The Climb!

I had convinced myself that there was not to be a new blog post this week. Yet here I am writing one.

This last week I was creating a lot of new things and sadly I lost faith in myself. I feel right now I am in fight or flight mode but in typical Nikola style I have battled on through. Hurrah!

Tonight I completed the first draft changes of my lecture notes, which has literally been the steepest learning curve I have had to face. (Kudos to all the lecturers out there who over the years have put out notes, books and have taught. No-one really knows the hard work that goes into it until you do it yourself). I was very close to giving up as I just got into my head that I couldn’t do what was required of me. But I took my time and took it a page at a time and at 11pm it now makes a lot more sense than it did a week ago. I’ve come to realise that my first set of lecture notes will be far from perfect, but I’m trying.

I just wanted to give a big shout out to Will Houston who has singlehandedly battled to help me make sense of my jibber jabber for you all to enjoy. His words of advice have also made me laugh out loud along the way too. I am so grateful for people like this in magic. Thank you!

Even though this week has been a tough week I have done a lot. Alongside overhauling my lecture notes which will ultimately help me to provide a better lecture in two weeks time, I have begun to play with one of the oldest magic tricks, Cups and Balls.

It’s a load of Balls!

I’ve never really had a chance to properly play around with this effect until now and I’ve been surprised at how much fun I’ve been having with it. The routine I’ve been playing about with requires more balls than the usual four for the standard cups and balls routine. When I realised this went to purchase six balls and found out that most dealers sell the balls either individually (which can be expensive) or in sets of four which meant I need to buy two sets of four (very expensive).

I also wanted the balls to be a bit weighty and when I tried to find balls with a rubber centre they were out of my price league right now. So what to do when you can afford them? You make your own.

Monkeying around…

I began by using pom moms which were very cheap and cheerful however, extremely light which meant I had to be delicate when moving the cups around. Ok to practice for a day or two but I needed something a bit sturdier.

I watched a video online of how to make up a monkey fist or monkey paw knot. Used in the past as a knot for rock climbing and a hand to hand weapon, I decided this would make a perfect ball for my cups and balls routine.

Monkey fist knot

An hour after having a few goes and loosing faith I managed to make some up.

My first monkey fist knots

And I’ve been practicing with them ever since. They are weighty, sturdy and they don’t roll much because of the texture on the outside. I believe I’ve found my new self made cups and balls balls.

I’ve made a load of them up in different colours and if any of you might like to buy them in sets of 6 (as I truly believe this is how they should be sold in order to do all sorts of routines and maybe have a spare) I’ll have them with me to purchase at my lectures this year.

For a post I did not intend to write I did it. A lesson that things happen when you least expect it, even from yourself. It’s easy to be pessimistic when you look at something as a whole, break it up into manageable chunks and you’ll get there. Eventually!


  1. You wrote and edited a book on an old iphone. I am not the least bit surprised whenever you suddenly turn out to have a talent for something or brute force yourself into creating wonder. 🙂

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