Lion&Sloth Zeitgeist 2014

It has been a brilliant year! Looking back, I just can’t believe how many fantastic things I got to take part in, see and do.

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Adventures!

I have gone on MANY adventures – including but not limited to: exploring Iceland, returning to California (twice!, including a trip to Catalina Island), staying at Loch Fyne with pals, Pitlochry with family, and loads of little day trips throughout the year with my handsome wingman.

We also did/saw a lot of cool stuff, including:

We had a bumper year of birthdays, weddings, and babies. Including: my 30th, S’s dad’s 60th; weddings for the Chao’s, the Taylor-Lee’s, the Wallace’s, the Cunningham’s and the Brown’s! It was a great pleasure to meet the newest wee Nisbet and the newest baby Moffat (who JUST made it in the last days of 2014)!

Make / Eat

We feasted like kings! Both homemade:

And on the town:

Top meal: has to be our dine on coins dinner at Chop & Ale house. But tied second, new Edinburgh branch of Burger meats Bun, and the lovely Old Chain Pier in Newhaven. #omnomnom

Sadness food news of 2014: our beloved Illegal Jack’s closing down. =( What will we do??! I’m heartbroken.

Animals!

It’s been a bumper animal year, with our new pet chickens arriving in July, a christmas pet visitor (Boo, the cat!), Icelandic ponies, seals at Inchcolm, wild stag sightings in Perth, and multiple trips to our ultra-local Edinburgh Zoo:

Top: We especially liked Edinburgh Zoo Nights, which we went to with S’s family. The pitchers of Pimm’s and the penguin sightings were plentiful.

Honorable mention: So many brilliant animal sightings on our CA trip – dolphins, whales, garibaldi (orange fish), herons, rattlesnakes, and a hairy caterpillar breeding ground!

Entertainment

Boardgames – Dominion again probably. Agricola a close second!
Videogames – Professor Layton (completed Azran Legacy); S big into Hearthstone amongst many, many others.
FestivalSonar in Iceland was amazing!
Book – Sinéad Morrissey’s Parallax (and everything else she’s written!!), or David Orr’s Beautiful & pointless (crit) or perhaps listening to Tina Fey’s Bossypants audiobook which was stellar.
Music review – Will post asap on my (now completed!) 30hours of karaoke, and include a ‘true’ round-up of my top songs of 2014 and life. But in the meantime, I especially enjoyed these 2014 mashups and top-tunes lists:

PBs & Level ups

#nobooze2014 at the Whisky Experience!

Definitely completing my 30-by-30 challenges has to be on there.

Sticking to my only resolution from last year – #nobooze2014 – and going the entire year without drinking at ALL! It’s probably the way forward for me. Definitely feel better physically, have more time, make better choices, and can eat my calories in cakes instead of beer!

My adult women’s basketball team won Lothian league and the local cup!

And, we bought a HOUSE! #grownups

Resolutions for 2015

I’m not really big into resolutions, but really enjoyed my 30-by-30 last year as a means of giving me some focus and fun things to look forward to. Here’s hoping this will do the same! Roll on 2015!

  1. Go to Jupiter Artland – on my doorstep but never been!
  2. Go to Steptoe’s yard
  3. Go trampolining
  4. See a murmuration (of starlings)
  5. Invest more time in writing
  6. Buy a bike & try to cycle to work
  7. Finish more (craft) projects
  8. Do more animal-related activities
  9. Eat fruit/veg from our garden (aka successfully grow something in our garden!)
  10. ‘Become Aiko Greig’ aka ‘Go full Greig’ aka ‘Go Greig or Go Home’ (ie. change my name finally on all my official documents/passports/residence card! Life admin!)

Feeling nostalgic? Zeitgeist 2013

Plus! Watch this space for epic Aiko-news forthcoming (embargoed until today!).

The Denoument!

It’s quite hard to write a round-up for a year’s worth of action-packed-tivities! And takes perhaps a bit more effort than I’m willing to commit to, especially as life carries on with no shortage of amazing opportunities coming my way, and my responsibilities to life/work/home ever-present. It’s hard to say no – and I put my blog on the backburner for obvious reasons! Live life to the fullest – in real life! I am trying my best to live a content-rich life.

birthdaycakeSo my 30th birthday came and went in August without much fuss. As I’m not into big showy parties, we met with family for a lovely lunch at Mimi’s Bakehouse. I ordered a huge slice of cake and feasted.

