New things every day in May: Caroline

Caroline is continuing to do many more new things than I will ever manage to do but she has inspired me to get my act together and do a new thing each day in July – I have a few things lined up already so it should be EASY. Feel free to join me, you have a bit of time to prepare!

Last year I did something new every day in May. This year, I did it slightly differently. I did Adriene’s 31 Days Yoga Revolution every day. On top of that, I tried to do at least one other new thing. Here’s how I got on.

  1. Yoga Revolution day 1. Did a 2-mile run on a new route – along the busway.
  2. Yoga Revolution day 2. I also had lunch in Darwin College, where my partner Chris gets to eat for FREE every day! The food was tasty and the surroundings are absolutely stunning. I saw moorhens, blackbirds, several bees, and the odd student.
  3. Yoga Revolution day 3. Also, I was spotted! I wrote a feature for the latest International Therapist magazine, a trade magazine for massage therapist. Someone at work recognised me from this rather niche publication!
  4. Yoga Revolution day 4. I’m really starting to get into the yoga-ing now and I like her presentation. Feeling very zen after my yoga-ing, I then put out my bins, wanting to be in contact with Mother Earth or something, so did it barefoot and connecting with the ground. I painfully stubbed my toe and now it’s purple. It precipitated a workplace ‘is my toe broken?’ conversation. On inspection, a workplace self-styled broken toe expert claimed it was only badly bruised. I also did two more new things: stood at the front of the choir to hear them sing a chord (it sounded amazing!) and righted a kicked-over wheelie bin. Some of the rubbish spilled on to the street, so I put it back in. They like coffee very much. Made me think you can tell a lot about a person by the contents of their wheelie bin.
  5. I did Yoga Revolution Day 5. This is the first day that I’ve woken up really wanting to do the yoga. It was all about ‘finding your rhythm’, which I enjoyed. This month is ‘Wellness Month’ at work which means lots of potential new thing activities. I went on a guided Mindfulness in Nature walk, which was amazing. I work on a nature reserve and often go for walks around the reserve at lunch time, but this was all about doing it more slowly, and being ‘in the moment’ without lots of thoughts in your brain. It finished with a guided meditation in a bluebell wood. Lovely! This kind of thing doesn’t come easily to me but I’m keen to learn more. In the afternoon I went to see the new goslings at work instead of a tea break. A gosling break.
  6. I did Yoga Revolution Day 6. Much more energetic this one, with an extended abs section that was quite hard. This afternoon my choir sung in the St Mary the Virgin Church in Fen Ditton to celebrate the church’s 800th anniversary. It was a church I’ve never been to before, and we sung a variety of songs including Sumer is Icumen In which is about as old as the church. I also played my flute in a World Premier – a piece composed especially for the concert. I played my flute in a pulpit, yet other new thing.
  7. I did Yoga Revolution Day 7. I also read a book on Marma Therapy – Ayurvedic Massage. This was a new thing for two reasons, first of all, I’ve never read it before, and secondly, it’s a book I was sent as a prize for ‘Best Communication’ in International Therapist magazine last month, as I wrote them an article about massaging homeless people at Crisis at Christmas. Marma Therapy is fascinating, it uses points around the body in a similar way to acupuncture but originates in India. Certainly something to explore further.
  8. I did Yoga Revolution Day 8, a very relaxing and ‘restorative’ session which was lucky as one of my other new things was sending an angry tweet to the Financial Times. It was regarding this article which suggests that a lot of people are proud of the fact they don’t have a basic grasp of maths. The writer seemed to have no concept whatsoever of dyscalculia (numerical dyslexia) and as I have this myself I got a bit ranty. So I calmed down by making two origami penguins.Penguin
  9. Today’s new things started early, when I took a photo of a rabbit before getting my lift to work. There’s a colony of wild rabbits near to my pickup point, but I’ve never caught one on camera before. I also went to my first work leaving do in a yurt. My workplace were given a yurt by a corporate supporter, with the view to it being an extra meeting room. It’s huge! Finally, I did day 9 of Yoga Revolution, a very energetic one with lots of ab things and leg lifts.
  10. I did Yoga Revolution day 10 and on the way to work saw a crow eating a dead squirrel. Never seen that before, but it turns out they will eat virtually anything!
  11. I did Yoga Revolution day 11 and had a go at Clubbercise at work. This was also a part of the RSPB’s Wellness Month, and again was in the yurt. Clubbercise is basically aerobics moves (grapevines and the like) to 90s clubbing music like Cafe del Mar, holding glowsticks. It was quite strange to be dancing around with glowsticks in the daytime, in a yurt, at work, but it was really fun. I suspect the loud music may have annoyed some people looking for quiet tranquillity.clubbercise
  12. I did Yoga Revolution day 12 which had a lot of energetic sun salutations. I then made baked spicy tomato eggs for dinner. Needs a bit of tweaking!
  13. I did Yoga Revolution day 13 and met two friends for a cup of tea in a cafe in Histon called The Geographer. It used to be a travel agent, hence the name. It was nice and understated, not like places like Stir which I really don’t like at all. Then in the evening I went to see a comedy show called Guilty Feminist. All I knew about it beforehand was that it was a podcast recording and it was feminist comedy. It turned out the Guilty Feminist is quite a big thing. It was sold out (I think 3 audience members were male) and the people going to see it were *really* excited. I’ve never listened to any podcast, let alone this one. I watched the recording of two separate podcasts, and they seem to follow the same pattern. The ‘I’m a feminist but..’ bit, where they finish the sentence in an amusing way, then they talk about their ‘challenge’ for that episode, then a bit of stand up, then a discussion with a guest. The guests were Mae Martin and Sindhu Vee, and both sat next to me – not that I had any idea who they were beforehand. Sindhu Vee spoke about her struggles with anxiety and how it can cripple her and stop her from functioning. There was a fair bit of audience participation, and the audience was asked how often they suffer from this kind of anxiety. About 90% of the mostly female audience indicated they suffered at least once a week. I don’t think I’ve ever had anxiety like that. Ever. Sindhu said it was because ‘women are judged, judged all the time. Even down to the point of what we wear, what we say, what we do..’ It made me think a lot. Do I get anxious of my clothes because I think I’ll be judged because of them? No, I just get dressed. Maybe I’m lucky. [Yes, you are! I’m amazed I ever leave the house because of this issue! MW]
