Geeking by in October

October Monthly Update

Now, how would I describe October? Two things spring to mind; always behind and lergy. The month started off well enough and I had a nice peaceful simple birthday (just what I had in mind) and continued my annual birthday tradition of having some form of illness, usually something flu-like. I’ll let you read on to find out more about how my October went πŸ™‚

I used to do a monthly goals post each month before I swapped to these round up posts this year. The reason for the change was I felt that I was putting a bit too much pressure on myself in the way of setting goals. However, I feel that I need to add some sort of accountability to keep me on track with things and get me where I want to be. From now on at the end of each section I’m going to put a few small goals (when relevant).

 

Birthday Times

Before I get to the depression lergy talk let’s start with the fun stuff! I turned 33 and got spoiled by Chris as always. He says I’m hard to buy for and fusses and worries about what he gets me, but the fact is he is a champion gifter. I always feel that my gifts at Christmas never quite stand up to his because he is that damn good! We’re talking plan for 12 months kind of thing – and now I have brain fog all the time he has the added bonus of not forgetting good ideas when they pop into his head too! Grumbling aside I am very grateful to have him, and he knows he doesn’t need to spoil me so but he likes to see my reaction – and that means I get teased before I can actually open them too. This time it was the DVD shaped delivery that was “not a DVD” for instance.

The eagled-eyed among you may already see that the DVD-that-was-not-a-DVD was in fact… a DVD. You’d think I’d have learned after the time he did the whole ‘hon, I’m expecting a delivery tomorrow, it’s a book for DnD’ when it was Valentine’s Day… Yeah. Not a DnD book πŸ˜›

We’ve watched Thor and absolutely LOVED it! I’m definitely considering getting that NowTV subscription to catch up on the rest of the Marvel films and all the other films we’re behind on. Hopefully when we’re both feeling better we can watch Justice League too. I know it’s had some bad revues but I’m a DC girl so I’m looking forward to it anyway and this one comes with an awesome bonus feature about DC comics too.

The next present may look dull but it’s actually a real life saver and Chris gave it to me earlier saying ‘you REALLY need this’ and he was right. My old mouse mat was pretty disgusting. It didn’t matter how much I tried to clean it, it just would not get clean and it was beginning to screw up my mouse. Due to my hypermobility I need the supports and it’s my first time having one for the keyboard too and I’m never going back. It really makes a huge difference – and I am being extra careful about keeping them both clean too, so go me!

Then the star prize was this gorgeous statue of Sylvanas Windrunner from World of Warcraft’s Fall of the Lich King collection, and photos really do not do it justice. It is so detailed, and it is exquisite. You can view extra photos of her over on instagram. My final present was some money to buy a pet in the Blizzard store which resulted in me spending 5 minutes searching and ending up with three I wanted to buy; Twilight, Shadow and Mischief. I couldn’t decide! They’re all so cute! So Chris got the final vote and chose Twilight πŸ˜€

I got a bundle of gifts from my mother in law which include some chocolate and these make up gift sets which I will be reviewing at a later date. The lip products say ‘lip gloss’ but they looked so matte that I did a quick swatch test when I got them and I’m really not convinced that they’re glosses. I’d say they’re more like liquid lipsticks with a gloss finish. I’ve tried one of them and they’re ok. Not the best quality as they’re super sticky but they look fab!

 

Gorgeous birthday flowers from my parents in autumn shades of gold, orange and peach

I asked for money from my parents so I could get the bits and pieces on my birthday wish list and they always send me flowers. My mum used to arrange flowers (as a hobby not professionally although she did also do a few weddings, including my best friend’s one) so she knows her flowers and always picks the best bouquets to send me. This year she really outdid herself though because they were stunning! They were from Marks and Spencers and the colours were just gorgeous and perfect for autumn. I tried to do them justice with some photos on instagram, but honestly, I don’t think I could have captured them just right. It was one of those things you just had to see for yourself.

I’ve picked up a few things off my wish list but I’m spreading out the cost over a few months so I will update you guys on that another time πŸ™‚

 

Health

I’m not sure if I ended up actual flu or just a flu-like virus (and it took me 5 times as long to write that sentence because Georgie was licking my fingers as I typed ><). Chris definitely had full on flu and was really sick with it. Despite his heart condition he’s not considered at risk so he doesn’t get the flu vaccine where as I do, although October/November is my most at risk time as it’s the period when I get my annual vaccine. I’m sure there’s all sorts of science to explain it but we’ve found that one of being immune/semi-immune isn’t as useful as it sounds. For example, while the flu vaccine doesn’t attack the body of those vaccinated they can still carry the virus so if I come into contact with it somewhere else I can bring it home to Chris and have done so on many occasion over the years. As with this month if Chris gets flu I’ve found that I can get some flu symptoms but not the full illness. I felt under the weather mostly, and got hit with the feeling like absolute death part of flu. My fatigue levels were just crazy high that I couldn’t do anything. I was fine once I got over and the rest of the month went ok, until this last week when all the sniffling and bunged up ickiness have returned again :-/ Bleurgh. I think my nose has entered a sneezing marathon and forgot to tell me.

