Maid/Made of Fail

I was almost certain I’d updated since February. Even when talking to somebody recently who told me off for lapsing, I was convinced that I’d at least updated in April. But either the entry is long gone or my brain is actually failing me.

SCUBA

The end of March saw Sam and I qualify as PADI Open Water divers, care of the wonderful Dive Style.

PADI Open Water Pool Training

Photo by Josef Litt – http://joseflitt.com/

This was not without its challenges, though. The actual dives took place at Wraysbury Dive Centre – a flooded freshwater quarry and at the end of March when the water was a balmy 7°C. Luckily for us, we had the first sunny and warm weather of the year so the outside temp was more like 17°C, so we warmed up pretty fast!

Unfortunately, during one of the tests which involved swapping my regulator (mouth piece) with Sam’s emergency one, I did not seal my lips properly around it and ended up breathing/swallowing water and surging to the surface in a bit of a panic. We were only 7m down though but it has frightened me enough to make me weary.

As a result, when we did further dives in the Maldives (honeymoon, more about that later) I could not relax and possibly did not enjoy it to my fullest, despite the beauty of the ocean life found there. We did manage, however, to further our credentials by getting Nitrox qualified and going to Adventure level of our PADI quals. We had planned to go Advanced, but for whatever reason our instructor advised against it.

Before I do anymore, I’m going to have to work on relaxing under the water. What didn’t help was the feeling of being rushed into going under when I would have happily wanted a few minutes at the surface.

Honeymoon

We had two lovely weeks in the Maldives, snorkelling and scuba diving for most of the time and enjoying doing not very much for the rest of it!

As a usually nervous flyer, I was pleased by how well all the flights went and a lot of thanks to Qatar Airways for making it so. Especially impressive was the selection of films which kept me occupied throughout and my mind off of landing/takeoff.

We stayed in a lovely water villa at the Centara Ras Fushi resort which allowed us to swim and snorkel whenever we liked. We kept encountering these bad-tempered little fellows:

Picasso Triggerfish

Picasso Triggerfish – Wasps of the sea!

Beautiful, but annoying as they try to headbutt you whenever they see you. Very territorial. Their bigger cousins are supposed to give quite nasty bites. They made such an impact, we brought a fridge magnet as a souvenir!

Other underwater creatures we encountered included black fin sharks, moray eels and stingrays. Sadly, no manta rays or turtles.

The food at Centara was fantastic as were the beaches and general customer service. I did not get to experience the spa as our budget went mostly on Scuba trips.

JQuery Conference

A couple of weeks back, work treated me to a workshop and conference in Oxford (http://jqueryuk.com/) to expand my knowledge base and I have to say, they were the best ones I’ve been too.

My workshop was entitled ‘Web Developer’s Toolbox’ and gave a basic taste of a number of tools (for example, SASS, bower and grunt) designed to make web development that much easier. It was good to actually give these things a go and nice to know it was something I could actually do. The pace was not overwhelming either, unlike a node workshop I went on a few years back that wasn’t really for beginners but didn’t make that clear…

The conference itself was full of useful information and inspiring speakers, highlights of which included hardware coding using JavaScript (not really useful for the job, per se, but certainly made me think about going to try it myself) and graphical effects using the browser though, and the same with most of the cool new stuff css/js can do, likely not useable in all our supported browsers (IE, I am looking at you here).

Crossfit

Has been going well as in I have been attending and hitting many PBs with my lifting, though as someone who hasn’t been doing it long and doing many of these lifts for the first time, I guess that is easy. Am pretty happy with my strength levels.

My cardio work is another matter though. I always seem to lag behind the others with my times. I think personal goals are the key, but 2 weeks off set me back and I am wondering if I should be doing yet more. I’m considering adding 2 bouts of running a week to my exercise regime so I can join my bestie, Matt, on some of his runs.

But generally, everyone else makes me feel unfit. And yes I do push myself. If I feel pain, though, I stop and quite often I feel nauseous.

Updating

I’ve plenty to say and I do (currently) have the time to type it but I guess I’ve just forgotten. I started this block to discuss work related things but I suppose I talk more about general stuff. I think it’s better to update with that rather than wait until I feel inspired as I find motivation to discuss technical issues outside of the workplace tough and motivation to pursue personal projects even more difficult. I suppose I am a compartmentalised person like that.

A Change Is Better Than A Rest?

This might be more literal than I thought. Been waking up in time to leave the house at 0600 (6am, if you’re that way inclined) for most of the week, and yet have felt oddly alert and productive throughout the day, including post-work when I’d been having major energy fail.

Exercise

This new routine is to try to up my exercise regime a bit. I’d been wanting to get into Crossfit for a while, so when I discovered one had opened in Basingstoke, and is conveniently situated near work, I went a long for a couple of sessions and have now signed up. What appeals, it seems challenging, varied with clear benchmarks and progression. What’s not to like? Except burpees, of course.

Hobbies

Previously, cross stitch has been my craft of choice, but as I sadly have a number of beautiful completed pieces languishing in a plastic bag, unframed, I decided that knitting items that I might actually use would be the way to go. It still has repeating patterns, that tend to relax me AND I get something awesome to wear afterwards!

So far, I’ve completed an Eye Mask – mainly because we camp in the summer months and sunlight easily wakes me.

Eyemask

Eyemask

At the moment, I am making my way through a shawl. It’s becoming massive! But should keep the chills out. If you’re on Ravelry, I’m padpad. Do add me!

Technology

If I had the money, I’d have a house full of gadgets. As it is, I’m resigned to getting things as and when I can afford them. This weeks gadget is a new phone – a Nexus 5. I’m yet to take a good look at it yet, but I can’t wait.

