*taps* is this thing still on?

So uh, “At least one post a month” didn’t really work, did it? Yikes.

 

You know what else didn’t work?

“I have enjoyed my job with the NT and am genuinely looking forward to going back once the season begins!” (Me, January)

Weee-elllll. A combination of a weak application on my part and really well experienced candidates means I didn’t actually end up back with the National Trust.

I’ll be real, it was a shock and briefly upsetting. But hey, two years with a fantastic organisation, a lovely manager and a chance to work in beautiful surroundings, what could be better?

Well, a fantastic organisation, a lovely manager, a chance to work in beautiful surroundings – and a permanent contract! The day I got my rejection email, I started job searching and – taking on board the feedback from NT – filled in an application with English Heritage that very day (in fact the last day the applications were open!).

Didn’t I just get the job?

I’m so pleased – I loved working at NT, but my new role with EH encompasses elements of both the jobs I did at NT and more, so it’s really fulfilling and a chance to learn new skills. I get to move around the site a lot more and that involves toddling between a 19th century mansion and a 14th century castle via a Grade-1 Listed quarry garden. So it’s not bad really!

This shifting from one job to another goes to show you’ll end up where you’re meant to be, even if things don’t seem that way initially.

 

In other positive news – guess what I’ve done?

 

Sent in my very last essay with the Open University! Now, whatever result I get, I’m gonna be a graduate! After 5 years, I have a degree!

 

Just as anyone that’s undertaken formal education, a lot of what I’ve learnt has been about myself and my learning methods. I don’t think it’s been until this very last year that I’ve truly believed in myself and my academic abilities – despite doing very respectably at every level of education, I’ve fostered a massive impostor syndrome. I don’t think I’ve ever appreciated all the skills I’ve gained and the work I’ve put into learning, until this last course. In a way that’s sad – I don’t think I’ve gotten as much out of my learning journey so far because I haven’t seen myself as a ‘real’ learner. On the other hand, I have a degree!

 

One of the hardest things of this degree has been doing it at home – I found time management and motivation very difficult and it has been quite lonely, without many physical meetings with other students. However, when I did actually go to a brick and mortar university, I had those same issues – and was even more lonely because I was surrounded by lots of people but very few friends.

 

I am hoping to go to a uni for a masters degree, hopefully all the lessons I’ve learnt along the way will see me in good stead!

 

I have plenty more to say (it’s been 6 months after all!), but I’ll save it for another post! I’ll end with a photo of a bluebell that I took earlier, since it’s so gorgeous!

 

bluebelll

 

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Reflections and Resolutions

Well! 2016 is here and as you might imagine, I have a few resolutions!

But before I get to that, my favourite photos from my instagram + some reflections on the year:

 

 

  • I moderated my first panel at a con this year! I had a lot of fun and I think it went well. Certainly helped my confidence for speaking in public in the future 🙂
  • I completed another module with the OU and am now working on my final module! I can’t believe this journey is finally, finally coming to an end!
  • I dyed my hair blue and green again! These are my favourite colours for my hair, and I’m so pleased with how good they look on me.
  • I think I have made sure to consider and enjoy my surroundings even more this year.
  • I have enjoyed my job with the NT and am genuinely looking forward to going back once the season begins! I know it is a blessing to enjoy my job so much.
  • I think my communication skills have increased over the year – and since I think clear communication is the real key to positive relationships, I am glad about this.

 

So, now some resolutions for 2016!

  • Update this blog at least once a month! Even if it is just “These are the clothes I want and these are the photos you’ve already seen on Instagram!”, I like having a blog and writing things. Even inane things.
  • I want to stop second guessing my right to say things and to take up space  – I’m not the smartest, the wittiest, the most original, or indeed the -est of anything. But I don’t need to be superlative to still contribute – and I enjoy rambling on and interacting with people, and the only way to do that is to take up space (physical, virtual, etc).
  • I want to consume in a more aware and considered manner. Not just material goods like clothes or books, but the food and drink I put into my body. I would like the choices I make to be actual choices, not habits or mindless consumption.
  • At the end of the year, I would like to be rid of my dependence on soda, sweets, chocolate and junk food – they fulfill emotional needs in me and I overindulge in all of them but I would prefer not to.
  • I want to continue being open to new experiences and learning opportunities, whatever form they may take.

 

So how was your 2015? Have you got any resolutions? Do you have any real hope of accomplishing them? 😉

Life: It plods along

Oh gosh, it’s been a while, hasn’t it? I had meant to post a Nine Worlds review (I had fun on my panels, loved talking to people and making new or stronger friendships, feel increasingly like actual con-going fandom is not really a reflection of me or my interests but I can’t resist the people in it), I’d meant to post a few clothes hauls, I’d meant to talk about the films I’ve seen.

But I haven’t done any of those things, and frankly it’s ridiculous to procrastinate from my own blog! I’m pretty sure not a one of you really cares what I post up here, or whether anyone is overly fussed if there’s another post here or not. And frankly, that’s pretty freeing!

I guess here’s an update on my hair colour (even though I’m gonna change it next week, not sure what to!)

hurrr

So anyway, I feel like I’m coming into a period of change – my seasonal job at the National Trust is over for another year, and I had an absolutely fantastic time! It was a job which mainly involved being an welcoming and friendly person for 15 hours a week, which, if anyone has met me, is so obviously my jam! It’s also been a great confidence builder and has really improved my social interaction skills.

