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)

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Sadie Week 2015

I don't get to see one of my closest friends very often. The end of uni meant that we went from being utterly inseparable for three years (complete with living together throughout), to only getting to see each other for a week or so each year.

Distance is a bitch.

But when we do get chance to spend time together, it's invariably awesome. And this year was no exception.

Food comas, Leeds adventures, Google Translate Sings, boozy brunch, hair dye, shopping victories, Sheffield Corp(!), messed up movies, hills, sunshine, unbelievably delicious burgers, baked alaska, Cards Against Humanity, and - most importantly - all with incredible company. 

I could not have asked for a better Easter Break.

Now I just need to find some motivation to get myself back to reality...

Sunday, 15 March 2015

"There isn’t a way things should be. There’s just what happens, and what we do."

It's on my Birthday List to read 10 non-Pratchett novels before I turn 27. And I was doing well, 3/4 of the way through book number 5. And then Thursday happened. Now I think my next book will be from the Disc.

Those books got me through so much. They kept me sane at times when I felt as though everything was falling apart around me.

I was hoping that I would one day get to meet the man whose words have kept me in one piece (or indeed helped me when I needed to scrape up those pieces) and thank him. But given Thursday's news, that’s clearly a non-starter.

So instead I’m writing this somewhat soppy post and thinking about one of the many things he’s written that’s helped so much:
"There isn’t a way things should be. There’s just what happens, and what we do." 

I hope Death proved to be as kind as he wrote him.

Friday, 27 February 2015

Winding Down February: A Goals, Birthday List, and Life Recap

February has been a pretty interesting month. Admittedly it's not over just yet, but the in-laws are visiting tomorrow, so I'll be too busy stressing out and panicking that they don't like me* to write this then.

So here's how the second month of 2015 has gone down for me...

*(apparently they do, it's just that I'm terminally terrified at all times) 


Had my first supervision of the year; apparently my first paper might be ready to submit for publication soon(ish)! Plus the commute made for some pretty phone pics:

Saw Primordial in Manchester, who were ace. Also managed to acquire an epic hangover off 4 pints (over ten hours). So a mixed bag, all in all. No photos, but here's the title song off the album they were promoting:

Valentine's Day was lovely. Sam and I cooked for one another: he made my favourite pasta dish while I baked a creme egg brownie (pictured). We then downed some cider and read kids' books to one another. Because why not.
It was one of the best evenings of the year so far.

February was pretty decent pancake-wise. On pancake day I made American Pancakes (pictured... I may have gone overboard on the toppings) and of course I learned that recipe for flourless pancakes too.

I also visited the lovely Robyn in Leeds and discovered that, while espresso margheritas make me long for death, I don't entirely hate gin if its paired with cranberry juice. Further lessons included: sticky toffee pudding makes everything better, can't go wrong with BBQ chicken, boyfriends will always appreciate a selfie of your butt in £100 leggings from the changing rooms of some designer sports place, Trinity Kitchen closes pathetically early on a Monday, I'm not as good with Mocha as I seem to keep thinking I am, and Original Sin is still one of the best ciders ever.

Yeah, it was a pretty food-based day.

The next morning, I sacked off the gym in favour of the first hill of the year. It was hard graft as the snowmelt (see above for the before pic) meant that there was an obscene amount of mud in some places. Plus, it was half term. One of the things I love about hill walking is the tranquility; this tends to disappear when there seems to be a million children on the same hill. Nevertheless, it was still nice to get out there.

Fitness February

Well my attempts to be slightly less spherical have been a mixed bag this month. I have joined the gym and started varying my exercises (like including weight machines. Which I hate. And starting running. Which I hate slightly less but still hate) but my eating is beyond up and down. There's so much red and green on my target tracker for eating healthily that it's beginning to look like Christmas.

But I am trying to focus my efforts a bit more now. I've been following @thebodycoach on social media and that's encouraging me to cook more healthy meals (for instance, tonight I'm cooking his turkey meatballs). Plus Sadie is now coming up to visit me in April, so I have yet another reason to up the ante and try to be slightly less marshmallow-shaped than I am at the moment in time for her arrival. Plus it's also Sam's birthday and our anniversary that month, so it wouldn't hurt to be a bit fitter in time for those either.

So I guess the plan is to carry on carrying on with the workouts and focus a little more on not eating like a student. I mean, I still am one, but I'm no longer 19 anymore. (West Wing quote time! "You were 19 in college. You could eat Tupperware and your system would deal with it.")

If 7-mile hikes over 3 hills don't count towards FitFeb then I officially give up.

