Monday, January 11, 2016

Towards 2016 and some changes

2016 - how did we get here?

This year is going to be filled with challenges for me. Priority number one for the next few months is to finish my PhD, first completing the last of my research and then writing my dissertation. It's going to be the hardest I've ever had to work in my life and all I can do is hope that I come out the other end in more or less one piece.

An additional challenge presented itself because my funding was not renewed for 2016. What that comes down to is that unlike the last five years in the lab, for the next year, I will be working full time for no pay. So every Rand I have in savings or can otherwise beg, borrow or steal will be going towards essentials like rent and food. (Big shout out of gratitude towards my amazing parents for both their emotional and financial support towards me taking on any academic challenge I set myself!) So I have to make some serious budgeting cuts. No more frivolous makeup purchases. Being more economical when I cook. No spur-of-the-moment going out for drinks after a long day at work. No retail therapy. Making do with what I have -because what I have is enough. As such, expect more than one blog post about living on a shoestring budget - and feel free to send your cost-cutting tips my way!

Regardless of the challenges, I'm really excited for 2016 and what it has in store! 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Christmas Wishes

This is the first Christmas in a long time where I haven't had a long wishlist already waiting. However, I did a bit of online window shopping today and here are a few things that caught my eye that I wouldn't mind finding in my stocking on Christmas morning...

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Adventures in Cherry Picking

This weekend we once again went on a roadtrip to Klondyke Cherry Farm to pick our weight in cherries for the festive season! If you haven't gone before, I can definitely recommend it - we've been going since I was a child. It was about a 2 hour drive from Cape Town to the farm, so make a day out of it and pack a picnic lunch! You can find out more details (incl costs) over here. Between my parents and myself, we got about 7 kg of cherries, and my two friends picked about that much between themselves as well - it's definitely going to be a cherry-flavoured Christmas! Here are a few snapshots from our day out.

Driving through beautiful wheat fields outside of town

Rocky outcrops and Cape fold mountains

Finding the perfect picnic spots under the shade of some giant pines

Cherry trees almost unable to support the weight of their abundant fruit

Cherry pickers in action

Sun + cherries + fresh air = one happy cherry picker

The first half of our haul!

Returning home through beautiful mountain passes

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

O Chemistree, O Chemistree!

Of course, I couldn't just leave the Christmas decorating at home! Today we set up our very own "Chemistree" (aka a Chemistry Christmas Tree) in the foyer of the Chemistry building to welcome everyone in a very festive but undoubtedly nerdy way!

(PS for safety reasons, all these flasks are just filled with water and food colouring - no toxic solutions but still some pretty cool chemistry!)