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To sleep perchance to dream

Published September 28, 2022

To sleep perchance to dream

Sleep is one of my most favourite and precious things and one of the benefits of being child-free is that it’s a commodity I can have plenty of - although never enough, obviously. Tracking sleep has been endlessly fascinating to me for a good while now, from those apps that suggested you pop your phone under your pillow to see how it’s going, to the first tracking introduced by Apple on the watch.

Read the burn, feel the burn

Published September 27, 2022

Read the burn, feel the burn

One of the things Apple Fitness+ opened my eyes to was how much work needs to be done on making things accessible. They’ve done a great job with on screen graphics, presenters learning sign language, lots of options for various body types and abilities and more. There’s always more to be done but it’s also fascinating to see other fitness providers adapting as well. I’ve subscribed to Les Mills on Demand (now also known as Les Mills+ I think… coincidence?

Walk the line

Published September 26, 2022

Walk the line

I totally missed this when it was announced a couple of months ago, but the new huge building called The Line that was revealed as an innovative concept design is really bizarre and interesting. It’s based in Saudi Arabia and it’s not without it’s problems, but I do love it when people start thinking outside the box for architecture and living conditions. Or in this case, it’s more like inside the box.

Strictly Come Dancing 2022, Week 1 thoughts

Published September 25, 2022

Strictly Come Dancing 2022, Week 1 thoughts

I can’t decide whether it’s better or worse to have had the launch show only the day before the first live show. On the one hand, the launch show gets you all excited and you don’t have to wait long to see the amazing teams in action. On the other hand, it’s quite nice to have a bit of time to ponder how they’re going to do, to let those initial thoughts sink in and get some anticipation going for what to expect.

Use Your Illusion II by Guns N' Roses

Published September 25, 2022

Use Your Illusion II by Guns N' Roses

I was all set to move on to a different band this week but Mr C quite rightly pointed out that Use Your Illusion 1 and 2 were back to back releases and should be listened as such. So I had to postpone the original choice and get this one going. It was good, oddly I think I preferred the first one to this one, although I understand the majority of critics and fans think otherwise. This does have the super famous Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door, though, and that counts for a lot.

(self-titled) by Marcus Mumford

Published September 25, 2022

(self-titled) by Marcus Mumford

I’m not big into the Mumfords but was curious about this solo album from Marcus. It’s really good - musically, it’s effectively listening to the theme tune to Ted Lasso for half on hour, which is no bad thing. It’s gentle and lilting and draws you in. But of course, lyrically, it’s a different ballgame. The first track is brutally honest about Marcus being abused when he was younger and there’s a current of rage that underpins the whole thing. It’s conflicting but that’s also what makes it great.

Strictly Come Dancing 2022, Launch Show thoughts

Published September 24, 2022

Strictly Come Dancing 2022, Launch Show thoughts

We’ve been delayed by a week but finally Strictly Come Dancing is up and running for 2022, and boy do we need a bit of sparkle in our lives right now, huh? If you take away the slightly dodgy overdubs where Tess had to reference ’tomorrow’ rather than ’next week’ it was the perfect show, proving as always that just because you only know one or two of the cast, you absolutely can’t judge what a year is going to be like based on their pictures alone.

Walk with the animals

Published September 23, 2022

Walk with the animals

In the first ten days of walking, I was really all about no pressure, just getting outside and trying to be consistent about it. The next 10 days have been a bit more adventurous and have seen me explore different routes around my immediate start point, try out some longer routes when time allows, and more importantly than anything, walk with some wildlife. I didn’t know alpaca walks were a thing until the past couple of months and then suddenly found myself upon one.

Another badge on the wall

Published September 21, 2022

Another badge on the wall

In the latest updates to both watch and phone, Apple have paid a lot of attention to health and fitness with updates to sleep tracking, accident detection and workout setups. One thing I hadn’t realised is that they’ve also added a whole range of new badges based on your Fitness+ activity. I love badges! There have long been awards for trying your first of a new workout type, or maximising the stats for a workout, eg.

Books and crosses

Published September 18, 2022

Books and crosses

Apple released watchOS 9 and iOS 16 this past week which usually means a hideous evening of updating all the gadgets and running around looking at progress bars every which way. But it’s usually worth it for what the new release brings and this year, I’m determined to actually make the most of it and fully understand what upgrades have arrived, rather than just getting on with my day and being surprised when six months later I find a useful bit of functionality.

