Posted in Books, Education, Goals, Health, life, Musings, rant, Shonda Rhimes, University, work, Writing

Confession: I’m a terrible decision maker

I really am. I am either two ways about something: I love making plans to do something then fret and spend time wondering how I can get out of it; or, I loathe making plans and end up making a stupid choice in the end because I was too indecisive and shouldn’t be allowed to make rash decisions.

Story of my life.

I hate to admit it, but I will. I loved starting uni, and the beginning of each term when I could go full on Rory Gilmore and have a ‘legitimate’ excuse for spending £40 on stationary (not that I don’t already have a house teeming with unused pens and notepads). However, as the term progressed and either my insomnia or hypersomnia got the better of me, I found it harder and harder to stick to my class schedule. In my final year I was between 6-8 hours of classes a week AND I STILL MANAGED TO SKIP TWO OF EACH over a 12 week semester of course. Now I know looking back I wonder why I couldn’t just have forced myself to go, I probably did lose some marks here and there for non-attendance but the thrill I got from turning over in bed and going back to sleep was ridiculous. Then I remember the tiredness. It’s not an excuse, but the overwhelming, mind-numbing, soul-draining tiredness that made me fall asleep sitting up at various desks and start to dream while believing that I was still awake, is still such a problem for me that it’s now hard to imagine taking full time classes, constant homework, a part time job, and tutoring as well. I’m actually quite proud then of how I did survive it.

It does bother me, otherwise I wouldn’t be writing about it now, and it’s why I am the Coffee Queen. And when I go into super sleep mode at night and have wild and fantastical dreams it soothes the creative side of me and gives me such a boost that no caffeinated product on earth has yet managed to achieve. As such, it is mostly an issue on my days off from work, I’ve not been working a lot of hours the last few weeks so realistically I should be managing to get plenty of work done given that I’ve had plenty of off time. NOPE.

I set my alarm early, so I can get up and carpe diem but when it goes off, I have no idea what planet I’m on and flip my phone onto snooze and this routine can last for a couple of hours…. YES, A COUPLE OF HOURS! So that when I do finally remember I had a reason for getting up early, I’m groggy, my eyes are stinging with broken sleep, my head hurts and I feel blah. Plus it’s hours past the time I wanted to get up and I shuffle about like a zombie, caffeine having no effect on me at all.

It becomes a vicious circle, tired and sleepy –> lethargic –> the desire to crawl back into bed –> no creative energy to write or work/no urge to start –> feeling guilty that another day has passed with nothing done when this is my DREAM, DAMMIT!

I know this was something I mentioned in my goals list that I wanted to work on for this year but I’m trying to create a kind of Cheat Sheet of inspiration, things that no matter how tired or blah I am I’ll be sparked into action by reading them. Something that definitely helped recently was reading Shonda Rhimes, Year of Yes, that I spoke briefly about in the last post, I just finished it last night and it has had such a profound effect on me. I know I need to start living more YES and hiding away less. Blogging has helped a lot as well. I’ve had blogs before but then really lacked the focus of what I was trying to do with them or I was too nervous about certain people reading certain things, whereas now, I cleaned up my facebook so everyone still there can read or not read my posts but I have nothing to hide. I changed how I approach blog posts, not just travel, languages, writing, but everything all of me, all that is me. I can’t split myself off the way others can, no one interest really takes the lead over the others, they are all important to me and in different ways, at different times.

Anyway, as much as I’d like to say this blogging exercise has got my creative juices flowing again, I think it’s more the venti caramel coffee soya frappuccino next to me that’s done the trick. I’ll implore you once again to read Shonda Rhimes book (99p on kindle) and I’ll get back to writing my script that I’ve been procrastinating on for too long.


e x

Posted in Books, Education, Fitness, Health, Late Nights, life, Musings, Shonda Rhimes, Travel, University, work, Writing

Battling the sleepies

I’m drained. Zonked. Gone.

I’ve had a few days off work just with how the scheduling goes, and had all these wild plans for what I’d do with all that free time. And yet, it’s been cold, stormy, wet, and blah. They probably sound like excuses and maybe they are but I’m so tired. I’ve caught up with some work in short bursts of effort, usually around 1am when I should be succumbing to the tiredness, but when my creativity works best. The rest of the time I just feel like a sleepy zombie.

I’ve been setting an alarm, but when it goes off in the morning, because I know there’s nothing I NEED to get up for, it’s more of an annoying noise that I flip over and end up snoozing for two more hours. It’s a bad habit… probably, but I think I’m suffering with ‘what-the-fuck-am-I-doing-itis’ and for me, hypersomnia is how I deal with it.

