Iesha Small

writing, career pivots, side hustles

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25 things I’ve learnt in past 6 months

Learning new things, developing skills and staying mentally active is believed to help improve brain function and stave off dementia so here are 25 things I’ve learnt while semi-hibernating in my cave during the past 6 months.


  1. How to use olympic rings and secure them to a tree
  2. How do a proper front crawl (in a swimming pool)
  3. What a deadlift, swing, clean and press are and how to do them with various archaic metal and oddly shaped implements (kettlebell, steel club, Bulgarian bag etc)
  4. How to start and sustain a wood fire outdoors
  5. How to look after a peace lily plant so it doesn’t die
  6. The right size hole to dig in order to plant Hawthorn, Hornbeam and Cherry trees
  7. How to make a deer basket to protect saplings from hungry muntjac deer  
  8. How to steam a home made Christmas pudding 
  9. How to tie a variety of different knots (including surgeon’s, square and overhand) 
  10. How to use the body to calm the mind via breathing practices like box breathing and resonant breathing 



  1. Swimming is surprisingly hard work when you haven’t done it properly for many years
  2. Puppies and young children are excellent at tiring each other out when playing “it”
  3. Hanging from a bar is a satisfying way to stretch out after a day of being sedentary
  4. If you are a puppy, a dumbbell and a bone are basically the same thing 
  5. Portable infra red saunas are amazing even if your family and friends laugh at you for sitting in “a heated silver foil box”
  6. Closing your eyes while noticing the taste of dark chocolate melting on your tongue is a great way to unlock the senses
  7. Solo meditation is great but group mediation adds an extra dimension and connection 
  8. If you had a religious upbringing, the foundations will always underpin or affect aspects of your outlook and approach to life even if you think you’ve rejected it 
  9. God (or equivalent) is not the same as religion 
  10. Education is not the same learning 
  11. (Formal) education sometimes kills the joy of learning 
  12. 2m long logs are surprisingly heavy and awkward to get into the back of a car (and subsequently into your back garden) 
  13. It’s more cost effective to wean yourself off having a sweet tooth than to have dental treatment involving a root canal and crown 
  14. Consistency is the first step of progress 
  15. Play is as important in adulthood as it is in childhood


Routines can make our lives easier but if everything is optimised and predictable it can lead to stagnation. Learning, curiosity and play can keep us fresh and open to new things. What have you been learning? 

25 things I’ve learnt in past 6 months