Life Has Changed a Bit…

Hello! How are we all? It’s such weird times right now. I’m not sure about you but I feel like life changed overnight.

It’s kind of weird, but we’re almost being given a break… a chance to rest a bit and do all those jobs we’ve put off for so long. But it really doesn’t feel that simple. This time kind of sucks for me in that I’ve effectively lost my job… Well right now at the point of writing this I’m still employed but since I’m basically on a 0 hours contract I have no work right now and no income. But hey, things could be worse. I’m back home with my family rather than having to isolate alone.

So what am I doing to occupy myself since I can’t even work from home?

Well firstly I’m enjoying being in the kitchen. We had a new kitchen fitted about 2-3 weeks ago. We’re so thankful we have a functioning kitchen. Although it is not quite complete and the builders still need to finish things off, the kitchen is fully functional which is quite a blessing really. On top of this we now have a breakfast bar in the kitchen! This is so exciting. I’ve kind of taken to sitting at it to get things done rather than be in my room all the time. I’ve been enjoying trying to make a few more meals than usual from scratch (I have homemade chips in the oven right now) as well as doing some baking. Although I’m having to be a bit careful with what I use at the moment since flour and eggs seem to be difficult to get hold of right now.

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Has anyone else got that problem? People panic buying literally everything in the shops? OK I’ve not actually been to a supermarket for 10 days but the online shops are the same. My mission is to get hold of some bread flour and yeast so I can try making bread.

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Excuse the crazy hair!

I’ve been running! Yep my last post was about how I’ve started running again. Tomorrow I should (all being well) finish my Couch to 5K programme. I’ve progressively been getting up earlier and earlier to go out running (leaving the house at 6:30am), but I can now run for 30 minutes without stopping. I’m kind of gutted because the running events I had planned in April and May have both been cancelled. I’m just hoping desperately that the Great North Run still goes ahead in September. But I still have a long way to go to build my distance from 5k to 21k! I’ve been enjoying completing virtual challenges to fuel this too.

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Hama Beads! These were such a big part of my childhood! I used to make so many Hama Beads. I seem to have acquired the Brownies Hama Beads so I thought I’d give it a go making a few things (don’t worry I’ll replace the Brownies Hama Beads when this is all over). Actually it’s pretty time consuming but quite relaxing. I have a massive project lined up to make a massive Hama Bead picture but I need to wait for the beads to arrive before I can start this.

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Reading! I have so many books on my shelf unread so now is a good time to start getting through some of them. On top of this our local library has an ebook library which I’ll definitely be making use of.

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Nintendo switch. I’ve certainly been spoiled by my mum (I think she felt sorry for me). She bought me a Nintendo Switch a couple of weeks ago when I first found out I’d lost my job. I’d been talking about getting one for a while but just couldn’t decide for sure if I wanted to get one. Anyway, mum surprised me and bought me one and it came with Animal Crossing so I’ve been playing that. I also ordered Super Mario to play too – I was so excited about this as it was my first ever Game Boy Colour game so it was nice to relive my childhood!

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Finally, I’ve enrolled on a couple of online university courses. I’ve dedicated Monday to Thursday as “academic” days where I do something useful in that time. I’ve enrolled on to “Conservation and Protected Areas Management in Africa” and “Tropical Coastal Ecosystems” both are self paced online courses which have mini assessments in the form of multi-choice questions to assess yourself.

How is everyone else doing? Stay safe out there.

My Running Journey (So Far)

Hello everyone! I’m back for another post! 🙂

So those of you who follow me on Instagram may have seen an increase in my number of running related posts… Yep. I’ve started running again!

So how did it all start? Back at the end of last year I found Yorkshire Wildlife Park were hosting a 5K run around the zoo. Excellent I thought. An opportunity to run but also to visit the zoo. So without really thinking too much about it I signed up to the YWP 5K.

I tried to start running this time last year but as soon as work got busy I failed to keep up with running and gave up far too easily. But this year I intend to keep running all year. So how am I going to do that?

About a month ago now I started the Couch to 5K program. A program that talks you through running 3 times a week, with the aim of building up to running for around 30 mins or 5K in around 9 weeks.

Alongside this I have signed up to “Race at Your Pace”. “Race at Your Pace” is a virtual run/race (I think that’s what you call it), where over the course of a month you aim to complete a certain number of miles. So in January I signed up to the 15 mile “race”, and through a combination of walking, running and cycling I successfully completed around 17 miles. I’ve also signed up to complete another 15 miles in February. Once you complete your challenge you get a medal at the end of it. Massive motivation to have something shiny arrive in the post!

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It may be easy to give up running after my 5K run in April, but I’ve now signed up for a few other events throughout the year to keep me going. Including the Westminster Mile in May and the Great North 5K in September.

