January Life Lately
Like a lot of people, I have a really tough time with January. It's easy to think of reasons why - dark nights and mornings, Christmas being over, cold and wet weather. But every year it creeps up on me and I find myself having a no good very bad week at some point in mid Jan. Everything feels foggy and dark and grim and it feels like it will never end. And then, eventually, the clouds part and the sunshine creeps through.
This January was no different - one very no good very bad week yes, but also a lot of sunshine. We finally did the trip to London we'd had planned for 2 years, I did a cheese crawl of Manchester with my best friends, I ran my first 10K of the year, plus I finally ran my 250th parkrun!
Here's my One Second Every Day for the month, and below is what I got up to in January.
Where I went
As I said in the intro, we finally had our trip to London last month. As I mentioned in my December review, we pushed this trip back again after getting a false positive Covid test just after Christmas, but in the end I'm so glad we did. The first week back at work after Christmas was so manic, and it was nice to have something to look forward to mid-month.
We got the train down on Friday lunchtime and after dropping our bags at the hotel we headed to Carnaby Street for a wander around the shops, and then had a quick cocktail before a pre-theatre dinner at Rosa's Thai. Then it was Hamilton! You might remember we saw Hamilton originally back in 2018 (back then it was its first run in London and we waited 14 months from getting our tickets to finally see the show) and Phil got me tickets to go see it again for Christmas in 2019, but thanks to Covid it's taken us two years to finally be able to go (we were originally going in April 2020). While nothing will ever compare to the first time I saw it, it was still absolutely unbelievable and there is just nothing like it.
On Saturday we had an early start to get to Bushy parkrun! Our Bushy Pilgrimage (it's known as the pilgrimage as it's the site of the original parkrun) coincidentally coincided with my 250th parkrun! We made friends with another tourist when we arrived and ended up spending the time before and after the run with her which was so nice! I got a shoutout at the start and it was just so cool to be at the original parkrun! I'm also buzzing to finally get to 250! It's felt a long time coming especially as I was only 15 away when the pandemic hit.
We had quick brunch and shower and then headed to the British Library as I really wanted to see the Treasures Room. I really wanted to do the tour but unfortunately it's not on at the moment due to Covid, but the room itself was still fascinating - Jane Austen's writing desk, lyrics to Beatles songs written originally written on the back of Birthday cards and even the Magna Carta! I highly recommend a visit.
With some time til our second theatre trip of the weekend we headed to the BFI for a coffee and mooch in the gift shop, and then we wandered down to Covent Garden to wander around the shops. I'd done some research and wanted to find Covent Garden Social Club, a very well-hidden cocktail bar which happened to have the most amazing happy hour - two cocktails for £12 - even on the cocktails which were £13 each!
We've gotten really into cocktails over the last couple of years, and the menu here was really unusual. For every drink, for example, an espresso martini, there was the original, an adaptation and a third version based on their rarest liquors. We had two of the "third" espresso martini which was rich and strong and chocolatey, and then we had another based on a mojito.
We needed to grab some food before the theatre, but I really didn't want to wander around the West End for hours, so we decided to have a look at the Tapas bar next to the cocktail place. It was perfect! It was buzzing at 5pm on a Saturday with great food, great music and happy hour jugs of Sangria!
Then we headed to our second theatre trip of the weekend, to see The Shark is Broken. Phil's favourite film is Jaws so he was super excited to see this play based on the making of the film. It was a really intimate theatre which I loved, and the play was really fun.
On Sunday we had some time before our brunch plans so we took the Tube to Regent's Park and spent a few hours wandering around there. Then after picking up our bags we met some friends for a wonderful brunch in Dishoom!
It was such a perfect weekend and I'm just so so so grateful we were finally able to go!
What I did
I had plans with the girls last weekend and we were just going to go for dinner like we usually do (I had a 10K the next day so I didn't want a late one), when one of my friends sent a link round to a Manchester Cheese Crawl. And we said, why not? How often do you do something like that in your own city?
So we bought our tickets and joined the group in St Ann's Square at 3pm. Straight away we were asked for a cheesy team name. As a huge fan of terrible puns I knew I was in the right place! I christened us the Gouda Time Girls which was very well received! The tour began with some cheese history and cheese facts, and then some excellent cheesy jokes. We found out our teams were so we could win points throughout the day to win a prize. You got points for answering questions, telling cheesy jokes or, our favourite, making up cheese versions of songs. I really want to tell you more but I don't want to spoil it if you fancy giving it a try, but we had the absolute best time! We learned so much about cheese, tried 8 different cheeses (and ended with a cheese toastie from Northern Soul!), plus got a glass of wine and some other treats through the day. We also won the points tally and won a truckle of cheese (we're planning a cheese and wine night to share the spoils!). For £25 it was the best way to spend 2 hours and we didn't stop laughing. I cannot recommend it more.
We ran our first race of the year last weekend at the inaugural Stockport Daffodil 10K. We'd heard about this on Facebook as it literally starts in Hazel Grove where we live, so we could walk to the start - a first for us! The race was great fun and fantastically well-organised plus one of the best goodie bags we've ever had!
