Just Jane

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In trying to come up with some new post ideas, I toyed with the idea of a ‘Facts About Me’ style post. This blog has been on a downward trajectory for a while, because I haven’t had any inspiration about what to write, so I’m trying to get the creative juices flowing, I just want to try writing as much as possible – throw everything at the wall and see what sticks.

Anyway, trying to come up with ten or twenty or fifty facts all at once isn’t easy, so I’ve decided to start a series of sorts, in which I’ll just introduce myself over and over again. We’ll see how well it works, given that I’m notoriously bad at series of any kind on this blog!

I’ve been blogging for something stupid like twelve years, though here on this particular blog for just ten years (my ten year anniversary on this particular blog is approaching this week!). My first blog was at MSN Spaces – remember those? When someone first mentioned Myspace to me, I remember saying confidently, “Oh yeah, I have one of those.” Then I realised that Myspace was a different thing entirely, and immediately got one. I blogged there for a while, before setting up this bad boy, and I’ve stayed here ever since (with a name change in 2012).

I’m 35, with no clear idea how I got to this age, because last time I looked I was 22. My ethos on age is not just that it’s a number, because it’s not. More that we should wear our age like a badge of pride; the alternative to not getting older is one that most people, even those who hate the idea of ageing, wouldn’t want in a million years. I try to pass this on to everyone, but most people are happier to wallow in their “I can’t believe I’m turning xx” feelings.

I’m currently taking part in Veganuary; an initiative that encourages people try going vegan for January, and see where it takes them. Two weeks in, I’m surprised by how easy I’m finding it. I’ve gone from being a meat and dairy eater to cutting everything out, and so far I’ve had no slip ups. Expect a blog post at the end of the month letting you know how I got on.

Blogging life, age and dietary preferences; that’s me in the beginning of a nutshell. See you back here again soon.

Photo an Hour #46 ~ May 2017

My May Photo an Hour was a bit of a non-event – I couldn’t join in on the day that we set for it, because I was working at an event, and primarily sat in one place for most of the day. So I joined in on the following Monday, but I just looked through the photos, and found that I only started at 10am, I finished at 6pm, and I missed an hour!

But now, nine months later, I am struck with the urge to get up to date with my Photo an Hour posts, and so here it is, for all your viewing pleasure.

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10am ~ On the way to the office, despite having a day off. I’d still managed to have a bit of a lie in, however!

11am ~ Whilst at the office, waiting for someone to arrive (which took forever), I had cuddles with Hector. Because why wouldn’t you?

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12pm ~ Still waiting.

1pm ~ Finally away from the office, in the car back home.

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2pm ~ In the car again, this time on the way to London. The Monday after the show coincided with my monthly trip to the Southbank to see Mark Kermode’s regular show at the BFI. Usually I get the train, but as she was also work, Hannah decided to drive into London.

4pm ~ The missing hour of 3pm was almost certainly spent inside Westfield Stratford, but by 4 o’clock I was on the bridge heading over the river to the Southbank.

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5pm ~ I met up with my friend Chloe, who is the one in our group who books the tickets each month (thank goodness for her!), and we spent a very short time sitting on the balcony at the Southbank Centre having a drink. it was so very, very hot this day, we had to retire inside fairly quickly!

6pm ~ Finally at the BFI, at NFT1, for the May edition of Mark Kermode in 3D. The guests were Mike Figgis, Hope Dickson Leach, and Michael Smiley.

So that was May – a Photo an Hour Monday for a change. It’s so odd writing about a day that was so hot and unpleasant when I’m sitting here complaining about the cold. But I suppose that’s what you get when you leave posts waiting to be written for months; the seasons change!

The next Photo an Hour is taking place on Saturday 20th January, if you’d like to take part, you’re more than welcome! More information can be found here.

Three Reasons to love January

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January is a bit rubbish, but in the spirit of trying to find the good in all things, here are three reasons to love the first month of the year.

  • It’s the start of the year, and whether or not you believe in New Year’s Resolutions, it’s a great time to set some new intentions. You can’t escape that fresh start feeling; the whole of the year is ahead of you, and almost everything seems possible.
  • It’s perfectly acceptable to spend the entire month essentially hibernating. The weather is rubbish (in the UK, at least), so it’s the perfect time to curl up with a good book. There’s also loads of good television, and even if there’s not, there’s Netflix. And all ten series of Friends are on there.
  • On the 21st January, it’s National Hug Day. What’s not to love about a month that includes a day like this? (Unless you don’t like being touched, I suppose.) Take the chance to give someone you love a hug. It’s good for your health!

Three Reasons… is an ongoing series.

December 2017 Books

December-books

I didn’t actually realise that I hadn’t read anything in December that wasn’t a festive story, but they all were! I was trying to tick off ‘Read five Christmas books’ from my 36 Before 36 list, and with these and Last Christmas in Paris that I finished in November, I’ve ticked it off!