Birthday List

I'm not going to go through them all one by one, as that's just, well, long. Instead, here's where I've been ticking boxes:

As noted above, I watched Primordial at the start of Feb, meaning my quota for live gigs is already half-filled. Robyn and I visited a few new (to us) places in Leeds during my visit (namely: Graze and Black Swan) - both of which were pretty ace. I also went to an awful half-cafe-half-pub thing in Sheffield for my Mum's birthday, but I'm trying to forget that place.

My pancake obsession has covered cooking something from scratch, although I've been increasing my sweet potato repertoire as well. Plus, as I mentioned: turkey meatballs tonight. I joined a gym, have sort-of started couch-to-5k (I keep forgetting my iPod, so I've been free-styling the running a little), and my 1-line-a-day journal is fully up to date.

I've also been making particularly strong progress for 8 ("Read 10 Novels Not By Terry Pratchett") and 15 ("Take on More at Work"). I'll be doing something akin to a reading list (following a request from a colleague), but I've already got through 4 books this month and have just started number five. Bloody hell. As for work, I've apparently been making good progress with my thesis, I've been getting stuck in with marking, and I've even done two peer reviews for different journals this month.

So all in all, it's been a pretty decent month!

I hope your February has been a good one. Now I'm just hoping that my running injuries will calm down in time for Marching March.


Sunday, 8 February 2015

Recipe: Flourless Pancakes

So I made some flourless pancakes today...

It was super simple to make and I rather enjoyed them (though how much the golden syrup had to do with that, I'm not sure).

My recipe was pretty much a bastardization of this picture that's been doing the rounds on Facebook and Instagram. I've no idea of the original source, so if anyone knows it I'd be happy to drop credit where it's due.

  • 1 and 1/2 bananas (the half that's left does for a garnish)
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Essence
  • Dash of cinnamon 
  • Whisk up the eggs and mash up the banana in separate bowls
  • Bring them together to mix until smooth... I have no patience, so I used my blender for this
  • Add vanilla essence and cinnamon to taste and mix them into the egg/banana mixture.
  • Pop the frying pan on with some oil and once it's heated up a bit, pour out about 2 tablespoons of mixture for each pancake
  • Do the usual flipping and whatnot til they're ready
  • Repeat until you've used up the mixture.
  • Garnish as desired (honey would probably be way healthier than golden syrup in all honesty)
  • Consume!

Friday, 23 January 2015

Judging January: Themed Months?

So there's this book called The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. Apparently it's been around for a while, but I only actually picked up a copy towards the end of last year when I heard a few positive mumblings about it from the odd blog.

I really rather enjoyed reading it, so much so that I'm more than half-way through the second re-read at the moment.

In the book, Gretchen uses the practical knowledge and applicable theory that she's picked up from researching happiness (from writings by everyone from Aristotle to French nuns, to modern-day scientific studies) to create actionable resolutions which she monitored daily. Each month she added new resolutions to those already being monitored along a particular theme - so February was about strengthening her relationship with her husband (resolutions included "fight right", "quit nagging", and "give proofs of love") and September was focused on pursuing her passion for writing ("write a novel", "make time", "master a new technology"). You get the idea.

So now - probably completely missing the point - I'm suddenly very much into the idea of giving themes to months.

This month has been a bit of a wash-out thanks to everyone being poorly at once, moments of blind panic, and a whole new, never previously encountered level of stress, so I'm going for a slightly inhuman attempt to start Graft January from next week, then roll it into Fitness February pretty much right off the bat. Which may kill me. We'll see.

So here are the themes I'm working with so far...

Graft January
  • Develop something akin to a routine
  • Get Draft 2 of my first paper written
  • Get into the habit of working every day
  • Sort out the study and keep it nice

Fitness February

  • Join the local gym
  • Start (and stick to) Couch to 5k
  • Keep a food diary
  • Drink one bottle of water a day

Marching March
  • Go to the Peaks for a proper walk at least three times this month
  • (If new gym has a summit trainer, use it every day)
  • If you can (and it won't make you late), then walk it
  • Learn the basics of navigation

That's it for now - I'm toying with the idea of "Adventure April" (I'm so good at names) but I don't know how that would really work navigation-wise... Plus I think I'm getting way to into this alliteration thing. I suppose I'll see closer to the time what changes I have in mind closer to the time.


      Monday, 19 January 2015

      Update #1 for The Birthday List

      Well, I've been 26 for two whole months now (ugh), it's probably time to have a quick look at how the Birthday List is coming along...

      1. Get My Driver's Licence
      Still haven't organised a lesson as my focus up to now has been on getting on top of my uni work - but I'll hopefully be booking my first lesson in February.

