August 2020 – chocolate owls, neck fans, results, and cheese bread!

Chocolate Owls

Good things in August 2020

Well, August isn’t usually holiday month for me. It hasn’t been for as long as I can remember. When you don’t have children, taking holidays outside of the school holidays often feels like a smart move! It’s hot! It’s sometimes a bit much! But generally there’s a holiday vibe and I like the long summer nights where you can eat in the garden and spend more time outdoors.

We are still being careful and shielding, so you won’t see a lot of staycation posts this summer, but there are still good things, and things to be grateful for. I think in some ways I’ve socialised more this year than I have before, even though I’m not saying “yes” to any face-to-face socialising right now.

New course

Since I’ve been working for myself, August is often a quieter time because many of my customers go on holiday. This year was the launch of my pilot programme for a new course though, so it was actually quite busy – getting things ready and starting off the programme. I have a really lovely group and I’m enjoying working with them. It’s good to try something new!

University results

This actually belongs in July, but I didn’t write this kind of post then!

The end of the university year was a bit different because two of my final assessments were cancelled. With so much else going on, it was quite nice to not have to do them, but nobody really knew what would happen in terms of the results. We knew the previous results would probably become more relevant now, but it wasn’t really clear what would happen. I think an opportunity for better communication was missed there.

As it happened, I got my two distinctions, but as I understand it, the calculations were all adjusted down because they also reflected previous students’ performances on the final exams. I wasn’t on the threshold, so I got what I was aiming for, but some people dropped down into the next bracket, through what felt like no fault of their own. If you screw up an assessment, ultimately it’s on you, but if it happens because generally other people don’t do as well in that assessment, it doesn’t feel fair.

Overall I was happy – year 1 took me 2 years because I’m part-time, but I did it! Posts about the final two modules are coming soon – I don’t like to write them until I’ve properly finished.

Next module booked

There were some questions about the accessibility of the module I wanted to study next. That took a bit of time to resolve, but it feels as though we have a better process in place now, and a way to make sure that the transitions to future modules go more smoothly.

I’m looking forward to writing the code for web pages – less so to the reliance on diagrams to communicate ideas about how said web pages should turn out! But at least we have a plan now to make it more accessible!

New products

The Body Shop has come out with some new hair and body mists. Body mists are nothing new, but not all of them are suitable to be used on hair – some ingredients can dry your hair out – but these ones are fine .

There are 5 in the range – apricot and agave, lime and matcha, pomegranate and red berries, pink pepper and lychee, and coconut and yuzu.

I got the apricot one and the lime one. My favourite is the apricot one, but both of them are good!

Not quite so new, but I also enjoyed the new zesty lemon range of products – they were a special edition, but if they come back, I can definitely recommend them if you love zingy citrussy scents. I enjoyed the zesty lemon body yoghurt. It’s made with lumpy lemons, which presumably wouldn’t be up to the normal standard for selling and eating.

Portable neck fan

I turned up to an online meeting during the heatwave and a friend was wearing one of these! It’s a great idea – you take your fan around with you wherever you go! It’s like three sides of a square. The side opposite the open side goes behind your neck, and the two arms sit on your shoulders, facing forwards. You have to be careful with long hair, but I push mine back and I haven’t caught it yet! The arms blow out air onto your face and neck, and there are multiple settings for how intense you want the fan to be. This is the neck fan that I got.

New platform to try

I was involved in an accessibility research project throughout August. I probably can’t say a lot about that at the moment, but one thing it also gave me was the opportunity to try out Microsoft Teams with Jaws and VoiceOver (the two screenreaders that I use on my laptop and my phone).

I was impressed! It’s so much better than what we use at university! I mainly use Zoom and other conferencing tools at work, but it was interesting to try something new. It’s more involved than Zoom, but it also has more features for working collaboratively.

Chocolate owls

These are the owls featured in the image for this post. They were delicious – some were with orange essential oil and others with peppermint. (If you intend to try this, make sure the essential oils you have are suitable for internal use – not all are).

The owl moulds can be bought from Amazon – this is one of my owl mould sets.

They were amazing – both sets were good, but I think my favourites were the orange ones! I’m going to try dark chocolate tnex.

New Turkish friends

I know my biggest weakness in learning a language is speaking. I hate it. I don’t want to do it until I’m really good – but the only way to become really good is to do it!

