Goals

2014 goals

This year has already kicked off at a rate. The very fact that I find myself writing my goal post several days already into this year proves the point.

I made a lot of life changes in 2013 and feel that 2014 is more about consolidating where the non web life is concerned. This is my list:

  • Attend a yoga class once a week. I do yoga every morning but for a while haven’t found a class that’d fits locally. I want to change this and grow in my yoga study.
  • Do an hour of Codeschool a day. Specific goals are SASS and JavaScript
  • Release at least 2 themes myself into the WordPress theme repo. This will be in my own time and something I want to do for myself outside of work. Whilst I’ve been part of groups theme projects that did and in previous jobs submitted themes for those; I’ve not done one in my own time and I think will be a good experience. I have some fun ideas I’d like to play with.
  • Blog more. I’m not setting a time or number as quite frankly this seems the ‘kiss of death’ whenever I do. I’m opting for a simple more.
  • Release a plugin. I am not totally decided what I’ll do yet but have a few ideas and know this will be a great process for me to go through.
  • This last one is a mutal goal with my husband, we plan on selling our car. Once we move our goal is to not need the car. This will decrease our outgoings and increase our exercise.
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Review, Uncategorized

2013 in review

It’s that time of year between tinsel and party poppers, where we all reflect on the past year and look to the next. I’ve had an amazing year of ups and real downs. It’s been a year with some new places visited and some great new people met. So, grab yourself a cup of whatever seasonal you are drinking and here is what happened in 2013 for me.

Personal life

I was in two minds about including a personal slant to this year review. I tend to not do personal blog posts. However, I feel that the impact made this year by personal things means my review of the year would be missing a part of my story.

The year 2013 for me started with mixed feelings. My husband was throughout the holiday season in and out of hospital just as he had been most of the later part of that year. He has Chrons disease and it decided to remind us both of it’s existence by going into flare (the term for Chrons when it’s active). It made life a weird experience for me in 2013 as at times it looked likely he wouldn’t be with us much longer. I was lucky to travel, got to do amazing projects – but it all happened with a haze of what was happening with him. He’s still not working but on the long road to recovery.

We’ve decided to move back to Brighton. Far too long ago we lived there and I’ve missed the place for ages. Finally in August we went back to start house hunting. This had a bit of a pause during my trial at Automattic but we’re now looking at a Spring move and I’m getting really excited about it finally happening. We’re attempting to do it with as little stress so taking our time but the urge to just live under the pier and get the move done is tempting.

Events and conferences

If I thought I did a lot of speaking in 2012, I topped that in 2013. I was lucky enough to speak at several WordCamps: Norway, San Francisco, Europe, London. I made it to the BuddyCamp in Miami and spoke. I also spoke at two conferences: Future of web design, and The Digital Barn. I also attended Naconf, UX Munich, dConstruct and WordCamp Miami.

I got to see behind the curtain by being one of the organisers of WordCamp Europe. This was a truly incredible experience. I didn’t quite realise what I was getting involved in – not sure any of us did. I kept throughout the entire event wander if this was really happening.

Writing

This year I had an unexpected commissioning to write a book about BuddyPress theme development. This was an experience that had good and bad sides to it. I don’t think there is ever a good time to write a book, this one taught me so much about time management and pushed my boundaries.

Contributing

Last year I set myself the goal of contributing more to WordPress and BuddyPress. Life seemed to want to get in the way of this goal on several occasions. I had successes and failures – kind of a pattern for 2013.

The biggest fail probably has been my WordPress contributions and this is in the sense of follow throughs. This was a year of life getting in the way when I got into projects. This happened with the NUX for the mobile app and then revisions UI. The good thing about open source is people forgive you dropping balls. I’m going to try and learn though from this and not drop any in 2014. I’m glad of the contributions I made but hate that I didn’t get a chance to follow through. Sometimes though I had to accept this year that life outside the internet is more important.

BuddyPress wise, whilst not a failure (yet) the template pack didn’t make 1.9. This was sad as I was leading this and feel if I had been able to drive it a bit more it may have got in. I’m ok about it and doing what I can to slowly get it towards a state for inclusion in 2.0. I guess my big lesson in 2013 was to have patience with myself and give time for everything.

Work

I started 2013 freelance and end it in a full time role at Automattic. I couldn’t be happier but also couldn’t have predicted this happening. I am now about to hit a month next week in my new role as a theme wrangler. I’ve already been on a team meet up and been the most welcome I’ve ever felt of any job. I’m excited where this chapter of my life will take me, what I’m going to create, who I am going to meet and what I am going to learn.

Everyone at Automattic does 3 weeks happiness training. My happiness training has given me a renewed insight into supporting users and the assumptions we make as theme creators, developers and designers. These assumptions create barriers, frustration and confusion. The themes we create can become a life line through being on sites that give people a voice. We sometimes forget that.

What’s next?

Rather than include that here, I am going to do a post this coming week of goals for 2014. I feel we’re dangerously close to needing a refill of that seasonal drink to read any further.

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News

I am becoming a theme wrangler at Automattic

It is with great pleasure that today I start my journey as a theme wrangler at Automattic. I’m thrilled to be starting on an exciting journey where I can grow as a themer and be part of something amazing.

