milestone: a sigh of relief

June 9th, 2017

I walked out of my Beginner Korean exam at 15:18 feeling such a torrent of emotions, mostly elation at the idea that I would never have to take a university exam again.

I can’t say I won’t ever have any form of test for the rest of my life because we’re meant to keep learning and testing ourselves… but that aside, I am done.

AIN’T NO PARTY LIKE AN EXAMS OVER PARTY.

(okay, that’s my burst of excitement crazy moment over 😀 )

As life is never simple – and why should it be? – I got into my little car and darted down the M1, A38 and along the A50 until I reached my grandparents’ house. I am leaving my car there for the summer as I fly to Canada on my birthday to spend some time with my parents.

Calgary is also one of those places where not many people venture to so I have no excuses to not write my dissertation which is due at the beginning of September. The past few months have felt like a massive countdown clock has been ticking above me. Despite going on small adventures here and there, my mind has been churning up a storm. I really hope that tonight is a night of proper sleep where I don’t dream about everything going wrong and ending up in really bizarre situations. I also relish in the fact that I just have time for the small things. I recently read an article about making plans and how cancelling or postponing them affects our wellbeing. I seem to find that I always have unread messages. But I’m not saying that I’m popular in the slightest, but I admit that I just don’t respond to messages immediately anymore. I am replying days later and it is not something I feel good about. So now, a new leaf can be turned, one that involves my head having the free space to communicate. Hallelujah.

In a roundabout way, I am grateful to past-Georgie for making the decisions that I have and am proud that I’ve stuck it out. I make it sounds like doing a master’s degree is the worst thing on the planet… It definitely is not and I have learnt so much from it. Yet, sometimes going against the grain of your own instinct is harder than taking another suitable path which follows the unknown and is so intimidating.

Nevertheless, 66% of my course is done. YIPPEE.

Life is about living, and making mistakes and achievements along the way.

2017 has definitely been a year for change, not just for me, nor our country following this election, but for some of my friends. With your new jobs and/or new adventures, I am so happy for you. ❤

I am so lucky to have such amazing friends across the world and in the UK who have been so supportive. I listened to a whatsapp audio message on the train from a old school friend who’s also doing a master’s and I just couldn’t help grinning. Thank you to you guys, whether you ever read my blog or not, for putting up with me and being just flipping amazing. ❤

Tomorrow morning I’m running in Wollaton Park for the MS society for my grandpa who is doing so amazingly well despite the challenges he faces. I’m absolutely stunned by the generosity of both friends and family and have surpassed my target by 190% !! Thank you so so much, it definitely means I can’t sneakily back out now… I only hope it doesn’t pour with rain… Danny assures me that we receive a medal at the end but all I wish for the at the finish line is a fresh glass of prosecco.

What can I say, turning 23 is meant to be bubbly fun, right?

GL
xxx

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#BBG pre-training: getting in the “zone”

Monday is now known to me as legs & cardio’ day.

Wednesday is ‘arms & abs’ day.

&

Friday is ‘full body workout’ day.

The days in-between are for more low-intensity workouts which I’m using to start to train my body to like and even I dare to hope, enjoy running.

I have seen soooooo many posts on instagram about Kayla Itsines ‘bikini body guide’ and even though it seems that the true results only show after at least a year of maintaining this routine… the transformation is just fantastic. Other fitness ladies I follow are @carlyrowena, @sarahsday and @gains4girls [all on insta] just to get inspiration and tips on how to eat well, do some fun exercises and even get some general advice about skin care ideas or just daily bits and bobs. They have also released or are about to release fitness guides so stay tuned if you’re interested but want to have comparisons to Kayla’s!

So here I go, with my printed workouts, ready to go to the gym, or even at home if it’s a better use of time or when I’m out of town.

The Monday week 1 session started just like that

I had stayed at my grandparents’ house over the weekend as it was a bank holiday and even when I returned to Sheffield, the gym wasn’t going to be open. Fortunately, as I’m doing the pre-12 weeks training guide workouts (which is four weeks) and I feel that it is pretty tame at the moment and no weights or equipment was desperately needed.  The house has a large set of steps running up to it so I was able to do step ups using those. I probably looked funny but I trekked across the large driveway completely my set of walking lunges, I went around the cars and created my own little pattern… ya gotta make it fun, right?