Hercule Poirot’s Christmas by Agatha Christie
This has been on my Christmas reading list for years, but somehow I have just never got around to it. This year, I reserved it at the library nice and early. In age old Poirot fashion, the story involves the murder of a wealthy old man, whose family have convened at their old family home for Christmas. It’s not the best Poirot story that I’ve ever read, but as ever, it involves a convoluted plot, plenty of red herrings and imposters, and a clever reveal. It’s well worth adding to your festive reading list for the future.

Christmas at the Dancing Duck by Daisy James
With a specific festive book goal in mind, I resorted to Kindle bargains when some of my library reservations didn’t arrive in time. This was one of those bargains, though that word suggests a piece of quality work for a small amount of money. I hate being overly negative, but this book was not for me. Granted, you have to expect a certain type of book when you’re dealing with a cover like this, but it was sloppily written, had annoying characters, and a silly conclusion that I saw coming a mile off. It wasn’t for me, sadly!

Seven Days of Us by Francesca Horniak
Christmas books so often revolve around family coming back together, and not getting on, and that’s exactly what happens here. When Olivia returns home from Sierra Leone, where she’s been treating victims of Haag Disease, she has to go into quarantine with her family for a week. This is a family with secrets, who don’t actually seem to enjoy spending too much time together, so the forced proximity is not welcome. We get alternating points of view throughout the novel, so we are able to empathise with the family members, even if I spent most of my time wanting to knock their heads together. This isn’t a criticism however; I don’t have to like a character to find them well-written and engaging.

The Little Christmas Kitchen by Jenny Oliver
I bought this at the same time as Christmas at the Dancing Duck, and after that one failed to set my world on fire, I didn’t hold out great hopes for this one either. But I was pleasantly surprised. It’s the story of two sisters who have grown up mostly separately after the divorce of their parents saw them living apart. Ella has forged a successful career in London and lives well with her upper class husband, while Maddy, the younger sister, has lived in Greece with her mum, living a simple life as a waitress, but dreams of fame as a singer. Through a contrivance of events, the sisters swap places for Christmas, and have to work through their own issues, which thankfully are not all relationship and men related. It’s a predictable ending, and the story won’t stay with me, but that’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy it.

Books in 2017 – 41

36 Before 36 – Read five Christmas books

A love letter to… 2017

A Love Letter to...

Dear 2017

Well now. You’ve kicked my arse. Seriously, whether it’s because it was a tough year, or simply because I am just getting older, I’ve never felt as tired at the end of a year as I did with you.

Between a broken limb, a number of hospital visits for other family members, work stress, and a phone down a toilet, it really has been quite the twelve months. (I know you may think it silly to put the loss of a phone in such a list, but it really was quite the inconvenience.)

With the rough, however, there has been, of course, plenty of smooth, and I’ve had some really good times. There were no new family members this year, for the first time in five years (I think). But 2018 will see our number grow again, and in the meantime, all the young members of the family continue to be truly amazing.

In other events, I went on holiday to Dorset with Hannah, and finally visited Gold Hill. I visited Cambridge for the first time, and then went back two more times. I went to the Harry Potter Studio Tour for the second time, and visited Lavenham, a stunning little village about half an hour from where I live (a wonderfully Instagrammable place). I finally got the chance to go to the Olympic Stadium, and see a night of the Para Athletics championship. I went to two weddings, one was to celebrate with an old school friend, and the other with a work friend. And I went to Disneyland Paris! I had to do it with a broken wrist, but did it I did (?) and I had a lovely time.

Work was tough, probably harder than it’s ever been, with ever more to do and what feels like an ever decreasing amount of time in which to do it. But life would be boring without a challenge, and I’m looking forward to a brand new year to get stuck into. In amongst all the hard work, my job took me back to Manchester and Glasgow, two cities that I like but would like the chance to explore outside of work, and also on a work outing to try some archery. I was terrible at it, of course, but it was good fun. I even went along to a beer festival with my colleagues, despite a) not liking beer, and b) not liking socialising that much. It was good fun!

Once again, I spent much of my year visiting London for various different events, most notably my monthly engagement at the BFI Southbank taking in Mark Kermode’s regular event. It’s been another amazing year of guests, with the likes of Bill Nighy, Paddy Considine and Toby Jones. Yep, Toby Jones. I was also lucky enough to go along to a different event to see THE TOM HANKS talking about his book, which was amazing and surreal.

So aside from some truly awful moments, both personally and on a global level, there was much to be celebrated in this year of years. I have a feeling that 2018 might be more of the same, but I’m willing to give it the same chance I gave you, 2017. Thanks for the memories…

Love Jane

A Love Letter to… is an ongoing series (that I tend to update once a year.)

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