#40thbirthdaytheatrepalooza part 2- Hamlet

After we pet the kitties, we walked to the St. Paul’s area for lunch at Hush Brasserie.  I had a wine spritzer and a chicken Caesar salad, and Steph and I shared truffle fries with parmesan.

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Afterwards, I took a few pictures before we headed back to the hotel so I could get ready for Hamlet.

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Once I got to the Barbican, I got myself a water, a snack, and a program and sat down to people watch.  I missed breaking my drink tradition before the play but I was still worried with the random allergic reactions and the fact that I knew there was a long way to go before the interval, and booze wouldn’t help that.  I made sure to take a dorky pre-theatre selfie.

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Once we were allowed in the theatre, I went in and sat down.  I had been third row for Much Ado About Nothing, and maybe 8th row for To Kill A Mockingbird.  However, tonight, second row here felt, very, very close.  This was really emphasised once the screen went up and I could see the stage.  I was astonished.  It was the most elaborate stage I have ever seen.  I had a hard time taking it all in *and* watching Benedict, so I had to stop watching him and take a moment to take in everything I could.  Unfortunately from my seat, I couldn’t see the entire stage, especially the centre and where it went all the way back.  Luckily, this didn’t take away from the absolute brilliance of the performance.  I was completely transfixed and couldn’t believe how much time had passed once it was time for the interval.  I really hope that I get to see it in the encore performance in the cinema so I can get a different perspective.

After, I did go out for stage door, but I didn’t have any expectations (especially considering when I got there before the performance, people were already queuing up).  I did see Benedict as he signed for people across from us, but I was more shocked at some of the behaviours of the fans, to be honest.  I’m not going to talk about that here, but let’s just say I was not impressed by how some people were acting.

By that point, Steph had come to meet me and we walked back to the hotel.  She had gone to Whole Foods and got me sandwich fixings, which I hungrily ate as I checked my messages.  She got me this as part of my birthday present (so I had something to open).

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Friday was our last day in London.  I didn’t have any specific desires or plans, so we left our bags at the hotel and just walked around the Southbank area after getting another coffee at the Coffeeworks project.

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For lunch we went to Wahaca for fish tacos.  I had been craving them for days and I could have eaten twice the amount I had!

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After, we walked around a bit, poked a bit into Borough Market and then headed to Hummingbird Bakery for a birthday cupcake.

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My cupcake was delicious!  I wish I had taken a second one to bring home!

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After we went to pick up our bags before heading to Euston and the train home.

So, that’s it.  I wish the trip could have been a bit longer, so I could have done some things/seen some sights I have yet to see, but hopefully there will be time for that in the future.  I was so glad to have been able to spend my birthday this way.

#40thbirthdaytheatrepalooza: Or My 40th birthday in London (part 1)


No much to say about the train ride down.  It was a train.  I listened to Blake’s 7 Audiobooks and tried to doze.

We arrived in London mid afternoon on Tuesday.  We checked in and I unpacked, so my clothes wouldn’t be wrinkled.  And because we are grown adult women:

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I was still pretty sore from the half-marathon, so I knew I didn’t want to go galavanting about the city (until the following day).  We had an idea where we wanted to go to dinner, so we headed back out only to find the restaurant in question had a queue a mile long.  So we backtracked a bit and ended up at Brewhouse & Kitchen in Islington.  (If you know me, you know I was giggling.  I honestly, and I do mean this, had no idea that the hotel I booked was so close to Islington.  I really, truly didn’t.  I wanted to stay close to the Barbican, and that was really all I was thinking at the time I made the booking.  Nothing else.  I swear on Bailey’s life.)

It had all the main things we needed; a chicken sandwich for me and beer for Steph.  I had the fried chicken sandwich, chips, and a huge salad.

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After we ate, we did a bit of shopping/browsing and then headed back to the hotel.  The hotel had a pool/hot tub and we wanted the chance to relax.  I was still exhausted from the half and getting up early, so I was glad to spend the rest of the night soaking and relaxing.


Wednesday, we started the day with coffee at the Coffeeworks Project.  I had a latte and Steph had a flat white and a sandwich.  I couldn’t make a decision and ended up going to Tortilla after for chicken tacos.

Steph's flat white

Steph’s flat white

Afterwards, we headed to the Royal Exchange, where I went to Tiffany & Co to buy my 40th birthday present.   You’ll see it in my selfies from the next 2 days.  Then we headed into Soho/Covent Garden and wandered a bit.  Steph bought some tea and then we went to Amorino for gelato.  Mmmmm gelato.

