All the fun of flu

I took this photo of me today. The sun is shining, sky is blue and I am outside! Not much to celebrate you might think but this is the first time in six days I have been able to manage it. You see last Thursday without warning or consideration I was struck down with the worst bout of flu I have ever suffered. Much of the first 24 hours were spent completely unconscious and any time awake was spent desperately wishing for sleep to return in order to banish the pain.

With other family members in the house whom I did not want to infect, I was quarantined to the top level of our town house. That said given I could barely crawl to the bathroom and back there’s no way I’d have made it downstairs. So for three and a half days I was tucked away in bed, time that would have been much worse were it not for the company of Netflix. However with the vast variety of things to watch on Netflix why I felt the need to catch up on American Horror Story I’ll never know. Let me tell you that that show + a fever = some seriously unpleasant dreams. I’ll have to rewatch at some point so I can distinguish between what was the show and what wasn’t. I should have watched more anime, although to be fair that could have caused some equally distressing dreams.

By Monday I was desperately missing my kids which moved me to make it downstairs in the afternoon. It wasn’t an easy task, I needed 2 naps and an early night to recover from it! Tuesday I focused on eating to recover some strength. I had been doing my best to eat but everything tasted of nothing and I had no appetite. Proven by the fact not only were there Jaffa Cakes still in the house, they were unopened. Which brings us to today, where this post started with my epic achievement of getting dressed and going outside.

This isn’t my first run in with flu, though I will say it’s my worst. I’m annoyed that I never got round to getting the flu jab. Could have been £9 well spent and a week of my life back. Still it might not have done any good as I’ve heard it’s useless against some strains, like Australian and Japanese. It would have been even more annoying to pay for the jab and still come down with flu. I’m extremely grateful I don’t have any other health problems that could have complicated things and that I have such fantastic in laws who have been such a fantastic help getting the kids to school and back so my husband hasn’t needed to miss work.

Have you been stricken down with flu yet this winter? If not take care as I hope it stays that way for you. And if you have, well you have my every sympathy because it sucks. It sucks so much.

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2018 Preview

Having reviewed 2017 in my last post it’s time to look ahead to this year. We did a lot of travelling and events last year spending more than we have done on such things in years; whilst we had an amazing time doing it all we’re not eager for more of the same this year. Our sights are still on a big holiday to Florida in 2021 so this year is definitely about boosting our savings and probably forgoing a holiday this year. Not that this year will be a barren wasteland of nothing, we’ve a couple of friend’s weddings to attend, my 30th birthday is in the summer, I defnitely want to attend a con or two, then of course Dan & Phil have a tour later in the year that I desperately want to attend, oh and we need to decorate the downstairs toilet.

Our big treat of the year is going to be indulging in a Nintendo Switch. Given that modern gaming relies a lot on downloads and a decent internet connection our previous poor service made it pointless buying anything. That lesson was thoroughly learnt through my purchasing The Sims 4 and suffering insanely long download times every update (and by insanely long I’m talking hours), which usually coincided with every time I actually wanted to play. Anyway the promise we made ourselves was that as soon the internet was improved we would treat ourselves. We are also interested in a PS4 pro but want a new tv to go with that, which means we’d have to change the layout of the living room, buy a new sofa, redocrate and so on so the it’s The Switch first.

My personal new year resolutions include:

Reading More – I don’t feel like I read enough last year, I always borrowed plenty of books from the library but they always just sat there until they were due back. My aim is to read 12 this year, giving myself the target of one a month which I think is plenty reasonable.

Gaming more – I’ve always enjoyed gaming but I’ve never really been all that comitted to it, it’s always felt out of my reach. Growing up we never had games consoles, not until I was a teenager at least and even then we were never up to date with other people. I’ve always been envious when listening to be people be nostalgic over childhood gaming and hearing friends chat about modern gaming. Not anymore though, I enjoy gaming so I will game and not only that I will allow my kids to game and enjoy the bonding time that comes with playing together that I wish I could have had when I was younger.

Art more – I enjoy drawing but I could definitely do with more practice. I’d like to progress past just copying images, working more on drawing my own things and developing a personal style. Inktober has become one of my favourtie things and it’d be nice to go into that having practiced more beforehand rather than using it as the only drawing I really do all year.

