Rants and Raves #5

And we’re mid-week! Hurrah! Can you believe it’s Christmas next week – as in next week? I’m pretty much in the “I love Christmas, it’s my favourite time ever” camp so I’m fairly excited right now. I know some people aren’t as keen on Christmas and it can be quite stressful, but I just really enjoy it – the atmosphere, family time, food (ALL THE FOODS), friends, music, films…I love it. Anyway, on to my rants and raves!

Rave: And on the theme of Christmas… Christmas jumpers! I’m a jumper lover and it really appeals to me on two levels: it’s Christmassy and it’s warm.

IMG_8781 From Matalan

Rant: Ben pretends he doesn’t like Christmas jumpers but I’m convinced there’s an excited little boy in there somewhere…

IMG_8789 From Tesco

I’m sure he loves wearing it really. But anyway, Christmas jumpers are amazing. It’s sad they’re only really socially acceptable around Christmas. And I lost my last jumper as I thoughtfully put it away last year…to an unknown location.

Rave: The gym! OK it is early days but I’m really enjoying the variety. I did (my gym’s version) of body pump, which isn’t the Les Mills one but is a very similar concept, at the weekend. The class worked on muscles that I had long been neglecting: shoulders, back, triceps, biceps, chest…it’s been a while. And my body made me full aware of that the next day as I was hobbling around like a 90 year old woman struggling with simple activities.

I also did a class called Pure Blast. It was 30 minutes of high intensity exercise. Basically you either sprinted on the treadmill or cycled madly on the bike for a set amount of time, then did a series of exercises like squats, burpees, sit ups, lunges, etc. before getting back on the bike. Non-stop for 25 minutes (5 minute cool down – or in my case, collapse on floor). This was followed by a core class which was run by the same monster guy. He did a very similar concept whereby you did a certain core move a set time and then moved quickly on to the next move. After peeling myself off the floor I realised I quite enjoyed it. My body didn’t know what had hit it – there was just so much variety!

Rant: My gym, I won’t lie, is one of the cheaper gyms (PureGym) but works brilliantly for me. It’s open 24 hours a day and has loads of different classes which are perfect for my schedule. It’s also massive so there’s never a chance of not getting a machine or set of weights. However it isn’t glamorous by anyone’s imagination and some people who go there (I am heavily generalising here as I know a lot of nice people who also go there) can be a bit intimidating and, for want of a better word, are a bit “rough” (I fully admit to to being a snob). This was proved as I came out of the gym and was cat-called by a bunch of guys also exiting. Me quickening up to get to my car just heightened their calling. Lovely.

Rave: Alfie. Need I say more?

IMG_8522 Alfie gives me hope that one day when I become a mother (*heart palpitations begin*) I will sink into the role easier than I think. I just love this fur ball more than words – even if he does decide to poo when his walk is 99% over and we’re well and truly past the poo bin.

Rant: OK this is something I’ve been meaning to post about. When Ben went to China (and Hong Kong) he asked me if there was anything I’d like him to bring back. I said some Chinese sweets as I was intrigued what they’d be like. Verdict?

IMG_8546 Not sweet at all. In fact, there were these so-called ginger sweets (actually I have no idea what they were called at all as the description is in another language) which blew my head off! The after burn was ridiculous. I was bitterly disappointed. You live and learn.

Rave: Hey check me out posting not one but two ‘outfit of the day’ photos in one post! I used to do this a while ago but then stopped because…well, I’m actually devoid of any style and my clothes are quite boring. But I was quite proud of this outfit. If you think it looks stupid/ugly, please don’t tell me as I want to continue to live in my fantasy world… 😉


Jumper from Matalan, skirt very old stolen from sister years ago, socks from River Island, necklace and boots I can’t remember (this is possibly another reason why I don’t post my outfit that often)

I much prefer summer to winter but winter does have the benefit of long boots and layering. And long socks! They were so toasty. Almost typed “tasty” (food is never far from my mind clearly).

Rant: Working from home is amazing. However deciding to “chance” doing an update on my computer in the morning before I started work was not wise.

IMG_8788 I started it at 8.30am and it didn’t finish until 1pm. I kid you not. I felt terrible because obviously I couldn’t do any work. My manager was aware and it had happened to someone else in the office the other day so it wasn’t really an issue. I pottered about doing chores and bits and bobs. I suppose you could say that’s a good thing – but I’m the type of person who when genuinely sick and can’t go to work is convinced they’ll think I’m lying or taking liberties. I hate people thinking I’m dossing about or not doing my job. I got what I needed to do done for the day though so it wasn’t too bad in the end.

Rave: I’ve done my one month free of Kindle Unlimited. I downloaded (for free) and read Thorn Birds (wowza is that an epic love saga or what! Slightly creepy as well) and the The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window (absolutely fantastic – very dry and sarcastic humour but this really appealed to me).

I also downloaded Life of Pi and Great Expectations as audio books and listened to these in the car on the way to and from work. I loved Life of Pi and really recommend it. I chose Great Expectations as I don’t think I’ve read a Charles Dickens before and thought I really probably should. It was over 11 hours long though!

