Sunday, 31 August 2014

DAY 13. Stay cool - Stay fit

The duvet has returned to its duvet cover. The duvet cover once again feels the satisfaction of carrying out its purpose. And having lived in exile for much of summer, the duvet has plenty to tell the cover and vice versa.
Happy to be cool again!
Yes, my room is finally cooling down after a few months of sweltering night temperatures. It's a welcomed change because we all know a cool bedroom means better sleep, but according to research, sleeping in a cool room can also make you healthier by increasing the brown fat in your body. Don't panic! This fat is considered "good" as it is metabolically active. The results were mentioned in the New York Times:

"... after four weeks of sleeping at 66 degrees, the men had almost doubled their volumes of brown fat. Their insulin sensitivity, which is affected by shifts in blood sugar, improved. The changes were slight but meaningful ..." 

" ... just by sleeping in a colder room, they gained metabolic advantages that could, over time, he says, lessen their risk for diabetes and other metabolic problems. The men also burned a few more calories throughout the day when their bedroom was chillier ..."

Now, a good duvet probably defeats the purpose of an 18,8 degree (celsius) room, but it's interesting to know that cooler is definitely better. (Something they didn't mention in the article is that more babies are also made during the colder months of the year ... )

So, I hope you get a nice cool night's sleep before the new week!


Saturday, 30 August 2014

Listen to this!

I'm pretty new to online listening so you might all know about this already (sorry) but if not, this is a theatre gem! I was looking for new podcasts and stumbled upon the National Theatre's podcast collection on SoundCloud.
You can listen to the theatre's previous platform events for free online, which include interviews with famous actors and theatre practitioners and some slightly less well known experts in different subjects. I've only listened to a few so far but learnt a lot! If this sounds tempting, do click on the link above. We can't all be there to hear the talks live, so this is a great way to catch up.

Have a nice day!

Friday, 29 August 2014

DAY 11. It doesn't have to be more

Than having a coffee in the park during lunch hour.
I wasn't the only one despite the low hanging clouds. 
I have the bad habit of eating lunch in front of my computer at the office. Sometimes I do it to get things done, but usually it's just laziness, laziness that results in even more sluggishness. So I now make a point of always going out during the break (weather permitting).
Getting towards the end of my book!
Breaking up the day with fresh air, a stroll and some reading (anything really that doesn't involve the computer screen) has made the second part go by much faster and with more focus. If you don't believe me, then maybe you'll believe The Sydney Morning Herald. (I wouldn't mind that French 90 minute break.)

Time for a little longer break though with the weekend coming up. The big question is, with my MA project finally handed in, what should I do?


Thursday, 28 August 2014

DAY 10. The BOBs are back!

My flatmates are back! Or as I like to call them this time of the TV year; my BOBs (Bake Off Buddies). I certainly missed them yesterday when there was proper drama in the British Bake Off tent. I won't go into detail in case someone is still catching up, but meltdowns ahoy! And today we learnt that one of the contestants left the competition soon after due to "illness". (If she really did get sick, I'm sorry. I hope she feels better!)
The BOBs brought me some chocolate. Very kind indeed!
I'm glad to have my flatmates back, I can finally stop channelling Haley Joel Osment. (If I did begin to see ghosts, I'm sure they wouldn't look anything like Bruce Willis.) And I also got the chance to show off my shiny new play. Hurrah! Anywho, I hope you've had a good day and are enjoying the company of loved ones.

10 days of the Happy Challenge done, 90 to go!


Wednesday, 27 August 2014

DAY 9. I really like ...

... Autumn!

Oh come on, don't look at me like that. I know it means darker and colder days, but it's also a season I've always enjoyed. Crisp air. Beautiful colours. The promise of something new. (And it's stationary season! I want pens and notebooks and pencil cases. I want a pretty lunch box!) Except this time there's no school or university to returm to, I'm back to being an adult, but I still feel pumped to take on the working year.
Okay, so London isn't quite this "autumny" yet, it's still clinging on to the last bits of summer, but for the sake of this entry I'm reusing a few slightly more atmospheric photos. 
It's been one of those summers I'll always carry with me. So many beginnings and endings. Accomplishments and failures. Laughter and tears. Moments. So many wonderful little moments.
My goal this autumn is to find a better balance between writing and financial stability. The more writing I can do, the better. That's what I want. But I also need to be realistic. The amount of times we heard our visiting lecturers say "Don't quit your day jobs ..." It's not just about the money. As a writer it's good to be out there, to observe the real world. If you lock yourself up in a small room, you might miss out on a lot of good stories.

 I hope you don't find the thought of autumn too gloomy!


Tuesday, 26 August 2014

I did it! I did it! (Isn't it pretty?)

