Musings | On Feeling Goalless

I’ve been doing some thinking lately (a dangerous start to any blog post, I know), mainly inspired by productivity videos I have seen on Amanda aka shesomickey‘s channel and Leena’s recent ‘How to Slam Your Competition (kind of)’ video. Both of these women are amazing YouTubers and inspire me to think a little more about myself and my own life, sometimes in a flippant way and sometimes in a “deeper way”.

(Yep, you’re in for one of those blog posts, so strap yourself in and get ready for some self-involved and (mostly) selfish musing that is particular to my own experience and in no way informed enough to speak to anyone else’s experiences or priorities. Disclaimer over…)

Both Amanda and Leena have recently discussed life goals and career goals, seeing that next step you want to make in your life, and the skills or experience you need to acquire in order to reach it. Last year for VEDA (Vlog Every Day in April) Amanda specifically made a video about 100 Life Goals, a tool to get you thinking about yourself and your priorities and do a little self-audit of where you are and where you would like to be “at the end of the day”. It is exactly what it says on the tin – you take out a pen and paper (or a blank Word document if you so prefer) and list out 100 goals. These can range from “visit Japan” to “write a book” to “work for a non-profit” to “learn ASL”. They can be a mix of travel, personal, or career-focused goals, in fact I think the best lists probably are a mix of those things. The key thing to having goals, though, is making them achievable, phrasing them so that they are a clear Thing to aim for, whether that is to visit a certain place or to live in a certain city or learn a certain skill. Although skeptical I could come up with 100 distinct goals, I was nevertheless encouraged by Amanda’s video to get out my own pen and paper and draw up my list…

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Bullet Journals | My Rationale & Initial Thoughts

Yes folks, you saw that right – I started a bullet journal because I’m just one big cliche.

I’d previously half-heartedly tried it in squared notebooks and found it did help my productivity, for as long as I kept up with it. My main problem was that I didn’t keep up with it, or invest enough time in it, or make it enough of a priority for it to be the first thing I turned to when planning anything. I’m trying to change that, so at the beginning of the year I bought kind of an expensive notebook (a black leuchtturm1917 with dotted pages – yes I’m that much of a cliche) and I invested money as well as time because if I’ve spent £10+ on a notebook, I tend to at least want to see it through to the end, you know?

Using my bullet journal to help track progress during the 24 in 48 Readathon

Well, so far it has worked reasonably well and I’ve ended up utilising the journal for my reading/blogging purposes. As it came up to the end of January, I hadn’t completely forgotten about it, though it is far from integrated into my daily life as an instinct. However, this is progress (Rome wasn’t built in a day etc. etc) and I thought it might be fun to share with you my bullet journal and my progress with it so far this year. It will also be a good way for me to keep track of how I’m doing with my bullet journal and which areas of it I need to keep and which I can just ditch-

*record scratches*

No, I must be honest now. I drafted this post, fully intending to share with you my yearly spreads and monthly spreads and how I track things and my weekly layouts and all that jazz, but the truth of it is between starting to draft this post and finishing it, I accidentally didn’t bullet journal for a few weeks. ‘Why’ you ask?

Well, I’m beginning to question the entire rationale behind bullet journaling and if it is really for me.

You see, I work standard hours Monday to Friday and I can’t really use my bullet journal during work to scribble to-do lists because a lot of the student information I deal with is personal stuff I can’t then remove from work. I get the same train every morning/evening so travel isn’t something that needs planning. I don’t have a social life to speak of and the most wild my plans get is to go to the cinema or maybe to do a grocery shop. My blogging and social media use isn’t professional or regular enough to require a schedule. I’m not a freelancer who has a great online shop or lots of projects with different deadlines. But admittedly I have found a use for the trackers in bullet journals, especially tracking reading progress during readathons or to keep track of what books I’ve read in the year, and I enjoy using the monthly trackers to track habits such as going to the gym or doing laundry. It’s just the weekly log/daily to-do lists bit that I don’t really use to its full potential – more often than not, days are mainly full of a list of tasks I optimistically hoped to get done but inevitably end up ‘migrated’ to the next day and then the next day and so on and so forth…