Now that I’m pondering it, there’s an element of SAD involved. It happens every winter, except this is the first time in a zillion years where I haven’t been compelled by full-time education to get my arse out of the house. I’ve ordered a sunlight alarm clock that will arrive in about two months -_- there’s no way I can afford a SAD lamp, plus electricity freaks me out.

In between passing out asleep and trying to wake up with strong coffee and Italian rap music, I’ve been reading Shonda Rhimes’ Year of Yes book. It’s amazing! I don’t often read autobiographies/self-help stuff, but her words are so relatable particularly about working hard and living/breathing/eating your own work as a writer. Even the parts about not having everything as a parent/writer/woman, it’s finally a relief to hear someone admitting that they don’t have everything sorted out, that they aren’t superwoman and, don’t have all the answers. She needs help to manage her life, she gets it; she needs help to look after her kids while she works, she gets it. Why should anyone be a martyr to a lost cause without asking for help? I’m hopefully never going to go down that merry road of motherhood but I can understand how certain parts of your life aren’t going to be perfect or even balanced while focusing on another part of your life.

I know it’s bad for your health to be stationary all the time, but as a writer, much of what I do requires that I sit writing drivel onto a screen or into a notebook for ages at a time. And in order to work as I need to on that, I can’t always breakaway to go to the gym and I nearly broke my back on the times I went to the gym and carried all my writing stuff and laptop with me… I’ve seen those girls at Uni, they’ll need traction by 25. I’m too old to put up with these pains though, and thus things slide. Plus, sitting/lying/being still is one of my favourite pastimes. I could pass as a statue.

Alas, alak, we’re nearly in February, still a month I hate but I’m hoping the nicer weather will make an appearance and my mood will feel less funky. I’m planning on doing blog posts on my previous trips abroad. I’ve got so many stories to tell, might as well tell you them. Just need to find all my old photographs as well. First trip to Italy was in 2008 and I can’t even begin to think how many different computers I’ve had since then!

A tarde!

e x

Posted in Food, Health, University, work, Writing

Tempus Fugit

Can you believe we’re nearly three weeks into January and the new year?

Who’s broken/abandoned their New Year’s Resolutions already? I haven’t abandoned mine, just been a bit slower about them than I would have liked. Pretty much since the start of January my food issues have gotten worse, so I’m back to square one where I’ve stripped my diet back to the absolute basics as far as I can (again). Trying to make sure that everything I do eat is fresh, contains few ingredients, and healthy. I’ve started eating porridge again for breakfast every morning, thankfully Quaker now has their Protein Porridge out which I’m glad to say contains SOYA protein, and while the cinnamon one that I have contains a fair dollop of sugar (in the form of molasses) it’s not a big deal since I’m not consuming much other sugary products and it does keep me fuller for longer.

I’m only managing small portions these days and I’m erring on the side of being slightly not full than forcing myself to finish something, saves on terrible pain. Alas, the hardest part has been saying goodbye to eggs. I love eggs *cries* but I seem to be okay with eggs in things like pasta, noodles and the like. I’ve been drinking lots of green tea with lemon, because I had felt run down I wasn’t drinking as much coffee, and sore throats required something more than water. It’s working out well, even if I still hate the taste of tea, it’s growing on me.

I know I’ve been quite online the last few weeks, but I’ve been working a bit, the hours have dropped off since the Christmas period ended, so the time I have off I’ve been attempting to catch up on uni work that I missed during the mental season. I’m confident now that I know what I’m doing for my assessment, I had a crazy, stressed day a few weeks ago and an idea popped into my head almost completed formed, except I can’t decide on an ending. I know how I want it to end, but how to do it while maintaining my preferred level of creepy and avoiding cliche. The assessment itself does tie into my plans for the new year to work harder and more efficiently, not leaving everything to the last minute, so I’m trying to work smart and construct my other assignments as I go. I have to write a commentary of my script, which for the last assessment I had written a perfect version in my notebook during the night, forgot about it then half-assed one for the assessment and missed out valuable marks. Gah! So I want to be on it this time to save myself. Oh, and I found out that my marks for NEXT year is what decides my overall grade for the MA. I still want this years grades to improve drastically though.

You may be able to tell, I’m using this post to oil up my writing joints to get back to work.

Not sure I have much more to say now. We’ve had a lot of snow, guess who had to walk home from work in a blizzard the other night? Moi.

Anyway, back soon with more to say. Let me know if you all are keeping to your resolutions or not!

e x

Posted in Education, Languages, Musings, Relationships, University

The Frustrations of Life

I like my life.

None of us has a life manual to tell us what to do, when to do it, or if we are doing it right. I follow my gut instinct though it’s taken me years to actually trust it and believe it knows best, but it can be difficult when you see what everyone else is doing, or worse, when other people tell you you’re not living your life right. How even?!