With this, for the first time in 14 years, I’m switching providers. It seems somewhat silly to ignore a significant staff discount.

I have also somewhat grown sick of this theme and hope, with the aid of bootstrap, SASS and some sort of random inspiration, I can come up with something that actually looks a bit decent.

And So…

Many small changes occurring. All for the better I feel. Still there are some things on the to do list:

  • Scuba Diving – PADI open water course is booked! Advanced open water is a possibility for the honeymoon. Lessons brought for my birthday and I am muchly looking forward to this!
  • Pensions – The outcome of changing jobs 4 times in the last 4 years is having three separate pensions. I guess there’s no harm in keeping them all separate, but the part of me that likes it simple wants them all combined into one. So I really need to look into this.
  • Car – I’d like to replace it, but I think maybe I should start by getting the VERY squeaky breaks looked at!

And this is all I can think of at the moment. I’m sure there is more, and of course, I don’t wish to state the obvious about the never-ending story of laundry and washing up.

2 Months: After

My main excuse for blatant blog neglect is being busy. That’s a lot of Bs.

I wasn’t lying when I said everything was under control, but things like dress fittings and collections, pre-wedding pampering etc. do take chunks out of the weekend so more of an evenings get’s dedicated to chores. Also work’s picked up, especially with a tight deadline in November that I was hit with as soon as I came back from the mini-moon.

So here’s one of many photos of the day:

Sam and I, walking down the aisle.

Sam and I, walking down the aisle. © Emma Lucy Photography

Slightly the unusual bride in purple in my favourite shade, but great because I have and will probably wear the dress again. It also came with a matching jacket, both crafted by Sarah of Angrave Designs.

With the exception of being half an hour late, due to wardrobe difficulties in doing up all the buttons at the back, the day went very smoothly. Many thanks due to the staff at Buxted Park Hotel for their wonderful hospitality.

I do feel like I needed a clone though to spend more time with all of my guests, but I am very happily married now and enjoying married life. Truth be told, from day-to-day, not much has changed but then I’m not sure I was expecting it too!

We’ve yet to go on a full honeymoon – we’ll be going away later this year and there’ll be more on that after we go! We did manage to escape for a few days up to Yorkshire, visiting Whitby and Scarborough. Weather was lovely considering it was October!

Whitby Abbey Ruins

Whitby Abbey Ruins

It seems so long ago now. I’ve just finished getting the thankyou cards out and now, suddenly, it’s Christmas and I feel horribly under-prepared. We’ll be at home as Sam is on call and I don’t have any annual leave so will be working the days in between. And next year is already shaping up to be busy, so there’ll be no resolution relating to blog editing – I should just face it that I can commit to Sam but not to blog writing. And sorry, but he is more important!

Our Christmas Tree

Our Christmas Tree – No surprises, it’s silver and purple themed

West Berkshire: 3 Things It Has That Kent Does Not

This is in no way a ‘why West Berks is better than Kent’ post but more to do with the unexpected but obvious differences between the locations. I figured everywhere in South England was pretty similar. But no. There are 3 particular things I have noticed here that mark it out.

1. Wildlife

I guess where I lived in Kent was technically suburbia, and where I live now could be considered slightly more remote and certainly more ‘country’. After a year living in South East London, though, I definitely prefer it this way.

Urban foxes were common as muck. Just a shame Sevenoaks council didn’t cotton on to this and actually provide residents with proper wheelie bins.* There wasn’t a Thursday morning that went by without garbage being strewn across the road.

Since moving to Berks, however, I couldn’t tell you if there were foxes or not. What I can tell you is I SAW A WILD HEDGEHOG FOR THE FIRST TIME AND OMG IT WAS SO CUTE AND OMG IT WAS JUST THE CUTEST LITTLE THING EVER!!!!!!

*Ahem*

2. Chinooks

As in the double-bladed helicopter. I see/hear them all the time both at home and at work. I guess this is what I get for living in a place heavy with military bases.

I swap helicopters for racing cars as my old patch was close enough to Brands Hatch to get a faint buzzing every weekend.

3. Expensive Cars

I’ve been to Knightsbridge a few times, so it’s not like I’ve never seen them before, but they seem to be very dense in popularity here. Seeing a Bentley or a Rolls is an everyday experience and the most common type of car I end up following are BMWs.

Not everyone drives them, mind you, but sometimes my C3 does stick out like a sore thumb. Ah well, at least it’s cheap!

2 Months To Go

So it’s two month’s before I become lawfully attached to my partner in crime. Everyone’s favourite question is ‘how are the plans going’ and the genuine answer is ‘fine’. We’ve had two years and we’ve used them well.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that one of the final details won’t magically turn me into a panicking Bridezilla, but not just yet.

Workwise, things are steady. There is a good team here, but the size of the company means projects are split over multiple sites. It doesn’t take a complete leap in logic to fathom the many problems this causes, but that’s my main grumble for now, which can’t be too bad.

Personal projects have been neglected, including this very blog. I’ve not done the lovely responsive design I wanted. I’ve not converted angravedesigns.com into something prettier and better content managed.

And worst of all, I’ve just not been writing. I’d wanted to convey my utter perplexion at proposed internet filtering laws, including expressions of frustration about how ill informed people in power are about such things except Dave Williams did a far better job then me. And is better informed of the technicalities.

So, to conclude, I am not committing to anything until October. Then when Big Life Commitment is done, I will follow this by committing a bit more to the personal stuff.

But for now….

Bunny With A Pancake On It's HEad