The 2020…ish blogging challenge

“Embrace each challenge in your life as an opportunity for self-transformation.”
– Bernie S. Siegel

I’ve always been a fan of a challenge and my family and wife will attest to the fact that I can be highly competitive. So needless to say on that day I sat with Kendra (see previous post) when she mentioned any kind of challenge I knew I would try and rise to it!

The idea behind this was that Kendra and I would blog every single week starting from… well, now actually! This is my (official) first blog in the 2020 series and it’s going out *hastily checks the date* on the 29th November 2019. “Why now?” I hear you ask, well it’s a great question. Kendra and I agree that having this challenge as somewhat of a “New Years Resolution” just gives us an opportunity to fail, like many resolutions do. There is no time like the present and we very much intend to live by that! So from now until 29th November 2020 I will (hopefully) be blogging… Every. Single. Week.

Utter madness, I know!!! But exciting nonetheless, and I can’t wait.

The rules are very simple:
1) Blog every week
2) You can blog about whatever you like, and
3) If you miss a week £10 (or $10 for Kendra) goes into a pot that at the end of the year gets donated to a charity of your choice.

I’m going to go ahead and supplement the 3rd rule with the fact that I intend to meet this challenge, and as that really only helps me, I will be donating a MINIMUM of £120 (£10 for each month) so that whatever the outcome I am still able to contribute to a great cause.

The charity that I have chosen is Mind, a fantastic UK based mental health charity which provides advice, support and information to help you through whatever mental health issues you may be facing. It is a charity very close to my own heart, not least because it’s a subject that affects us all but because Mind themselves have helped many people; not just in general but those close to me, and myself directly. They helped me to do the very thing I found impossible at one time, talk about it, and I will be forever grateful for that.

With this all in mind I look forward to steaming ahead into 2020 and (hopefully) filling this page with exciting and informative posts – just a sneak peak at what I have lined up, you can expect posts on:

  • Living a plant based lifestyle
  • DevOps
  • Data Masking
  • Azure
  • PowerShell
  • Travel and Culture
  • My feeble attempts at learning Romanian
  • and much much more…

So. Let’s go.

A retrospective on blogging and my journey so far

“We are products of our past, but we don’t have to be prisoners of it.”
– Rick Warren


It’s not how I thought I would truly begin my blogging journey but there you have it. Woefully unoriginal and yet beautifully simple. Just like me (!)

Once upon a time (aha, a slightly better start!) I actually had a blog. It was called CupcakesAndCircuits and it was to be a combination of the things I loved most which were: getting my head into the tech world and baking. This started out as a Tumblr blog (this was 2013, be kind) where I wrote my own posts and also re-blogged things shared by others, but as I rapidly sped down the Tumblr rabbit hole it became more about the queuing of blogs to go out at certain times, and getting as many followers as I could – at one point i reached over 1000 people with what I wrote but the quality of things deteriorated from there.

So I came to WordPress.

I ported everything that I would consider was ‘me’ to a new blog format and spent money (even though I had little at the time) and had a nice shiny page that looked great, was easy to find and over which I had significantly greater control. I published my first post and… got distracted. I only ever made it to about 5 posts, garnering a solid 10 or so likes and falling directly out of the start gate.

Why? I couldn’t say. There was a bit of an upheaval in my life and things went a bit… squiffy for a time. All I know is that it never went anywhere, despite still having the ideas for posts.

Roll forward a few years to PASS Summit 2019 in Seattle – I’ve been at the Redgate pre-con all day and gotten to know some lovely and inspiring people, talked about nothing but DevOps all day (whoop!) but I’m still feeling beat because, you know, Jet Lag is a thing. We all head out for some post-pre-con drinks and everyone is talking about getting some food but at this point there’s nothing left in the tank; I look to make my polite excuses and head back to my room (post something greasy, quick and convenient) but then hear Kendra (the almighty, inspiring, wonderful, incomparable Kendra Little) was doing the same.

So we decided to excuse ourselves together. Defeats the point of an early night but hey-ho off we went. We settled into a lovely stool at MOD Pizza just around the corner (hats off to MOD for one of the best vegan pizzas I’ve had!) and we talked about life, the universe and everything.

For a while I had been mulling over the idea of starting a blog, some kind of independent page that I could host my thoughts and posts on – these thoughts had been inspired by conversations with Alex Yates (DLM Consultant, rock star, all round fantastic guy) and Kathi Kellenberger (one of the loveliest, most incredibly knowledgeable people you’ll ever meet, and I hope you do!) but I had never acted on them due to the failure of my previous blog.

But Kendra wasn’t having any of it. She came up with the most fantastic idea for a blogging competition of sorts (more on that later!) and really pushed me to not let the past be my prison. I have learned so much, come so far and if I never fail, then I’m never trying anything new!

So do you know what I did? I went back to my hotel room, enthused and reinvigorated. I purchased some domain names, I set up a new WordPress blog and I got to work, no matter how tired I was.

Thus, PlantBasedSQL was born and this is where we find ourselves today. Will this fail? Will anyone hear what I have to say? I cannot be certain. But I am certain that I am trying something and I am very glad I am.