February Life Lately

So it's somehow March already! March is one of my favourite months of the year - nearly all my favourite people (plus my favourite dog, and myself!) have March Birthdays so it's always a month of fun.

It also feels like spring is in the air, and I think like everyone else I'm doing my best to find signs of positivity in the world right now.

I am in no way the right person to be talking about the state of the world right now, but it feels wrong to not acknowledge it at the same time. I'll just direct you to this newsletter of Karen's -she is much better than I am at talking about ways to help support Ukraine right now, as well as ways to look after yourself if you're finding it all a bit too much.

But I still want to reflect on the positives of February here, even if it's just for me to look back on. Sometimes it's an act of self-care for me to remember the good things going on and also, for me, writing is cathartic, which is why I'm still doing this 12 years later.

Here's my One Second Every Day for February and below is everything I got up to...

Where I went

February brought with it a special Birthday for my mother-in-law Helen, so we all went to Centre Parcs for the weekend!
I discovered I am very bad at archery, remembered that I love playing badminton and Phil and I managed to get 3 people to join us on our parkrun tourism to Sherwood Pines. The weather was drizzly most of the weekend but we still had a great time playing board games, eating cake and relaxing.

As well as the trip to Centre Parcs, we had another surprise planned for Helen - a trip to Alcotraz, a prison-themed cocktail bar and theatre experience. I really don't want to say too much because it's best if you go knowing as little as possible, but let's just say we had an absolutely brilliant time and it was even better than I expected!
I am forever grateful to work for a company as fantastic as Pets at Home, and one of my favourite things about working for Pets is how committed the business is to our values and to giving back to the community. As part of that commitment we all have to do one charity day per year. So last week my CRM team visited a local park (which actually used to be our home parkrun course back when we lived in town!) to help out at their pets corner. We cut down trees, weeded gardens, fed the goats and chickens and rabbits and helped make a secure enclosure for the ducks! It was so much fun and so nice to be able to give back to the local community.

Last week was particularly social for me, starting with my charity day leading into going out for my Nan's 90th Birthday. Then a bar in Stockport was doing an emo night and obviously I had to go! We had the best time singing along to our favourite songs from 2008 (even though if I'm honest, it's mostly what I listen to 90% of the time anyway!). I also went to Stockport's Foodie Friday night with some friends, and then on Saturday I did yet another trip into Stockport for a tour of Stockport Gin's Distillery.

The gin distillery tour was actually a Christmas gift for my Mum, Phil's Mum and his sister for Christmas, but obviously I got myself a ticket too! Stockport Gin is fairly new, and was started by husband and wife Paul and Cheryl, who were both passionate about gin but realised Stockport didn't have its own distillery. The tour was so interesting and so personal to Paul who led the tour, and the gin itself is absolutely fantastic. I really recommend booking on if you live in the area - plus it's a great gift!

What I did

In February I hit a new Peloton milestone - my 100th ride! Emma from Miss Pond joined me on my ride and I got lots of high fives plus a shout of from Bradley, one of my favourite instructors! (I did find out from my shout out though that my Peloton name, which was ccantillon, is quite hard to pronounce, so now I'm iloveparkrun - very me!)

A not-widely-known Peloton benefit is that if you're an all-access member (eg. you have a Peloton Bike or Tread), you get a free Century Club tshirt when you hit 100 activities in any one category! So with 100 rides, I was eligible! I did have to contact customer services to get my code but it arrived within a few days and it's super soft and nice! It's cotton so not for exercising in, but I love it for around the house.

I've also just discovered Peloton's new game, Lanebreak. It's a really fun challenge as a bit of a change from regular rides. I'm excited to see what other new innovations they have this year!

What I read

Not a massive reading month in February thanks to so much going on, with only 6 books read:

  • Sundial by Catriona Ward
  • The Candy House by Jennifer Egan
  • How to Kill your Family by Bella Mackie
  • Notes on an Execution by Danya Kukafka
  • In the Seeing Hands of Others by Nat Ogle
  • Hare House by Sally Hinchcliffe
I had another mixed-bag month! Usually if I have a low reading month it's because I've not been super into what I've been reading so I've been choosing to spend my time in other ways (when I love what I'm reading I will read at every single second I get!). However, towards the end of the month I had a really good period, by favourites being How to Kill Your Family which I found great fun, and my favourite book of the month, Notes on an Execution.

What I watched

Also a really low film month with only 3 films watched! A rewatch of Freaky Friday (the Lindsay Lohan version), which hits differently when you're 31 and identify much more with the Jamie Lee Curtis character, Dog Day Afternoon which I'd never seen before and loved, and despite how much I love Jesse Plemons, I found The Power of the Dog utterly mind-numbing (sorry!!!)

What I listened to

I always think it's so clever when podcasts I love feature other podcasts I'd never heard of, so thanks to my favourite Decoder Ring I am now obsessed with Endless Thread and am listening to years of episodes from the start!

What I read online

My fave, Anne Helen Petersen on the Peloton "plateau" panic and how everyone just needs to chill out about it.

She's also got me obsessed with these twin college influencers and I loved her update on their glow up into sex positivity.

This brilliant newsletter by another fave who I always feature, Haley Nahman, on the importance of your lowest potential and this one on "stupid hobbies" which as a person with a lot of hobbies (this blog included!) I love.

My monthly reads on the anti-diet culture movement come from Virginia Sole-Smith (as always!) on buying 56 pairs of jeans (for science!) and this piece from the Huffington Post.
Slate had some great posts in Feb on both the light (the perfect Wordle strategy) and the dark (an influencer weighs in on how toxic influencer culture is). I personally absolutely hate influencer culture (which I've mentioned many many times before!) but I found this piece quite hard to reconcile as the author... is still an influencer? Definitely an interesting read.

I loved this fun long read on an author discovering something was pretending to be him online.

A great collection of cooking tips from Ina Garten.

And finally, I mentioned this in the intro but my friend and former colleague, Karen, runs her own marketing business with a regular marketing newsletter. But her edition this week didn't focus on marketing, but instead on how we can help Ukraine, and also help ourselves deal with what is happening in Ukraine. If you read one thing this week, make it this.

I'm planning on finally writing my review of Ruby Tandoh's Cook as You Are this month so hopefully I'll be back soon with a review of that.

Charlotte x


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