Saturday, 9 January 2016

Saturday, 2 January 2016

My review of 2015. Part 2: July-December

July: Early this month 7th/8th I was delighted to recieve a phonecall from HR offering me the role at Withington Girls School I'd interviewed for last week. I accepted without hesitation and was and am still happy. So later on this month I handed in my notice at Bury College. Goodbye long commutes. Also eary this month I bought a new phone. An iphone 6. This is my first iphone and friends kept telling me I would never look back once I had one of these. How right they are, I am still loving it. They maybe expensive but worth it. I hpe to hang onto this particular model for some years yet! On the 19th of July something amazing happened. I recieved a long email offering me membership on the Board of Scientific Advisors for The Rutger Hauer Starfish Association  Of course I accepted as I love this organisation. I was very happy and floating on a cloud for a few days. It still makes me smile and guess always will. This is definiely a great highlight of the year for me. I then also accepted another wonderful opportunity which will probably be a one off. From Monday 27th until Sunday 2nd August I lived on a boat on the italian Island of Ischia doing whale research. I have blogged about it. A beautiful experience I shall remember fondly but never got to see enough cetaceans ;)
 August: My trip of the year with 3 other fab volunteers came to an end on the 2nd. Nothing else exciting happened this month. I finished working at Bury College on 20th.
September: The first of this month saw me excited and a little nervous to be starting my new job at Withington Girls School. The first day was an induction day and it turns out there were 16 newbies including me. It was interesting and all newbies are lovely people, also including me lol. It didn't take long for me to feel like I've worked there a long time and I mean this in the nicest way possible. Everyone who works here is lovely and we get a nice free lunch everyday. There is even a gym on site too which is also free. All of our girls are nice and clever girls. This school does alot of outreach and feild trips to places within the UK such as Wales and internationally by volunteering in developing countries such as Uganda and Gambia. I will probably volunteer to go to Uganda next year. On Sunday 13th I went along to MOSI for a coffee morning for returning science festival volunteers. Enjoyed it alot and now know who the returning volunteers like myself are. It was good to meet our new coordinator Pen whom I saw alot of during the science festival.
On Wednesday 30th, we had a visit from the Duchess of Gloucester who came to open our new chemistry labs. I expected a hello and or a wave and a smile at the most but she shook my hand and stood chatting for abit. She took her time and spoke to us all. So down to earth as were the people who came with her. She was lovely and we were all chuffed and happy after seeing her.
October: The hightlight of this month for me is always the Manchester Science Festival and I enjoyed it as always. I got to make several visits to Salford University this year and meet more lovely volunteers whom I can only hope to meet again in the future. I have also blogged about each event I worked at on the science festival. 22nd October until Sunday 1st November.
November: There are alot of events going on at MOSI next year. I am not sure why but I do know that our science festival will be 10 years old and so the festival will be even more special. All I know is that a special event devoted to graphene is planned :) Anyway this month I committed to 2 mini science festivals which take place in late January, early February 2016. Looking forward to that too. On the 30 which was a Monday we had a school trip with our GCSE students to The Palace Theatre in Manchester. Science Live!This was a series of talks by well known scientists including Alice Roberts, Andrea Sella, Sir Robert Winston to name just a few! A fab day and nice way to end a month!
December: The first always special to me as it is World AIDS Day and I wore my red ribbon as usual and enjoyed the heartwarming feeling of reading online messages and comments from friends and contacts.
On a personal note, we acquired a new home.Very exciting! We signed the contracts on Thursday before Xmas and then got the keys the folowing Tuesday. Naturally we went and had a look around. Everyday except Xmas and New Years Days we made 2 trips per day moving stuff including one day when buldeirs came with our new bedroom furniture and assembled it for us. I felt bad about them not finishing till Midnight! It took longer than the xmas holidays to move everything and I don't feel like I have had a rest. Glynn and I are both exhausted but very happy.Can't wait to actually move in.

I haven't read any books this year because I discovered free online courses so I still read and learned alot I guess. I did this with Future Learn and boy does the time go when doing thses. I covered subjects such as Food safety, the constellation Orion, science of nutrtion and Internet of things. I will miss these in 2016 but want to spend next year catching up on my reading. On NYE I finally recieved my copy of Saving Bletchley Park by Dr Sue Black. A book whose publication I helped fund and thus my name is listed in it at the back. Imagine by surprise and delight when I first go on Twitter today and the first thing I see is that Sue has been awarded an OBE in the New Year's Honours list! I couln't be more thrilled for her and what a way to end the year.

So to summarize, the highlights for me are seeing Queen in Concert, changing jobs and homes, joining the Chemists Without Borders and Starfish teams, Whale research in Italy. I hope 2016 is also a good one for me and for you too. Love Sarah xxx


My review of 2015. Part 1: January-June

For me personally, 2015 has been a really good year and of course I am hoping to continue along this vein in 2016. I hope you enjoy reading about my year.

