Saturday, 18 October 2008

Big Update!

Well it has been a hectic few months, so quite a bit of news to tell!

Driving lessons are going really well - enjoy them (most of the time) and have almost mastered clutch control, turn in the road (3 point term as was) and roundabouts. Still quite scared of roundabouts and the really busy roads but loving the feeling at the end of every lesson - except the pain in my knees from keeping my feet in such odd positions on the pedals.
I was totally thrilled to pass my theory test first time on 4th October - first time. Still need to brush up on a lot of things though as I can't honestly say I was 100% on all of it.

Work has been manic - launching the new course has thrown some major challenges my way, including teaching in corridors and cafe bars for the first three weeks! Settling down now and the group seem like a really nice bunch of students - most of the time :0) We have just been through the horrors of an Ofsted inspection and I am just about recovered now. It went very well. although the inspectors didn't come and observe me (again - third inspection in as many institutions now that I have been neglected ;0)). Overall the college got a grade 1 - which is testament to the Directorate's ability to cover up the truth more than it is a reflection of how things really are at the place. Anyway, over for another five years now!

No more progress on the visit to another country or the Masters assignment as yet - the mania of this first half term has seen to that - along with the extreme costs of learning to drive! However, I am getting serious on the weigh loss plan, as I can see February looming large, quite literally. I am doing 20 mins a day on the exercise bike and slowly phasing in more dieting. Salads every day for lunch at college have been a big help, but the comforting winter nosh at dinner time isn't really helping the cause. I think it is soups and stews for a while for me!

Have a lovely half term planned (apart from all the work for college). Off for a break with the family to Cornwall for a few days and hopefully seeing several relatives including Pat & Ian and Tony & Jan. Shall hopefully have time to catch up with friends too and share some good times!

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Driving ambition!

I have taken the plunge and booked my driving theory test! After a revision session with my friend Angela the other night we have booked our tests together for October 4th at 8 o'clock in the morning! We figure that we then have the rest of the Saturday for commiserating or celebrating that way :0) I have taken a few mock theory tests online and scored 40 / 47 the first time and 41 / 45 the second time - neither of which are actually pass scores but aren't far off! I think having the date looming will at least help spur on the revision.
I have also booked the first of the 'new' driving lessons for Friday 5th September. I've chosen to go with Angela's instructor as he came highly recommended and is apparently very patient with dithering ladies - which will be very useful for me :0)

Had a great family day party last Sunday too - was great to catch up with all the gang and had some great fun with Kate's quiz and some alternative takes on the usual cousins gangshow photo op :-)

Had great fun at the Edinburgh festival recently (although sadly Scotland isn't a new country to me!) Saw some great things including Daniel Kitson, Stewart Lee, a play performed in a caravan and an all-girl a capella group. Good times! I took a shockingly small number of photos - largely due to the constant downpour - but I did get this shot of my Dad being a "rapper" on the bus to The Burgh via my appalling cameraphone. I think he has the hands down very well!

The trip to Barcelona for new country no. 3 that had been pondered on for August didn't happen in the end. However, I spent the weekend with Sally and Amanda, who I had planned to go with originally, in Birmingham - or Brumcelona as we renamed it in order to help us believe we were still on holiday! Had a wonderful time. Pictured is the gang - with cousin Annie at 8:08pm on 8/8/08. A trip to The Glee Club found us chuckling at Greg Davies but not so much at TV's Bob Mills - had a great night all the same!

The holidays may be drawing to a close and I don't have many of the things I had planned to do completed. However, I have been lucky enough to see lots of wonderful people - big hellos to Emma & Joseph, Jimmy, Nic, Brit, Sadie and Joe, Mike, Rory, Beth & Lucy, Amy, Nancy, Sam, Lee, Mizue, Kai & Meia, Craig & Elke, Moira, and all the family :0). Pics from top to bottom: Picnic in the park with Lee, Mizue, Sam, Craig and all the little folks! - Emma's son Joseph being a scary vampire - Elke with a LambBanana after visiting the Klimt exhibition at Tate Liverpool - Bedford Square, Bloomsbury, home of the [C] space pavilion project and filming location for The War Machines.

I should really be working on the bathroom - major DIY ongoing in there to change it from slightly squalid to sparklingly serene (I hope). Then I just need to recarpet the whole place and I will be getting somewhere with Project Lovely Flat! Off to work with me!

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

New country no. 2!

I have been a bit slack at updating this of late but I thought it time for a catch-up!
Sardinia was AWESOME! What a beautiful place - amazing scenery, friendly people, relaxed way of life. I loved it and can't wait to go back again some time.

The campsite we stayed in was just four minutes walk from the beach and I have to say never having had a 'beach holiday' before, that it was just wonderful! I'm all for the mediterranean practice of a siesta in the afternoon and staying up late drinking - suited me very well :0) Pictures on my flickr.
I went with friends Amy, Beth, Craig and Elke and we all had an amazing time. Good food, lots of sun and being out in the fresh air did me the world of good and I came back glowing (the November-style weather back here in Bradders hasn't helped me retain that but never mind!).

I have still to arrange trip no.3 - but I suppose I should focus on my other goals for a while. Considering an intensive driving lessons course to get me kicked off on the road - may as well use the time I have in the summer to make up for not having done any so far this year! Research is ongoing for the MA dissertation but little has actually been done. I had better get in gear as in September I am launching a new course at college and free time may be a thing of the past :0)

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Two weeks to go!

Just two weeks until I jet off to Sardinia for new country no. 2! Very excited but the weightloss has slowed down somewhat. Not all going off the rails, just taking my eye off the ball. Haven't put any of the weight back on - but back to the exercise bike with vigour until the holiday!

Had a great few weeks and enjoyed some good adventures with friends and family. Had a great time on Sunday when I went with Tom and some of his friends to see Radiohead play in Manchester. It was an amazing gig which tops off a really good run of The Black Keys, Stephen Malkmus and Daniel Kitson in the last few months.

I've also become a bit obsessed with badge-making due to the arrival of my new badge-making machine. The perfect antidote to my crazy work schedule at the moment. Hooray for badges!!

Friday, 13 June 2008

I am a proper grown-up (almost) author!!

After much publisher-wrangling I have finally got a copy of my first book in my sweaty little mitts! Hooray! I co-wrote this epic with Dad and Sally Jewers and am right chuffed.
Please note this pic was taken after a rather exciting celebratory champagne lunch. Sadly this was the best of the bunch. The others are even more overbearingly self-congratulatory and in some cases offensive :0)
Wish I had made getting a book published one of my challenges now. Not much progress on the other goals but stuff it - I am an author!!!

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Race completed!

Yay! I did the Race for Life - although I was walking :0) Great fun day and raised £100 for the very good cause of Cancer Research. Pictured from L-R are Bess, Mum, Me & Mizue (Elke and Kaishi at the front).
Still have to book my driving lessons and start my MA dissertation (although I am at least enrolled on the programme with funding now!) Time to pull my finger out!
On the plus side I've lost another 2 lbs on the new diet (despite a few cheeky beers on a Big Night Out in Leeds) so well over the first half a stone. All in the right direction!
The book has just been published too. Should be getting copies delivered this Friday - can't wait to see it. Will post pics as soon as! Feeling right giddy now :0)

Sunday, 18 May 2008

3 more lbs gone!

Lost another 3 pounds this week! Two more days of the harsh part of the diet but hoping the loss continues at this rate. Fingers crossed!