Tuesday, 30 December 2014

My 2014

This year has been a bit of an odd one; a mix of ups and downs. As I write this, it occurs to me that that's a bloody stupid thing to say. All years have ups and downs; that's life. But anyway, I figured I'd do a post looking back on some of the key events from the last 12 months...

(I'd go get some tea or what have you; this may be a long one...)


It was this month that I moved to Manchester and started my PhD. It was a pretty exciting month, as months go.
My en suite also flooded on the first day living in halls as well, so that was a thing.

Not long after moving in officially, my mum was rushed into hospital with a perforated duodenal ulcer. She was ok, but it took 3 weeks in a high-dependency unit before she could go home. It was a sobering start to the year which served as a reminder to never take anything for granted - especially people.


February was the first of important months for Sam and I in a whole year of important months: it was this month that we signed the contract for our flat (Sam can be seen with the celebration kit in the large pic), we had our first Valentine's together (most of which was spend in A&E). I called my first ever ambulance the following day (not for Sam, thankfully), visited home for the first time since moving away so my dad instantly took everyone to the pub, and there was some Weather that produced some topics for conversation.

Sam seemed to like wearing dark red (burgundy?) this month as well.


March saw Sam and I finally walk our first hill of the year: that old favourite the Mam Tor circuit. It made me realise that I had become painfully unfit and so I instantly joined the gym at uni. It was this month that I got my desk in the school and promptly turned into Wonder Woman: up at 6, at the gym by 7, back home for a shower and snack, at my desk by 11am and there until gone 8pm. Skyped Sam while I had my tea, then in bed for 10:30 before doing it all again. I managed this for 3 weeks before going for an unexpected night out from which it took me 3 days to recover.

I also surprised my Grandma on her birthday, which didn't seem to upset her too much. It was lovely to see my family again and it reassured me that I had made the right decision in signing to move back to Yorkshire in the summer (even though I wouldn't tell Grandma about the move until a few weeks before...). I also went to see Evita again. Alone, again.... And I would do it again as well. Brilliant stuff.


If my inhuman productivity hadn't actually been killed by my epic hangover, then April's month of awesome certainly put paid to any chance of it returning in the near future. I have to accept that Aprils are always going to be a bit of an awkward one for me for the foreseeable: Easter, Sam's birthday, and our anniversary all fall within this month. This year's April was brilliant. Probably the best month this year - a new camera (broken in with a squirrel-filled trip to Sheffield Botanical Gardens), a week-long visit from Sam, Sam's birthday (brunch at an ace restaurant, loads of creme egg cake, clubbing til 3am at the club where we met with our awesome friends, then playing Cards Against Humanity with them til gone 5am), almost an entire week at home, then all of it topped off with our one-year anniversary, for which we went to York (including the Railway Museum, natch), followed by dinner at our favourite restaurant complete with the celebration cake I'd had specially-made (which lasted 3 days and was delicious).

April was also the month when Goat Simulator was released, which was hugely important.

All in all, April was an amazing month.


Sam and I took our first hike with the new camera, we went to Grandma's and listened to the radio coverage as Rotherham United got promoted, I met some of Sam's extended family at a reunion on his Dad's side (where I photographed Sam looking like he belonged in a Britpop band), I got my first flower crown, and I was nearly late for a research seminar because there was an unexpected frog. I also played far too much Plague Inc. May was a lot more chilled out than April.


June was a fairly quiet month as Sam had exams and I was trying to get as much done as possible before our summer holiday in July. But I did manage to squeeze in the Mam Tor circuit with my mum. (Not bad considering she’d nearly died from a perforated ulcer at the start of the year!)


July was jam-packed, so I've had to break it up into two bits...

The non-hill bits: I explored a bit more of Manchester, Sam and I went to a pick-your-own and I collected a disgusting amount of strawberries, I annoyed the garden cat, enjoyed awesome graffiti on a night out in Shrewsbury, got all dressed up for my stepmum's 50th, did a midnight flit out of halls, and spent some quality time with Ben, the elderly family dog. Towards the end, Ben was getting forgetful and would growl at people he actually knew very well; this weekend was the last time he properly remembered me and I could make a fuss of him.

