Sunday afternoons hibernating

A speedier-than-expected long run this morning…

…and since then I’ve just been dozing and browsing on the sofa. Love Sundays! I’ve got lots to do tomorrow so I’m glad to be able to have a break today.

France, July 1995
Yup, it’s another summer holiday flashback, this time to France in July 1995. While winter can be beautiful in its own way, I’m looking forward to seeing some colour in the world again.

Today’s earworm playlist:

The Midnight – ‘Crystalline’
The Midnight and Nikki Flores – ‘Jason’
Scandroid – ‘Aphelion’
Traditional – ‘The Blaydon Races’
Del Amitri – ‘Nothing Ever Happens’
Lindisfarne – ‘Fog On The Tyne’

Adventure planning

Maybe it’s just what everyone does in the depths of January, but I find myself dreaming of hot climes and holidays at the moment. It’d be nice to run along sunny coastlines and through leafy forests instead of around the cold wet Newcastle suburbs like I did this morning! I’ll just have to be patient for a few months.

I’ve got all my work done for today, but it’s going to be another busy week next week. Looking forward to my weekend of running and hopefully some slightly drier weather.

Sandals resort, Bahamas
Not an OOTD: a flashback to January 2013, on honeymoon in the Bahamas. I was four and a half stone heavier then and so unfit that I couldn’t even swim halfway across the pool without my lungs burning. I would absolutely love to be back there right now in my fitter, healthier state!

Today’s earworm playlist:

Rei Kondoh – ‘Storm Clouds’
Lightwood Games – ‘Link-A-Pix Theme’
Patrice Rushen – ‘Forget Me Nots’ (or rather the ‘black bin bags’ parody from Phoenix Nights)
Jason Paige – ‘Pokémon Theme (Gotta Catch ‘Em All)’
Lady Gaga – ‘Always Remember Us This Way’

Bouncing ahead

I know I shouldn’t wish my life away, but today is the day I always start to get excited about autumn, my favourite season of the year.

It’s the first of August – just a month away from meteorological autumn – and while I know most people are still enjoying the summer (I’m not sure how, given that after last week’s brief heatwave the weather has since returned to a constant cool, grey dampness that means Geth can’t mow the lawn), I’m already dreaming of darker evenings and Hallowe’en chocolate and getting my ’80s jumper collection out again.

The BBC are starting to announce the first few Strictly contestants, and I’m stepping up my training for the Great North Run, and I’m already busy planning out my writing for all the fiction and poetry competitions I’m going to be entering from September to November. I’ve got a lot of gigs lined up for that period as well – it’s going to be a really great autumn this year!

In the meantime, I’ve got one last summer trip away to enjoy this month. It is Shetland, though, so I’m not hopeful for the weather (last time I was there, it rained the whole time).

A nice normal Thursday today now that we’ve got the internet back – Geth and I went to the earlier Slimming World group today so that we could be in when the new router arrived, and we’ve got boardgaming guests coming round this evening for more adventures in the Lord of the Rings universe.

OOTD 1st August 2019
OOTD: weigh-in top with added cosy hoodie due to the cooler weather. Glasses Emporio Armani (2017), hoodie Gildan for Resistanz (2016), vest top Primark (2018).

Today’s earworm playlist:

Haim Saban and Shuki Levy – The Mysterious Cities Of Gold Main Theme
Ed Sheeran – Castle On The Hill
A-ha – Take On Me
Andy Taylor – Broken Window
Lizzo – Truth Hurts
Gunship – Dark All Day

A more traditional summer day

I was out most of today watching bands play in a large outdoor space, which is the number one thing I used to associate with summer. I’ve deliberately not done much of it this year because it’s also the number one thing I used to associate with drinking. However, today went really well. I did occasionally feel uncomfortable due to drunk people in my vicinity, but on the whole it was a really nice day out and a good gig – and I will actually remember the whole thing! Review to come later this week.

Internet is still being problematic, but it looks like we will have our new router either tomorrow or Tuesday, so fingers crossed the remaining disruption will be minimal.

OOTD 28th July 2019
OOTD: gotta wear a Duran shirt for an ’80s-related gig! (Unless it’s Spandau Ballet of course.) Glasses Emporio Armani (2017), t-shirt Amplified (2018), jeans H&M (thrifted from Steff 2016).

