Highlights from the last few weeks


Well, as I know a few of my faithful blog readers are not on facebook, here are some of the highlights of my life, in the form of my facebook posts, for the last couple of months, purely for your amusement.

17th November 2016

So, while I’ve been in Kenya, my boiler broke down, which was really complicated to get fixed remotely from here, and although it is finally fixed now, it is going to cost me a fairly big chunk of change.
This morning my lodger informs me that the washing machine is leaking and has flooded the kitchen. No idea yet if it’s fixable or requires a whole new washing machine.
Apparently everything is broken.
I blame Trump.

21st November 2016

For all my humanitarian peeps, and any others who are interested, here is a really interesting piece on the future of USAID under a Trump administration.

“Women and girls may have the most to lose. From the World Bank to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to the SDGs to the new UN Secretary General, the economists, technologists, health advocates, educators, humanitarians, rights activists, and data junkies are all aligned and making the argument that investment in women and girls might be the best dollar spent…. Vice-President Elect Mike Pence, a radical social conservative, may be influential in rolling back US policy and investments in support of women and girls.”

22nd November 2016

A memory that popped up from 2 years ago:

“Aah, lush evening at the spa with my mum and my sister. I’m proud to be from the kind of family that can start a water fight in the sauna of tranquility… 😀”

24th November 2016

I have just achieved what the Danes would call hygge.
Coming back to my lovely, warm, cosy, house after 6 long weeks living in a hotel far, far away, then having a nice hot bath, climbing unashamedly into my snuggly adult onesie, busting out my Christmas elf slippers, and cuddling with the cats on my amazingly big, comfy couch.
I’m all about the hygge, baby.

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28th November 2016

4 days in the life of Steph: The Abridged version

Fly home from Kenya. Ecstatically hug the walls of my house like a mad thing.
Relish the loveliness of being back in my cosy warm home. Fondly touch all my lovely things.
Cuddle with cats.
Make inventory of everything that has broken while I was away: door handle, boiler/central heating, toilet seat, washing machine, lightbulbs, cupboard, oven knobs….
Fork out £1100 quid for new washing machine and fixing the boiler.
Receive yet another cheque from HMRC for £1061, getting all my hopes up.
Call HMRC, who confirm the cheque was once again sent in error, and I can’t keep it.
Sadly tear up cruel cheque and recycle it.
Remember that I have home insurance that covers the cost of central heating failures.
Call insurance company, who won’t cover the cost of my boiler, as I forgot to call them first, like the utter idiot that I am.
Get my wonderful handyman round to fix everything.
Hug handyman for being amazing and fixing everything and refusing to overcharge me.
Go to work.
New boss tells me I type too loudly and he’s completely changed my job while I was away, and has announced it to everyone without telling me. New boss also informs me that “writing HTML code is easy and I’ll figure it out”.
Sigh loudly and attempt to type more quietly.
Work from home so I can type as loudly as I bloody well want to, and also so I can take delivery of my new washing machine, get cat to the vet, and go to my annual work medical.
Visit friends, put up Christmas Tree and make holiday jam.
The End

1st December 2016
This is the actual best thing on the internet today.
Made me cry laughing.
2nd December 2016
In case anyone needs an emergency compliment today, they’re here.
3rd December 2016

I find myself on an hour-long train ride without my usual entertainment of kindle, laptop or magazines.
Have already bombarded my family with travel-themed dubsmashes and played several games of backgammon on my phone.
Then I noticed a teeny tiny glowing red light on the front of my phone that I’ve never seen before. Like a teeny tiny camera recording me. Harboured some extremely paranoid thoughts about who might be watching me and why, before realising it was just a tiny piece of red glitter from my wrapping paper.

God I need books in my life when I travel…

7th December 2016

Another little peek into the fascinating saga that is the life of Maya:

1) Colleague compliments me on my incredibly hip and cool hi-top trainers. But then informs me that I’m “wearing them wrong”. Was forced to seek out an official young person in the office to understand the seriousness of my fashion faux-pas. Was secretly quite relieved when we failed to find anyone young enough to know the correct and hip way to lace them. Made me feel marginally less old.