We also spent 10 days in the Lake District. It was... interesting. But my obsession with, and love for, the place remains steadfast. And I can't wait to head back next year.


August was a lot of fun, but at times a lot of work as well. Sam and I moved in together, my best friend Sadie (who I hardly ever get to see) visited me for a week (cue: adventures and clubbing), and I had my first major panic/crisis about my PhD - from which Sam valiantly rescued me. I'm a lucky girl.


September was another hard graft month, and so not a great deal happened that didn't involve me being shackled to my desk, but we still managed to squeeze in a fair few mini adventures: I attended my first ever conference, we went on a brief visit to Leeds to visit Robyn in her new home for her birthday, and discovered that the city can at times be quite pretty.

September was also a big month for housewarmings: after working on the cottage for 2 years, Dad finally had his housewarming party (where Sam spent the whole night being best friends with Ben (then, later, best friends with my Dad when he talked his ear off til 4am)). We also had our belated housewarming a week later where we played a ridiculous amount of Surgeon Simulator drunk (and Robyn and I - a nurse and an ethicist - were the only people to purposely kill the “patient” (to put him out of his misery)).


October was a quiet one right up until I finally got my annual review mini-viva out of the way, then in quick succession we had celebrations involving Almost Famous and the Corrie Cobbles, and a 2-day Halloween.


November was rather a lot of fun. I found out I'd passed my first year of my PhD (woohoo!), visited two of my best mates in Leeds, had a family birthday party, ate a bunch of yummy meals out on my actual birthday, got an amazing necklace for said-birthday, and generally had a brilliant time.


Yes! We're all caught up!
This month has been another weird one, but it's not been all that bad. Okay there was oral surgery, scary A&E visits (pneumothorax is not a fun word to hear sometimes), evil corporations, and general post-present skintness - but there was also friend visits, family time, mine and Sam's first Christmas tree, lots of hot chocolate, sushi (how seasonal), Xmas dos, a lovely belated birthday gift, and - of course - snow! (Which is starting to get really old, really fast).

So that was my 2014 - how was yours? If anyone else has done this sort of thing, drop me a link in the comments, I'd love to have a nosy :)


Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Merry Jingly!

I'm off to visit my family for a few days and I'm not sure whether there will be internet, so I'm taking a quick opportunity to wish you all a very Merry Jingly and to let you know that there will be a bunch of content next week as I gear up for 2015.

Now go eat an obscene amount of festive food.

Monday, 8 December 2014

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like...

Monday Jingly!

Ever since I went to Leeds in the middle of last month and "Merry Christmas, Everyone" randomly came on in Superdrug while I was trying to talk myself out of binge-buying lipstick, I have been trying desperately to repress the festiveness bubbling up within.

Last Monday - 1st December - the Coca Cola truck came to Sheffield, and I took it as a sign that I was finally allowed to release it.

Sam, the poor thing, has been hit full-force by this festive fallout and will continue to suffer its consequences until he finally escapes to Shropshire, and safety, for the big day itself.

Feelin' festive. Clearly.

But on the whole, he's being really rather good about it all; being brilliant with the tree set-up and decoration, and even buying in hot chocolate and cookies for us to have as a post-decoration snack. He's even got on board with my suggestion for an Xmas tradition: that every year we each buy an awesome bauble for the tree - so that we'll eventually have a tree full of awesome baubles. This year's picks are pictured below (I think it's pretty obvious which one's Sam's ... and it also happens to be the best, tbh).

There's a few more festive things to come this month... though there's also an awful lot of deadlines, teaching, and pretending to be an adult. So this should be an interesting one to balance.

Until then, here's our festive little cave for the next few weeks...

How's your festive feeling getting on?

Merry Jingly!

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

The Unqualified Dentist: Being a Dental Student's Patient

Here's something: I have an unqualified dentist.

This sounds more dramatic than it is.

Basically, I'm a patient at the local dental hospital, which also happens to be a teaching hospital. So my dentist is in fact a third-year dental student.

It's best to try to avoid thinking about this fact while he's working with drills, rubber dams, and (especially) needles full of local anaesthetic - but to be honest, he's one of the best dentists I've ever had.