But my biggest challenge of the year…. I’ve signed up to run a half marathon in September. Yes, I’m running the Great North Run! The whole 13.1 miles of it. I never ever believed I would want to sign up to run a half marathon but in the last year or so I’ve kind of realised, what the heck! You only live once, make the most of it. And at least once a year from now on I want to do some “big” adventure. Whether it be a holiday, run or mountain climb!

I’m going to be running the Great North Run for the charity Save the Children. If anyone would like to Donate at all for my Great North Run adventure my virgin money page can be found here. Or click on the photo!

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If we were having Coffee January 2020

Hello!! Is anyone still there?!

I’m still here…. Yes I have been absolutely rubbish lately at being on here but life got busy. I practically spent 6 months of last year working 6 days a week. Then when things did quieten down we had a little puppy join the family (well he’s my brother’s puppy and lives at my brother’s but his Auntie Hannah spoils him rotten) and yeah… just things got in the way!

So what happened since I last posted on here?

I finished working my second season at Whipsnade Zoo…

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I started a new volunteering role at London Zoo

I began working more hours in my London Zoo job

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I went on two trips to Jersey

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I went on my first “girls holiday” to Ireland in December

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Little Benji joined our family

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I completed the Ranger for the Day experience at the Big Cat Sanctuary

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And also, perhaps what I’m most excited for…. I’ve booked a trip to Canada this year! I’m so excited to see what Canada has to offer and to visit blogger friend An Historian About Town. 

I hope you’re all well and hopefully I’ll be back on here a little more this year! 🙂

It really has been a while since I’ve written a proper post on here. So I thought today I’d share with you one of the things which has been taking up my spare time since I last posted! 🙂

Remember a while ago I said my brother was moving out so I was taking over his room?! Yes it’s finally happened! It all took a long time between him moving out and me “officially” moving in to my new room but I really love my new room and it is definitely more of an “adult” room for me now!

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Please do excuse the fact that it is a bit messy! I’m still playing around where I want bits and bobs! Photo 18-06-2019, 10 00 22Photo 18-06-2019, 10 00 27Photo 18-06-2019, 10 00 31

So there we have it! My new room! Of course my books have pride of place again! But I also now have a special storage/display area for my Cath Kidston Disney mugs!

 

The Reader Problems Tag

Hello?! Did you forget about me? Yeah…. sorry 😦 I never forgot about this place, but work has been so busy the last few months I’ve barely had time to stop. 😦

Anyway, I thought it was about time I showed my face again so today I’m back with a little book-related post. I saw Pamela from Starring Pamela do this tag the other day and couldn’t resist!

You have 20,000 books on your TBR. How do you decide what to read next?

No idea! Well, if I’m reading a book and there is a sequel to it already out I’ll generally pick up the sequel next so the story is fresh in my mind. Sometimes I stand staring at my bookcase though trying to pick one and eventually one takes my fancy. At the moment though I’m actually reading two books!

You’re halfway through a book and you’re just not loving it. Do you put it down or are you committed?

I usually try to power through but sometimes I just can’t help and want to put it down (like Wicked). Although the book I’m reading at the moment I’m not really enjoying so I’m basically skimming it to see whether it improves.

The end of the year is coming and you’re behind on your reading challenge. Do you try to catch up? And if so, how?

You want the honest answer? I read kids books! Before I’ve read the likes of Beatrix Potter, Jacqueline Wilson or Roald Dahl to try to catch up!

The covers of a series you love do not match, how do you cope?

It really upsets me! I would honestly buy the books of all the same cover so they look pretty on my bookcase. I’m the same with paperbacks and hardbacks. I’m in the process of trying to change a few of my hardback books into paperbacks (if I see them cheaply in charity shops) so they all sit nicely together on my bookcase!

Everyone and their mother loves a book that you do not. Who do you bond with over your shared feelings?

Usually there’s some reviews out there like on Amazon or Goodreads that feel the same!

You’re reading a book in public and you’re about to start crying. How do you deal?

I don’t think this would ever happen! I think the only ever book that made me a bit teary was The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks, but even then it wasn’t properly crying or anything.

The sequel to a book you loved just came out but you’ve forgotten a lot of what happens. Are you going to reread it?

Weirdly I’m like this with my latest book I’ve started reading. I love the “I Heart” series by Lindsey Kelk and the last book in the series “I Heart Hawaii” has just come out. I started reading it and totally forgot that the main character had had a baby! I’m usually too impatient to re-read unless I have time before the new book comes out then I may re-read the last one.

You do not want anyone to borrow your books, how do you politely say no when someone asks?

Haha! I’m quite protective over my books, I don’t even like sending them to a charity shop when I know I’m not going to read them anymore! I do trust most of my friends though so I know I’d get them back! 