Use Your Illusion I by Guns N' Roses

Published September 18, 2022

Use Your Illusion I by Guns N' Roses

This has been on the list for a while but after watching the latest Thor movie, there was no choice but to dip into the Guns n’ Roses back catalogue. I was nervous about this, I’ll be honest, it’s a long album and a classic, but I needn’t have worried. It is long and I have to say ending with a 10 minute song isn’t going to put you in my good books, but actually it’s a great album. On the second listen, I was really getting into and enjoying the journey. Nothing to be nervous about!

Different Man by Kane Brown

Published September 18, 2022

Different Man by Kane Brown

A good little album from Kane Brown here, I would say it’s not particularly revolutionary, doesn’t move the genre on at all but if you’re after some standard modern country, it’s a really good listen. I liked how clearly Kane enjoys making this music, and some of the standout singles are really catchy. It’s a bit long but ultimately a nice addition to the music library.

Playing in the park

Published September 12, 2022

Playing in the park

To celebrate the start of the third series of Central Park, which started on Apple TV last Friday, I revisited the soundtracks to the first two seasons and decided to put together a playlist with the best songs from both seasons. I thought it was going to be a really slimmed down version of all the available albums, but actually it’s still ended up being close to two hours long.

Q4 movies - Paint it black

Published September 11, 2022

Q4 movies - Paint it black

By all accounts, the film industry is going through a bit of a lull right now. Some of that is no doubt due to the ongoing health and safety effects relating to the global pandemic, but there’s also talk of an issue around the huge television spectaculars (hobbits, dragons, superheroes and outer space, you know the type), plus certain streaming platforms snapping up their own VFX companies and thereby getting priority treatment.

Songs for Young Lovers by Frank Sinatra

Published September 11, 2022

Songs for Young Lovers by Frank Sinatra

Usually for an absolute legend, I like to go back to the start of their career and work my way through. However, Sinatra’s first batch of albums released on Colombia records aren’t available on Apple Music, so I’ve had to nip forward to the 1950s for his first release on Capital. This is a super short album like many of that time, and it shows the crooner at his best, making it all sound so easy and smooth. Nothing groundbreaking but a reliable velvety voice.

HOLY FVCK by Demi Lovato

Published September 11, 2022

HOLY FVCK by Demi Lovato

This feels like a change of pace for Demi, some real heavy moments, huge rock influence, the one track that sounds like Avril Lavigne is probably the lightest of the piece. So if you’ve come for the pop, you’ll be disappointed. But I really liked it - you get thrust into this dark exploration of heaven and hell and whatever is inbetween, and Demi’s sincere vocals highlight the trauma she’s been through but the fierceness of her determination to recover. And under all that, they’re really good songs.

Unexpected Lessons in Love by Lucy Dillon

Published September 11, 2022

Unexpected Lessons in Love by Lucy Dillon

I liked the fundamental story of this - a young woman is set to marry her fiance in a whirlwind romance but has doubts on the wedding morning, only for their entire lives to be turned upside down by an unexpected accident. After that, there are moral decisions to be made, a whole new life to try and start whilst also being on pause, and revelations that eventually come. I didn’t necessarily enjoy the side plots - the Edith recording story didn’t reflect well on Jeannie at all, and the puppy farm stuff didn’t seem to have a huge impact other than kick starting the endless talk about wedding dresses. I’m not so sure about that, but overall I enjoyed reading it.

Step by step

Published September 10, 2022

Step by step

I’m ten days in to this month’s challenge and so far quite enjoying it. The plan was simply to get outside and walk for at least ten minutes every day and so far I’ve not managed less than 15 minutes, not so much because of enthusiasm but more because that’s just how long the short ‘routes around the block’ take. It’s nice though, getting outside, getting some fresh air, breaking up the day.

Stig of the Dump by Clive King

Published September 10, 2022

Stig of the Dump by Clive King

I don’t know why I picked this one up on Audible, probably in a sale of some kind, but I figured as it was a children’s classic that I hadn’t read before, it was worth a listen. This one was ably read by Martin Jarvis, who does a great job at the incorrigible playfulness of a young boy (he does the same with the Just William books). It was a fun story, Barney going on adventures with what may or may not be an imaginary friend… and having to explain it all later to his family and friends. A sweet story.

Creoso i Wrecsam

Published September 9, 2022

Creoso i Wrecsam

I am so in love with Welcome to Wrexham, currently airing in the slightly odd pattern of two episodes a week on Disney+. I usually try and wait to the end of a series before writing about it but there’s been so much good stuff packed into the first six episodes, we’re going to have to do a part one, at least. First of all, as many people have noted, this show has really benefited from the good vibes and football accessibility that Ted Lasso has brought.