Tuesday, 25 September 2012

On being MIA and going MIA

I’m going MIA for a bit.  I’ve mentioned it before but I’m off to central Asia for a couple of weeks, starting Saturday.  My main emotion is excitement and bewilderment that the trip is nearly here, that it is happening. The other ones are panic (do I have the right things, what should I pack, mundane panic topics really), stress (a lot of things to wrap up at work before hand, still another round of vaccinations to have and a few other things that really shouldn’t be neither here nor there but are).

I’d hoped to post a little more in the lead up to this trip but then I went and got LASIK (wavefront intralase if you are curious on the specifics) on Friday.  At the optometrists orders, I was to stay away from screens for the weekend and minimise my time at them for a week or two. That, and sometimes life gets in the way of blogging about life*.

So this post is brief but I will be back in a few weeks with hopefully some wonderful stories of my travels through Central Asia (Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan only on this trip).  I’m not expecting I’ll have much access to wifi, what with overlanding and camping etc, but should I find some, I’ll be sharing some pics on Instagram (@SimonsSista).

Stay safe and enjoy my current music addiction in the meantime, The Jezabels, with some tracks off their Prisoner album.

*No complaints from me on this one.  

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

How to be a better human in just 2 Seconds

{parasailing off Moreton Island, QLD, last year}

Being human.  We’ve all got it.  But maybe we can do it better?  There are moments in my days where the simplest of things annoy me. Really small incidents of thoughtless behaviour by others that are like fingers on a chalkboard to me. It seems public transport and lifts are where most of it occurs.

If you just take two seconds to do the following, I’ll think you a better human.  Others may as well:

  • Wait to get into the lift until others have gotten out of the lift.
  • Move to the side of the lift or get out to let others behind you get out.
  • Let the doors of the lift close.  There will be another lift.
  • Wait to get on to the tube/DLR/train until others have gotten off first
  • Move at least a metre beyond the ticket barriers to stop and wait for your friend who’s ticket isn’t scanning
  • Walk the streets of London (or any other town that is busy) 2 by 2 by 2, or in some other formation so that as a group, you are not taking up the width of the entire footpath. 
  • Wear deodorant.  With anti-perspirant.  And shower. 
  • Flush the toilet after use.  (Do I really need to say this? Apparently I do).
  • Get your oyster card/travel ticket out of your bag before you get to the ticket barrier, not when you get to the ticket barrier.

I'd like to think I'm not guilty of the above but maybe there are other things that bug you like these bug me.  What are the little things, things that take 2 seconds to correct, that annoy you?

{Yes, I realise there bigger problems in the world than these, but I'm highlighting these as they are so simple to resolve. Play along now}

Friday, 14 September 2012

Currently .I.

{the London sky last night - it was a wonderful sunset}

Dani over at Sometimes Sweet posts and hosts the Currently series.  She’s got a super sweet blog and some amazing tattoos (not at all what defines her but I love them).   I’m spending most of my time working, travelling and sleeping at the moment so posting, as always, is sparse but here’s a little update on where I’m at, what’s exciting me.

Loving: The late summer sun.  There’s a feeling of Autumn in the air, what with the cooler winds and the leaves already falling but it means I’m really appreciating and soaking up all the sun I can.

Reading: Young adult fiction.  I picked up a couple on the weekend and have just finished Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower.  Have you read it?  I really quite enjoyed it but without spoiling things, I don’t really like books that leave me with so many questions.  It does conclude is a logical place, but I want to know more, to keep reading, see what happens to the main characters it frustrated me.  Regardless, you can be sure I want to see the movie now.  I think the casting for it is pretty spot on, but I’m not sure if that’s because I read the book knowing who had been cast as who? Next up is The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes, the Man Booker prize winner last year.  I’ll let you know how that goes.

Watching: Not a whole lot.  New Girl is about the only show I catch up on each week.  I want Winners and Losers to come back to ITV2 soon as well – are any of my Australian readers watching Series 2? Any good?  Other than that, I never seem to tire of Cops, Jail or Unsolved Mysteries reruns and am a bit partial to old Miami Ink and LA Ink episodes.  Basically, anything that’s on CBD reality might capture my attention for a bit. 

Thinking about: where I want to be, where I want to live, when I want to live elsewhere. It’s been a constant line of thought all year and I’m not really any closer to a resolution.