Time to get serious for a moment. When I was 4 my mum was diagnosed with colitis a serious bowel condition which has had an impact on all our lives. Her biggest fear as a new parent was that I would one day inherit that condition. Over the years she was told that colitis is not genetic and that I was safe. Keep in mind that this was the late 80s and 90s though and medical research has come a long way since then but I was still pretty shocked when her consultant told me earlier this year that I should get tested. It turns out that there is a type of colitis that sneaks under the radar as it doesn’t have the same distinctive symptoms as most types, i.e. bleeding, and it is often misdiagnosed as irritable bowel syndrome. My mum is still recovering from an illness two years ago and so she did not really comprehend what he said to me, which in a sad way I’m a little grateful for, but I did go to my doctor asap.

Health Update - Hormones & Bowel Conditions

I underwent a test that shows up inflammatory markers; it’s really easy and non-invasive as it’s just handing in a sample (sorry if that is TMI but I want to explain so anyone else who ever goes through this knows what to expect πŸ™‚ ).Β  My results came back and I got 80 which is good and bad. The average healthy person is a 50 and colitis starts at 200, so I’m safely below the colitis but not within ‘normal’ levels either. My doctor is retesting me in 5 weeks and I think this is something we are just going to need to keep an eye on. It’s been more on my mind this month because my tummy has been a lot worse so even though the results are good news I’m not feeling completely reassured just yet. Something still doesn’t feel right.

I’ve also just had another hellish month of PMT again. I’m on the mini-pill which is an Progestogen-only pill as the normal pill is really bad for migraines so I’ve been off that one for years. For a long time the mini-pill worked like a dream; cycle went great, symptoms and moods settled down, and even better? No periods! Then over the last few months it’s been like a roller coaster of pain and hell. My doctor said that it isn’t uncommon as our bodies change and get used to the pill, or something along those lines. Unfortunately I’ve now exhausted the two pill options so it’s time to try injections or implant; we don’t want to go down the implant road just yet for personal reasons as a couple so I’ll be trying injections. I’m not bothered by needles at all so that isn’t an issue, I just really hope they work and I don’t have any issues or side effects with other medications. I’ll keep you guys posted.

Kitten chasing string - an accurate portrayal of how my October went

Always playing catch up

The aim ofΒ  October was to catch up with my blog schedule and other things in my life once and for all. Instead I spent most of it feeling like a kitten running after a ball of string, never quite catching onto it and when I did I’d find there was so much more to catch.Β  One thing would lead to another and another… case in point; our bedroom. We knew we had some condensation issue of some sort in our room but we didn’t realise the full extent until this month. We began to realise that the walls were getting damp to touch and so was the floor in some places. In preparation for someone coming in to check the walls for us we moved the bad and an old mattress from underneath it to find that things were a lot worse than we realised. The guy we got in to check it confirmed that we had rising damp complete with nasty spores that had spread half way around the room. It turns out that all the rain we’d had for weeks had been leaking through from the outside and had built up, meaning we had a pool of water sitting in/behind the walls. We had to get a big electric dehumidifier in and blast it for about a week to dry the room out, and of course everything needs decorating. Thankfully having the old mattress under the bed has saved our own mattress because it soaked up all the icky stuff and the moisture.

But tidying up the bedroom so that someone could come in and so we could move the old mattress out took time. We had to then tidy up another room to make room for things that had to be moved out of the bedroom. Between all the moving, tidying and sorting out it took up the better part of one week and then of course we both had the massive slump afterwards from really overdoing it. So that pushed me back for blog work, inktober and dissertation work, and from then on everything just seemed to end up in a never ending cycle of catch up.

November Goals

I’m done chasing the string. This month I’m catching up on blog stuff and my to do list. One of my blog series, the Zodiac series, has been the biggest culprit in stressing me out and has been playing a big part in all the trouble. Last month I got so close to getting caught up so this month? It’s getting done baby!

 

Disstertation Update - October 2018

Dissertation

I started writing again!!! I am so happy to be able to say that and it is a huge relief off my mind. I now have a schedule pinned up on the wall in front of me with a weekly world count of 500 words, although I’m trying to do 100 a day to keep myself floating nicely ahead. It means I can also miss days here and there if I need to. My schedule started two weeks ago and takes me up to the end of March which is when I send my supervisor my first draft, and my final deadline is the end of April. It also includes when each section will be complete so I know how my progress is going in terms of the actual content not just number of words.Β  Every two weeks I hand my supervisor the work I’ve done to that point so that keeps me on track and we are having a monthly Skype chat too.

Getting started was so hard especially with everything else going on this month, but once I got into it and pushed through the fatigue I was good! I had to knuckle down and put some hard work in to catch up a bit last week, and again that pushed me behind this week. As long as I don’t keep letting that happen and letting it get on top of me I should be ok.