Skills which I put into use at the the i’s fifth birthday party! (for those not in the know, the i is the digest version of the Independant newspaper. It has a great puzzles and crossword page!) Mum had scored us tickets, so we dutifully went down to that London (with a stop at Whitby for the Sunday of the goth weekend!), dressed in our glad rags and drank some free wine. I chatted to complete strangers, including the Independent and Evening Standard’s economic commentator. It was a lovely evening, in a lovely setting.

Currently I’m waiting to start a new temp job – my local Marks & Sparks and trying to use the time in an academically sensible way. I’m only partially succeeding, but I have submitted my first assignment for my latest and last OU Module – Literature From Shakespeare to Austen. I don’t know how good this assignment is, but my fingers are crossed that overall I’ll be able to scrounge up a 2:1 for this course, as it’ll mean I gain a 2:1 overall for the degree, which will be an asset for the latest decision I’ve come to…

For a long time I’ve felt as though my future has been drifting aimlessly and that I’ve had very little control of where I may end up. I just haven’t felt equipped to come to any kind of decision about any career to go for or education to attain… But recently that’s changed! I’ve decided that I’m going to go on to get an MA (if my marks allow me), preferably in Early Modern English Literature. I’d like to be a teacher, eventually.

And if all that falls through and I’m unable to get the marks I want, then I guess it’s another year of seasonal National Trust work as I figure out some new path. I do feel more comfortable though – the careers I want are either educational or within the heritage industry, and now that I know that, I can work towards those goals. I don’t feel so lost anymore, which, after nearly 27 years, is pretty great!

And before I go, one moment of blatant consumerism. After seeing these beautiful chocolate knee-boots on Naomi of Diamonds ‘n’ Pearls, I had to get a pair for myself! But brown is a rare sight in my wardrobe, so I grabbed some black ones!

boooots

Sole Diva Cowboy Boots –  £55, Simply Be.

Now, to me, these are expensive boots, although I will grant that they are eminently reasonable for what they are. I got the 9EEE Extra Curvy Plus fit and they fit me alright – my calves are about 5-10mm too large, but they will go on (the ankles are a hint baggy and the boots are not quite as high as they might otherwise be), however I knew that might be a problem when I purchased them as the size guide is pretty accurate. Still, I’m very happy with them! They look good on, the heel isn’t too high for me (I’m not a heel wearer!) and I can’t wait for an opportunity to wear them! As a bit of a statement purchase, I have to say I’m pleased!

How is everyone else?

A little life update

Yiiiikes, I know it’s been a while between updates on this blog, so I figured, what about a quick general life update?

 

  • At the end of February, my Mum and I took advantage of some cheap rail tickets and had a quick visit to London! We had a great time visiting Kew Gardens and enjoyed the orchid display there:
mum and me

Mum and me selfie!

orchid

The very best part of the trip though? My niece was born! Bless her, she had a hard time of it, but now 5 months later she’s doing so well! Little AK-Danger is the cutest baby ever! No pictures, so you’ll have to take my word for it!

 

  • In late March/early April, I left my old job as a retail monkey with a large DIY/trade supplier and began a new retail job with the National Trust. Although I had no issues with my old job, I am really happy I made this change! My new work environment is beautiful, and the team I’m a part of is very positive and supportive, which makes it a lovely place to work. Unfortunately this job is a step down in hours and pay, but this has meant I’ve got the time to volunteer in the stately home on the estate. This has also been a wonderful experience – it’s been improving my communication skills and I’ve been learning lots about the place where I work. The only fly in the ointment with all of this is the fact that the job is temporary, until late December. Still, it’s fantastic experience and I feel I suit this job much better than I did my old one.

Oh – and I get to wear skirts to work! No more uncomfortable jeans, unless I so choose 😉

yes, I like my job so much I bought a hat with the logo!

yes, I like my job so much I bought a hat with the logo!

 

  • I went to Eastercon! Eastercon is an annual SF/F convention and it’s definitely one I have a soft spot for. This year was particularly exciting, as I was on a panel! We chatted about fandom and fic and it was lots of fun. In fact, the entire con was a lot of fun this year, I think because it was in Glasgow it was a bit smaller than some of the previous ones, but I think that made for a nice, friendly atmosphere. I’m really looking forward to next year’s Eastercon – Dysprosium, which will be held in London.
part of one of the crafty panels, where I made a bitchin flower!

part of one of the crafty panels at Eastercon, where I made a bitchin flower!

 

  • I recently finished my modules on the Open University for this academic year! I didn’t enjoy either module as much as I’d hoped, and I worry that that has affected my scores. For one module I gained a Level 3 pass, which is equivalent to a 2:2, if I understand correctly. For the other module I’ve yet to get my result, but my fingers are crossed for a Level 2 pass! I’ve also signed up for two Level 3 modules, which will begin in October – Shakespeare: Text and Performance  and also Myth in the Classical World. It’s going to be a lot of work (equivalent to your final year at Uni, I think), but I’m hoping that I shall be able to cope. Part of the reason I was so happy to get my new job is that I felt the hours would be more conducive to studying. And who knows, if all goes well, this time next year I shall have a degree! Live in hope, eh?

 

As well as those fairly big events, I’ve had tons of days out here and there and I’ve been busily acquainting myself with a new fandom – ice hockey! Still trying to figure out an NHL team to support, I started with Toronto, but I’m now favouring Montreal and Columbus… I’ll see how they shape up next season, I guess.

 

Oh, I’m going to do a bigger post about this soon, but I’m also going to Nine Worlds and Worldcon next month, and I’ll be on panels in both! That’s very exciting for me, although I’m still pretty nervous! I’m sure it’ll go ok though, right?

 

I think that’s enough selfies/rambling, so I’ll leave it here. What have you been up to? Any new or exciting changes in your life?