I'm normally terrified of the local anaesthetic injection - especially after my old (fully-qualified) dentist ballsed one up back when I was a teenager, causing so much pain and distress that it's taken me the best part of seven years to go back to the dreaded chair. But my new dentists is ace - the injections have never hurt while he's administered them.

Yesterday I had to go for an extraction (hence the booklet in the photo above). For one reason or another, I didn't have my usual dentist, but the student that saw me there was just as calming, respectful, and professional.

Honestly - I've never been happier with a dental practice.

And best of all? It's all free.
Even with the NHS absorbing a great deal of the cost, the charges for the stuff I've had done just to date would already be racking up to around £220 (and I've got another few appointments to go).

The cost at the dental school: Nada. Zilch. Nowt.
(Well, except a sandwich on the way home to eat while I feel sorry for myself after a morning in the chair.)

So you get the proud feeling of helping promising young dental students to learn their trade while getting all of your dental health care for free.

That said, you might be inclined to voice concerns about the fact that the students are, well... students. But all treatments are overseen by a tutor who is a qualified dentist. The tutor will keep an eye on the student (your dentist) while she or he administers anaesthetic, will check drill work before okaying a filling, and will generally make sure that nothing goes wrong.

The only things that might be a pain (harhar) are the fact that appointments with dental students will take longer than with qualified dentists. Also, once you're signed to a dental school, you're on your dentist's schedule - and the school can be far more awkward about rearranging times than most regular dental practices. But as long as you can be a little flexible, I've found that they can be quite reasonable. For instance, I normally see my dentist on Mondays, but in October I had to work Mondays - so my dentist put off my next appointment for a month.

So if you're

  • Not signed up with a dentist
  • Okay with your appointments taking a little longer
  • Able to be a little bit flexible
Then it might be worth looking into signing up with your local dental school. Not everyone will be eligible (they like people with some problems, so that the students have a bit of a project). But if you are, then it really is worth it.

Especially when the dental students are as ace as the ones I've seen.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Yorkshire Lass (Honest)

As mentioned on the About page of this blog: I am from Yorkshire.

As also mentioned on the same page: Some people are disinclined to believe this.

The first time I met one of my best mates in person, he remarked: "If I didn't already know that you were, I wouldn't have thought you were from Yorkshire."

I drink cider rather than ale; coffee rather than tea. I've spent a bit of time in the Peaks and Lakes but have never been to the Moors or Dales. (Though, in my defense, some of the Peak District is technically in Sheffield)

And to top it all off, I have what keeps being referred to as "wandering accent syndrome"*; so half of the time, my Shropshire boyfriend sounds more Yorkshire than I do.

But I am a Yorkshire lass. Honest.

I could show you my birth certificate, talk pointedly about how I moved back to Yorkshire after 6 months in Lancashire even though it meant a 100-mile round commute to uni, or explain how I come from a long line of very broad people.

I could mention how I used to be broad until I went away for uni - and only tempered my accent because people couldn't always understand me in seminars.

I could admit that I fit the old stereotype and that, yes, my dad and grandads worked in steel mills and down the pit.

I could point out that I grew up in a mining village, and went to school in another mining village down the road.

I could talk about how I used to eat bonfire toffee, which had the sweetest taste and a texture like tough glass - and how when I showed it to my Southern friends, they'd never seen anything like it.

I could remember with a sad smile my Grandad Jack's flatcap and how he was so broad my Leicestershire ex couldn't understand him. Or how my Deedar Nan would command me to"gerrup them stairs n gerra wesh".

Or how, when I asked her why she said "tha'"(thy) and "thi'" (thee) even though that was "bible talk" (I was quite young) she calmly and matter-of-factly replied with "Well, Yorkshire's God's country".

But I won't... and not just because I just did then anyway.

It feels like something you just know. Something that's in your bones. That if they cut you in half you'd have "Yorkshire" running right through you like a stick of rock.

Maybe I'd feel exactly the same if I came from somewhere different. But I don't; I come from Yorkshire.

Daughter of a former pit sparky. Grandaughter of a miner and a steel worker. User of "yar'reight?". A very nesh person.

