Summer 2021 in Review ☀️

Sep 3, 2021


It’s been a while! I’ll be honest, my intention was to write a review at the end of every month, since my last post in May. Then came the end of June, then the end of July… and well, here we are with August gone by too! Where has the time gone?!

Anyway, it’s now early September, and I’m debating getting the heated blanket out again, even though I swear I’ve only just put it away. 😅 ❄️ A lot has happened over the past few months, so here is the low down!

Returning to the office

Like many others, I have been working from home for the majority of the pandemic. In June, our team was requested to come back into the office under hybrid working, which is 2-3 days working in the office, then working from home for the remainder.

It was really nice to see my colleagues after a long time, but BOY was I tired! For a while when I first came back, I would just come home and crash out with a post-work nap. I swear it wasn’t this tiring before. 😂

Some things I did to make the return a little easier were getting my clothes, bags and food ready the night before, plus bringing headphones to channel out background noise when I need to focus. 1

Returning to the gym

Returning to work meant returning to the gym nearby. I had my membership cancelled at the start of the pandemic, and since upping my fitness game throughout lockdown with the help of my coach Jane, it felt great to train in a different environment than my flat. I am no longer scared of lifting weights or anxious about entering the big weights section. New goals, new gains, new mindset, and a whole load of (non-linear) progression. 2

Superseding young Nicole on the ice

I have officially overtaken pre-teen Nicole as a figure skater! I think this is one of my proudest moments this year. This summer I’ve worked my way through Bronze, Silver and Gold of Skate UK Star (Free Skating) levels! I set myself a goal My training off ice in the gym/at home complimented the on-ice training where I would do a gazillion reps of elements and fail again, and again aaaaand again until I got it right. All steps from here will be something I’ve never done before - how exciting!

Next in line will be working on Skate UK Ice Dance Bronze - Gold levels, whilst also working on Level 1 Field Moves which is part of the national test structure for skaters. 3My logbook from 2009 vs. my logbook in 2021! 4

Returning to therapy

I made the decision to revisit my therapist after over a year of no sessions. I was clearly due for a mind MOT/service! An important note for me was that returning didn’t mean I was going ‘backwards’ but instead I am just riding the next wave of challenges. This time I am better prepared, but just needed a little help unpacking my thoughts and shifting my perspective, which helped things to be less heavy.

I learned about Ego States and also started working on awareness of body focused repetitive behaviour (BFRB).

I’ve also recently discovered a great little meditation app that has an offer of 1 year for free. It’s called Balance, and it takes in your feedback and personalises your sessions, which I’ve found very cool. I really like the way it teaches you meditation techniques and building upon them too. Plus I am a fan of their UI, it’s pretty. 😅 You can check it out here:

Chopped off my hair

After not cutting my hair for over 2 years and lockdowns happening, my hair was LONG. I was definitely due for a haircut, and this time (with some extra encouragement and inspiration from my friend Duda) I got 16 inches cut off! It felt very liberating and even greater knowing the hair will be donated to The Little Princess Trust. 🥰 5

Getting vaccinated

Double vaxxed! First dose, bit of a sore arm, but fine. Second dose, floored for days. 🥴 6

Turned 25

I also turned 25. For some reason, it hit different to my last few birthdays. 😂 Perhaps I thought I would have a mortgage or something by now cries in empty Help to Buy ISA. Had to pep talk myself with a reminder that I’m exactly where I need to be, everyones timelines are different and I have a cat…girl, life is good. 7

2/3rds through #365DaysOfCode

“Alexa, play I’m Still Standing on Spotify” 🎵

At the beginning of the year I set myself the challenge of 25 minutes a day learning about software engineering, computer science or web development related topics. These days are really flying by.

One resource I’ve LOVED is Just JavaScript by Dan Abramov. I got excited every time I read through a module of this course, and it really helped to picture JavaScript in a unique perspective.

Other resources I’ve enjoyed:

I’ve primarily been front-end focused with HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Sass, React and a bit of TypeScript recently too. You can see some of my projects on GitHub. 8

Became a software engineer

After 4 years starting from Engineering Intern in 2017, to doing a 2 year scheme as a Graduate Engineer, I am no longer entry-level talent! I am officially a software engineer 🥺. For the past year and a half I’ve been working on the Crossrail Project in the Software Team, working on proprietary software for communication and control for the new underground line in London (Elizabeth Line); I’ve learned a lot and I’m super grateful for the experience.

Here’s my latest post about what I learned as entry-level talent: 5 things I learned as an intern and graduate engineer

Became a student again

I am so excited to have the opportunity to return to education with an unconditional offer to study MSc Computer Science at the University of Bath. I will be studying part-time alongside full-time work, so I’ll be readjusting to formal education again, this time with a healthier brain and environment, whilst balancing my other commitments.

One perk of being a student is student discount! I recently found out about the GitHub Student Developer Pack, which has some amazing deals and freebies if you are a student to save you some money on some cool things: GitHub Student Developer Pack .

My favourites so far are the 6 months free Frontend Masters subscription and 12 months of Canva Pro!

Refreshed the blog

You may have noticed this site has had a bit of an upgrade! I recently migrated my blog from Wordpress to Ghost after seeing a fellow dev Coner (@MrConerMurphy) mention Ghost in a tweet (go check him out he posts some great content!).

I got curious and pretty much immediately fell in love with the speediness and UI of Ghost compared to Wordpress - so here we are! I have lots of ideas for future content, and now you can sign up and subscribe to keep updated when I publish new blog posts. I’ll also be curating some member-only content in the near future, so keep your eyes peeled!

Goals for September

  • Get organised and survive my first month back as a student. Set myself up for success with a dedicated Notion dashboard 👩🏻‍🎓
  • Meditate every day of the month - send a photo upon completion to my accountability partner Mia to keep up my streak! 🧘🏻‍♀️
  • Complete development of my client’s website and deliver them a gorgeous & effective new online space for their business ✨
  • Be more intentional about relaxation time so I don’t burn out! 💤
  • Be consistent with skating and fitness progression - keep showing up 🏋🏻‍♀️
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