In April 2014, I set myself the challenge of learning – and sharing – something new and useful every day (with the exception of weekends and bank holidays). Due to a family emergency (which I subsequently blogged about), I had to call a ten-day halt, but I resumed as soon as possible and extended the challenge by the missing days, to Friday 9 May. You can follow my progress and watch my end-of-challenge video report below. And check back for more, albeit less frequent, What I Learned Today blogs going forward.

  • Don't stop being outraged by 'The Donald'
    Permalink Gallery

    What fair-minded people need to know about… Trump’s America

What fair-minded people need to know about… Trump’s America

In the days before this year’s US presidential election, Donald Trump predicted that the result would be “Brexit-plus-plus-plus”.  For me personally, “Brexit-plus-plus-plus” is a fair description of my personal reaction to the news: as an American who has lived in London most of her adult life, someone who has dual nationality, someone who campaigned hard in […]

  • I even distributed leaflets at a wedding we attended in Cornwall
    Permalink Gallery

    My personal #EURef round-up: If you’re not sure how to vote yet, please read & watch

My personal #EURef round-up: If you’re not sure how to vote yet, please read & watch

I’ve spent a lot of time over the past two months campaigning on behalf of Britain Stronger in Europe and Labour In for Britain. In these final days leading up to the EU Referendum next Thursday, 23 June, I’m actually IN Europe, on a long-planned holiday to my favourite European escape, Mallorca. And I’m feeling […]

  • Guests at the Managed Networks theatre security seminar, 26 April 2016. © Debra Rapp
    Permalink Gallery

    How secure is the theatre industry? ISIS isn’t the only threat

How secure is the theatre industry? ISIS isn’t the only threat

To my theatregoing readers: in the wake of Paris and Brussels, how secure do you feel going to the theatre?

Yesterday, I chaired an event looking at security risks currently facing Theatreland. As far as terrorism threats go, let me share some good news from our guest speaker, Rob Hoblin, a Cognitious Ltd consultant who […]

Why holidays are out and remote working is in

Unless you spotted my occasional beach tweets or are one of my personal Facebook friends, you may not have noticed that I’ve been away recently. My partner Peter and I spent all of June in Mallorca.

Now don’t be too jealous – and with heatwave weather like we’ve come back to here in the UK, […]

What I learned today: Why film noir is so prudish

I’m having trouble shifting my black mood since the 2015 General Election (what would Tony Benn say?!) so why not a suitably dark blog subject to match it? Let’s talk about film noir.

Film noir literally translates, from the French, as black film or film of the night. If you watch films from ‘the past’, […]

  • Tony Benn died on 14 March 2014
    Permalink Tony Benn died on 14 March 2014Gallery

    Articles, quotes, radio and film documentaries feeding my new Tony Benn obsession

Articles, quotes, radio and film documentaries feeding my new Tony Benn obsession

I knew embarrassingly little of Tony Benn before seeing Andy Barrett’s new play Tony’s Last Tape this past Sunday. (Read my separate blog on the production and interview with its star Philip Bretherton here.)

But since Sunday, boy have I been making up for lost time. After leaving the Bridgehouse, I’ve devoured obituaries and other articles […]

  • Shaun Evans, Miranda Raison and various collectables in Hello/Goodbye at Hampstead Theatre, London, February 2015
    Permalink Shaun Evans, Miranda Raison and various collectables in Hello/Goodbye at Hampstead Theatre, London, February 2015Gallery

    Hello, crazy collectors: 15 world record-breaking collections

Hello, crazy collectors: 15 world record-breaking collections

If I had a bigger flat with lots of nice empty walls, I’d be ringing Hampstead Theatre and putting my name on a waiting list for some of the props in the current production of Peter Souter’s romantic comedy Hello/Goodbye.

In it, Shaun Evans plays Alex, “a lister, a filer, a collector”, who unpacks boxes […]

  • Do kids today have too much homework?
    Permalink Do kids today have too much homework?Gallery

    Conversation with Caitlin Moran: Is homework helpful or harmful?

Conversation with Caitlin Moran: Is homework helpful or harmful?

Here we are in week two of my new, non-theatrical blog challenge: to get Caitlin Moran to take notice of me and eventually become my best friend. And also to get me into the discipline of writing about something I normally wouldn’t once a week (i.e. not theatre) – something of my favourite columnist’s […]

  • What I Learned Today: End of month video report
    Permalink What I Learned Today: End of month video reportGallery

    What I learned today: End of challenge VIDEO report (+ my first-ever vlog!)

What I learned today: End of challenge VIDEO report (+ my first-ever vlog!)

