Sabbtical check in

Last year the company I work at, Monzo, introduced a 3 month paid sabbatical for all employees that reach 4 years of tenure. It’s a great opportunity to rest and recharge and a reminder that achieving Monzo’s mission of making money work for everyone, is a marathon not a sprint.

I hit 4 years at Monzo in January of this year and decided to split my sabbatical into two:

  1. 6 weeks this year ~June
  2. 6 weeks next year ~August

I’m currently 3 weeks in.

Week 1 - Scotland

Scotland 1Scotland 2Scotland 3

Scotland is a special place to me for many reasons. It’s where I studied at university, where I got married and where my eldest son was born.

It was lovely to go back, visit old friends and see the city of Edinburgh. My kids are old enough now (2,4) that we could show them around a bit, and reminisce about why we fell in love with Edinburgh in the first place.

Week 2 - DIY


Since moving to Bath a few years ago, we’ve had lots of jobs to do around the house and fitting that in between work and family life is hard. This has been a great opportunity to finally catch up on all the small jobs.

I started out by building some planters in the garden to box off our decking. It was my first time mixing concrete to set the post supports, and using postcrete it was really easy. I ended up having to dig the holes with a hand trowel which was not ideal. I’m now waiting on some more wood to be delivered so I can finish them off and plant the lavender.

Building something ‘real’ is very different but also immensely satisfying - you can’t refactor something made of wood in the same way you can refactor code.

measure twice, cut once

Or as I usually do, measure twice cut thrice.

Week 3 - Surgery

Surgery 1Surgery 2Surgery 3

Eldest kiddo has struggled with sleep apnoea for the last year, so had a long overdue operation to remove his tonsils. Really thankful I had the time away from work to focus on supporting him to get through it 💪 Surgery went well and kiddo is recovering nicely.

Also had lots of time where we couldn’t venture far from home, which meant lots of sorting - I own far too many pens/notebooks - and time spent gardening in the sunshine.

Bonus - scratching the problem solving itch

Happy desk

I love building things. After a few weeks not writing code, I picked up an old project - happy desk. A place to view awesome desk setups and find out what makes them good.

I mostly use side projects as a way to learn new things, and I’ve been using this to learn the basics of htmx. I really want to get comfortable building websites, but all my previous attempts have failed. In my experience the web is far too fractured/complicated to dip in and out of.

When it’s a little further along, I’ll push it somewhere public and see if I can get some real world users.

3 weeks down, 3 weeks to go. I will write a follow up post before I head back to work 🔜