Things I Learnt In January

Keeping up a monthly series is Hard Work.  With all the good intentions of doing this monthly round-up (which I love pulling together) I didn't bother in November or December so you didn't get the promised learning experiences including:
  • My disappointment when my doppleganger didn't contact me (see October's 'Things I Learnt In...') but she was probably too freaked out at the message she received via Facebook.
  • The full rundown (no pun intended) of the two 10k races and a 5k Santa Dash I participated in.
  • A mention for 'Girls Against' - a group of young women who are campaigning against groping at gigs.
  • The time I learnt that your quiz book won't fend for itself on Amazon.
  • That you can make a London Undergroup map from Quality Street chocolates.
  • Grandchildren will say the best part of Christmas dinner is sitting at the big table and not a separate 'children's table'
  • Getting Danny Boyle and Quentin Tarintino in an interview together is genius.
  • Injury sucks (more of that in a minute).
  • Peter Kay's Car Share is returning and a whole nation cheered in unison.

Anyway... new year, new intentions, new "What I Learnt In..." series enthusiasm so here is January.

Telling Casey Neistat about the Boyle/Tarintino interview gains you a "heart" on Twitter and a total #fangirl moment. This one should really have been in December but it warrants more than a quick mention. Point of note: if you are looking for an inspirational role model / engaging vlogger / beautiful time lapse shots of gorgeous scenery / enthusiasm about life in general then you should be following Casey Neistat. I spent most of 2015 tuned into his daily vlogs and watched his subscriber count grow rapidly - and it's so easy to see why once you start watching.  He is a film maker by trade and has been commissioned to create online campaigns for big brand names but he has an inquisitive mind by nature so everything is an adventure. So, I don't normally tweet links to 'famous people' but thought that he'd enjoy the aforementioned Boyle/Tarintino interview. And this happened.

Things I Learnt In January, Casey Neistat, Twitter

Netflix is addictive. Yes, I know I'm a late adopter but there's always something else going on in my life and I rarely watch television unless it's something I can interact with, i.e. a reality TV programme that people are tweeting along with. My husband signed up for the free month and I now have my own section on his log-in with more shows queued up that I can watch in six month. Bye bye normal television. Here Netflix, just take my £6 per month and let me get on with it.

Oh yes, it's time for the running section again... 

Living with a running injury is Very Frustrating. I started getting twinges in my knee last November and I probably shouldn't have participated in a couple of events (namely our 'end of plan' 10k Celebration Run and the Liverpool Santa Dash) but I'd been waiting for these runs for ages and couldn't resist.  As a result, I was in too much pain to run and had to rest.  Two months later and I'm still not running properly and I'm awaiting the results of a knee scan. One thing I have learnt from all this is that running is now a positive make up of my emotional and physical well-being and I crave that euphoria.

Things I Learnt In January, Run Like A Girl, medal rack,

If you want a 'Run Like A Girl' medal rack, just buy it yourself. I hinted hard for this medal rack for Christmas but it never arrived (to be fair, they were out of stock) so I ordered it myself on Boxing Day and it arrived a few days later. It now has pride of place in my home office

This whole video just makes me want to go for [another] run. And when the girl says "I'm knackered" - that's soooooooo the best feeling in the world!

Finally a motivation video without fitness models, but with ordinary girls!
Posted by Gym Bitch on Wednesday, 11 February 2015

If you weren't here for the running stuff, you can stop scrolling now!

You can give a neglected project a much needed boost. I have a collaborative stationery blog with Sian that started out with good intentions but busy lives get in the way so easily. Stationery Lovers is now reborn with additional contributors in the form of Kirsty (Blog | Twitter | YouTube) and Kara (Blog | Twitter | YouTube) so watch out for videos and blog posts from us all with additional input on the Stationery Lovers outlets (Twitter | Facebook) starting in February. You can see a sneak peek Periscope on my Facebook page. EXCITING TIMES!

I can make soup! I've always been a bit of a chuck-it-all-in type of cook but I've never attempted soup. We had a load of vegetables to use up and I've been cooking more from scratch recently so I had a glance at a couple of recipes online, cobbled something together, blended it, crossed my fingers and gave it to my husband to test. It was declared a great success and I'll be writing the whole recipe up at some point in the near future.  [edited to add... the recipe and video is here]

Things I Learnt In January, raw vegetables, vegetable soupThings I Learnt In January, raw vegetables, vegetable soup,

Luke Marsden from Big Brother 9 is a bloody nice bloke! I met him whilst marshalling a race one weekend (a company he works with sponsored the race t-shirts) and he had a right long chat with myself and a friend about what he's doing now. I might have also done a bit of schmoozing which will hopefully lead to some sponsorship for our running group.

Not enough people are raving about Walk Off The Earth. You may not think you know who I'm on about but you've probably seen their version of Gotye's 'Somebody That I Used To Know' with five people playing one guitar and, if you like that, you'll love loads of their other covers including this version of Adele's 'Hello' which I've nominated as my video of the month. It's so clever - I'm in awe!!

Recommendations Of The Month  

I wrote a HUGE post which is full of top tips for new runners when they are buying clothes, trainers or accessories. It's proving to be a really popular article so if you know someone who has stuck to their New Year's resolution and is out pounding the streets then show them this.

I have been reviewing aromatherapy oils and a diffuser from Essence of Arcadia. There are some gorgeous smells wafting around my lounge now and I alternate the diffuser with wax melts or scented candles.  Read the full review here.

I love a good geek review and one of my favourite brands, Omaker, sent me a couple of their premium USB cables to try out. They are perfect for data transfer or charging mobile devices and their nylon braided cable is so much more durable than your usual rubber coated cables. Definitely handy to keep around and I've now got one in my bag attached to my portable charger. Buy direct from Amazon here

We were trying to work out how long we'd had our mattress, especially after the recent 'change your mattress every eight years' campaign and it's definitely time for a new one (we've had our feather mattress topper on for a couple of years now and I wouldn't be without it). We've decided to check out the January sale at Mattresses Online and sort ourselves out. 

Soundtrack To My Life is enjoying a bit of a reboot so if you fancy sharing the five tracks that always transport you back to a specific time and place then come and share that music. Read all about it and fill in the form.

Now it's your turn. Tell me what you have learnt this month.