Getting back into the swing of things

My last post was in 2017, I spent all of January whining about long the month was, and now it’s February and this is my first post since December… oops. To be fair, I haven’t had much time for blogging since the start of 2018, as I’ve been spending the last few weeks trying to get back into some sort of normal routine. Among other things, I’ve been getting back into the swing of…


The main thing I’ve been grappling with is that I started a new job when I returned to work in the second week of January. I’m still at the same university and have the same job title, but I’m now working in a completely different part of the uni which is somewhat bigger than the department that I came from. I’ve been having to get to grips with new websites, new people, new projects and new places (seriously, this university is so huge you could spend all your life working there and still never have the chance to visit every single building on campus).

Fran from Black Books typing
via Tumblr

It’s been really exhausting, but also really great to have a change from the norm and do something a bit different with a bunch of extremely lovely people. It also helps that the department I’m in is way more aligned to my personal interests – I’m now responsible for the arts, languages and cultures part of the university website network, and I’ve already read two books by lecturers here (more on that below!).

This is only a temporary post, but I’m learning lots of things that should stand me in good stead for going back to my permanent role (or wherever else I may end up…).


10 Minute Solution: Knockout Body Workout DVDI was off work for 2 weeks over the Christmas and new year period. I spent the first week at home and did so well at going for runs and working out at home, despite being surrounded by all manner of food and booze. But then we spent the second week in a cabin in Sherwood Forest with my husband’s family surrounded by all manner of food and booze, and I didn’t exercise *quite* as much as I had the previous week. So let’s just say that it was somewhat difficult to get back into my exercise routine when I went back to work!

It doesn’t help that the weather has been atrocious and it’s still pitch black in the mornings, so getting up early to do one of my DVDs hasn’t been easy. I think I’m slowly getting there, though! I bought a new DVD which has a series of 10-minute boxing workouts (my favourite!) and that’s helped to make exercising slightly less boring. I’m still trying to get out for a short run once a week at the weekends, and I’m hoping to ramp up to twice a week once the mornings are light enough for me to go out before work.

…reading what I’ve got

I’ve made a sort-of resolution to make a proper dent in my to-read pile this year, and only buy books that I will definitely keep, relying on the library for everything else. And I’ve done well – I’ve finished 6 books so far in 2018, consisting of 3 from my own pile, 1 from the library, 1 from a colleague and 1 that I pre-ordered with a view to keeping.

The Witchfinder's Sister and Home Fire

The books from the library and my colleague were by lecturers at the creative writing department of my bit of the university – The Witchfinder’s Sister by Beth Underdown (quite good, but a bit slow) and Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie (really good). Before I started writing this post, I finished the book I bought, Eat Up! by Ruby Tandoh, which is absolutely fantastic.

Having said that, my to-read pile is still 66-strong, including two reservations that I have waiting for me at the library. It’s going to be interesting seeing if I can keep up the good work!

…eating well

Manchester Beer Festival
Beer’s good for you, right?

Like everyone else, I went a bit crazy with the cheese, mince pies and wine over Christmas, so I’ve been trying very hard to not be so greedy while not depriving myself of the comfort food I definitely need during the winter months, also making room for a night at Manchester Beer Festival.

It’s gone well so far; we’ve been planning our meals as normal and have only gone overboard a few times (mainly because I’ve wanted to have an impromptu meal out or thought it would be a great idea to pick up a cheesecake for Friday night). I’ve gone back to not boozing during the week and I’ve only baked once so far this year (and took most of it to work instead of letting it sit temptingly in the kitchen).

I’m still tracking calories via MyFitnessPal, but I’ve stopped weighing myself entirely and am now focused on eating good, delicious, home-cooked food instead of getting in knots about going over my daily calorie limit. I’m probably not going to lose that much weight this way, but I’ll certainly be happier than if I was trying to starve myself! Reading Eat Up! has definitely confirmed that this is the right way to go for me at the moment.

…being cultural

Blue/Orange flyerOkay, so I’ve never really been one for cultural activities aside from reading and going to gigs, but we’ve been to two plays since the start of the year (having never really gone to any since school!), and have enjoyed them so much we’re going to try to go to the theatre more often.

The first play we saw was Blue/Orange at the Garrick Theatre in Stockport. The play had only three actors and it took place in the bar area of the theatre, so it was a very small but perfectly formed performance. I was intrigued to read that Joe Penhall, who wrote the play, also wrote Mindhunter, which is on my Netflix to-watch list, so I’m looking forward to getting round to watching that!

We also saw a production called The Manchester Project at HOME in Manchester. It consisted of 19 mini plays, each centred around a different area of Manchester and performed by one or two actors at a time, and was over in just an hour. We really enjoyed hearing the different ways that the actors from Monkeywood Theatre interpreted the areas that we knew, and finding out about the parts of the city that we’ve never really been to.

Now we just need to find some more plays to go to!

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