An example of my monthly trackers

This is a classic case of ‘do I not use a bullet journal daily because I’m just not yet in the routine of using it?’ or ‘does not having a routine of blogging mean I don’t use a bullet journal daily now but it would improve my blogging if I did?’. Because, let’s face it, my productivity probably would improve if I kept a better track of what I get done in a day outside of work. In a way, it would guilt me into doing something because I’d want to do things so that I would be using my bullet journal to its full potential. Which is possibly not really what bullet journaling’s noble mission is but hey ho, we get to the same outcome, regardless of rationale.

I’m not really sure if this blog post about bullet journals has a point. Basically, I bought one, I used it quite well in January and then my use of it tailed off and I’m trying to identify why that happened. Is it me or is it the bullet journal? I’m not sure, but maybe we need to give each other another chance.

Do any of you lovely folks use a bullet journal regularly? Or have you tried and decided it’s not for you? Or maybe you haven’t ever tried it and don’t want to? Please do comment below because I’d really love to hear about your experiences with bullet journaling, regardless of whether they were positive or negative – maybe they will help me form my conclusions about the whole thing.


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Life Update 3.0 | Decorating

Hello, hello, hello. I thought I would come back to the blog today with another Life Update. I quite like writing these posts, simply for posterity’s sake if nothing else, and it’s always nice to see some progress in your life.

As I mentioned in previous posts, I have got a job and moved to Liverpool to live with my friend, Liz. Since then I have been staying in the guest bedroom whilst my bedroom was pai16nted, carpeted, and furnished. Although there are still odd bits of painting here and there, I’ve mostly moved all of my things into the room now since it is officially decorated and furnished. I am officially sleeping in a double bed again and, god, it’s comfy. For the first time in my life I also have proper bookshelves in my room (something I’ve always wanted) and a desk (a beautiful one at that) so I’m very pleased with how it looks. This has also given me the chance to work out what I do and don’t like when it comes to painting and carpets and furniture preferences and colour schemes – I’m making it sound like a truly thrilling ride, I know. I never thought I’d get excited about wardrobe storage system options but, yeah, that happened. I decided to share a quick ‘before’ and ‘after’ because why not?

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So, as you can see from the panorama below my bedroom is definitely coming along really nicely. I raided IKEA, it seems, since practically every item of furniture in my room was acquired from said store. Not that I mind – everyone loves a good IKEA trip, right?

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Mind you, acquiring my desk, bookshelves, clothes rail, cube shelves, bed, mattress, pillows, bedside table, lamp, and even bedding from one place seems a bit like I might have sold my soul to the IKEA devil… or else it’s just really convenient and reasonably priced – I’ve leave you to decide which it is. I still need to find some storage boxes (I’ve got my eyes on drona) and a stool/chair for sitting at my desk (hello, nils) so something tells me I have not yet stopped being entranced by that shining store.

So, that’s about where I’m at with life in general. I’m still finding my feet in my job but I think it’s going really well so far – I haven’t had any complaints at least so I can only assume it’s going well. And I’m just continuing to buy little bits and pieces to make my room absolutely perfect so I’m sure there are bound to be more Life Update posts in the future, maybe with less IKEA!

Until next time!

PS – Many, many thanks must go to Liz for helping me put up an insane amount of flat pack furniture. And for persisting when trying to fit the flat pack boxes into her car even though it seemed logistically impossible.


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Life Update 2.0

Well, my friends, I am officially living in Liverpool. I am officially working in Birchwood, meaning I have the delight of a 20-minute busy train journey every morning and evening. Fun! But, hey, standing up for that long and walking 20-ish minutes to/from the station must be doing me some good.

