Life in lockdown and book reviews

Hi! Now seems like a good time to make a new post just with a little life and books read update since it has been so long. I hope everyone is coping well with the lockdown (and also the coming out of lockdown), it is not easy, and it will not be easy for a long time! It is so important to keep track of your mental and physical health. It has seemed a bit pointless to update my ‘my life in the lab’ blog when I had not even been in the lab but I guess I got a bit bored and fancied a quick update..

Research papers for my thesis introduction

During the lockdown I have been working on my thesis and preparing the introduction section. On top of this I have been attending webinars and more meetings than i have ever attended in person! It has been going ok so far, not as well I had planned but then nothing has really gone as planned for anyone at the moment has it?! I had a full list of things that I would do once I had more time and less lab work… but I seem to have no motivation to do anything other than read, watch films, play Pokemon Go and occasionally write my thesis! So, learning Spanish and how to crochet have been put on the back burner. (Again…) Fingers crossed I will be back in the lab in the next couple of months!

In order to remind myself that I shouldn’t just spend the whole day in bed I have been making a weekly plan every Monday with each task cut up into sections. Generally I have found it useful and easier to stick to compared to more general goals like ‘write introduction’. There is something so satisfying about ticking something off a to-do list and I have found putting loads of small tasks on mine has helped me at least feel like I haven’t wasted a day even when I am having less productive days. Occasionally my brain cannot take any more work and I end up doing some yoga to switch off for a little bit. I haven’t had to do it too often, but it definitely helps me a lot when I burn out. I have also been reading a bit more again, something which I tend to forget to do when I am in the lab all the time. Bookstagram has helped me so much, not only with book ideas but also with so many people reaching out and checking I am ok and just being there in general (thanks so much!). I even joined a few book clubs! One of which even has movie and games nights! ❤ How are you keeping your mental health in check?

Fawkes by Nadine Brandes

My first big lockdown read was Fawkes by Nadine Brandes which had been on my TBR list since I read her Romanov book… I would definitely say it is worth a read if you like YA fantasy and want an easy read. I was a little disappointed with the lack of detail and historical facts at some points but overall I think the story is well written and fun. It follows Guy Fawkes’ son as he searches for his elusive father in other to get his own colour mask.. which he needs to do colour magic. Honestly I thought the idea of basing the book around the mask was a great idea since it is such an iconic thing nowadays. It definitely gave a new and interesting twist on the old story. I love that at the end of the book the author gave a little breakdown of everything she had used which was close to the real history and what she had made up… I loved how much turned out to be true!

My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell

I think my favourite book since lockdown began has been My Dark Vanessa which I read for a book club I am in with a few other PhD students in my department. It was probably the quickest I have read a book in a long time since I genuinely could not put it down despite it being so shocking and anger inducing at times. It definitely made me re-evaluate some of my own thoughts and opinions regarding victim blaming and how society can sometimes jump to conclusions about people who have stayed silent for a long time. If you have ever questioned why someone took so long to reveal their abuse and thought maybe they are doing it for the wrong reasons like jumping on the bandwagon, I definitely recommend this book. I didn’t cry when I read it but its not very often I cry with books… I definitely came close though!

A long petal of the sea by Isabel Allende

Currently I’m in the middle of reading A Long Petal of The Sea by Isabel Allende which takes place during the Spanish Civil War. It is taking me a LONG time to read it because I am so interested in it and want to research everything it talks about! I don’t think reading it quickly would do it justice at all. Unfortunately because of this sometimes I am too tired to read it after working all day… so my back up read is Harry Potter (again). Historical fiction is probably my favourite genre at the moment but it definitely doesn’t do anything to help my tired brain! Do you have a favourite historical fiction book you would recommend?

I hope everyone is safe and healthy. Bye for now!


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