I definitely had a sugar crash at about 5pm once I returned to my house in Sheffield. I think it was partly due to being really busy up until I sat down on my bed, but also because I had had no chocolate or diet coke for about 3 days (I was trying to start early so it wouldn’t be such a shock come May…). I’ve added ‘no diet coke’ to my list of things I’m giving up for my month of #letskissgoodbyetoMS fundraising.

Tuesday: I headed to the gym for a 3km workout on the cross trainer and watched Girlboss on Netflix to entertain myself. [Side note: I do recommend the show on the grounds that it’s about perseverance, doing something different but also it being your passion. However, don’t watch if you’re sensitive to crude language…]  The cross-trainer machine did have an option for the screen to show a circular track and has a little marker representing the user that moves as if you’re going around it, quite satisfying to watch. I also used the Stairmaster machine and the rowing machine, doing intervals of 500m and 30 seconds rest 4 times. After stretching, it was time to get on with my day!

Wednesday: “errrrggggggggggggghh push ups are the worst…. I’m not even doing the hard ones as I have my knees on the flooooor. just. two. more.” <– I have typed it exactly mirroring what I was thinking at 9:34am because there is no other way to explain it. I did say this blog was going, to be honest. 😀 😉

 I started my day with going to a one-hour session of yoga at 8:15am. I found the instructor is really good at combining so many poses to stretch out our entire bodies. I have never been able to touch my toes or the floor and I totally blame my genetics for it [even though my mother likes to show off how flexible she is]. Yet I’m hoping to do this once a week, maybe more if I can squeeze it in on the weekend, will really help my aching muscles recover and get stronger and stretch-ier. #motivation woo! I then did the Wednesday arms and abs workout… hence my groaning at the push ups!

However, I did make the mistake of spending waaaay too much time in a coffee shop revamping my blog. I’ve been wanting to freshen it up for a while, and only now have I found the name that’s stuck and completely 100% me. I love it and spent too much time on the banner and creating other bits for future posts… but, it looks good! [if I can say so myself ❤ ] This left me having only eaten a banana since my workout until about 3pm. Bad move. I had a mocha so the caffeine was starting to make me feel jittery as I swung my bag onto my back and headed for one of the university libraries to eat my packed lunch. Only at 4:30pm did I start to feel normal again. Definitely not repeating that mistake again!

** small skip to week 3 of the pre-training as I was a plonker and forgot to update this blog! **

Thursday: 7:04am. People say getting up early is good for you… changes your daily life for the better, and all I want to do is go back to sleep for another two hours 😭

7:06am. It’s all in the planning – don’t go to sleep past midnight if you know you’re getting up early… shot myself in the foot, didn’t I?

7:37am. I should really get out of bed now.

A quote on the wall of the gym… #motivationmonday

I think that week three is definitely a step up with now weighted exercises and the dreaded jump squats. However, with perseverance and constantly talking to myself to get through – which probably made me look rather crazy – I made it. To warm up I use the cross trainer for 5 minutes and the running machine for 5 to build up my stamina. I really don’t know how I’m going to do 3km on the 10th June… Now, to devour my lunch and focus on the mounting work of coursework, exams and a dissertation to prepare for. Oh, the life of a postgraduate! 😀

Finally, Friday arrived with the last HIIT exercise session of the #BBG program. Phew. Despite my grumblings during the workout when I’m sweaty and bothered, I’ve really enjoyed doing it so far and love being able to tick ‘go to the gym’ off my daily to-do list. By just knowing that I’m working towards being actively healthier is really rewarding… although I am daunted by the next few weeks to come! If any of you follow exercise programs or have any handy tips about exercises or anything related, I’d love to hear ’em.

I don’t yet know if I’m in the “zone” yet, whatever that “zone” may be, but here’s to the weekend, I hope you have a great one no matter where you are ❤

GL xxx

the peaky perks of sheffield; a day out in the city

I’ve lived in this city for approximately seven months. I use the verb ‘live’  loosely as I have had my name inscribed on a tenancy agreement since the 1st September of last year when I’ve actually spent about half of my time in Nottingham –  a city an hour south of my bespoke “home”. This is a result of a jumble of reasons that I won’t ramble one with, but instead, I thought it was about time to share the various sights and eateries settled amongst the squash of buildings and pot-holed streets of Sheffield. I’ve grown to love it (except for the hills) in my own way and as a postgraduate student, it has been a good city with a great atmosphere.