As far as moving goes, I moved as much of my stuff as I needed/could fit in Liz’s car on Tuesday 20th. I started work the very next day so that was an adjustment and a half! Our journey from the North East to the North West went really smoothly – we enjoyed ourselves listening to Now That’s What I Call Music songs on the drive over and the brief shudder of distaste when we reached Manchester was the only bad point of the drive for Liz. (She’s a Scouser so… I’m pretty sure it’s an ingrained and involuntary reaction.) My parents brought over the remainder of my stuff this Friday just gone.

Let me tell you – I have somehow accumulated a tonne of crap over the years. Despite having a box room at home (and so limited about how much I could actually keep in it), I expanded my collection of extraneous crap in my four years at university – I’ve accumulated way too many mugs, for example. But now they have a happy home in the house in Liverpool. (If there’s one thing Liz and I will never be short of, it’s mugs!)

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Life Update

So… I didn’t know what to title this or if this was something people would care about because, let’s face it, if you’re here, you’re probably here for the books. But this life update does concern my books (and blogging) on some level so… stay with me on this.

As of next week, there will be no more staying for a couple of days here and there at Liz’s house when I have an interview. Because I’m moving. There. Properly. It’s actually happening. So now my hours of getting lost on the IKEA website finally have a purpose rather than just acting as mere aimless procrastination!

I do have a good reason for moving – I’ve landed myself a clerical/administration job at a university in the North West so I now need to move to Liverpool, it’s not merely a desire anymore, it’s a necessity. And let me just say, the relief of finally finding a job is also mixed with the unbridled joy that I don’t have to job hunt or attend the delightful Job Centre any more. I hope it stays that way for many months and potentially years to come.

With the job comes this necessary change of scenery as I currently live in the North East of England. I say currently live, I have lived in the same house (hell, in the same room, same box room of tiny proportions) for all my life, excluding my time spent at university in Lancaster. But even at university, though I started to feel at home in that city and campus, my permanent address was always still in Teesside, in my parents’ home. Now that’s changing and it’s kind of terrifying, but the good kind of terrifying, the terrifying where I know I’m nervous about this and will miss my family but I need this stepping outside of my comfort zone because it’s good for me in the long run, even if the comfort zone is still only like 3 hours away by train.

I never thought I was the city kind of girl, ever. I come from a place that isn’t a large town by any means – it only takes a 15 minute walk to get to the town centre and that consists of about 30 shops, if that. So moving to Liverpool is an adjustment, to say the least. But every time I’ve visited Liverpool, I’ve felt comfortable, like I could maybe possibly see myself living there somehow. I don’t know how much of that comes from knowing someone who hails from there but the feeling remains regardless.

Speaking of which, the ever kind Liz is letting me take up her off of moving into her house with her. (If you don’t know Liz yet, go check out her blog!) We’ve never actually lived together in our time at university but we did spend an interesting few days when she temporarily moved into the house I lived in after our respective housemates had vacated the premises ahead of us. We just watched a lot of tennis, if I recall correctly, and made it our noble (and foolhardy) mission to use up all the remaining food – it was so good there’s photographic proof of the faji-ttos and Terry’s chocolate orange topped flapjacks served with Ben and Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie ice cream, naturally. I foresee many food collaborations in our future. I’m also like 98% sure we won’t kill each other when we actually do live together.

‘Wait, so how does this concern your books?’ I hear you say. Well, good question. My books will be carefully packed and moving with me, hopefully onto some proper bookshelves. At some point. Because the thought of having to wait two weeks for my dad to bring them over when he does the bulk of my move is horrifying to any book lover, myself included. Now, realistically, I know from previous experience that even if I take 30 of my most precious books with me, I probably won’t read them all, if any. I’ll be too busy internally panicking about my new job to read. But having my books nearby is an odd sort of comfort blanket, so I’m bound to at least take a few over on my initial move which will be happening in this upcoming week.