November Goals

Keep up with my schedule, especially the 100 words a day and not let myself fall behind.

 

Inktober 2018 - Some of my doodles

Inktober

If you some how managed to miss my inktober post at the start of the month then October is when a well known art prompt called Inktober takes place. This was my first time doing Inktober and I was using it to kick start my doodle book, which in turn was to help me get back into art again. you can read more about all that in my Inktober plans post. As you can probably guess I didn’t keep up with it as much as I had hoped but considering how manic this month ended up being I’m really happy that I did keep going with it and I didn’t give up! There was a point there where I could have jacked it all in and I chose not to. I’ve still got 7 prompts to do and I’m going to finish it because I’ve really enjoyed it. Some drawings didn’t go as planned and others really surprised me. I found that artist inside me that I wanted to reawaken and I’ve also found my confidence again, so watch this space πŸ˜‰

November Goals

Finish the last 7 prompts in my own time – and don’t stress about it! I’ve started a photo challenge and video game screenshot challenge so I want to keep up with them. That probably seems like a lot but it actually isn’t as the video game challenge will be a quick one week post with 7 screenshots to sum up my week so keep an eye out for that on Wednesday!

 

Blog Updates

I’d really hoped to be unveiling geeking-by.net! Yep, I did it, I got the domain. I purposely wasn’t mentioning the exact name in case some nasty person snapped it up before I actually bought it, however, it is now safely mine. I just need to do the actual move. Although I’ve not been able to do that due to the hectic month, I have been tinkering around and you may have noticed some changes! I could list all the changes or I could do one better and take inspiration from the lovely Nerdily who did a fabulous video walk-through of her blog changes – which you need to check out because it looks FABULOUS!

November Goals

Actually migrate to the new domain? Yeaah πŸ˜‰ I also want to finish off the bits I noted in the video and launch my newsletter!

 

Over to You

Right, so my October was a hectic lergy mess which ended up with me likening myself to a kitten chasing a ball of string – you can tell I’m back writing something can’t you? πŸ˜› How did YOUR October go? I especially want to know about your Halloween adventures as mine were zero as usual (holidays during the cold wet season in Scotland aren’t particularly welcoming for a disabled girl even when it’s been a good month!).

How was your October?

Did you do anything for Halloween?

Did you dress up? If so what as?

Do you celebrate Halloween, Samhain or both?

What do you think of the blog changes? And how was the little walk through video – should I do some more video content occasionally?

Thanks again for reading and keeping up with my adventures as I make my way through life. Your ongoing support has made the things I’ve managed to do in October – start my dissertation again and have the confidence to make changes to my blog – possible so please don’t ever forget that. Whether you’re reading, commenting or engaging with me on social media it all means so much to me every time I see a notification or see the page stats going up. Thank you <3

Geeking By in September

Geeking By in September

September proved to be a wild month (quite literally in the case of Storm Ali!), it was unpredictable, filled with challenges and nothing went as it was supposed to go. Nevertheless I got through it and here’s my monthly recap for you all πŸ™‚

Please Note - This post contains Affiliate Links. Click for more information!

Blogging & Projects

As I already mentioned I’ve been working on the Unique Bloggers group for the last few months, so that was a big part of my work load this month πŸ™‚ It is both terrifying and exciting at the same time but I’m still so happy that I made the move to do it. I’ve been continuing to work on building this blog up which has pretty much entailed me playing catch up after the last few months gallivanting. The Zodiac series has taken the biggest hit and I’m hoping to have caught up by the end of this month, leaving me with two more to get out next month and then I will be up to date. I really don’t want to be behind in the run up to Christmas.

Games that define us collaboration - World of Warcraft

 

I have a birthday post AND a Halloween post planned for the first time ever – yep, get a load of this organised girl! How long that is going to last is anyone’s guess πŸ˜‰ I’ve also just finished up my part in the Games that define us collaboration which goes live in November and I had an absolute ball taking part in it. I cannot wait for you guys to read my entry! Honestly though you need to check out EVERYONE’S posts. The whole group has worked super hard on this for months and the results are amazing. Even if you are not a gamer there is certainly something to be gained by reading these posts because they are about people not just games.

 

One of the things that has helped me get more organised with my blog has been the addition of a planner dedicated to my blog I’m using this gorgeous Harley Quinn notebook (featured above) that we got in a Lootcrate one month. It is a bullet journal-esque planner in the sense that I am also using it as a mindful and self care exercise to give myself a break away from the computer now and then. I’m not doing anything too fancy, but it’s fun and it’s giving me a creative outlet. I’m also taking part in Inktober this October for the first time and you can find out more about that at the start of the month. Here are the past two weekly spreads of my planner:

 

 

Dissertation

Three years ago I started my Masters in Information and Library Studies with the intention of finishing the course, completing the dissertation and by now ideally working in a library somewhere in Glasgow. Well.. pretty much none of that actually happened. I managed to complete the classes and coursework, and that was it. Since then I have been on medical leave and only a few months ago was I finally able to talk to my doctor about returning to my studies. All the months and months of changing medication, battling side effects and taking mindfulness courses had finally done some good and I was beginning to feel at least a little bit in control of my life again. I am very fortunate that I have a supervisor that supports me 110% and an exam board that has weighed my contributions and hard work against the unfortunate luck of getting a serious condition like ME/CFS just as I started my Masters. If I didn’t have those two things I would be just graduating with a diploma and honestly? My self esteem would be plummeting right now. Instead I was given the option to have one last deadline to complete my dissertation which I accepted.