  14. I did Yoga Revolution day 14 and went to Maria (the New Things Queen)’s car boot sale in Trumpington. It involved a bit of wandering to find it. I spied a rather nice green dress on sale – one I’d coveted from afar because Maria used to wear it a lot. It was £3. I put the hanger back on the rack (a car boot faux pas) to count my change and another lady expressed an interest. Calamity! After a polite fight, she got her husband to toss a coin, and I was victorious! The green dress is mine. I must familiarise myself with car boot sale behaviour. On the way back into town I saw two new things: a queue of people waiting for Poundland to open, and a group of 20 60-70 year old men, all with Lambrettas. They were later identified, through Maria’s facebook groups, as members of the Cambridge Scooter Club.
  15. I did Yoga Revolution day 15 and learned a new shimmy in my bellydance class. There are lots of shimmies and this one involved more brain, it required focus rather than just letting everything wiggle. I think it’d need a bit of practice to perfect.
  16. I did Yoga Revolution day 16 and learned a new workplace phrase: ‘analysis paralysis’. It means spending too much time waffling on about something and trying to make a decision than just getting on with it. Analysis Paralysis became our pub quiz team name for the evening, and we won. There’s no time for analysis paralysis in pub quizzes.
  17. I did Yoga Revolution day 17 and collected my winnings from a workplace Eurovision sweepstake. It’s the first time I’ve ever won a sweepstake at work. They’re organised by someone called Kevin, aka BetKev.
  18. I did Yoga Revolution day 18 and saw the famed Croatian Eurovision entry, where a man does a duet with himself in two different vocal styles.
  19. I had a go at Laughter Yoga at work, as a part of Wellness Month. The idea is that mimicking the action of laughter has the same effect on the body as actual laughter, so we had half an hour of walking around saying ‘HO, HO, HA, HA, HA’ ‘throwing the laughter’ to people, rubbing in the laughter cream, and so on. It finished with a short relaxation session. Reactions were mixed – some people loved it, some hated it. I was on the fence, but I certainly laughed a lot, which is the point I think!
  20. I did Yoga Revolution days 19 and 20 (as I missed doing one yesterday). In the evening I saw three tribute bands I’d never seen before: Pure DC (AC/DC), Guns 2 Roses (Guns n Roses) and Dressed to Kill (KISS). A lot of the crowd were wearing tshirts of the actual bands rather than their tributes. There were a lot of bored children. I genuinely enjoyed Guns 2 Roses, but was a bit bored by Dressed to Kill, despite the outfits, makeup and pyrotechnics!
  21. I did Yoga Revolution day 21 and then went to see the new Cambridge North station. I didn’t actually get a train from there though, as that would’ve been a bit pointless – and I didn’t have anywhere particular to go! It took 12 minutes to cycle there compared to the 20 minutes it takes to get to the central station – but then journeys to the other station take 6 minutes. Not necessarily worth it in terms of time, but I reckon I’d use the station to get to Ely as that cuts out some of the journey.
  22. I did Yoga Revolution day 22 and at work, walked back through the reserve only concentrating on the birdsong (of which there is quite a lot, as it is a nature reserve). I was practising the Mindfulness of day 5 and I was surprised at how much easier it was to do the second time around.
  23. I had a work meeting in the Gamlingay Eco Hub, the most energy-efficient community building in the country! All of its heating comes from renewable energy and they harvest rainwater for toilets and sinks, meaning they have virtually no utility bills! The building was mostly paid for by fundraising in the local community. I also went to see Mew at Shepherd’s Bush Empire (neither of these are new things) and went to a new pub, the Green in Shepherd’s Bush.
  24. I did Yoga Revolution day 23 and, following a work conversation about Live TV which also spilled onto Facebook, discovered that one of my Facebook friends once appeared on Live TV. Someone else found the clip – it was a sports quiz show with added scantily-clad women. Quite amusing, but really, really awful!
  25. I did day 24 of Yoga Revolution and helped to lead a singing workshop at work as a part of Wellness Month. It was outside in the lovely sunshine and we did a range of fun warmups and then learned some rounds. We also managed to recruit a new bass, so a job well done. In the evening I went to my normal Timeline Choir practice, and it was in workshop style taken by Cath Coombes. We sang a song in Swahili, one in Hebrew, and an Irish song. To get home (for complicated reasons involving wanting my bike to be at the train station) I got the train from Cambridge Station to Cambridge North. Cambridge North is, however, 30 minutes walk from my house.ticket
  26. I did day 25 of Yoga Revolution and gave workplace massages at work as a part of Wellness Month. That’s not a new thing, as I did it last year too, but the new thing was doing them in a yurt – an excellent place for massages – and massaging the back and shoulders of my head of department, who seemed to really enjoy it.
  27. I went to the MCM London Comic Con. We were in London for Chris’ birthday, but this was the main focus of the trip really. I’d never been to one of these before, but it’s basically an enormous convention full of sci fi nerds, often in full regalia. I went to a panel with two people from Firefly, a Q&A with The Bloke Who Played Flash Gordon, and another one with The Blokes Who Played Rimmer and Kryten in Red Dwarf. The latter were the funniest. I inadvertently wandered into a meetup consisting of people dressed as Disney characters and they were just… odd.
    In the evening we went to the Green Man Courtyard Beer Festival.comic con
  28. I did days 26 and 27 of Yoga Revolution, and then in the evening went to Jamie’s Italian, where I sampled cannelloni from their new summer menu, which was also half price. In the evening I saw Reginald D Hunter (not a new thing), supported by Glenn Wool (a new thing).
  29. I did Yoga Revolution days 28 and 29, and as it was Chris’ birthday, I made Boob Cakes.boob cakes
  30. I did Yoga Revolution day 30 and did a fitness test at work, which tested heart rate, pulse, strength, suppleness and cardiovascular fitness. I did 80 star jumps in a minute! Then in the evening I played a room escape game at a new place in town – Lockhouse Games. We escaped! This is mostly because Chelley and Rob Lucas are real-life escape room superstars.
  31. I did the final day of Yoga Revolution! I think I’m going to miss it, so I was pleased to find that Adriene has many other free yoga videos on her yoga channel! I also learned some phrases in Croation, as I’m going there on holiday next month. They are,
    How are you? Kako si?
    What’s your name? Kako si doves?
    Good morning: Dobro juto
    Good night: Laku nok
    Please: Molim
    Thank you: Hvala

