A day at the zoo

Last weekend my sister and her family came to stay, and we went to check out the Cotswold Wildlife Park – our nearby zoo, and it was BRILLIANT!

I love zoos, and getting to see lots of amazing animals, although I increasingly worry about the cruelty of animals being trapped in small cages and things. However this zoo was FANTASTIC! Tons of amazing animals and the cages and paddocks were cleverly designed so it seemed like they weren’t in cages at all.

Here we are, pretty excited about the zoo in the morning…

And still pretty excited when we were in the car on our way!

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As part of my book challenge this year, the first book I happened to read was Rebecca, and in it I discovered a quote that I really love!

Then while staying at my mum’s recently I got a chance to do some block-printing, and so I printed it out, letter by letter.

The actual print was huge, but I’m planning to print out a nice photo of it and frame it for my casa somewhere.

I (heart) Pottery

I have finally achieved something I have been trying to do for years. Ever since I moved to Oxford I have been keen to find a local pottery class I could take, as I adored pottery as a child, and have been keen to take it up again ever since. All my years living overseas made that hard to do, and even when I was based in Oxford it was hard to find a class I could easily access on a weeknight, without a car etc. However I finally found one and I’m LOVING it!

Here are my first attempts at making some pinch pots and finger pots – very crap, but useful for practicing with glazes and slips etc.

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Where’s Wally goes to Italy

And finally, here’s what I was REALLY doing in Pisa and Florence – dressing up as Where’s Wally and hiding in crowds, because really, what else could possibly be more silly and fun than that??

These pics are not posted chronologically, but in true Wally style I have ordered these from easy-to-spot to Aaaarggh-where-are-you!!!!-difficult, just like in the books.

Happy Wally-spotting!

  1. Packing the Wally costume

2. Hiding in a crowd of one…

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Life admin… and the Year of Maya

Well it’s been a busy few months, work continues in a fairly predictable way, still interesting and enjoyable, and somewhat stressful at times, but the other elements of my life have been interesting and complex as well. Juggling my life admin and getting the work-life balance right is something I’ve been very conscious of this year, and something that seems to get harder as I go along.

I’ve noticed a few things lately that have made me stop and reflect on my general work-life balance. (Spoiler alert – this is a fairly long post, so you might want to get a cup of tea and settle in).

Firstly, my job has become busier and busier, meaning I’m working longer hours than ever before, and the stress levels that go along with that are sometimes a little tough. It occurs to me that for most of my twenties, I was drifting about in different lower-level jobs overseas, and while there was sometimes stress, I wasn’t really in what you might call a career. And once I decided on my career, it took me several years to break into it, doing my masters, all those months unemployed, and finally getting a foot in the door, in a relatively low-level job where I was often bored or under-used, and I had to put in the time to slowly work my way up the ladder.

Now that I find myself in my mid-thirties, and finally doing really well in my chosen career, and finally in a senior enough position that I have autonomy and some authority to do things on my own, and I’m managing multiple projects, the stress and pressure has increased along with the increased levels of responsibility I always craved. I wonder if it’s an inevitable step, and one that others have trodden before, and how much of that comes with being in my mid-thirties? Does everyone, in roughly their mid-thirties, hit their career stride and find increased stress and pressure as a matter of course? Or does it happen to others earlier or later in life (I’m conscious that I started my chosen career later in life than some do). Continue reading