Babysitting the bestie

I haven’t disappeared! Still here, but extremely busy spending time with my best friend Wen (I used to call her Nanny Wen but I think that nickname is old now, so I need to think of another one) and her boyfriend.

They have come to England to visit me and Piers, although not so much him, I think, heh, because Goofy Wen and Piers bicker all the time, disagreeing with each other’s accents and food choices and lots of other miscellaneous things.


Mandatory group photo at Corfe Castle, Isle of Purbeck
Sightseeing at Corfe Castle, Isle of Purbeck


So, anyway, can’t blog much until they leave because they’re here for only a week more and we have PLACES TO GO and THINGS TO DO, as if we’re very happening people!

But we’re not, really. Silly Wen fell asleep at like 9:30 pm on a Saturday night; she’s useless after a glass or two of wine. So the rest of us just watched TV and then went to bed. Tsk!

Business will resume once they’ve gone and I’ve recovered sufficiently from the trauma of babysitting The Wen.

Toodles for now!


Fake is better because real dies

How can you tell when winter is over and spring officially starts in England?

I’ll tell you how. It turns bloody cold. The sun goes to sleep. You might even see pretty little snowflakes drifting in the air before a hail shower starts pouring down. (Although that depends which part of England you live in. This time last year, severe weather warnings were issued for snow storms in northwest England.)

And you break out the winter clothing you’d already packed away weeks ago.


Sheylara is cold


And the daffodils that sprang up in the final weeks of winter start to die.


Dead daffodils


Don’t you love it when seasons do as they’re advertised?

In other news, things are moving forward. Piers finally agreed that we’d done enough work on the flat. It’s time to sell it so we can buy our new home!

Yesterday, he made appointments with four estate agents to come and value the flat. Then he came home after work and decided to rip up part of the toilet flooring (I really don’t know what he was doing; I was busy cooking dinner) as well as paint the toilet cistern.

I don’t know if its just him, or are all Englishmen crazy like that?


Silly Piers


Anyway, our flat’s looking good now. The agents said on the phone that our area is in high demand so it shouldn’t take too long to move. Yay!

You might remember me mentioning that Piers and I are rubbish at keeping plants and flowers alive. We bought this decorative plant about a month ago:


Decorative plant


It didn’t fare very well under our care.


Dead plant


In the end, I decided to just buy fake plants. They look good enough and I never have to water them and they never get all slimy and disgusting or dry and flaky. IS THAT NOT JUST AWESOME?!


You never need to water me!


I will never get all slimy and mouldy!


I will never die!


My lovelies! I have a weakness for white flowers. They make me feel calm and happy. I love them so much I want to hug them to sleep! But that would be rather uncomfortable.

Okay, that’s enough blogging. I want to get back to my games! Yeah, as if I haven’t got enough things to do with my life, I’ve bought South Park: The Stick of Truth (PC) and The Bard’s Tale (iPad). Oh dear.

My superpower is stress

You would think that our decision to cancel the wedding would have made me more relaxed and carefree. But one of my superpowers is my ability to always find something to stress about. In the last two months, this is what my stress superpower has come up with:


  1. Preparing the flat for sale (although this is more Piers’ doing).

    We’ve been working on it for months. At first I thought it was going to take two weekends, at the most, to declutter and clean, then it’s ready to go on the market.

    But Piers keeps coming up with something new to do every week. Like, paint the bathroom. Paint all the doors. Sand the bloody kitchen floor and get sawdust all over our furniture and MY STUFF. Varnish the floor, then paint that over with floor paint. Etc. We’ve gone to Homebase like five times to buy a different of paint each time. You get the idea.


    Home sweet home


  3. Doing MOOCs (massive open online courses).

    These are free online courses offered by universities for anyone interested in learning a wide range of subjects offered. Check out FutureLearn (UK-based) and edX (USA based) if you’re interested in that sort of thing.

    I’m currently doing two courses: “The Secret Power of Brands” and “How to read… a mind” at FutureLearn (with two more lined up next month).

    I know it probably sounds to you like I’m trying to add to my plethora of superpowers but there’s nothing sinister going on there, I promise you. The first course teaches what goes behind successful brands and the second is all about cognitive poetics, which is the science of literary criticism and interpretation.


    Studying hard


  5. Doing research on parenting and pregnancy.

    No, NO, I’m not pregnant. This is just a subject I’m very interested in, following my Montessori training. And I also think it’s never too early to get knowledgeable on the topic, whether you’re planning to have a kid now or in five years’ time.

    If anyone is ever going to have a child, I believe they owe it to their child to learn as much about children as possible so they don’t unintentionally stifle their physical, mental and social growth, all of which will play a huge part in the quality of the child’s future life.


    Kids playing


  7. Eating healthy meals.

    I’m trying to, anyway, so am spending a lot of time cooking meals so that we stop eating supermarket junk meals or takeaway junk food all the time. Although I’m not quite sure my meals are healthier than junk food since I use a ridiculous amount of seasonings and sauces to make my meals tasty.

    I was given clonazepam by my family doctor because of recurrent depression with anxiety and panic. In the past 10 years, I have had 3 episodes, one severe and 2 medium. At that time I took opipramol and did 2 behavioral therapies, with moderate success. No real reason was found, except high self-claims. This time I also took Xanax for 2 weeks.

    Still, home cooked means we’re eating a lot more vegetables and I’m buying more organic and free range foodstuff, so all that has to count for something, right?

    But the point is that this is all very time-consuming, not just in the cooking and washing up part, but also the meal research/planning and grocery shopping.