Speaking of the week, whilst I will endeavour to have something queued up for the blog, in reality, I’ll probably forget and/or be too busy frantically packing my things because I never learn and will leave it until the last minute to do so. See, I told you I’d eventually bring this blog post back around to my books (and blogging!). So, I suppose this is just my way of saying hopefully by this time next week I will be semi-settled in Liverpool for the foreseeable future. Wow, that feels weird to type. Not a bad weird, by any means. I’m nervous and part of me still can’t quite grasp it’s happening but it is and I’m excited.

I’ll see you on the other side, folks!


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Hey girl, whatcha’ doing?

So… you may have noticed a somewhat lacklustre attempt at blogging as of late. Sure, there have been posts, but I haven’t really been as engaged as I would like to be, as active as I would like to be, or as thoughtful as I would like to be. There are a few reasons for this and I thought, well hey, why not make an updates blog post about them because whilst some of them are a little on the sad side, they’ll be glossed over quickly for the bigger and better – some recommendations of cool stuff I’ve been enjoying.

I casually mentioned in a throwaway comment that we recently experienced a death in the family. Towards the end of last month we lost my wonderful, loving nanna, and it’s been rough on the family as we try to work out how life looks without her and, especially, how it’s going to be with my granddad from now on. That is a whole other personal side of things that I won’t get into on here but let us just say that, sometimes, death can be revealing and sometimes what it reveals isn’t so shiny or nice. Ignorance, as they say, is bliss. Especially when it comes to your family. Your family is your family so the minute that you see that they are just as vulnerable and flawed as anyone else is certainly a moment of realisation.

The job hunt 2k16 still continues, to not much avail. I’m trying to stay positive and it’s very much an up and down process day-to-day, as I get really excited about a particular opportunity, obsess over my application, submit it anxiously, then get summarily rejected, making it feel like all those little dreams I had have been crushed. It’s an ongoing process but, hopefully, it will get better, I just have to be persistent.

Now we’re going to move onto the more positive part of this updates post… my lack of consistent blogging is mostly down to me watching videos instead of doing any reading or writing myself.

So I blame Netflix… specifically Archer

For those of you who haven’t seen the show, it’s a cartoon (an adult cartoon, heed that warning!) about a suave-but-absolute-arsehole-of-a-man named Archer (the name’s Archer, Sterling Archer), who works for a spy organisation called ISIS (it proved to be an unfortunate acronym, yes), the head of which is his mother. The cast of characters is fantastic (Woodhouse is hilarious, Cheryl’s a fave, and who can forget Pam?) and the show really has a way of making everything so exciting and funny, from the mundane situations of HR wanting all staff to complete peer reviews to the absolutely ridiculous and farcical time (/whole season) in which the gang became a drug cartel. It happens to the best of us.

I haven’t done a good job of summing up the plot but the truth is, it really is a show that you just need to watch a couple of episodes and see if you get it or not. I can see that its sense of humour probably isn’t for everyone and, to be honest, I was mildly surprised that I ended up loving it, but I fell for it, hook line and sinker, after the pilot episode.

Moving onto my second Netflix recommendation that I’m sure needs no explanation: Firefly. Oh Firefly. Loved by geeks everywhere, this geek included, top of so many lists of ‘TV shows that were cancelled too soon’. I was reminded of the genuine joy that is Firefly when I tuned into Nerd HQ this weekend and saw Nathan Fillion auctioning off his shit. No, really, that’s pretty much how he describes it – he auctions off merch and fan stuff he’s amassed (probably cleaning out his closet in the process) for charity and it’s kind of great. But, back to the point, Nathan Fillion reminded me of how charming Captain Malcolm Reynolds is so obviously I had to revisit Firefly. 

For those unaware, Firefly is a Space Western, created by Joss Whedon and starring the likes of Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres, Alan Tudyk, and Adam Baldwin. It’s set in a future where, after Earth burned up, humans moved to other planets and star systems, a sci-fi extension of the idea of a pioneer and frontier culture you see in westerns. The show is centred onboard a Firefly-class space ship called Serenity, crewed by a rag tag group of misfits who are living on the fringes of society and their star system. They make a living how they can – sometimes that’s salvage, sometimes it’s legitimate cargo runs, sometimes it’s straight up smuggling.

