Saturday, 30 November 2013

Looking Back Over November

A little round up of favourite moments of November 2013. Thank goodness for camera phones.

  • Watching the leaves turn, and disappear
  • Getting out the Winter woollies and heading to Sefton Park's firework display
  • Games night with friends and snug nights on the couch with Lottie and Bruce
  • Marking 12 years since my dad died with a family day of bowling and laughter
  • After work walks and Christmas cups
  • Baking. This one is Nigella's chocolate and raspberry cake. Icing sugar over the top... 
  • Being treated to an after work spa night at The Club and Spa and a meal at Marco Pierre White
  • Heading to New Orleans for a conference and returning with a suitcase full of sweets
  • Christmas crafting, starting with homemade Christmas cards  
  • My brother turning 25. Actually cannot believe he is so old, and lets forget for just a moment that I'm actually older than him!

This month seems to have whizzed by. In fact, this whole semester has whizzed by. BUT, with my last lecture now under my belt I can start to wind down and prepare for Christmas. Hoo-rah!

Friday, 29 November 2013

Skin & Blister's #ShareAdvent

Earlier this year I followed Florence Finds' #JanuaryJoy and it was a whole lot of fun. It also encouraged me to engage with this space as my digital diary, as I had originally intended it to be, reflecting on each of Rebecca's prompts and finding ways to stay positive against potential post-Christmas blues. It was also great to see how other people had interpreted the prompts and read about what they got up to. I found some beautiful blogs through #JanuaryJoy.

This December, I plan to follow Anna at Skin & Blister's #ShareAdvent. The idea is to try to follow a daily prompt, and there's some fantastic ones! I'm really looking forward to it and also hope that it encourages me to 1) enjoy the little things 2) practice my photography 3) be a better blogger 4) take a break from work. All good things in my book! Here are Anna's prompts.

Sunday 8th will be our 2013 tree putting up day - possibly one of my favourite days of the year, and I already have a little something planned for 'the joy is in the giving'. It all kick starts on Sunday with "Joy to the World". Thinking caps on...

Find out more about #ShareAdvent here. Are you planning to join in? I'd love to see what you get up to.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

NOLA-mber: Presentations, Pecans & Po-Boys

I am just back from a four night work trip to New Orleans where I attended a research conference. It was a really great conference which provided a (much needed) enthusiasm and confidence boost for my research. New Orleans had hosted the same annual conference two years ago and I was lucky enough to attend then, too. I was excited to go back and take better advantage of being in this vibrant city. 
I ate my fill of pralines and pecan pie, dipped in and out of bars with live music, went to a fantastic jazz brunch, admired the pretty (and the bizzare) in little antique stores in the French Quarter, had a po-boy, went for a morning stroll down Bourbon Street (having witnessed it on a Saturday night last time!) and took a trip to the Garden District on the traditional St. Charles street car. Honestly, I did attend conference sessions - I even presented! I had tried to travel light and didn't take my SLR camera but I still managed to snap away using my phone.
I really enjoyed the chance to visit New Orleans again. I wish M had been able to take the time off to come with me - I think he'd have really enjoyed it. It also gave me the time to think and make plans, generally. The two 16 hour journeys alone left more than enough time to reevaluate various things that have happened over the past couple of months and to get excited about future plans. Sometimes, the thing you need most is some time to yourself, to see new and exciting things. This reminded me of Kaplan and Kaplan's research on restorative environments and the need for us to be fascinated, as a way of overcoming fatigue. They consider natural environments, but New Orleans fascinated me. The trip was a break from routine and the long to-do lists and gave me opportunities to renew my enthusiasm for my work, and for my life in general. Thanks, NOLA!

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