Friday, 1 January 2016

Merry 2016!

I'm not quite sure how it's already 2016... nor what exactly happened to 2015. But there you go.

The year ahead is already looking to be a busy one - this year Sam and I will be moving out of our first home together and into a professional let (now just to find one!), and - all going well - I'll be handing in my thesis before the year is out (touch wood, cling to wood), meaning it'll be time to look for my first ever properly grown-up job (aaah!!). And it's my last full year as an unmarried woman! 

In addition to all this, I have a few resolutions to add into the mix because of course I do...

  • Walk moreLast year was atrocious for hills, this year I want to remedy it. Sam and I are planning to walk 1000 miles between us (so around 500 each) by the end of the year, and hoping to fit as many hills into that as possible.
  • Spend more time with loved onesBecause I was useless for this in the second half of 2015 and it seriously contributed to my being a bit of a misery guts.
  • Have some adventuresOf course!
  • Focus on the good thingsI spent ages convinced that 2015 was a horrible year thanks to focusing on stuff like the lung issues, the resultant lack of socialising towards the end, and me getting a bit doughy from not being able to work out as much.... But when I did a proper look back through all my photos for the picture above, I realised I've had an amazing year: I got engaged, I got published, I had some great adventures in the UK and abroad, I had a lovely touristy visit to the Lakes, an equally touristy trip to London for my birthday, I got to visit Belgrade for work, plus loads of little adventures along the way. 2015 had been amazing, but I was so busy focusing on the rubbish stuff that I was barely even aware of how ace my life has been. This year, I don't want to make the same mistake.
To close, here's some photos of Sam and I tipsily bringing in the new year last night, plus a short video of the festivities over Xmas/Shitscram 2015, just because.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

December Begins!

It's officially Shitscram!

Sam's given in to my demands and let me pick out a suitably festive bedding for the season and on Monday we'll be taking a day to decorate the living room ready for the festive period.

Before I get stuck in to thinking about plans and goals for the final month of 2015, a small disclaimer: Basically, a huge amount of this year has sucked. Massively.

Back in August I came down with a nasty chest infection that never actually seemed to go away. I later found out that this was because at some point, the infection had triggered adult-onset asthma. So the huge coughing fits that had been wiping me out for entire days were actually asthma attacks.

On the whole it's not the worst news in the world; asthma sucks but is manageable. But the three months between originally falling ill and finally finding out about my asthma (and then being able to get the right treatment for it) were basically a write-off. My working pace slowed to glacial levels (and it's taking me ages to catch up again), I've not been able to visit friends for what seems like forever, and the holiday in the Lakes - while still lovely - was nowhere near what it could have been as I only managed one tiny hill the whole week (and spend the rest of the day coughing and wheezing... turns out climbing hills when your asthma is playing up is a no-go). And the less said about having an asthma attack during my first ever presentation at a major conference, the better.

I'm starting to put everything back together, bit by bit, but the final third of this year has, I'm sorry to say, been a bit pants. For now, at least, there's going to be no grand lists of things to do, no reach-for-the-stars type goals.

This month is about being kind to myself and getting back to where I need to be.

So my goals this month are to...

  • Keep a regular study schedule
    I'm not about to say get draft X finished or anything like that. At least not yet. Rather, I want to get into the habit of working for 2-4 hours everyday (except Sunday and Monday... at least for now).

  • Get back onto the bike
    It's getting easier to manage my asthma so now might be the time to get back into the saddle (albeit with a blue inhaler to hand)

  • Spend more time with friends
    Thanks to a mixture of being too ill to be able to function past 5pm and general busy-ness of all parties, I've hardly seen any of my friends since summer ended. I need to get back into the swing of things now that dizzying coughing fits are slightly less common in my day-to-day life.

So basically: act like a human being ;-)

Hope your December goals are more interesting than mine!


Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Looking Ahead to September

I still don't quite understand why it's already September. This year is going by far too quickly and it's freaking me out.

All the more reason then to try and make the most of it, I suppose.

September's looking like it's going to be a busy one - one day in and I'm already a mildly panicked and rushing around like a woman possessed.

Though today's been pretty fruitful - I got some reading done, ran some errands in town (including handing in the contract to book our wedding reception venue!), got some housework sorted, did some admin, spent some time with Sam, and started sorting out my passport renewal.


We've got our annual visit to the hills coming up later this month, so I'm trying to hit a load of targets in time for then, as well as gear myself up for my first ever conference presentation which will be held just a few days before we head up to Cumbria. Factor in as well the research meeting I have when I get back, as well as some important wedding-related meetings, and I'm already feeling a bit frazzled before anything's even begun!

But it will be worth it - and I can't tell you how excited I am to get back onto those Cumbrian fells. This is the longest I've been without visiting the Lakes since I was first introduced to the area way back in 2012. The week in July when Sam and I normally go and visit passed by in a muzzy haze; you know that feeling that you should be somewhere else right at that moment? That. All week. (Still it was that week that we got engaged, so it could be worse!)

