23:14

This evening I went to a Japanese restaurant with two friends who I have seen separately within the lock down period, but not together. It was lovely to finally be reunited as a trio! We took advantage of the current UK government Eat Out to Help Out scheme that many restaurants are taking part in and got 50% off our bill. We caught up, laughed, took photos, enjoyed some good food and each other’s company. We also went back to my friend’s flat and played a quiz game. Before the pandemic we would play board games together quite often, so it was heartwarming to enjoy that activity again.

The weather has taken a drastic turn. When we went out to dinner it was bright and sunny with no signs of thunderstorms on the way. We all wore skirts/dresses with no need for jackets! A lovely summer’s evening… or so we thought. On the way back home we started to hear the rumbling from the thunder, and began to see small flashes of lightning. As soon as my friend and I got to our respective houses, the torrential rain came down. Thunder, lightning, rain, humidity, the works. Definitely some of the brightest flashes of lightning that I’ve ever seen! I read in the news that it is a few months worth of rain coming down in one night… how crazy! Thankful to be out of the horrible weather and in a warm and cozy bed.

23:32

This evening I played tennis with a friend from 20:00-21:30. This was our first tennis session in 2 weeks so it felt good to release some pent up energy and frustrations on the tennis court. I tend to feel quite tired and drained after a good tennis session, especially if I have also ran that morning, but today I felt more energised after playing.

I went for a run in the morning as usual (7km) and then rested at home for most of the day. With tennis I use different muscles so maybe it loosened up my joints and helped with my aching areas. After I got home and showered I felt relaxed and my body is not stiff or sore at all. The fact that we played in cooler temperatures may have contributed to a more relaxed feeling, compared to our usual manic, sweaty heat-of-the-day sessions. We played until we could barely see in the dim light.

Edinburgh weather is forecast to be thunderstorms and heavy rain all week, which made enjoying the good weather in the previous couple of days more important. The nights are starting to get darker quicker. A few weeks ago we played tennis past 22:00, but now the summer evenings are fading fast. August has brought about a peaceful haze to Edinburgh as there is no Fringe Festival this year. The usual bustle from the festival and tourists is amiss. The quietness is soothing but there is definitely the feeling that something is missing.

23:07

Today it poured with rain all day in Edinburgh. Heavy, relentless rain. I decided not to go out for my usual walk/run as I would surely get soaked in the downpour. Instead I did some at home workouts, walked more around the house and did some chores to keep me active. I managed to stick to my daily 10k step count!

I recently started watching The Office (US) on Amazon Prime. I am using the free trial so am blazing through the episodes really quickly! I am on season 5 after less than a week, whoops… It is a show that is easy to leave on in the background while I do other things.

Yesterday I visited a charity bookstore which I have not been to since my student days. Recently I have been on the look out for children’s books as gifts, but also picked up a book for myself. I ended up starting and finishing the book within 24 hours! When the weather is dreary it is perfect for curling up with a good book. I love the sound of the pouring rain as I lay on my bed soaking in the atmosphere and words on the page. It has been a long time since I picked up a book from my collection, mostly because they are packed away in a box somewhere. It felt good to get back into reading again, and for it to transport me to a different world for a few hours. Revisiting old hobbies is a form of self care which is comforting and settling at the same time.

23:45

A small update from last week:

On Thursday I called the doctors surgery to ask about my blood test results. I had specifically been told to call and inquire if they didn’t contact me, despite the usual procedure of ‘if you didn’t hear back it means everything is normal.’ It turns out that everything is fine and all my blood tests came back normal. Thank God that there is nothing abnormal in this instance, however I will continue to monitor symptoms and keep track of anything unusual I notice.

My heart is calmer after hearing the results and I am grateful not to be in a position where my health is at risk. I look to carry on with my self care mentality in other aspects of my life, and hopefully move forward in my work or house front soon!

21:12

This morning I went for my blood test at the doctors surgery. The nurse was really friendly and upbeat, which put my mind at ease. Though I am not a squeamish person when it comes to blood or needles, I do tend to tense up when in a hospital or doctors setting.

The nurse first tried the crook of my left elbow but couldn’t get any blood. The same thing happened with my right arm. As a last resort the nurse used a vein on the top of my right hand, and the blood slowly trickled into the tube. She said it was quite common that they can’t get blood from patients so I shouldn’t worry about it. The results will get passed through to my doctor and she will be in touch by Thursday.

Small things like this can be daunting, especially if it’s a new experience or if you are going through something alone. The NHS workers in the UK do an amazing job, and I thank God that our public healthcare service system is so well-staffed!

23:20

Amidst all the events from last week (as detailed in my previous post) I wanted to do something nice for my parents since I haven’t seen them in person since December.

Our family is not big on gift giving. Birthdays were spent with homemade cakes and loving gestures rather than mountains of presents. We always spent quality time together whether it be at home or at a restaurant with a celebratory meal. As both my brothers and I got older and moved out we have been separated from our parents much more for special occasions. Particularly this year with the current pandemic it has been difficult to see each other. My brother and I live in the same city but have only seen each other 3 times since March.

I researched online for a seafood delivery company and ordered a delivery for my parents. One thing that our family can agree on is our love for fresh seafood! The large Fedex box of live seafood on their doorstep surprised them, and I got a live view of their reactions via video call. So while I am not a big gift giver, it is a way of showing love where I cannot currently spend quality time with my parents.