Today’s earworm playlist:

Katy Perry – Never Really Over
Duran Duran – Burning The Ground
Janet Jackson – Whoops Now
Bobby Brown – Two Can Play That Game
Ultravox – Dancing With Tears In My Eyes
Nick Heyward – Take That Situation

A muggy Friday

Yesterday did not end as well as it began. The UK railway chaos caused by the heat meant that Geth and I were unable to get from Newcastle to Durham for our race, so I had to DNS a race I’d entered for the first time since 2016 (when I couldn’t take up my place at the EMF 10k due to my brother getting married in Toronto the same weekend). Really annoyed about the whole thing! Next time I have to go anywhere during a heatwave I’ll be taking the car – the trains are just too unreliable.

I then had a bad night’s sleep due to the heat, so I’ve not really felt on top form today and haven’t got as much writing done as I would have liked. It’s been a long, muggy day – there was a heavy rain storm earlier this evening that’s made the air a little cooler, but it still feels pretty uncomfortable.

I may or may not be at parkrun tomorrow depending on the weather, but I will be in town either way as I’ve got a hospital appointment that I only found out about today.

OOTD 26th July 2019
OOTD: this outfit was highly appropriate when I put it on this morning, before the rain made it all grey and overcast! Sunglasses Ray-Ban (2019), dress Paradise (2013), shoes BHS (2016).

Today’s earworm playlist:

Martin Garrix, Macklemore and Patrick Stump – Summer Days
Daniel Bedingfield – If You’re Not The One
Arcadia – Say The Word
Cast of The Rocky Horror Picture ShowTime Warp
Kylie Minogue – I Should Be So Lucky
Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody
George Ezra – Paradise

And a bonus track that Geth was humming earlier:

Haim Saban and Shuki Levy – The Mysterious Cities Of Gold Main Theme

The hottest day of the year…I hope

Geth woke me with great excitement this morning because he’s had a paper accepted (it’s been a few years due to various things getting in the way of his research), and I was still on a high from giving a well-received performance at poetry night yesterday evening, so it was a good start to the day. Well, it was until I read all the newspaper headlines screaming ‘ARE YOU READY FOR THE HOTTEST DAY OF THE YEAR?’. Firstly, no I’m not, because I have to run 10k this evening and cooler temperatures would be preferable (the forecast is now saying thunderstorms – this could be interesting) and secondly, you don’t actually know that it’s the hottest day of the year until the year comes to an end, newspaper people.

Other than the uncomfortable heat, though, our good vibes have continued as Geth and I both had losses at Slimming World. Just hoping that the weather won’t make tonight’s race too miserable!

OOTD 25th July 2019
OOTD: shadows are not on my side when it’s this sunny. Sunglasses Ray-Ban (2019), vest top Primark (2018), skirt unknown brand (vintage 1980s, bought at vintage fair (2017), trainers Reebok (2018).

Today’s earworm playlist:

Oasis – Champagne Supernova
Gunship – When You Grow Up Your Heart Dies
Duran Duran – All She Wants Is
George Michael – Careless Whisper
Cole Porter – Too Darn Hot
Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee – Despacito
Martin Garrix, Macklemore and Patrick Stump – Summer Days

Summer heat

The one annual week of summer heat has arrived in the UK with a vengeance. I am not about it in the slightest so I have spent today indoors with the windows open, ignoring the news and getting lots of writing done.

Looking forward to a quiet evening with music and reading, and then another day of writing tomorrow.

OOTD 23rd July 2019
OOTD: this is the lightest dress I own but it’s still too warm for a day like today. Dress Primark (2018), trainers Nike (2018).

Today’s earworm playlist:

Gunship – The Mountain
Lil’ Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus – Old Town Road
Andy Taylor – I Might Lie
Duran Duran – Hungry Like The Wolf
Trevor Something – All Night
Al Stewart – Year Of The Cat
Bowling For Soup – 1985
The Midnight and Nikki Flores – Jason
Colony 5 – Black
Duran Duran – All You Need Is Now
Duran Duran – A View To A Kill
Bucks Fizz – If You Can’t Stand The Heat
Martin Garrix, Macklemore and Patrick Stump – Summer Days

Life without alcohol update: six months sober

Half a year without a drop of alcohol today. I couldn’t have imagined that this time last year.

