Posted in Blogging Challenge

30 Day Blogging Challenge – Day 20

What makes you happy?

Languages, coffee, books, learning, wine, food and travel.

e x

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Posted in Musings

Freezing

So it’s almost the end of August but Scotland hasn’t realised that it’s technically still summer… Back to the ice age for us, sadly.

I’m sitting here trying to do work and read but keep getting distracted by recipes and studyspo on Pinterest. Alas, there’s always tomorrow.

Did I mention I’m cold? I’m wearing my Harry Potter pj set (jumper and long trousers) and my little bear slippers because it’s so damn cold. It’s probably a sign to turn in for the night. I’m hoping tomorrow will be a bit more productive – the most I did today was get coffee and my eyebrows done. Small self-care steps matter. Booked a hair appointment for next week on my day off because it needs cut and my hairdresser is moving 😩.

I’m impatient and excited for September, so much good new stuff will start!

e x

Posted in University, work, Writing

Tumbleweed

I know things have been quite here for a few weeks, but everything all hit at once; the final assessment for uni, getting ill, birthdays, and working.

Everything has been going well though, I spent little pockets of free time in May to work on my assessment so I didn’t have to rush much at the last minute ( just the commentary, which is horrendous) and I managed to get some last minute feedback on my chapters which was stellar and just a few typos. I’m feeling good about it! Just have to wait until the 17th of July to get my overall results for this first year, so I’m waiting until then to apply for second year. Also still waiting on SAAS because this year they decided to confuse themselves and not properly read my application before halting it… and an eleven minute conversation (six minutes on hold) only got me as far as sending a query to SAAS which they promised to get back to me about within 28 days -_-

I caught another stomach bug (4th in a year!) and was laid up for a few days while still trying to pull off mum’s birthday – I managed it and I’ve survived but honestly the whole weekend is something of a blur. But mum loved all the presents I gave her and how I decorated the living room with balloons and banners and made such a fuss over her. Great treat for a 60th… even if no one else believes her age!

In other news, now that uni has finished until October I’m using the summer to catch up for second year. We’ve been given the reading list that will be used so I have time to work my way through it (some books I’ve already read) and the tutor also gave us an assessment break-down for the year. There will be six assessments and the End of Module assessment of 15,000 words. I used and developed a novel throughout this year which will be book 1 of my novel series. However, as I jumped around a lot with chapters and sections for the assessments, my plan is to use the summer to finish book 1 and to start book 2 for my assessments for year 2. PLAN! So far, I’ve not had a lot of time to work on book 1 so my collated word count at the moment is just shy of 10k words, need to times that by 8 to get my expected word count. Then, I’ll be self-publishing though KDP and onward and upward!

Better get back to writing now, tight schedule!

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

Balance

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 Books, Food, Japanese, Musings, Outings, Relationships, Stephanie Plum

A lot changes in six years

Allergies have been kicking my ass lately even if I stay at home, so I decided to go out for a bit and have a meander around G-town Glasgow. Hay-fever on the bus is not pleasant thus I didn’t get to read as much of my book as I wanted to. I take my kindle with me for bus journeys despite having a massive backlog of actual books to read, but I’ve been plugging through book 12 of the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich. They’re entertaining and easy to read without being pulp.

I wasn’t really up to hanging around in town as I’d brought my old netbook with me and needed access to a plug for a while without being rushed away, I also wanted ramen. Ichiban it was!

I was minutes off the bus and dreaming of sushi when I noticed someone sidling up to me from the corner of my eye… twas an old ex who I haven’t seen in about six years. It was a very strange experience and a definite shock as he was quite pleasant, gave me a hug, asked how I am… then mentioned that I’ve put on some weight (I thanked him sarcastically). He was unsure if I’d remember him, but I generally remember most people, it was surreal that he was so bubbly. Maybe people can mellow, if not grow up at some point. It was fairly brief anyway and we said goodbye without any mention of getting back in touch, I prefer to leave closed doors closed.

One thing that did stick with me was that he said he thought I would have moved to Italy by now. I suppose six years ago that was the absolute dream, but things do change. I’ve had university and the experience of living in Spain has given me perspective (move to a big city, not a tiny town), but doing Erasmus at a Uni is different from working to support yourself without the Erasmus bursary or SAAS money. I might not be living in Italy yet, but it is still a possibility/probability at some point, I just have to appreciate how much I’ve grown in six years. If nothing else, I’m far pickier about who I’d date and I haven’t for a long time. Apparently it annoys other people though, according to them I should be married now. Hah! Have you seen my to-be-read pile? Haven’t time for that!

e x