Being the youngest of my circle of friends here in Edinburgh means I’ve been to a bunch of 30th birthday parties already. For Stuart’s we got a bouncy castle and had a BBQ and raced around a village hall in pantomime horse and zebra costumes. For some of our other friends, we went out for friends-meals and hired out rooms at clubs and went for epic 3-hour plus karaoke sessions. I suppose it’s been hard for me to imagine that turning 30 would ever happen to me, or have any significance.

So when I set out the 30-by-30 goals I wanted to achieve this year, I wasn’t sure how it’d make me feel or if I’d be pushed enough to even try. I wasn’t sure what I might learn or if my opinions would change.

–30–

I found the following in passing & thought it relevant: “-30- has been traditionally used by journalists to indicate the end of a story.” But I suppose it hasn’t really felt much like an end of a story, or even a beginning, but just more.

I set out to do the following things around September last year:

  1. Adventure! (go somewhere new)
  2. Apply for UK residency
  3. Buy a house
  4. Carpe diem (take opportunities when they come)
  5. Catch a fish
  6. Clock up 30hrs karaoke
  7. Cut 30lb
  8. Dine on coins
  9. Donate/bin 30 of my possessions
  10. Go to a music festival
  11. Grow my own garlic
  12. Learn German
  13. Learn to code
  14. Learn to do a two-finger whistle
  15. Learn to quilt
  16. Mommy&me vacation
  17. ‘Own’ my city (discover, explore)
  18. Ride in a helicopter
  19. Ride in a hot air balloon
  20. Ride more rollercoasters
  21. Run a race
  22. See the Northern Lights
  23. Take up archery
  24. Travel the UK by train
  25. Try all 30 flavors at Wings
  26. Try glass blowing
  27. Try Paleo
  28. Try silversmithing
  29. Wake up at 6am for 30days
  30. Write a poem a month (at least!)

Many of these things I did as personal tests (catch a fish, run a race, rollercoasters, two-finger whistle!, glassblowing) to push myself and continuously strive to learn new things.

Some I did to improve my well-being/detox/declutter my life (donate/bin 30 items, paleo, 6am starts)… I think it became clear that I often allow my life (how I eat, how I buy, my outlook, etc) to sort of tick over sometimes, instead of being an active participant. I wanted to try to be more conscious and present — to pay attention to myself, my body, and my immediate surroundings. I learned that a (life) clear-out is a good way to find clarity and perspective.

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2014-04-13 14.32.08Some were big life goals (buying a house, applying for UK residency, seeing the Northern Lights!). [ps. Photo to the left is of the cookies we delivered to our new wonderful neighbors! So kind – they’ve given us flower bulbs, birdhouses, hand-lathed egg cups and more! I love my ‘hood.]

Others focused on investing in my friends/relationships (mommy&me vacation, dine on coins, Wings!, karaoke, music festival).

Some I started but didn’t finish, or didn’t manage to do, or often just decided weren’t important to me anymore… (silversmithing, German lessons, learning to code, quilting, …and the garlic was an utter disaster…).

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But life goes on and I’m sure I’ll keep trying and tick a few of these things off. And it was interesting to see how my priorities changed to accommodate the new opportunities presented to me. German lessons/learning to code fell to the wayside as a Marketing course became available to me (through my work), for example. We tried to go to Alnwick by train; failed and then I only managed a train trip to Derby, even though I’d wanted to go to Cornwall and Dover and France and all sorts! Someday I suppose…  But I realised that I’ll probably be a perpetually-juggling-projects type, with multiple craft/writing/sport activities on the go at the same time.

A few of the things I was *SO CLOSE* and will probably still write them up at some point, or at least wax nostalgic about them. I got to 28.5 hours of Karaoke! I wrote 12 poems! But most are rubbish and some months I managed multiple poems while others I couldn’t push myself to write anything (probably because I was glassblowing or riding helicopters…). I went to an AMAZING hot air balloon festival and saw 9 hot air balloons launch into the sky at the same time – it was breathtaking! But I did not ride in one.

I lost half of the 30lb doing paleo but then really questioned why I care so much about losing 30lb anyway (which would be unhealthy) when I’m happy with my appearance and am fit and generally eat well; I’ve been obsessive about my weight in the past and think it is (a discussion for another day but) not worth fixating on the trivial. But still! Close!

And some of the things on the list, I suppose were more ‘long shots’ that I fancied trying but discovered weren’t feasible in the time allotted (ie. take up archery). I think this just made me reflect on and re-prioritize my existing commitments. I love playing basketball (multiple nights a week) with my team; I’ve left off attending (so many!) poetry events to free myself up already; and I am now so guarded with my precious, precious time. Although I am still keen to say ‘yes’ to every opportunity, I think I’m a lot more mindful now of how (or who) I’d rather be spending my time (with).