As with many of Whedon’s other outputs, what you get is an interesting premise that promises comedy, peril, drama, and genuine heart-warming moments as you see a group bond to become a sort of found family. The politics of the tyrannical Alliance vs. the little guys (though I’d hate to call Serenity’s crew that to their faces), the mix of Western and Asian culture as is seen through the use of Mandarian Chinese dialogue for swear words (a good way to keep the show’s rating down too!), the very distinct characterisation of each of the ship’s nine passengers, it’s all so clever. Plus it’s a hell of a lot of fun.

Let’s move away from television and onto a little (or not so little) thing I mentioned above: Nerd HQ. For those unaware, Nerd HQ is an event that runs alongside San Diego Comic Con and, to be honest, I much prefer it. For me Comic Con always seems much too intense, it’s like information overload, a constant stream of updates and excitement and !!!, and I feel claustrophobic just looking at a photo of Hall H (like this one for example), let alone how I would feel if I actually ever got the chance to attend. Nerd HQ, by comparison, is much smaller, but nonetheless amazing, and if I were ever in the position to fly to San Diego for the sake of a weekend, I would so be there for Nerd HQ.

Run by Zachary Levi and the team at The Nerd Machine, it’s an alternative to Comic-Con, meant to connect fans and creators in a more low-key, intimate, and welcoming setting than that of a huge international convention centre. Of course those same creators are already in town for SDCC so of course they could swing by Nerd HQ. The reason I like Nerd HQ as a concept is that it seems a much more welcoming and approachable community, plus they live stream all their Q&A panels (they call them “conversations”, yet another move to be more inclusive) and upload them to YouTube quickly afterwards so you can re-watch that 2013 Tom Hiddleston one over and over to your heart’s content. I mean, what, I don’t do that…

The other great thing about Nerd HQ? Charity. Tickets for the panels or signings are sold for around $20 (a steal compared to the price of a con ticket), and throughout the day there are ways to donate money for Operation Smile, a charity which provides cleft lip and palate repair surgery to children all over the world. This year I saw plenty of people asking a question during a panel but then also adding ‘I bought some merchandise and I thought maybe I could get Zach to sign it and then you could auction it off later for charity?’. This is the kind of charity I like, it’s meaning that you get to enjoy the hell out yourself at this amazing Nerd HQ event but you also get to do a little something whilst you’re enjoying the hell out of yourself. Always a plus.

If you need any more convincing, Zachary Levi is endearing as hell and has a really great rapport with all of the people that come to Nerd HQ. Seriously, it’s uncanny how entertaining I found panels for shows that I don’t even watch, simply because it was so fun to have this back and forth conversation between him, the guests, and the nerds themselves that got to ask questions.

I gushed about Nerd HQ for maybe a bit too long there. Comic Con is also a nerd’s dream, obviously, and it’s the time of year to drop the latest film or TV show trailer. It’s no surprise to hear that I was extremely excited about three trailers in particular: Kong: Skull Island, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and Sherlock. I’m still not sure whether Doctor Strange will be for me or not, but I’ll inevitably start to eagerly anticipate it once they start press for it. I’m so easily swayed by Marvel. Sorry/not sorry. There are just a lot of things coming up to be excited for. For example…

This weekend I’ll be visiting a friend who lives in Oxford and we’ll be doing all sorts of bookish and touristy things (including YALC on Friday which I’m ridiculously excited for) so I think a blog post on that when I come back is more than likely – stay tuned folks!

So, sure, I might not have been reading a great deal but I have been consuming stories, just via Archer, Firefly, and Nerd HQ. And they make for pretty compelling stories. I would recommend them. Anyone out there got any recommendations of stuff you’ve been enjoying, whether that’s books, music, film, tv, Internet stuff? Share them below!