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We stopped for a drink at the Department of Coffee and Social Affairs.  I wasn’t in a coffee mood, so I had a ginger beer.

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It was then time for my blowout.  In an attempt (that failed) to have something go right for something, I thought it would be nice to have my hair done.  It looked great immediately after the blowout, but wind and moving about flattened it by the time I needed it to look good.  Oh well, lesson learned.  It was nice to get pampered anyways.

From there, we went to dinner.  We went to Homeslice for some pizza.   And then it was time to head over to Southbank, but there was enough time for some selfies first.

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We headed over to the National Theatre and I got myself a gin and tonic, per usual.  And then things got a bit weird.

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For the duration of this trip, I kept having allergic reactions.  I have NO idea what caused them; I didn’t eat anything I hadn’t eaten before.  So of course, right before it was time to be seated I was as red as a lobster.  My face was numb and my neck was swollen.  I was completely panicking.  I did ask for assistance, which I normally wouldn’t have done but I didn’t have any antihistamines on me.  Of course, they didn’t either, but I was more worried about missing the play (of course I was).

Three Days in The Country was absolutely fantastic.  Granted, it’s the second time I’ve seen it, but it was just as hilarious as the first time.  Actually no.  It was even funnier the second time.  Mark Gatiss absolutely killed the proposal scene again, crawling about the stage like a crab as he tried to unsuccessfully get to his feet; at one point he looked how I am certain I had looked the week before in Pilates class.  And once again, John Simm played the unrequited lover with the utmost brilliance.

And I bet you can all guess what happened next?  :)

I’m really, really very lucky.  There was a lot of waiting as Mark didn’t come out for almost an hour.  When he saw us all waiting, he did a doubletake and then pretended to go back inside, but he came out and was once again so generous with his time.  I was third to speak to him and Steph piped up, telling him it was my birthday.  He wished me a happy birthday and then asked me how old I was.  He must have thought that was the wrong thing to ask, because he was like you don’t have to say, and then asked me to whisper it in his ear.  (OMG!)  He had to bend down so I could (Of course; if there is a next time, I need to wear heels!)  I told him and we had a giggle, and he signed my copy of the Vesuvius Club and took a picture with me.  He wished me a happy birthday again, and I thanked him again, and Steph and I headed off/got out of the way, so that the others who were waiting could have their turns.

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Of course I was totally giddy afterwards as we headed back to get the Tube to the hotel.  We stopped to take a selfie and some other pictures.

My Gwen Cooper tooth gap is getting pretty serious here.

My Gwen Cooper tooth gap is getting pretty serious here.

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I was still pretty giddy when I got up, and excited for Hamlet.  We went to Friends of Ours for breakfast.  I had scrambled eggs, toast, and a cold brew coffee with cream.

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We wandered around a bit before our next appointment, which was an hour to spend at London Cat Village, petting cats!  It was a fun hour and a completely different way to spend part of my birthday.  I think many of them were tired when we got there, and they didn’t all want to play, especially this one, who slept nearly the entire time!

Sleepy kitty

Sleepy kitty

A very soft cat

A very soft cat

So cute!

So cute!

I was going to try to cram the rest of the trip into this post, but it’s gotten pretty long.  Part 2 will feature Hamlet and fish tacos.

Great Scottish Run Half-Marathon recap

Last Sunday I ran my first half-marathon.  It was the hardest physical thing I have done thus far in my life.

The week prior to the half, I was fighting a cold and an achy knee.  I was pretty sore from the previous Sunday’s 10 miler, so I took Tuesday off.  Wednesday, I went to Pilates, which while relaxing, made my knee ache even worse.  Thursday, I ran a quick mile, but I didn’t want to push it with my knee.  I spent the rest of the week stretching, icing and applying heat, resting, and eating all the carbs.

Sunday, I woke relatively well rested.  I was still hesitant about running, but I had more than 12 weeks of training under my belt, and I knew I would regret it if I didn’t go out and do it.  So I got up and got dressed.  I ate a bagel and drank some orange juice and headed into George Square.  I stopped and grabbed a flat white; I knew I needed the caffeine.

When I got into George Square itself, the elite men were warming up and people were walking around, getting water and stretching.  As I went off to find some safety pins, they announced people should get to their wave areas, so I headed over to the pink wave where I proceeded to stand in the queue for the porta-loos for 40 minutes or so.  I listened to the chatter around me and was amused by this:

When it was finally time to start, I was nervous and excited, and as usual I started off way to fast up the hill.  I noticed my pace and breathing were too much at this juncture, so I backed off on my pace.  I kept up my previous plan of fuelling with a clif shot block every mile and drinking water when I needed.  I know that this might seem a bit much to some people with the shot blocks, but I know that from previous experience without proper fuel, I get pretty lightheaded and woozy easily.  So it worked for me in my longer runs, so I kept to it for the half.

