Sunday, 28 October 2012

Driven to distraction!

If I look at my CV one of the phrases or buzz words that I have always written down about myself is that I am self-motivated. I mentioned it in my application for my masters and in my personal statement to apply for the graduate trainee position I am in.

I am starting to question how true this statement is about me. I actually looked the phrase up on dictionary.com and this is the definition

"Initiative to undertake or continue a task or activity without another's prodding or supervision" (Dictonary.com accessed 28th October 2012)

At work I would say this is completely accurate. I have initiated work myself and created my own projects whilst also following great direction. 

However, when it comes to my masters and my housework I am the ultimate procrastinator. I can find myself distracted by the easiest of things and often I go the long way round to put the actual task off for as long as possible. 
Recently whilst attempting to study for my Masters I have found the internet one of the biggest distractions. Even when I turn off my computer and take good old fashioned notes with a pen I still have a phone that will buzz when a watched item on eBay is ending or when someone has emailed me. It is the ultimate distraction. I have to make a major decision to shut out the temptation to look at my phone or to get myself in a bidding war on eBay. eBay is probably the worst distraction for me. I love to browse items for the house and recently with Christmas approaching I have been enjoying finding beautiful handmade decorations on eBay. I can browse for ages even though I know I have a fair bit of work to complete. 

I am hoping I can live up to my description of myself during half term. I have given myself a hypothetical deadline for completing my two assignments a month before they are due in January. At the moment I am not sure how realistic this aim is but I am hoping that if I get cracking (and typing) I will get some words written by the end of half term and then hopefully I will be on roll and want be able to stop typing (a girl can dream). 

To help I looked up a few tips online about remaining motivated. One of the suggestions was to write a list of the steps towards your goal. Breaking down what you need to do into manageable chunks so it doesn't look like a mountain to climb but more of a series of hurdles to jump. So tomorrow I plan to create a list of steps required for both my assignments, hopefully it will work!

I have had a lovely lazy day today in hopes that it will be the final one of half term and I can get myself up and working tomorrow. I do thankfully have some lovely plans with great friends and my hubby for his birthday so half term should still feel like a holiday rather than a working week.  

Any others studying and struggling to stay motivated? Any tips on how to keep going?

Currently Reading: The Killables by Gemma Malley (Review coming soon)






Sunday, 21 October 2012

My first half marathon!


Well it’s fresh in my mind I thought I would write up my blog about my half marathon experience this morning. Firstly its sweet relief to finally being sitting down! My legs are pretty sore and feel like they weigh a ton but on the whole I am feeling pretty good and am on a finished race high. I shall hopefully be able to do justice to the race story and explain just how much I loved the experience.

Saturday 13th October

I wake up a bag of nerves. The whole week I have managed to keep it together, managed to be more excited than worried and on Saturday my resolve feel apart a little bit and I began to panic over issues that never bothered me before.  I paced around Derby shopping centre getting myself into a right flap about socks. Yes I said it socks. I was panicking to the point that I had to ring my lovely friend Sarah who also ran the half and actually asked her sock advice. It may have been the most random call I have ever made in my life. However, thanks to Sarah having a rational head on her shoulders she calmed me down and I felt myself relax a bit.
A short train ride and drive later I was in Leicester. After a lovely meal with Sarah and her aunt and uncle (who generously let me stay over) we had an early night to be run ready the next day.
We didn't carb load at all, we just ate a substantial amount of good nutritious food and made sure we didn't feel over full or hungry.

Sunday 14th October

So this morning I woke up and the nerves had finally subsided. I had a really good night’s sleep and felt confident I could do the race. After a great breakfast of cornflakes and a banana we set off. Wonderful servant hearted Andy, Sarah’s husband drove us to the race.  Parking was restricted and the area around the start was pretty rammed so us runners set off with good look fist bumps from Andy and the support team.

For those thinking of doing the Leicester Half a few tips, if you need the toilet head straight there!  We had to queue for quite a while so we started later then the official start time because we had to dash from the loo to the start line.  The race starts with a downhill mile. I did what everyone had told me not to do and set off too fast, up until the point I caught up Sarah I hadn't really realised. It was much amusing when I turned to Sarah and said “I am running too fast aren't I”
Thankfully I managed to get myself under control and although I achieved some major personal bests in the first 10 miles I really began to slow down.

The amazing support team (Andy, Dan and Ethan) appeared out of nowhere and handed me a delicious Lucozade sport drink which I was in dire need off!  I was also really boosted by their cheering and clapping. I strongly recommend having a team of people chant your name whilst your run it’s a real morale boost. 

So with 5 miles to go I was doing well, I was achieving my goal mileage time and was feeling ok. The story changed as I hit the 10 mile mark. Even though I knew all I had left was 3 miles which I have done so many times it was in all honesty the hardest 3 miles I have ever run in my life! I felt like I was dragging my body along by sheer force of will. My average mileage really slowed and I had to consciously tell myself to keep it up! Thankfully I had purchased an SIS Sports Gel in case of emergency. Mile 12 I ravenously tore through the top and super speedily downed the energy gel. It worked wonders probably more subconsciously then physically. It helped to power me up the final mile. I had been warned the final mile was a hill but it was a more of a steady incline. I still had to push myself up, thankfully my amazing friend Sarah, who finished with the awesome time of 1 hour 56 Minutes, came along to run a small burst of the final mile with me and give me some much needed encouragement. With that added encouragement and the amazing high of being so close to the finish I pushed myself on and finished in 2 hours and 16 minutes. I am so chuffed with this time. I was quite worried about what my time would be.  I am well aware that when you enter a race most people’s first question is “what was your time?” I wanted to be confident with my reply. Thankfully just a few miles in I was so enjoying being part of the race that I lost fear of what my time would be and just wanted to complete the race and enjoy it. 136 minutes and 13.1 miles later I feel amazing and cannot believe I have actually done it. Considering I had not run over 6 miles earlier this year to be able to say I have run a half marathon it’s unreal.
Thanks to the support team and Sarah it was such an enjoyable raced and I am excited to train for the next one!



