Midweek Mundane

This was a thing for a while; at least amongst a couple of bloggers that I followed, so I thought I’d resurrect it. In case you’re wondering, it’s just a general description of a midweek day; nothing special or out of the ordinary, just a normal day at work. Although most of the extraordinary days start off as mundane, so who knows what’s going to happen!

The day of choice is today, 10th May 2017. A very typical day in the life of me and my job, though as we are one week away from leaving for one of our events, it was busier day than many others, with lots of loose ends to tie up, and a to-do list to work through.

My mornings are usually fairly stress-free, mainly because I don’t trouble myself with too much. I usually wake up fairly early, but lay in bed until I can’t push it any further. Today, I had to put tonight’s dinner in the slow cooker, so I had to give myself a little more time – in the shower by 7.45, dinner was cooking by 8.10, and we were out the door by 8.30, as always.

Breakfast at my desk is always cereal, and because I bought the biggest box of cornflakes about two weeks ago, it’s been cornflakes for a while. This led me straight into a morning of work; as I mentioned, it’s all stuff to do with the show, tying up loose ends. I decided to try something new this morning, as my friend Hannah had told me a little while ago about the idea of working solidly for 52 minutes and then taking a 17 minute break. I can’t take a 17 minute break in the middle of the morning, but I can try and work without distractions for 52 minutes, and then reward myself with a cup of tea or something similar. So that’s what I did, until halfway through I was pulled into a meeting. It worked quite well though!

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Lunch was boring, a couple of slices of raisin loaf and a yoghurt. I struggle so much with lunches; it’s not always feasible to have leftovers from last night’s dinner, and so I’m often left with a sandwich or something equally uninspiring. Tomorrow we have a group lunch, Fajita Thursday or Friday has been a thing for a while; we each take it in turns to bring in a different component of the fajitas, and it’s my favourite lunch of the week!

The afternoon was a little frantic; we had some website issues that needed to be sorted, and there were various emails that needed to be sent out. The best thing about the afternoon was the return of the ice cream man who has been missing for a few weeks!

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After work, and after a hastily eaten dinner (aren’t slow cookers amazing?) Hannah and I went into Colchester, back to our old university, to see a play. It was called Semblance of Madness!, and it was only about 45 minutes long, with a cast of three, but it was certainly interesting. A quick trip to Tesco, and back home, with one episode of Parks and Rec, and now I’m in bed writing this and listening to this week’s episode of The West Wing Weekly.

A thoroughly mundane Wednesday, with an interesting evening to perk things up!

 

Donate to Charity – Amazon Wishlists

If you’re interested in donating to charities, but don’t know the best way to get involved, consider purchasing an item from their Amazon Wishlist.

I don’t think that I’m a particularly selfish person, but I could definitely do more for people. As an introvert who much prefers being at home with the door closed, this isn’t going to manifest itself in volunteering, or marching, but I can give to charity, and I’ve started trying to do that a bit more.

I’m all for setting up standing orders and donating one-off amounts to charities you believe in, and I’m also very much of the opinion that everyone should be allowed to give as much or as little to the charities they feel passionate about. You shouldn’t let anyone make you feel bad about the choices you make when it comes to charity giving; everyone has a reason for wanting to give, and that’s a personal choice.

But, with larger charities especially, it’s not always obvious where your money is going, and as much as altruism for altruism’s sake is nice, it’s also heartwarming when you see how your donations are being used.

That’s where Amazon wishlists come in. Many smaller charities have them, as they are in need of specific items, and people wishing to donate can choose to purchase them directly. I know Amazon is not everyone’s cup of tea, but when it comes to charitable giving, it’s worth putting all that big bad corporation stuff to the back of your mind, surely?

Charity Wishlists

With that in mind, here are a few charities you can help by purchasing something from their wishlist.

Haven House
This is a children’s hospice who help children and young people who have life-threatening, or life-limiting conditions. Many of the children under their care can’t play with regular toys, so they have an Amazon wishlist comprised of items that are suitable. Find their wishlist here.

Wood Green Animal Charity
Animal charities benefit hugely from physical donations; if you have old duvets and blankets, animal sanctuaries and rescue centres are a good place to take them. Wood Green is one of the leading animal welfare organisations in the UK, and you can find their wishlist here.

BHT
BHT First Base is a resource, training and health centre for people who are street homeless or vulnerably housed in Brighton & Hove. Their wishlist asks for basic items that most people buy for themselves without a thought. Find their wishlist here.