As the miles passed, I knew that I wasn’t going to make my A time, but I felt pretty good about hitting my B target.  I also wished that I had done some more hill runs instead of focusing on time/distance.  Something to remember if I plan to do this run again; the hills.  Something I also noticed?  How much running on the motorway/roads hurts.  I’m used to running the Clyde River path, or through Kelvingrove Park, where the paths are smooth.  The roads themselves had a different texture and my toes ached from it.

Once I got to the 10k point in Bellahouston Park, I was tired, but ok.  I was glad for the Lucozade station as well!  The sugar boost helped me along the next few miles, and I was able to keep a steadyish pace, despite my wonky knee.  Yes, my knee pretty much hated me by mile 5, but I kept on.

I was so overwhelmed with all of the cheering and encouragement by those spectating and those who were cheering for charities.  I now knew why our names were printed on our bibs; it was so overwhelming to have people call out my name and wish me luck.  I was moved to tears more than once by the kind words of people.

Once I hit Pollock Park, I knew that I was more than halfway done, and despite my knee, I was still overall feeling ok.  I continued my fuelling strategy and walked to stretch out my knee when I needed to; making sure to not keep the walking breaks more than 2 minutes.

Now back in the Southside, I was starting to recognise my surroundings and once I saw the Finneston Crane, I knew I was close.  I was also approaching the area where I did my training runs and felt confident about finishing strong.  I had a second Lucozade and the additional sugar gave me a boost.  Once I could see Glasgow Green ahead, I picked up my speed as much as I could, and when I could finally see the timer, I saw I was very close to my B time.  I somehow managed to come up with a spurt of energy and ran as fast as I could across that finish line!

I was very emotional when I finally crossed.  I hugged a woman who I had befriended on the way, who had also crossed right behind me.  We were both soon to turn 40 and it was really great to have someone else there who was experiencing the same thing I was.

I got my “goodie” bag and walked around a few minutes trying to organise my thoughts.  And take a selfie.

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I made it home and collapsed into the bath.

My legs were pretty sore until Tuesday night.  I’m not sure walking around London is the best post half recovery, but it worked for me.



Half-marathon training week 9 and some news

I’ll start with the news.  I had my second annual review to discuss the progress I needed to make this summer.  I am pleased to say that I met the goals that I worked very hard to attain this summer and I am able to continue on.  This means I can finally look past my birthday in terms of things that I want to do, places I want to go, concerts I want to see, etc.  I have a lot of work to do, but I hope that I can meet the goals that I have and earn this PhD.


As far as half-marathon training, this was week 9.  I hadn’t written about the training before now, because honestly, I didn’t think I would get this far.  In fact, I haven’t even registered for the run.  I’m still that hesitant.

This week’s training was fine.  I had to cut a mile off my Tuesday run, because of my deadline, but the other two runs were fine.  I even was able to make it to Pilates on Wednesday, which was much needed.

Most of my issues are mental at this point.  It’s so hard to look at my times and see how far behind I am other runners my age.  I’m literally taking twice as long to complete runs as most other people and it’s so hard.  I know I’ve done this to myself, and I know it won’t change overnight, but I am very disappointed in myself, that I couldn’t follow through with the goals I set for myself that I hoped to achieve by my 40th birthday.  I’ll still be about 40 pounds more than I wanted for that, and it’s very discouraging.  No wonder I’m so slow!

It honestly makes me wonder if I should even bother doing the run.  I’m going to take a ridiculously long time and it’s going to be hard.  I keep saying after every long run, if it goes ok that I’ll register.  And I still haven’t the courage.  Next Sunday’s run is 9 miles, my longest run ever and it’s a bit daunting to be honest.

Hopefully by then I will have made a decision.


Here’s a picture of Bailey from earlier today.


Hello there!

Hello there!  I’ve been absent, I know.  I’ve been terribly busy, but that really is no excuse, as I have time to waste lots of time on the internet doing other things.  Anyways. . . what have I been up to?

1. I took a quick trip to London.

It was just a quick overnight jaunt, but it was incredible.  I went down to see Three Days in the Country (which if you know me, that should be no surprise.)  The play is absolutely amazing; both Mark Gatiss and John Simm were brilliant!  And I had a great seat with a perfect view of Mark’s  . . . .assets.  😉  I really need to spend a day writing up all my theatre trips this year!