I’ve spent the last five years at uni where I was a good 6 years older than my fellow students, for the most part it wasn’t an issue, but of course there was some lighthearted ribbing, and some less than lighthearted ribbing. It was my choice not to go straight to uni after school, mostly because I felt mentally broken and scraped my way out of it. I instead went to a Further Education college to study Italian for a couple of years, then I studied Photography at another college, then there was a half year back at the original college to do more languages, then onto a third college to do a HNC as I was beginning to feel that uni was within my reach.

Does it matter how long it took me to get to uni? No. Does it matter how many years I spent doing other stuff? No, because I actually did other stuff. Does it matter that I’ll be 29 in a month and I haven’t been married off? HELL no!

It’s fine for other people, I know loads of people from school and college who’ve dated for years, got married, and had kids (in various orders) and that’s great for them who’ve chosen that life… But I really don’t believe it’s for me. I’ve dated, not recently, but I can’t be bothered with the drama right now. I’m only just back home in Glasgow and I’ve been in Waterstones so many times and yet no one has approached me from behind the shelves to ask to buy me a book!

I know it sounds like I’m trying to justify my life and choices, but sometimes I feel swamped by subliminal pressures because I’m not doing things the way everyone else is, but why would we want to do it like everyone else is?

Right now, I’m binge-watching Suits (Don’t trust the pineapple), I’ll do some more crocheting after, maybe a little Sims, then back to work for my course… and I may just add a sprinkling of Dutch in.

I like my life, I like my own time!

e x

Posted in Education, Fitness, Memories, Musings, University, Writing

Back to the drawing board

My course started on Saturday and I’ve managed to spend at least a couple of hours each day since to contribute to the forums and work on assignments. I’ve received really good feedback from a couple of other students on my first submission. I’m not good with criticism whether good or bad, and I struggle with accepting constructive criticism which I put down to too many essays being returned with ‘try harder’, ‘more detail’, ‘less flowery language – get to the point’, ‘don’t be so forceful’ – feedback in general can be contradictory as everyone will have different opinions.

This first year is broken down into four blocks and two specialisations, which for me are: Fiction and Script-writing. I’ll be working on Fiction in blocks 1 and 3, Script-writing in block 2, and block 4 is independent study. There are assessments at the end of each block and a final end of module assessment in June. I’m not too worried about the assessments yet, I had a read of the requirements and so long as I follow the course work and readings, I should manage to do quite well overall.

One of the stories I’ve been using for coursework is from what I want to be a novel series but it actually started aeons ago when I was around 6 or 7 as a make-believe scenario which touted many filled afternoons and a special birthday performance of a play of the story which I’d worked on for days. I was industrious to say the least. Now it’s a grown up story, but I’m still lacking a decent title. I know what I want the individual books to be titled but I don’t know what to name the series! I read an entire chapter on the purpose and point of decent titles, but nothing quite helped with this conundrum. I’ll get there in the end I suppose… consistency is the best cure for being stuck!

Managed to get back to the gym yesterday after several weekends of being too busy. Not lost too much in terms of endurance and I managed to get onto the lat pulldown machine… merely a couple of kgs off my personal bests! Going back tomorrow to smash them. Down several pounds in weight as well which is nice, but I’m trying to focus on listening to my body, if I really feel hungry or I’m just bored. I don’t want to go back to counting calories as I become far too obsessive with it, portion control and paying more attention to my eating habits and cravings will get me through for now.

I’m not a runner, it’s never been my thing, and I’ve actually caused myself more damage in the past when I’ve tried to run. Remember Phoebe trying to run in the park with Rachel? And Rachel was humiliated? Yep, mum just let me know today that that one time in school when I was picked to do the relay, I ran just like Phoebe did, maybe even worse! Thanks mum. I was never the sporty type. I had/have little to no upper body strength. I’d try to go on the monkey bars, grab on and swing forward – and keep swinging as my arms betrayed me and I kept swinging forward until gravity smacked me into the playground foam. I still can’t swim: I don’t float. Even when I was several stone lighter, it just never happened for me. My swimming proficiency at the end of Primary School, I got the shortest pity badge of 15 meters, but honestly that was me bobbing and trying to remember how to doggy-paddle like on Topsy and Tim. Then someone splashed water into my face and I choked and threw up by the side of the pool… thus my attempt was over.

So yeah, I was never going to be Sporty Spice, but that’s really why I prefer individual exercises that involve a steady machine or weights that I’m comfortable using without dislocating something. Don’t even get me started on gymnastics… the day I realised I had no balance or poise killed me. I’d never get to be the Pink Power Ranger. But when asked to do jumping splits over another person, I could take at least four others down with me!