Sing more – Whilst I do enjoy singing, I miss choir, this is more of a front for justifying new speakers, especially some showerproof ones so I can sing in the shower. I mean I could sing anyway, I just want new speakers.

Keep up with anime – I have enjoyed my venture into anime through Crunchyroll and it has always been a background interest. Previously I usually relied on the recommendations of others, rarely seeking out things to watch by myself or taking an interest in the industry beyond watching the odd series. I also kind of prefer it because episodes are usually only 20 minutes long which means I can watch more in the free time I have. Therefore I will be keeping my Crunchyroll premium account and I have also subscribed to Neo magazine.

So there you have it hopefully in a year’s time I will post about how I’ve managed to keep to all those things and that I am better for it. I am not the best at allowing myself to enjoy things for me so these goals are to really push me into accepting that I can relax, have hobbies and past times and that really there’s nothing stopping me developing interests except myself.

Let’s catch up

Happy New Year! I hope the first week of 2018 has been good to you and if not I hope it improves soon. I realise it has been, quite a while since I last posted but I am back in the zone for blogging and it seems fitting to write a catch up post before launching into everything new I want to write about.

Lets think, last time I was active the fandom du jour was The Walking Dead, which up until the end of Season 7 I really enjoyed. However Season 8 bored me to tears. I could barely bring myself to watch it and do not get me started on how the mid season finale ended! Needless to say it is no longer my favourite and when the show returns in February I will not be in a rush to watch. I will however continue to read the comics.

Fortunately before I fell out of love with the show I was able to attend the London Walker Stalker Convention where these happened:

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It was awesome, I had a fantastic time and maybe I’ll do a seperate post about it around the time of the con this year.

All sorts of things filled the rest of my 2017, it really was a year of new interests and fandoms. I discovered the art of hand lettering, got really in to gardening and improving our outside space. My exercise focus progressed past just being afraid of zombies, I did lots of drawing and art oh and we got pet guinea pigs!

Having discovered the solo work of Frank Iero at the end of 2016 I was thrilled to be able to see him perform live three times in 2017; supoorting Taking Back Sunday in February, on stage at Slamdunk festival in May and headlining his own tour in October. It’s not often I take interest in music outside of what I listened to when I was 16 but after the news of his bus crash I gave his recent stuff a listen and was hooked! I absolutely adore the album Parachutes and it’s definitely my soundtrack to 2017.

As for TV shows 2017 belonged to anime. Our internet for the last two and a half years has been too slow to cope with streaming. No Netflix, iplayer or anything so I thought. However I then discovered that Crunchyroll would stream in standard definition with no problems and by no problems I mean on the PC, connected to the modem by the ethernet cable with the wi-fi on every other device in the house switched off. Starved of entertainment that wasn’t regular TV, anime became my life and I took the opportunity to catch up with some I’d heard of like Attack on Titan and Yuri On Ice as well as some other that took my fancy such as Noragami and 91 Days. I also took the opportunity to get the kids interested in it which with the help of bizzarely, cute anime like Bananya was easy. Oh and I also ended up getting two anime related tattoos.

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I am happy to report that as of December 6th 2017 though the internet in our area has been upgraded to fibre and is now 100x faster than it used to be. Netflix is back in our lives, I have finally seen all of Stranger Things, taken to Rick & Morty and created a “to watch” list that’ll keep me busy for at least the next decase while I catch up on what everyone else has already seen.

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Lastly a round up of some of the awesome family stuff we did, the big thing of the year was our summer holiday to Paris. For their 30th birthday a friend wanted to visit the Eiffel Tower so naturally I concluded if we were going all that way we might as well do Disneyland Paris too. Travelling with children is never easy and I was esepcially nervous as to how our eldest with Autism Spectrum Disorder would cope but we all totally bossed it!

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We also attended a local con and a not so local con. My lovely family endured the worst road trip we have ever suffered, even worse than travelling all the way to Disney and Paris, to travel 174miles north to Leeds so that I could queue for over 5 hours to meet Gerard Way for a minute. Having been a huge fan of Gerard since 2005 it was incredible and absolutely worth every second. I also got to meet some of the awesome artists I follow on Instagram and discover some new ones as well. I am disappointed we live so far away as it’s an incredible convention that I would definitely recommend.

Then in November we travelled to London for our eldest’s birthday, we checked out some sights, did some shopping, had a night in a hotel and then visited the Science Museum, where there was an exhibit with a Gameboy and I felt the oldet I have ever felt in my entire life.