I am still raising money for The Katie Piper Foundation and will have my just giving page open until the 15th November.
If you would like to give a donation please visit www.virginmoneygiving.com/LydiaBales

Currently Reading: Flyte by Angie Sage (I loved Eragon)

Friday, 12 October 2012

Book Review: Magyk by Angie Sage



When I started working in the library I was well aware I would need to start reading more teenage fiction. My children’s book knowledge is about 10 years out of date. Although I often re-read many of the series I read as a child it has been a long time since I started reading a new book not written for my age group. 

So when it was time to start reading a book in the school I was spoilt for choice. There are so many options and so many new authors to discover that I had to ask the children for advice. They gave me a list as long as my arm that will probably take me forever to read. After much thought I chose a series of 7 books the first of which I am going to review.

I chose to read Septimus Heap: Magyk by Angie Sage. This book is full of magic and adventure and as I have always been partial to a story with wizards I felt it would be a good starting point. 

Needless to say I was overjoyed when I discovered I loved it! I found myself eager to read more and completely intrigued by the plot. The story revolves around the Heap family who after a string of mysterious events find themselves centre stage in a battle that has been brewing for years. I have to admit I figured some of the twists out before they took place but baring in mind that the book is aimed at younger readers I am not too surprised by that. The writing is fast paced, funny and imaginative. The world Sage creates is believable with many original attributes I have not yet found in a fantasy story although there are definitely some parts that will remind you of other wizarding worlds. I would recommend the book but it is definitely written towards younger readers although adults who enjoy a quick read without reading rubbish will enjoy it too.

A good start to a series shame the rest are not as good!

I am looking forward to reading the second book. Sadly however a student has taken it out of the library. Obviously I am thrilled they checked it out but it is awfully tempting to abuse my librarian power and recall it! Unable to continue with that series I have started the first book in The Inheritance Cycle called Eragon. Another recommended read from the student's list! 

 At some point I am sure I will review a book that's not aimed at teenagers but I feel like I need to get cracking with the list the students gave me as they worked pretty hard on it. 
On another exciting note I tweeted Angie Sage about enjoying Magyk and she actually replied! It made my day!
Currently Reading: Still reading and thoroughly enjoying Eragon!

I am linking this page with Catch a single thought's 'Book Love' BOOKLOVEBADGE

Monday, 8 October 2012

Display Queen

Having worked in the Library now for over a month I felt it was time to show everyone so of the fruits of my labour!
Due to the fact that a lot of the work I do takes place at a desk and with students I can not show you much but I can show you the creative side of my job in the form of...

Displays!


As I am working in a school library displays are quite a high priority. The library is there to inform students of upcoming dates, events and to keep the library looking appealing! Events are a great opportunity to run library competitions and to encourage reading!

I have found that I have quite a natural flair for displays. I do enjoy scrap-booking and craft so I do think that must have helped. It is also a lot easier as I essentially get free reign with my displays.  Below is a list of the displays and book displays I have created so far.

I am most pleased with my Never Judge a Book by its Movie display. I am always surprised when people do not realise what movies are actually based on books. Its been really fun watching kids take books from the display and its definitely worked in getting them to read some different books ( I can not help myself but to encourage more science fantasy reading)

Displays I have created so far...
  • Roald Dahl Day
  • Spooky Stories
  • The Hobbit anniversary
  • National Poetry Day
  • Black History Month
  • Never Judge a Book by its Movie
  • Roald Dahl Day Funny Prize



As you can see I am still enjoying the job!

 Currently Reading: Eragon by Christopher Paolini

Monday, 1 October 2012

Up and running!

It’s been a while since I blogged, unfortunately I have been crazy busy and despite the home management folder I am still fathoming out how to balance everything.
I have had a few hectic weeks but I am finally getting the hang of everything so I hope this week can be a bit more organised!
Although the last few weeks have been super busy I have really been enjoying both the job and the degree. Both are challenging in different ways and I am learning a lot.  I cannot really believe I have been working in the school for a whole month. One month in the call centre felt like forever so it’s a bit surreal feeling time fly for once!
Other than studying and library life I have recently joined a local running club.  I have been running for the past 2 years on and off training for various events and just generally for my fitness. Earlier this year I signed up for a half marathon with my super keen running friend Sarah. As the date approaches (2 weeks to go) I am getting more apprehensive and was struggling to motivate myself and so I joined the local club.
In all honesty I do not know why I did not join sooner. Having other people around you whilst you run is so motivating and much safer (much to my husband’s and mum’s relief) it’s also great for improving. The leaders of the group are so encouraging and have really got me back into enjoying going out for a run.  It’s added a new structure to my running schedule which means I am much more likely to get out and go as I know people are waiting for me.
Running for me really is escapism, you can’t do any of the jobs on your to do list while you are out there. For me this is such a good thing. I have planned my work into such a routine but sometimes I can still find it difficult to stop and rest. A good run forces me to step away from the text books and by the time I am back in I have got out of the work mind-set and this allows me to have a bit of down time.  
I am hoping that after I complete the half marathon I will be able to improve my speed through working with those in the club.
If you have not tried running or are a runner but run continually alone I’d really encourage you to join a club in your area. I am really enjoying it!
Currently reading: Magyk By Angie Sage (recommended by the students)