With Kids
This is a family and children’s charity working in Glasgow and Edinburgh, which aims to build self-esteem and resilience in children. They are asking for games and toys; you can find their wishlist here.

SIFA Fireside
SIFA Fireside are a Birmingham-based charity working with vulnerable adults who are experiencing homelessness or are vulnerably-housed. They ask for clothing, razors, and other everyday items. Find their wishlist here.

I’m thinking about making this a regular feature, as I really do think it’s a great way to help out charities that you want to support. Let me know if there are any charities close to your heart who could do with a shoutout!

Mondaying

Right now, I am mostly…

Blogging : My plan to blog every day in May fell apart over the weekend! But then I decided not to beat myself up, and just try and commit to blogging every week day in May (and then try to not beat myself up when that inevitably fails!). Is anyone else trying a BEDM challenge this year?

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Reading : This weekend I read Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine in its entirety, having put on my library list without noticing that I already had it on my Kindle. I’m planning a full review of it later in the week, but the fact that I read it in two sittings should give you some idea how much I liked it. (It’s wonderful.)

Watching : My friend Hannah, with whom I live, has never watched Game of Thrones, and I’ve only watched the first four series. So when it popped up on NowTV in anticipation of the new series, we decided to watch from the beginning. I have mixed feelings over the series; having read and loved the books, the series didn’t entirely capture my attention. But I’m enjoying watching again, even if I have to keep warning Hannah not to get too attached!

Exercising : It’s not my natural instinct to exercise, because I’m lazy and I like sitting around too much. But I’ve been a member of The Gym for a while – it’s really affordable and not at all intimidating, and Hannah and I have a routine of going twice a week. It’s working out well so far, and although I’m not seeing noticeable results, just being active is making me feel loads better!

Contemplating : I’m seriously considering having all my hair cut off. I go through stages where I want to grow it long so I can do more with it, and then I just want to cut it all off. It’s really hard to decide, but I’m probably just going to get it cut off and then let it grow if I don’t like it!
IMG_9054Ticking : I ticked off another 35 Before 35 item last week, though I haven’t actually written about any of them yet! The above photo should give you some idea as to which one it was!

 

Library List 008

It’s been a while since I did a library list. And when I say a while, I mean two and a half years. Oops! In case you’re wondering, my library list is just a round up of books that I have reserved at the library, and I’m waiting for them all to come in. Wanna see what I’ll be reading soon?

001 Library List

The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler
I have absolutely no idea where I heard about this one, but I have no doubt why I reserved it. “Simon Watson, a young librarian, lives alone on the Long Island…One day, Simon receives a mysterious book from an antiquarian bookseller; it has been sent to him because it is inscribed with the name Verona Bonn, Simon’s grandmother. Simon must unlock the mysteries of the book, and decode his family history, before fate deals its next deadly hand.” Librarians, books, centuries-spanning mysteries? I’m there, with bells on. I’m number one on the list, so it shouldn’t be too long before I get this one.

Don’t be a Dick, Pete by Stuart Heritage
I follow Stu Heritage on Twitter; he won my heart last year when he wrote this blistering take-down of Elf on the Shelf, calling Facebook in December ‘the devil’s armpit’ in the first paragraph. His book is a biography of his younger brother, and by all accounts is hilarious, touching and warm. I’m number one on the list for this one too, but it has only just come out, so I might have to wait for the library to actually receive their copies.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
I don’t move in bookish circles, but I do follow a lot of bookishly circular on Twitter, and this is one of the books that everyone is talking about. Sarra Manning at Red has called it as her book of the year already, so I’m excited to read it. It’s evidently the story of a woman who struggles with social skills who is stuck in a rut, but who finds some people who become her people. I’m possibly over-simplifying things, but I’ll let you know exactly what I think when I read it. It’s not out until next week, but it’s already reserved and I’m number eight.

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The Future Homemakers of America by Laurie Graham
This is a book from quite a few years ago, but there’s a sequel coming out, and having read a couple of Laurie Graham books in the past, I thought I’d like to give this one a go. There’s a romance attached to the 1950s that I can’t resist, and this is a story about American military wives based at a US airbase in Norfolk, England. I’m sold! Actually, in writing this, I think I may have started this book once before. I’m first on the list for this one.

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins
Paula Hawkins, of Girl on the Train fame, has a new book out, and it sounds pretty far removed from her previous novel. It follows the story of women who die in the Drowning Pool, the latest victim being Nel Abbot, whose daughter believes she was murdered, rather than a victim of suicide. It sounds spooky and eerie and great, and I’ve heard good things. I was a little late to the reserving bandwagon on this one, it seems – I’m number 118 and it’s only been out a couple of days, so this one is going to take a while.