January: I am a lifelong Queen fan and amazingly, I have never until now seen them live in concert. Of course I would have liked to have seen them when poor Freddie Mercury was still alive but this doesn't dampen my excitement.Especially as a good friend has for some time been extoling the virtues of one Adam Lambert whom I have never heard sing before.  I saw them together on 21st at our MEN Arena in the city centre. Watching Brian May is mesmerizing, he really is a phenomenonally skilled guitar player! I also love Adam Lambert too, he has an amazing voice which fits in perfectly with Queen's music I could hardly believe it :D I hope that he and Queen are working and touring together for many years to come. Seeing them once is just not enough and going to their concerts could easily become addictive. This is definitely a highlight of this year already and a great start to 2015. I am happy. A big thank you to my friend for insisting lol that I take notice of Adam Lambert because yes he is very talented and I do like him.
February: On the 10th I went to Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) after work at 5.30pm for Meet the director Sally Macdonald. A nice pleasant evening which began with Sally giving a talk about the AQA A Level curriculum. Afterwards there was a chance to mingle and talk to other invitees with a nice buffet. Then we had a group photo taken. This was a large group and it was fun. I didn't bump into anyone I know and I have still never spoken/met Sally Macdonald though I know her by site and that she is a very nice lady. Perhaps I will meet her in future, perhaps even in 2016. I did have a chat with an astrophysicist who works at Manchester University.She told me all about her work with moonrocks/meteorites.
Personal- on the 14th Glynn and I had a lovely Valentines breakfast for the first time at The Font, Oxford road. The menu was good and predictably we went for traditional fodder.Glynns brekkie was larger than mine but I had a side order of pancakes. We also had raspberry bellini's :D There are 2 Font pubs near us and we have now tried both ofthem several times so I suppose you could say we like them and are regulars. I certainly do like them.Great food and a very extensive range of both draught and bottled beers.
In February of last year I was very happy to discover an organisation called Chemists Without Borders which I promptly joined. I have participated in a few conference calls with them since then. In such a conference on 20th this year there were quite a few of us volunteers. We were invited to become a member of the team and naturally we all accepted. CWB does important work and this is a great honour. I am still pleased about it as you'd expect. I also got hooked up with one of their board members who has her own organisation AIDSfreeAFRICA which does amazing things in Cameroon. I post articles about HIV/AIDS on the AIDSfreeAFRICA Facebook page. Rolande is very complimentary and seems to love the articles I choose. They also seem to reach alot of people which pleases us both. I am thrilled to be able to help in this small way.
March: Time for my annual run to raise funds for the Rutger Hauer Starfish Association, the non-profit closest to my heart. This year on the 15th I ran a half marathon around the Silverstone F1 course. Yes THAT one! Starfish in their loveliness did a webpage for me again on their site. Sarahs Starfish run I am very pleased to have raised £300 for them and always very appreciative of everyone who sponsored me. I have a Facebook page for this run which you can look at if interested, maybe leave a comment too if you want Sarahs Silverstone Half Marathon
April: The end of the Easter holidays saw Glynn and I make a return visit to the wonderful Bletchley Park.We stayed in Bletchley itself from 16th -19th and stayed in the same hotel as last year. Namely Campanille. We were able to use our season ticket which we obtained last time. Also this time we were able to get into The National Museum of Computing which was fab. A real trip down memory lane for geeks and computer owners/lovers. I loved it. All in all this was a lovely weekend and I can't think of (or go to) Bletchley Park without thinking about Dr Sue Black. More about this lovely lady in December :).
May: All personal really this month. Glynn and I celebrated our birthdays which both fell on a weekend this year. I took Glynn to Sheffield for the weekend which is always nice. We stayed in a Travelodge for the first time which was also very nice. Given a choice I would've picked somewhere we hadn't been beofre. Perhaps abroad. That said for my birthday we had a day out at Greater Manchester's Heaton Park which I had heard alot about and amazingly never been to before. It is a big and lovely place. Unfortunately the boating lake was closed but I loved the views and the animals. This month also saw us secure a morgage for our first home. We then viewed a house per day after work. I loved most of them and I enjoy this part anyway. We made an offer on the first house we saw but that was not to be in the end. We do now own a lovely home but more about that in December :)
June: On Tuesday 23rd at 9.45am I had a job interview at a local independent school. It is a great place and just 10-15 minutes from my home. Then in the afternoon we went to look at a house which sadly neither of us were keen on.  On Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th I was at MOSI again doing an event called the Graphene weekender. I'm interested in graphene and had a brilliant time. I have already blogged about that.

I hope you enjoyed this first half of my look back at 2015. Please read part2 as well. The best is yet to come!
Thanks Sarah xxx

I am grateful for any feedback and comments. Thanks for reading and don't be a stranger xxx