What I loved
As I said above (and have mentioned quite a few times!) Phil and I are really into making cocktails at home, and before Christmas we dipped our toe in with Negronis. We really wanted to like them, but we find Campari just too bitter. What we do love though is an Aperol Negroni ! We've got super into them lately and they are definitely our new favourite drink!
I won't go into the drama around this coat (let's just say, I waited 5 weeks in total for it to arrive, with 1 return and 3 cancelled orders) but I now finally have my yellow coat of dreams. It's beautiful and I love it.
I mentioned in my Peloton post we were buying the Top Design Pivot so we could rotate our bike screen and oh my god it's brilliant. It's so good for when I want to do a ride and then some strength after.
And yes I resisted for a while but I regret waiting so long, I LOVE WORDLE. I genuinely get sad when I remember I've already done it for the day, and I love sharing my results with my friends.
What I read
Strong start to the year with 11 books read:
To Paradise by Hanya Yanagihara
At Certain Points we Touch by Lauren Joseph John
In The End it was All About Love by Musa Okwonga
Ghosted by Jenn Ashworth
The Country will Bring Us No Peace by Matthieu Simard
Sound Mirror by Heidi James
Piranesi by Susanna Clarke
Mouth to Mouth by Antoine Wilson
The Friday Gospels by Jenn Ashworth
Mrs Caliban by Rachel Ingalls
I was very fortunate to get To Paradise on NetGalley so I actually started it before Christmas but man that book is long! I enjoyed it a lot, but seeing as A Little Life is probably my favourite book of the last 10 years, for me it doesn't compare.
I have my friend Dipika to thank for some of my favourites recently. Her post of her favourite books she read in 2021 included In the End it was All About Love , The Country Will Bring us No Peace, and Sound Mirror, all of which I loved.
I also finally read Piransei despite not fancying it at all. I read the whole thing in a day.
I also loved The Friday Gospels but my absolute favourite book of the month was without a doubt Mrs Caliban. I was bereft which it was over.
What I watched
Two cinema trips in January to see two absolutely fantastic films. I just adored Licorice Pizza, and as a huge fan of Scream we went to see the new one on opening night - I absolutely bloody loved it,
At home we watched quite a few new-to-us films. I really enjoyed The Lost Daughter, and we had a great chat about it with some friends who we did a weekly film club with during lockdown. We also watched Point Break and Fracture, both old films which were new to me.
I am obsessed with the Encanto soundtrack now but will say Surface Pressure is better than We Don't Talk about Bruno, and on the other end of the spectrum, last weekend we watched Boiling Point which is an incredible piece of film making but made me shake with anxiety.
What I listened to
I've had a really good podcast time recently (which could we why I haven't listened to a full audiobook in a year and my Audible credits are mounting).
Last month I loved Harsh Reality - The Story of Miriam Rivera about the star of There's Something About Miriam in the early 00s.
I've also got really into Sentimental Garbage especially the episodes on The High Street with Lauren Bravo (who I love), The Music of Amanda Palmer and America's Next Top Model.
And my current podcast obsession, Once Upon a Time at Bennington College about Bret Easton Ellis and Donna Tart at college together in the 80s. I am obsessed and I don't want it to ever be over.
What I read online
I'm planning on writing a post on my favourite newsletters because I am so obsessed with newsletter and this section is mostly made up of essays from my favourite newsletters so they definitely deserve their own post!
From Hayley Nahman's Maybe Baby
From Anne Helen Petersen's Culture Study
The Rot of Candy Crush and the Rest of Wordle and this fantastic interview, "I had been hating my body like it was a job for years and I wasn’t happier, healthier, or thinner. I was just…tired."
From Virgina Sole-Smith's Burnt Toast
Meg Conley's Home Culture
From The Desk of Alice Kennedy
Other pieces I loved last month:
Nisha Chittal on Things She's Doing Instead of Making Resolutions and this related piece, 100 Ways to Make your Life Better Without Really Trying and Nobody Cares about Your Resolutions so You Might as Well Do What You Want.
I've written lots about shopping second hand and trying to shop less, so I loved this piece on giving up shopping for a year.
Lots about January malaise - Self Care isn't the fix to January malaise and Are we all having an existentialist crisis right now? from Refinery 29
I can't stop thinking about this piece, especially now I own a Peloton - In 2030 you won't own any gadgets
I loved this post on Pro Tips and read nearly all the comments - I've starting compiling a list of my own for a future post.
Refinery 29 on Molly Mae and the problem of influencer culture.
Not only am I obsessed with talking about my Peloton, I also can't stop reading about Peloton. I found this article about the "celebrity instructor" fascinating
I really loved this fun piece on Zoomers who are obsessed with the 80s, and this piece on why we always love the music we listened to as teenagers (3 of my 6 Spotify Daily Mixes are emo #emoforever)
I loved this piece from the BBC on why we should take play more seriously
Jack Monroe is doing some absolutely incredible work right now on activism around the rising cost of living and the real cost of inflation - this piece in the Guardian is a harrowing but essential read - "We're pricing the poor out of food in the UK"
I've got loads of posts planned over the next few weeks - cookbooks I'm desperate to tell you about, lists of my favourite newsletters and lots of other things so hopefully I'll be back soon!
Have a great February!
I'm so pleased you got on so well with my book recommendations! ☺️ReplyDelete
Obviously that was me, Dipika!Delete