Especially if you’re living in a country where you’re not being exposed to the additional language every day, you need to be more proactive.

So I went to a language exchange site. You have to be a bit careful, because especially if you are a woman, you can get inundated with messages, some of which are quite annoying. I started chatting with a few people. Some fizzle out straight away, so it’s good to not only rely on one or two right at the beginning. I’ve found two people wit whom I’m meeting regularly online now for English and Turkish practice. It’s hard for me – I would much prefer to write – but they are both really friendly and having a real person to speak with definitely gives you a reason to do it!

Duolingo

I wrote before about improving my Turkish on Duolingo.

I saw that this way of strengthening the connection between language pairs was also really good brain training. A lot of activities for training your memory involve pictures, and therefore don’t work for me. But I love languages, so I decided to use my subscription to this app to work on my active languages, refresh a couple that I used to speak, and also try a couple of new ones.

I want to write a more in-depth post about this and what I’ve discovered. At the moment I have 12 courses, which are combinations of 8 languages!

Baking bread

I haven’t jumped on the sourdough train, but we have been trying out some bread recipes. Yesterday we made cheese and onion bread – something I’ve never had before – but it has cheese in it, so it must be good, right? It was amazing! Random internet recipes can be a risky business, but I can recommend this yummy cheese and onion bread! Not an affiliate link – just something we found and enjoyed.

So, that’s a round-up of my August! Tomorrow is September – I love autumn!

How was August for you?

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Author: englishwithkirsty

I have two blogs. Unseen Beauty is my personal blog. English with Kirsty is my business blog for people who are interested in languages or learning English.

6 thoughts on “August 2020 – chocolate owls, neck fans, results, and cheese bread!”

  1. I just read Your guest post over at Caz’s and thought it was wonderful! Thank You for that!!! And the chocolate owls look soooooo goood! Cheers!!! 💕

  2. It’s great the pilot programme for the new course has kicked off and that you’re enjoying it so far. Sounds like a good time for it with other things slowing a little for the Sumer break. And a huge, huge congratulations on OU results! So after the calculations were adjusted down, you still kept the distinctions, is that correct? You work incredibly hard so I’m really glad you got the deserved outcomes. That’s definitely worth celebrating!

    I saw the new Body Shop products but a little late, just after I bought another Vanilla mist. I always buy the same one because I love it, but I wouldn’t mind trying out one of the new ones. I think some of those are actually 50p more expensive than their usual product line, but it sounds like it’s worth it for the novelty and different kinds of scents. I’ve never had any lemon scented body creams so the yoghurt sounds interesting!

    Those chocolate owls look so cute. I wouldn’t have thought of getting moulds to make my own chocolate because I’m lazy but I’m curious what other shapes you can get now so I might have a browse.

    It seems like August has been busy but with lots of positives. I hope September is kind to you & S, stay safe & have a relaxing weekend! Xxxx

    1. I don’t actually know what other shapes are available as I was specifically looking for owls, but I bet you could get all sorts! I suppose you could use them for ice cube trays too, but you’d have to put them on something flat as you do with the chocolate, because the moulds themselves are floppy.

      Thank you! Yes, I kept my distinctions which means I got all distinctions in the first year. Just need to try to keep it up now lol!

      The new mists might be more expensive because they’re fine to use on hair too. I’m not sure.

      Have a good week xx

  3. Congrats Kirsty on your two distinctions, and right in the middle of the pandemic too! Thoroughly deserved and such good news with the launch of the pilot programme for the new course too. You’re so driven and I love reading these updates of the things you get up to outside your blog.

    Those chocolate owls are adorable! Great gift idea and I love the use of orange oils – I’m a bit of a sucker for Terry’s chocolate orange…

    I’d never heard of a neck fan until today, that would have been a handy accessory in the heatwave we had this year. Hell, I’d wear one at work in the pharmacy if I could. x

    1. Haha why not – anything to keep cool!

      Thanks re my course – things have started again now with the next module, so the last one feel like a bit of a distant memory!

      I didn’t get as far as gifting owls – I did manage to share some with S, but they didn’t stick around for long. You’re right though, they would make a lovely gift.

      Take care and hope you’re well, Kirsty X

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