Once again, doing a new thing every day has been interesting, energising, and encouraged me to view every day in a new light. It’s easy for life to feel like a bit of a treadmill of going to work, coming home etc at times, and doing new things every day, even tiny things, is a great way of snapping out of that, and also getting round to doing the things you never thought you’d get around to doing. I think I’m quite a convert to yoga now, thanks to Adriene.

Home and garden new things – April

One of my favourite things these days is hearing someone say ‘Oh Maria, I did a new thing yesterday!’ I’ve had some lovely comments lately from people who have persuaded themselves to do something because it would be A New Thing, or who just enjoy reading about everyone’s ventures.

April’s theme for my New Things Challengey Group was to do something new in the house or garden. It’s just the time of year for that sort of new thing. Although some of them happened in March and May.

From March (partly inspiring this theme) both Jade and Claire revamped some cupboards. Here are Claire’s:

And Jade’s:

Both Claire C and Emily dug out new flowerbeds – Emily’s is for her daughter:

Emily also tried a new trick – planting parsnip seeds and radish seeds in the same place so the radishes act as a marker to remind you where the parsnips will eventually pop up – and Claire C also started a sunflower competition with her family.

And Emily made this lovely support for her peas on her allotment.

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Sarah P sanded and painted a bench. And she went on a bike ride with her daughter for the first time.

Clair bought, constructed and filled a new raised bed planter! And planted it up with yummy veg and salad.

Caroline sent some packets of sunflower seeds to her friends (including me, yay) – they were left over from a mailout at her work. She also planted some herself, but I forgot to check with her whether this was a new thing, too. Caroline is doing a new thing every day in May – check out #newthingeverydayinmay over on Twitter.FB_IMG_1495964399144

Sacha blitzed some plant pots that hadn’t been touched in years and planted them up with flowers.

Alison let her eldest son take over her kitchen while she was out, and ended up not just with some lovely crème brulee but also lessons in how to use her blowtorch that she’s always been too scared to use.

Terry planted a new variety of rocket and Viv planted some basil.

Leona planted seeds in trays for the first time – spinach, spring onions, leeks and French beans.FB_IMG_1493629721275

Jade laid some topsoil and grass seed – the previous occupants of her new home had had a bonfire and done this:

Also this month:

Caroline wrote an article for the International Therapist magazine about massaging homeless people during Crisis at Christmas – this isn’t new but the fact that it got named their ‘Star Communication’ was! And she got sent a free book on Ayurvedic massage. She also:

  • cooked roasted vegetables for the first time,
  • went to a new ballet (Jewels)
  • and was accepted as a volunteer at the London 2017 World Athletics Championships, which means she already has a new thing lined up for August.

Leona volunteered for two hours for the parents’ association flag day at her children’s school, did dance aerobics at her gym, and also did this visit which she volunteered to undertake for a special interest group (a new thing for her earlier this year), and which ended up ‘online and over Twitter which is very cool in a library nerdy way’. FB_IMG_1493629470247

Lauren did her first run commute and enjoyed it so much she did it again the following night. And she bought her first pair of climbing shoes.