(Slightly) Stressing about: Work.  It’s hectic.  It’s mostly good with a little not-so-much.  It’s a big learning curve and a big stretch at times and whilst that is a good thing, it comes as a shock after a few relatively easy work years.  At times I feel like I might be in over my head but the feedback I’ve been getting is good, so I guess I just keep doing what I’m do (which is working incredibly hard).  Coming to London might (or might not have) been good for my bank balance, and has certainly been good for my travel and wanderlust but it hasn't been great for my career.  I took this role, knowing it was a stretch, because it's the first thing in a while that may actually help me get a job when I return home.  It's a little less niche (or most of the skills) within the risk world compared to my previous roles.

Looking forward to: Holidays.  A beach road trip this weekend (hello Dorset), an overlanding trip at the end of the month through Central Asia.  No matter the type of travel, I love it.     

Making me happy: This lip balm, A Million Kisses by Lush.  So intense in colour, I love it.  It’s a deep hot pink of sorts?  Not sure how to describe it, have a look for yourself though.  It seems pinker on my lips than it looks online.  It feels good on, lasts well and tastes great.  Also, express lifts at work. Whenever I get a lift in the mornnig that stops only a few times, or even not at all, I think of it as a good omen for the day ahead, a little life win.

What’s currently going on in your life?  What books should I be reading?  I’ve got a long holiday coming up so time to stock the kindle.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Weekend Fun

In Brighton, visiting a school friend.
 Everything about this weekend was good for the soul.
Old time friends who know me, know my people.
Old time activities.
Sunshine. Beach. Fires. Fires on the beach.
Low cost. High Fun

Saturday, 8 September 2012

I thought holidays were meant to be fun?

The Tibetan Plateau (from a plane window)

I’ve got a great trip coming up at the end of this month, a few weeks in a part of the world I don’t really know a lot about but have long wanted to see.  As excited as a I am about it (very), there is certainly some prep work to be done ahead of time.  Based on my itinerary, the NHS (UK health service) and my doctor have advised/suggested I have the following vaccinations:

  • Tetanus
  • Diphtheria
  • Polio
  • Rabies
  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Typhoid
  • Tick Born Encephalitis
It’s also recommended that I take precautionary anti malarials and some altitude sickness tablets.  So in addition to the cost of the trip (the tour and the flights, the three visas and the various pieces of equipment I’ve needed), I’ll also be forking out a whack of money for some of these jabs.  Luckily, I’m up to date on the first three, and Hep A vaccination is free in this country so I don’t need to pay for that one.  Still, I foresee a lot of doctors’ appointments in my immediate future.

Interestingly, I’ve a colleague heading off soon for a few months travel (India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, South East Asia) on her way home to the Southern Hemisphere.  She’s only getting the bare minimum in vaccinations (tetanus, typhoid & hep A) to save some cash and because she hates needles.  For many of the diseases I’ve listed, these jabs will be boosters for me (I had a big bout of vaccinations around 11 years ago when I first moved overseas).  It never crossed my mind this time or the last not to get the recommended jabs.  What are your thoughts on vaccinations?  The bare minimum or better to be safe than sorry?

All of that said, and despite the expense of this trip (it’s one of my more expensive ones), I think this trip will be amazing.  I’m heading out to the mountains and lakes and national parks. I’m going four wheel driving, hiking and rafting.  I’m camping rough, sleeping under the stars and staying with local farmers. I’m really quite excited.  And if you’re wondering, I’m going to the Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. 

Friday, 7 September 2012

Procrastination Makes Me Popular

I took some work home with me yesterday that needed to get done (like, needed to for real, not needed to because boss said so).  I’ve been flat out at work and as important as this is to the team/department/bank, so is everything else at the moment it seems.  The radio silence around here and the muted conversations elsewhere are all pretty much down to work load at the moment.

So what did I do when I got home, knowing I needed to get this paper written and sent tonight?

Baked.  I baked these babies, these chocolate brownie cookies.  They are amazing!  They’re different in texture to your standard cookies.  They’ve go the dense fudge like middle of a browning yet benefit from the cripsy outer of a cookie.  Their name is apt.  As a bonus, the ingredients are pretty much pantry staples and the steps few.

Master procrastination skills means I have several boxes of these

Pretty sure I’ll be popular when I head into work tomorrow, what with a box of fresh baked cookies and a completed CRD4 paper.

What do you do to procrastinate or deal with stress?  Any new-to-you great recipes I should try when I’m next dealing with high stress levels AND procrastinating?

{Just to let you know that I may have rolled my cookie dough slightly larger than the recipe recommended.  I came away with 25 decent yet not over-the-top sized cookies.  I can’t see how you would ever get 72 like the recipe suggests.}