This Week I Have Been Mostly….

this week i have been mostly

Hello Spring! I think…. it’s been bitter and raining, and even though we had a glorious spring-like day last week I fear that was our lot…

But I had a busy weekend, with a family wedding on the Saturday, lots of chores Sunday and then the weekend ended with a trip to the cinema to see Beauty and The Beast.

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And I think I’m the only person in the world not to enjoy it! We saw the film in 4DX which I usually enjoy, but this time around it seemed really unnecessary. I actually felt a little sea sick at parts. I enjoyed Emma Watson in the film, and Gaston and Le Fou were awesome, but the rest not so much. I didn’t like Emma Thompson as Mrs Potts, and I didn’t like the changes made to the original songs (time changes in Tale as Old as Time, whilst they danced) and the new songs were just major cringe. Sorry world, but I wasn’t won over.

I’ve spent a lot of time listening to Childish Gambino’s back catalogue this week. After hearing Redbone and LOVING it, and having recently completed watching Atlanta on Netflix, I have become a big fan of Donald Glover and his music is continuing to consistently impress me.

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Work has been tough and intense and trying to get things wrapped up ahead of my holiday next week, I’m focussing extra extra hard on leaving things in a good way before I disappear.

I’m so excited for my trip to Rome though, and I’m really looking forward to some sunshine and a slower pace for a few days. I’m also really looking forward to taking photos whilst I’m there. If you don’t already follow my instagram, then head over, because I’ve been sharing some of my favourite photos I’ve taken over the years and it’s been a great trip down memory lane.

I’ll be posting my Favourites a few days early this month, as it’ll be scheduled whilst we’re away – and then once I’m back I’ll tell you all about my holiday! But until then, fingers crossed for some more spring-like days – come on Britain, I know you can do it!

My Itchy Feet; A Blog About Possibility

This time of year, when we’ve all had some quality time off, we’ve woken up when we wanted, chosen what we were going to that day, been adequately lazy and then probably a little more lazy than that, and been completely our own bosses, it’s very hard to go back to work.

Yet, tomorrow we all get up at stupid o’clock and once again join the rat race.

This year seems a little harder for me since it’s the first year out of many that I haven’t had a holiday or big event to look forward to. And last year was a biggie as I had one of my best friend’s wedding and my 10 year anniversary to Disney World to look forward to.

Reading everyone’s 2017 blogs has got me yearning in the same way as I do most years.

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So this year I’m putting fingers to keys (because pen to paper seems so 2008) and I’m going to type out some things I really want, just so that I can be accountable for them. These aren’t necessarily things I want for next 12 months, but for years to come and who knows when I can start putting the wheels in motion. But here’s a start:

I want to properly learn a new language

Let’s face it, it’ll probably be French. I already have a basis in French and I find it the easiest to get to grips with. But I want to be able to confidently hold a conversation with someone in another language without getting flustered and confused.

I want to learn a new skill

For a while I thought maybe calligraphy, but I’m not artistic enough for that. Today I thought I might want to learn shorthand – so maybe I’ll look into that.

I want to get a degree

This is a big one. I’m aware of the work load – and that’s partly why I haven’t taken the leap yet. I really really want to learn Law. For years now I’ve loved the idea of going back to school and learning basic law and then doing a degree in criminal law. I know it’s a huge one, and I am aware it would be hard. Especially since there’s no way I can do without working full-time. Sometimes I feel like it might be too late, but then is it ever too late? I love the idea of using that part of my brain again and being good at something – at least I hope I’d be good at it. But it takes time, money and a LOT of energy so I know it’s not something I can just jump into.

I want to travel

For a long time Gary and I have wanted to take a month off, travel, even just go to New York, rent a place for a while and live there. I’d love to be creative in a place like that. One thing I mention a lot is travelling the UK and taking photos of the kind of places no one takes pictures of. Then making a living selling those photos. It’s a big dream, but again it means taking time off work or leaving work and then how do you fund it. I’m seeing a lottery win in my future…..

