Monthly Archives: July 2013

The Bet – Day Four: Taking a Break

Today is a day off from The Bet. This is purely because yesterday was Boyfriend’s birthday and I allowed him to watch TV. When he asked if he could, I didn’t want to waste a tube journey of reading with only the London Evening Standard for company, so I chose to have today as my day off instead. Man, I forgot how much easier tube journeys are when you have a book for company. Whole stops went by and I didn’t even notice people getting on and off, or the doors opening, or the fact that we were even moving along the tracks. A 45 minute journey suddenly felt like 10 minutes, but I managed to get through 100 pages of Zoe Marriott’s ‘The Night Itself’! I recommend it if you’re into Young Adult books. It involves a 500 year old Katana, and a 15 year old girl defending modern day London from a Big Bad. Also the cover is very pretty:

The_Night_Itself_cover Small

The girl in the bookstore even commented on it and said she wanted to read it.

However, until today, The Bet has gone well. I discovered a new interest in playing games on my phone, which considering I have the world’s crappiest smartphone, is impressive. I can’t have more than one game installed at once though. It drains my memory. And I’ve discovered that if you stand up against one of the doors at either end of a tube carriage (the doors that connect to the next carriage along), you get a nice blast of cold air on your hot neck every time the train leaves a station – perfect for long, sweaty, tube journeys.

The flat is also looking tidier, as getting in from work now means I haven’t really got much to do. If I go into the bedroom to watch TV, I’m liable to fall asleep and then I’ll waste the whole evening, which I don’t want. We’ve also been busy each night so far – Tuesday we went to the cinema (Monsters University is an amazing movie), and Wednesday went to Boyfriend’s folks place for a birthday meal. Tonight we’re having drinks after I’ve finished work, and tomorrow we’re heading to Brighton for the day! This means I haven’t really had a lot of time where I would be reading.

The true test comes on Sunday – Tuesday, when I’m off work with no real plans other than wanting to relax in the sun and read on the patio.

In a weird way, it’s almost cleansing to not be able to read and write whenever I want to. It means I have to find other ways to pass the time and I’m already working out ways for me to fill it. For example, I’ve owned a book on making origami jewellery for 18 months and haven’t done anything with it. This would be prime time to making a go of it. I may need to find a craft shop first to pick up a few bits, but even if not – I have the suitable paper ready.

Before, I felt I should be writing, and thus it became a chore. But right now, because I know I’m not allowed to, I’m feeling that when I win the bet (hehe), I’ll want to again. I feel I will have missed it because I’ve been banned from doing so. I’m also planning on fully printing my draft of We All Fall Down and editing it the old fashioned with – with a red pen! I have plans to look forward to, which is really nice.

In the meantime, I have another 250 pages of The Night Itself to read before midnight! Enjoy your weekend, folks!

The Bet – Day One: What I Would Do For £100

Boyfriend has this desire every so often to taken on random and often ridiculous bets with those around him. He’s a determined creature and enjoys proving the world that he’s particularly great at these random things. For example, last year he took on a bet with his best friend. The bet was that Boyfriend would be vegetarian for a month, and Friend would be vegan (Friend was already vegetarian). Seeing as Boyfriend didn’t eat vegetables at all prior to this month, it was an interesting and entertaining month for the rest of us, and a painful month for himself. They decided that whoever broke first had to have a tattoo of the other’s choice. As it happened, both completed the month and neither got a tattoo, seeing as they both won. Amusingly, Boyfriend was ill the first week or so of turning vegetarian and with a month being just long enough for his body to adjust, he was ill when he went back to eating meat again as well.

On Friday he announced he wanted to try a bet with myself. Not wanting to appear weak, I agreed. The bet? He has to give up all TV, and I have to give up reading and writing. The intricate terms are:


  • No TV. Of any description. (I said he could watch Arsenal matches but it’s off season.)
  • He’s allowed to watch movies.


  • No reading fiction at all.
  • No reading newspapers at all.
  • No reading websites outside of work.
  • No writing, apart from blog posts (and work emails) so I can document this.
  • I’m allowed to check Facebook.

He’s currently unemployed and so usually watches a lot of TV. I spend 3 hours a day commuting on the London Underground and will read and write in the evenings, often whilst he’s watching TV as I enjoy the background noise sometimes. We are both giving up something we spend a great deal of our free time embracing and will have to find other forms of entertainment. Ironically, if I can’t read I would watch TV. But as he can’t, I either have to kick him out of the living room or go into the bedroom myself to watch it.

