What have I been up to? – June 2017

Despite what the grey skies out of my window imply, it’s already the end of June! Look back with me on the month and share your June adventures/successes in the comments below.

The big news for me this month was being offered a full studentship to do a PhD at the University of Reading! I’m excited, but I don’t quite realise that it’s real yet! I met up with one of my supervisors and a current PhD student, then went on a campus tour and ate at RISC – I recommend their Ethiopian food if ever you’re in Reading! Every time I go to Reading or bring it up in conversation, it generates more enthusiasm within me – I’m pretty sure this is the right way forward for my life. You will hear much more about the PhD here in the coming months (and years!). Something I need to work on soon is writing the thank you notes for my patient referees who helped me through the application process.

On the 9th, like many, I was quite affected by the results of the UK general elections. After a day of stressing out about it, I resolved to let it be and focus on ways that we can make the world a better place despite being governed by heartless politicians. That was reinforced by going to an inspiring permaculture training day on the 10th at the Stonehill Community Garden – more on permaculture very shortly!

My neighbours – and fellow green gymmers – trusted me enough to feed their cats while they were on holiday, reinforcing my desire to adopt one. We can’t have a furry friend just yet though as we are renting, but receiving PhD funding for the next three years might be enough to help us onto the property ladder.

June was quite a good month at work: I did some QGIS training, we’re starting to upload more trees on Treezilla and I participated in a very insightful day with the Surrey Tree Wardens – which involved hugging a 1,100 year old yew tree (the photo below doesn’t do it justice).

I had a bit of a breakdown towards the middle of the month when a friend announced her engagement. I was happy for her of course, but it led me into a spiral of thinking about “where our relationship is going” and if the future is happening fast enough (a common worry for me). However out of irrational despair come slightly crazy ideas and big shifts: on a whim I went on a “microadventure” – walking 30 kms and sleeping under the stars – that weekend, and also ordered a chronological Bible and started looking into attending Quaker meetings, all unchartered territory for me! I also saw my first badger while I was out and about in the fields around Abingdon and heard the calls of foxes while I was trying to sleep – though I did not know they were foxes at the time, maybe for the best!

I have been doing pushups and running regularly in June – with a break due to the blistering caused by walking 30km in less than 24 hours – I am looking forward to doing a few parkruns in July.

We watched Cowspiracy earlier this month – I recommend it to anyone who doesn’t get what those hippy vegans are all upset about! We ate out quite a bit in June, including a delicious dinner in a Lebanese restaurant – recommended to anyone (especially veggies) visiting Abingdon.

Dorky confession of the month (as if the engagement breakdown wasn’t enough to discredit me!): I rediscovered Simmerville, which is a website I used to follow as a (really cool) teenager, and have regained enthusiasm for the Sims 2! Directing fictional characters to success in life is a productive use of my time, right? In any case it is quite relaxing.


  • Build up to a 30 minute run – almost there, only a couple runs left in the plan
  • Launch website with a giveaway – created the giveaway, still accepting entries here
  • Get up at 6 six times a week – this was going well at the start of the month, then I had a few cheeky lie-ins

Wins and accomplishments

  • Accepting a fully-funded studentship at Reading
  • Giving a talk and getting many insightful questions at the Surrey Tree Warden meeting
  • Learning more and expanding my horizons: permaculture training, different books


  • Mid-month breakdown about “the future”
  • Not yet delivering all the blog posts announced in my launch post
  • Not getting enough sleep (this is a regular feature it seems)


  • Focusing on doing positive things: exercise, reading, research, entrepreneurship, new experiences
  • Committing to writing more regularly
  • Respecting my bedtime routine

Things I am grateful for

Every day I write three things that I am grateful for in my journal (I encourage you to do the same!) – here are some of my entries for June:

  • Being less tired than yesterday
  • Being able to track the results of healthy habits with my new scales
  • Realising the importance of sleep – putting it first
  • Having loads of new books
  • Taking the time to organise my week in advance
  • Getting up early in the morning
  • Creating space in Todoist
  • Going to visit Reading
  • Making my connections on time
  • Prioritising my tasks so that I don’t get overwhelmed
  • Sending important emails then having a nap
  • Having a bit more of a concrete plan for the years to come
  • This new notebook
  • All the opportunities linked to doing a PhD at Reading
  • The boyfriend’s love
  • Layla Moran and Caroline Lucas being (re)elected
  • Being able to have a slow Sunday
  • My giveaway blog post coming out this evening
  • Working from home
  • A nice evening with our neighbours
  • A positive response already to my website launch
  • Making relaxing a priority to avoid burnout
  • Having accepted the studentship at Reading
  • Not being cold with bare legs
  • Setting myself a 17:00 cut-off time for work
  • The boyfriend being inspired to exercise and develop a side project
  • My drive: though it does stress me out, at least I am doing something
  • Remembering to wish my friend Wajma a happy birthday
  • Typing up a blog post
  • Not being accepted for a PhD at Oxford Brookes (no “what ifs”)
  • Feeling at peace
  • Finding out more about the Quaker movement
  • Choosing to focus on what I find important
  • Having time to work on my blog
  • Finding a religious movement that resonates with me
  • The boyfriend making efforts: taking me out to dinner, writing notes
  • My friend Camila reaching out to me
  • Living in a beautiful part of the country
  • Travel to Ewhurst going smoothly
  • Simplifying my “miracle morning” practice
  • Prioritising reading more fiction
  • Having a tidier lounge
  • Playing the Sims yesterday evening
  • Upcoming holiday to France: an opportunity to disconnect
  • Making the right decisions for my body (yoga instead of running today)

Well that’s it – quite a long post! As always, please do share your “wins” and other adventures in the comments!



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    • Jill
    • 30th June 2017

    Here’s my June – learning how to do less whilst waiting for my broken leg to mend !
    Highlights – visits from family, registering for an online photography course & actualy doing some of it, and reading :
    Game of Spies – Paddy Ashdown – now know a bit more about Bordeaux during the war
    The Sunrise – Victoria Hislop – remember there was a hoiday destination called Famagusta?
    The Racketeer – John Grisham – always an easy read
    Me Before You, and After You – JoJo Moyes – sad, yet funny and somehow easy to identify with
    Salt to the Sea – Ruta Sepetys – about the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff – something I knew nothing about, until now !

      • Jessica Goodenough
      • 30th June 2017

      Thank you very much for commenting! However I’ll try not to look into those books just yet as I’m overwhelmed with all the books I already have! 🙂

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