Lost for Words by Stephanie Butland
Loveday Cardew is the name of the main character of this book, and it may turn out that she’s just too quirky for words (I don’t like overly quirky). But it’s a book about someone who loves books, and they rarely fail to enchant me, so I’ve got high hopes. I’m second on the list for this one.

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The Power by Naomi Alderman
I already reserved and borrowed this book from the library once, but it was reserved by someone else, and I had to take it back, unfinished. I’ve almost bought it multiple times since, but in the end I just popped it back on the reservation list, and now it’s waiting for me to pick it up! I can’t wait to dive back in, as I loved what I read.

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel
Another book that has been all over Twitter, I’ve been wanting to read this for a while but only recently got around to reserving it. It seems to be one of those teenage-girls-in-the-summer books that seem to be very au fait at the moment, but I’m more than happy to read them if they are well written. I’m number nine on the list, so it’s going to be a little while.

Tinseltown: Murder, Morphine, and Madness at the Dawn of Hollywood by William J. Mann
Since two of my favourite podcasts at the moment are My Favorite Murder, and You Must Remember This, a book that combines murder and old-time Hollywood was always going to be a winner. It can be hard to get good books about classic Hollywood, so I’m hoping this lives up to my expectations. I’m first on the list!

Looking Back ~ April 2017

It’s been a while since I shared a monthly Looking Back post, which is a shame, as I wanted to try and make it a full year! But as ever, my lack of blogging-related motivation let me down, until I decided to quietly try and blog every day in May, so here we are.

Looking back on April, I did some fun stuff! It’s not always the way, so this is definitely a good month to reflect on.

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I went to see Half a Sixpence in the West End, at the Noel Coward theatre, with my best friends. We had decided that we weren’t going to buy Christmas presents, instead we’d head to a show together, and April was the soonest we could all get together! Actually, it turned out that not all of us could attend, as a snafu with a work schedule meant that Jen was missing. But we had fun, despite being a man down, and the show was wonderful! So much energy, and a great performance by leading man Charlie Stemp.

I went bowling for the first time in years, losing miserably but not really caring as I had a lovely night out with my ridiculous work friends. And then, on the bank holiday weekend, my friend Hannah and I took a couple of day trips.

First of all, we went to Lavenham, which is a picturesque little village in Suffolk, about thirty minutes from where I live. I’ve wanted to stop by for a visit for a while, but when I realised that a small part of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was filmed there, I made an executive decision and we went!

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This is me standing in front of the building that was used for Godric’s Hollow; much CG jiggery and whizzery was used to transform it, and the actors weren’t ever in Lavenham, but it still makes this Harry Potter fan happy! There are countless other beautiful buildings there; it all feels like you’re on a film set no matter where you go! The buildings are crooked and look as though they’d make you feel seasick if you lived in them.

Then on Easter Monday, as I wrote about here, Hannah and I headed to Cambridge for the day. And what a lovely day it was, complete with Zizzi’s lunch and a raspberry ripple ice cream. Oh, and plenty of beautiful old buildings to look at and photograph, and lots of blue plaques to find.

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After Cambridge came a lovely meal at Giraffe with my best friends, all of them this time, and a lovely lunch celebrating my great-niece’s first birthday. I don’t know how a year has flown by quite so quickly; it only feels like a few months since I was meeting her for the first time and falling in love. Because I’m a great aunt (I made this joke on Instagram too), I bought her a basket of books.

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And then, just last week, I headed to Southend to see The Shires in concert. I worked out that this is the fifth time that I’ve seen them live, and I think that’s a record for me! They really are so very good, and have a great mix of upbeat tunes and emotional, soulful songs to make for a really great evening.

Of course, no month would be complete without a trip to the BFI Southbank to see the one and only Mark Kermode: Live in 3D. This was my fourteenth visit to this particular show, and it was another great one. Greg Proops, Florence Pugh, Jarvis Cocker and Anne Dudley were the guests, all bringing laughs, expert chat, insight and inspiration, as Dr K’s guest so often do.

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Added to this, I saw three films at the cinema (Free Fire, Fast & Furious 8, The Belko Experiment), and six at home (The Discovery, Pete’s Dragon, Bull Durham, Adult Life Skills, WarGames, Elvis & Nixon). A good month, all told!

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