A little more comfortable

As part of the big year of home improvement, I’m gradually adding stuff to help make the space easier and more comfortable for day-to-day living. The coffee table in the centre of our living room had been feeling a bit claustrophobic and precarious, as it was too close to the sofa (meaning I had to squeeze in and out of my favourite spot all the time) and really cluttered on top due to my need to have a cushion on it during the day (I like to put my feet up!). I’ve never kicked any of my drinks over yet, but it was only a matter of time. As such, I bought this useful side table last week.

Side table

The soft storage basket in the base provides a space for all my gaming handhelds, and keeping drinks on the top next to me means that they are now at much less risk of being knocked over! This is important given the quantity of electronics I keep and use in the space.

I’ve also been enjoying having all our bread products tucked away out of sight in our new bread bin.

Bread bin

I found it a bit difficult to open at first, but it turns out the trick is not to close it too tightly.

In non-shiny news, I’ve had a fairly busy week. Not too much day job work, but I did have a lot of admin and accounting to do in preparation for submitting my tax return, which was as boring as you might expect! I’ve also been continuing with the TOMM cleaning method, which is still taking me about an hour a day while I get into the swing of it.

From Sunday onwards I was able to go outside to run, which I was really appreciating… and then on Wednesday night it snowed heavily again so I was back indoors on the treadmill yesterday morning! Thankfully it had mostly melted by today so I was back out on the roads again. Hopefully there won’t be any more snow over the weekend as I’ve got lots of outdoor running plans.

I’m still playing ukulele as part of the Zoom group on Wednesday evenings, and I’m still getting as much videogaming in as I possibly can, and… that’s about it. I expect life will continue in this vein for some time, at least until the current lockdown restrictions start to ease off again.

This week’s earworm playlists:

Saturday

The Marcels – ‘Blue Moon’
Ben E King – ‘Stand By Me’
John Barrowman – ‘Anything Goes’

Sunday

Yoko Shimomura – ‘Radiant Historia’
Cast of Oliver! – ‘Food, Glorious Food’
Duran Duran – ‘Friends Of Mine’

Monday

Noriyuki Iwadare – ‘Turnabout Sisters’
The Weeknd – ‘Blinding Lights’
Julian Nott – ‘Wallace And Gromit Main Theme’
Arrow – ‘Hot, Hot, Hot’

And a bonus track Geth was humming that day:

The Lancashire Hotpots – ‘The Technical Support Song’

Tuesday

Men Without Hats – ‘Safety Dance’
Glenn Miller – ‘In The Mood’
Audrey Hepburn – ‘Moon River’
3 Daft Monkeys – ‘Paranoid Big Brother’

Wednesday

Oasis – ‘Songbird’
Duran Duran – ‘Friends Of Mine’
The Strokes – ‘Last Nite’
The Chemical Brothers – ‘Galvanise’

Thursday

Bob Marley & The Wailers – ‘Three Little Birds’
Katy Perry – ‘Firework’
Duran Duran – ‘The Edge Of America’
Revo – ‘Fighting To The End’
Duran Duran – ‘Tel Aviv’
Belinda Carlisle – ‘Circle In The Sand
Duran Duran – ‘Anyone Out There’

Friday

Nintendo 3DS eShop – ‘Main Theme’
Landscape – ‘Einstein A Go Go’
Traditional – ‘America The Beautiful’
Pointer Sisters – ‘Automatic’
Audrey Hepburn – ‘Moon River’

From grim to glowing: the long journey begins

It’s been a tiring week, largely because I’ve spent most of it cleaning.

I’ve always (sort of) tried to keep things clean in the house, but I’ve never really felt able to stay on top of it or have the place looking as nice as I would like. This year, I really want the house to be up to my standards all the time – it makes me depressed when its not – and so I’ve decided to follow the TOMM routine, which is primarily aimed at busy mums but can be used by anyone. After a few weeks of settling into the routine, the idea is that you spend no more than half an hour per day on the housework (which, in the long run, is all I can realistically spare!). This week was my first week doing the routine, and it took me ages most days because there was a lot of stuff that just hadn’t been done in months, but I already know it’s going to be a lot easier next week, as from now on it’s just about maintaining things.

Having a constantly-clean house will also make it much easier to get all my decorating projects done this year!

I’ve had bits and pieces of day job work as well this week, but have made sure to carve out a bit of time for playing videogames. I’ve finally been able to make a start on playing all the other entries from the most recent Adventuron jam, and am going to finish them off tomorrow before the rating period ends. I’m also making good progress in Bravely Second, and should be able to get it finished before the next game in the series comes out next month.

Running has been largely indoors on the treadmill due to the winter weather. I’m crossing everything that it gets milder soon!

At the moment, next week looks fairly quiet, so I hope it stays that way.

Mop and bucket
I wish I had a house progress photo to share but I’m not quite there yet. Here’s a shot of the mop and bucket instead, which have done good work this week.

This week’s earworm playlists:

Monday

Devo – ‘Whip It’
Duran Duran – ‘Five Years’
Sparks – ‘This Town Ain’t Big Enough For Both Of Us’
The Weeknd – ‘Blinding Lights’
Duran Duran – ‘Falling Down’
5 Seconds Of Summer – ‘Youngblood’
Frankie Goes To Hollywood – ‘Relax’

Tuesday

The Midnight – ‘Jason’
The Timelords – ‘Doctorin’ The TARDIS’
The Dream Academy – ‘Life In A Northern Town’
The Police – ‘Don’t Stand So Close To Me’
Haim Saban and Shuki Levy – ‘The Mysterious Cities Of Gold Main Theme’
Nobuo Uematsu – ‘Chaos Shrine’
Duran Duran – ‘Hungry Like The Wolf’

Wednesday

Cast of The Muppet Christmas Carol – ‘Thankful Heart’
Yuka Tsujiyoko – ‘Onset’
Robert Palmer – ‘Addicted To Love’
Fleetwood Mac – ‘Dreams’
Roxy Music – ‘More Than This’
Oasis – ‘Songbird’
Noriyuki Iwadare – ‘It’s Detective Gumshoe, Pal!’