Musings | Less Grey

It’s amazing the world of difference that a good couple of days can make. Don’t get me wrong, nothing spectacular or life-changing has happened – I just feel better about life.

Oh, listen to me, a twenty-something millennial who generally is all ‘woe is me’ about job prospects and the highly likely probability of still living at home at the age of thirty.

But, for the past few days, that feeling hasn’t been low-level pervading every thought that passes through my mind when I have a spare moment to stare blankly into space and think. And I can chalk this recent lack of that feeling down to one key difference – it has been sunny in England.

Before you scoff at the ridiculousness of such a blindingly obvious statement let me just say that, from Wednesday to Friday, I sensed a discernible difference at work – people were smiling as they entered the building, people had their heads held high wearing sunglasses instead of heads bowed to the floor because they’d just braved the chilling wind outside. The mood, the moral, the entire atmosphere was improved tenfold simply because it wasn’t raining and, the little wind there was was pleasantly warm. It wasn’t a heatwave by any stretch of the imagination, but it also wasn’t the bizarre hail and snow flurries we’ve been treated to in the month of April in the UK.

Everyone’s attitude, including my own, was a lot better off for such a simple thing.

With a little help from Spotify, I broke out summery playlists of more upbeat music and listened to that instead of my usual droning-into-the-background songs that I prefer to accompany my reading whilst I commute. (The Great British Breakfast and Feel Good Friday will both improve your mood and remind you of songs you’d forgotten existed.)

And, perhaps more importantly, I started to seriously consider the ever-intimidating question – What Now? – when I had a spare moment to stare blankly into space and think, except this time I did so without the usual generally grey and miserable attitude which ordinarily accompanies such thought processes. The long and short of it is that, having that low-level anxiety removed temporarily, I started to think past ‘settling’. To think past the voice in my head which shoots down any remotely moving-onward plan as soon as it enters my brain. To think that maybe What Now? could actually be an exciting and positive opportunity as well as an admittedly scary as hell question.

We’ll see how long it lasts. Cloud cover has meant outside has been greyer and colder today, but inside I am still working on job applications that would see me need to move across the country, something which, until this week, I wouldn’t have entertained past thinking derisively ‘If Only’. Like I said, it’s amazing the world of difference that a good couple of days can make.


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Discussion | Stagnation & Slumps

WordPress reliably informs me that my last review (The Alloy of Law as it happens) was published a whole 51 days ago. That’s practically two whole months. Since that point I’ve published 12 posts which isn’t terrible, but it isn’t brilliant by any stretch of the imagination. As I look back, however, I realise that very few of these posts have actually been a sustained discussion of anything I’ve read. There are bits and pieces of reviews and comments on things I’m in the midst of reading, but nothing sustained.

The truth is I cannot accurately say I’m in a reading slump because I have read a good deal more books since that last review (10 books to be precise), I just haven’t particularly had the enthusiasm to review said books. I don’t have the excuse of being busy because I only work part-time and, as it happens, I have slow periods at work in which I can (and do) blog. Now, given the amount of time and books I’ve consumed, I ought to have more frequent reviews? The lack of them suggests a problem… it’s not a stretch that one might think perhaps these books weren’t very good. But the truth is quite the contrary; I’ve read some amazing things lately (some more literary than others) but, for some reason, I just haven’t been able to formulate my thoughts into reviews or discussion posts.

You may have noticed lately the majority of posts I’ve published have been weekly memes and to be honest relying on these for posts feels like a little bit of a cop-out to me. I hasten to add that weekly memes are by no means lesser than reviews or discussion posts, it’s just that I know that I personally complete weekly memes with less care and attention than I would pay to other posts. There’s an element of the autopilot or mechanical posting to it. Obviously this doesn’t apply to everyone and I’m really not trying to suggest everyone is quite as lazy as me when it comes to filling out such weekly themes! It’s just that weekly memes appeal to the lazy side of me because they provide an existing jumping-off point, so I don’t have to think about that initial reason to write a post. It makes posting a lot quicker and a lot more mechanical. When it comes down to it, I personally feel like I’m not really contributing much with my own answers to these weekly themes, even if I do adore doing them. Because of this, I feel like the quality of these posts isn’t quite where I’d like it to be… and I’m not quite happy with my blog as it is, or indeed as it has been for a while now.

