Day Three of 5am

Day Three

Today was the first day I seriously considered going back to sleep. It took me so long to get to sleep that I only got 7 hours sleep and I woke up with a sore bloodshot eye. I felt so exhausted all morning that I didn’t go to the gym and I only went outside for a few minutes. I rinsed out my eye because it felt very irritated and, when this only relieved it slightly, I just tried to rest it. As the day went on, the soreness slowly got less noticeable but I still only really got admin done today.

I’m hoping tomorrow is better because waking up at 5 is so much nicer when you go out and enjoy the extra hours. Let’s call this a mid-week break and be in bed by 9?

Day Three flower

Day Two of 5am

Day Two

I think this is starting to work already? Before I went to bed I meditated and by 9pm I felt ready for sleep. My sleep quality was so much better, 82%, which is 7 hours 26 minutes of sleep and deep sleep. As a result of this, I enjoyed a long morning and a good gym session (yes I am standing on a tiny chair to fit into the mirror!). My day was fun and productive and I’m starting to feel tired for 9pm!

Day Two workout

Day One of 5am

Day One

I went to bed at about half 9 so it took me ages to fall asleep and then I was in and out of dreams until half 3 when I woke up as if it was 5 already. I stumbled out of bed to the bathroom and was blinded by the light. Then in my way back I trod on one cat and fell on another, making them both angry and confused as they don’t seem to realise I can’t see them in the dark. I forced myself to go back to sleep and according to Sleep Cycle I yo-yoed between being awake and being in deep sleep for just over an hour.

Day One Window

Considering all this I didn’t feel too bad waking up. I spent some time with my head out of the window breathing in some fresh air and listening to the wood pigeons, I drank some water, and I ate some Nakd bites.

Day One Snacks

I was lucky enough to get a lift to the gym and once I stepped in to the gym I started to feel the sleep deprivation. I tried to do a simple workout but I just felt faint and my head hurt so I finished the workout in 20 minutes and then walked home feeling like I might pass out. Luckily I didn’t. I’ve never actually passed out. But I spent the 2 hours before work just relaxing and replenishing my energy levels with a Trek bar and some cereal with nuts and flaxseed.

Towards the end of the day I started to feel more normal. No better than normal but no worse. Hopefully this will get better? I’m looking forward to seeing a difference.

Waking Up at 5am?!

Day One WindowWaking up at 5am is one of the most popular challenges on the internet. It seems to be the ultimate test of willpower and hardiness but I never took it seriously. As someone who tends to go to sleep just after midnight and wake up naturally at 9, I am now intrigued to see if I can improve my life by waking up earlier. A while ago, I downloaded the app Sleep Cycle in a last ditch attempt to sort out my sleep pattern. The app measures your sleep and, instead of waking you up at a set time with an irritating beeping, it wakes you up at the best time between two points with music that starts quietly and gets gradually louder. As it measures your breathing, it can tell when you’re sleeping and how deeply you’re sleeping so you’ll never get woken up in deep sleep and the alarm tone doesn’t get louder if you wake up. Before I started using the app, I was going to sleep at 1 or 2 and waking up at 10 or 11, so if I had to go anywhere early in the morning I would only get 5 or 6 hours sleep. Using the Sleep Cycle app I have learned so much about my sleeping patterns and I now aim for 8 hours a night.

But then I had an extended weekend off. The knowledge that I didn’t have to wake up early for anything was my downfall. I still woke up naturally at 9 but I would then sit in bed for hours watching videos and playing Sims 4. Before I knew it, the days were disappearing and I felt guilty knowing that I wasn’t doing anything to progress my life now that I’ve graduated university. What exacerbated this was seeing how happy and successful I was making my Sims.

I downloaded the game at the beginning of the extended weekend and it was the first time I had bought a video game since I was in primary school. I expected it to be a leisure activity and an escape from reality but to my surprise it just made me see my own hypocrisy. I was neglecting myself so that I could micromanage the lives of imaginary people. I made a household of 4 young adult sims and the first thing I did was give them all careers based on their personalities. The youngest sim had 5 days a week off so I set her tasks which nourished her creativity and increased her skill set. I taught her to fix appliances, I gave her an easel to learn how to paint and a guitar to learn music. I got her to read interesting books, to clean the house, to swim laps in the pool, and to go jogging. My sims have self-published books, sold paintings, and been promoted to roles I can only dream of.

Now, of course the game is unrealistic. It’s a game. But I get annoyed when my sims do useless things on their phones such as chat or go on social media when these are things I spend a lot of time doing. So I’m a hypocrite but now that I’ve realised this I can do something about it. Treat myself like I would treat a sim.

