Sunday, 7 February 2010

Educating Skint Chick

So at the moment I'm studying for an AS level in Italian after having passed my GCSE with an A*. When I applied for the course I was feeling very confident that I would find it easy as when I was at school I studied both French and German at A level and even today I'm still pretty fluent in both languages despite only using them on holidays. It turns out that it's not going as well as I wanted it to - I'm struggling to find the time to put into study outside of the weekly class. I guess at school I would have been attending a class two or three times a week and then doing the homework at the weekend too so I was more exposed to the vocabulary and repetition.

I decided last week to have a little list of 10words a day to learn and try and use and I've been grouping them together by subject, for example last week I learn vocab about the environment and recycling. It seems to be working ok but if there are any other suggestions I would welcome them - I only have 3months until the exam!

I'm also taking a course on history one evening a week, it's quite a light class as we have a lecture and then a small discussion. It's based around a topic I studied at university so I have a good background knowledge and the themes discussed are familiar to me. Ideally I'd like to start my PhD soon and I have some ideas for a research topic, I took this class to try and formalise the ideas into a research proposal and to get me thinking outside the box.

Both courses finish in May so I have the summer free and then in September I'll have to decide where to go from here. I've already decided that I don't want to take my Italian classes further to A level because of the time commitment involved and the syllabus is basically what I've already studied but in more detail. So I have the option of a Spanish course - and I've seen a language swap company online that offer a week in Spain with free accommodation. In return I would be talking to Spanish people in English for a few hours a day. If I applied to go there next summer I would get a chance to explore a Spanish town in my free time and practice the skills I would learn from September - what do you guys think?

Or I could take a more creative option, I've always wanted to improve my photography skills and be able to take better pictures. Most of my pictures come out pretty well but I'd like to have more technical know-how about focus and exposure to make my pictures really stunning so I could get some made into canvases for my home. I'd also love to be able to make my own clothes and do a dressmaking course. I had enrolled on one last year but then my job got really manic and I ended up dropping out. There are so many things I'd love to learn but don't have the time to do them all!

Realistically my PhD is probably going to be a couple more years, what with working full time and thinking about having a family I won't really have the time or the money to undertake such a big commitment and I don't want to start it and not be able to finish. Plus part time means at least 5 years of research on one topic, that's a long time to keep focus and motivation when my masters dissertation only took a few months and at times I felt as though it was taking over my life.

As you can tell I'm not very good at decisions!

Saturday, 30 January 2010

January blues

So it's been a while since I wrote, Christmas and family and work commitments kinda got in the way of updating this. Before Christmas I was planning to organise my understairs cupboard as it was a disorganised mess with things thrown in any old way. Now my new shelves are in it looks completely different, it's so easy to find and acess things. All that's left to do is buy a shoerack and some hooks for my coats to go on the outside wall. I painted with a hge tub of leftover pale green paint and the carpet was a leftover bit from the spare room. Once everything's complete I'm going to change the light from the bare hanging bulb to a ceiling mounted light as I keep hitting my head or burning my arm on the current one! Here's the before and after pictures

I successfully completed the Live on £4000 a year challenge for 2009 with my grand total coming in at £3425.89. I was really pleased with this as I'd expected to go overbudget, and the leftover money has paid for a trip to Berlin in March. I hope to achieve the same level of success with my budget for 2010 especially as there is a lot more included in this year's budget.

My weightloss is going better than I thought. I rarely weigh myself as I get miserable when I haven't shifted any weight but I've been at the gym a few times a week since the start of the year so I took a chance and weighed myself and I've lost 2stone 1lb since last September. I feel a lot more positive about my weightloss now because for a lot of that time I wasn't really making any significant effort. My BMI has reduced from 43 to a slightly less scary 41, the plan is for my it to hit 35 by the end of the year with a combination of a healthier diet and lots of exercise as some of my 101 aims are based around exercise and outdoor activity.
On Tuesday I tried a yoga class and it took a couple of days for my muscles to stop aching. I don't think yoga is for me, I knew I already struggled with my flexibility but the exercises have made my knee ache because the movements were putting a lot of pressure on my knees and still sore foot ligaments. There are some exercises I would do myself on the gym mat though to help improve my flexibility. Once my knee has fully recovered I'm going to try Body Pump instead.

My ideal view

My ideal view