(This entire thing also feeds into my incessant anxiety about my own personal lack of originality or voice in my writing – an ongoing running sore that we won’t probe any more right now!)

The long and short of all this self-indulgent reflection is that I’ve come to a conclusion: it’s about time I stopped stagnating and actually did something about the fact I’m not happy with my blog as it is at the moment…

I am going to stop obsessing over participating in weekly memes, for one. I’m still going to participate, of course, because the themes of Top 5 Wednesday, Top Ten Tuesdays, Book Travelling Thursdays etc. are always wonderful, but I’m not going to beat myself up about it if I miss a week, which is actually what I do now even though you might not realise that through the relative silence on this blog.

I am going to focus more on the quality of what I publish rather than the quantity. Of course I would like to be more regular with my posts on this blog, but I would much rather be happy about what I put out there than post every other day out of necessity. Which leads me to the next (and main) point of this rambling post…

I am going to try to be more thoughtful in my posts. Part of my problem when it comes to writing a post is always my innate lack of confidence that makes me think ‘well what more am I actually saying that others before haven’t said? Am I actually contributing anything by throwing this post into the ether that is the internet?’. As far as I can see it, the only thing I do have, really, is a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in English Literature… for what that’s worth (little in the wider world but, personally, quite a lot!). So I’d like to approach my blog more like I used to approach my seminar preparation and essays – with thought and attention and care. I want to be able to immediately identity a point, a purpose, to any given post, rather than just what was clearly me thinking ‘oh balls, I haven’t updated in three days, what day is it? Friday? Perfect, I’ll just quickly shove a Friday Reads onto my blog’. (And yes, that has been my thought process at times!)

If you’ve been reading this blog with any regularity you may have witnessed similar grand pledges or posts in the past. Every so often I have a sudden crisis of confidence where I vow to be better, to write better, to create content etc. etc. It’s all rather tiring to hear, I know, but here’s to me saying it again. Hopefully this will be the last time I need to make such a pledge because this time I’m going to actually schedule/plan out posts for the future. Jesus, whilst we’re making grand plans let’s kid ourselves that I might even dig out that abandoned bullet journal to help with scheduling my life into more productive days!

Hopefully this time something will stick.


 

An Update & Friday Reads | 15th January

I have excellent news… I started a job last week. I know, I’m as surprised as you are. At its most basic, it means I no longer have to go to the soul-destroying non-place that is the local friendly Job Centre Plus – huzzah. At its best, it’s a job I think I can vaguely do, in time… and once I have permissions in place to access to all the relevant systems. It’s happening, just slowly. The job itself is based on a service/reception desk of sorts. It’s a part-time, temporary contract covering someone’s maternity leave but it’s working at a local University so I’m really pleased that my on-campus jobs whilst studying at Lancaster University obviously helped at interview for my current job – huzzah again.

All of this means, however, that I can no longer spend Wednesdays, Thursdays, or Fridays wandering about the house with my nose in a book. It seems an acceptable trade-off. Plus the 20 minute train journey either way gives me 2 hours a week of spare time in which, really, there’s nothing much else to do besides listen to music and plaintively stare out of the train window at the not-so-glorious, not-so-picturesque views of the North East countryside zipping by. I’m glad to discover the morning train in particular is quiet enough to be conducive to reading; I’m sure this is only because no one is awake before 8am. I’ll take it, though.