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I know on a world wide scale 2017 wasn’t the best year with a lot to be stressed and distressed about but I feel like I made the most of it and am looking forward to what 2018 brings.

So that’s it! If you’ve made it all the way to the end here you are all caught up with what’s been going on with me and I hope you’ll check back for my future blog posts which hopefully won’t be another year away!

Finally a FitBit!

So back in March & April I made a few posts about how watching The Walking Dead made me very conscious about how horrendously unfit I am and how that will hinder (kill) me in a future apocalypse. Initially I really wanted a Fitbit, convinced it would entirely solve all my problems but I managed to talk myself out of it, telling myself to first try several free apps that provided similar services. Anyways as with all things I take to very intensely the exercising burnt out fairly quickly yet I have still felt myself umming and ahhing over getting a FitBit. Especially after I found this buzzfeed article about how someone tried using a FitBit to help them study and hopefully improve their anxiety.

Well long story short, as you’ve probably worked out, I finally bought a FitBit. I received some money for my birthday which I decided to use towards getting one. I knew I wanted one that measured your heart rate, mostly for anxiety monitoring purposes, but didn’t need an overly fancy one more aimed at more serious exercisers who want things like GPS as well. Therefore I settled on the FitBit Charge HR.

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Whilst it is quite bulky I am actually quite impressed with how well it fits, usually I avoid all watches, bracelets and wrist wear because mine are so tiny nothing ever fits properly but this is satisfactorily snug. I have only had it since Sunday but by mid afternoon Monday I had stopped being aware of it on my wrist.

Having only had it a couple of days I’m still getting to grips with it all but so far there’s a lot to like and I can see why these things are so popular. It is brilliantly customisable and very informative. Living in a 3 storey house I knew I was up and down the stairs a lot but I was amazed just how quickly I racked up the acheivement of 10 floors on the FitBit (it has something inside it which can tell when you are going up in elevation and a floor = 10feet  in one go). I also really appreciated the email medals of achievement and the little buzz party you get on your wrist when you have completed your 10,000 steps for the day.

Not being stranger to MyFitnessPal the food diary part of it is nothing new or exiting but I do prefer FitBit’s seperate water drinking record. The sleep monitor is another feature I’m really keen on as I often don’t sleep well and getting up with children in the night I am honestly intrigued as to how much sleep I actually get. It told me that Sunday night whilst I was asleep from 23.18 – 06.47 I only managed 7hours and 5 minutes sleep as I was up 3 times and restless 13 detracting 24minutes from my overall sleep. Seeing the graph and where the sleep interruptions were was cool. Infact all the graphs and details are rather cool even if I’m still not sure what all of them are, they look impressive enough.

Overall I am very impressed but at the same time aware it’s a new and fancy gadget, the real test is how I’m doing with it in a week, a month and whether it’s still a thing in a year. I can also see how easily you could become overly obsessed and invested in micromanaging your life through this. For the moment I don’t have any friends added so will not be partaking in any of the challenges or comparing acheivements; in fact I might avoid ever doing that as I am definitely the sort of person who would end up feeling inadequate and over doing it to try and keep up with them despite knowing some of them regularly work out and train for events. It seems there is a delicate balance between using the FitBit to help you and letting it run you. Hopefully I find the right one and I look forward to writing more about it.

 

Birthday Times!

Just before the weekend it was my birthday! I love my birthday, it’s almost as good as Christmas, almost. I have no qualms about getting older, instead choosing to appreciate the fact that I have lived another year and it’s the one day a year I force myself to bask in me. As someone who is quite reserved with a sensitive self esteem and a pandora’s box full of painful birthday memories it is no easy feat to accept that yes on this one day a year I am the best damn thing on the planet and deserve every last moment of egotistiacal self indulgent glory. I am getting there and I honestly think that this year was the best yet.

The day started with a lie in, which if you have any experience with children, you’ll know is quite possibly one of the best luxuries in the world. Not that I slept in long, I was too excited and not at all disappointed when I came downstairs to all this.

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Now traditionally on birthdays we have birthday pancakes but given I am the one who cooks them, this was not going to be the case today. Nope, as it was my birthday I was treated to my ideal breakfast of fruit smoothie, Twinnings tea and an almond croissant.

