At the beginning of 2022 I set up a double page spread in my bullet journal titled ‘Memories and Highlights.’ This created a space where I could record all of the individual exciting things I experienced throughout the year and served as a reminder that this year hasn’t been as bad as I thought.
Because let’s face it, in terms of the year from a national perspective, it’s been a dumpster fire with a dose of accelerant thrown on top. Three prime ministers in a year, the worse economic position in decades, food, gas and electric prices skyrocketing to the point where people are having to choose between heating their house during the winter or feeding their children while utility companies boast about record profits, workers from our postal service, trains, nurses, paramedics have been forced to strike… and to top it all off our Queen died. So many of us are tired, worried and angry.
Usually in the build up to Christmas I post at least something about getting ready for the festive season, what I plan to watch and comments about our wonky tree (that is now so ancient I’ve started to refer to it as ‘Old Faithful’).
This year, however, I was whacked by all the flu and cold germs flying around and my body semi-shut down and went NOPE for several weeks. I know exactly where it came from too – in early December a woman who had a raging cold sat next to me on a train when I went up north to visit my mum and for the entirety of the trip she was coughing and spluttering and wiping her nose on her sleeve. I started to feel ill about four days later. Nice.
Combined with the fact that I had been caught in multiple downpours and the freezing temperatures that hit the UK, I also think that I was burnt out. The last few months in particular have been ridiculously busy and I haven’t been great at taking care of myself. In a way, it felt like the universe was stepping in and telling me to rest.
Back in July I acknowledged how much my working life had taken over and decided that I needed to break out of the little work / sleep / work / sleep bubble I had created for myself. Thankfully, I have been able to do just that, but this hasn’t freed up much time or improved my ability to sit down and actually write about it. In a desperate attempt to catch up, here’s three months of life experiences in a single post, just in case I don’t get the chance to write another one for a while.
I have still been able to do my regular reviews at the theatre which I look forward to. It’s a great way to spend the evening – a lovely team, great building, and when you get a show that absolutely blows the roof off, it leaves you with a buzz that can last for days.
One of those shows has been Bat Out of Hell. Within the first five minutes when I saw it in January I knew that I was watching something special, despite that fact that I had absolutely no idea what was going on for some of it. Just like my RENT obsession that developed some years ago, I have fallen equally in love and decided that I absolutely had to see it again. So, I booked The Bloke and I tickets to see it at The Winter Gardens in Blackpool and a hotel room for the night.
It’s been a few years since we last visited, so we set off super early to avoid any potential M6 traffic hell, and found ourselves stood on the pier on a dull, but very warn day at 8.00am. For the rest of the day we were shameless tourists – we went to the top of the tower (during which The Bloke mustered up enough courage to actually walk on the glass), won prizes on the horse racing game and played on the 2p machines in the arcades, ate junk food and bought snacks from a shop where the guy behind the counter was actually wearing a bullet proof vest. And then we saw the show, it was amazing, and I was so overwhelmed that I cried on the way back to the hotel. It was just fabulous, even with the drunken men who decided to sing so loudly that two rows physically moved to get away from them.
⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ An evening of hilarious and unadulterated chaos. A joy to watch!
Note: This review is for the UK 2022 tour.
Based on the beloved 1970’s sitcom by Ray Allen starring Michael Crawford and directed by the award-winning Guy Unsworth, Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em tells the story of the accident-prone Frank Spencer (Joe Pasquale). His wife Betty (Sarah Earnshaw) has exciting news, but he’s preoccupied by possible newfound fame as a magician. Joined by Betty’s mother Mrs Fisher (Susie Blake), her boyfriend Mr Luscombe (Moray Treadwell), and priest Father O’Hara (James Paterson), there are plenty crossed wires, misunderstandings and mishaps as Frank and Betty attempt to host a dinner party and do an interview with the BBC.
I was talking to my sister-in-law recently and she suggested creating a Happiness List. It was quite a profound idea – thinking about what it is that creates happiness and actively working towards it.
It’s sometimes difficult to remember that we are responsible for our own happiness – there is nobody else that knows us as well as we do – and a Happiness List is a great way to take charge and create a personal level of accountability.
At the halfway point of the year I have found myself reflecting on the last six months. At the beginning of January, when everything was feeling fresh and exciting with lots of new possibilities, I set just a single goal. Hitting the ground running I threw myself into making it happen, and so far it has. Unfortunately, the quest to achieve has started to have a detrimental impact in an unexpected way, and so I have decided to make a few changes.
I love my job. Genuinely. I love, love, love it. I get to work with fascinating people, learn new things and don’t have the confines of working for someone else. I don’t have a daily commute, my schedule is my own and I can take time off to suit my own lifestyle.
After spending over a week down south, I returned home for a few days and then travelled up north to Manchester.
The main purpose of the trip was to catch up with a group of friends that I have known for nearly 25 years. It has been two years since I last saw them – they were the last social event I had before the pandemic hit the UK in March 2020, so I was looking forward to it.
I was staying with my mum for the weekend and we had a bunch of things planned around it. I was feeling quite smug when I left the house initially due to being somewhat organised for once, only to discover when I arrived that I had forgotten a whole bunch of stuff including socks, make-up and a phone charger. Who forgets to pack socks???
Socks quickly acquired, we went for a meal at our favourite Chinese restaurant on the Friday night. We’ve been going there for decades – I remember having my 18th birthday celebration there, I turned 40 last year and I couldn’t count how many meals our family has had there in between. I was delighted to see that one of the staff members, George, who greeted us during our earliest visits, was still there. There is one particular dish – a sharing platter for two – that both mum and I are obsessed with, so instead of ordering a starter and selection of mains we decided to treat ourselves and had one each without mains. It was fabulous – I couldn’t help but laugh with sheer excitement as they were brought out – but I was so full by the end I thought someone would have to roll me to the car afterwards.
Yesterday was a little strange. Not that it was bad in any way, but it took me a while to settle in.
I’m currently dog-sitting at my friend’s house. It isn’t the first time I have done this, so I was already familiar with the area and the dog’s routine and we immediately got back into it. Admittedly, I was feeling a bit tired as her barking had woken me up at 1am when the neighbours returned home, and then again at 2am when she vomited on the floor. (While I miss having the cats, I don’t miss waking up to the sound of retching in the early hours of the morning). We walked, had breakfast, I did some work while she snoozed, we walked again etc. It was a fairly relaxed and peaceful day with glorious weather…
I suddenly realised yesterday evening just how quiet it was.
Yesterday was my nine year blogging anniversary. I received a notification at 6.30am as I was sitting in a very cold train station.
The reason why I was travelling yesterday is because of a friend who I met through the blog 2015. In fact, she was one of the first blog friends who became a social media client. Since then we’ve been to events, a writers retreat and on holiday to Dubrovnik together, and yesterday I travelled down to her house to look after her dog while she and her family are on holiday.
I started February with the best of intentions. I had just completed a No Spend Challenge over January and was feeling a massive sense of achievement, so set myself a whole series of goals over February. One of them was to blog at least twice a week… and now it’s March and to say I failed spectacularly would be an understatement.
However, despite the storms and constant rain, February was fast-paced and pretty exciting at times with lots of both short and long-term unexpected opportunities.
Ever heard the analogy about waiting for a bus for ages and then three all arrive at once?
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