Claire C started a new job and went to a metafit gym class.

Jade made some spicy chickpea snacks – says they turned out more like rabbit poo, having been left in the oven too long, but a new thing is never a fail in my book!

Shannon held a baby goat (called Bambino).

Liz and Shannon ran their first half-marathons. And raised over £400 for Mind!

Emily made rhubarb cordial.FB_IMG_1493629663375

Jacqui went to one of the set menu/film nights at our local Wildwood, something I’ve been meaning to do for ages.

Which leads me on to my current theme for May – doing a new thing that you’ve meaning to do for ages! You have a few days to squeeze something in on that theme.

Me:

I started this month planning to go back to doing a new thing each day because I was missing it! I promptly forgot – but still managed a fair few new things, not least because I’m in the middle of trying to sell a house for the first time which has generated many new things, some of them a bit scary and exhausting. I’ll save that list for another day when it’s all over! But here are some of the other things I have done:

  • Made two quizzes for work, for a training session. I enjoyed this a lot. I might start making quizzes for myself, tests on how to function better as an adult human.
  • Responded to a ‘wanted’ ad on Freecycle – it was a handy spot for something I had just been about to advertise.
  • Some London new things including getting the tube on my own! Finally. I first mentioned this back in February last year, when I was pondering how this project was making me get round to doing things I had been avoiding – I’m pleased to see I’ve since tackled some of the others, too, although still a few to do. Other London new things included dinner in Chinatown and tea and cake in Whittard’s Covent Garden Tea Bar.
  • Sold something on Gumtree (I’ve advertised something before but it didn’t sell).
  • Set up voice recognition on my internet banking.
  • Donated a magazine to the collection box in Ely public library (they are passed on to residential homes).
  • Tried the vegan samosa stall on Ely market (I have been back since – they are delicious).
  • Went to a new Meetup group, which was also my first non-fiction book group.
  • Made lemon linguine.IMG_20170423_204210
  • Walked in a new place – Ely Common.
  • Went to ‘Earth Optimism‘, which was a new event full stop.
  • Found a swarm of bees!FB_IMG_1495964367662_kindlephoto-2419139

The challenge for June will be for you (and me) to do a new thing that someone else has done as their new thing somewhere on this blog!

New places and new other things – March

I’m so behind in my blog but my new-thing-community has been diligently rising to each challenge I’ve set, and it’s time to do them justice!

My challenge in March was to go to a new place. In this post I’ve been flexible with the theme and the dates! Mustn’t get behind again, it’s very confusing.

Liz went to South Ockendon (to pick up some rescue bunnies). They have settled in nicely. She also made bread pudding for the first time.FB_IMG_1493629853740

Sarah P went to Pinewood Studios to be in the audience for Taskmaster (both new things), and went to the Freud Museum in Hampstead. She also drove down a road she has only driven past for the last five years, and created her first YouTube account and uploaded a video to it.

Claire C went to Carlisle and back in a day! She also started a new tradition – a monthly house-cleaning blitz involving the whole family – her little children get to choose sweets from the post office first but can’t eat them until they’ve done their jobs as instructed! And tried a new exercise class – Metafit – and went to a newly revamped park in Ely.

Charlotte went to Hayes Hill Farm.

Caroline’s plans were almost scuppered by a flat bike tyre but after her partner patched it up she improvised on her day’s plans and ended up doing five new things:

  • cycled on the guided busway to St Ives (having been there for the first time recently, actually on the guided bus),
  • had lunch in a pub in St Ives,
  • went to St Ives market,
  • cycled back (this time with four other people rather than on her own) and
  • stroked a ferret (which was in the pub where she stopped on the way back). 

She also

  • went to the pub with work people, had a tequila slammer and then went back to work.
  • had a blocked ear so googled it, found that using a small amount of olive oil in the ear is recommended, put some in her ear then spent the day smelling of curry because her olive oil had chilli in it. Apparently it didn’t hurt and it did work so now I’m thinking she’s made some sort of important medical discovery.
  • Saw some feminist theatre which involved three women dressed as men reciting Tory party phrases over and over while gradually removing their clothes until they were shouting ‘hard-working people’ while wiggling their boobs.

Clair did more cooking. She made this Chicken and Spinach Cannelloni recipe and this meal which included Indian style basmati rice and tandoori marinated chicken.FB_IMG_1494668759895

Catherine went exploring in a new place – she had been running in the area previously but decided to take her children and wander properly, despite being nervous of investigating new places in this manner. Yay!

Jade went to a new ice cream parlour.

Rosa tried a seaweed burger.FB_IMG_1493629898363

Jacqui made fish pie for the first time – this recipe uses cauliflower instead of potatoes – and went to the Dumpling Tree in Cambridge.FB_IMG_1494668643188

Leona went to some new hotels for a wedding and tried quail for the first time, and with the kids on their bike and scooter tried a new cool music venue pub that was on her list of things to try last year. As they’re Irish, it’s Tayto crisps all the way.

Viv and Dave found two new walks, one at the Aubrey Buxton Nature Reserve and the other near their home, West Wood.