As my amazing birthday present from my best mate (pictured at the top) - declares to the world - and quietly reminds me:

I'm a Yorkshire lass.


*In short, my accent seems to be an amalgamation of South Yorkshire (where I'm from), South London (where I went to uni originally), Hull (this is particularly rare but does crop up; I think it's from my best friend's altered accent from her time at uni there), and "no accent", which is apparently a thing. At this point, I'm just waiting for a Mancunian twang to find its way in.

So often, I will talk without much of any kind of accent and then randomly start dropping "the", mispronouncing 'getting' as "gerrin", and saying the word "reight/reyt". The London usually finds its way in with words like "water" and "forty", and massively annoys Sam when it does.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

The Birthday List

Here's the sad truth: Yesterday, I turned 26.

I am gutted about this, I'm not ready to be in my late twenties, to be the age where I'm supposed to act like I have my head screwed on properly... Then again no one ever really is, at more or less any age - nonetheless, being 26 feels like the line in the sand.

I realise that I'm lucky. Not everyone sees 26. Even in the West, where reaching your 70s is basically taken as a given, the sad fact is that there are people who just won't reach the age that marks the end of adolescence*. Take on board that fact, and the facts that I'm in a happy relationship, doing a job I love, that I'm surrounded by awesome people, and that I have my health - well I should basically stop whingeing and be happy. One big point of the Birthday List is to help me do just that.

The other is to make sure I have a slightly less pointless year than my 25th (which involved a lot of ace stuff, but also involved a lot of me being a bit lazy and generally rubbish).

So here is my Birthday List: 26 things for my 26th year**....

1. Get My Driver's Licence
This was supposed to be my birthday and Xmas present from my Dad for 2012, but as all of his money was sunk into property at the time, it was a nonstarter. Now he's sorted and happy to pay for the lessons when I'm happy to start them (awesome Dad is awesome). A quick googling on the matter suggests that the average number of lessons needed before passing the test is around 40 (at one hour each), so at two a week, that should take around 5-6 months. So should then be accomplishable in a year.

2. Keep a Gratitude Jar
Like keeping a gratitude journal, but a little more visual. The idea being you have a jar and each day you write down something that you're grateful for or that has made you happy that day, pop it in the jar, and then at the end of a year (or when the jar is full), you take an evening to sit and read through them. Which sounds equally cheesy and lovely - so right up my street.

3. Go Abroad
I haven't been abroad for years. Last time was 2009 for Inferno Festival in Oslo, since then I've just been in England (well, bar one day in Wales last year). I don't really mind where I go, just as long as I get to use my passport.

4. Complete the Gala Darling Courses.
Seriously, I've had these sat in my in-tray for the longest time.

5. Fill Two Scrapbooks with Happy Things.
I have boxes full of train/gig/cinema/etc tickets languishing in boxes and on cork boards back home - it would be nice to do something with them.

6. Go To At Least Two Gigs (of bands I actually care about)
I've been crap for gigs this last year. Sadly, living up north means that gig opportunities aren't hugely forthcoming, but I'm aware of at least one that I could go to in the next 12 months, and I will just have to be on the lookout for the second.

7. Try One New Pub/Restaurant Each Month
I live in Sheffield which is great for this sort of thing; I need to start making the most of it.

8. Read 10 Novels Not By Terry Pratchett
I have a slight Discworld addiction, I need to spend a bit of time with some other books before I find myself attempting to leave the round one.

9. Go Rock Climbing
Preferably before the end of 2014 so that I can also mark this off my list of hiking resolutions as well...

10. Go Camping Somewhere Other Than The Lake District
I feel a bit disloyal putting that, but it would be nice to do. Plus I'll probably still end up camping in the Lakes at some point as well anyway.

11. Make a Meal From Scratch Every Month
I can't cook, which at 26 is bloody embarrassing. I need to get on that.

12. Join a Gym
This isn't exactly earth-shattering as resolutions go, but I've very quickly grown bored of the bike and I don't have the time (or indeed money) to go up hills every day. Turns out that the student gym near us is cheap and open to the public. I may have to pop down when I get paid.