So tomorrow will be another day of packing in exercise, errands, housework, lots of uni work, and attempting to not ignore Sam at any point throughout. And will continue in this vein until it's time to pack up and head North.

And in October? Well then there's just teaching, the annual review, and presenting at my first major conference... overseas... in a part of Europe I've never been to before.

I foresee my birthday in November being one involving a large amount of cider!

Still, I wouldn't have it any other way.  :)


Monday, 31 August 2015

An Update!

It's been a while.
Also, where has this year gone? How on earth can it be September tomorrow? This is entirely out of order.

So what to tell you? Well two big bits of news have happened since I last updated (indeed they happened within a week of one another!)

First of all: Sam and I got engaged!

During a weekend visit to his hometown, Sam drove us out to Lake Vyrnwy and popped the question after I turned around from taking this picture:

So a lot of the last month and a bit has involved a lot of stress mingled with over-excitement as we try to get the big stuff booked as early as possible (photographer and reception venue sorted so far!) so we can have a bit of time off before getting stuck into the nitty gritty of decorating the venue... and ourselves :p

So that was on the Saturday, then when I'd finally started to calm down - I woke up to an email the following Thursday informing me that I'd been published! And in a seriously good journal to boot!

If that can't rescue waning academic confidence, I don't think anything can!  If anyone is particularly into moral enhancement ethics, drop me a line and I'll link you to the article.

Unfortunately not long after I'd finished celebrating that, I ended up with a chest infection that put me out of action for the best part of two weeks. So I've fallen a little behind with work, which is annoying, but one of those things. It's also proved a crippling blow to my fitness, which this close to this year's walking holiday is beyond inconvenient.

So the next few weeks will no doubt fly by in a haze of textbooks, editing, reading, writing, presenting, conferencing, drinking with cohorts - as well as preliminary dress shopping (eek!), visiting family, seeing my best friend before she goes South for her basic training, celebrating my brother's birthday, visiting my brother-in-law-to-be (to borrow his car), and trying to squeeze in some exercise so that I don't collapse within the first five minutes of the first hike of the holiday. Again: eek!

So what else has been happening? Well....

We went strawberry picking

I spent some time with a puggle

Visited Nottingham to see Sam's brother and dad

Took in some Sheffield-based artwork:

And generally had an amazing few weeks (evil chest infection aside). 

For instance, today wasn't too bad...

Here's to a busy but exciting year ahead...


Thursday, 2 July 2015

July Begins

Well it's been a strange month-and-a-day. 

June was actually rather a lot of fun, all in all. I got a fair bit done for work (even if I did then find out I basically need to rewrite 80% of it, but swings and roundabouts), I saw some mates I hadn't seen in what felt like an age, met some new friends as well, made slow-but-steady progress on my driving, and got started on something very big that I can't actually talk about yet (this is killing me, btw!). 

It ended on a bum note with some crap news. It's all very survivable, but it's likely to radically threaten our vision for how the next few years will unfold. 

Still. Shit happens and it's just an indicator that it's time to get properly stuck in and try to avoid risking coasting.  Says the woman writing a blog post instead of reading up on empathy.

So in the interests of staying focused and surviving the times to come, here's my list of goals for July...

  • Get back to the gym - for various reasons, my attendance at my local gym has been atrocious for much of this year. But the majority of students have gone home for the summer and Sam's back at work so there's no excuse. Besides, there's a walking holiday to prepare for!
  • Go on at least 3 hill walks - On the subject of walking... To be fair, I'm relying a bit on our grand plan to visit Sam's family for some of this, as his folks live in Shrewsbury: handy for the Long Mynd and even for Snowdonia National Park.

  • Get article 2 (and article 2a) done - Well. That is, thorough drafts thereof (my supervision meeting isn't until August, so they can't be finished until after that at any rate). I need to get my ducks in a row with my thesis asap and the sooner I get this paper(s) done the better - it's like a bloody albatross around my neck and I'll be glad to see the back of it. (Well... until it comes back from peer review, at least).

  • Get my railcard sorted - my railcard runs out in July, and as I'm no longer a fresh-faced youngster, I now have to go through the seven labours to get it renewed. Or something.

  • And the usual garb - i.e. try to have a diet that's no 80% ice cream and pizza, try to actually save some money, etc. etc.
Here's to having a frank and productive holiday decent July.

Especially when it starts to cool down...

Friday, 5 June 2015

Looking Ahead to June

It's been a long while since I last updated, and at some point I will do a proper post to detail the bits between Sadie going home after our awesome week together over Easter and now (especially the bit where Sam and I went to the Dales!) - but for now I figured I'd just look to the future for a little bit.

Looking over my planner for June, this month is already filling up fast... there's working weekends (boo), an exciting meeting in Leeds (all very hush-hush), having a catch up with my mate then going to see Stewart Lee(!!), family visits and mini-adventures, the Glitterati Party, a meal out with our closest friends, and cinema trips for good measure.

Throw in some meetings, deadlines, and a mini conference (at which I'm presenting) and June should prove anything but boring.

Here's to a decent start to the summer!
(touch wood)