Things I Learnt In February

It's been a while since I added to my "Things I Learnt In..." series. Life feels a bit like a merry-go-round sometimes and you can be screaming "STOP... I WANT TO GET OFF".  Things, however, have slowed down a little bit and I'm maybe not quite as dizzy, I'm out running four times a week and I've been collecting little snippets again from around t'internet that have interested or amused me and hope that they entertain you too!


The First 10 Minutes Are The Worst is my new podcast. For new runners, Couch To 5K has really taken off and there's loads of advice about using this distance for healthy exercise and then for progressing to half or full marathons but I get asked lots of questions when I'm leading one of the groups in our community running programme - GroupRun Blackburn.  I wanted there to be a place where people talked openly, honestly and humorously about running and answered some of the 'frequently asked questions' so I teamed up with my friend, Rowena, and we now produce a monthly podcast.  You can listen on iTunes, Podbean or search for "The First 10 Minutes Are The Worst" in any podcast app.  We also have a Facebook page and a newsletter to sign up to.  It's early days but we've already had in excess of 400 downloads of the first two episodes and lots of lovely feedback. 

This article includes two of my favourite things - underground railways and 1980s nostalgia. Swiss photographer, Willy Spiller (FABULOUS name, by the way) as living in New York and documented his subway travels by photographing his fellow travellers. He published the images in a book called "Hell On Wheels" which showed that there was some glamour amid the hustle and bustle - and often danger and crime - of city life.

Things I Learnt In February : Willy Spiller - Hell on Wheels

I was born and bred literally just down the road from Blackpool and tend to view it with child-sized rose-tinted glasses.  It was always a happy place for me - family days out, walks along the beach, visits to the Pleasure Beach once a year, a brilliant indoor market and a huge shopping centre.  I even lived a short way from the town centre in a bedsit when I first left home.  But, just a few streets away from the Golden Mile, there is a depravity not often seen by the tourists.  This article has it spot on.  It's a tough (and long) read but it leaves you understanding a bit more about why the town looks a little bit shabby and why people don't really want to leave... ever.

I've recently booked a holiday and arranged 'extra leg room' on the flights there and back so when I read the title of this article - "Who Owns The Space Between Reclining Airline Seats" - I was intrigued! Those four inches or so are probably the most argued about commodity on an aircraft. This article asks us to think about the monetary value on that space and if you would be willing to pay for the right to recline your seat compared to the amount you'd pay to stop it from happening, depending on where you are sitting.

Things I Learnt In February : George at Asda Union Jack Teapot

Have you seen the latest offerings from the Asda Homeware range?  I was shopping yesterday in store and fell IN LOVE with their Union Jack teapot. I took some sneaky pics of it and some more of their kitchenware for my Instagram Stories and then found all sorts of stuff on their website so now I'm just pleading with the universe for some extra cash so I can go and kit out my kitchen! 

Could you survive without your phone? Or at least, without a 100% charged phone, constantly accessing the internet morning, noon and night.  This blog post from Michael Legge made me laugh, especially at the bit where he talks about watching a film without a phone to look things up on IMDB or being distracted by social media alerts. Leading on from this I was watching a Jenna & Julien podcast video where they were reviewing bad phone apps.  One was called "Die With Me" [iTunes/Android] which is a chat style app that you can only use if you have 4% battery life or less.  The review was hilarious to watch but I can't ever imagine getting down to that level of battery life without hyperventilating!! 

Are you struggling to be angry at something but don't want to read the Daily Mail?  Here's an Outrage Calendar for 2018 which should keep you going.  (NB: I'm not sure of the origin of this image but I found it on Facebook)

Things I Learnt In February : Outrage Calendar for 2018

I recently got my hands on a "Selfie Bag" from The Cotton Bag Co. It's a custom designed tote bag (very handy, very durable) with a few additions for you to be able to take the perfect selfie whilst out and about.  There's a perfectly designed pocket for your phone - so no scrabbling around at the bottom of your bag, another pocket for a selfie stick, and a fold out reflective sheet to help you find that perfect glow.  It's all a bit random but a perfect present for that Instagram addict in your life, especially as it includes a brochure with tips from Queen of the Selfies, Kim Kardashian, on how to take the best selfie!
Things I Learnt In February : Selfie Bag from The Cotton Bag CoThings I Learnt In February : Rex London Tropical Palm Trinket Tray

If you're looking for cute gifts for family and friends, or even corporate reasons, then check out Rex London (it's a rebrand of the company DotComGiftShop who I've worked with a few times). They've got everything from classic toys to candles so it's really worth having a scout round their website.  I've got a couple of their tropical palm trinket trays adorning my bedside table now. 

My car is an old banger and it's a bit like Trigger's Broom.  It's probably had almost everything replaced on it bar the engine but it's still going strong (a Ford Focus from 2000 if you're interested). It a proper "run around" car with a huge boot for the dog and, if I'm being honest, I don't take very good care of it so I was challenged by Armor All to use their products to give it a good spring clean. I'll publish the before (eek!) and after pictures with some car care tips in a full blog post soon!

Things I Learnt In February : Slimline Wine - zero sugar, zero carbs
I'm not going to talk too much about running here as I waffle on about that way too much in other blog posts but I'm really watching what I eat and drink at the moment.  This gave me the perfect excuse to try a couple of bottles of SlimLine Wine which promises to be zero sugar and zero carbohydrates. Healthy wine... who knew?  I wonder if these means I can now actually count it as one of my "five a day"?  I'll probably do a full review on the wine soon as it's going to be our 'drink of the month' for the next podcast recording, so keep a watch out for that.

Here's is my video of the month. A guy called Ewan McClure taught himself a new technique for painting a self-portrait and filmed the three hour process from behind a two way mirror.  The timelapse is fascinating!


I think that's it for now!! I'll try not to leave these monthly updates so long from now on because I really do enjoy writing them so I hope you enjoy reading them too?  

The "hashtag not sponsored" section : Now, I know I don't need to say this but none of the above links are sponsored. I occasionally get gifted items to try out or review but I'm not under any pressure to blog about them.  What I will do, is mention them if I feel that other people will enjoy them and I'll write a longer post if I believe they warrant it.  There's been a lot of talk in blogger communities recently about transparency and payment for articles or videos so I'd like to lay my cards on the table and say that after 16 years of blogging I'm not going to try and mislead any of my readers.  If you've got any feedback about that then please feel free to contact me. You can find ways to do that in my ABOUT ME section.