 

September Dissertation Update

 

On the one hand it might seem like that was the wrong decision. After all, I could have just taken the diploma and walked away without having to write 20,000 words. The problem is that I know I would never have been happy with that. This illness has already taken the last three years from me and I love my dissertation topic. I need to finish it to prove that I can do it, to prove to myself that I am still able to do these things – that despite everything changing and the whole world turning upside down, I can still be me. If I had taken the easy way out I seriously believe my entire career would have suffered from crippling low confidence and that is not how I want to begin my career as an information professional.

Plus, I have until May. I already have 8-9ooo words already written. I worked out that I need to write a minimum of 1,500 words a month which is 375 words a week. Yeah, that sounds ridiculous right? But if I get a string of bad days or even a bad week the knowledge that I only need to get a few words out is going to help a lot. Ideally I’d love to be able to just bash it out and write thousands of words out in one day like I used to be able to; but that isn’t my life any more and I have to accept that.

 

Challenges in September

Challenges

There are a whole bunch of personal challenges this month. From dealing with guilt at not being able to stuff due to health problems, to working on some couples challenges, every where I looked I was facing something that previously would have sent me spiralling. I am actually pretty amazed and happy that I got through them all and it’s because I approached them by working through them one at a time – something that I definitely credit to mindfulness. There were definitely some moments when I felt utterly helpless and there were tears, but I used those times as outlets rather than huge breakdowns. It was a case of me letting it all out and then getting up, dusting myself off and saying ‘ok, let’s do this’.

 

Health

I don’t think there will ever be a monthly update where health is not a sub-title and I felt it even more so this month. Mine wasn’t so bad, but it felt like everyone around me was suffering. Chris has been going through a really bad period as we adjust his medication and my mum had a scan and the news was not good. Not cancer, but still not good. And I’m just left here doing all I can for them and sometimes it really doesn’t feel like it is enough.

The last mindfulness session was this week and due to unforeseeable events I missed it. Things happened and I just wasn’t able to face a room full of people. I was really upset because I’d also missed the two sessions before that, but none of them could be helped. My IBS was faring up due to stress one time and then another night I just didn’t sleep well, and sleep is crucial to someone with ME. It’s a 10am appointment so I can’t just go back to bed and get some more shut eye before it either. We have another appointment in December which is a sort of check in so I will be able to see everyone one last time then.

 

Health, Therapy & Mindfulness Updates

 

I was extremely happy to finally get my counselling appointment through! To be honest I’m well over due for more therapy. I’ve been trying to soldier on since my ME/CFS symptoms first started and since then it’s been one thing after another; my mum got sick, we found out about Chris’ heart, and so on. And then there’s just a mountain load of stuff from my past which I still need to work through. As my counsellor put it today; I’ve chipped away at my wall a lot through therapy and with mindfulness, but more bricks have been added and then some I just don’t have the right tools for yet. Thankfully he was super nice, and we clicked straight away which for me is important with a therapist. I still remember very distinctly one woman who I spent about 10 minutes with before I walked out of her office. She decided to tell me that the answer to all my problems was that I needed to ‘get out more’. So I’m always really nervous about meeting a new counsellor for the first time, and it was a huge relief to meet him and get on really well with him.

I did have to wait a really long time for these appointments but it came with some massive benefits. As it is at homeopathic hospital where I’ve been having treatment for over a year now I don’t need to explain everything all over again. That saves me a lot of time. When you’ve got 7 health problems you want to be able to drop the name, say how it makes you feel and move on. Not have to explain your whole medical history and background which can take up a good half an hour. And usually you only have 6-8 sessions with most NHS services; here I have unlimited. We will have a mini review every so often to see how I’m doing but until I feel like I am able to walk away confidently without the need for support the sessions keep going. And the final bonus was something I hoped would be possible and I’m really glad it is; he is going to do a mindfulness practise with me every so often! We were talking about how much it helped me and when I mentioned how disappointed I was that I missed my last few sessions he said we could do it! That is going to help me so much too.

 

Over to You

How has your September?

Did you have any wild weather like I did? Or has your autumn started our pleasant?

Any big events this month or any coming up?

As always I love to hear from you so let me know in the comments! πŸ™‚

Introducing the Unique Bloggers Group!

Introducting the Unique Bloggers Group!

For the last few months I’ve been working on a unique side project alongside this blog and finally I can reveal to you all exactly what that project is!