13. Do a Wardrobe Clear Out.
Apparently the Gala Darling series on this is quite handy...

14. Lose a Stone.
Enough said.

15. Take on More at Work
Applying for teaching, additional research work, etc. I want to focus as much as I can on my thesis until the summer, but the 2015/16 academic year is my last full one of my PhD, a few months after that I will need to start looking at job-jobs so I need to start taking on more responsibility and padding out my CV. I've already started on this a little this: this morning I put my name down to help out with something we're trying to organise for autumn 2015.

16. Spend a Weekend in London.
I didn't get chance to in 2014, and cutting across London on the way to/from a conference in Southampton doesn't count. It's sad: I love London, I have friends there, I did my BA there; so I'm making a point of going back before I hit the big 2-7.

17. Go Up 10 New Hills
I'm a bit stuck in my ways, I find a hill I like and climb it fairly often... OK that's not entirely true (if you ignore Side Pike and the Mam Tor circuit, anyway) but this has been a painfully quiet year on the hill front (harhar) and I'd like a livelier one next year.

18. Drink More Water (and Less Pop)
And in doing so maybe look slightly more like an adult.

19. Blog Better
That is, update more regularly, learn more about blogging well, and look into academic blogging.

20. Keep a 1-Line-a-Day Journal
Just ordered it this afternoon. I like the idea of seeing my notes from days gone by in the same book I'm working in at the time. I've got a habit of procrastinating by looking at old blog posts, Facebook statuses and tweets, this would be a more meaningful way of nosying at the past while also thinking of the present.

21. Complete the Couch-to-5k Program
Even it I hate it, it'll be a bit of an accomplishment. And if I don't hate it, it will be an ace new way to keep fit.

22. Visit a Different Country in Great Britain
I have lived all my life in England and I have spent a whopping 3 days of my life in Wales. I need to have a nosy at the other places around these isles.

23. Take Sam on a Sushi Date
The man has never tried sushi. This needs to be resolved. Plus I can have loads of miso soup, which I haven't had in far too long.

24. Save at Least £500 in an ISA
I know this isn't exactly exciting, but it makes sense to try to save some money while I have an income. I also try to put a fair bit aside into my savings account, but that's more a piggy bank thing, where I can get monies out if I'm a bit short or where I can put money to one side to save up for things like holidays. The ISA would be something more long term. Again, more "grown up".

25. Make More Time for Friends and Family
This one is a bit open-ended; a resolution rather than a measurable goal, but one that's still very important. For a lot of 2014 I hardly saw anyone. I went around 4 months between seeing some of my closest friends - even longer in some cases. Moving to Sheffield has helped a lot: I'm closer to my loved ones and so I get to see my friends and family far more regularly than before. This resolution is basically an attempt to improve even further on this and - above all - to try to make sure I don't fall back into crappy old habits again.

26. ....
As of yet, this one's blank. I've been racking my brains trying to come up with something but nothing has really come to mind. But a year is a long time, I daresay that something will occur to me.

This is how scared I looked about turning 26... God help me next November...

*I'm basing this on a talk I saw by someone researching into adolescent trauma, who marked adolescence as being from the ages of 10 to 25.

**These are actually traditionally called something like "26 before 27", but I can't even think about turning that just yet....

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Fake Birthday & Joint Celebration in Leeds

As I mentioned previously, while I've never lived in Leeds, studying there for 18 months and working there ever since has given me a soft spot for the place; I have a lot of time for the city.
And now that two of my best friends live there, I have even more time for it.

So when my best friend Robyn - who has recently started working as nurse in Leeds, invited me up for a few day I wasn't going to refuse. Not least because we both had something to celebrate (I've just passed my first year of my PhD with "highly positive comments" from the reviewers - and Robyn's not only just cemented a very high First Class for her BSc in Nursing, but that very morning she'd been officially registered as a nurse!) and just to top it all off it's my birthday next week - but as everyone's working on the day (typical), I figured that this would serve well as a fake birthday.

Cue two days of catching up, shopping, gossiping, drinking, eating fancy food, girly times, and - in my case - dying horribly in one of my most favourite bars in the city (I'm glad I'm not going back to that bar for a while... but let's not think about that).

