A Real Neat Blog (with Real Neat Readers)

real-neat-blog-award

Well this was a lovely surprise to wake up to this morning. Liz from the fantastically interesting blog Scranshums nominated Just Rise Above It for a Real Neat Blog Award.

Neat!

That’s such an underused word nowadays. I didn’t realise I’d missed it.

Thank you so much!

Go visit Scranshums for all of the weird and wonderful witterings of Elizabeth Meg Wilson. There’s a big of everything on there, so you’ll definitely find something you want to read. I particularly enjoyed her posts on colds and on Terry Pratchett.

I think this is a lovely little award to showcase some of the blogs that you might not stumble upon yourself, and I’m honoured to be taking part. Apparently the ‘rules’ of the Real Neat Blog Award are (and feel free not to act upon them if you don’t have time; or don’t accept awards; etc.):

  1. Put the award logo on your blog.
  2. Answer 7 questions asked by the person who nominated you.
  3. Thank the people who nominated you, linking to their blogs.
  4. Nominate any number of bloggers you like, linking to their blogs.
  5. Let them know you nominated them (by commenting on their blog etc.)

My answers are as follows:

1) Where do most visits to your blog come from?

Good question! You just reminded me that I need to fix my analytics set-up. Curse those spam bots, I thought I had those under control.

Most of my actual visits come from the US, followed by the UK.

2) Have you made a New Year’s Resolution, and kept it so far?

I wrote a post about New Year’s Resolutions (which you can read here), where I basically discuss my reasons for not setting New Year’s resolutions as such. I do, however, set goals and resolutions in general and have a list of things I want to do this year, and I’ve definitely been doing better with some of those than with others. Some of my goals pertained to fitness and weight loss, which I focussed on in February. My initial attempts at learning some Italian stumbled to a halt and need to be picked up again soon, but I am was reading more, and I’ve been working on more creative projects this year than I was last year. I’ve done more yoga, but I’ve still yet to begin learning how to skateboard. I’ve not forgotten about it though!

3) What is your favourite quote?

This is a tough one! I’m not really one for specific ‘favourites’, as they tend to change based on how I feel at any given time. That said, one quote that has consistently come to mind over the last few years is “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss you’ll land amongst the stars”. I think it’s important to remember to keep trying, and not let the fear of ‘failure’, or not getting where you think you want to go stop you from moving forwards. I also like the idea that you should “Regret what you did, not what you didn’t do”, which is another reminder to constantly try new things and not let anxiety get in the way!

4) Where was the last place you travelled to in another country?

Toronto, Canada – in January! It was like, -20C. What on earth was I thinking?

Toronto Jan 15

Clearly wishing that I’d been in Little Women by the looks of things!

5) What was your favourite book when you were growing up?

Warning: Fairly long answer.

This is a tricky one because what age does “growing up” mean? Some of my earliest book memories are of To Read and To Tell, a book which has clearly gone out of print because I can hardly find a mention of it anywhere. There’s currently a photo of it up here though for you to get some sort of an idea. It was a collection of short stories of all kinds, that first my dad used to read to me and then I used to read to him/myself. I think our copy of the book, wherever it may be now, is falling apart at the seems and has been since I was fairly young. It got read that much. I still remember memorable sections of some of the stories, and I’d love to find it again.

Then when I was 7 or 8, my mum handed me a not-very-well-known book called Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. A few weeks later, on my first overnight train journey on my first holiday to France, she gave me the fairly recently released Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets to keep me quiet on the long journey. It worked, and thus a 10+ year love of Harry Potter was born. In fact, I think we’re actually at 15 years now. I’ve not read any of the books in several years now, but they meant so much to me growing up. Books 4-7 I’d devour as soon as they landed at the front door and then maybe re-read several months/years later, but books 1-3 just turned up at exactly the right time for me.

You have no idea how deeply I loved those books. I’d keep the three of them by my pillow. I must have read book 1 about 50 times before the age of 12. I’d finish it and then go straight back to the beginning and start again. And these books impacted my life in so many ways – I made friends in my mid-teens through HP that I never would have ever met in any other way, I got into writing, I discovered the internet, I found some sort of escape when I was feeling miserable. I went on the HP studio tour several weeks ago with my sister, and despite not having consumed any HP media in a couple of years now, I was so excited and enraptured and I could have stayed there (particularly staring at the potions set) for hours. It’s just a series of books that gives me a weird sort of peace.

The Potions Classroom

Then when I was in my early teens I was introduced to the writing of David Eddings, and I quickly fell in love with The Elenium and The Tamuli. The Tamuli is another book that I read over and over again until the book was looking worse for wear. My family love to remind me of the time that we went camping and I basically stayed in my bod in the tent the entire weekend, wrapped in my sleeping bag and reading this book. The odd thing is that I can’t remember an ounce of the plot of it nowadays, despite how much I read it when I was younger. I think that might mean it’s nearly time for a re-read?

Honestly, I could probably carry on talking about this all day. I was a big reader as a child/teenager, far more than I am now (something I’m trying to work on – you can keep track of this on my Goodreads). I could talk about discovering manga in my early-mid teens and the Elizabeth Chadwick books later on [This may have caused me to go to Temple Church with my cousin and fangirl over William Marshal, a guy who’s been dead for nearly 800 years and yet not enough people know about given that he basically ruled England for a bit. Just go read this book and this book and this book. Seriously. Go. They may be fiction, but Chadwick knows enough fact that she was an informant for the BBC documentary on Marshal that aired last year], but I think it’s best if I leave it here for now.

6) Anything you wished you had learnt sooner?

Goodness me, I don’t know. I’m constantly learning things that might have been useful to truly ‘know’ sooner, but sometimes I think that I learn things when it’s time for me to learn them. As much as you can “know” something, sometimes you need to go through certain experiences for the message to really drive home, and as much as I might have liked to “know” the things sooner I’m not sure that I would have coped with the same experiences sooner.

Except maybe keeping an eye on spending/saving money rather than it basically burning a hole in my pocket. And eating less takeaways. That could have happened a good few years before it did. It would also have been a huge boost to many aspects of my life had I regained my enjoyment of exercise several years earlier, and learnt to stop thinking about what other people are doing and focus on myself. How does it make me feel? Can I do more today than I could yesterday? What activities do I enjoy doing? These all could have been answered sooner, rather than me giving up on physical activity altogether.

Meal prep

Learning the importance of Meal Prep sooner. That’s another thing.

7) What are you going to eat for tomorrow’s breakfast?

VERY GOOD QUESTION. Either one of the current batches of breakfast bars (made with extra banana and prunes this time instead of dates), an egg-white omelette or banana pancakes. Something light anyway, as I’m then going for brunch/lunch with a friend and onwards to see Princess Kaguya at the cinema.

So there we have it. A little more about me, thanks to the thoughtfulness of someone else.

In return, I would like to nominate the following:

Martin Freeman Is Not A Hedgehog
Harriet Crofton

And my questions are:

1) Where do most visits to your blog come from?
2) What are your creative pursuits, besides blogging?
3) What is your favourite quote?
4) How do attempt to stay healthy, in whatever form you take ‘healthy’ to mean?
5) What do people not expect about you?
6) Anything you wished you had learnt sooner?
7) Share one of your current favourite recipes with us!

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