So there’s a little insight to my itchy feet. Who knows what the future holds – but for now all bets are off and nothing’s off the table. It’s frustrating but at least I’m happy in the knowledge that any or all of these thing are possible eventually. I just need to work hard to get there!

Of Calories and Scrapes

Well the beautiful Spring weather has disappeared and been replaced with freezing wind and torrential rain again. This commenced on the first day of Spring – oh the irony.

Still we have continued to run and continued to make the most of being outside when we can even if it does mean bringing out the running gloves I so naively put away.

The tail end of last week was spent getting used to the new office we have moved to at work and training. The weekend was relaxed because we didn’t have anything specific planned other than my getting a hair cut. It was really great to see my hairdresser because for one reason or another we hadn’t seen each other since August last year, so my appointment flew by as we caught up with everything that had gone on – which was a lot!

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After that we headed to Boots because I needed some more blusher. And I’m sad to say that after 15 years of continuous use and replacement, Rimmel have discontinued my blusher shade. So I bought something I thought was close. It’s fine but not as warm a shade as I would have liked. #firstworldproblems I also bought something I’ve been wanting to try for a while now, Stila One Step Colour Corrector. It’s a face serum that promises to correct the green/pink colours in the face to make a more even skin tone. The reviews I had read were amazing, saying that this was so good people had stopped wearing foundation because of it. Well I don’t wear foundation but have a very uneven skin tone so really couldn’t wait to try it. I will write a review of it soon, but I have to say here and now that I’m impressed.

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On Sunday we started the day with a run around very windy Willen Lake followed by a leisurely 3 course lunch at the new casino. Their restaurant is lovely and really well priced. It felt very civilised. It was also a really bad day to start using My Fitness Pal to track our meals. Sunday was an uncharacteristcally heavy food day so we had a bit of a shock once we’d entered our lunch! Three days in and I realise I’ve been overeating on rest days and on those days need to cut down on the carbs. Plus I really have to increase my protein intake. It’s been really interesting but hard work entering all the foods (thank heavens you can scan the barcodes!). I’m hoping that after a couple of weeks I’ll get a true picture of what I’m eating against what I’m training.

Yesterday I was planned in for my long run after work, 8 miles. It was a bit of a scary distance to I’d mentally prepared myself and by 2.5 miles I was feeling really positive that I’d make it. And then I tripped. One of my biggest running fears has always been tripping whilst running because I’d fallen so many times as a kid whilst just walking that I knew it would hurt badly if I was running. The pavements along one stretch of the route we run on are very uneven tarmac and paving slabs. Mix this with the fact that my right leg drags slightly when it gets tired and you have the perfect tripping combo – which I did and splatted spectacularly on the pavement. Gary was up ahead and didn’t see me fall but said he heard the thud of me hitting the ground even over the top of the music in his earbuds. That was enough for me, and just 2.7 miles in I had to hobble home. I’d deeply scraped up my right hand where I’d put it out to save myself, my left hand a little, both my knees and my left hip. My hip took most of the fall so sleeping last night I felt like there was an egg attached to my side and today my whole left side aches. It’s made doing anything with my hands really tricky today…. Thankfully because of the cold weather I was wearing long running tights and they stayed intact and protected my skin to a massive extent. Only 5 minutes earlier I’d taken my gloves off and if I’d have left them on I wouldn’t have hurt my hands at all. At least now I can say I’ve had my first running fall and even though I never want to do it again it’s done now (and not as bad as Mo Farah’s was – but then he runs a tad faster than me!)

Something that’s made me feel good this week was receiving an email from an area manager of the company I worked at previously. I had mentioned to her that instead of me leaving the company at the end of my temp contract they should just open me a shop in Watford to manage. At the time she pretty much laughed in my face because that location wouldn’t work for the brand. Yesterday I got an email from her telling me that they will be opening a store in this location and she’d like to meet up with me to discuss it. I’ve replied and told her I’m happy where I am, but it was lovely to get that email and know that I’d made enough of an impression for her to remember me at the very least but then for her to email me about it. I felt a little smug, I must say.