It was so lovely to see they'd got the birthday decorations up in time... ;)
I arrived into Leeds at 11am having gotten the Edinburgh train from Sheffield. I love that train because it's so quick (gets to Leeds in 40 minutes!)... but it also annoys me because, well,  in 6 weeks of catching it, yesterday was the comfiest journey yet:

I dropped my stuff off at Robyn's and we hit the shops, admiring the incredible Roxymas Christmas decorations as we went. It also quickly became apparent that our visit had landed on the day that they were switching on the lights... which did not help my theory that they were clearly all for me. (I'm kidding. Obviously. Kind of... ish).

After spending a small fortune on beautiful clothes at New Look, Robyn took me to a lovely little cafe/restaurant by the City Hall: 2 Oxford Place. It's a gorgeous, quaint place to eat and drink and boasts a menu that's entirely gluten free. We each had a Rekorderlig with lunch (I was not expecting the pear one to be that delicious) and ordered our food: Robyn had aubergine curry, while I had a broccoli and Stilton risotto... which was bright green:

After lunch we mooched around a few more shops before giving spending money on actual things up as a bad job in favour of spending it on drinks. So we headed over to Carpe Diem. I've been there once before last year with Sadie (my best friend from uni) to celebrate getting my funding offer from Manchester. It reminds me of a bar that we used to frequent in Rotherham before it shut down to be reincarnated as a nightclub down the road. I used to love that bar - so I do rather like Carpe Diem.

So Robyn and I took advantage of the 2-for-£7.50 deal and had a few drinks. After the first round, we were in full celebratory swing, as it was then that Robyn had her First Class grade for her degree confirmed online. Here's the very moment...

So we had a few drinks there, meeting up with my other best friend in Leeds (Patrick), before heading over to North Bar to have some incredibly expensive (but incredibly delicious) cider. We were met there by Robyn's partner Moz and Robyn and I were able to confirm what we'd always suspected: That - political leanings aside - Patrick and Moz are essentially the same person.

Then around 11ish I managed to die horribly. I won't go into details, but massive thanks to the wonderful Robyn for looking after me, and also to the two women working at North Bar who were looking after me wonderfully as well. I really don't know what happened as I really hadn't drunk all that much over the course of the day, but I'm grateful to everyone who looked after me.

Robyn got me home and after a fitful sleep and one more bout of the poorlies, I was right as rain. Ish. Well, I didn't want to die anymore at least.

So Robyn and I had a lazy morning in, which included her very kindly painting my nails and us both having a good gossip and catch up ...and Robyn (and even Patrick over whatsapp) teasing me for dying horribly in a bar - though as Robyn was shocked to hear that that has never happened to me before, we agreed that it was good to get that milestone covered before I entered my late-twenties (gah) next week.

We then did a bit more shopping (I finally got a new handbag!) and had a carb-licious lunch at Pizza Express before I took an unbelievably crowded train home.

So dying horribly aside, this was a pretty awesome couple of days. While I don't think we'll be doing quite so much in such a short space of time again anytime soon, I'm certainly going to be making a point of going up to Leeds far more regularly than just when I'm working. Besides, it's quite nice to have a city where there's so much to do that's not all that hard or expensive to get to from Sheffield, and where two of my closest and funniest friends live.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

The Bearded Tit Market in Leeds

I did my MA in Leeds and, while it took me a while to admit it, I have to say the city is actually pretty cool. I never lived there, but I still work there on occassion and the fact that two of my best friends now live there means that I am going to be spending even more time there in the future.

What I know to be particularly ace about Leeds is its sheer volume of awesome bars. I suppose that that can be said about many cities, but having had celebratory cocktails in Carpe Diem, relaxed on the massive armchairs in Foley's, and sunk one too many bottles of Original Sin (best cider ever) in North Bar, I've got a bit of a soft spot for the city and its haunts. (Though of course my heart still belongs to The Red Deer in Sheffield... and Monroe's in Manchester).

I'm also very aware how ace the city is for shopping. Uni bestie Sadie and I had a wander around Leeds Trinity a few weeks after it opened and were more than a little gobsmacked. And considering that we'd spent nearly three years living rather close to Westfields White City, that's no mean feat.