The Unique Bloggers Group

Unique Bloggers is a promotion and support group on facebook for the smaller blog niches out there. By small niches we’re talking about blogs that often get overlooked in most blog groups and a few examples are; geek blogs, craft blogs, alternative fashion blogs, or a mixture of all of those. Perhaps your blog fits in several different niches, or is even niche-less. If this sounds like your blog then this is the group for you! We’re here to help you grow, network, gain readers and followers for your blog and social media accounts, and pretty much anything else you need. We hope you’ll also pick up some great friends along the way too!

 

The idea for this came from me posting another geeky post in a blog promotion group and failing to get any engagement on it. I then watched someone with an alternative fashion post have the same issue. I realised that it wasn’t just geek bloggers that had the problem. I’m in two great geek blog groups, however, the network of bloggers is small and only one offers promotion topics. What if there was a group that united all the small niches and offered them a place to network and grow together?

I still wasn’t sure. I’m the sort of person that has these random ideas and they splutter out, becoming nothing. So I decided to pitch it to one of the geek groups and wowzers! I was not expecting the response I got! It took me a few more months with health and holidays to get everything today and a few more hurdles to clear before today we were finally ready to open.

It’s a big deal for me because in the three years since I developed symptoms and then was diagnosed with ME I’ve pulled away from the online world. I’ve lurked in a few groups, but I closed a lot of websites and projects as I couldn’t maintain them and it really put a damper on my confidence. This is a huge undertaking for me personally and maybe it will flop – but at least I know I went for it.

 

Some more information

It was important to me that the group didn’t become overwhelmed with the type of blogs that were causing the problem in the first place. For this reason the does not accept the promotion of blogs that fit into the bigger niches (i.e. parenting, travel, beauty, food, lifestyle, and so on). Don’t worry if your blog does touch upon some of those topics, we’re not going to crack the whip and toss anyone out for even mentioning them – life comes in all flavours and we recognise this. But if your blog is purely dedicated to those niches then this isn’t the group for you.

 

The weekly promotion schedule is as follows:

Mondays – Blog Post
Tuesdays – Facebook
Wednesdays – Twitter
Thursdays – Blog Post
Fridays – Instagram
Saturdays – Pinterest
Sundays – Other Requests

 

And finally we have a pinterest board for members to share their blog posts to!

 

Interested in joining?

Just head on over to the group! I look forward to getting to know you and hearing more about your blog πŸ™‚

Geeking by In July & August

Just Geeking By in July & August

It has been a crazy few months and I had no intention of doing a double Geeking By segment again, although considering how these two months blurred into one it does seem very fitting! I will be returning to the regular format of once a month in September, but for now, time to cast my mind back to July.

 

Holidays

Most of July was spent in London and Dorset. We headed down to London for a few days and the to Dorset (which I wrote about in my photo blog!) and then back to London to rest before we headed home. It was out first time flying since Chris was diagnosed with his heart condition so it was pretty scary. There’s no reason he can’t fly, we have just been avoiding it because using airports are more of a hassle, super stressful and taxing on our bodies. We prefer to use the train even though it’s a longer journey because you’re sitting down for it. An airport journey is almost just as long because you have to get there so early to get through security and so on. This time I firmly put my foot down and said that we were getting mobility for both of us. It wasn’t an easy decision, and it felt super weird being wheeled about the airport but it was the right one. Especially as the day before our first flight I had a migraine all day and slept terribly so I had zero energy. I’m hoping to write up a blog post about the full experience so I won’t ramble too much more about it.

We were back home for nine days before we were off again! I was happy to let our first holiday be a work free trip, however, I totally didn’t forsee the troubles I would have with such a short gap between trips. Even though we didn’t really need to unpack or even wash clothes (my mum had gotten pretty much everything washed and dried in London; one benefit of a heatwave) I just felt like I had so much to do and couldn’t settle at all. I got absolutely no blog work done at all during that time which set me back a lot. It didn’t help that our holidays completely clashed with the new World of Warcraft expansion coming out and the pre-events, so we were fitting those in as well.

 

Chris and I at the Family 60th Birthday Party in Harrogate

 

Once we actually got going our second holiday was fantastic. We were down in Harrogate (north England) visiting Chris’ family who I’ve only met once several years ago. We get on so well with them and we definitely will not be leaving it so long for a second visit this time. We were down for a 60th Birthday and stayed for a long weekend. We had an absolute blast catching up with everyone and meeting new members of the family, or those we’d kept in touch with on Facebook but yet to meet in person.