I officially finished my one-month blog challenge on 9 May 2014. And to celebrate, I set myself a new learning challenge: to film and edit my first-ever video blog, in which I grade my progress. So here’s my challenge on the challenge and the challenges I faced in completing it… You get the idea.

Including […]

  • Bad memories: It's okay to open but don't sift through it for more than 90 seconds
    Permalink Bad memories: It's okay to open but don't sift through it for more than 90 secondsGallery

    What I learned today: How to stop bad memories from ruining your mood

What I learned today: How to stop bad memories from ruining your mood

This is it, folks: I’ve reached the – slightly extenuated – end of my month-long daily learning blog challenge. And I wanted to finish with one to keep you happy!

Let me set a scene. You meet up for dinner with a friend sometime after a recent sad event – your boyfriend dumped you, your […]

  • Splash out: drink tap instead
    Permalink Splash out: drink tap insteadGallery

    What I learned today: Where to get free water (and why you don’t need to ditch your bottle at airport security)

What I learned today: Where to get free water (and why you don’t need to ditch your bottle at airport security)

My partner’s sister Carry was in a tizz the other day as she related her airport tale of woe. She and her husband were travelling with their two thirsty children and had made the mistake of buying bottles of water for everyone before they checked in – only to have them confiscated a few […]

  • Bitly gives excellent stats reporting on your clicks
    Permalink Bitly gives excellent stats reporting on your clicksGallery

    What I learned today: How to create a custom short URL (terri.im)

What I learned today: How to create a custom short URL (terri.im)

I’ve decided to squeeze in a special request before the official end of my #WhatILearnedToday daily blog challenge. If you follow me on Twitter (@TerriPaddock), you may have noticed – as keen follower and learner-requester Jonathan Baz (@MrJonathanBaz) did – that my tweet hyperlinks have looked a little different recently. Here are a few examples […]

  • Just grab a chair for a simpler, meditative mind-break
    Permalink Just grab a chair for a simpler, meditative mind-breakGallery

    What I learned today: Five-minute meditation for dummies (you DON’T have to sit like this!)

What I learned today: Five-minute meditation for dummies (you DON’T have to sit like this!)

Learning meditation is one of those things I’ve had on my life to-do list for years. I have several friends who swear by it and who have been to multiple escape-way-out-of-London retreats where they do NOTHING but meditate – well, and sleep and eat, but no talking, reading or writing – for days on […]

  • What's your personality type?
    Permalink What's your personality type?Gallery

    What I learned today: How to find your Myers-Brigg personality type

What I learned today: How to find your Myers-Brigg personality type

Have you been Myers-Brigged? I first heard of this “personality inventory” test in a psychology course at university, and first encountered it in the real world in my late twenties when working at a high-tech PR agency in London. The firm used various Myers-Brigg questionnaires during recruitment and for planning team and management structures. […]

  • Making the right decisions is getting harder
    Permalink Making the right decisions is getting harderGallery

    What I learned today: Beware confirmation bias – and why decision-making is getting harder

What I learned today: Beware confirmation bias – and why decision-making is getting harder

Composing yesterday’s blog about my recent experience with Hopi ear candles, first evangelising and then debunking them, provided me with a reminder lesson opportunity about confirmation bias. Confirmation bias is the tendency to seek out “proof” that confirms our preconceived notions on a subject or existing belief – and we are all prone to […]

What I learned today: Hopi ear candles are a con (probably)

I first came across Hopi ear candles about 15 years ago at a new age festival at Alexandra Palace in London where an exhibitor was selling, for my pocket, far-too-pricey therapy sessions. Shortly after, while at a meeting in Willesden Green, I happened upon a homeopathic shop that stocked ear candles by Biosun, the […]

What I learned today: Help! SOS doesn’t mean anything

With all the blood and gore – and fantastically poetic staging care of director John Tiffany and choreographer Steven Hoggett – Morse code may not be the first thing you associate with the National Theatre of Scotland’s production of vampire Let the Right One, now playing at the West End’s Apollo Theatre. But it […]

  • Wonder Woman knew how to strike a high-power pose
    Permalink Wonder Woman knew how to strike a high-power poseGallery

    What I learned today: How to feel more powerful in two minutes

What I learned today: How to feel more powerful in two minutes

Even if you’re not a great reader of it, you will know that your body language communicates volumes to others. First impressions are formed in less than ten seconds and, overall, the actual content of what we say to someone will only comprise about 11% of the message they take away about us after […]

  • Fill your mug three-quarters full for a milkier Nespresso latte
    Permalink Fill your mug three-quarters full for a milkier Nespresso latteGallery

    What I learned today: Nespresso latte making for dummies in 7 steps (with BIG pictures)

What I learned today: Nespresso latte making for dummies in 7 steps (with BIG pictures)

I’m currently holed up in a small seaside village in Mallorca – no Starbucks or any other type of coffee chain round here – and my live-in barista Peter is about to abandon me to return to the real world (aka London).

