to realise people don’t care what you’re doing and even if they do it doesn’t matter.

The need to avoid crowds stems from a fear of being jeered at. It’s happened before (to me and most women it seems :/) but just because some people do stupid stuff it doesn’t mean everyone is a jerk. I should be able to walk around without worrying about feeling uncomfortable, embarrassed, ashamed or objectified. I slowly but surely stopped turning around at the faintest sight of a gathering of people and started focusing on Pokémon Go in situations where my anxiety was flaring up. “They’re not looking at you, they don’t care, you’re fine. The Pokémon are more important than what they think anyway. Go get the Pikachu” or something along those lines. Finding a distraction from negative thoughts and assumptions is a great way for dealing with fear.

I’ve met so many new people while playing Pokémon Go. From the mum whose kids were concerned about me because I’d been standing against a fence with my coat over my head in the pouring rain (fighting a gym) for half an hour to the people I have fought multiple raids with and everyone in-between. It’s easier to talk to strangers when you already have a connection point, something you both like and it’s been brilliant to work on speaking to new people.

For helping me to work on all these things and for showing me that I’m braver than I think, I am eternally grateful to Pokémon Go.

Health

For 278 days I made an effort to explore the outdoors every single day. I left the house, even when I was ill, tired, upset or grumpy. In all weathers from bright sunshine to pouring rain to heavy snow, I went outside. I walked so much more, my body has definitely felt healthier and stronger in the last 9 months than ever before and Dougal (our dog) loves it too!

The mental clarity of fresh air and exercise can’t be beat. The hardest part of going for a walk is getting out the door, once you do it’s so much fun. Pokémon Go got me outside everyday, even when I didn’t feel like it.

I have learnt that exercise and the outdoors is not only amazing for my physical health, it has a big effect on my mental health too. 

Dougal and I have already been out this morning once again, fighting gyms, catching ‘mons and spinning stops. My streak may be over but the adventure is most certainly not! 

Bird House (:>)

Hi there! This is artybaker and today I’ve got a post for you about a bird house I made.  To make my resolution for one post a week easier to stick to, I’ve told myself to do one post every Monday. So let’s get on with it! (Oh and if you’re wondering what that thing is beside the title, it’s meant to be a bird on it’s side).

The idea to make a bird house came to me a few months ago when I was reading a book about nature that mumlovesearlgrey had recommended to me. I can’t believe it’s actually taken me this long to get it finished, time flies when you’re putting off stuff! Dad has been helping me make it but we didn’t really do our research before starting and we missed out a few probably quite important steps… But we did sort of squeeze them in at the end.

I started with a long flat plank of wood and sawed it into 5 different sized pieces; the front had a hole in for the birds to enter. Then I sanded the edges and we (me and dad) screwed them all together into the shape of a bird house. Next I painted it with wood-protector-paint-thing and dad put a waterproof cover on the top for extra water protection. We then read that bird houses should have a hinged lid for autumn cleaning and to check which birds you have inside (if any!). We hadn’t done this so we un-screwed the base and made it a trap door. But don’t worry! It is secure so the birds won’t just fall out!  We also read that it should have draining holes in the bottom, in case water gets inside. So dad drilled some holes in it (I was too busy baking!). Here are some pictures…

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Dad scratched the inside to help the chicks climb out…

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We put it up above the shed door but we haven’t had any bird visitors yet. I decided not to put anything inside to keep the birds warm because I thought if they see it they might think that it’s already occupied, but I don’t know if they will or not. Here are some tips if you are planning to make a bird house:

  • Paint your bird house with waterproof paint, but leave the wood surrounding the hole bare, so that the birds aren’t harmed if they decide to peck around the hole to make it bigger.
  • Do not paint the inside of the box.
  • Drill drainage holes in the base.
  • Hinge the lid or base so that you can clean out the box every September.
  • Scratch the inside of the box below the hole so that the baby birds can climb out.
  • Do not disturb the box too much if it does become occupied, you might scare the birds away.
  • Put up the box at least 1 and a half metres from the ground; to help keep cats away.

Thanks for reading! My next post will be about baking, something chocolate-y I wonder……?

My Photo Collection 2013

Hey , artybaker here. Here’s some photos I have taken so far this year. They are all of natural things and were all taken by me. Please note that these photos are my property, please DO NOT COPY. Thank you! The only way they have been edited is some of them have been cropped and for some I used basic settings on my camera like turning up the brightness slightly, etc. But most of them are the original photo.  I thought I would post some pictures because I love looking at them on other peoples blogs and I’m pretty proud of these! Enjoy!P1040800P1050121 editP1040419P1040606P1060072 editP1050065 editP1050011 editP1050054P1050690P1050156P1050030P1060589P1060829P1050602P1060554

Southern Hawker Dragonfly IN TESCO CARPARK!

Hey sophofbread here,

Sorry for the lack of posts lately; we hope to improve that and progress the blog and the youtube channel more in the next few months.  On to this article…

A few weeks ago (it took me ages to write this because we couldn’t find the lead for the blackberry to upload the pictures) we were at Tesco shopping when we discovered a large beast under the front of our car. At first we were unsure whether it was a toy or not! Dragonfly under Car We carefully managed to nudge it on to a car bingo card and we took it over to the bushes but just as we were putting it down it flew onto my leg and then off into the sky, it was so big we could see it for a least a minute flying away. I just researched it and discovered it was a Southern Hawker Dragonfly.

Here’s what The Wildlife Trust have to say on the Southern Hawker:

“A common dragonfly of ponds, lakes and canals in the lowlands, particularly near to woodland, it can be seen patrolling a regular patch of water when hunting or ‘hawking’ through woodland rides. Hawkers are the largest and fastest flying dragonflies; they catch their insect-prey mid-air and can hover or fly backwards.

How to identify

The southern hawker is mostly black in colour. The male has lime green spots all along the body with pale blue bands on the last three segments of the abdomen, blue-green eyes and large green patches on the thorax. The female is paler, with pale -green spots and brownish eyes. The black-and-blue hawkers are a tricky group of dragonflies to identify. The southern hawker can be recognised by its lime green, rather than blue, spots along most of its body and the large pale patches on the thorax.”

An amazing experience for us and we are so glad we got some photos on mum’s phone! The camera on that phone has paid for itself. This was one of the best shopping trips ever!

Thanks for reading,

 

Dragonfly on Bingo Card

 

Goat kids!

Hey everybody! Artybaker here! A few minutes walk away from our house there are some fields with some goats, chickens and horses in. Recently two baby goats (‘kid’s) were born there. So now there are five goats, lots of chickens and two horses. I’m not sure which two goats are the parents of the two kids. Here are some pictures I took of them today….

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Please note that these two goats are not the kids. The website won’t let me do more than two photos so I will make a separate post for more of the pictures. 🙂 Here are some cool facts about goats:

  • Some species of goat can jump up to 5 feet high!
  • The goat is one of the 12 Chinese zodiac animals, it represents creativity, shyness and being a perfectionist.
  • Like sheep, goat’s eyes are rectanular instead of round. They have excellent night vision.
  • Goats discovered coffee! Apparently in Ethiopia a goat farmer saw his goats behaving more actively and energetically after eating from a particular bush. He then tried it himself and felt uplifted, awake and full of energy.
  • The proper name for a group of goats is called a Trip.
  • Goats are great at swimming, and climbing trees!