The town centre was the first place I remember visiting in Sheffield. Actually, the first memory I have of the city was at a takeaway called Aslan’s on the corner of Division street after a rather colourful night at Corporation club back in September 2012. [Heck, where has the time gone?]

But to retain some idea of being a sophisticated student, let’s picture a bright and sunny town centre. Although there are not many shops filling the high streets, there are a couple of large spaces and sights worth the visit. The first is the Peace Gardens on the south side of the majestic Town Hall. It is a semi-circle in shape and has a fountain to one side which children run through in delight during the summer months. It’s a hot spot for the lunch time hour break or meal, especially with a (really good) Pastry shop and Costa Coffee only 100 yards away.

Sheffield Peace Gardens
credit: @bannydav [insta]

Once you’ve sunned yourself to happy satisfaction, the Winter Gardens are located a 50-metre walk away which is attached to the Sheffield Contemporary [Museum]. This includes a room dedicated to the history of the steel industry of Sheffield as it was the thriving “City of Steel” back in the day. It even showed how the stages of making cutlery and cutting it into the correct shapes which I found intriguing.

Now you’ve educated yourself a bit on Sheffield history and legacy, head up past the city hall onto Division street. There are a few eclectic shops but most importantly, set your sights on a cafe called Steamyard. I discovered this little tucked away gem when I first started in Sheffield as I wanted to check out cafés and which were good to study in. Steamyard [insta: @steamyard] offers both a great atmosphere and cracking food. They have bagels and sandwich options for lunch, as well as brownies, macaroons, doughnuts and now, are selling kronuts which are just gorgeous! It so happens that they have been chosen as one of the UK’s top 30 places to have brunch by the Telegraph. They also offer dairy-free and gluten-free options so there are no excuses not to make a visit! If you only feel like a quick caffeine quick, that’s also cool, as there’ll be more food stops along this adventure!

Past the Drama Studio and my department, SEAS, to Broomhill

Once stuffed with delicious goodies, it’s time to walk off those calories by heading up the hill to the University situated at the top of West Street/Glossop Road. Although it’s a little scattered, the University of Sheffield Student Union is a large funky-looking building that is cavernous on the inside. The best time to visit is during term time as students are bustling in and out, giving the place life and energy. Once you’ve got a glimpse of life through a ‘uni of’ student’s eyes, head on up to Weston Park where there’s a museum, but also a nice loop route and a cute duck pond with a bridge. (I always think if you wear old victorian clothes and ignored the modern buildings behind, it’d be like you’re in a Jane Austen book).

Source: http://www.travelettes.net/five-reasons-to-go-to-sheffield/ [blog]

If you’re as fit as a fiddle and enjoy the walk along the Sheffield streets, I’d recommend following the main road outside the Museum-side park gates up to Broomhill which is a little hub of shops. If you haven’t eaten lunch in Steamyard, now is the time to fill your grumbling tummies. There are a couple of pubs, including Nottingham House which is known for its yummy pies. But most importantly, there is a Vietnamese place which recently has opened up on the corner called Nam Song Coffee House [insta: @namsonguk]. Its exterior is bright orange (and this is one of the reasons I ventured in in the first place). The food is delicious and affordable (students I’m looking at you as there is also a 10% discount). When it first opened, it offered the Vietnamese sandwich: Bahn Mi, or the Vietnamese noodle soup: Pho. You get to pick the meat, the vegetables, the sauces… it’s basically a DIY/PYO job and hey presto! it’ll appear in front of you. The other major perk of the place is the Vietnamese filter coffee which can come with condensed milk. *drool*

Now we’ve packed ourselves with all the goodies, it’s time for even more wandering over to the Botanical Gardens! You’ll be glad to hear this part is a ten-minute downhill stroll. The best time of year to go is either spring or autumn as it’s colourful and the pictures are instagram-worthy in the bright sunshine. There is an indoor part full of plants from other parts of the world and on another side of the Gardens, surprisingly, a bear pit! It was used in the 1800s and has recently been restored with the addition of a 2.4m steel sculpture of a bear. It’s a lovely oasis which isn’t often found in bustling cities which gives a little variety to your day.

The Bear Pit: Sheffield Botanical Gardens. source: @georgieporgie152 [insta]

Now, this is where the rest of the day is yours, you can catch a bus back into the centre – there’s the 6, 271 or 52 outside the top end of the Botanical gardens that can take you back.