The past few months have seen me lucky enough to be on trial at Automattic. This is a really incredible way to really allow everyone to ‘try before they buy’. I’ve been juggling this trial with WordCamp Europe and projects, so it’s been a challenge but one I am pleased to have been able to do.

I got to not only meet the theme team at WordCamp London but also the few days before and after attend their meetup. I was made to feel so welcome and now I am really keen to get started.

I’m proud to say that as of today I am an Automattician.

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WordCamp

WordCamp Europe is a happening, come join the fun

I’m pleased to be part of those helping organising a new type of WordCamp this October. On the 5th-7th October the first WordCamp Europe will take place in Leiden. This should be an amazing event and the start hopefully of an event that will see other countries host it in years to come.

Last year I got to visit Leiden along with some of the other founders of WordCamp Europe as part of Ready to Inspire. I was lucky enough to speak there and the venue I can vouch for as jaw dropping and an incredible experience to stand on stage at. It’s a really cool place to visit and has a very chilled vibe but great food and drinking.

Along with helping design wise with the organisation, I am also speaking at the conference. I’m really pleased to be talking also about something a little different and that’s the life of a theme. It’s going to be a bit of a different talk for me and I’m really pleased to have the chance to give it. I’m focusing quite literally on my design process and how I create themes.

I hope to see many old and new faces at WordCamp Europe. If you’ve not got a ticket I can highly recommend it as a chance to enjoy some good times with the European side of the WordPress family.

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Photography

Reclaiming photography

I’ve started a new blog in an attempt to move a lot of my photography from Flickr and my disk drives into one place. Photography has always been a reoccurring part to my life and I am merging them into one place now. You can find my new photography blog here at ‘Lens Karma’.

As part of this move I am going to try and start photo blogging a bit more – I love doing it but tend to never publish my images sticking them on my drives or hidden intermittently in Flickr. I’m slowly adding a selection of my photographs to Lens Karma over the next few weeks. In addition I’m bringing some of my hand developed images I scanned in a few years ago into the blog which is a fun thing to do as a lot of them have never been online.

My plan is to have a photo blog category along with over time add selected images. It should be fun and whilst I enjoy Flickr there is nothing like reclaiming your own content.

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WordCamp

WordCamp San Francisco 2013 amazing

I’m now back home after a really awesome few days away at WordCamp San Francisco 2013. My mind is buzzing despite the jet lag and I feel incredibly lucky to have experienced the awesome that this weekend was.

My first day in San Francisco saw me at the amazing Automattic offices catching up with old faces and meeting new ones. It really was great to have the opportunity to go through my talk the day before and get to hear Siobhan’s talk as mine was going to be on at the same time. I got some excellent feedback that meant a few refinements to my talk and I feel made it better.

I spoke about ‘Beyond the default – Explorations and Experiments in BuddyPress‘ in the first slot, my slides are up here. I’m humbled by the reactions I got and feel so lucky to have had the chance to speak. It was a really personal subject for me as I was showing my sketches and ideas. I’m glad I did it and having the first slot of the day worked out really well as I was then set to enjoy the awesome next few days.

Picking out talks is hard as the entire experience was incredible. However, some particular talks really impacted me. Ian Stewart’s talk ‘(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Themes, Love, and Understanding‘, Alison Barrett’s ‘Lessons Learned in Unit Testing‘ and John James Jacoby’s ‘Beyond the Blog with BuddyPress and bbPress‘ all stood out for me. Ian’s talk struck a chord with my thinking about themes, Alison’s talk about unit tests was on a level that really gave me a good starting point I’d not had before and John showed some awesome examples of BuddyPress and bbPress along with bravely opened up the floor to any questions not just on his talk.

After the main conference there was the contribution day. Before that I had a lovely themers breakfast which I would like to say a large thank you for being invited to. I spent most of the day working in the BB cave (we had a room for BuddyPress and bbPress) on the new template pack for 1.9. Towards the end of the day we shifted gear and started working on some ideas for buddypress.org and specifically how to show off the components. It was an amazing day and we got new contributions to BuddyPress which rocks.

I hope I have the pleasure to go again to WordCamp San Francisco. I’d like to say thanks to all the old and new faces I met. It was so amazing I think most of the trip back to England I had a huge grin on my face. My brain is trying to process all the amazing of the trip despite it’s brain fog. I’ve got so many new ideas buzzing around I hope to write about them later in this week. I feel energised, recharge, enthused and ready to get into some projects.

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Blogging

A blogging challenge

Blogs are hard to keep going, we all know that. Over the past few years this blog has experienced ups and downs in terms of my posting. As of today I am taking part in a WordPress blogging challenge. Mario laid down the gauntlet to start blogging 3 times a week.

I’m excited about joining in with the challenge. This week I am going to be doing a large amount of travelling as I head towards WordCamp San Francisco. I plan on using this time to churn out a few posts.

Is your blog feeling unloved? Maybe come and join us as it’s open for anyone to join. We can all unite together, breathe some life into our blogs and pass on some WordPress thoughts and knowledge.

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