Paul organised his first coach trip, for the Unite for Europe march in London.FB_IMG_1493629861856

Claire, Caroline, Hazel and I went for a clog dancing day! I think this might have been my first ever day school type thing, maybe someone will correct me. This was the 10th Camden Workshop Day, run by the Camden Clog Group, where we learnt the beginner routine on the Old Lancs Style – here is an example of it. It took place at Cecil Sharp House, and it was something we signed up to do while I was still something new every day – so by the time it actually came round I was a right moaning Minnie. I’m a horrible dancer, I’ve got a terrible memory and I wasn’t really sure I’d be able to keep it up for a whole day. But I needn’t have worried – it was SO MUCH FUN! We thought we’d manage with normal hard shoes but thankfully there were loads of spare clogs to borrow and it was worth it – although they took a LOT of getting used to and were easier to dance in than to walk in. The dance was built up of 8 different step patterns which we learnt one at a time – putting them all together was the tricky bit. Our teacher was lovely and patient, and was accompanied by an equally patient accordion player. There were three other groups there learning different, more advanced routines, and at the end of the day each group did a showcase and finally ALL of us did our routine together, which was very noisy and very fast!

I did some other new things in March:

  • Went to a clothes swap party (came home with these!)IMG_20170326_140709_kindlephoto-206491
  • Won a Workweek Hustle on my fitbitIMG_20170325_154736_kindlephoto-159046
  • Had a fantastic deep tissue massage, courtesy of Caroline at Caroline Mead Holistic Therapy
  • Started using Todoist Premium and Trello
  • Participated in a tombola in a shop (won this!)20170303_130325
  • Gave a train ticket to a stranger
  • Tried chestnut maran eggs20170308_195942
  • And seconded a candidate for an election!

I’ll be back soon with April’s theme – House and Garden New Things – and then I’ll be back on track!

Minimalist Game – a new project for Caroline

When I say ‘new’, this happened in February, and was inspired by Caroline’s project in January to get rid of one thing each day. Daily habits, games, bitesized chunks, chipping away – these are all good ways of getting something done without having to set aside entire weekends that never quite arrive. Let us know if you decide to try it! After a bit of an unintended break, I have got some new blog posts on the go but for now, here’s how Caroline did.

In February, I resolved to play the minimalist game. A decluttering technique to shift your house of stuff in addition to normal rubbish and recycling. It involves getting rid of one thing on the 1st, two things on the 2nd, and so on. Here’s how I got on.

1st: A sample bottle of a men’s eye cream.
Cream in the bin, bottle in the recycling. Why do I pick up this crap? Why do I then keep it?

2nd: A completely dried up bottle of mascara and an out of date face mask sample.
Product in the bin, bottles in the recycling. Ditto the above!

3rd: Three dried up bottles of mascara.
Applicator in the bin, bottles in the recycling. Who knew I was such a mascara fiend?

4th: Four disgraceful bras.
Into the rag bin at Arbury Court.

5th: Two disgraceful bras, three pairs of disgraceful pants.
In the rag bin at Arbury Court.

6th: Five pairs of holey tights, one pair of hold ups (bought for a 6-week burlesque class that I took part in at least four years ago).
In the rag bin at Arbury Court.

7th: Bikini top (bottoms long lost), pair of old pyjamas with holes in, very small ballet skirt, two charity running tops, two t-shirts I never wear.
All went to the EACH charity shop apart from the pyjamas, which went in the rag bin.

8th: Eight t-shirts I never wear.
To the EACH charity shop.

9th: Four t-shirts I never wear, one sparkly yet totally impractical belt, three bellydance hipscarves I never use, one white leotard.
To the EACH charity shop.

10th: One grey leotard, pair of hotpants bought for a dance show in 2005, one running top. All went to the EACH charity shop.
Five disgraceful bras, two pairs of disgraceful pants. To the rag bin.

11th: 11 holey socks to the rag bin.

12th: 12 holey socks to the rag bin.

13th: 13 holey socks to the rag bin

14th: 5 holey socks (rag bin), 2x pairs toe socks (EACH charity shop), 6 small bags of glitter (to Maria for her mum), hula fancy dress (EACH charity shop

15th: Pink scarf, blue skirt, skipping rope, shoulder bag, t-shirt, sparkly handbag, small purse, white shirt (EACH charity shop). 7 x back issues of International Therapist magazine (recycle bin).

16th: White shirt, 3x canvas bags, pink scarf, 3x shoulder bags, trousers (EACH charity shop), pair of disgraceful pants (rag bin), 7 Euro coins (spent in Italy).

17th: 12 Euro coins (spent in Italy), 5 pens (bin).

18th: 5 pens (bin), 4 musical lollies (left out for people at work to eat), 3 pairs of disgraceful pants (rag bin), 1 pair of ballet pumps, 1 pair of jazz shoes, 1 pair of black canvas ballet shoes, 1 pair of wooden sandals, 1 pair of boots, 1 umbrella (all to the EACH charity shop).

19th: 3 small bowls, 1 wooden tray, egg cup holder with spoon, 4 glass jars, 1 pair boxing gloves, dressing gown, 3 jackets, 2 dresses, 1 raincoat, 1 purple leotard (all EACH charity shop), 1 lip balm lid (bin).

20th: 1 hoodie, 1 jumper, 1 knitted bag, 1 fluffy bag, 1 dressing gown, 1 coat, 1 cap, set of hand warmers, 1x willy whistle, 5 lonely gloves, 1 pair of salopettes, 1 hat, 2 pairs of gloves, 2 bags (all to the EACH charity shop).

