2017 Book Challenge

This year, one of my new year’s resolutions was to read more books, so my Dad and I have decided to do this reading challenge together to get some new reading inspiration!

The list itself is fun, and we’ve both put together a list of books we plan to read in 2017. I’m going to post here all the books I have read (which I’ll update as I go along) with a short review of each book.

My first stop was a trip to Waterstones to buy some new books, as frankly, any New Year’s Resolution that involves shopping is a great idea! Continue reading

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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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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Cheese, Wine, and some delicious new recipes

This year a few things have happened to me in relation to food, resulting in some new experiments in the kitchen.

The first thing is that my palate appears to have suddenly matured, and I discovered that after 35 years of hating blue cheese, suddenly my tastebuds think it’s pretty much the best thing ever. Weird, but also delicious.

Secondly, my appreciation for red wine has suddenly soared, leaving me keen to try and taste lots of new and different red wines, in order to learn what I like (previously my only knowledge on the subject was that I liked Rioja, and all other red wines were a bit “meh”, But this is no longer the case! I also now have a fabulous book on wines which is helping me to learn and navigate the differences.

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Becoming a mermaid…

So, although I haven’t specifically written about it on here, last year my sister was diagnosed with bowel cancer, and she and I decided to do some fundraising.

As we thought she might lose her hair during chemo, I decided to let her live vicariously through my hair instead, so after raising nearly £1,000, I went off to see my lovely hairdresser (at Vente Tsunami in Headington, Oxford in case you’re interested – they are the best!).

Me and K ready to get started – I think she was more excited about it than I was!

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The Retail Vortex

For the sake of a rug, the sofa was lost.

For the sake of the sofa the wall was lost.

For the sake of the wall, the curtains were lost….

Recently I found myself caught in the centre of a retail vortex, utterly unable to get out.

A year or so ago, I had my floors done downstairs, and replaced all that cat-piss stinking carpet with beautiful engineered oak, making the downstairs lovely and clean and cosy and inviting. However, having not actually lived in my house much over the last two years, what with being in the Philippines and Iraq, I hadn’t realised how much I would miss the warmth of carpets in the winter!

“That’s easily fixed”, thought I….. “I shall get a nice rug for the living room”.

I began the great online rug hunt, searching for the most perfect, the most fetching, the most reasonably-priced occasional rug that the internet could provide. Continue reading

The Extrovert…

I spent a week at a Global team meeting in Oxford, at which several things happened which made me laugh. Naturally I intend to give you the full blow-by-blow account…

First off we did a Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) exercise, in which you answer a series of questions and then do some very complicated scoring to find out which 4 of 8 preferences you have.

The options are:

  • Introvert (I) vs Extrovert (E)
  • Thinking (T) vs Feeling (F)
  • Judging (J) vs Perceiving (P)
  • Intuitive (N) vs Sensing (S)

The basic premise of the MBTI is that we all have elements of all 8 personality traits – no-one is missing anything, but we each have a natural preference that we lean towards.

So, about 2 minutes after we added up our scores, and went on a coffee break, a colleague came up to me and said “Maya, I just need to know if your score says you’re an E or not, because if you’re not, then I will immediately doubt the entire scientific premise of this exercise.” Continue reading