      2. Keep a Gratitude Jar
      Yeah. This has been more than a little neglected since December. I need to get back on that.

      3. Go Abroad
      Not really had time just yet.

      4. Complete the Gala Darling Courses.
      This is also on the back-burner for the foreseeable

      5. Fill Two Scrapbooks with Happy Things.
      As above. Though I've been collecting things ready.

      6. Go To At Least Two Gigs (of bands I actually care about)
      Ticket bought for Primordial next month! Now I just need to think of a second...

      7. Try One New Pub/Restaurant Each Month
      This has been going fairly well. In November I visited The Harley in Sheffield (about which I'll do a little write up soon) and in December, Robyn took me to Crowd of Favours in Leeds, which is a nice little place. I should also be trying some new places in Leeds with Robyn and/or Patrick this month as well. So doing quite well on this score so far!

      8. Read 10 Novels Not By Terry Pratchett
      Do autobiographies count? Because I read Amy Poehler's. No? Thought not. Okay, I've not read any non-Pratchett novels yet, though I have just picked up two paperbacks(!) to read, so that will do as a starting point.

      9. Go Rock Climbing
      I will get round to this one day. Honest...

      10. Go Camping Somewhere Other Than The Lake District
      I am putting a great deal of effort into nagging Sam to let us camp in Wales, even if it's just for one night in the summer. We'll see how we go on that score.

      11. Make a Meal From Scratch Every Month
      While I cheated for November - December (by getting Sam to "help"), my success at making sweet potato wedges this year has brought untold joy (for me, at least, as Sam hates sweet potatoes) and made for some yummy dinners. Also, turns out markets are dirt cheap for veggies. Who'd have thought.

      12. Join a Gym
      This will be happening in about two weeks' time, ready for "Fitness February" (oh, yeah, I'm kind of into giving themes to months at the minute. I'll do a write up on that soon).

      13. Do a Wardrobe Clear Out.
      Not yet. If anything it's got worse...

      14. Lose a Stone.
      On the one hand I weigh about a quarter of a pound more than I did on my birthday... But on the other hand, that's still about 3lbs less than I did just after Christmas. Swings and Roundabouts. But I'm getting more into veggies, so hopefully this isn't too out of my reach.

      15. Take on More at Work
      I've put my name down to work on a major project at work, I started out my teaching for this term really well, and I've also put my name down to do some reviewing.... I'm still behind on my actual thesis, but still.

      16. Spend a Weekend in London. 
      Still needs sorting, but still very much on the cards. 

      17. Go Up 10 New Hills
      Oh I so want to go up even ONE hill right now. Might see how this week pans out time-wise and weather-wise and see if I can persuade Sam to do the Mam Tor Circuit with me.

      18. Drink More Water (and Less Pop)
      I've had very mixed success with this. Some days I've been really good and only had 1 can, others have been a shambles. So very much still a work-in-progress.

      19. Blog Better
      I think I'm blogging a little better, and I've been making a more conscious effort to post in a more consistent manner. I've also been making more of an effort to read posts by others on better blogging. But again, this is very much an on-going thing.

      20. Keep a 1-Line-a-Day Journal
      I've been doing this! Since New Years Day I've been keeping a 1-line-a-day journal as well as a day-to-view journal for a more detailed write up. I'm rubbish at doing it everyday, but I usually do it every two days, meaning that there are no blanks. Now just to keep this up.

      21. Complete the Couch-to-5k Program
      Again, something for Fitness February.

      22. Visit a Different Country in Great Britain
      I am seriously hoping it'll be Scotland, but this is looking like it's going to be Wales (which is no bad thing, but I'd like to try something totally new). Again, this will involve making puppy-dog eyes at Sam as to where we go - and indeed whether we go at all.

      23. Take Sam on a Sushi Date
      Today I'm taking Sam to a world buffet which serves sushi to make sure he can actually stomach the stuff - if all goes well, I'll be dragging him to Sakushi in Sheffield (or Yo! in Meadowhall, because convenience) another day. And if it doesn't, well at least I got to eat a load of sushi with Robyn last month.

      24. Save at Least £500 in an ISA
      I spent my first paycheque of the year on refilling my savings after Christmas and the delay in getting this month's pay emptied it - but I'm still hoping to put at least £50 in this month. If I manage to do that every month, then I should hit my target. And even more would be even better.