 

Health

My health has been a bit all over the place. For the holidays it was fantastic. We were both feeling great and we were active; and yes, I know that if you keep active you stay active. It wasn’t even that we came back and stopped being active that was the issue, because we didn’t! It was a few weeks after when PMT rearer it’s ugly mush πŸ™ I have no idea what is going on with my cycle. I’ve been discussing changing my pill with my doctor because it’s been going a bit bananas for a while now but we wanted to focus on getting the right balance with the migraine medication and anti-depressants. The last time we spoke we were just putting the finish touches to one of those so I should be able to change the pill now. I’ve had problems with upping the latest dose of my migraine tablet, although I think that was due to me having such a bad cycle and PMT and also taking it at the wrong time. I’ve changed when I’ve been taking it the last few days and that seems to be working much better for me. It’s not making me feel as drowsy so hopefully that has fixed the problem. ((Health Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash ))

 

Health Update

 

Mindfulness

I started a new mindfulness course as soon as got back from Dorset and other than a huge admin hiccup that almost saw me kicked off the course before it even began (and thus stressed me out!) it’s been going great. It’s week 7 next Tuesday and I’ve only missed one session guys!! That’s like a miracle for me. I have been pushing myself hard, sometimes a bit too hard as I found out a few weeks ago. I didn’t know at the time that I’d picked up stomach flu though so the day after was a massive bust day for me. My body was totally like ‘WHAT DID YOU DO?!’. A few days later when I realised that it wasn’t an IBS flare up it all became clear, which was a bit of a relief because it meant I hadn’t gone backwards (something I was worried about). I’m still have a few fatigue bust days which is why I missed one session and this week I had another one of out the blue. The topic for the week was something was going to be really important for me personally so I rearranged to go the next day. It was nerve racking going with a different group – especially as another admin/communication mess up made it stressful again – but I was right and it was a super important session for me. By the end of it I felt so much better.

 

 

This is the first time I’ve gotten this far in the course and I’m into new territory now, learning new things. There are three weeks left now and then one follow up session in December. It was initially scary to think that I would one day finish the course, however, I am ready to do so now. I feel that I have all the tools I need to go out and live mindfully on my own. I’m now putting it into practise without even realising it. The biggest test was last weeks homework in which we had to go unguided for the first time, something that has always scared me. I was surprised at how easily I did it. I’ve now been mixing unguided mindfulness with steaming (sticking your head over a bowl of hot water and covering yourself with a towel) which has the bonus of making both activities so much easier. I have always hated steaming despite how good it is for my rhinitis, hay fever and migraines. I get congested a lot and steaming is the best course of action but I’ve never been good at sitting still doing nothing, let alone with a bowl of of hot water beneath my face. So I decided one day to give it a try with an unguided mindfulness practise and I think I managed about 10-15 minutes! I don’t time it, I just go with the flow and do however long feels right and when I’m ready to stop I count 10 breath cycles (in 1, out 1, in 2, out 2, and so on). It’s been helping my physical and mental health as well as doing my skin some good to boot! ((Mindfulness Photo by Andrew Bui on Unsplash ))

 

Gaming

Well, naturally I’ve been playing Battle for Azeroth the new World of Warcraft expansion. I started levelling my priest with Chris and we took our time exploring and completing each zone. We’re now completed all of the Alliance zones and we’re working on the questlines left over such as Jaina’s questline and the War effort one in Zandalar. So far I’m really enjoying it, but still getting a feel for everything so just a brief update on that just now. I’m about to start levelling my druid and I think I’m going to have a few characters in Tiragarde Sound just outside Boralus so I can start herbing and mining for other professions. Apparently it’s pretty good for XP too so they will probably get a good chunk of levelling done too!

 

Dino in Zuldazar in the Battle for Azeroth Expansion

 

I’ve been playing two mobile games as well; Merge Dragons and Hogwarts Mystery. I started playing Merge Dragons in the airport and became hooked on it. It’s sort of a merging came like Bejewelled and Candy Crush but in a world building setting. So instead of a flat board you have a whole camp but to build it up you have to merge 3+ of each items. To discover the next level of an item you combine three lesser items, and you then keep building lesser items into bigger and bigger items. Some of the items are buildings, while some are trees, plants and mines. You also have your dragons who gather resources for you and once again you combine three eggs to make one dragon and three little dragons into a bigger dragon. I’m really enjoying it and they have regular events as well which are great fun too! Here is a screenshot of my camp to give you an idea of what the game looks like:

May Camp in Merge Dragons Mobile Game

 

Hogwarts Mystery is the Harry Potter game that came out months ago and a lot of people played it for a bit then stopped because they were put off by the energy cap. I stuck with it and it’s become a firm favourite of mine because the story has become really good. I really have to know what happens next. I recently completed the quests to become a prefect and an animagnus! The fact that they have put them in as timed events so if you fail then that’s that, you’ve failed to become them, and I think that’s a really good idea. Of course you can easily complete it by buying gems to ensure you win, or restart the game to get those achievements, but for me it personally adds a sense of achievement to the game. Sure there’s thousands of other players who have achieved it too but I had to actually work for it. I didn’t buy any gems, and it is perfectly possible to do without gems. I used some to finish my prefect quest only because my tablet started to play up and eventually broke during the questline so I kept losing progress. I also just got enough gems saved up to buy my first pet!

 

Hogwarts Mystery Game - Animagnus Quest Complete!

