February has been really, really busy. Looking back, I can’t believe how much I did in such a short space of time. Back at the start of the month, Joe and I drove to Loughborough to visit his brother and we saw my dad in the services on the way – which was weird. I’ve tried a lot of new things this month, most notably ice skating and jujitsu. A rink just opened in Leeds which is about 40-50 minutes away in the car and I’ve skated 3 or 4 times in the last few weeks – I’ve even bought myself a fairly cheap pair of skates. It’s not something I’ll ever take seriously in terms of training but I definitely love it and want to improve. As for jujitsu, Joe’s been going for years and one evening the plans I thought I had fell through, leaving me unbusy. I tagged along and, despite pain in every muscle in my body the next day, I’ve kept it up. I’ve always wanted to train in a martial art of some sort and it’s silly that it’s taken until now to start. I’m obviously not very good but everyone has to start somewhere and the group is a really positive place to be.
Second weekend in, I had my two yearly retest at work – to say I was nervous is an understatement. Even though I knew that I still had all the skills and knowledge to pass, I love my job and even the slightest possibility that I might not be able to continue doing it was a terrifying thought. I was lucky to be doing it with the people I usually work with and a couple of others who I already know, so it just felt like our usual monthly staff training once I got over my nerves. We all passed and quickly resumed business as usual – after a particularly long split shift the next week some of us almost wished we didn’t pass!
I’ve seen a lot of live music this month, which is one of my favourite ways to spend money. One of my favourite places for small gigs is Brudenell Social Club. Hundredth were booked as my first gig of the year, but, all for the price of one ticket, we got to see three bands before them, all of which were incredible. Big Spring in particular were on par with, (if not better than), the headline act. The other two bands, Beauty School and Heart of Gold, were amazing as well. They were all so unique and yet in a similar genre, so I loved them.
Seeing Sam Fender in Newcastle, his hometown, after he unfortunately had to postpone the gig several times, was amazing. The original gig was on 21st December and my mum bought us tickets as a Christmas present, which was awesome. The O2 Academy is a really cool venue and he and his band were amazing on stage. I loved the banter he had with the crowd! It was definitely worth the wait. Photos simply can’t capture the atmosphere!
Last Friday night Joe and I were in Leeds to see Inhaler in the uni SU, which I hadn’t been to before. It was slightly bigger than Brudenell, with this awesome basement vibe going on. Note to self though: heels next time. As you might be able to tell from the photos, I struggled to see! The crowd was INSANE and the band has serious energy on stage. They were supported by a band called FEET, who I’d never heard of before but I liked them a lot. They seemed quite old-school in a way I can’t quite put my finger on.
In the news
Sadly, the headlines this month have been dominated by news of the Coronavirus and Caroline flack’s passing, which sparked a lot of heated debate online. I had such mixed feelings about the discourse surrounding her death that I struggle to understand it myself, never mind put into writing, so I won’t even try. In the space of 28 days the Coronavirus has spread almost completely around the world, and with it my panic has risen steadily. I’m not one to sensationalise and at first the scare-mongering in the news angered me, but as the month worse on I think it’s become increasingly obvious that the worldwide response to the outbreak has been, in short, pathetic. There’s a line between governments being cool, calm and collected, and simply useless, and failing to repatriate and/or quarantine citizens effectively and compassionately is clear evidence that we’re on the wrong side of that line.
I’m trying to read one book a month, but at the start of this month it didn’t look like that would happen. I’ve managed to save it in the last couple of days though, because So Lucky by Dawn O’Porter was such an incredible read that I almost didn’t put it down until it was finished. Even then, I kind of wanted to read it again. You know the sort of book that makes you late for work and when you’re at work you aren’t really because you’re mind is still lost in the book? I haven’t read one like that for a while. I was so engrossed in the characters, their lives, their families, what they might do next. For anyone interested, it’s a kind of study on how no one’s life is perfect, regardless of the facade that they may present to the world. The characters spanned a range of ages and situations, but what I loved was that they were all modern working women, in completely different jobs and yet with a lot in common somehow. It dealt with tricky parent-child relationships, the devastating effects of squashed grief, and marriages that aren’t always as perfect as they seem.
On a very different topic, I also started reading Unnatural Causes by Dr Richard Shepherd, a renowned forensic pathologist. I found this on Abe Books a while ago and although it’s a bit gruesome, it’s also a fascinating read. I picked this out for myself, while my mum bought me the other book for Christmas. I would never have bought it myself, which is why I love receiving books as gifts.
I’ve published five posts this month: a travel itinerary for my favourite city in Spain, two more blogging interviews with Sunset Desires and Crossroadadventure, and a fun one where I answered 30 questions about various topics.
I’ve also read a lot of blog posts. I’ve particularly enjoyed Buffalo Sauce Everywhere’s post about deciding your future career, and Marta’s posts about how life is short and this one about all sorts of social issues. This post about travelling with her dad from Teaspoon of Adventure touched me a bit, and Life With Meredith has a lovely post about loving yourself on Valentine’s Day – which was of course the cause for a lot of hype this month. Anthropological Artistry also posted what I think is a very important message about Struggling with Comparison, and finally, this one by Rosie Culture about life’s strange and sometimes sad milestones is a great read.
I set up a Youtube account with my blogging email address to keep up with videos from blogs I follow and I’ve especially loved watching Lucy’s travel vlogs. She’s got some great content on there and she’s also a lovely human being.
Elsewhere on the web
I can’t remember why it came up, but a conversation with Joe led me to a Google search which threw out this article about how “the average person” used in industry testing is…not actually that average at all.
My new-found interest in skating led me to Michelle Khare’s video where she trained like a figure skater for 8 weeks. While watching it I came across my new favourite quote, from Lloyd Eisler: If you’re not living on the edge, you’re taking up too much room.
All in all, it’s been one hell of a month. Looking forward – the countdown is now on for my trip to Ecuador and Peru. I fly out on 6th March and return on 4th April, and I don’t know what my blogging timetable will be like. I do hope to be active on Instagram though, so you can follow me there to stay up to date!
Thanks all for reading – how was your February?