36 weeks til thesis

Yet again… I manage to be a week behind in posting. I’m still finding my rhythm for 2016 and currently feel a bit behind the beat 😦

Ways I’m trying to address this:

  • Committing to physical activity at least three times a week, for at least half an hour per session – for mental and physical health, but also to help wear me out so I sleep better.
  • Treating myself better with how I choose to fuel my body – eating and drinking with health and nutrition at the forefront of my thinking, instead of the instinctual “I’m so freaking tired and time-poor, just gimme a double strength ice break and a tub of potato gems with gravy” standard lunch that was not helping my waistline (as a CVD risk factor), blood pressure, digestion, or anaemia at all! It was a vicious cycle. I wasn’t setting myself up for success at all. I now have the energy to stop and question those cravings instead of blindly following my first instinct, and I feel so much better for it.
  • Sticking to my Gantt chart – breaking those larger tasks down into manageable pieces for each day of the week and physically ticking them off the To Do list. I see progress on a daily basis because of that system which in turn encourages me and spurs me on for the next task.

Yoga and reading in the sunshine, a chicken stir fry with tonnes of fresh greens, and my To Do List for Week 36 – these are all on equal footings in my revised priorities for 2016 and beyond

I’m now considering blocking time for different tasks throughout the week. I’ve been hesitant to do this in the past, because unlike high school or uni with the same class times from week to week, each week of a PhD requires different things of me. Some weeks will be very lab intensive; I’ll only leave the lab to print results or eat. Other weeks are very literature (lit) heavy, with hardcore thinking and critical analysis of my and other’s work consuming all my energy and concentration.

There are some things that I would like to do on a weekly basis though, that occur no matter what kind of week I’m having; taking time to tend to my herb garden, lose myself in the therapeutic mindlessness (or mindfulness) and creative beauty of crochet, and reflecting on the week for this blog. But as yet, I have no set day of the week to do these things. Even if it’s only blocking out time in my evenings, leaving the days free for lit or lab work as required, I think it could help to have some routine around which night holds which activity. Yes! We’ll see how that goes 🙂

My baby basil and latest crochet creation


As for this week’s lab work… I learned how to use the fluorescence microscope and took a bunch of cool pictures comparing different preparations of my silk isolate (middle and bottom rows) to the background level of fluorescence from the plastic backing (top row).

So preeeetty!


I harvested my expanded cell line and froze down 12 million – that should be enough for all of the experiments I want to set up from here on out. Woohoo!!

AAAALL of the cells!

And last but not least, I created a template for the form of my research paper based on the Instructions to Authors set out by my target journal. I’m filling it in bit by bit now as I chip away at writing up the story to accompany the figures I presented to my supervisors last week.



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