Sunday, 13 April 2014

Edinburgh, one pub at a time

Geez, is it Sunday again? What happened to the rest of the week? I remember waking up on Monday morning then suddenly, WHAM, it was Sunday again. Potential time travel aside, that means that it's time for another blog! Excited? Ok, don't answer that. So what has happened in the last week then?

Well, it turns out that I'm not exactly great at making origami jumping frogs. I'll admit that it was my first attempt but it just came it shouldn't exist. I'm sorry Kermit the jumping frog but I'll make v2.0 even better! And dammit, we will jump like no-one has jumped before!

Other than my perhaps over-the-top attachment to origami jumping frogs, I was also shown around Edinburgh a bit by my sister (Thanks Kate!), which was a nice way to learn a little bit more about where I live. Opting to bypass the bus (It was a rare nice day – Ed), we walked down to the canals, with a quick pit-stop at my sisters 'local pub' The Golden Rule, which despite being a 45 minutes walk away, I felt quite honoured being shown. Oh and if you're wondering, it's a nice traditional pub with a good selection of ales, lagers and beers: Caesar Augustus beer is pretty damn good. After a while we finally arrived at the canals (I won't lie, I didn't even know that Edinburgh had canals) which heralded our arrival to the main city.

Now, as the day was more about getting my bearings in the city and finding out things to do in the future, this won't be the most descriptive of blogs but I did get some nice pictures! What followed after the canals was some wandering around the city for a while, with my sister pointing out certain areas; nice pubs to visit; and some good places to view the castle. Finally, we ended up having a cheese and meat platter in the Brewdog bar (and another beer, of course).

Splitting up, my sister went shopping and I wandered around the Royal Mile until my eye test (My eyes are healthy! Yay!). Now, a lot of people don't like the Royal Mile, but I really enjoy wandering around it as it always seems vibrant and alive, with lots to see (Give it a year – Edinburgh Ed). To illustrate my point, I did not wake up on Saturday morning and think to myself 'I'm going to see a man swallow a sword today' and yet I did, along with a few lubrication jokes. Sadly no pictures though, but use your imagination.

So a nice lazy day, with a couple of beers and the opportunity to wander around a genuinely beautiful city.

Pick of the Week

BeatYour Exams (Kindle Edition) – OK, I know that I mentioned the website last week but now Michael has a book on Amazon! The book offers you a range of psychology hacks, productivity techniques and study aids to help ensure that you pass your exams. Do yourself a favour and check it out, especially if you have exams.

Music of the Week

Hmm it always interests me that some weeks I have a song days in advance and others, it is a really struggle.  Annoyingly, it's a struggle day today.  UUUUUMMMMMM...  AHHHHHHH...  EHHHHHHHH...Ok, I've got one: Chthonic - Sail into the Sunset Fire.  A great band and a great song.

Ok, that's it from me and I have a driving lesson today, so wish me luck!  Though I do already have a driving license...hmmm.  Word of warning: Ollie may feature prominently as I'm seeing him next week! 

Sunday, 6 April 2014


As I type, I'm sitting watching 'Sunday Brunch' in the background with some good coffee and some food slow-cooking away: both things that I haven't been able to do since I moved to Nepal. I suppose it's an appropriate image to start my blog entry about moving back to the UK.

So, I've now been back in the UK for almost three weeks now and it's as good as I hoped. In fact, I would argue that it's been overwhelming actually! I've spent inordinate amounts of time getting myself organised, meeting lots of friends and starting my training for work. It's been tiring to say the least but I have loved every second of it, and I'm glad I decided to move back. Over the three weeks, I've visited the cinema, met with loads of friends, drank plenty of good beer and ate lots of good food. I've been a regular socialite and, one of the nicest changes for me is that I can hang-out with my friends and actually be able to say 'I'll see you in a few weeks' rather than 'I'll see you in a few months'. I've even been able to make plans for the near future, which is something that I haven't really been able to do in Nepal and I've been able to reschedule plans as well (something I could never do when living in Nepal).  It really does make a difference not having to plan everything to the finest detail and it removes a lot of sad goodbyes, replacing them with 'see you soon'.
So, that's a little bit about my new social life. What about work? As for work, it's exciting being in a new high-paced environment, learning about my new job and meeting my new colleagues. It's very early days but I think that it could be an exciting job. Time will tell though!

