12. Looking back to write this I can hardly believe it is only a week since I took this first picture. Perhaps I can be forgiven for the dull content when I explain that I was residing in a London Travelodge, alone, the night before two days of exams. As comfortable and clean as the room was, it was not the most inspiring of accommodation. I also think my pre-exam nerves prevented me from spending too long pondering what to photograph.
13. With day one down, four of us sitting the exam went for dinner, and managed to talk about things other than the exam, at least for the most part. It was nice to have colleagues staying in the same hotel, and to meet up with in the morning. It was an intense few days, and it was reassuring to share the experience with other people. Otherwise it could have been an incredibly isolated few days.
14. I am a little ashamed of this picture, as you can see that dry January was forsaken in the name of exam celebrations, however I liked the contrast with the water and salad (although there was pizza and pasta out of shot) from the previous picture. We had time before our trains and so it was good to sit together, debrief, and celebrate that, for now at least, the exam we have been preparing for for over four months, has been done. Results will not be for a month, and it meant that, by the time I boarded the train, I could switch off completely. It was the first time I have travelled first class and I had a lovely time watching a film with a celebratory drink. I have decided to extend dry January for an extra week into February though, which I realise doesn't quite count but I still intend to do it!
15. Then straight away on a wonderful holiday with The Husband and Millie. In the middle of the Cornish countryside, we stayed in a beautiful dog-friendly cottage, with walks on the doorstep, a hot tub with views of the hills, a pamper room, which I made full use of, treating myself to massages aplenty, and also no phone signal or wifi. Although it was a bit disconcerting feeling completely uncontactable, once I was reassured that my mum had the owners' numbers in case of emergency, the peace and seclusion were exactly what was needed. We had a few holidays last year that were disappointing for different reasons, but from the moment we arrived here, I relaxed instantly. So relaxed that I completely forgot to take a picture until bedtime - hence the bedroom light fitting, which was amazing, but I couldn't do it justice.
16. The cottage had a separate fenced off dog exercise area. Being a (part) beagle, we have been told never to let Millie off the lead unless in a secure area, so it was wonderful for her to have such a large expanse of grass to sprint around. It has been great to spend loads of time with her, and did us good in terms of making sure we got out for good long walks every day. The cottage was so lovely it would have been easy to stay indoors, enjoying the peace and the views. Having Millie with us ensured we got out in to the fresh air, where the sense of stillness was even more breathtaking.
17. We visited a local beach, and despite the intermittent drizzle, just as we climbed the rocks for a better view the sun came out and set the scene perfectly. This secluded spot was perfect for a few hours walk, with stunning views, including a rainbow as we walked back through the woods. We even saw the end of it, as it hit the field, but no pot of gold to be found.
18. On our last full day The Husband finally succeeded in lighting the log fire, and the three of us curled up in our cottage, well-fed, well-rested and content. Strange to realise now how recently I did the exam. Feels like a lifetime ago, which is surely a sign of a wonderful trip.