Try something new in Cambridge

A little older, a little wiser

Coming up to the two and a half years of scuseme I have been reflecting on my journey.  Setting up an online business was uncharted territory and certainly something new for me and I am particularly proud of my achievements.

Wherever you are in your life, now is as good a time as any to take stock of what you’ve done and accomplished in your life.  And for that reason, it’s important to celebrate the successes.  Above all figure out what more you’d like to do with your time now that you’re a little older and (maybe a little) wiser.   Whatever your goals there are many benefits to trying something new.

I recall an episode of Desert Island Discs with Malorie Blackman.  The famed author explains why every year she likes to learn something new because she likes to take on a challenge to stretch her mind, imagination and ability.  Wise words indeed.

Here I reflect on some of the new things I have tried (or hope to try) in Cambridge.

Visit a thrift shop

This year I’ve had fun looking for hidden treasures while addressing waste in my shopping habits. I found an amazing pair of second-hand Prada boots in one of these Cambridge shops.  Also in a 2015 Vogue article, our own Jemporium Vintage was listed as “a good resource for anyone interested in street fashions of the past 30 years.”  So explore vintage Cambridge and you may be rewarded with cheerful fashion finds.

Vintage Cambridge is the best place to find and discover these kind of shops. Here are five of my favourite:

  • Fantastia
  • Cambridge Market Retro
  • Jemporium Vintage
  • Romsey Retro
  • Nearly New @Hive

“Most of my wardrobe is vintage and I’ve worn dresses to the Oscars that I got for $10.” – Winona Ryder

Learn a new dance

I love the Argentinian Tango and had a few lessons at The Centre of St Paul’s a couple of years ago.  I’m no Ginger Rogers but dancing lifts my spirits.  And while it is great to watch others dance, especially on shows like Strictly, why not get off the couch and learn some new steps?  Dancing is a great way to keep your body and mind healthy and make friends.  Here are some Cambridge dance clubs that offers many classes for people of all levels:

“Let us read and let us dance; these two amusements will never do any harm to the world.” – Voltaire

Share a story

Cambridge True Stories is a simple idea which presents an opportunity to enjoy some fantastic live storytelling in the NCI, Cambridge’s oldest social club.   Once every five or six weeks, five people will tell true, personal stories and one person will also perform a song to an appreciative audience.   Cambridge True Stories presents a wonderful opportunity to meet new people and enjoy some thoughtful, funny and honest stories.

I haven’t yet shared a story here, but I really want to get along to this. So, if you have a story to tell get in touch here

Cambridge True Stories

“Storytelling is about two things; it’s about character and plot.” –  George Lucas

Learn a new language

French is most popular language to learn in British schools, and most of us have at least some level of understanding buried deep in our heads.  And, you’re never too old to learn a new language, according to this Guardian article   You could discover a new culture, make new friends, impress others, improve your decision-making skills and increase brain power.

So brush up on your French, the language of love.  Alliance Francaise, a Cambridge Bid 2018 winner for customer experience, offers free drop in classes on Wednesdays at Café Francaise; adults from 11.30am – 1.30pm and teenagers from 3 pm – 5pm.

I took up Italian a few years ago and had lessons at LaDante which also offers Spanish classes, and I found the radio Dante Cambridge really useful.  Now however I benefit from the free opportunities to practice with the language and cultural Meetups in Cambridge.

“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.” ‒ Nelson Mandela

Go to the jazz festival

The fourth Cambridge Jazz Festival brings some sensational jazz artists to our doorstep.   Co-founder Ros Russell and her team have put together 15 days of live music that suits all tastes and budgets.   There are several free events, and for the jazz aficionado there are workshops and the opportunity to hear world class artists.  Some of Cambridge’s best venues are hosting events and the eclectic mix of artists will provide something for everyone.  If you are new to jazz, Cambridge Jazz Festival is the perfect place to start.

I’m a big fan and love the small intimate venues, but this year I’m keen to hear Vanessa Hayes celebrate Aretha Franklyn. Also watch out for Myles Sanko who is playing at the Junction, and Dinosaur plus Big Bad Wolf who are playing, appropriately in the Zoology Museum Café.

Cambridge Jazz Festival

“It’s not exclusive, but inclusive, which is the whole spirit of jazz.” –  Herbie Hancock

Get fit outdoors

I have been going to Cambridge Bootcamp for nearly three years and the benefits of exercising outdoors are immense.  I’ve met some lovely people and I feel fitter and more energised.  Early morning winter sessions take some getting use to, but as I troop home exhausted afterwards I feel justly smug.

If you want to work out in the outdoors in Cambridge there are many options.  Numerous bootcamps many with goal driven incentives and classes that accommodate people who work and have young families.  There are a lot of running clubs and the weekend offers timed park runs.  Cambridge now hosts many races that take place in and around Cambridge to challenge yourself including the Cambridge Half Marathon and the Chariots of Fire. Get outdoors, it’s an exhilarating way to stay active and takes you out of the sometimes stuffy atmosphere of a gym.

“To keep the body in good health is a duty… otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.” – Buddha

Dawn Giesler, is the founder of Scuseme Cambridge, a recommendation website that helps your family run smoothly. She has lived in Cambridge for over 20 years and offers advise based on her own experiences. For more information please visit: scuseme