So I’m going to do it. I’m going to fulfil the cliche of lifestyle bloggers and wake up at 5am for a week. From tomorrow, I will wake up between 4:55 (sunrise) and 5:25 and head straight to the gym. I will work out for about an hour and then walk back home. I will then shower, have a healthy breakfast, and head to work. After work, I will attempt to use the rest of the day to do all that I can. I will draw, practice the ukulele I was given a couple of Christmases ago (and have hardly touched since), allow myself to spend time reading, experiment with cooking, clean and tidy, and attempt to fix things around the house.

These activities are all things I neglect or have given up on. I gave up on both art and music in school because I wasn’t a natural so I didn’t believe I’d ever be good enough to make my efforts worth it. A terrible mindset. I have now attempted a small sketch and a simple song on ukulele (I’m Yours – Jason Mraz) and I may not be Monet or Mozart but I enjoyed myself and I will get better with time. If this week goes well then who knows what might happen?

Learning French for a trip to Paris

I have wanted to properly learn a language for some time now but have never felt like I had the time and was never sure which to learn with so many to choose from: French, Spanish, German, Italian, Greek e.t.c. Not to mention languages from places outside Europe and extinct languages such as Latin and Ancient Greek! But my recent trip to France prompted me to learn some basic French which I hope to expand on afterwards. To do this I compiled a list of words and phrases that were most likely to be useful to me in Paris and which was short enough for me to learn in a limited to amount of time. The list is not perfect as I have never had French lessons and had to use the Internet and my own initiative to work out some of the phrases but English is the third most spoken language in the world and one of the friends I am going with speaks French so we did not really need to be perfect for my trip!

My list ended up like this:
• Hello/ Good morning/ Hi – Bonjour/ Salut
• Goodbye – Au revoir/ Salut
• Good evening – Bonsoir
• Goodnight – Bonne nuit
• Please – S’il vous plaît
• Thank you (very much) – Merci (beaucoup)
• Sorry – Dèsolè
• How are you? – Comment allez-vous?
• I am fine – Ça va
• Very well – Très bien
• Yes – Oui
• No – Non
• Okay/ agreed – D’accord
• And – Et
• With – Avec
• Or – Ou
• Excuse me – Excusez-moi
• Pardon? – Pardon
• How are things? – Comment ça va
• My name is… – Je’mapelle…
• I am English – Je suis Anglais
• Do you speak English? – Parlez-vous Anglais
• I do not understand – Je ne comprends pas
• Pleased to meet you – Enchanté
• Help me – Aidez-moi
• I am lost – Je suis perdu
• I am lost – Je suis malade
• See you soon – À bientot
• See you tomorrow – À demain
• Mr – Monsieur
• Mrs – Madame
• Miss – Mademoiselle
• Where is the…? – Où est le…?
• I want the…? – Je veux les…?
• A bottle of water – Une bouteille d’eau
• Tap water – Eau du robinet
• Chicken – Poulet
• Fish – Poisson
• Salad – Salade
• Potato – Pomme de terre
• Rice – Riz
• Pasta – Pâtes
• Tomato – Tomate
• Soup – Soupe
• Bakery – Boulangerie
• Butchery – Boucherie
• Cake shop – Pâtisserie
• Turn left – Tourner à gauche
• Turn right – Tournez à droite
• Where are the toilets? – Où sont les toilettes
• I want the bill – Je veux l’addition

The summer holidays is a great time for not only visiting new places either abroad or within the country you live but for learning new things and improving yourself as a person. Learning a new language, reading new genres, researching a topic that interests you or experimenting with writing in the form of blogging or short story writing are all enjoyable pastimes which can help to keep you productive, whilst spending time with friends and family either just relaxing or doing something active like cycling can help your physical and emotional wellbeing, something especially key for introverts as it is easy to isolate yourself during holidays!
As for me, I had a great holiday in Paris with my homemade phrase book (even though I rarely used it!) and wish anyone else planning to go to France luck with their French!

To see my Trip Advisor reviews for our B&B, the café we ate dinner at, and the boat tour we went on, click the links below.

https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowUserReviews-g946314-d1162127-r395780612-La_Maison_Bacana_Bed_and_Breakfast-Vitry_sur_Seine_Val_de_Marne_Ile_de_France.html

https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowUserReviews-g187147-d714903-r395782712-Cafe_Le_Petit_Pont-Paris_Ile_de_France.html

https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowUserReviews-g187147-d2274303-r395836852-Vedettes_du_Pont_Neuf-Paris_Ile_de_France.html

Apologise versus Apologize

An age old argument: –ize or –ise. Is it apologise or apologize?

