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There seems to be a bit of a mass exodus to Dreamwidth going on.  I am kisobel there too, although I don't post there, any more than I post here at the moment!  But please feel free to add me and I will start reading my friendspage there properly :)

Also, if I did by any miracle start posting more regularly and wanted to crosspost between LJ and DW, how would I do that? Is there a handy guide anywhere?


For those who didn't know (ie everyone except jekesta), I was in an LJ World Cup sweepstake where instead of money we all spent a couple of pounds on sweets, toys and other awesome things, and jekesta collected them to go to the eventual winner.  Well I drew Spain, and they only went and won!  This is the post I put on our sweepstake community quantumsweep.

At about lunchtime today, there was a knock at the door and the postman handed me an ENOURMOUS and very HEAVY box.

More and many photos!Collapse )

Helen Sharman (Ada Lovelace Day 2010)

As part of Ada Lovelace Day 2010, I pledged to blog today about a woman in technology or science who inspired me.  I'm going to talk about Helen Sharman.

I'm not sure how well known Sharman is these days, but where I grew up in the late 80s/early 90s, she was the major celebrity.  That's because she was a local girl of course, not just from Sheffield but from my little bit of it, and she'd been a pupil at my secondary school.  It was possibly the most exciting thing that had happened to south Sheffield.  Sharman was selected, from a pool of thousands, to be the first Briton to go into space.

I remember all the excitement and build up when it was announced that she had been chosen.  And I remember much more vividly the days preceding the launch and the days of the space mission.  It was such a significant milestone.  Interestingly, I don't remember there being major amounts of commentary and attention on her being a woman.  But that may just be because I was nine years old, and at that age I hadn't really cottoned on to the concept of inequality.  Looking back it certainly seems like a groundbreaking decision.

At secondary school we studied Sharman as part of our science lessons, and I can't imagine a better motivator than knowing that the first British astronaut had leant her early science in the same room.  Sharman's success taught me that being female, coming from an ordinary northern town, going to a state school, didn't mean you couldn't still aspire to be anything you wanted to be, even an astronaut.  There were no limits except your imagination.  I may not have wanted to be an astronaut, but I never needed to hide my love of Maths and Science at school either.

Objectives 2010

I have been a right grumpy cow the last few days, but today has restored my mood through the power of lazy Saturday morning lie-ins and weekend quickies :-)

I have been mulling over doing some new year's resolutions but in my mind resolutions always seem focussed on not doing things or giving up things, and I don't want to go down this road.  So instead I am setting myself some objectives for 2010.  These are things I keep thinking that I'd really like to do - well this is year the year I will make them happen.


1. Do some form of extra-curricular study
My job really isn't stretching my mind in the way I'd like, and I've been thinking for a while now that I'd like to explore a different academic area.  Am drawn to something in the maths or science vibe, but equally would be interested in learning a new language or expanding my knowledge of politics.  Basically I just want to learn.

2. Join a choir or theatre group
Singing and acting were two things I did constantly as a child and teenager, and then I started college, discovered boys in a major way, and stopped doing both.  Then for years I worked shifts that meant I couldn't commit to anything regular, but always missed the buzz of performing.  Well now I can commit to it so it's high time I started back up again.  I've already enquired about joining the choir at work, which is very scary but exciting too!

3. Wear heels more often
Somewhere along the line I stopped doing this, and became afraid of heels.  Then recently I needed warm ankle boots and could only find nice ones that had small heels.  And surprisingly they were no problem at all and I love wearing them.  So I want to explore what other heels I can wear comfortably.

4. Learn to cook risotto
Because I love it and it's the perfect meal for using stuff up, but I've never made it myself.  So I shall do so.

5. Go geocaching
I joined the website, I bought the app, I found one cache close to home and it was so exciting!  It taps into a whole treasure hunting, clue solving vibe that I've always loved. But I never went again for some reason, so I shall drag the husband out to find some more.

