Summer 2019 - Part III

Good food, walking, cycling, reading and the cinema!

Sushi! I went to a sushi making workshop at Yo! Sushi, which was a gift from my friends and colleagues at Vodafone when I left. We had an ace time, and got to bring the food we made home, where it was promptly snaffled by LittleBit for her packed lunches at gymnastics camp this week! It was much easier than I was expected, but I couldn't get the hang of the squared rolls, and we were able to keep the sushi mats so we can have a go at home. There was a recipe booklet too, so we can make proper sushi rice. I have made maki rolls at home previously, and they were nice, but nowhere near as good as these!

We've been to the cinema to see Dora the Explorer and the Horrible Histories: Rotten Romans film. The trailer for Dora made it look more grown up than it was, but it was still fun to watch. The Horrible Histories film had a host of big name stars, and whilst it was fun, we only recognised about 2 actors from the regular tv show, and felt a bit sorry for them, and more for the rest of the cast! The film itself was enjoyable, if a little silly, and the songs were catchy.

 I finished a stack of self-help books all aimed and cleaning/tidying. I'd mostly finished reading them, but not taking notes, so I sat myself at the dining table with a blank notebook and pen and waded through them. Skim reading what I'd already read, and finishing the rest. I think that Spark Joy, the illustrated book by Marie Kondo, was the easiest to read and got the message across most clearly. I found the others a little too bogged down in trying to make a story. It's one of the things I like least about self-help books as a general rule (though not all stick to it) they are all semi-biographical, and whilst that's nice, it's not what I want. Just tell me the instructions and let me get on. 
However, once you get through the biographical sections, I actually found Hinch Yourself Happy to be useful. Whilst I didn't go and buy everything she recommended, I did buy some and so far, I am particularly impressed by a product called Elbow Grease, and the moppets (which I had to google because I didn't know what they were, we've been calling them flat sponges!). The others, apart from Mrs Hinch, were primarily about organisation and tidying rather than cleaning, and both had very similar rules once you boiled down to it, basically, follow what William Morris said in the 1850s;

“If you want a golden rule that will fit everything, this is it: Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”

Marie Kondo has an order in which you organise everything, and the idea is that for each category, for example, clothes, you take every item in that category, put them on your bed and sort through them one at a time, then, either discard them or fold them neatly (she gives details on this) and then put them away.

Vicky Silverthorn, however, wants you to do manageable chunks, so one drawer or cupboard at a time. So, as per the book title, Start With Your Sock Drawer, literally, empty that one drawer, clean it, sort the contents and then either put them away, or hoik them. Spoiler, she seems happy for you to ball your socks up, where Marie Kondo (who follows the Shinto religion) does not approve of balling up your socks, you should fold them, so that they can be relaxed. It sounds a bit odd to us, however, I don't think it's very well explained in the book, possibly because it was originally written in Japanese and people there were more likely to understand. However, a lady in an online group that I'm part of shared an article about how we miss aspects of this because it's religious and cultural which was particularly interesting.

Overall, I enjoyed them all in different ways, but if I'm honest, apart from some new products recommended by Mrs Hinch, I'll be sticking to my tried and tested UFYH advice, which, whilst sweary, works and has less biographical information on the website, although I've yet to read the book!

We've started cycling a bit further than usual, to a different pub. Still along the canal cycle route, and recently, having cycled it once in the week already, we got brave, took a detour round Wigg Island to go blackberry picking, and then continued on to the pub! I'm definitely improving.

This week, whilst LittleBit was at Gymnastics camp, and I had some time off work, I walked up to the Dream sculpture in the old Colliery in St Helens before meeting my friend for lunch. There is carparking over the main road from the entrance to the park, and they've done a lot of work making a park above the old colliery. There's a few signs, and benches and smaller sculptures with information on, and then, Dream itself. It's not a long walk, although it is a little steep in parts.

And finally, I've made it 200 consecutive days on Duolingo! I'm still not fluent, but it is getting easier! But I'm really proud that I've been practicing every day!


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