 

And of course, just as I’m working on this blog post and talking happily about all this I managed to wipe my entire game save… /sigh In short it was due to a bug with the game wanting you to constantly reconnect with facebook – which you have to do in order to play the game – and when you do so it asks you to save over the current ‘blank’ game. I hit the wrong one and just wiped my entire game save. So I’m now hoping that the customer services team can roll me back. A quick google shows that they have done that for people and I think me buying my cat or starting the new year will probably be a good point for that. So cross your fingers for me!

 

Over to You!

So how was your summer? Mine ended up being a lot more eventful than I planned! Did you go anywhere nice? Have any surprise trips?

What are your plans for September? Anyone starting a new course or school? I’m planning to get back into the swing of things with blogging and then it’s time to tackle that dissertation once and for all!

 

 

My Dorset Holiday Photo Blog

Dorset Holiday Photo Blog

It’s been a quiet few weeks here at the blog, but don’t worry, nothing is wrong! If you were keeping up with me on social media you’ll already know I was on my holidays πŸ™‚ I had planned to have a working holiday, especially as we had wifi at the cottage and then I ended up just having a completely restful and relaxing break away. It was much needed and to be honest, the only one pushing me to work was me. I wasn’t falling behind, I had no reviews that needed to be desperately finished and I thought it was best for myself to just let it go. So I did!

It means that the Cancer Zodiac post is going to be reaaallly late, but everything else is just taking a small break for a month! I wanted to show you guys exactly what I got up to while I was away, however, I didn’t want to do something too time consuming so I could get back to work before I fell even further behind. So for the first time ever I’m trying a photo blog! So here goes nothing πŸ™‚ ((Camera image used in the banner is from DropsofHearts. All photos were taken and edited by myself.))

 

The Cottage

The Cottage

My parents had booked the cottage and handed us the details before we set out, so we knew the name of the place was ‘Mill Farm Cottage’. We didn’t quite expect it to be literally on a farm! This is the cottage; to the left is the farm itself and this photo was taken from the end of the garden. The garden was more like a field than a garden! It was huge!

 

Here’s the cottage from another angle and you can see just how big the garden is, as well as a view of the barn of the farm next door. The lady that owns the farm and the cottage was absolutely lovely, and had an abundance of chickens and a few turkeys so we had fresh eggs and an offer of various other products available too. Sadly she had recently lost her husband so the farm is much smaller than it used to be; she has had to let the horses go as she couldn’t keep up with them on her own, for example. The chickens were everywhere, and it was quite fascinating watching the two cockerels interacting. Despite the amount of them they weren’t that noisy, and even though they do announce the dawn it’s a sound you get used to. It was those blasted turkeys that I wanted to murder by the end of the week! They make a weird noise that is a cross between a squeak and a goose’s honk, and it is so so annoying.

 

There was a big house (and by big house I mean a manor house) that could be rented out for stag/hen weekends and such nearby, but otherwise our only neighbours were the animals and birds. Our closest neighbours were two donkeys in the field next to our garden and these two boys became firm friends as soon as the carrots came out! The first time we all went out for the day they heard us return and came out to greet us, which was super sweet πŸ™‚

 

The elder of the two was more timid and much calmer. He didn’t like to be touched, but was friendly enough and liked to keep us company. He was a lovely calming presence one day when I got a horrible phone call and it upset me. He came over and kept me company, making sure I was ok. Both he and the younger one are from Champion lines, and are stabled at the farm but did not belong to it. Therefore we didn’t get any names and simply referred to them as the older and younger boys the whole time!

 

The young one was a little ruffian and we got a bit of background about him; as he was from a Champion line his owner tried to breed him but was unable to find a suitable arrangement. He also got to the age where he started to realise he was a boy and started to get very rowdy πŸ˜€ so She chose to have him gelded and he moved in with his current companion at the arm. He appears to be quite a bit younger and is a cheeky little fellow, always pushing his companion out of the way when it was time for carrots. The last day he tried to trip the other donkey over by hooking his legs around his back legs. The elder donkey seemed to have had enough by that point! He turned around and went to kick him with the full force of his hind legs! Thankfully he didn’t as he was facing the fence and thus me too! I don’t blame him; the cheeky monkey deserved it.

 

We were surrounded by fields and nature. There was a guideΒ  and a map inside the cottage to a mile long walk which took you through the fields and by a river, boasting of nature, wildlife and views. Unfortunately it was one of several things we didn’t get a chance to do.

 

Dorchester

Our first day we decided to head into the closest big town; Dorchester. Unfortunatly as it was a Sunday a lot of things were closed but we were mainly going for the indoor market and car boot fair. We picked up some cheap DVDs, and there was also a stall sanding some random Celtic history books. They were interesting, but nothing caught my eye until I saw this cover. It had nothing on the front or the spine to indicate what it might be. So I opened it up…..

 

 

Jackpot! As an Art History grad, and all around Renaissance art lover this was an amazing find and for Β£3 I couldn’t pass it up. I later found out that it’s actually from the 1950s or something silly; this book should been in a library somewhere, not sitting at a car boot sale!