6. Read some G H Hardy
Always loved mathematics, never read G H Hardy.  Something isn't right there.  He seems to be referenced by so many authors I read, so I shall seek him out this year.

7. Learn how to do cryptic crosswords
I watched a programme about them on iplayer not long ago, and it made them sound far less impossible than they always seem to me.  So I'll give them a try.

8. Go away somewhere I've never been before
Haven't had a holiday since Cornwall 18 months ago, haven't been abroad since Oslo almost two years ago.  The honeymoon doesn't count because it was spent somewhere I know so well.  So this year I want to go away somewhere new.

9. Reread Enid Blyton
Of all the children's books I've read, Enid Blyton's books always came out on top for sheer enjoyment and imagination.  And I haven't read any for years, and all my old ones are up in my mum's loft.  So I will be seeking out very cheap old copies and reliving my childhood.

10. Write in my LJ regularly
Too long have I neglected writing, thinking that I didn't have anything to talk about because my life was so boring compared to my exciting early 20s when this journal really thrived. But now I have all these objectives so I will have lots to write about!
I has Google Wave invites. Can I tempt anyone?


I got married!  It was a totally brilliant, overwhelming, hilarious, incredible day that was over far too fast.  I cried most of the way through the ceremony, managing to pull myself together for the contracting bits and then completely lost it again during the vows, which Paul and I had written ourselves.  And at the end of it all we were suddenly married!  It's still sinking in for both of us, I think it'll take a while.  People keep calling me Mrs Stewart and I laugh every time.

We had a week's lovely honeymoon in Derbyshire, and came home yesterday; we have another week off before we go back to work.  We'll probably spend most of it trying to find room in our little flat for all the gorgeous presents!

All the pro photos are up on Flickr if you want to have a look: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kisobel/sets/72157622593418811/ - I am really happy as there are some amazing ones.  I'll post some of my favourites up here soon, once I've narrowed it down a bit as there are hundreds.

So happy to be a wife :-D


Two years

Today is our second anniversary. Two years ago today, on a Sunday, Paul and I sat in the Jubilee Gardens at Canary Wharf in the spring sunshine and realised we were made for each other. I was a mess, he was a rock, and it all worked out perfectly.

I'm not sure if we'll celebrate this anniversary again, because by the time it comes around next year we'll be married and we'll have a much more serious anniversary to observe - October 24th. To be honest we've never really celebrated it properly anyway. Last year it was also the day of my Fast Stream Assessment Centre so I was completely preoccupied with that, luckily it paid off of course. This year it just hasn't felt like a big deal really - we bought each other computer games as gifts but we aren't fussed about doing anything else.

Except I guess the reason for me posting here is because it is a big deal, two years. It's the longest relationship I've ever had and one which surpasses everything I ever imagined a long term relationship would be like. Every day I mentally pinch myself because I can't believe how lucky I am. I am so glad that I stopped chasing after all those unsuitable acronyms and settled down with a real man who was so much more than a witty pseudonym.

Writer's Block: First Things First

Who (or what) do you consider to be your first love?
Oh there are so many answers to this question. Scott, my childminder's son, was my first crush at about age 7. James was my first big heartbreak when I was 14 - I cried non-stop for a week when he dumped me. But Anthony was a big milestone for me too - the first man I stayed with more than a few months, the first man I felt was my best friend as well as my boyfriend, and the first one that I felt that comfortable, easy sensation with, where you just get on with life and for the most part its happy and normal and not full of tension. I was 18 when we split up, and I didn't find that feeling again until I met my Paul.

I don't subscribe to this idea that there is 'true' love and then everything else is just pretend. I can look back on relationships now where I was so swept up in love, I thought my world was a volcano erupting. With hindsight the strength of feeling there was far less than with my fiance. But at the same time, it's still a kind of love, and no less worthy for being temporary or headstrong. Love isn't a commodity - you can give it out freely. I like to think that I give love to everyone who means something to me. Because I'm lucky in life, I get some back.
It's the first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere and the first day of autumn in the Southern Hemisphere. What season do you want it to be where you live?
I thought the first day of spring was the 21st March actually.