Until recently, I thought that it was apologise as I was told that apologize was American.

However, this is a common misconception as both are actually English.

When I discovered this, I was at a loss as to which to use. I then found that –ize was the original, with –ise being introduced later and neither being American.

But the fact still remains that many people believe that –ize is American and it can lose you respect in Britain.

However, as always in the English language, there are exceptions.

These words must end in –ise:

Advertise

Compromise

Exercise

Revise

Advise

Despise

Improvise

Supervise

Apprise

Devise

Incise

Surmise

Chastise

Disguise

Prise

Surprise

Compromise

Excise

Promise

Televise

There are also some that must end in –yse:

Analyse

Catalyse

Electrolyse

Paralyse

Breathalyse

Dialyse

Hydrolyse

Psychoanalyse

Personally, I still use –ise, as it is necessary to use –ise for some words but there are no words for which it is necessary to use –ize and I have always used –ise. If you live in the UK, then you should use –ise unless you are associated with Oxford University or Cambridge University, both of which will expect you to use –ize.

Fans of Inspector Morse will probably know that Morse himself condemns those who use –ise, calling them illiterate, saying that people who went to Oxford or Cambridge should know the right way, as the Oxford and Cambridge English dictionaries use a “z”.

If you live in America, then you should probably use –ize and people who live elsewhere, again, I don’t know, but as I said in my post about the Oxford comma, do what you feel is right and if you have been doing it one way all your life then you probably shouldn’t change now!

The Oxford Comma

The Oxford Comma. Some love it and some hate it. But why?

The Oxford comma is a comma that goes before the words “and”, “or”, and “nor” in a list of 3 or more items. For example:

“I had eggs, toast, and orange juice.”

Many people, including myself, were taught at primary school never to put a comma before the word “and”, as it is wrong. But is it?

The main use of the Oxford comma, also called the Serial Comma or the Harvard Comma is to avoid ambiguity and to clarify meaning.

Meaning is clear in a simple list with or without an Oxford comma:

“She wore tan shoes, pink shoelaces and a polka dot dress.”

This sentence clearly states three separate items of clothing.

“She wore tan shoes, pink shoelaces, and a polka dot dress.”

This sentence also clearly states three separate items of clothing.

However, in a complicated list, meaning can be ambiguous without the use of an Oxford comma.

“I’d like to thank my parents, Bill Clinton and Oprah Winfrey.”

This suggests that your parents are Bill Clinton and Oprah Winfrey, a mistake which can be avoided with the use of an Oxford comma.

“I’d like to thank my parents, Bill Clinton, and Oprah Winfrey.”

The comma also helps in lists which contain compound terms (“meat” and “vegetable pies”) joined by a conjunction (“and”), such as:

“The bar sold cider, real ales, meat and vegetable pies, and sandwiches.”

Without an Oxford comma, this sentence suggests that the pies and sandwiches were vegetable:

“The bar sold cider, real ales, meat and vegetable pies and sandwiches.”

When planning to publish your work, you should bear in mind that some organisations such as The Associated Press, The Economist, and the New York Times dislike, avoid, and omit the Oxford comma.The comma has been part of Oxford University Press style for centuries, changing its name from the serial comma to the more well-known Oxford comma, but was rejected recently by the university’s branding people to get academics to be consistent. But the Oxford Press still uses it, along with The Elements of Style, Fowler’s Modern English Usage, the Chicago Manual of Style (CMS), the U.S. Government Printing Office Style Manual, the American Psychological Association (APA), the Modern Language Association (MLA), and the American Medical Association.

However, the general consensus seems to be that you can choose to use the Oxford comma, or not use it, but you should be consistent.

Pros:

  • Primary school does not always teach you the right way to do things
  • Avoids ambiguity
  • Clarifies meaning
  • Matches the natural speech pattern of pausing before the last item in a series
  • Supported by Oxford university

Cons:

  • Unnecessary in simple sentences
  • Some organisations do not allow it
  • In some instances it does not help clarity and can introduce ambiguity
  • Can be redundant, as the preceding conjunction serves the same purpose as the comma
  • Takes up more space
  • Mostly only used in America (obviously not a con if you are from America – use away!)
  • People such as teachers and employers may attempt to correct you

In conclusion

If you live in the UK, then either use the Oxford comma and swear by it, use it when it is necessary, or don’t use it at all. If you live in America, then you should probably use it. If you live elsewhere, I have no idea! But I would suggest you do want you feel is right wherever you live because, really, it doesn’t matter what other people think about your grammar unless people like your teachers or tutors are telling you to do it another way, in which case should probably listen to them… or carry on regardless if you want!