2) Discovered that my myopic eyes have hit another milestone, topping out at -11 now. This means forking out yet another £200 for new glasses, and I can no longer select frames based on things like “suits my face” or “I quite like those frames”. Instead I am relegated to choosing frames based solely on comfort (must be plastic, very small to reduce weight, and a specific shape to avoid distortion etc etc). It’s actually a slight relief not to have to bother trying to find glasses that suit my face anymore.

3) Have been parading through the office wearing a fabulous new dress every day, showing off my Nairobi and Senegal purchases and making everyone jealous. Lots of compliments that make my day.

4) Got overexcited about the 2nd class Snowman stamps and sent out loads of Christmas cards. Realised the one I wanted to send to France needed rather more postage so sheepishly had to take it back into the post office to top up with additional, non-festive stamps.

5) Tiggy has put on another 0.5 kg, and the vet has officially declared her obese. Poor Tigs. Both cats are now on an even more extreme diet, and are essentially down to kitten rations. Poor things.

6) Testing out my 14-day free trial at David Lloyd (aka super-swanky posh gym). Quite like the jacuzzi and have been Vinyasa-flow-yogaing. Sadly I find it hard to “relax and find my inner peace” while doing an upside-down pretzel impression, but I’m sure that will come with practice!

10th December 2016

Pretty damn perfect day.
Started with a body balance yoga class at the posh gym, then some excellent Syrian food for lunch at the Pickled Walnut on Cowley Road, then I got to use my wonderful birthday present – a gin-tasting voucher at the Feathers bar in Woodstock, sampling many unique and delicious gins, and then a range of Christmas-themed nibbles and prosecco and a traditional holiday viewing of Die Hard.
And of course best of all, the delightful company of Mr and Mrs R!

12th December 2016

Another fun and productive day.
Today I did all my laundry, made a lasagna, and then I made a kimono.

13th December 2016

While I do love the Royal Variety Show, I just don’t know if I can condone the use of the words “Barry Gibb” and the word “legend” in the same sentence…

16th December 2016

Was all set to share fun pics of our Xmas party last night, but then this popped up on my newsfeed from 3 years ago, and reminded me of more somber things – both past and present.

Sobering comment from my colleague while driving around Leyte this week.
“Did you see that coffin Maya? That’s really a very good sign. It means that people are finally able to bury their dead properly again.”

It is a truly sobering thought when seeing coffins represents a return to normality after such massive loss, made me think of all my Filipino colleagues and the enormous loss of life after Yolanda/Haitian, and all of those suffering in Aleppo right now.

22nd December 2016
Feels like just last month when I was waiting around for the boiler guy to come and fix the…. oh wait, that was last month.
#waitingfortheboilerman #borednow
(Spoiler alert, the boiler broke again, but has now been fixed…. again)
23rd December 2016
This time last year I was a little bit in love with an A380… Here’s my facebook post from this time last year, when I was on my way to Thailand…

Given the close proximity to a significant religious holiday, my status update has been written in the appropriate format.

Book of Steph, chapter 8, verse 3:
“And Steph said unto them
“Lo! Look you upon the Airbus of wonder, for it is resplendent with luxury!
Feast your eyes upon their spacious seats and luxurious bathrooms! Look you to the wide selection of excellent movies and the extremely mediocre meals which are not totally disgusting!
And behold! the highest honour which can be bestowed unto an economy class ticket – Adequate legroom! And they even waived the additional 3kilos Of baggage without asking for my life savings as a deposit!
See the ambient lighting which ranges from dusky sunset to twinkly starlight.
Truly Emirates is the Airbus to the gods!”

And Emirates said unto Steph:
“Kindly de-plane, as we have reached the terminal. We regret to inform you that you are not allowed to live on our Airbus forever.”

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