So for the rest of the week, it’s a rest day tomorrow and then I’m going to attempt my long run on Thursday which should have given my wounds enough time to heal so I can get back to it. That 8 miles has my name all over it.

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Back to Life

It was a busy and odd week last week since it was my first week back after moving. I’m doing all the same things as part of my normal routine, but from a different house, and a house that isn’t the way I want it yet. So it’s just a bit weird! Work has been fine and it’s nice to get back and have a giggle whilst doing serious work, of course. I also received Katy Perry’s new album ‘Prism’. It’s really rather good. Not a huge departure from the last one, but different enough and enjoyable. I recommend a listen! (Dark Horse is rather good!)

This weekend has been a busy and tiring but a lot of fun. The weekend started with a brisk run in the windy weather with Gary and Jen. This windy weather is being given weather warnings by the Met Office. It was a little hard to get my breath and my chest was burning. I’m only really used to running in humid and warm temperatures. Yes, it was still warm but how do you breathe when the wind is so dry? Tips please?

The run went well and we treated ourselves to fish and chips for dinner. At this point in time we don’t have a cooker (hopefully Monday!) So for about 3 weeks we’ve been living on ready meals and microwave dinners. Not ideal and I’m gagging for something crunchy! Chip shop chips are a little luxury at the moment.

Saturday morning we woke up late and put on our moving clothes – we had to go back to the old house and clean it. We’re handing the keys back on Friday so this was our last chance. Once in the house I felt totally overwhelmed by the amount we had to do. Yes, I do clean my house but after the moving of furniture and emptying of the house the job was huge. Things like cleaning the fridge and oven that you wouldn’t do too often, and also the garden which had started to over grow since we moved out, looked like a massive challenge. So I called in the cavalry. My friend Jen is a bit of a Monica – she adores cleaning. When she found out I had to clean the old house she offered to help and on Friday night after our run reminded me that she was free. So I called her and along she came with her box of tricks. And boy were we grateful!

Seriously, I was so impressed with her little tips and tricks on how to get stainless steel to a shine and glass without a smear. She should have her own tv show! She buzzed around the house singing to herself and seemingly getting a lot of satisfaction out of getting rid of the grime.

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Jen in my old shower

Jen, Gary and I whipped the house into shape, and whilst we finished it off, Gary went off and bought us some lunch. Eating lunch on our empty old living room floor, Jen got to hear a small taster of the noise from the neighbours who made our time in that house so miserable for the last few years. With Jen’s help we were done way faster than we should have been – epicness!

Once we’d finished at the house Gary and I headed home for a sit down. I had about an hour relax before I had to hop it out of the house and over to Jen’s. We had some partying to do! Our friend Sarah had a birthday a few weeks ago and since she lives in London, we hadn’t had the chance to celebrate yet. Sarah travelled home for the weekend so we could party!

Jen cooked us a lovely dinner (I was gagging for an oven cooked meal!) of chicken pasta bake with loads of crunchy melted cheese on top. It was amazing!

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After dinner we had cocktails and watched The X-Factor and chatted, and had more cocktails. Then we headed to Pink Punters. I’d never been before, but Pinks is a very popular Gay, Lesbian, Transgender club very local to me. It’s an amazing place. It’s got an outside bar area with massive open fires and food. Inside the club there’s a couple of rooms and bars with strobes and lasers and the music ranges from current to older. There’s a professional photographer going around taking photos of people too, and last night there were an awful lot of zombies and corpse brides going around for Halloween. We had a great time dancing, but I’m old and boring so I only stayed about an hour and a half before I got Gary to collect me. I’d had a great time with Jen and Sarah though, they’s ma girlies 😀

Sarah & Jen with me at Pinks
Sarah & Jen with me at Pinks

I realised why I was feeling so tired this morning when I woke with a full-blown cold. Yay for me! Last night the clocks went back too so we got an extra hour in bed. After peeling myself off the mattress I managed to write the shopping list and head to the supermarket. Another week of eating ready meals? I hope not. I’m looking forward to cooking a roast dinner next week and there’s a chilli in one of Nigella’s cookery books I’m eager to make. Let me cook! The rest of the day I’ve been melted on the sofa. I actually fell back asleep as soon as I had finished eating my lunch. I must have needed it because now I’m feeling a little rested, but ache all over because of mowing the lawn and cleaning yesterday. I’m a delicate flower!

