Monday 5 February 2024

What I've been up to lately...

...or, what I've been doing instead of blogging!


I was side tracked over Christmas by a couple of trips to the library, meaning that the looming to be read pile by my bed had become neglected. So I've been making a concerted effort to read through it, including re-reads of Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens, Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead which I borrowed from the library during lockdown, loved, and picked up my own copies from Wob.

I have also read Old Babes in the Wood by Margaret Atwood which was a birthday present and really enjoyed it although it's a poignant read, it's a collection of short stories which are amusing and also sad, dealing with love and loss.

I also bought a couple of non-fiction books with my Christmas money which have been giving me a lot to think about - Ultra-Processed People by Chris van Tulleken and I've just started Food for Life by Tim Spector. I've long been thinking that I need to make some changes to my diet and Ultra-Processed People has given me the push to do that over the last few weeks. I'd really recommend it, although it's a scary read at first!


As a family we enjoyed Percy Jackson and the Olympians on Disney+. Harry is obsessed with Percy Jackson and has read the books multiple times, so this series was very much eagerly awaited. I really enjoyed it, I've read the book since watching it and can see that there have been quite a few changes from the novel but I thought that it worked really well as a television series and was a really enjoyable family show to watch. I thought that the child actors were really good.

My husband and I have begun watching Masters of the Air on Apple TV which is shaping up to be another good series. I'm not very good with faces so I do struggle sometimes to keep the characters straight, especially when they are wearing masks while flying! I've read a little bit about the topic but more from the British point of view so it's interesting, and also terrifying.

Listening to

I spend a fair amount of time every day in the car on the school run, and I've been spending the last couple of weeks working through some podcasts. I've discovered the ZOE Science and Nutrition Podcast, in particular the shorter episodes. In January they did a week of short podcasts, each one talking about the pros and cons of different diets (mainly the cons to be honest) which was really informative. It's not all about diet, they also talk about exercise and keeping fit as you get older which I find useful.


I'm not sure if it counts as crafting exactly, but I recently shared how I had completed my first 3000 piece jigsaw which was quite a challenge for me. 

Ravensburger Garden of Sun Signs jigsaw 3000 piece

In December and January I made a big effort with my cross stitch, The Christmas Nutcracker by Bothy Threads, challenging myself to do at least a few stitches every day. My dedication paid off and I'm getting on really well with it. It's completed in two parts, the basic cross stitch first and then additional decorative stitches on top. I'm about halfway through the first cross stitch layer. I have it set up nearby on a tray and I try to always keep the needle threaded and ready to go, so if I have a few minutes I can do a couple of stitches. I always seem to find myself doing more!

The Christmas Nutcracker by Bothy Threads in progress


The book Ultra-Processed People made quite an impression on me and I've really been thinking about how I can improve my diet. In particular I want to cut down on ultra processed foods which are problematic for a huge number of reasons. I'm trying not to get obsessive about it, but I've been gradually adding some healthier alternatives to our shop each week. I'm trying to spread the cost a bit, because at first it can be more expensive to stock up the cupboards. 

I've been eating more fruit and vegetables, extra beans and lentils, and adding some extras like healthy seeds and nuts. I've also not been drinking Diet Coke, or eating crisps and biscuits, just enjoying the occasional baked treat that I've made myself. I'm hoping that I can stick with it all as a lifestyle change rather than just seeing it as a new year diet, I wouldn't mind losing a few pounds but I'm approaching it as a marathon rather than a sprint.

Working on

I've been spending some time researching some different meal options, for both lunches and dinners. It's difficult at first because some meals need lots of things which I don't have so it's something that I need to approach gradually while I stock up on the different ingredients and learn how to use them. 

I'm also once again working on trying to keep away from the scrolling on my phone. I've had a few distractions over the last few weeks which have led me to comfort scroll, but I'm trying to replace that with some good books and also by watching videos on YouTube, especially recipe and healthy lifestyle videos which I've lined up to watch in advance rather than by scrolling through my feed. 

Looking forward to

I'm desperately looking forward to some more sunshine and warmth as spring approaches. I can't wait to get back out in the garden again, do some tidying up and get some seeds planted. I'm also looking forward to going out for my runs without having to battle freezing temperatures!

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