He reckons I’ve got it easier but he doesn’t read fiction and therefore doesn’t grasp the sheer depth of this bet for me. I’m halfway through Justin Cronan’s ‘The Twelve’, and I have Zoe Marriott’s new book ‘The Night Itself’ waiting in a Foyles bag for me! I didn’t even mean to own any new books after the bet was made, but on Saturday we went into Foyles and I went browsing and saw two books I instantly wanted. One was The Night Itself, and the other was ‘Angel Fever’ by L.A. Weatherly – the third of a trilogy that I’ve been waiting for for a year! I couldn’t say ‘no’! I spent Saturday and Sunday evening, and most of yesterday, devouring Angel Fever before midnight struck (I succeeded), and I got a tweet from the author:

Tweet - Me

Tweet - Lee

(Amazing trilogy by the way! Highly recommended. And if you’re waiting for Angel Fever, I will just say two words – THE FEELS!!!)

Of course the big question is – what do we do if we lose? We pay the other £100. We’re withdrawing the money tonight and keep it in the flat so when one of us breaks – we can instantly pay up and flee to our vices.

There isn’t a time frame on this at the moment, although we’re debating adding one for our sanity. I’m heading home to visit my family on Wednesday 25th for five days and we’ve already decided we are putting the bet on pause during this time, as I will have a 2 hour train journey to contend with and a LOT of free time in my parents’ house, which I usually fill with re-reading books I’ve left behind. It was too much. And Boyfriend has a friend staying over for a couple of days whilst I’m away so it’d be super tough for him, too.

So, for the time being, I am not reading or writing. But I will be blogging about how I get on emotionally with this. It’s one thing to choose not to do something, or not feel like it, but another entirely to have that choice taken away from you.

Here’s to the next few days!

Making Use of the Night

When I was a student, my most active hours were between about 1am and 5am. (Which I guess was typical of most students.) When I was unemployed, it was the same. I am definitely not a morning person and the afternoons just seem a waste of good napping time. Unfortunately, being an adult and in a 9 to 5 job, I kinda of have to be awake during the day and asleep during the night when really I’d like it to be the other way around. I spent most of my first year at university being nocturnal and found no problems (other than missing lectures, I suppose…)

Lately, I’ve discovered something both sweet and annoying. If my boyfriend is at home, I find it hard getting to sleep without him being in the bed. If he’s away for the night, I can sleep just fine, but if I know he’s in, I can’t get to sleep easily and if I wake up in the middle of the night, I’ll be awake for two hours. I think it’s because I can hear him moving around and once I’m awake, my brain latches onto the noises in the flat. (Or it’s because I mwiss him and want him to snuggle… and yes the ‘w’ was supposed to be there. Romantics, take your pick.)

But if I wake up around 2am and find myself quite awake and no sign of returning to sleep, why don’t I make use of the time? Everyone has a productive time of the day (Boyfriend’s is 11pm to 4am, so he’s a night owl, too, but doesn’t have to be up for work so can embrace his owlishness) and should utilise it when they can. So what if it’s the middle of the night? During NaNoWriMo, I have definitely gotten up in the night to write when I’ve woken and ideas have struck. So, what’s stopping me from doing it now? I don’t tend to go on my netbook when I get in from work because I’ve spent the day staring at a computer screen and don’t wish to spend my evening doing it as well. But if I’m awake at 2am, and clearly not going back to sleep until 4am, why not get creative AND stay in bed? Solution? Writing. I can even start keeping my netbook in the bedroom rather than the living room and I don’t even have to move to get it (I can reach the desk from the edge of the bed – our room is a comfy size but not huge. You can definitely reach everywhere from the bed. (Win.))

I know that getting up and turning on a brightly lit screen and engaging in an activity which will only make my brain more awake seems a contradictive idea when I’m really aiming to turn my brain off, but I figure that if I’m going to be awake anyway (you know those times when you’ve woken up and are REALLY awake and you just know it’s going to be awhile before you go back to sleep) then what’s the difference between lying in the dark, checking my clock and working out if I went to sleep that minute, how much sleep I’d get before the alarm goes off (we all do it), or getting up and making use of that time?

Morning people, I’m sure you can get up earlier to write before work. Afternoon people can take a later lunch break (if possible) and use their time productively towards their writing. Nighttime people – well, it’s a little harder, but it sure beats lying and staring at the ceiling and wondering what on God’s earth prompted someone to install a bright orange security light outside our bedroom.

I can’t really put this into practice until my next sleepless night.

However, I’m running a 10K and 5K on Sunday (The British 10K in the morning, and the Color Run UK in the afternoon) and I just received an email wishing me luck for the 10K and it states “Remember that 2 nights before the race is the most important night of sleep for peak performance.” So, no matter what, I need to TRY and sleep…

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