So What I Learned Today is of immediate benefit: how to make my […]

  • Having trouble placing a name with a face? It's how your memory works
    Permalink Having trouble placing a name with a face? It's how your memory worksGallery

    What I learned today: Why you recognise a face before you remember a name

What I learned today: Why you recognise a face before you remember a name

The past two blogs have been pretty serious – and long! – so here’s a shorter one for a change of pace. Ever run into someone you know but haven’t seen in awhile. You know you know them, you recognise their face. But you can’t for the life of you recall their name. Maybe […]

What I learned today: How to care for someone with delirium

Yesterday, I told you about what’s been happening with my father, who slipped into an extended Delirium following knee replacement surgery. For the family, seeing a loved one in Delirium can be highly distressing, but for the sufferer, it can be absolutely terrifying, and that terror can increase their confusion. Their best chance at […]

  • After a knee replacement, my father spent two weeks in hospital suffering from post-operative delirium
    Permalink After a knee replacement, my father spent two weeks in hospital suffering from post-operative deliriumGallery

    What I learned today: The difference between delirium and dementia – and how it can affect your parents

What I learned today: The difference between delirium and dementia – and how it can affect your parents

(Preface: After a two-week, medically-necessitated hiatus, I’m able to resume my learning blog challenge – with a serious topic. I urge you to read this one, especially if you have elderly parents facing an operation at any point in the future.)

On Tuesday 1 April 2014, I launched my personal “What I Learned Today” blog […]

  • How to get free wifi at Heathrow Airport
    Permalink How to get free wifi at Heathrow AirportGallery

    What I learned today: Free wifi at Heathrow … 45 minutes and counting

What I learned today: Free wifi at Heathrow … 45 minutes and counting

The follow-up family call came last night so this morning I’m at Heathrow waiting for my flight to Huntsville, Alabama via Washington DC. (In case you ever wondered, there are no direct flights from London – or anywhere international – to Hunstville. I can travel to San Francisco in half the time, despite Huntsville […]

What I learned today: How to file away your worries

The plan today was to tell you what I’ve learned about Morse Code… Then this morning, I woke up to a clutch of worrying texts from my family back in the States. What was meant to be a routine operation on my father has gone wrong with some truly horrific, unforeseen consequences.

After various phone […]

  • Jesus has left the building at the 'godless' Sunday Assembly services
    Permalink Jesus has left the building at the 'godless' Sunday Assembly servicesGallery

    What I learned today: How to get the best bits of church with pop songs and no mention of God

What I learned today: How to get the best bits of church with pop songs and no mention of God

Having just posted about St Paul’s Cathedral, it may seem a little odd to immediately follow up with an apparently “anti-church” blog, but I did warn you that my topics, and the scheduling of them, would be random as part of this month’s challenge! So here goes on today’s… I have many deeply religious […]

What I learned today: London has two St Paul’s Cathedrals

I’ve lived in London for more than 20 years and there are still whole areas I’ve never heard of, let alone been to. Once you factor in the sheer magnitude of things I don’t know about London, both past and present, well, that would be a world wide web of blogs on its own.

I […]

  • Girls' nights out are good for the soul but bad for the inbox
    Permalink Girls' nights out are good for the soul but bad for the inboxGallery

    What I learned today: The fastest way to organise a girls’ night out

What I learned today: The fastest way to organise a girls’ night out

There are two universal truths about modern life (in fact there are more than two, but these are the ones relevant to what I’m going to tell you):

Everyone is busy
Everyone receives too many emails

Is this true for you too? Of course it is, it’s universal.

And one of the surest ways to exacerbate both conditions […]

  • Don't let your WordPress post disappear like tumbleweed
    Permalink Don't let your WordPress post disappear like tumbleweedGallery

    What I learned today: WordPress scheduling and the importance of designers

What I learned today: WordPress scheduling and the importance of designers

Today I learned something incredibly important if you’ve just set yourself a public challenge of blogging daily on a particular theme: in WordPress, if you pre-schedule a post to go live at a certain time, you better make sure you’ve used the scheduling dial correctly. (Make sure it’s a date in the future, click […]

  • I knead more massage
    Permalink I knead more massageGallery

    What I learned today: How to get a massage and facial in London for £44

What I learned today: How to get a massage and facial in London for £44

It may be foolish to launch on April Fool’s Day, but please reserve judgment until the 31st.

For the month of April 2014, I’ve set myself a challenge: to learn something new every day. The something new has got to be useful, if only to me, and I’ve got to share it, if only with […]