One place I haven’t mentioned yet is Kelham Island. It is most commonly known for the Kelham Island Museum, which “was opened in 1982 to house the objects, pictures and archive material representing Sheffield’s industrial story.” [source: website]. There is also a micro-brewery which you can book a tour to see how they make their beers and the industry in Sheffield. It’s probably best to visit that earlier in the day as it is a little out of the way and the Museum closed at 4pm.

If you’re stuck for evening activities, here are some suggestions:

  • if you want to continue to be cultured: there are two theatres, the Lyceum and the Crucible, next to each other nearby the town centre and the station. Sometimes there is a very popular play on but others are usually less known but still really good to watch. There are often student discounts and are reasonably priced.
  • if you are looking for a more energetic scene: another idea is to walk along West Street as it is the heart of Sheffield’s nightlife scene: the Wick at Both Ends is known for delicious cocktails, as are Bloo 88 and Cavendish for happy hour deals.
  • for dinner: in the city centre there’s the Botanist (££) which is a restaurant decorated like an enchanted forest and has good cocktails, a Spanish place called Cubana (££) which offers good sized portions of tapas. As well as the usual chains such as All Bar One, Wagamamas, Zizzi’s, McDonalds… whatever you fancy 😀

I hope this guide has given you a glimpse of what a day in Sheffield is like, maybe it even tempts you to one day visit! The train station is an easy 10-minute walk from the city centre, or there is a tram that you can get on for £1.60 one way journey all the way up to the University if you so wish! 

If you have any recommendations that I haven’t mentioned, or your own experiences, feel free to share them! I love hearing about new or different places to have an adventure at. It’s impossible to fit in everything in a day and there’s much more to see in Sheffield… or just to catch a trainx or a one hour bus from the station, or drive to the Peak District

TGIF 😀

gl xxx

Wrocław in 48 hours.

 As a mid-semester “break”, three friends and I decided to take a trip outside the UK, giving ourselves the challenge of going for a cheap weekend away to escape the repetitive student lifestyle of sleeping, eating and studying. Searching on google flights, we found three places that were the cheapest = Copenhagen [Denmark], Poznań [Poland] and Wrocław [Poland].

Continue reading Wrocław in 48 hours.

“don’t let the ‘man’ get you down”

I hope you all recognise the quote I have put as the title for this blog. If you don’t, get online and watch ‘School of Rock’ immediately. You won’t regret it!


 

Dear friends (and anyone who reads this),

This post isn’t long nor about anything special or exciting. We’re back to that time of year again where it’s suddenly April and we don’t know where the time is going. It’s suddenly easy to reminisce as Facebook kindly reminds us of all the fun things we were doing a year or more ago everyday (thanks facebook…) or we’re looking forward to the moment of freedom we are ready to sell our souls for. So I’m just writing this post and we’ll see where this ends up… the title says it all really: Don’t let the man get you down guys. 

Continue reading “don’t let the ‘man’ get you down”

Calgary Bound [December 2015]

Every week I scold myself for having not written a post on this blog for a very long time and I am glad I’ve finally had a moment to write something. The autumn semester of my final year has flown by and the brakes have long disappeared when I’ve wished it to slow down just a little. 

I don’t understand how three months can end up feeling like just one but, newsflash everyone, it has happened. And the end result: I’m back on crutches. I basically started this year breaking my foot in Ningbo. I have now damaged one of my retinacula(?) tendons that goes across the inside of the main ankle bone thus live a life of a couch potato and hop-along. As only i would do, I am ending this bonkers year on crutches too! Fantastic.

How did it happen you ask? Let’s just say: don’t try to pull your absolutely plastered friend who’s sitting on your other friends on a sofa. It may result in you both ending up on the floor with them having landed like a sack of potatoes on your ankle. My friend is absolutely mortified and has been so lovely and helpful by going to get me food and even treated me with ‘I’m sorry’ flowers. It was amusing watching all the intimidating US and Canadian customs officials crack a smile in disbelief when I told them the story… made my day 😀

Moral of the story folks: guard your feet when within a one-metre radius of all alcohol.

Bar that, 2015 has been one of the best years. The amount of new friends I’ve made this year is just beyond hope or belief. There’s a good mix of international and those back in the homeland (the UK) and they don’t know how much I adore them (and I realise now how creepy I sound!)