I decided I was going to cancel my Kindle Unlimited account though as I didn’t think £7.99/month was worth it. I do read a lot of books but I usually aim for the cheaper ones and there wasn’t enough audio book selection to keep me interested there. This meant that I had to listen to Great Expectations quite often towards the end of the free month as when you cancel Kindle Unlimited they remove the Unlimited content from your devices. Though I’ve managed to duck this so far by not connecting my Kindle to WiFi (sneaky, sneaky), but for my phone (where I listen to the audio books) this was impossible.

Anyway long story short: I enjoyed Kindle Unlimited but I’d prefer to spend £7.99 a month at Audible where you get a free audio book from a huge selection every month. I did enjoy Great Expectations though – even if Dickens often decided to use 12 words when one would have sufficed.

Do you enjoy reading/listening to audio books? I love getting through twice as many books by using my ‘dead time’ when I’m commuting to listen to something.

Have you ever tried “foreign” sweets before? Generally I’ve had good experiences but I think this is because I’ve always had more “Westernised” sweets.

Are you a Christmas jumper lover or hater?

10 Replies to “Rants and Raves #5”

  1. I absolutely love audio books (and Audible – it’s my weapon of choice too), and I actually prefer them to reading tangible books. My concentration span is just terrible, and I can’t seem to focus on many books any more from a visual perspective (excluding the four I mentioned in my last post). I dislike focusing on one specific task (hence I’ll be watching YouTube videos while blogging and there will usually be music on in the background as well) and reading really does require all of your focus. Audio books are brilliant for me because I can listen to them while running, blogging etc. and I always seem to retain information far more effectively when I listen to it vs. having to read it. I’ve seen some snobbery about listening to books rather than reading them, and I don’t understand that at all. Everyone learns and appreciates media in different ways…it’s so elitist and arrogant to suggest that one is superior to the other.

    I think China/Japan don’t really go in for sweets…they don’t have any part of a meal designated as ‘dessert’ and so I can understand why those candies might not have tasted as one would expect. It does go some way towards explaining why China and Japan never had an obesity problem until the rich started adopting Western eating habits though! Their consumption of animal products has also gone through the roof – it’s really sad to see as the traditional diet in China and Japan (obviously there are variations between the two countries – I’m speaking broadly here) is so much healthier than ours.

    Ben’s face in that sweater is an absolute classic. I suspect I would have the same expression if I had to pretend to be Xmassy 😉

    Jess recently posted…The Power of FourMy Profile

    1. That’s so interesting that you say you can do multiple things at once. I can listen to music while I work – but as long as the work I’m doing doesn’t require lots of ‘deep thinking’ and working out problems. In that case I need to listen to lyric-less music (usually movie music is my favourite) – this was the same when I was revising at university. And with blog writing I can listen to anything. But I couldn’t listen to an audio book as I think my brain would just get overloaded and confused – I’d either end up writing a rubbish blog post (or at least badly worded and grammatically all over the place) or I wouldn’t hear what was going on in the book.
      I think you’re absolutely right about Japan and China. There just isn’t that culture. I read a blog post from Run Eat Repeat when she went to China and she said the sweets just weren’t sweet at all. I was more curious than anything I suppose and it has just closed that curiosity completely now!

  2. I love Christmas jumpers, although I like the wintery ones better (like yours) instead of the whole santa sort of ones. I do have some Christmas t-shirts from New Look as they were £7 each and I have worn them quite a bit (at work we have some excuses- Christmas play day, Christmas party day, last day of term etc).
    I loved reading the 100 year old man- very dry like you say. There is a film of it but I am not sure if the humour would come across that well.
    Glad you are enjoying the gym too- I love classes like that, well, I love body pump and because each track is different the time seems to fly too.
    I tried cinnamon sweets from America ones- yuck- they were sort of spicy and weird, not nice cinnamon at all, more like menthol or something- never again!
    Maria @ runningcupcake recently posted…Avoiding the shops and visiting the spaMy Profile

    1. Yeah I think there are some very silly ones out there which can only really be worn to Christmas-themed occasions. I like ones I can actually wear day-to-day leading up to Christmas.
      I heard the review of the 100 Year Old Man and I don’t think Kermode rated it very highly – like you said, it didn’t translate well as a film. I actually watched the trailer online yesterday to see what I thought and it didn’t appeal at all. I think it just works perfectly as a book.
      Urrrghh cinnamon sweets sound horrific!

  3. I’ve got 100 year old man on my Kindle app but no idea when I’ll have time to read it! I was just talking to my parents about Hersheys Chocolate, I brought some back from NYC ages ago and they hated it! I do still like those American Candy stores though, Reeces Cups all the way!

    1. American chocolate is the WORST. But they do do some amazing ‘rubbish’ food out there otherwise – stuff we can only dream of!
      I really recommend 100 Year Old Man (when you get a chance!). It’s a very light and easy book but also very funny.
      AnnaTheApple recently posted…Rants and Raves #5My Profile

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