21st: 6 bags, 9 hats, 2 pairs gloves, 2 scarves, cycle helmet, pair rollerblades (all to the EACH charity shop.

22nd: Pair rollerblade pads, tea cosy (EACH charity shop), 1 bent earring, 1 tube of bubble confetti, 2 photocopies of sheet music, dead peacock feather, broadband setup guide, ruler with liquid inside, 3 calculators, walnut, rosemary and lemon handcream, sample of men’s aftershave, bookmark, 3 books, dead pen, 1 mug, charity fundraising kit, print sample.

23rd: Work organiser sheet (passed to a colleague), 4 DVDs, 8 books, running trousers (EACH charity shop), 2 dead pens (bin), 7 pieces of sheet music (recycling).

24th: 7 pieces of sheet music, boring work document from 2 years ago, printer sample (all recycle bin), 1 pair of disgraceful pants, old t-shirt (rag bin), picnic blanket (on shelf for colleagues to take), 12 papers (recycle bin).

25th: 3 papers, full notepad, restructure document, delegate list, festival programme, 14 papers, 4 pieces of sheet music (all in the recycle bin).

26th: 8 pieces of sheet music, asthma inhaler (expiry date: 2007), 4 pairs of disgraceful pants, dead electric toothbrush, pink coat hanger, broken yellow coat hanger, copy of New York Times, copy of Bat News, dead inhaler, blood donation aftercare leaflet, Boots giftcard with nothing on it, 3 bits of dead makeup, dead hairclip, free knitting pattern.

27th: 8 books, 1 bindi, 1 set of Spanish language fridge magnets, 1 dead pen, 11 papers, set of table cloths, puzzle from a cracker, RSPB Brand Book (out of date), 2 used envelopes.

28th: 1 business card, 2 picnic blankets, 2 coasters, 1 dead pen, jewellery care sheet, 1 annoying squeaky balloon, 1 set of post-it notes, 2 packets of RSPB bird-friendly coffee, 1 knitting pattern booklet free with a magazine, 1 guide to using the phone, RSPB Conservation Science leaflet, 7 pieces of sheet music, 7 papers.

Why I kept most of this stuff I have no idea. Why hang on to disgraceful bras, for example? I’m now 406 things lighter and the default state of my house is TIDY. This is definitely a new thing!

New Things Community: food

My challenge to my New Things Facebook group members in February was to try eating a new food or cooking with a new ingredient. Here are their contributions including some new recipes. A few actually took place this month – apologies to my New Thingers who may now feel cheated of their March new things!

Alison made rosemary and black pepper tagliatelle (with her pasta machine) with wild boar ragu one day, and made chicken and ham croquetas another day.

Emily made new biscuits using a recipe which was from the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch pack and which, it transpired through chat in my Facebook group, had been invented – get this – by our very own Caroline. Emily has also been trying lots of new things in her new slow cooker, one of which was this fragrant chicken curry – her 6 year old daughter said she was allowed to make this again, even though it had lentils and spinach in it.

Lauren made a Danish cake – a vanilla sponge with a crispy dark chocolate topping made with light brown sugar, cocoa powder, butter and cocoa nibs. ‘Looked angry, tasted lovely.’fb_img_1488123002845

Charlotte made lasagne, making all the sauces from scratch for the first time.

Jade made carrot cake – her first time baking with vegetables.

Liz ate Twix cheesecake.fb_img_1488738992819

Terry cooked choy sum. Here it is, stir-fried with red pepper, red onion, ginger and soy sauce.fb_img_1488123044343

Viv made lemon drizzle cake (a new recipe) and apple cake (not a new recipe but first time using Bramley apples in it).fb_img_1488123051584

Claire tried pomegranate, and also new recipes for lamb kebab and dressing. She was disappointed with the kebab and will revert to her old recipe but the dressing – fat free Greek natural yoghurt, garlic and lemon juice – was a winner.

Laura made pea and ham soup, the new aspect being using split peas for the first time. And she made scones with a missing ingredient, by mistake (forgot the baking powder from the recipe but they were still a success – they certainly look yum).fb_img_1488123329264

Sarah grated cheese using a garlic grater. She also tried to make cakes in the shape of Pokémon Go balls – she failed hilariously (her words, not mine).

Hazel ate a new cheese – Beacon Blue goats cheese. She also had a go at ‘Vegan Thursdays’ with mixed results and some midnight non-vegan snackage.

Rosa made her first dish using butternut squash, using this recipe.fb_img_1488123477994

Clair (of ‘new recipe every week‘ fame) made spiced veggie shepherd’s pie (pictured) and also this recipe for garlic mashed potatoes and this recipe for Moroccan chicken and lentil pies AND this recipe for lemon drizzle cake (also pictured).

My new things

If you’ve read my previous posts you’ll know I’m trying to keep up the new-thing-habit by trying to do a few key new things each month. I didn’t do very well in February:

  • A new crafty creation (my picture at Drink and Draw – see my previous post)
  • A new film at the cinema (fail)
  • A 2017 album (Jesca Hoop – Memories Are Now)
  • A classic album I’ve never listened to (Love – Four Sail)
  • A new recipe (another fail – this is quite unusual as I’m quite good at trying new recipes normally)
  • A running-based achievement (ran with a hangover)
  • A new place (The Emperor Pub in Cambridge and the new Café Nero at Cambridge station – I had intended this to be a more geographical theme but this will have to do)

My excuse is that it was a very short month and disappeared very quickly – another three days were probably all I needed!