After the play, this happened.  :)

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2.  I’ve been training for a half-marathon!

I’ve been doing a lot of running!  I’ve just started week 8 of my training plan, and I feel pretty good.  Tired, but good.  Also, rungry!  I’m actually pretty impressed with myself as I’ve only missed one training run in the 7 weeks that I’ve been training.  I rolled my ankle on week 6, so I took a day off to make sure I hadn’t mangled it again.  It was a bit tender, but it didn’t swell or bruise.  Ice and resting helped it, and I was fine to continue on.

3.  I’ve been writing.  And writing.  And even more writing.

My thesis has been progressing.  Not with any amazing speed of course, but progressing all the same.  I have my secondary annual review in 10 days, so I’m freaking the fuck out, basically.  I have to get this chapter finished by the 9th and I am feeling a tiny bit hopeful.  If all goes well, I will be able to finish up my PhD.  If not, well, I don’t want to talk about it right now.

4. I went to the Doctor Who series 9 premiere!

With all the running and all the writing I’ve been doing, I haven’t had much time for fun (not since I saw Three Days in the Country).  I’ve been pretty focused on getting my work done, so it was nice to take last Thursday to first get my hair done, and then pop over to Edinburgh for the premiere.

The episode was brilliant, and that’s all I’m allowed to say.  :)

Afterward, there was a Q&A with Steven Moffat and Brian Minchin, which was pretty cool.



I can’t wait to watch the episode again on September 19th.

Other than that, my life has been rather boring.  I hope to start planning my 40th birthday theatrepalooza very soon (Yay Hamlet!  Yay Three Days in the Country!  Yay high tea on my birthday!), and will share all the plans as soon as they are made.


Here’s a random Bailey :)

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Oh and if you’re interested, new hair

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Sort of ok news

In my last post, I was fairly sure my time here in Scotland was coming to an end.  It’s been a very stressful time here; I spent about a month staring alternately at the telly or reading copious amounts of Mystrade.  (My current coping mechanisms.)

Since I wrote that post, I have made my peace with the entire situation.  However, somehow, I was granted a miracle, and my funds were released today.



I have a lot to say about that entire situation as well, but as this is a very public place, I find I need to keep my mouth shut about a lot of what went on in case it comes back and bites me in the arse.

That being said, it is not all sunshine and roses.  I have until September to make some serious improvements to my thesis.  If these improvements are not made, then I will be asked to withdraw.  Like I said above, I’ve made my peace with this situation.

At this point, I lack little confidence in addressing the issues with my thesis.  It’s not down to wanting it, it seems to be more along the lines that I seem to have reached the threshold of my intelligence.  I do not seem to be able to grasp what is being asked of me.  I am working to try to get some private assistance, but am unsure as to where to find such a thing/person.  I’m at the point where I can try all I want, and put in a lot of effort and not have anything to show for it.  Again, I’ve accepted this and to be honest I am ok with it either way.

If I finally “get it” and am able to continue on and finish, then that’s great.  If not, well, then it’s time to rejoin the working world.

So I will be spending this summer trying my hardest to do this, despite the fact that I still feel very unsure about what I am doing.

I am happy that I will have my 40th birthday in London either way.  I have that to look forward to at least.  :)


On the running front, I’m injured right now, which is a bit frustrating as I seriously could run out my frustrations right now, but alas that isn’t going to happen right now.  My calf pull/pop is better than last week.  I did go out yesterday to see, and made it about 2 feet before noping back home.  I will try again later this week and see how it goes.  In the meantime, lifting and walking are my current workouts du jour.


And here’s a recent picture of Bailey.  We’ve had him for a year now.  :)


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Moving on

“Moving on is simple, it’s what you leave behind that makes it so difficult.”

I feel like I need to document every minute, every moment so I don’t forget any of it.  Every second with Bailey, every walk with Steph, every step of next week’s brief (and possibly last) trip to London.  I want them tattooed on my eyelids so I can treasure them always.  I’m terrified to lose these memories; I’m terrified full stop.

Right now I haven’t a clue as to what I am going to do.  I’m not sure there’s much of a fight I can put up.  I’m not all blameless in this.  I know this; I admit it.  Unfortunately trying, in my case, has little merit. As Doctor House once said, “Nice tries are worthless.”  If I could go back and do it all differently, I would.  But, I’ve been saying that all my life.