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This year I am back in Calgary for Christmas. My Auntie Amanda picked me up on Tuesday ready for me to fly at 12:05 yesterday (Wednesday 16th) and we arrived at London Heathrow Airport without a hitch at 8:15. Despite taking an hour to sort check-in with bags, special assistance and having to get a ESTA waiver visa so I could pass through the United States, the journey was far from awful 😀

I’m a British person who loves meeting people on journeys. I’ve met quite a few in my time (I know that makes me sound old but this is my 20th flight of 2015 so it’s safe to say I get around…) and today I met a lovely couple from London Heathrow heading to Calgary. They were then heading on to Saskatoon from Calgary to eventually arrive home in the early hours of Thursday morning (17th). As I was on crutches, I was assisted throughout the journey wheeled in various wheelchairs to take me to my next point of transfer. I did get the exciting experience of going on the little buggy cars at Heathrow Airport when I was taken to the gate. It’s a thing that I always used to see pass me as I walked through a terminal and note that there’d only be elder people on it. Safe to say, all the people we passed looked at me as if I should’ve been an elder too, so by the end of it I felt like my granny (bless her). The first leg of the journey to Chicago was better than expected as I had a three seater in the middle of the plan to myself! In parts the nine hours dragged but in others (such as when I was asleep) it flew. I had a good set up with my laptop in the middle, drinks to one side and food (when served) to the other. I managed to catch at least two hours of sleep too which was a blessing. The beauty of my degree is being able to count watching tv in the appropriate foreign language as revision. I had downloaded quite a few episodes of a Mexican show I am addicted too and they managed to entertain me most of the way!

Once we landed in Chicago, we had been given an hour and twenty minutes to catch our connecting flight to Calgary. I use “we” because the couple joined me on our adventure through Chicago airport. It was a little friendly trade off where they helped with my bags and in return were able to accompany me through all the check points we had to go through. It was a silver lining that they came with me because the girl who pushed my wheelchair would never have been able to take my luggage and me more than 10metres alone. Nevertheless, man alive, there were far too many checkpoints! I understand that the US prides itself on being secure and safe but seriously… We had to go through customs, pick our luggage up, go through a baggage customs for the connecting flights, put them back on a conveyor belt, and then cross from terminal five to terminal one to have to go through security. 

Sorry… What? 

We managed to do this in the hour and twenty minutes given to us. (I’m going to highlight that it’s ridiculous it took us almost two hours to do all this.) Even though Mr S. ran ahead to try and tell the plane we were coming, we weren’t lucky enough. Although we arrived at the gate bang on 4:40 (the time of departure) the plane had already left the gate and heading towards the runway. I thought planes weren’t allowed to leave until the designated time? Anyway, it was a challenge too impossible. We headed to the United Airlines customer service desk and were put onto the next flight heading to Calgary. It had a weird boarding time of 7:23pm but at least we didn’t have too long to wait. 

Tickets in hand we headed to Terminal 2 and sat down (I think the couple were rather relieved to not have to walk for a second) then decided to eat. There was a restaurant/bar/food place across the corridor so Mr S. found a table and we ordered some food. They were a lovely pair and time passed quickly. Soon enough once we were sat back in the waiting area, we only had twenty minutes for boarding. As soon as we said this to each other, the gentleman at the boarding desk made an announcement: “All passengers on flight **** to Calgary. Due to a fault with the aeroplane we have to have another one replace it as it needs to be repaired. It will be changed shortly, once the security checks are done, the crew are onboard, we will start boarding as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience.” I just laughed at our luck. We eventually boarded at 7:30pm but didn’t take off until 8:10pm due to the congestion on the runway! Nevertheless, it was a brand new shiny plane that made it all a little better as the previous plane could’ve been a horrible old mess. I’ve realised I love taking off the ground in an aeroplane – not so much the landing or the turbulence – but a small amount of adrenaline runs through me when the plane stops just before it accelerates and lifts off the ground. 

Once we broke through the clouds the expanse of the sky that awaited us was amazing. It was decorated with flashing specks of lights from other planes circling Chicago airport, and felt as if we were watching a line of fire flies all following each other in a slow dance across the sky before being engulfed by clouds. Calgary city looked particularly pretty as well, I don’t know whether it was the unsmeared plane windows or the fact it’s near Christmas, but it felt special. 

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Eventually, we landed. I was greeted by my parents and brother all video-ing and giggling at me rolling through the arrival doors in a wheelchair.

Safe to say… it’s lovely to see their faces again 😉

Eight days until Christmas!!! Time to get dancing (or hobbling) to Christmas songs..!

Xo.