Life · Reading · Writing

where I’ve been

Hello. It’s been a while, I know. I last posted on my blog in July last year, the longest I’ve ever gone without blogging since I started this my little corner of the internet back in 2012. Nearly a decade ago.

I don’t have a particular reason why I stopped blogging. The last almost two years have been hard on us all. Living through a pandemic is tough, and to be honest something had to give, and that something, for me, was blogging + reading. Which sucked, because I love blogging + reading. They are my two favourite hobbies. So here’s a very ramble-ing blog post on what happened.

My life has changed SO much since the very first lockdown in March 2020. I had just got engaged in February 2020. In March 2020, I was in the final year of my PhD, stressing about what was next for me. Because, for the first time EVER I didn’t have a plan–what did I want my career to look like? I had a looming end date to my funding that seemed to be tick-tocking away far too quickly. My writing wasn’t going great. I felt quite lost creatively, and that was really getting me down.

My first day working inside the Porridge.

In January 2021, literally weeks away from my funding running out on my PhD, I had a job interview for a role at The Devil’s Porridge Museum. AND I GOT IT. The only problem? The museum is in Scotland, around a five hour drive from my family + my home town + my dog. In January 2021 we were in another lockdown, so for a while I worked (very) remotely, from my tiny flat in the small town I’d grew up in and never moved away from. Whilst my fiancé job searched and we house hunted, I worked 9-5 five days a week and put the finishing touches to my thesis.

At our engagement party, just before lockdown 1

In April, I finally submitted the document I spent 3 and a half years working on. It was nearly 100,000 words long. With certain lockdown rules being relaxed, we managed to fit in a whistle-stop trip to Carlisle + Scotland, to view flats and visit the place I’d worked at for months for the very first time.

The day I submitted my thesis!

AT THE SAME TIME, I had entered the Write Mentor Summer Mentorship Programme with a new shiny book I’d been writing. This was the book of my heart, the story that had helped me to fall back in love with writing after having some set backs. It’s a Victorian London set heist by a group of disabled kids. And to my surprise, I WAS CHOSEN, by the wonderful and smart Jonathan Eyers, to work on a new draft of my book that summer.

I spent my summer writing in Cafes.

In May, we packed everything up and moved to the other side of the country. We left our friends and family and settled in a place where we knew no-one and where only one of us had a job. It was by far the scariest thing I’ve ever done. BUT, I finally got to work in the museum for the first time.

Our new flat.

In June, I had my PhD Viva, an oral examination that determined whether or not I passed and became Dr Noakes. This required a lot of prep, but despite being absolutely terrified, I actually really enjoyed it. (& I passed!)

officially Doctor Noakes

I spent the summer (and some of the autumn) writing and re-writing my book whilst working my 9-5. And then, last week, I began my first bit of annual leave since I’d started my job where I didn’t have a PhD to work on, a book to write, or a house to move. It’s been GLORIOUS. I’ve had multiple lie-ins, watched movies + TV shows, played on my switch, and best of all, read! For the last year, a lot of my spare time has been spent doing chores or life admin, or writing. So to have some days off where I had nothing to do has been wonderful.

We did celebrate my fiancé’s 30th birthday though!

And it made me miss blogging even more. I like talking about books on the internet, + I want to do that again. So I’m back. I can’t promise consistency, coz working full time + writing is my priority. But I can promise honest + heartfelt book love and recs. Hope you’ll have me!

Some recent reads.

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