It’s frightening to be a failure (again), despite having been one all my life.  I failed at the biggest thing I ever attempted and have nothing, absolutely nothing to show for it.  Nearly 4 years of work, gone in a blink of an eye.  How do you even explain that on a CV or in a job interview?

So many questions and so little answers so far.  I am such a special snowflake that most people don’t know what to do or say in this situation.  And I understand.  I don’t know what to do or say either and it’s happening to me.


It’s all a bit not good.

Lovesong of the Electric Bear- (in my own words)

First off, I suppose I should preface all of this with the statement that I haven’t seen The Imitation Game and to be honest I didn’t really know (and still don’t) know an awful lot about Alan Turing.  Thursday and Friday changed that, and I hope to be able to learn more about him in the future.


Lovesong of the Electric Bear is simply an amazing piece of work.  It’s hysterically funny, charged and moving, and terribly, terribly sad.  And it all takes place in a theatre the size of my living room, making it incredibly intimate.

Ian Hallard, as Turing, is flawless.  We are taken on a journey from his young life as a lad at boarding school, to war hero, marathoner, and beyond.  Through it all, you can see the struggle of someone who was rather uncomfortable in his own existence.  Hallard’s portrayal speaks volume to this, in the fidgets and nervous tics that are expressed throughout.  The entire time, there is an undercurrent of sadness and turmoil that peaks right before the interval, in a nightmare where Turing is tormented and exposed bare (quite literally) for all of us to see.

There is laughter in the sorrow, most expressively so in the J. Edgar Hoover cabaret scene.  Those red dresses are fabulous and the entirety of the scene is hilariously surreal.

It comes quickly to a head as he is betrayed and let down by the country he served and protected.  While not everyone in his life has vilified him, Turing feels so increasingly hopeless that he takes his own life.

While many of the scenes are so raw, the last one is the most so.  Both evenings I had to consciously keep from sobbing as the life drains from him, and his dear teddy bear is inconsolable in his grief.

It may seem odd that a representation of an inanimate object evoked such emotion, but Porgy’s self-evisceration was as gut-wrenching as Turing taking a bite of the poison apple, echoing back to images of his childhood earlier depicted.

Lovesong of the Electric Bear only runs for another 2 weeks, so if you are in London or are going to be in London, I would run to the theatre to see it.  it is truly an amazing piece of work and I feel extremely blessed and honoured that I was able to see it twice.



For more information and reviews:




Whole 30: The last week

Today is day 30 of my Whole 30.    I am SO excited because tomorrow I can have a “real” cup of coffee!  Or a latte.  Or some yogurt.  A proper cuppa. I am overjoyed at this!



Yes, I probably am.


While I haven’t minded the restriction so much, I have gotten pretty bored with my food choices.  I’ve been eating salads with protein for lunch and dinner most days because I’m lazy/boring and since Steph hasn’t always been home/been busy I’ve had to make my own food (I know, cry me a river, right?) and that means boring choices since I can’t follow a recipe to save my life and I can do little more than bake a potato and a piece of chicken.

Am I in a huge hurry to reintroduce foods?  Not really.  I feel better-ish and I’ve lost weight, so if I just add dairy back for a bit and then maybe sporadically some grains, I’m cool with that.  Since I’m going to be out of town for part of next week anyways I want to add things back in slowly, so it will have to be another week until I can do that properly and I’m ok with that.

Once I’ve had a few days “off,” I’m sure I will better able to reflect on the entire experience.

Whole 30: Days 13-20

Wow.  A whole week has passed.  I was seriously busy with a chapter deadline, and when I had any downtime, the last thing I wanted to do was any more writing.

Overall, I’ve been feeling fine.  Sadly Whole 30 has not removed my generalised anxiety disorder symptoms, and the day before my chapter was due I was living on my medication to make it through.  It was tough.  What I really needed to do was go for a run, but every minute was devoted to getting my work done.

There were a few days where I had absolutely no appetite at all, and then the next day I’d be starving and barely able to keep from shoving food in my mouth.  It’s crazy.

Last night I dreamed of custard cremes.




I’m starting to think about after Whole 30.  In all honestly I don’t really feel the need to change anything.  I feel better, so why change what is working?  I do want to re-introduce dairy though.  I miss cream in my coffee.  (Yes, I know it isn’t ideal, but haters gonna hate.)  I’ve already given up so many foods for various reasons that I’d rather not give up something I actually enjoy.

My biggest worry is when I am away for a quick trip at the beginning of March.  I know I can rely on M&S for salads and nuts and whatnot.  I’m sure I can find places to get healthy salads/chicken while I’m gone, so I should probably stop obsessing over it.