You have picked up and put down 5 books in the last month. How do you get over this reading slump?

I’m not sure this has ever happened to me but I suppose just keep looking for a book that will hold my interest!

There are so many books coming out that you are dying to read. How many do you end up buying?

I’m terrible with books! I LOVE having books on my bookcase. I’m trying to get a little better, but generally there may only be 4 or 5 new ones a year I’ll buy. All generally from my favourite authors who release a new one every year.

After you purchase all of these books that you’re dying to read, how long do they sit on your shelf before you read them?

It depends on the book! Usually they’ll get read pretty quickly and make their way up my TBR list to the top!


And that’s the Reader Problems Tag! I’m not tagging anyone specifically but if you want to do this tag, feel free to do so! 🙂

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I hope you enjoyed today’s post! I’m hoping to be back soon with some new posts! 🙂

 

The Penguin Lessons

I’m back with my latest read! Book number 7 of 2019 was “The Penguin Lessons” by Tom Michell. I first became aware of this book around a year ago now when one of my friends was reading it. She was loving it and really recommended it. It then sat on my Amazon wishlist for a while until during the summer another friend was reading it and told me how great it was. I couldn’t resist it any longer and decided to pick it up!

‘I was hoping against hope that the penguin would survive because as of that instant he had a name, and with his name came the beginning of a bond which would last a life-time’

Tom Michell is in his roaring twenties: single, free-spirited and seeking adventure. He has a plane ticket to South America, a teaching position in a prestigious Argentine boarding school, and endless summer holidays. He even has a motorbike, Che Guevara style. What he doesn’t need is a pet. What he really doesn’t need is a pet penguin.

Set against Argentina’s turbulent years following the collapse of the corrupt Perónist regime, this is the heart-warming story of Juan Salvador the penguin, rescued by Tom from an oil slick in Uruguay just days before a new term. When the bird refuses to leave Tom’s side, the young teacher has no choice but to smuggle it across the border, through customs, and back to school. Whether it’s as the rugby team’s mascot, the housekeeper’s confidant, the host at Tom’s parties or the most flamboyant swimming coach in world history, Juan Salvador transforms the lives of all he meets – in particular one homesick school boy. And as for Tom, he discovers in Juan Salvador a compadre like no other…

I absolutely ADORED this book. I read it in around 3 days. OK, it’s not that long a book but it is a great read. It’s also absolutely incredible to think that this was a real story. That Tom Michell rescued a penguin and cared for him alongside many of the people he met during his time in Argentina.

It was also amazing how a penguin could have such an effect on so many people. I mean don’t get me wrong, I’m totally captivated by penguins too, but this was different… a complete change in someone.

I don’t really know what else to say about this book apart from it is a great east and heartwarming read which I think anyone who loves animals (and penguins) should pick up!

The Cuckoo’s Calling

It’s time to share my latest read, “The Cuckoo’s Calling” by Robert Galbraith (aka JK Rowling). I’m not going to lie, I was really really unsure about this book. It was February’s book club book and it isn’t my usual kind of genre to read. That said though I do enjoy crime shows like Silent Witness. Anyway, I picked this book up second hand as I wasn’t sure whether I was going to like it. But I absolutely LOVED it! I could hardly put the book down, especially toward the end.

In “The Cuckoo’s Calling” we join Cormoran Strike and his new assistant Robin as they attempt to solve the mystery of a young girl’s death.

When a troubled model falls to her death from a snow-covered Mayfair balcony, it is assumed that she has committed suicide. However, her brother has his doubts, and calls in private investigator Cormoran Strike to look into the case.

Strike is a war veteran – wounded both physically and psychologically – and his life is in disarray. The case gives him a financial lifeline, but it comes at a personal cost: the more he delves into the young model’s complex world, the darker things get – and the closer he gets to terrible danger . . .

I absolutely loved “The Cuckoo’s Calling”. Although at times it did feel a bit long and there were various points/chapters which seemed a bit irrelevant. But in the end it was an enjoyable read. I also absolutely loved how Cormoran Strike isn’t your usual detective. JK Rowling does a great thing using a physically wounded war veteran as her main character in the story. I also really loved the character Robin. She was relatable and just as confused by Strike as everyone else to begin with, but over time she became a reliable assistant.

My one biggest peve of the book was the ending. I don’t want to ruin it for anyone who is yet to read it but the ending was a bit abrupt and I felt like Strike came to conclusions about the ending without the story showing how he came to these conclusions. But still in the end it was a totally shocking ending which I didn’t see coming!

All in all I absolutely loved “The Cuckoo’s Calling” and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone (I even offered it to my dad). I really can’t wait to read the rest of the series now!

Have you read “The Cuckoo’s Calling”? If so, what did you think? If not, would you like to read it? 🙂