      25. Make More Time for Friends and Family
      Thanks to a crap start to the year, I'm even more aware than ever about the importance of not taking people for granted. This month has been very family orientated: I've been visiting my Grandma every week and ringing her most days, and Sam and I visited my Dad for his birthday on Friday and took him to the pub, which was nice. I've not been as great at keeping up with friends, but I still managed to fit in an all-dayer with one at the start of the month, an all-dayer with most of the gang this weekend, and will be seeing both my Leeds mates over the next two weeks. So really, I'm not doing too badly at all.

      This is the blank one - so it's been pretty easy to fill so far. But I really ought to think about filling it sometime soon. Those of you who read my hiking blog will know that I have something in mind for this, but we'll have to see for now.

      Do making neon orange smoothies count towards #11?
      How are you guys getting on with your resolutions/birthday lists?


      Friday, 16 January 2015

      When the Snow Came

      How was the snow for you?

      I don't mean the traffic jams, the chaos on the roads, the problems with transport, or a load of shops shutting. I mean when it first came.

      When you looked out of the window (or in my case, poked my head out of the door to see my Grandma rushing up the path shouting "it's snowing! Get the bins in!") and first realised it was really coming down.

      Or, if you were as snowy as we were, when you woke up on the 27th to see that everything was covered.

      If I'm honest, I was very lucky.

      Because it was Christmas, I didn't have to be at work (I can't imagine getting to Manchester or Leeds would be a cakewalk in this).

      And, crucially, because it was Christmas, I was at the family home rather than the flat.

      Much as I love the flat, getting scenes like these on a 20 minute walk would have been much more unlikely...

      I really rather enjoyed the snow.

      For about half a day.
      Then the gritters didn't bother going round Rotherham and kinda spoiled it for everyone.

      I was more than a little glad when the rain and unexpected warmth on New Year's Day got rid of what remained of the snows (and, latterly ice) from Boxing Day.

      But for one morning, at least, it was really quite nice.


      Monday, 12 January 2015

      Day in the Life: Before & After

      I have decided not to have any time off next Christmas/New Years. The best that I will agree to is cutting down to an hour of work a day on those that I would otherwise have had off. A couple of people have told me that this seems a little harsh. In response, I thought I'd let the world see how my working life looked before Christmas, in comparison to now. Oh dear.

      Before Christmas...

      Wake up. Overdose on coffee and "breakfast biscuits" (I just like an excuse to eat biscuits for breakfast) while catching up on Instagram and Facebook.

      Jump on the bike for 45 minutes - usually while watching American Horror Story. Then a quick shower to make me look human again.

      After drying my hair and throwing on some comfortable clothes, I sit down with a coffee and biscuit and go over what uni stuff I need to get done for the day.
      Then, with some occasional distractions (and resorting to using Strict Workflow rather a lot), get on with the to-do list. I usually do the rougher stuff first, as I'm no use to anyone after lunch.

      Lunch! Usually soup and bread... though I'm occasionally naughty and pop up the road to the sandwich shop (including one of the branded ones... chicken and chorizo BBQ is dangerous stuff). If I'm in a good flow with work I'll usually read at my desk - either BBC News or a few blog posts. If I've burned out then I tend to veg a little and watch something on iPlayer or Netflix.

      If I've the energy/will to go on with uni stuff then I often do, otherwise I use this time to do chores around the flat, work on other projects, and start planning for the next day.

      6pm (or later, depending on circumstances)
      Start work on dinner. Sam usually cooks, as he's far better at it but I will occasionally have a go. Fortunately, no one has died yet.
      We'll usually eat at the dining table while watching something on the laptop (plugged into the TV for the novelty).

      At this point, Sam and I will either continue watching things (this was especially prevalent when we first moved in together and kept marathoning Parks and Rec), or we'll hang out in the other room: him playing games, me reading (...or playing games).

      Teeth cleaned, PJs on, Sam and I watch an episode of something - or a few Ashens/Robbaz videos - on the laptop in bed. After that, the lappy goes away and the Kindles come out. I wish I could say that there's a respectable "goodnight dear!" moment - but usually time is called on this when I fall asleep reading and the Kindle falls on my face (ow). This happens far more often than I would like to admit.

      Dad's gorgeously chaotic tree

      After Christmas...

      It varies. But overall: not like it was.
      At all.
      I have forgotten what pre-10am looks like (I sleep through an average of 4 alarms, even though I'm not late to bed).
      I have also fallen out of love with the bike, which would be fine were it not for the lack of fitness alternatives right now (though fortunately I should get a bonus soon - to the gym!).
      And I've only just got back to working on my thesis (I am a terrible human being).

      But it's getting there. And, if nothing else, hopefully this will shame me into turning back into wonder woman, as I apparently was at the end of last year.

      For now, I'm clearly going to need a far more annoying alarm clock.