The challenge theme in the Facebook group for March is to GO SOMEWHERE NEW. Let me know if you do this or any other exciting or boring new things – you don’t have to be in the group to join in, but if you would like to join it, you will be made to feel welcome by this lot!

 

New Things Community: work and other stuff

This year I set up a Facebook group for people who wanted to document their new things, or who still wanted to hear about mine). Last month I set a little challenge to do something new at work, and this month I have set a food-related challenge. Since everyone has also done lots of random and exciting new things, I’m saving the food for the next post – here you have the work things and all the rest.

Shannon quit her job. This wasn’t quite what I expected when I challenged people to do a new work thing but I’m assured this was a positive move. She also signed up for her first half-marathon, bought her first Filofax and learnt the words to Motorcycle Emptiness.

Emily joined her first webinar and hosted a Facebook party – both things connected to being a Phoenix trader.

Emma does lots of new work things as she not long ago set up her own business – two such things were asking some clients for testimonials and then adding these to her website.

Sally started a new job in December and only works one day a week, so is still doing many new things, such as using the meat slicing machine! Eek.

Leona volunteered to take on a new library special interest group project where she works. She also went to a new spa and started her cross-stitch kit (postponed from one of last year’s challenges).

Hazel was sheltered from the rain at the bus stop by a lovely lady (and her umbrella) who she didn’t know, who hugged her twice and who then did not even catch the bus. There are some nice people around. She also became chair of a committee at work! Hazel is actually doing lots of excellent new things this year but failing to write them down or provide me with a guest blog post so I am publicly shaming (encouraging) her here.

Lauren did her first Duathlon (today!)

Liz watched her catfish lay lots of eggs. It seems this story may have had a sad end so I will leave it there. She saw Lee Hurst, too.fb_img_1488122902563

Caroline and Terry both managed independently to get scam callers to hang up on them.

Caroline also went to The Crystal Maze in London and to an escape room in Knapwell. She made teas during our choir’s break – I was surprised to hear this sort of thing stresses her out (it’s the sort of thing that stresses ME out but I always assume I’m the only one who worries about such things) but she enjoyed it. She sent a sweary poem to her boss, forgetting that it had the ‘c’ word in it, and took on the role of admin person for her work’s choir. And, while doing a plank in her living room, she ended up with her face next to her boyfriend’s feet – so she licked his toe. I get the impression neither of them are hoping to repeat the experience any time soon. And she did a boobie dance at work (while getting changed in private into her sports gear but still, a new thing is a new thing and this is one that many of us could try).

Viv got a tattoo! For her 60th birthday. Jealous.

She also got this new feeder:fb_img_1488123417865

Claire signed up for her first 10k. And her little daughter Zoe acted on stage in front of an audience for the first time, in the local am dram production of Pan! I suspect the run-up to this involved lots of new things for them both.

Catherine went to a comedy club (at Club 99).

Rosa had her first Spanish class.

Sarah helped train a new colleague, and handed in the last assignment for her course. She also went to see her lovely daughter’s lovely art in an exhibition for the first time, being exhibited in a school she’d never been to. And her other lovely little daughter, after asking Sarah why a man was begging and sitting on the floor outside a shop and discovering the answer, gave him some money and a pizza-topped roll – I expect this won’t be a one-off new thing.

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Lovely Ella’s lovely art

Jade acted for the first time, taking part in a short film that will be shown in the cinema at a music festival in Bangor. And she made curtains!fb_img_1488123246078

My new things

Since my last post, here are some of the new things I have done:

  • Bought a thing from Gumtree (a washing machine, the first time I have ever bought one of these)
  • Went to a themed Drink and Draw event (the theme was ‘Folds’ so I drew a screwed-up receipt)
  • Went to The Emperor pub in Cambridge
  • Tried The Wandering Yak pop-up (delicious)
  • Went to a talk about Imposter Syndrome
  • Went to two new plays (From Ibiza to the Norfolk Broads and One Man, Two Guvnors)
  • Went to an exhibition in Ely cathedral – and gave someone a tour of the cathedral.

And finally, I did some of my own work new things, all connected to a (successful) job interview:

  • Read a document aloud to myself to check for errors
  • Submitted a job application online
  • Prepared a presentation and practised it, out loud, to myself (I have only ever done a few presentations in my life and I am so scared of them I have never managed to make myself practise them). I have never talked to myself so much in my life but it seems to be the only way
  • Went to an interview training session
  • Went into an interview being pleased with the amount of preparation I had done
  • Had an interview for a job I’d been doing already (as a secondment)
  • Did a presentation in an interview
  • Went out for brunch on my own (as a reward for going through with it all) – here is my yummy brunch, courtesy of The Old Bicycle Shopfb_img_1488139621638

Hooray for brave new things!

 

Daily throwaways and never-ending new things

Two stories for you.

Getting rid of new (old) things

Caroline, my guest blogger of yore, has begun a new daily project for 2017. I might join her for February!