But I think I found the ‘general’ activities the most satisfying: Adventure!, Own my city, Carpe Diem. The whole year was an adventure. I think this list gave me a fun focus and pushed me to take more risks, prioritize, say ‘yes’ to the right projects, and push myself (when perhaps I’ve let myself lie fallow for too long). Looking back, I still can’t believe I learned bee-keeping this year, or did so many little (but meaningful!) charity events, or cut/donated my hair!, or got pet chickens! I became a First Aider at work, took a marketing course (professional certificate), and I can’t believe we saw the Northern Lights! I think mostly, this set of goals hasn’t affected my mentality so much as encouraged me to reflect more – to note and appreciate the very rich and full life I am so fortunate to have – and reminded me to open my eyes, explore, and go for it.

It’s been an AMAZING year, and an amazing transition into my next decade.

reading

Kei Miller, The Cartographer Tries To Map A Way To Zion
Jen Hadfield, Byssus
Colette Bryce, The Full Indian Rope Trick
Harry Giles, Visa Wedding
John Hegley, Peace, Love & Potatoes
Helen Mort, Division Street
Wendy Cope, Family Values
Wislawa Szymborska, People on a Bridge

Audiobooks: Maze Runner (Bk 1 & 2), Thinking Fast & Slow, Abhorsen trilogy (Sabriel). And Serial! Take it you’re all already listening to this amazing podcast?

soundtrack

Kate Boy – Self Control
Ryn Weaver – Promises
Years & Years – Take Shelter and Desire
Calvin Harris feat. Ellie Goulding – Outside
Clean Bandit – Real Love
Lykke Li – No Rest For The Wicked
Echosmith – Cool Kids
Sykes – Gold Dust
Banks – Drowning

Reckon it’s about time for my year-end round-up so keep your eyes peeled for that in the near future. But until then – go big or go home!

July catch-up

eggsThe final count-down!

chooksSO, biggest news of July?: We got chickens. Basically this is the best possible thing that could have happened this month. It was an early birthday present. Handsome S was already on the hunt for chickens for me as I’d be jonesing for my dream chicken coop for AGES now. He was going to get it and surprise me with fancy birds and everything. But in the run up, I kept feeling terrible about how much my dream coop costs (a fortune!) so had a look on gumtree for cheaper second-hand ones – and I found one! Better than half price and including 3 laying chickens and all their treats and sundries! So we went out and picked them up and installed their house on a (fortunately!) sunny day early in the month. They are the absolute coolest things. Two are shy/flighty but one is so bold and curious. Will obviously have regular updates on this front in the coming months. They’re doing about 20 eggs per week between them. #livingthedream

Also this month, we went to the second of two hen parties – S got to come with me to the last one. But this time he had to stay home. This one was UK vs USA themed, including bake off – cake decorating!, trivia and ending in impromptu karaoke! Amazing as well!

Later, we took a day off to celebrate our two pal’s midweek wedding. This is an amazing idea really, a midweek wedding. Like a mini weekend to break up the week. Such a lovely day – bright sun and garden games on the lawn outside the venue, hanging out with friends we don’t see nearly enough and meeting lots of new nice people. Ideal.

We’ve also been BBQing a lot on S’s new toy. Ain’t nothing on my big American BBQ back home but we get by. =) bbq

We redid our front garden – changed out a ‘rockery’ for turf. It looks alright but it was really so much more work than it looks like to put it in! No amount of youtube video watching can prepare you for ‘real work’….says the 21st century girl, to the emptiness of the internet she is typing into…

Not much else really! Went for a really nice meal on coins to Chop and Ale House. Played Game of Thrones boardgame and a pal’s house – doing lots of relatively quiet friend-fun, as our friends’ baby is ALMOST here and we are so excited for them!

Have flagged hardcore on my language studies and programming. And still so many things to write up and try to do before my birthday, poems included. Fingers crossed! Onwards & upwards and all that!

reading

Simon Armitage – Seeing Stars
Tom Pow – Red Letter Day
Sam Riviere – 81 Austerities
Sean Borodale – Bee Journal (brilliant idea!)

And still plowing through the Complete Sherlock Holmes audiobook. Still amazing.

soundtrack

The Golden Hippie – Smoke Signals feat. Nahko
Banks – Begging for Thread
Verite – Strange Enough
Yumi Zouma – The Brae

 

Looking forward to the big bash next time we meet!