 

There are so many amazing drawings in it including his studies of cloth, people, anatomy and his inventions. There’s also a couple of chapters at the start full of information. I can’t wait to dig into it!

 

After our wanderings it was time for some much needed rest, hydration and nom noms, and boy, did we get all of them at the Hendover Cafe in Dorchester! The owner was an absolutely lovely lady who treated everyone as her own family, and was really attentive. My mum has to be super careful of what she eats so eating out always makes her nervous so it was a relief to have someone who listened and took note of what she needed.

 

I knew I was ordering an iced coffee; I needed to cool down and I needed caffeine, but I was surprised to see an iced mocha on the menu! That is something you don’t usually see. Chris got a refreshing strawberry and banana smoothie.

 

While me and mum went for sandwiches, the boys were enticed by the roasts on the menu and they were really happy when they arrived. They were huge! Chris got the roast beef pictured here and dad got roast pork with crackling. Then the veg arrived….

 

Oh yes! The massive meals came with a just as big portion of vegetables as a side. They were just as delicious as the main meal and they both devoured the lot! Highly recommend the Hendover Cafe in Dorchester if you’re ever over that way.

Exploring the Local Area

 

The next day Chris and I went off to explore the local area. Our first stop was somewhere for lunch, and we looked about on the interest first because being in the middle of no where meant we couldn’t just hop in the car and drive about, we’d be driving about the fields for an hour finding somewhere that was open. The night before we’d tried to find somewhere to eat out only to find that apparently down in that part of Dorset no one serves food after 5pm on a Sunday. It didn’t help that most of the local pubs recommended in the cottage guestbook had recently closed. So we weren’t taking any chances, and we came across this cute looking cafe called Time after Thyme.

So we popped in and I’m really glad we did! The food was AMAZING. Yes, capitals are needed for this one! Chris got this monster of a scone. It was blueberry and almond which was unique, and it tasted amazing. I’m not a fan of fruit, otherwise I’d have quite happily waffled one down too!

 

 

I went for one of our usual favourites; carrot cake and I wasn’t disappointed. It was the type that just melted in your mouth. It was so good that Chris went back and got a bit to take home! The cafe itself was decorated with all sorts of bits and pieces, most of which you could buy. They had loads of art, stationery and of course, food! All of it home made and locally sourced. What was also super interesting was the place where the cafe was located. It was a farm where other businesses were also located, so it was almost like a mini-shopping area. Sadly the other shops we wanted to check out were closed, but I did use their facilities and I have to say, it was the cutest darn toilet I have ever been in. Yes, I’m telling you about a ladies toilet. But seriously, someone had put a lot of time and effort into decorating this little bathroom and it was wonderful to see.

 

Later that evening we went for dinner in Sherborne, a near by town and afterwards we took the long root back to the car.

 

In doing so we took in the beautiful Sherborne Abbey and I got to take some photos from various angles before the weight of good food became too much and we headed home.

 

Monkey World

 

One of the last days of our holiday we headed off to Monkey World! Monkey World is not a zoo, it’s an ape rescue center and I’ve been once before. It’s a great day out, as well as a fantastic education trip too.

 

I was thrilled to be able to see the Orang-utans, a species that I have always been interested in but have never be able to see before. They are such beautiful creatures, with such soulful presences and what has happened to them and is still happening to them is absolutely heartbreaking. This beautiful male orang-utan gifted us with the chance to take some fabulous photos and a chance to see him up close by coming and sitting directly in front of us for a good 10-15 minutes. It was a moment I will treasure.

 

The ring-tailed lemur forest at Monkey World is my favourite part of the centre and is my favourite experience of any rescue center, animal center, or zoo I have ever visited. It is a massive section of forest which the lemurs can run around in and there is no walls between you and them. You are not allowed to touch them, obviously, as they are still wild animals, and there is a keeper present at all times to protect them and watch visitors. The whole forest is enclosed with netting high above and around, so they are enclosed for their own safety but I doubt they are even aware of it. It is especially magical a few months earlier in the year when the babies are around! Last time we went there were babies πŸ˜€ I don’t think I will ever get tired of visiting Monkey World and the lemur forest, it is a unique experience that everyone should see at least once in their lifetimes.

 

Quick Blog Update

So that is the end of my photo blog! It actually took even longer than a normal entry because I ended up getting technical and editing some of the photos. I also found that bouncing from one holiday and onto another (I’m off tomorrow for a long weekend trip to visit family) is a little too much for me. So sadly I’ve not been able to catch up with any other blog work. I will be back next week and everything will be returning to normal; including the extremely delayed Zodiac series for Cancer! I also have a review coming up as well for a set of aromatherapy products that I’ve been tested over the last month.

 

Over to You

How did I do? Did you like the photo blog or do you prefer me rambling on in text?

Have you been to Monkey World?

What is your favourite experience at an animal rescue centre/park?

If you have any questions about anything let me know in the comments πŸ™‚