Thursday

The Weeknd – ‘Blinding Lights’
Yoko Shimomura – ‘Radiant Historia’
Arrow – ‘Hot, Hot, Hot’

Friday

Marianne Faithfull – ‘As Tears Go By’

Saturday ’80s Photo: January Snow

I was born in a snow-laden January, so I should be used to putting up with winter weather at this time of year. Mind you, as a newborn I wasn’t worrying about trying to run in it!

January 1985
Snowy paths, January 1985.

Today’s earworm playlist:

Duran Duran – ‘Five Years’
Thought Beings – ‘Shakedown’
5 Seconds Of Summer – ‘Youngblood’
John Taylor – ‘I Do What I Do’
Cee Lo Green – ‘Forget You’
Ariana Grande – ‘Thank U Next’
Ollie Wride – ‘Back To Life’

First (half) week of work done

I’ve only been back at work for three days, but it’s been a pretty busy half week, so the weekend is very welcome! The combination of lockdown and snow lends itself well to videogaming, so that’s what I’ll be doing. Geth got me a Switch Lite for my birthday, I still have plenty of games in my backlog on other systems, and I still have lots of games from the most recent Adventuron jam to play and rate – so I’m not going to run out of entertainment any time soon.

It always takes me a while to find my feet again after Christmas. There’s a lot of stuff that needs sorting out in the house, but I’m gradually catching up with things. I’m sleeping late at the moment, which is a habit I really want to get out of so that I can get more done in the mornings. Hopefully once Geth is back at work next week, it’ll be easier to get into pattern.

I started attending a new Zoom music group this week. It’s very beginner-friendly, and Zoom music groups are always muted so I can happily bash away on my ukulele without worrying about anyone hearing me. As such, it’s a really good way to get back into playing; I haven’t found much time for practising since my previous classes came to a halt last March.

A good start to January, given the ongoing circumstances.

Pizza calendar
All calendars now arrived and installed. Getting there!

Today’s earworm playlist:

The Weeknd – ‘Blinding Lights’

Phone Box Thursday: A849, Ardtun

One extra week for logging the collection, as Jen sent in this phone box from the Isle of Mull!

Red phone box
Red phone box, A849, Ardtun, 23rd September 2020.

(Coordinates 56°32’88.2″N, 6°22’70.2″W.)

An isolated and slightly decrepit, but essential, example – the phone is still intact and reportedly still very much in use due to the bad phone signal on the island!

Here’s hoping they fix that door soon.

Today’s earworm playlist:

The Weeknd – ‘Blinding Lights’
Sinead O’Connor – ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’

House back to normal

I always find the house looks strange and a bit bare when I take the Christmas decorations down. Still, I’m excited about all the sorting and decorating I’m going to be doing this year!

Post-Christmas house
Big plans for this place.

Today’s earworm playlist:

Thought Beings – ‘Shakedown’

Last few days of Christmas, and a bit of blog admin

I’ll mostly be doing photo posts this week as I’ll be busy with putting the Christmas decorations away and getting back to work. From next Monday onwards the blog will be back on schedule, though it’ll be a different schedule from what it has been over the last year! With the pandemic continuing to rumble on, life is a bit too quiet for daily diary posts, and so I’ll be doing weekly life updates on Fridays instead. The rest of the week will be dedicated to ramblings about my various hobbies, which remain over-numerous.

I’m excited about a slight change of direction as there are lots of things I want to write about in more detail. More info about this next week (as I haven’t quite finalised everything yet!).

Colourful leggings
The leggings I wore for my birthday yesterday. 2020 was the year of colourful trousers and I do not imagine that will change for 2021!

Today’s earworm playlist:

Tears For Fears – ‘Shout’

Thirty-six

An unusual birthday today, like everybody else’s birthday during this strange year. I did the usual opening of birthday cards and presents under the Christmas tree, and the usual eating of birthday cake and drinking of (alcohol-free these days) fizz, but because I couldn’t be in Edinburgh this year it was in my own house under my own tree, with Mum and Dad on video call rather than in person. The birthday cake I made yesterday tasted just as it was supposed to, and I got some amazing presents, so it’s been a good birthday so far – it’s just felt a bit strange being at home in Newcastle. Like everything else over the past couple of weeks!

Birthday cards under the Christmas tree
As usual, my birthday cards will be living under the tree until Christmas gets put away on 6th January.

Today’s earworm playlist:

will.i.am and Cody Wise – ‘It’s My Birthday’
Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan – ‘Especially For You’

Post on 2nd January!

I feel in between today, as usual.

However, a Christmas gift came in the post today to cheer me up. I’ve always been in Scotland (where 2nd January is a public holiday) for New Year in the past, so have never known post to arrive on the 2nd of January before.

The gift was a tree decoration from our family friend Chris. We always see her at New Year but obviously couldn’t this time round.

Tree decoration

I also made my own birthday cake for the first time ever, with instruction from Dad over video call. I’ll be able to tell you tomorrow if it turned out okay!

Today’s earworm playlist:

The Weeknd – ‘Blinding Lights’
Coldplay – ‘Christmas Lights’
Heaven 17 – ‘Let Me Go’