    Yummy veges


  9. Reading fan-translated English versions of Louis Cha’s novels.

    I’m currently going through the Condor trilogy, which is kind of like the Lord of the Rings of the Chinese literary world. But my god his novels are long. If Louis Cha (aka Jin Yong) were a JK Rowling type of writer, he could have turned one of his novels into 10, and made a hell lot of more money. (His stories are definitely way better than Harry Potter ones.) But he probably doesn’t need any more money, being currently the best-selling Chinese author alive (according to Wikipedia).

    I usually finish an average novel in one to three days. The first Condor novel took me three weeks. I had to slow down for the second novel because of all the above endeavours, and it’s taken me five weeks to get to 65%.

    Well, reading novels isn’t particularly a stressful endeavour but we all need something to do for pure pleasure and reading’s my poison. (Gaming used to be it but games aren’t what they used to be, with IAP models taking over the world, bah).


    2006 TV adaptation of Return of the Condor Heroes


So, that’s what’s current in my life. Believe me, there’s a lot more on the back burner waiting to occupy my time. Blogging is one of them. Blogging should never have left the “current” list but that’s just how it went.

There’s a bit of a story as to why I stopped blogging, part of which had to do with the failure of the designer I hired to code my new blog design last year, but that’s a bit boring to talk about after that long list I just made you read, so I won’t.

If you didn’t read any of the above and just scrolled to the bottom, here’s the td;lr version: I have been freaking busy, thanks in part to Piers’ over-ambition at doing up the flat just to sell it, and more in part to me studying too many subjects at once. Typical.

Now, let me get on with it.

Being productive the hipster way

Right, I know, and I know you know, that I have been very slow at updating my blog.

Well, I’ve been very busy, you know.

I’ve been busy with, oh, you know, the usual stuff, such as staring at the wall, staring at that mess that keeps piling up against said wall (and other walls), sitting on my chair like a statue, imploding (not literally) from the millions of to-do items doing the Gangnam Style in my head, and starving myself (literally) because I’m too busy doing all of the above to eat.


Mess. Wat r u doing. Mess. Stahp.


I know, right? I’m the epitome of productivity. I’m also very proud to say that I’ve already achieved so much even though we’re only halfway into January. (That mess by that wall is MASSIVE. So is the hemorrhage pool in my brain.)

Anyway, since I’m always so busy doing so many very important things, there is always the danger of tasks slipping through the cracks and not getting done, what with the old noodle not being what it used to be (soggy and full of holes, as it were). So I decided that I had to become more productive than I already am.

My solution was to adopt a Moleskine Bullet Journal. All those sad little Moleskines sitting in warehouses or dusty bookshelves waiting to be rescued and given a good home. I can increase my already amazing productivity AND do a good deed at the same time.

(In the unlikely event that you have no idea what I’m talking about, this is Bullet Journal and this is Moleskine. Now, try and finish reading this post without exploding with excitement.)


Bullet Journal


I mulled a long time over what colour Moleskine to buy, white or pink. Colour is very important because it affects our moods (scientifically proven) as well as our luck (not as scientific). A feng shui master I consulted years ago told me that white is not a good colour for me, because it makes events in my life go less smoothly.

Unfortunately, I have a tendency to favour white due to my birth elements. Which is just dandy, isn’t it? I imagine there is some rascally creator floating around in the stratosphere chuckling evilly to himself as he fiddles with our DNA to make us want things that are bad for us.

Anyway, I proceeded to disregard the feng shui advice and got myself a white Moleskine. After all, I routinely ignore the advice of doctors, nutritionists, parents, well-meaning friends and religious fanatics, because I will do exactly damn well what I want to do, so what the hell.


White Moleskine


It’s so gorgeous I wanted to adopt another one immediately. So that I can pretend to be even more hipster than I already am pretending to be. But Piers is having none of that. He doesn’t exactly control my spending but he has this fake stern stare which is immensely cute and makes me want to drop everything and go smother him with affection.

Evil distracting man is evil.

So, I’ve had the Moleskine for three days now, and bullet journalling has already increased my productivity by 300%! You write tasks down, you do the tasks, you tick ’em off, you doodle cute little hearts all over your journal to motivate yourself. Perfect system. (Although that last part with the hearts is my invention.)

On the first day, I managed to do the laundry, reply one e-mail and drink 1 pint (568 ml) of filtered water.

On the second day, I watered our basil plant (wow), replied two e-mails (I’m unstoppable) and drank 2 pints of water. TWO!

I think I should slow down for a bit now because this steeply exponential increase in my productivity is only going to cause a literal implosion due to my mind not being able to handle my newfound greatness.




Moderation is very important, you know. Therefore, I shall now have to end this post, which has a reached moderate length.

And if I have inspired you in any way, like, with my awesome productivity, don’t forget to thank me.

You’re welcome.

I have a new blog competitor!!

Something amazing happened: Piers started blogging!

I know, right?!

He’s not really the writing kind, he doesn’t tweet nor Instagram, he’s got a Facebook account but he only reads stuff on it and never posts.

So, what in the world happened?


Will blog for food


Remember I mentioned starting a Dayre blog in my last post? Well, Piers signed up just so he could follow me and read my posts (or so he claimed).

And then, yesterday, wonder of wonders, he actually wrote a post!

His writing is hilarious and I think everyone should go get Dayre on your mobiles (it’s free!) so you can follow and read his blogs.

You can read Piers’ first post here but Dayre’s browser site doesn’t always load properly so your best bet is to install the app on your phone, search for Piers and follow him.