However, being back has really highlighted that it's the small things that really get you when you leave somewhere, not the big things. Getting used to an entirely new culture or cuisine or place is fairly simple and it just takes time but for some small things, you might not be able to do them again until you get back. It's the small things that you took for granted, things like a cooking program you couldn't watch, meeting a friend for a coffee one evening and not having to worry about not seeing them for another 6 months or baking some bread in an afternoon, just because you think it will be fun. These are the things I've been trying to enjoy over the past few weeks and whilst it has been fun carrying out these tasks, it's almost just as fun just remembering about what I can do now and then planning to do them. I've actually had to start a list (surprise surprise – Ed) of all the things I want to do that I've missed otherwise I forget them and I'm adding to it almost everyday. Somehow, I don't think things will be boring, for a few months at least.

I enjoyed my time in Nepal but I've now moved onto the next stage in my life and I'm excited about it and I'm excited about what is in store for me. I don't think I've been able to explain myself very well or explain how I feel about being back but I've added a picture below which I think sums up my feelings. It was taken on my first night out back in the UK (which was an amazing night).

Pick of the week

Beat Your Exams – Michael is launching a brand new website to help you pass your exams! In his own words (stolen from his website – Copyright Ed): “Whether your exams are two weeks away, or you're just starting a new year of study - my tips and strategies will allow you to work smarter, not harder, and beat your exams”. Check out his website (link in title), sign up and take his advice. Trust me, he knows what he is talking about and even if you're not studying, check it out and I guarantee you that you will learn something new. And to all you teachers out there, it will be a great resource for you and your students to use.  If you ever listen to something I suggest, make it this. 

Music of the Week

Rob Zombie – We're an American Band. Get it listened to. Don't argue, just do it. It will make your day and get your feet tapping.  Brilliant cover to really motivate you.  I listen to it regularly, especially when I need to work myself up about something. 

So there we go.  I'm back in the UK, for better or for worse.  I hope you enjoyed reading it and I'll see you next week!  

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

A Challenger Appears

So, I bet you're wondering what the announcement is, aren't you? Well, wonder no more! As of April, I will be introducing 'Review Robbie' (name, hopefully, subject to change – Ed). No, this isn't an opportunity to assess my positive and negative qualities (positive? - Ed) but instead relates to my goal of trying something new each month!

Basically, what will happen is I will choose something new to try out each month (maybe even a couple of things) and then, on the last Wednesday of the month, I will chronicle my attempts at this task (and introduce the next task as well). This will be done via pictures and my usual mediocre writing. So why do this? Well, as you may remember, I want to use this blog to hold myself accountable for trying new things and it provides a new section as well!

So let's test this out, shall we?

Green Fingers!

I might have been in trouble this month, if not for Derek's Christmas present: Bonsai Trees! Indeed, I've turned my hand to planting some Bonsai trees. So below, you can actually see the trees that I planted in their first home!

Ok, Ok, I get that Bonsai trees aren't exactly a great thing to use in a one month period as there isn't massive growth but still: it's just a trial run! Plus, I will make sure to provide more updates each month.  However, oddly, you are supposed to wrap them in a lightweight plastic bag for a couple of weeks, as you can see below. Then, you put them in the fridge...odd.

Finally, a picture of me with my plants! You know...just in case you didn't believe that it was me that owned them...

So there we go! My new addition to the blog and to my personal life as well. I hope you enjoy it. In fact, I invite you to suggest challenges! Oh, I almost forgot April's challenge...I'm going to teach myself origami! Don't believe me?

See you Sunday and sorry for the selfies.