I'm quite happy with it being spring. Winter seemed to drag on for particularly ages, and I generally prefer the more transitional seasons. I'm also so much enjoying it being so much lighter in the mornings - it makes such a difference when I actually get to see daylight either side of being in the office.

In other news - bought my first bridesmaid dress yesterday. Well not mine obviously, but technically it is as I paid for it. This wedding lark starts to feel a lot more real once you start paying out for things!

Writer's Block: A Little Green

Top o' the morning to you! Has anyone ever pinched you for not wearing green on St. Patrick's Day?
Erm, no. But I am wearing green today. And there must be a leprechaun looking over me because I just spilled an entire mug of coffee over my desk, keyboard, mouse, phone and post-it notes all soaked, but not a drop fell on my green shirt.

I should point out that, quite aside from it being St Patrick's Day, I am still alive.
What a week. Spent most of last weekend at Wembley watching some excellent snooker. Monday I spent the whole day in Parliament with a group of fellow new fast stream civil servants: watching the proceedings (and spotting carakins and strictlytrue hard at work), learning about how it all works, and meeting some interesting MPs including Lembit Opik who was entertaining but completely impossible to take seriously as a politician when all he wanted to do was come to my workplace and ride a Segway up and down the corridors.

Tuesday I watched Barack Obama's inauguration speech along with 20 of the aforementioned up and coming young fast streamers in the world of politics. It saddens me how cynical my generation of British people are. Our American counterparts were laughing and crying and talking about changing the world, while we sat on tables, sniggering at how earnest it all way and raising our eyebrows to each other. No, I don't believe Obama will save the world any more than Gordon Brown will, but I do think his presidency will be remarkable, and we in the UK won't stand any chance of something similar happening hear unless we change our attitudes to politics and policy.

Thursday I was back to work with an overflowing inbox and just a handful of crises. I am finding myself a bit frustrated at work recently, mostly because my main workstreams finished in December and no one is really sure who is doing what now. All the more senior people in my team left, and handed their work down to me instead of to someone on the same level, so I am struggling to keep my head above water a bit. Never mind though.

The most important thing by far that's happened this week however is that I chose and ordered my wedding dress! Ooh the adrenaline rush was something special. I won't post photos in case of Paul seeing them but I do have some which I'm happy to show off to interested parties! I have totally fallen in love with my dress and I now understand what all the bridal forums are going on about when they talk about finding 'the one'.

Dec. 1st, 2008

Still off sick and bored, but... I have done my tax return.  A whole 2 months before the deadline.  Such a strange feeling, this sense of actually having achieved something useful!

Next to phone up my credit card people and grovel at them...
What?  I should post more than once a month?  Meh, deal with it.

In the 30 days since I last posted I've mostly been ill.  What started out as a cough turned into bronchitis which turned into a chest infection which then got me carted off to Hillingdon Hospital yesterday for a chest x-ray to (hopefully) rule out pneumonia and establish whether I have broken any ribs - my doctor thinks this is what is causing the intense pain that has kept me off work for the last week.  That's all very dull though I realise.

In my convalescence I have been playing Fable II for hours, watching a lot of property redevelopment programmes that were clearly shot several months ago before the 'economic crisis', and recently doing a little bit of work on our wedding website.  You can have a look at it here - it's still very much a work in progress at the moment and I'm trying to decide whether to upgrade to a paid site and get lots of extra stuff and a customised domain name.  Once I am well (please please let this be soon!) I really need to get my skates on looking at wedding dresses, as that's the next big thing to do really, and I want to get the bridemaids' dresses in the January sales so really need to have some idea of what they'll be matching to.

Oh and we had our engagement party almost a month ago now - we managed to have a fantastic time despite my coughing.  Lots of photos on Facebook and on my Flickr site - this one is my favourite I think, although a little dark:


Teh ill

I have what my mother always describes as 'The Cough'.  This being because as a child I had this same hacking dry cough every Winter from about October to April.  These days it's not quite so prevalent, thank god, but for some reason it has raised its ugly head this week following the virus I had last week.