Today is the end of a 2-year era! I just submitted my final assignment, the full length play, to my university and have thereby concluded my studies in playwriting and screenwriting.
 As long as I haven't committed some horrendous error, I should have my final mark by the end of November and receive my MA. Depending on the results, my 30th birthday might be just a tad bit extra special (or crummy), but let's not think about that just now!
I think this counts as Happy Challenge day 8, right?
While waiting for my copies to be bound, I popped into a cafe nearby and had a coffee and a read. I'm glad I was at the book binders before 8am, I'm not the only one submitting my final work right now!

A massive thank you to everyone who's supported me these past 2 years! I don't think anyone has ever crinkled their nose when I've told them the "mad" subject I'm studying. Not even when I told them I'm moving countries to do it. So thank you again!


Monday, 25 August 2014

Day 7. Staying in

Today I'm grateful for the privilege of having a roof over my head. London is living up to its rainy reputation and I'm raiding the fridge/freezer for anything edible so I don't have to go outside. 
I've lived in the UK for two years now and I can't say I find it much rainier than for example Southern Finland. I often prefer the rain to the snow, so the winters here are actually quite nice. Of course a sunny autumn day can be stunning. Let's hope for a few of those in the next couple of months!


Sunday, 24 August 2014

Leaving home & Good bed hygiene


About a month ago I mentioned how a weekend in the countryside really helped kick start the editing of my third draft of the play. This weekend, that was not an option but I still needed some new headspace for my work. I took the script and my laptop and headed down to the Barbican Centre.
I'm not a massive fan of brutalist architecture but I still enjoy the atmosphere at the Barbican. 
The Barbican is a great place to see plays, concerts, exhibitions and cinema and you might also remember how I helped Plane Clothing with their Christmas Market Stall at the Barbican last year. The Barbican is however also a place where people just sit down to work. There are large communal spaces with access to coffee and bathrooms (the first at a price, the second free).

There are several reasons why I find it helpful to relocate from home when I’m working on a project

1. When you’re working at home it’s a) easy to get distracted by everyday things like a messy wardrobe, the dishes or your favourite stack of books. If your project is proving a bit challenging, even the dirtiest toilet bowl might look like a good distraction … b) it's harder to bypass a mental slump, whether it's caused by your project or something else, and focus on work. 
My office for the day. 
2.  Surrounding myself with other working people always gives me a kick. We don’t need to do the same thing, it’s just nice to know you’re not alone and somehow it’s harder to slack off when others are being creative. Working in a cafĂ© or a place like the Barbican gives you the buzz of an office without actually being in an office with a boss (other than the one in your head) breathing down your neck. Success!
I got there early and grabbed a table close to a power outlet. An hour later most tables were occupied by the Barbican Sunday crowd.  
      3. I appreciate being home more if I’ve actually gone out during the day. I feel like I’ve done an actual day’s work and not just stayed in bed (even if I spent all day writing in bed). My dad once told me to keep good bed hygiene. He wasn’t telling me to change my sheets more often, but to keep the bed strictly for sleeping. Otherwise your body will connect work stress with your bed and possibly disrupt your rest.  I think this can be said for other home spaces as well. If you do EVERYTHING at home, it can soon feel oppressive. (Of course I’d love to have a large comfy home office where I could spend some of my days writing.)
If you're budget minded, why not bring a packed lunch?
So that’s why I spent my day at the Barbican jotting away at the script, and do you know what ... Shhh, it's almost a secret ... I think I might be done!
Hope you're having a great weekend! (Here in the UK we have tomorrow off as well. Wohoo!)


Saturday, 23 August 2014

DAY 5. Something for you

Again, apologies for the dodgy "personal information" editing. 
Sorry I missed the delivery, excited I have something waiting for me at the post office. If it is what I think it is, I really look forward to seeing how it turned out! 

Hope you've had a good Saturday! I spent the morning writing and the afternoon with a friend. Now if most days looked like this, I'd be a very happy camper. 


Friday, 22 August 2014

DAY 4. I didn't get high (Maybe next time?)

Today's been one of those days you'd rather just forget. However, if we want to be disgustingly perky about it, all the pent up emotion finally made me go on that run I've been thinking about for ages. (Think AGES.)
My feet were in these shoes. Yes they were. Thank goodness there's no such thing as smelloblogging.  
Okay, so running is maybe an exaggeration. More like jogging. Or shuffling. (Let's just say I wore my running shoes outdoors.) I've never been a fast runner, I think I mentioned once being overtaken by an 80-year-old man who ran in a dress shirt and trousers. (Who says you can't be stylish while exercising?)
Today wasn't stylish. It was painful. (I struggle with the fact that so many people are "watching". I know it's silly, but I do feel self-conscious.) But it was also a triumph. We all know exercise makes us feel better. According to this NY Times article, it's even been proven that some runners get high from running.

I didn't get high. I probably have to practice a bit more for that. But maybe this is the time when I actually stick with it?  