On my birthday I thought about many things. One of my most prominent thoughts was to thank my parents for their years of care and love, which is where the surprise delivery idea came from. People wrongfully have the idea that their birthday is all about them – I was born on this day, everyone should be celebrating me! In the past I definitely thought the same way as it is natural to do so. As I get older I know that my parents are also getting older, and they are the reason I have lived to see my next birthday. On your next birthday, take a moment to thank your parents for bringing you up thus far – it will make their day, I’m sure of it!

22:34

Thank God for a smooth eventful week in July with better weather!

On Monday I had a restful last day as a twenty something – don’t worry I turned twenty something too, my blog name will remain the same for now! Been feeling a bit lazier recently due to not having any new places to explore, so sometimes I walk around the block a couple of times instead. Last Friday my group of friends and I decided it was my turn to lead the next quiz so I started preparing for the following Friday.

On Tuesday it was my birthday! Had a fairly early start to the day picking up my friend and driving to Craigie’s Farm for fruit picking. There’s something about picking your own produce that is super satisfying! Got lots of cherries, raspberries and strawberries and also picked a mini courgette. All really delicious and worth the money! I dropped off some fruit and shopping to my brother and my sister-in-law and then had lunch outside by Newhaven Harbour. Later on in the evening I took a walk up Blackford Hill to reflect on the day and the past year and was rewarded with beautiful, dramatic skies!

On Wednesday I went for a walk in my local area in the morning, did some more work on my quiz and played tennis after dinner. The evening air was much cooler compared to playing during the day, and we found it started to get darker quicker – summer is fading fast!

On Thursday I went for a cycle using the Just Eat cycles, a short walk around Edinburgh University Kings Building campus, cycled to meet my friend and played tennis. She let me try her hybrid bike and she tried the Just Eat one. She is an avid cyclist and wanted to see how different the city bikes were!

Today I made the most of my free subscription to Just Eat Cycles for the last time and cycled to McEwan Hall. My legs are definitely not built for cycling – those hills are tough! I then walked into the city centre to do some shopping (with my mask firmly on) and picked up a few things for my upcoming nieces/nephews. Also bought two items from The Body Shop using my £5 birthday voucher as a little treat for myself. Ended up walking all the way home in the drizzly rain! After our church fellowship, I led my quiz (Powerpoint and everything) and had a catch up with my friends.

All in all, a really lovely week spent doing heart-warming things. Definitely thankful for these past twenty something years and excited for what is to come!

21:42

Just kind of dawning on me now that tomorrow is my birthday. The month of July came around so quickly (how is it 7 months into this year?!)

This weekend and last weekend I attended national and local online spiritual convocations organised by our church. I think this is probably why I didn’t realise we were already half way into July! Still haven’t heard anything from work regarding working from home again, or physically returning to the office… so still in limbo work-wise. Other July activities include baking carrot muffins, exploring Gore Glen Woodland Park, playing tennis again (now that the weather is better), and making use of the free Just Eat cycles!

I’ve never really been much of a birthday person and tend to not do anything to celebrate it. Last year I was at a friend’s wedding on my birthday and at the reception they brought out a cake for me which was thoughtful. The previous year my birthday fell on the day before my older brother got married so we had a cake amidst decoration chaos. The older I get, the less I worry about birthday celebrations and growing older. Whatever comes my way I know that God will guide, and I am thankful for everything that has led me up to this point!

23:18

Throughout my furloughed period in lock down I have learned to procrastinate things that I do not want to do. Usually it is simple things due to lack of motivation and effort, and though I have all the time in the world I somehow create an excuse! Anyone else feeling the same way during lock down?

Today I finally got my act together and tidied up some areas of my room that had started off neat and tidy, but over the year had lost organisation and descended into chaos. I threw out items I no longer used or needed. I put things aside to give to charity (for when it is safe to do after the pandemic.) I rearranged the storage of items to make it more efficient when I use them. I vacuumed and dusted everywhere, and cleared the general clutter that had built up. I now feel much freer and relaxed knowing my area is tidied up again.

There is a phrase which goes along the lines of ‘a tidy space equals a tidy mind’ and I really do think this is true. I hope to put this into effect when I purchase my own property and really live it going forward.

Going into this new week I think I will tackle tidying my clothes again and pick out some more items to donate. At the beginning of lock down in March I went through my wardrobe and cleared items out but I feel like another one is needed! Productivity comes in different forms for everyone, and there are times where procrastination creeps in. Hopefully I can remain motivated to carry on (at least into next week!)

23:03

This week I decided to donate blood. I hadn’t found time amongst work and leisure to donate blood for over a year. I started giving blood when I turned 18 years old, and consistently donated until I began working. There were a few times I had low haemoglobin levels where I couldn’t donate but always made the effort to make appointments to see when I could donate next.

While the safety measures put in place by the staff at the donation centre seem strict (e.g. pens are sanitised, no hot drinks to reduce donor time in the centre etc), the staff are as friendly as ever! Healthcare workers truly do work hard to provide a service for the public, especially in this difficult pandemic time.

I had a smooth donor experience from start to finish and found everyone in good spirits (donors and workers alike). Definitely different to my normal non-pandemic donations due to increased safety measures but I was glad to experience it. I always found it interesting watching the whole donor experience from the needle going in, the blood filling the tubes and bag, and so on.

Blood donation is something small that most people can do to give back and help those in need. In the UK the blood is used for scientific testing and research or goes directly to hospitals for blood transfusions etc. The healthcare workers are always happy to explain the process to new donors and to guide them through the process. Definitely worth checking out if you can donate! All blood types are needed and it could mean the difference between life and death for those that need it.