Pauly was lovely and picked me up Benylin on his way home from work last night, but it only stops the cough for about thirty seconds.  The rest of the time it's like a knife has lodged itself in my throat and needs to be choked up, repeatedly, through the application of violent coughing and retching.  The one saving grace is that I'm working from home today, so my workmates are spared the sound of a dying animal all day.  Just for one day mind.

*Cough cough cough*  It's soooooooo annooooying.  I'll stop ranting now I promise.

If you're bored of weddings, look away now

Some very exciting pics of the venue for you!

Under the cutCollapse )

Actual wedding news

Eeeeeeeeek! I know I was supposed to do a long detailed post about all the wedding stuff so far, but I have to do a little squee post right now because...

We've chosen the venue and the date!

The venue is The Maynard, a hotel, bar and restaurant in Derbyshire. It's got a unique and very welcoming atmosphere, and is a great mix of traditional and modern, formal and informal. Paul and I loved it the minute we saw it.

The date is Saturday 24th October 2009 - for a beautiful autumnal wedding.

I am so, so excited!


Wifey to be

Paul and I got back from Cornwall yesterday after a really lovely week's holiday.  I could go on for page after page about what a fantastic time we had, but the only news that really matters is that Paul asked me to marry him, and I said yes.  So we are engaged!  And I can't wait to become Mrs Lucy Stewart...

Not extraordinary at all

Oh, googling your own name every now and again is so worthwhile.  I just found a discussion thread from 18 months or so ago where someone I used to know mentioned me in the context of a discussion on the difficulties of meeting men.

I am also intrigued by kisobel ... because she doesn't seem extraordinary and yet men everywhere!  ... there aren't queues of men pining after me as there are with her.  How does she do it?

Ha ha ha.  I didn't realise my success with the opposite sex was a talking point.  I suppose I could take offence at 'doesn't seem extraordinary' but as far as I'm concerned it's the truth, and I don't buy into the idea that you have to be extraordinary to get on well in the world of dating.  They go on to talk about how if they knew how I did it, they'd mass-package it and make a billion pounds in the first six weeks.  Well, I know how I did it...  Maybe I am missing a trick here and could be making millions sharing my apparently unique insight?
I've really not been very up for posting on LJ recently.  I have a feeling this might be the start of a real change, rather than just a temporary lack of interest.  My life is moving on, I am growing up, writing things out doesn't bring me the relief and enjoyment it once did.  I guess I have reached a point of contentment.  I consider myself very lucky.

However, old habits are hard to break, and tomorrow is my journal's 5th birthday.  They were the five most enjoyable and most formative years of my life, and I'm so glad I chose to document them.  I'm not saying I'm going to stop posting, just that it might be less.  In the meantime, I will tell you how things are.

I've been 4 weeks in my new job.  It's hard work, pressurised and mentally draining, but I expected it to be and I'm starting to flourish now that the initial fear and nerves are leaving me.  I'm producing some output now, which is always good, and I feel like I'm more than earning my new and improved salary.  The commuting is still a drain, especially on the way home, but it's worth it because of what I'm coming home to.

The new flat is still lovely, and we have settled in nicely although the spare room is still wall to wall with junk.  Paul has taken responsibility for much of the domestic stuff, and I am eternally grateful because it allows me to chill out at the end of the day and not feel like I have no free time.  Once I get used to my new routine I'm hoping things will even out a bit.

We've booked a holiday for the end of August - we're going to Cornwall and have booked a cottage in Penzance for a week.  I'll be the first time we've had a full week's holiday together and I can't wait.  I'm not looking forward to driving all the way to Cornwall and back, but luckily Paul's mum has offered to lend us her car (she doesn't use it very often) so at least we can save the expense of a hire car (and we just have the expense of fuel!)

I can't think that there's much else to tell you really.  I'm happy.  I'm content.  I hope you are too.

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