So, this is a rather long winded way of saying this is why my blogging has become somewhat sporadic though I have been making an effort to queue things ready for posting. Once I have time to sit down this weekend, I’ll also catch up on the couple of reviews I need to write. Alongside that I do have some reading plans for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, as follows:

  First off, I hope to finish Jenny Lawson’s Let’s Pretend This Never Happened. I’ve really been enjoying this one – when I saw it was blurbed by Caitlin Moran, I knew what sort of writing I was in for, even though I’d never heard of Jenny Lawson previously to Leena’s lovely video on her latest book Furiously HappySpeaking of, I also have Furiously Happy on loan from the library so it is quite possible I will be starting that if I end up enjoying the remainder of Let’s Pretend as much as I have the first 200 or so pages. All in all, any book that makes a reference to Monty Python’s Spanish Inquisition sketch in the footnotes seems like a solid book to me.

Aside from that, I recently finished the Mistborn trilogy and have been experiencing withdrawal from Sanderson’s brilliantly baffling world. So it’s possible I might venture towards his standalone novel set in the same world – The Alloy of LawFailing that, if I think I don’t have the mental capacity required for adult fantasy I might allow myself the comforting tropes and tribulations of his YA fantasy offering – Steelheart. 

If I don’t have the capacity for either, I’m considering getting started on Hannah Kent’s Burial Rites. I’ve been meaning to read this one for a while and I’ve had it out from the library for quite some time now so I should probably stop being a bad book borrower and actually finish the book and return it in a timely manner so someone else can read it. Aside from the moral dilemma of hogging books, I also noticed Shannon from leaninglight’s reading group Reads With Friends has organised a readalong for next week – so it seems rude (almost like going against fate) to ignore the book yet again when there is an opportunity like this to discuss it once I’m finished reading it. But I might get a cheeky head-start if the time presents itself over this weekend.


So those are my likely Friday/Weekend Reads – what are you reading this weekend? How has your reading been going so far in 2016? Have you read any of the books I’ve mentioned above? Comment below – I’d love to hear your opinion.

Listlessness

Listless:
adjective (of a person or their manner) lacking energy or enthusiasm.
e.g. “bouts of listless depression”
synonyms: lethargic, enervated, lackadaisical, spiritless, unenergetic, lifeless, vigourless, lacking energy, limp, effete

So… I’m particularly terrible at updating, it seems. Perhaps the prospect of writing 50,000 words next month was enough to make me consider conserving my words for them. Or maybe not. Maybe I just haven’t been doing a lot of reading or writing or anything resembling either. Maybe I have fallen into the listlessness of being alone in the house until 4 o clock every day. That sounds much more on the mark, to be perfectly honest.

Yet again I have been falling into the familiar trap of starting lots of little things but not actually finishing much. I have started applying for all manner of jobs (from administration stuff to digital marketing), started watching Netflix shows (Archer and How To Get Away With Murder, so good for such different reasons), wrote long overdue reviews for Harry’s Last Stand and The Rest of Us Just Live Hereset up a Pinterest board for my NaNoWriMo idea (though “idea” seems much too hopeful of a word for that vague concept), saw a film that quickly made me obsessed (Crimson Peak, no one is surprised to hear this), and started a few books (The Watchmaker of Filigree Street and The Name of the Wind, both excellent). However, I haven’t finished any of these things – except from watching Crimson Peak, but I wish I could just watch it on loop for the next month or so to be honest! Instead, I have half-assed everything and I really need to follow the wisdom of Ron Swanson on this one:

 

 

 

 

 

 

See, Ron-fucking-Swanson at his motivational best. (It also reminds me of how much I miss Parks and Recreation, season 5 needs to hurry up and air in the UK.)

There is certainly something to be said about finishing – about being able to tick off a completed item on a to-do list. Although I am very good at writing out to-do lists, as of the past week or so, I seem to be very inept at actually completing them. Considering NaNoWriMo is just around the corner I definitely need to get back on track with consistently completing what I set out to do for the day instead of listlessly pushing it back to tomorrow as I seem to have done all of this week. I’ve been in an odd mood in that way and I just hope NaNo will help me to discipline myself better on a day-to-day basis because something’s got to give!