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Almond is quite possibly my favourite thing in the world, marzipan, amaretto, roast almonds, frangipane basically if it’s almond flavoured I love it! After breakfast came the epic task of actually opening all the presents and I was thoroughly spoilt. As you’ll know this year I became a big fan of The Walking Dead and a certain red neck, crossbow wielding bad ass so it probably isnt surprising to see he made up a large part of gifts received.

But it wasn’t exclusively Daryl/TWD gifts I received, I was also lucky enough to receive  some wonderful other things as well.

After presents I settled myself down on the sofa to enjoy a morning of daytime TV on the BBC, something I havent been able to do for nearly two years! There are many who complain about the quality of such programmes but I really enjoy them, maybe because I dont get to watch them often. There was Countryside 999, Homes Under The Hammer, Fake Britain, Neighbourhood Blues and Bargain Hunt, it really is the simple things in life that are the best.

Now the plan was to go out for a picnic but the weather had been looking questionable for a few days and I ended up not wanting to tempt fate so we stayed home for lunch however it looked alright for the afternoon so we decided to head out for the afternoon. Our destination was a village in the Cotswolds called Blockley, this is where a lot of the show “Father Brown” is filmed and has been on my ‘to visit’ list since I started watching earlier this year. I’m so glad we did as there were some glorious views on the way, considering our close proximity to the Cotswolds we really don’t explore enough of it and the village itself was lovely. I really enjoyed recognising the places used in the show and our time in the village. We visited the local cafe and played on the green before heading home for tea which was pizza.

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After the kids were in bed it was time to watch the film I had as a present in the morning, “Hello Herman” starring Norman Reedus which was one of the best films of his I have seen. Even my husband admitted it was good and he is rather anti Reedus. I will get round to writing about the film in a Friday review so won’t say too much here. By the end of the film it was quite late and after a truly wonderful day it was finally time for bed. There was not a single fault with the day, everything was more than I could have asked for and I am very grateful to have so many people that care enough for me to make it such a special occassion.

Red Canyon – Friday Night Film with Norman Reedus

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Red Canyon (2008) is quite possibly the worst film I have ever seen. Not even Norman can redeem this steaming pile of utter garbarge. He’s barely in it and when he is he has nothing to do, he serves no real purpose besides being a bad guy. I don’t even know if I can be bothered to waste my time writing a review about it. Seriously, it made Messengers 2 look like Oscar winning material. The plot was so flawed and full of holes, all the characters were underdeveloped and plain stupid. Noone had any discernible motive for anything, the whole thing was painfully boring and stupid. The half of the film I wasn’t feeling motion sick for I was simply watching dumbfounded that anything could actually be this awful. The “shocking” and “controversial” ending was unusual and might have been interesting if the rest of the film hadn’t been such an utter shambolic disgrace.

Friday Night Film with Norman Reedus: Messengers 2 – The Scarecrow

Messengers 2 – The Scarecrow (2009), sounds like a sequel and I was concerned I would need to watch another trashy horror first in order for this to make sense. Fortunately thanks to the wealth of knowledge that exists on the internet I was able to determine it is actually a prequel and could be watched without any knowledge of what happens in the other film.

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Owing to the online reasearch I did my expectations for this film were as high as they could be knowing it was a straight to DVD horror with poor reviews. To be fair the film started rather well, subscribing nicely to the narrative of a horror one would expects. Farmer John Rollins (Reedus) is a good man struggling with his farm as the crops are failing. That is until he finds an unbelieavbly creepy scarecrow in the barn and erects it in the field against his young son’s protestations. Rather unsurprisingly the fortunes of the farm suddenly take a turn for the better at the same time that local people start dying. People who were making John’s life difficult. Shock, horrow it turns out the scarecrow is cursed and will protect the land it oversees against all threats, at any costs. For John the threat is his family and the cost is their lives which leads to the downfall of the film. Up until this point I was enjoying the tension, finding the film just the right kind of creepy and interesting. Then the scarercrow came to life in the most disappointing, anti climatic and frustrating face off ever. Any potential the film had shown flatlined and kept sinking.

If you are a Norman Reedus fan, particaularly a fan appreciative of his visual aesthic, then this film is defnitely worth a watch as he is the main character with plenty of screen time. He also gives the best performance of anyone in the film. In fact Norman is the best thing in this film full stop. He does a good job with the character John Rollins but there’s only so much an actor can do with a poor writing and directing.