What have I been up to? April 2017

Welcome to May! Hopefully the start of this new month means that there’s many sunny days ahead… But in the meantime, a “quick” look back at April!

What have I been up to April

I gave a nerve-wracking presentation at the Trees, People and the Built Environment conference on the 5th, and rolled my ankle leaving the venue (the University of Birmingham) on the 6th. The talk was about using a citizen science tool to model the health benefits of roadside trees – the slides are available here if you are interested. Once that was over, I managed to relax and enjoy networking and listening to inspiring presentations.

To reward myself for giving my first plenary conference talk I bought the Lonely Planet’s Where To Go When book on the way home, which contains lots of brilliant travel inspiration and does what it says on the tin: it recommends where to go for each month of the year. Since then, I have taken a significant step towards accomplishing an exciting item on my bucket list, as we’ve booked tickets to fly to Mykonos and Santorini this summer! I have bought two books set in Greece (recommended in The Travel Book – also by Lonely Planet) to get myself even more excited for the trip: The Hill of Kronos and Little Infamies. I have also started learning Greek on Duolingo and Memrise.

April has been about little pleasures as well: wearing shorts and a tank top on an exceptionally warm day (for the UK), walking back from the pool with pleasantly wet hair, searching for Easter eggs in the flat, and buying pastel cardigans and a floral skirt at my favourite charity shop in Abingdon. I have also done a bit of volunteering at the green gym, youth club and parkrun here. Cycling to work, walking along the river Ock and drinking smoothies continue to bring me joy (and health) too!

I am very slowly making it through the Hundred Pushups challenge, though not giving up! I have made more progress concerning my PhD scholarship applications, but I will remain a little mysterious about that for now…


  • Submit end-of-module assignment for the Open University course I was taking – done 11/04/17: freedoooom!
  • Put documents together for PhD scholarship – done 27/04/17
  • Go running twice – only once then I rolled my ankle (twice)…

Wins and accomplishments

  • Open University course and Trees, People and the Built Environment presentation over and done with: more mental energy for other things
  • More work linked to Treezilla coming my way: evaluating it and making it more relevant to UK conditions
  • Feeling more relaxed when I wake up early and take breaks


  • Rolled ankle twice: postponing running again…
  • Sleep and mood too often all over the place
  • Feeling like I am not making enough progress with work in general


  • Focussing on strength-training in May
  • Turning the Internet off on my phone and computer in the evening to allow for more joyful early mornings
  • Continue using timer to get things done more efficiently

Things I was grateful for in April

  • Sleeping in and attending the green gym: showed up at the 11 o’clock break
  • Writing my March recap post
  • Tulips making the flat look lovely
  • Setting intentions for the month and week
  • Having a nice flat
  • Reading books
  • Catching the early bus
  • Sunshine outside
  • Having a nap in the X5 coach
  • Having practiced my Trees, People and the Built Environment presentation
  • Easter coming up
  • Having an extra day of paid work per week
  • Having the opportunity of giving a talk at a conference and the learning opportunity that it is
  • Going for a run: feeling healthier and in a better mood as a result
  • Being consistent with my goal setting, for instance using my goals book
  • Taking the time to organise my life
  • Having the ingredients for a yummy breakfast
  • The weather being really sunny and warm
  • My “new” soft and pretty clothes
  • A podcast that reminded me that “the time will pass anyway” and to be brave with my creative endeavours
  • A podcast about cross-training your way to success (the How to run a half marathon episode)
  • Being able to work from home
  • Being able to prioritise, schedule and essentially choose what I do
  • Getting “easy wins” done early and building momentum
  • Being in the flat and having a day with no plans after a busy Easter weekend
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Exercising after the excesses of Easter
  • Having a day to focus on my personal projects: PhD scholarship applications and this blog
  • Learning more about evaluating citizen science projects
  • Committing to early starts and a plant-based diet
  • Great podcasts that inspire me to action
  • Getting nauseous from eating too much chocolate
  • Having fun at a friend’s birthday party
  • Finishing the last season of Luther: no longer a temptation
  • Being loved by my boyfriend
  • Writing a blog post
  • Having Wild with me: allowing myself to relax rather than constantly trying to tick tasks off my list
  • Booking tickets for a holiday to Greece
  • Ordering a few new books
  • Getting myself out of bed early
  • The support of people in the academic world
  • The literature I keep discovering around my research interests
  • Reading the How to blog for profit without selling your soul book
  • Generally doing more reading than I have in years
  • Having greatly improved my tree identification skills
  • Several early mornings (with a good night’s sleep)
  • Vegan cheese and meat alternatives

Three top goals for May

  • Do six strength-training workouts
  • Book accommodation and transport for Greece
  • Make money from blog / freelance work

Share the love and tell me what you have been up to in the past month too / what you have planned for the month ahead!



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