New Things Challenge Week 4: fitness/sport and culture

Everyone has risen to the challenge to do new things again, including some people I don’t know, which is so exciting! And I made a better stab at sticking to the themes myself this time, too, although you’ll have to wait until the end of the month for that. As usual, the themes are just a bit of a nudge and I like to hear about all the unrelated new things people have done, too – I hope you enjoy reading about them. I’ve used some of their words this time so you don’t get bored of me talking. This took place during the week beginning 3 September.

Sarah H

Saturday – bought my first pair of ‘skinny’ jeans – they aren’t that ‘skinny’ just more fitted than my usual style and therefore this action took some courage! I think this falls into the culture category rather than fitness. 

Sunday – went to the Quad (think arty cinema place with a gallery and a cafe) in Derby city centre to meet some strangers. I’ve never been to Derby city centre never mind the Quad. Oh and I wore my new jeans. Culture, culture, culture. 

Monday – made spiced plum jam. The first time I have made spiced plum jam. In fact the first time I have ever made jam.  See photo as proof of endeavours. 
Tuesday – treated myself and bought my first mattress topper! Nothing to do with your theme and feels a bit extravagant but my bed is now so so so soft. 
Emily has set herself a Great British Bake Off Challenge and each week is attempting one of the recipes featured in the programme. This week was jaffa cakes – for pictures of these delights and her other ventures, see her Facebook page!
I am CEO of my own arts charity which means that I deal with a zillion new things every day, such is the job being so varied and unpredictable, so I neglect trying new things in my personal life. This week I bought a set of 3kg dumbells and am learning an arm exercise routine. It’s hard but have used them every day so far and really enjoy it. There is a real sense of achievement about doing 3 x 10 reps I never thought I would experience! For me trying a new thing is about starting something that I can then build into my life to make it better every day in future. I get so many new things at work I can feel bombarded – it actually means that often you tend not to ‘try’ in free time and can limit yourself with restrictions. I’m really pleased I tried something new, and lasting which was initially intimidating – weights / dumbells felt very scary initially but its a much more relaxing way to work out than I thought.
I started thinking about how my free time can get a bit set into routine as I have such a busy working life with more new things than I need! So this weekend I tried a new thing – breaking set routines and being spontaneous. Yesterday I visited two bookshops and a street market rather than just doing household chores as I normally would. On a free Sunday if I have no plans, I will usually go for a bike ride and a walk, but it can feel like a token nod to activity rather than proper relaxation. So today I went for a 5 mile bike ride, but on a new route and took time to stop and enjoy the sun and the vista. On my walk I also took a new route through a famous cemetery near where I live in central London. So I got to relax, unwind, enjoy the amazing sun and see this area through fresh eyes. A great result!!
  • Made a yummy mixed bean bake from a Mary Berry recipe
  • Helped her son, 4, to ride his bike with no stabilizers
  • Bought and started a new jigsaw
  • Bought a ‘paint by numbers’ (which she didn’t have time to start because of  the 1000-piece jigsaw)
  • Went to a new restaurant
  • Read a new book – ‘Longevity’ by Cameron Diaz
  • Went to Dublin Zoo to see a new baby think and the new orangutan habitat
  • Took her daughter for her first day at pre-school
  • Had a gym class date with her hubby
  • Had a new breakfast – egg with chilli, avocado and sourdough bread
 Laura and family went to the fire station open day and the boys pretended to be firemen.
Paul organised a protest march – and then went for a walk with 500 new friends.

Jane went on a two-day kayaking expedition. And picked blackberries after work! And spent an evening talking to her Argentinian airbnb guest about Argentinian and South American history.

Claire A tried motocross at MX Try Out in Newmarket – and bought a hula hoop!

  • did a tour of Senate House
  • made chicken katsu curry from scratch
  • followed a YouTube video of abs exercises in the gym.
Adam saw a new film – ‘Hell or Highwater’.
Claire C did some fitness things. She restarted her Couch to 5k which wasn’t new but she’d had to stop before and this challenge inspired her to start again, which is nice! New route, new routine, new sunrises. With her family she walked to pocket park in Ely, a walk they hadn’t done together before – the seven-mile trek was the furthest her children had walked. Another walk to Ely involved the new things of being in Ely on a Sunday, and walking with some different friends. These are the sorts of new things that you can do without registering them, so I think Claire has reached new levels of new-things-appreciation. And that isn’t the end…she spent a blissful and unprecedented two hours alone weeding her allotment, and went to her first allotment AGM! And went to bootcamp in the evening instead of her usual morning session. AND she made Slimming World friendly keema curry AND…dampfnudeln! And (IT NEVER ENDS) in the bonus day I gave everyone, she took her daughter to the theatre – the end of the pier show at Cromer.
Caroline returned some library books that she’d had for fifteen years. She also did the Color Run at the O2 – she’s done a Color Run before but not with her partner Chris, who has only just started running and was faster than her. They then went to the Bjork Digital exhibition at Somerset House.
Shannon went to London Zoo.
Sally went shopping without the children – not new but it’s been a while and bought some new trainers…and came home to find her family had made something new: spaghetti! fb_img_1474182115257
Terry and Neil (a.k.a. parents) went to a new exhibition at the Fitzwilliam Museum: ‘Colour – The Art and Science of Illuminated Manuscripts’.20160909_131149_resized
Lauren was in a film – this lovely film (she’s running – she’s always running) – and watched a documentary she’d been meaning to watch for ages: ‘My Beautiful Broken Brain‘.
Catherine had her first child-free day when her son started reception, and then planned their dinners for the week and went shopping – tasks usually undertaken by her husband.

Jade made roti bread, pairing it with (among other things) a fine Blanquette de Limoux brought back from her French holiday.

Liz ran her second ever half-marathon. The new aspects of this were:
  • New race and route (Lea Valley Park)
  • Tracked online
  • Ran the whole thing
  • Met at finish line by family and dogs
  • Handed a glass of Prosecco at the end.


She also played pass-the-parcel with a group of grown women when the local WI group was let down by a speaker.

Sarah P has been watching The Tudors on Netflix and decided to research anything that was mentioned which she didn’t know about – e.g. ‘ The Dauphin’ and ‘consumption’. She went to the British Museum and an exhibition at the British Library…not new except she went with ME, which was new, and went to Audley End House and Gardens, which involved a nice long walk in a new place so a bit on each theme, plus some chilli theft, which I do not condone – perhaps she could return them after fifteen years, Caroline-style.

Charlotte did her first run from the Couch to 5k programme since injuring her knee, inspired by her mum (Liz) and her cousin (yours truly). Yay!

Rosa filled her bookcase in her new home, went for a walk in her new neighbourhood, and gave a presentation to 160 new international students about Dutch culture.
As Jacqui is going to be my guest blogger for September, I’ll leave you with a teaser from her.

The next Challenge Week will be 3-9 October with the themes ‘Learning and Skills’ and ‘International’.


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