Is it still January?

January has been such a long month! Not that I’ve done a lot with the endless amounts of time that seem to be between us and the New Year now – it feels like this has just been a month of working, sleeping and waiting to get paid. An early pay day in December seems great at the time, but 6 weeks between pay days seems like a massive stretch now.

Despite the incredible amount of rain we’ve been getting recently, we have still managed to get out most weekends with Alf. I’ve even bought myself some upper sexy outdoorsy walking trousers. Ok so they’re not going to in any style awards, but they are comfortable, warm, water-resistant and mean I don’t have to risk damaging any of my smarter trousers on our outdoor adventures.

I’ve really enjoyed being able to get out-and-about up here, even when the weather isn’t perfect. The scenery is beautiful and most places we go are so quiet we barely see another person. Plus I can really do with the exercise – a desk job isn’t agreeing with my waistline.

When the weather hasn’t been so good I’ve been doing some reading – books and magazines – I seem to read an inordinate number of magazines these days, particularly compared to a few years ago. Current favourites include The Simple Things, Mollie Makes, Women’s Health, Delicious, Good Food and I recently picked up my first copy of Things & Ink. I don’t read all of these on a monthly basis, I only subscribe to The Simple Things and pick the others up as and when I remember and am particularly interested in the edition. I’ve also subscribed to Audible, so I can listen to audiobooks at work when thing are a bit quiet or in the evening if I’m too tired to read. The first audiobook I’ve downloaded is The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton, which won The Man Booker Prize or 2013. I’m enjoying it a lot, there’s definitely a lot of mystery and intrigue.

I suppose the most noteworthy event of January is that I have got a new job! I interviewed yesterday afternoon and was offered the position by the evening 🙂 I’m very excited by the new opportunity. My current job has only been on a three month contract which expires at the end of February, plus it hasn’t been the most exciting job in the world – but they have paid me my first decent salary, so I’ve tried not to complain too much. The new job is about the same money but I’ll get a two year contract which gives us much more security and the possibility of being able to buy our own place soon(ish). I start in the beginning of March and I’m very excited. I think this will definitely call for a shopping spree for some new (work appropriate) clothes and shoes J  I’ve done  fair amount of browsing online lately and there’s quite a long list of things I’ like to add to my wardrobe. I’ll probably have to go through and whittle the list down though, we are trying to save for a house a well!

Roll on Friday evening,


My Day Job

As it’s the thing that’s been keeping me from blogging so much recently, I thought I’d write a little bit about my day job.

I call it a job, but I suppose it isn’t really. I’m a PhD research student; which technically makes me a student, but I get paid (a bit), so I think of it as my job.

Doing a PhD is a really mixed bag. In some ways it’s great – there aren’t really any set hours so I get to manage my own time and mostly I choose work at home. On the other hand, it’s a lot of work, and I really mean A LOT, and your work is never really good enough (basically you can always do better, no matter what).

I’m in my final year now and have gone through so many highs and lows with it. Right now I’m in a pretty decent place with it, which is good. The biggest problem with getting so close to the end is the time pressure! Hence why I’m not blogging so much at the moment.

These days I spend most of my time sat at my desk at home running endless statistical tests on my data and writing up sections of my thesis based on those results. It can get really tedious to be honest. The tests are so repetitive that I’ve actually almost perfected the art of running them whilst watching Mad Men (I’ve got through 2 and a half seasons in a week). Sometimes the results can be interesting, which gives me something to write about!

Sometimes I get to do some different things. I spent a long time running focus groups with people about their opinions of biofuels and more recently I’ve got to speak to some pretty important people in some big businesses about their interests in biofuels. It can be quite nerve racking, but it needs to be done!

My, slightly chaotic, workspace

I really want to make more time for blogging again. I have some new clothes I want to blog about, but the weather hasn’t exactly inspired me to break them out yet :/

Thanks for still reading 🙂

Hope you are all having more fun that me!

A taste of my day job

I have had another article published by Experimentation online science magazine!

This time I’ve written a very brief overview of the kind of thing I work on for my day job as a PhD researcher; Biofuels and their environmental impacts. Considering my thesis will run to hundred of pages, and this article was only 2, it really is a very condensed version!
If you would like to check it out, click here.

Catching Up

I am a bad, bad blogger. In all honesty I’ve felt very drained recently, I’ve had words to write but no energy to actually write them with.
Prior to my lack of energy, I was actually feeling pretty good 🙂 The diet and exercise have already begun to pay off, I’ve lost nearly 4 pounds in 2 weeks which I think is pretty good. It already shows when I wear my skinny jeans, almost no muffin tops, which were one of my biggest drivers. It hasn’t been easy though. I have next to no will power, especially when it comes to cakes, biscuits and chocolate, but I’ve been very, very good. I’ve even surprised myself! I do miss baking though. I’m also almost enjoying exercise. Almost. It’s still a hideous process, and I hate being sweaty, but, once I’ve recovered, I do feel good for having done it 🙂

Also got my hair cut last week. I’ve had short hair since I was about 18, and no matter how many times I think I’d like to try and grow it longer it always gets to a point where I get so frustrated and annoyed with it that I just go to the hairdresser and have it all chopped off again. Sometimes I regret going too short, but not this time, I’m loving how easy it is to manage and style 🙂 I’m pretty sure my hairdresser likes being given more-or-less free rein over my hair. I’m not really too scared to try anything, at least once. It’s only hair, it’ll grow back! Even if it doesn’t, I can buy wigs and have different hair every day!

Hmm, nice background of piles of work :/

Having my hair cut actually made me feel loads better, more so than I expected. That combined with the weight loss gave me a very good few days 🙂 I’ve also managed to get to see most of my really good friends over the past week. I didn’t go out, just had people round for chats, but it was still nice. It’s good to remember that there are people who want to see me and that I can manage social situations, hold conversations and not totally bore people.

The good feelings have been wearing off a bit over the past few days. Weight loss has hit a bit of a plateau and I don’t have much energy to boost the exercise, although I am going to try later. I sort of miss doing it, in a really strange and unfamiliar sort of way. Lack of energy and enthusiasm has also taken a bit of a toll on my work rate and I haven’t got as much done as I feel I should have done.
Tried going out with some work friends last night, but that might have been a step too far. One of those situations where being around a lot of people actually leaves me feeling more alone than ever. It wasn’t bad, nothing bad happened, but it just reminded me of how distant I am from all those people and their lives.
All I want is someone to hold me today, so I’m probably not going to be very productive.

It is my birthday a week today and my mum is coming to visit, so my diet and exercise regime may not be easy to maintain. I suppose I’m just hoping I don’t put on any weight, I’m definitely not expecting to lose any. Need to try and get as much work done as I can before my mum gets here. Really need to find some get-up-and-go, any ideas where it got-up-and-went to? :/

Best Wishes