There's a side to Leeds that I never got particularly involved in, but it radiates from the city: It's Full of Artists.

And now, all three of these things are coming together.

The Bearded Tit Market is coming to Crowd of Favours this Saturday (15th Nov) and will be a Market in a cool-as Bar, filled with hand-made Arts and crafts. And we're not really talking your Great Aunt Sylvia's doilies.

So basically, you'll be able to *Shop, *Drink, and - this just in - *Get cupcakes from my brilliant Leeds-based bestie Robyn.

Just click these words to find out more about this ace-looking event that I'm kind of miffed to be missing (though I'm missing it for my birthday cake party, which softens the blow at least).

Disclaimer: I'm not sponsored for this, I'm not getting anything for saying these words, it's a thing that my mate's helping out at that actually looks rather ace. So go to it so I can live vicariously through you.


Spot the Sam
Inspired by this post (ok, with the questions slightly stolen), I thought I'd give you a brief catch up, especially as things are still more than a bit hectic right now.

Reading: Currently re-reading Carpe Jugulum by Terry Pratchett (I’ve spent the last few weeks re-reading the Witches of Discworld arc), and, increasingly, articles and textbooks. With regards to fiction, one day I will read something that isn’t a Discworld novel… it’s just that today is not that day.

Watching: Sam and I have recently gotten into Gogglebox… as in we caught up with all of it in the space of two evenings and now feel bereft. I’ve also gotten him into Coronation Street – which led to us visiting the studios (and him never being able to live it down).

Sam is slightly easier to spot here.

Eating: Too much pizza. I’m putting myself on a ban.

Drinking: It’s my birthday soon – and the party this weekend – so I foresee a lot of cider, Amaretto, and pop in my future…

Using: The hell out of my fuzzy blanket. And, to a lesser extent, the heating. The temperature shift from the end of October into November was ridiculous.

Recently: Stressing, napping, gaming, reading, travelling, dealing with early mornings (ow), planning for Halloween and now birthday and jingly, decorating, refusing to take down Halloween decorations, spending time with the family, watching things, grieving, making to-do lists and then ignoring them.

Wearing: New skinny jeans – and new top. Oo-er. It’s also that time of year: my beloved parka (or, as my friend calls it, my “oasis coat”) has been moved out of the wardrobe and onto the coatrack.

Listening: To ‘Waterfall’ by the Stone Roses (blame Corrie…), ‘Spooky Scary Skeletons’ by Andrew Gould (blame Halloween), and I've finally joined the Actual Cannibal Shia LeBeouf party…

Trying: To get myself excited about the paper I’m working on at the moment. The fact of the matter is, thanks to a recent conference talk, I’m more excited about one of the papers I’ll be writing next year… and it doesn't help that my supervisors made it a bit clear that they feel the same.

Purchased: Games, seasonal sweets (fiendish fancies!), clothes, lip stuff, Crown and Glory stuff, tickets to the Coronation Street Tour (don’tjudgeme).

 Crown and Glory Custom pieces are gorgeous things

Working: on my first proper paper. Terrifying stuff. I've also recently finished my first lot of med school teaching for this academic year, which was… interesting.

Enjoying: Living with Sam (still!), making birthday fortnight plans, reading the Witches of Discworld arc (I always forget just how brilliant those books are), and – overall - The Season: Halloween followed by my birthday, followed by Jingly. YES.

I'm going to try and queue a few posts for the next few weeks... there's a lot to catch up on.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Sunday Linkage #9

I spend more time than I ought to on the web, some good ought to come of it; so here's some links to stuff I've read over the last week or so that are worth sharing... 

I thoroughly enjoyed Pixie and Pixier's piece on the selfie

Not sure if this link will work, all I know is this New Scientist article put Jonathan Glover's new book right at the top of my wishlist

The Real-Life Inspiration for Disney's Princess Tiana - awesome read.

I want to go to Iceland!

...Okay, I need to go to Iceland!

This thesis bootcamp looks like torture... and also kinda like something I'd like to do one day (oh dear)

Sorry to link to the Daily Fail, but these photos of the Lake District taken by a paraglider are beyond amazing and need to be seen.