Next week it’s back to training and hopefully working on the house some more. Getting back into a routine in the new house, and clearing down the rubbish we’ve accumulated during the unpacking. I’m super excited about next Friday night – Halloween party with the Book Club, and yes I have my outfit sorted! Can’t wait!

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Mini Catch Up

So I’ve completed a week and a half of my new job and have ridden to work on my bike 3 times so far. Both are enjoyable though I’m enjoying the job more than the biking. I just get quite tired legs and I’m worried how it’s effecting my running.

The job is really good though. I’m learning a lot and feel this week that I’m getting the hang of stuff I learned last week and putting them into practice. I can see a plan for my job going forward and feel like I can really take control of the areas that I need to. It’s all good!

I’m loving working with my bezzy friend again and the other people in the office are really nice and I get on with them well. I’m even bonding with the office dog 😀

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My latest runs have been disasters. I have been so tired and my brain hasn’t been into it, and I’m starting to get a little concerned about my 10k which is looming. But Gary’s really supporting me and has devised a plan for me to follow. And he’s going to follow it with me as far as I can tell! I couldn’t do this without his support.

Last night we went to Willen Lake Peace Pagoda for a Hiroshima Day memorial. It was very calming and interesting and at the end lit lanterns were floated onto the lake. It was really nice to watch.

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The coming weekend is packed full with stuff to do and get done so I’m sure I’ll have a fun-filled blog for you at some point on Sunday!

Enjoy the rest of your week!

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I Like to Ride My Bicycle, I Like to Ride My Bike

I briefly mentioned, in my last post, an ill-fated bike ride and promised an explanation so here it is. I have a driving license but I’m über frightened of driving at the moment. I lost all confidence as soon as I passed my test and now have an intense fear of dying or killing someone else, or both.

Since changing jobs I knew I would need to actually make it to the office in one piece, and so I tried some driving but scared myself (and Gary) and so have decided I need to get some refresher lessons from someone who can deal with an anxious driver. In the mean time, however, I still need to get to work. Hence the bike.

I didn’t own one of my very own, so I borrowed my Sister-in-Law’s Raleigh and decided to test the route to work a couple of Thursdays ago. For those who don’t know Milton Keynes, when they built the town they made it so you could get anywhere by bike or on foot without having to use or cross main roads. They created a system of bike paths called Redways (wide paths of red tarmac) which went alongside and then underneath the main roads creating a network of bike paths across the whole New City. Having grown up in Milton Keynes I took these paths for granted, but since I decided to bike to work, I’ve had to explain what I mean to a lot of people when I say I’m travelling to work via Redway.

I hopped on the bike and headed towards the roads in the direction I knew I would need to go in. Now, I’m usually driven or directed places so many people don’t realise one thing about me: I’m severely directionally challenged. These redways don’t make things easy either because you’re riding UNDERNEATH the roads you’re used to seeing and the signs along the way aren’t that clear. Plus if you don’t know the estates you’re meant to be passing on your way then you’re screwed. Which I was. An hour-long journey (half an hour there and half an hour back) took me two and a half hours, a whole bottle of water, lots of sweat (I decided to wear a jumper for some reason…..) and a few phone calls to Gary – which ended with him coming to pick me and the bike up about 10 mins from home because I just couldn’t ride any more. Disaster. But since I’d made it to the office eventually and I now knew the rough journey, I knew I couldn’t let it put me off.

The next day Gary asked if he could borrow his Brother-in-Law’s bike so we could try the route again, this time together, and we headed for a bike shop so I could buy my own! This is the one we bought in the end:

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It’s so pretty! I knew I’d have a few days to wait until it arrived but from the photo it looked lovely. Having only seen a photo in the shop, as they didn’t have the model in stock, I just had to trust that the salesman knew what he was doing.