Flowers and gravel

On the whole, the trend over the last six months is that things have gradually become easier. But it’s not a straight trajectory by any means – I’ve found the last fortnight to be really difficult with the nice weather, because every time I’m outside, I find myself walking past beer gardens and people having drinks at barbecues. Summer, in my younger days, was always just one long, hazy, booze-soaked non-memory. It was the season of all-day drinking at weddings and on holidays. It was the best season for cider, and the only season when it was acceptable to sit on the grass in the park and crack open that first can at 11am. It was the season of a hundred outdoor music gigs and festivals of which I have absolutely no memory of the bands but could still find my way to the bar tent in my sleep. Without alcohol, I have to admit that I am finding summer a bit anxiety-inducing.

This is one of the reasons that I am giving music festivals a miss this year for the first time in adulthood. I’ll be ready to give them a go again next year – there’s an ’80s/industrial long weekender in Belgium and a synthwave festival in London that I’d really love to try – but it’d just be a bit too much this summer.

I’ve not been trying as many booze alternatives over the last couple of months, because I feel like I’ve found the favourites that work for me (Sainsbury’s Fiery Ginger Beer is my go-to on evenings in the house, because it’s calorie-free, while Fentimans Rose Lemonade is nice for a treat when I’m out, and for a proper celebratory-feeling drink I like Nosecco), but I’ve still got a few to review from earlier in the year.

Booze alternatives I’ve reviewed over the last month:

I’ve been listening to sobriety podcasts again over the last month, and they’ve been really helpful – I’ve also been finding online and offline support groups to be an important anchor. It’s hard when I’m so busy, but I really am trying to make time for things that are more therapeutic at the moment.

Summer sun

Finally some nice weather today! And I made the most of it by…staying in the house all day ’cause I was a bit tired after last night. Got to get that garden finished so that I’m more inclined to sit out!

Last night was hectic but ultimately successful. I lost for the second week in a row at Slimming World – only a pound, but I’d rather get into a pattern of small losses every week than keep doing the ‘lose five, gain five!’ thing that has characterised my results since race season began. My next race is the Great North 10k on the 7th of July, and I am so determined not to gain that week. I’ll have to be really strict to mitigate the post-race bloat that always seems to happen at the moment.

I then went to ukulele class – it was running late, so I had to skip out before the last song, as I wanted to get to poetry night in time to make sure I could read again. I’m still a bit nervous before performing, but I think I’m gradually getting better at it. Geth took a video, which I *may* be brave enough to post later in the week (no promises though!).

Have had a fairly quiet day today – Mum and Dad visited in the morning on their way back from Sweden, and I’ve spent the afternoon getting on with writing. Just a few things to finish off tomorrow and then I can chill out for the weekend.

OOTD 27th June 2019
OOTD: blue Thursday! Sunglasses Ray-Ban (2019), t-shirt Ron Holland for Cambridge University (vintage 1970s, thrifted from Dad 2012), jeans Vivid (2018), trainers Reebok (2017).

Today’s earworm playlist:

Queen – Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy
Haircut 100 – Favourite Shirts (Boy Meets Girl)
The Midnight – Gloria
Duran Duran – Shadows On Your Side
The Midnight – Days Of Thunder
Duran Duran – 911 Is A Joke

Out in the sunshine

The weather is finally improving and feeling marginally more summery! I went out for a walk (well, really to go to Asda ’cause I’d run out of fizzy juice) this morning, which felt nice after a few days of being cooped up. I’ve spent the rest of the day editing for clients and doing my own writing.

Out again tomorrow morning – again it’s for a boring reason (doctor’s appointment) but it’ll be another nice walk if the weather stays like this.

OOTD 17th June 2019
OOTD: brightening up gradually! Hoodie Sonar (2006), t-shirt Punk Masters (2018), jeans Zara (2018), trainers Reebok (2013).

Today’s earworm playlist:

Charlie Puth – One Call Away
5 Seconds Of Summer – Easier
The Buggles – Video Killed The Radio Star
Katy Perry – Never Really Over
Space – Female Of The Species
Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber – I Don’t Care
Duran Duran – Violence Of Summer (Love’s Taking Over)
Oasis – Cigarettes And Alcohol