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, 21 August 2014

DAY 3. I hope I don't turn into Macaulay Culkin ...

... And start writing songs about pizza.

Yes, I'm home alone. My flatmates have gone off on sunny holidays while I'm holding the fort. Don't feel sorry for me though, I'm an introvert. I love spending time with the people I care about (that includes my flatmates) but I'm also very happy to potter about on my own (read: edit play) so this is a bit of a treat.
To me an empty rocking chair can symbolise several things; solitude but also comfort and security. And yes, creepy horror films. But it's pink! so you can't be too freaked out. Unless it starts moving ... On its own ... *Creak* *Creak* Creak*
I'm just a little worried about the noises in the night. As soon as I get into bed I start hearing things ... (Like the time I thought it was a good idea to watch The Sixth Sense at home on my own. No. No!) And when I'm alone I can't really think "Oh, that's probably just J." So ...

Dear crazies, please don't break in.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

DAY 2. You wouldn't think so, but yes!

Ta daa! Today I completed my first ever UK tax return. Not the most fun I've had this summer but not a massive pain either (I'd heard plenty of horror stories). I guess the happy bit is that I'm pretty confident I'll get some money back. What's not to like about that?

Fingers crossed I've done everything right and they don't come and arrest me in the middle of the night. And not to worry; I didn't miss the IMPORTANT on the envelope, I just suddenly became paranoid and decided to blot out any actual information, just in case, you know.

Hope you've had a good day!


Tuesday, 19 August 2014

The Silver Linings


On Facebook a lot of my friends have been doing the #100HappyDays challenge. Each day, for 100 days, you basically post an image of something that made you happy that day, big or small. I thought I'd do something like that, but here on the blog.

I did a similar thing (although more subconsciously) a few years back when the blog was fairly new. My mum was ill and dying and I spent a lot of my time keeping her company and taking care of her. She asked me not to blog about it and of course I respected her wishes. So instead of writing about the thing that consumed most of my everyday life, I was forced to look for other things. Things that looked "normal" to the outside world but were often the little silver linings in my/our day.
DAY 1: No, I'm not happy about my Ferrero Rocher, although they're great. I'm happy because this photo was taken with my new phone. I have a new phone! One that is better equipped for this challenge. I'm also extremely grateful for the helpful sales rep. She was brilliant and went the extra mile to get me a UK contract. (She also gave me the chocolate.) Thank you!
By posting a daily "happy" photo and a small text, I'm hoping to remind myself (and possibly others) that good things happen every day. Sometimes you just have to look a bit harder for them ...

Ps. I'd love to know what made your day just a little bit special, so do feel free to share in the comments!


Monday, 18 August 2014

Ahoy writers and illustrators!

Yesterday I met up with my American friend Elizabeth. We used to work together in London but since she's been back in New York, she's co-created the fab new digital magazine!
Elizabeth gave me one of their custom made bookmarks.
Here's the point! For their first issue they are now calling for submissions of literary fiction (ca 1000 words) and illustrators that might be able to help illustrate these short stories. (Both writers and illustrators get paid!) The deadline is October 31st .
So, if you write or draw, do check out further instructions on the website. The same goes if you just enjoy reading pocket sized stories on your favourite devise! If the rest of the team is as nice as Elizabeth, you have nothing to be afraid of!


Saturday, 16 August 2014

The devil is in the detail

10, 9, 8, 7, 6 ...

I know, I'm doing a lot of "countdowns" right now. And I'm always counting down towards the same thing. I'm sorry if it's getting tedious. BUT! This is the last one, I promise. Next time I post something about my MA "thesis": The full-length play, I will have handed it in. Both digitally and in nicely bound copies. Promise!

This is it. The final draft. Printed. I just need to do a line edit to find all the last pesky typos before it goes to the printers. I want to hand it in well before the deadline (September 1st), JUST IN CASE, and that means only a week left to edit.

Now people who know me know I'm not a great speller. I've never been. My worst subject at school was dictation. I loved writing. I dreaded having my spelling marked. I've always found it amusing that I decided at a very early age to become a writer. I guess it only proves that if you truly love something, it doesn't matter if you're not brilliant at all aspects of it, you can find your own way of doing things and compensate with what you do know.

I read this article today about editing your own text. It's aptly called "What's Up With That: Why It's So Hard To Catch Your Own Typos". People sometimes look at me weird when I say I need to print something I've written to catch mistakes. But according to the article, this is a smart way of tricking the brain. When you read something on paper for the first time, the brain will also think it's reading the text for the first time and therefore focus more on the details. Otherwise your brain might "read" the intended version in your head, instead of the actual text on the screen.

Anywho, I'm sure there are plenty of typos in this entry as well, but unfortunately I don't have time to double and triple check. Or print. Just know that I enjoyed writing it and we all become blind to our own mistakes!