Our second test run to the office was much better. I realised areas where I went wrong and Gary, who is much better with a map, helped me along. I also got an amazing tan from this bike ride! The journey there took about 35 mins. The journey back took an hour because by the time I’d got there I was knackered and we quickly realised that the ride back was mostly up hill. Doh! Never mind, we did it!

My bike arrived mid-week last week (it’s beautiful and rides amazingly well) and I rode it to work on Friday. The ride to work was brilliant. Certainly woke me up! It took me a shorter time than I expected so I arrived at work earlier than I’d of liked but it was fine. It gave me time to freshen up before I started work. I got a little turned around on the way back and it was really hot again, but I made it home. One fun thing was that my Mum had seen me on my ride into work as she was waiting at a large roundabout in her car and had seen me riding alongside the main road. Pretty cool!

I’m going to have to work on my driving because come autumn/winter the conditions won’t be good enough for me to bike 4 miles into work and back every day, but for now I’m enjoying it. It’s keeping me fit, which I need now I’m in a sit down job, and strengthening my legs for my running.

It’s a win-win!

For those wondering, I’m really enjoying my new job and learning so much, and I’ll write more about that soon 🙂

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The Big Chill Out

Saturday at 6.30pm began the Big Chill Out. Yes it included a 5k race on Sunday BUT that was my choice 🙂

After work on Saturday, which was my last shift at my current job, we went with some of my work colleagues to the pub over the road and got some food and drinks and had a good natter. It was really chilled and informal and relaxed. Exactly my style. Earlier in the day I’d been given and lovely card, some cookie cutters and a year’s subscription to Runner’s World magazine! They know me well 🙂

On my way home from the meal we stopped into my Mum and Dad’s house. My Dad had just come back home after his spell in hospital and it was so good to see him comfortable and relaxed in his own chair at home.

On Sunday, after our race (which you can read about in my previous blog post) we had to get home a for a bath and then we headed straight out to get some lunch. By this time it was almost 2pm and we were starving, both craving greasy food – bad news! We headed to Buddies Diner and I had sausage and mash with gravy. Perfect post run food – a massive plate of mashed potato was very welcomed! Then we had to do our week’s food shopping and we only had an hour by this time to do it before they shut! But we made it and we headed home and collapsed, both exhausted!

Monday was mostly taken up with the news that it was to be the hottest day of the year and that Kate Middleton was in hospital about to have her baby. The morning had actually been quite chilly but by 11am it was hot. Mum and I decided to have a wander around Woburn town and see what the little shops had to offer, but most of them had either shut down or were closed on Mondays. So after a little mooch we headed into Woburn Abbey. Here we had a scone and a drink and then wondered about the gardens.

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It was so pretty and really really hot.

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By the time we left it was about 31 degrees. On our way out we followed some amazing deer.

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Later in the day they announced that Kate had had a little boy – I was sure it would be a girl! We’re waiting to see them today and hear what the baby is called, but I have my money on Alexander (Alex).  We had some amazing rain for all of 2 minutes last night and so far we’ve had a little thunder and lightning and rain. It’s still humid so I’m hoping for more!

Just before I sign off I want to mention some cakes I made last week, Cinnamon Rolls, using a recipe from Pinterest.

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This was the first time I’ve made them and they were totes amazeballs. You must try them!

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Hotter than Hell

Bravo England, you successfully had the coldest spring in history and now it’s Summer and hotter than hell! I’m really enjoying it so far – but saying that I’ve been at work for the last 2 weeks (including weekends) so haven’t really had much to do with it.

I have been thankful that my shop is air-conditioned! Today I’m having a much deserved day off and have already cleaned the house, mown the lawn and then been out for breakfast. Good day so far!

I’m in my last week at my current job and so begins a week of ‘lasts’. I have two shifts left after today and then I have a week off to enjoy the weather and relax before I start my new one – and I have a fully booked week! Ironically it was 3 years ago this Friday that I left this company the first time around!