I was inspired by Maria’s year of new things. And I’m doing my own take on it. Every day in 2017, I want to get rid of a new thing (in addition to usual rubbish and recycling). Let me give you a bit of background.

My house is full of crap.

This is due to a combination of several things.

  1. All the things I do for fun involve stuff: bellydancing, running (whoever said ‘all you need is trainers’ was taking part in a thought experiment), knitting, teaching music to kids, singing in choirs, playing the flute.
  2. I’m also a massage therapist which comes with its own collection of stuff.
  3. I don’t like throwing things in the bin as it seems wasteful.
  4. I have a idea that I can upcycle and reuse everything, but don’t get round to it.
  5. I’m quite untidy.
  6. I get given a lot of stuff. The kids I teach tend to give me one of the following three things: chocolates, body lotions and scented candles. If I don’t re-gift them or eat/use them immediately, they stay in my house for ages.

The result of this is that my house is full of crap.

So every day this year, I’m getting rid of one thing. I’ve decided to do it by theme, as that makes it easier to do systematically. I started off with toiletries. The thing about toiletries is that I often get given them by the kids I teach, but don’t really use them very much. It wasn’t until I started doing this challenge that I realised just how much I have.

To start with, it was easy. Body lotions go out of date (I wasn’t aware of this before, but they do!). Due to my aversion to throwing things away, I vaguely thought that I’d use them when my current one gets used up. However, once I actually investigated, most of the out-of-date body lotions smelt like death and a side helping of rot. That made it easier: I’d just empty the putrid cream into a bin, then wash out the bottle and put it in the recycling.

This went on for a couple of weeks. (Yes, a couple of weeks!) I was left with just two body lotions that were in date and didn’t smell awful. They’ll probably last me the rest of the year.

I collected all the unused scented candles I had (seven), and donated the lot to a local lady who collects gift sets, raffle prizes and unused toiletries for the Addenbrooke’s intensive care unit. Seven things in one go!

I also found I have 20 bottles of nail polish. This is something I tend to put on my toes if I fancy it, for bellydance classes and performances. I don’t even get through a bottle a year. That’s more than 20 year’s worth of nail polish, some in colours I don’t particularly like! Due to Maria’s New Things Challengey Group on Facebook [please join us. M], I found out that some women’s refuges take them. I liked the idea of this, so investigated, but it turned out that my local branch only takes them if they are unused with the seal intact. Something to bear in mind for the future, but here I had to rethink.

 I skimmed off the ones I do actually like (8 of them) and gave the rest away to a lady on a local gifting site called Life Is A Gift. This person was really happy and excited by the nail polishes. This lead me to thinking, how much stuff is in my house gathering dust, that someone else would appreciate more than me? Surely if that is the case, then it’s better to give it away?

It’s now the 31st January. I’ve shifted 47 things from my house. My house is still full of crap.

Time to step up a notch!

Through reading a bellydance blog I found out about the Minimalism Game. Basically, on the first day of the month you get rid of one thing. One the second, two. On the third, three. This will be my mission in February. Let’s see how I get on.

If I clear all the crap out of my house, there’s always my desk at work…

More new things for Maria

After a year and 23 days, I finally had a day off and did nothing new on 24 January.

  1. Stayed with my friend Sarah H at her house. She lives in Ashby-de-la-Zouche. New things (besides staying in her house) included getting the train there (to Leicester then Loughborough, both new stations for me and a new train route), visiting a new village (Wymeswold) and wandered round it, having lunch in a new pub (The Windmill Inn in Wymeswold) and being cooked for by Sarah (yum).
  2. Sarah gave me a tour of Loughborough University! I’ve never been there nor I have I had a personal tour of a university. And we explored Ashby properly – new streets, shops, pubs. I also watched a film on my laptop (when I got home).
  3. Ate tinned guava.
  4. Listened to an album released in 2017 (Sohn – Rennen).
  5. Tried root beer. Until recently, I had always been under the misconception that this was another name for ginger beer.
  6. Had a decaf espresso. Seems like a double negative but this particular one was very tasty, at least.
  7. Went to the newly opened Steak and Honour restaurant in Cambridge.
  8. Started using Todoist. Signed up for a Meet-up event in one of the new groups I joined.
  9. Made a new stew in my slow cooker (Lamb and Carrot Casserole with Barley).
  10. Used Todoist at work.
  11. NOTHING. End of an era (temporarily).
  12. Ate proper rice pudding and maple syrup peanut butter (not together, both tasty).
  13. I’m certain I did something today but I didn’t write it down. I will do this retrospectively when I remember what it was!
  14. Rapped a song at karaoke (not sure if Vanilla Ice counts).
  15. Roasted a duck. Disaster.
  16. Signed up for a 10k run. It’s at the beginning of April so might regret this one.

If you read my last post you will know I wanted to try and do the following things each month:

  • A new crafty creation (fail)
  • A new film at the cinema (A Monster Calls)
  • A 2017 album (Sohn)
  • A classic album I’ve never listened to (Rolling Stones – Exile on Main Street)
  • A new recipe (managed several)
  • A running-based achievement (hmm signed up for 10k…didn’t involve any actual running, did it?)
  • A new place (several in the Ashby area)

In my Facebook group I set a challenge for people to do a new thing at work, so my next post will be all about that!