Animals are amazing and terrifying in equal measure

Norway's new banknotes are stunning (this is making me want to go back even more!)

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Things I Love Thursday

I'm sure it's more encouraged to do this by the likes of Gala Darling and countless other bloggers, rather than outright nicking this idea - but either way, I probably ought to start keeping track of the things that I'm thankful for and that have made me happy over the last week.

I've no doubts that I'm a very lucky girl: I live in a nice (albeit rather cold) flat with the man I love (who's amazing), I'm basically doing my dream job, I've got ace friends, a lovely family, and, bar a randomly cracked tooth (ow), I'm in fairly good health. And yet there are still times when I feel moperific (totally a word). So this seemed a nice way to remind myself that life is pretty bloody awesome, on the whole.

So here's some ace things from the last week... Sam getting offered an ace new job, Parks and Rec binges on the settee, Tesco pizza being on offer (oof), a visit to the dentist that wasn't completely awful (!), starting on a scrapbook, making plans for our anniversary, chicken and chorizo sandwiches, coffee in the Herdy mug, having fun at my teaching job, it looking like I'll have at least one really enthusiastic group this year for teaching, starting to come up with ideas for my first article for uni, coming up with a nice little plan for said-article, participating in #Lovetober (watch this space), Glitterati deliveries, Pratchett binges (currently re-reading Wyrd Sisters), missing five(!) trains due to ace conversation and debate with a mate I don't get to see anywhere nearly enough, getting into the idea of attempting NaNoWriMo 2014 (you heard it here first!), wearing a great deal of flower crowns (and ordering a new one), finally getting our bookcases, and Sam being - well - Sam.

Life is bloody decent.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

We have a bookcase!

(In fact we have two!)

I know this might seem a bit of an odd topic for a post - but we'd been waiting for the bookcases to arrive for such a long time that this feels like a bit of a major event.

Our flat can finally start coming together now that I no longer spend my time hopping over stacks of textbooks...

Friday, 26 September 2014

Good Things

I feel so happy right now, it's ridiculous. So I thought I'd share some of the good things that are making me grin like a tool with all of you...

  • Getting my First Year Report handed in for annual review (following some lovely feedback from my supervisors (especially my law one))
  • Visiting my cousin for the first time in ages, and finally being able to meet his mister and their kitten
  • Also, that kitten? It can play fetch. Awesome.
  • Spending time with my friends - with the exception of the lovely Sadie, I basically didn't see any of them between May and September(!) so getting back to pub visits and chilling out at people's houses has been invaluable.
  • One of my supervisors asking if she can share my literature review as it was a "good example" of one.
  • My dad, brother, and step-mum visiting me and Sam at the new(ish) flat - first ever out-of-town visit from my dad!
  • Calming down about the annual review (even if I'm an ethicist being assessed by two lawyers - eek!)
  • Sam getting drunk yesterday... I'd never actually seen him be drunk before (and we've been together nearly 18 months!) so it was quite an experience. Also: he's adorable when drunk.
  • Finally getting a HDMI cable to connect to the telly in the living room - might not sound like much, but it turns out that Parks & Rec marathons (thank you, Netflix) while on a comfy sofa are pretty much one of the best things in the world.
  • Date night!
  • Visiting family.
  • Hangover - and sympathy hangover - breakfasts. Nom.
  • Humble Bundles.... I have a problem.
  • On that note: Long Live The Queen? Surprisingly good.
  • Scribblenauts Unlimited - which is way more awesome than I was expecting. I might do a post on this later...
  • Glittery things - courtesy of the Glitterati (I will do a post about that at some point, promise!)
  • This classic rock song
  • And, weirdly, this dubstep one as well (it's Sam's fault for playing so much Far Cry 3)
  • Rimmel Colour Rush - I seem to have gone all girly. (For anyone curious: I wear On Fire for work and Boom Chic a Boom to go out-out in. I'm sure you'll all sleep better knowing that).
  • Also: getting briefly obsessed with this topcoat
  • Losing a bit of weight - holy hell!
  • And finally Sam. Always Sam.

Poor, long-suffering Sam....