It’s been a stressful two weeks at work but, on her return from her honeymoon, my manager seems to think I did a good job. It certainly kept my mind off things. My Dad went into hospital at the end of last week and it appears his Chemo has been attacking his body and he has liver failure. As of yesterday he is improving. We’re taking each day as it comes, but the heat wave isn’t making his hospital stay any better. We’re hoping he’ll be allowed out soon.

Sunday is my second 5k race. The weather for the last two weekends has been nearing 30c, but this Sunday they’re forecasting 24c. Let’s hope it doesn’t creep up! I haven’t been able to train for about a week since the weather has been too hot, and before that I crippled my toe. My toe is very much better (just a little bruised) and I’m forcing myself out for a run this evening. I will be a big sweaty mess by the end but if I can train in this heat it’ll make racing in it easier.

So that’s it for now. I’m going to go back to being lazy now 🙂

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All Change

My job contract ends very soon. When I moved back to my current company it was to get my foot in the door, on a maternity contract. I knew it was the right move to make – I wasn’t done with that company yet. I’ve learned a lot and got to stretch my legs in a higher role with a company I love. But it didn’t go the way I’d hoped, the person who went on Mat leave is coming back and there are no job opportunities for me.

BUT

one of my best friends contacted me a few weeks ago and told me about a position in her company that was coming up which she thought I’d be perfect for. It’s an admin job and I’ve wanted to get into admin for ages and ages. I went and interviewed on Tuesday and yesterday found out I got the job! I’ve finished my journey with my current employers. I don’t regret a moment of it, but I’m really ready for something different.

It’s going to change my life. Honestly. That sounds dramatic, but I’ve never had a Monday to Friday job with regular hours. Weekends and Bank Holidays off. I’ll get time with G Man at the weekends and my evenings will be free for running and I can now join a gym!

It also means that now I have a permanent job we can start house hunting properly. I have three weeks left at my job, a week off and then I start the new one. I can’t wait.

Sometimes I hate change but I LOVE this one. Things are on the up!

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This Week I Have Been Mostly…..

Watching: I saw this movie this week

It’s called Mama and it’s amazing! If you like scary and slightly supernatural movies you’ll love it. Dark and gritty, it stars Jessica Chastain and some incredibly talented little girls. This is definitely a film I will be wanting to own and will watch again.

Reading:

The Death of Bees by Lisa O’Donnell. It’s set in Scotland and is written from the perspective of two young girls whose parents are (were) junkies – until they died and their kids had to bury them in the garden. It’s an easy read but the content is very well written and intriguing.

Resting: I did my knee in on my last two runs so have been taking advice and resting, icing and stretching over the last two days. I’m back on the pavement this evening though, but hoping to run a flat course to give my knee a bit of a rest. I’ve also found a running club which goes from near my work every Wednesday and is free! If I can sync my work schedule to allow it I’d love to start running with them. We went and had a sneak peek of them as they left yesterday evening and it looks like a really nice bunch (there were about 70 of them, AND it was raining! Gee whiz!)

Dreaming: Of the future and where I’ll be in 6 months. Everything is up in the air. We wanted to be out of our house by Christmas but with my job being so uncertain this is looking less and less likely. Still it’s only just coming up to June so we can hope. I’d also like to do something for my 30th in August but who knows if I’ll be earning then.

Spending: in my mind.

OPI Couture de Minnie

This new range of OPI colours has just launched and I’d really like it. I missed the last Minnie Mouse range because by the time I could get it, it had sold through. This range has a liquid sand option and the glitter top coat is so pretty. The set of minis and the glitter top coat are on my amazon wish list so I’ll be getting them as soon as I can – or it might go on my birthday list!

Learning: about people and myself and growing as a manager at work. I’m finding it really rewarding to have worked with so many different managers this year. I’m able to take elements of all their styles and work on my own and make myself better. It’s been very unsettled at work because of all the change but I’m using it to better myself – who knows where I’ll be this time next year so I might as well reap the benefits!

Waiting:

for Sunday when I’ll be seeing Al Pacino at the London Palladium, in An Evening With Al Pacino. I’m really excited!

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