Leave me to walk, row, and lift heavy stuff. I’m good.

e x

Posted in Education, elearning, Musings, University, work, Writing


If there’s one thing I’ve never been great at it’s balance. Not just in the literal sense of standing on one foot but in terms of what I’m doing in my life, e.g. work or uni, and what I’m juggling with secondary interests and socialising/relaxing.

Especially within the last few weeks this has become my aim to work on achieving a better balance despite working full-time and travelling around ten hours a week to-and-fro. One of my most important challenges has been to prepare enough new and original content for this blog, and as an exercise in discipline to flex my writing muscles even when I’ve little time or inspiration.

Very soon I’ll be starting my new Masters degree, which I’m really excited about but also slightly anxious about being prepared and inspired even if I’m drained from work. I know what I’m getting back into having just finished full-time uni; deadlines, stressing over grades, never feeling I’ve done enough, etc, but I’m planning to plan better and work on my biggest hurdle: TIME MANAGEMENT! This has never been my friend, ever, but I know now more than ever that I need to work on it so I have time to review, revise, and edit drafts efficiently, prior to submitting, so that I can be certain I’ve handed in my best work.

I’m pretty certain I’ll naturally be more inspired to submit creative writing pieces rather than essays. No matter how much I love to write, I’ve never quite gotten the essay writing process down! All lecturers wanted a different style, format, or I really struggled to grasp what they actually wanted me to submit. I did always try to find a hook or an angle to trick myself into being interested in essay topics (apart from classics courses, no tricks were ever needed), but my resounding feeling during honours years was that nothing I wrote was ever good enough.

This course will be different. I’ve been writing since I was 2. Yes, two! Since I could hold a pen I would scribble on paper or forms, (the wall occasionally) and feel exactly the same as Scout Finch, that writing is as natural as breathing. It’s no more spectacular than the respiratory system but is as absolutely critical to life as air.

In the evenings I don’t really have much chill time but I’m starting to get used to my routine and have been able to better utilise what time I do have. I’ve signed up to a few MOOC’s on Coursera, Edx, and OpenLearn which are all free to study and follow but with the option to pay a small fee for an official certificate/qualification. I’ll post soon about the courses I’m doing with some early thoughts and feedback.

There’s also my massive TBR pile, which I’ll get to at some point and review my recent reads.

As a final thought for tonight, I know it is important to take one day at a time, but it is also just as important to make plans and time for the things you really want to do during your free time, so you don’t end up sitting dejected on a Sunday night remembering all the things you wanted to do! (Too many times!)

My schedule changes by an hour next week for a few weeks but I’m going to create a full rotating schedule of activities to slot in around work…

… just keep swimming!

e x

P.S. I’ve added a new Photography page, which I’m planning on adding much more to soon, have a looksie!

Posted in Education, Travel, University

Job searches, soul searches…

Having heard nothing back from the jobs I’ve applied for I’ve returned to scouring the various job sites looking for something, anything that seems relevant to my skills and experience… Pickings are slim here. I guess being up north I was quite spoilt fortunate in that there was maybe less competition for each job and I at least got an interview (also every job I applied for asked to hire me).

Alas, I’m caught between jobs that are paying a chunk less that what I’ve been used to and barely more than what was considered a high wage four years ago. A trend I’m noticing is that many employers are trying to lure people with promises of a higher wage only to then state that it’s only part-time, temporary, on a month-to-month basis to cover maternity leave, or; worse yet, mentioning at the bottom of the ad that the post is technically a self-employed one so the employee has to pay their own taxes and National Insurance so the inflated hourly wage isn’t that great after all.

I suppose I’m still trying to figure out exactly what I want to work as… Batgirl has already been cast, so I’m still looking. I have a great variety of skills and could open my own coffee/book/photography/language shop and even do a jam session at the end of the night. I’ve tried for hotel work with the belief that while Brexit is still a huge clusterfuck hotels are never out of favour with travellers, so there would be the chance to use languages conversationally. Plus, many are international chains and I’m totally fine with relocating if the opportunity arose. A stable opportunity. I’m really starting to sound my age.

I’ve also looked at the TEFL jobs page (worthwhile if you’re more spontaneous than me) to see what opportunities are available. South Korea is very tempting, they seem to treat native English speakers like royalty or K-Popstars (much the same thing). Of course, my heart longs for Italy but many of the jobs are part time and too similar a wage to home that I’d need to hope to make up the difference with tutoring. Show me a full-time job in Sorrento and I’ll be there!

The Scottish Government and SAAS announced this year that they’re offering a loan of up to £10,000 for students to take a full-time postgraduate course at a Scottish University (£5,500 for tuition fees and £4,500 for living expenses). They’re also offering £2750 a year for a maximum of two years for part-time students to study, which appears to include the Open University… so much temptation!


e x