Newsletter

New Newsletter? [#1 Jan 2024]

It’s Saturday, I’m feeling loads better than last week, I’m on the fun hormones “spring” season of my cycle and I’m in a great all around mood! I am riding this positive wave to try out a new Newsletter format to replace my now abandoned Substack. Who knows how long this will last, but I’ve got a few things up my sleeve that I hope are going to help me find more time to blog.

๐Ÿ“ฑ I’m trying out Habitica

Look, it’s January and I am harnessing that “New Year New Me” energy to drag myself out my (October to) December slump. I’ve gathered some bad habits since moving house and starting a new job. I’m feeling very disorganised around my time and I’ve become incredibly sedentary. That’s bad for both my body and my brain!

I had a Google for apps that might help me plan my time out. There were two I downloaded. The first one was Fabulous Daily Routine Planner which comes out top in the Google Play Store. It looks pretty but it wouldn’t let me test out the free trial without giving them my credit card details, so no thank you. Deleted.

Then after a little Reddit Google I decided to try Habitica which has the very cute USP of allowing you to gamify your own life! You have your own little pixelated avatar, you set up your own habits, daily to dos and goals and then when you do the thing you gain XP and if you don’t do the thing in time you lose health. You can also join parties or guilds and complete questions with other “players” but I’ve not got far enough to explore that feature.

I am great at looking after the needs and goals of my Sims characters, so perhaps treating my own life a little more like a game will actually work. Or at least the novelty of it will fuel some motivation for long enough to set some better habits.

In Googling the app to give you a link to it I discovered a wiki page, which I definitely need to spend some time on! It’s only been a week and I’m still getting my head around the best way to set things up.

When I feel like I’ve understood Habitica a little better I’ll probably write a post about it! Right now my goals are broadly around:

  • Getting out of bed on time!
  • Doing some movement/exercise
  • Writing my daily notes in Obsidian
  • Completing my daily cycle tracker
  • Doing at least 10min of some kind of tidying up!

๐Ÿšถ I got a walking pad!

I write this as I stroll at my desk on my new walking pad (aka treadmill that only goes up to 6kmph)!

Not actual footage.

As mentioned, I’ve barely been moving the last few months. I used to be really good at going for at least one walk every day, but it’s very difficult in the winter when its dark before and after work. That only leaves lunch time on work days and if the weather is bad, or if my work is just too busy, I skip it. When I’ve also failed to do any cardio or other exercises, that’s really not good for me mentally or physically.

I already have a standing desk (which I love) so I decided to try an under desk treadmill. I can work, or work on my blog, while I do a bit of walking.

It only arrived yesterday, so its still a shiny new toy but so far I am loving it. I did at first feel like a bit of a wanker with it, but that feeling is passing I think. I am excited about its potential. As I learned when I wrote Reasons Why I Should Get Up & Do Some Exercise walking is just as a great as running for your body, and moving a little bit a lot of times a day is just as good (if not better) than sitting on your arse all day then doing 1 hour in the gym.

I also hope that simply moving more will get me feeling better and motivate me to get back into cardio. I have to get back to my Fitness Marshall workouts and I do miss my skipping rope.

If you’re interested, the one I got (after a lot of research, my lord there are so many of these things out there) was a CITYSPORTS Ultra Slim off Amazon. Only ยฃ150 with one of those ยฃ50 off “voucher” tick boxes they have. I got this one because it says its ok to store it upright, so I can stick it next to my desk when I’m not using it.

Time will tell! But I’ve just walked for 52 minutes on it and I’ve hardly even noticed, I think that’s a good start! 52 minutes I’d otherwise has spent sitting on my arse!

๐Ÿ“… Daily notes

I am back to writing daily notes in my Obsidian vault. Instead of trying to track a million things in there I’m now just keeping a loose free write. I have one property/front matter where I can stick in what day of my cycle I am on, because I find that a useful reference for my mood/energy, and a task check box with a link to my cycle tracker form to make it easier to open. Otherwise I can brain dump whatever I want in there. I’m now using those to compile into a weekly note to use to write up this newsletter!

๐Ÿ“บ I’ve been watching

  • We are rewatching Doctor Who after enjoying the specials on at Christmas. I can’t believe how long ago the 9th Doctor 9 was! Everyone looks so young! I suffered through Tennant + Rose (I hated Rose, and I really hated the two of them together) and we just finished Martha’s full series. I really appreciate Martha for her all around competence and intelligence, and her choice to leave was legitimate rather than tragic. Very excited to get to Donna now because her + Tennant are the best duo in my memory!
  • We are also really into the new series of Traitors UK on BBC! OMG it’s so good. Obviously no spoilers. But I am at all times BURSTING to talk about with anyone else who is currently watching it.
  • I also have been loving Fisk on Netflix. I love a bit of Aussie comedy, and this one is so good. I love her deadpan, her massive brown suits and that its grounded but also often ridiculous.
Good old Claudia, she’s in her element presenting S2 of Traitors!

๐ŸŽฎ I’ve been playing

  • I’m still dipping into Skyrim! I finished the main game, just started on the Dawnguard DLC quest line which I have never played before. I’ll probably pack it in after that, and might hop on over to Fallout 4 (before the new TV show comes out!).
  • Now we have a second PS5 controller (I got a beautiful purple one for Christmas) a new frontier to couch co-op games has opened up for us. We got Overcooked in the sales, which is going to be a test of the strength of our relationships I think!
  • In boardgames we’ve mostly been playing Carcassonne for our Wednesday date nights. I keep forgetting the rules and confusing it with Dorfromantik rules, but eventually I’ll remember and win!
  • I got my partner the Ticket to Ride Legacy game for Christmas, and we just started it today with some of his friends. We played three games and it is so much fun! Each game unlocks new rules, pieces of the board and mechanics so you never know what is coming next. Can’t wait to play again! This is also a great way for me to get more comfortable around his friends, each time we play with them I feel a little less anxious and more relaxed.

๐Ÿ“ฐ New on the blog

I have written a few things so far this year!

๐Ÿ“ฅ In the processor

I’ve got a few things cooking in my brain. I wrote a lot of notes about the Love Has Won cult documentary that I watched while I was off sick at the end of the year. I really want to do something with those, I cannot stop thinking about how crazy that cult it!

Reading Why Did You Stay? did get my feeling reflective about past relationships. Strangely also watching Doctor Who again has brought back memories of the relationship I was in at that time (of which Doctor Who was quite a part, we even went to a convention in the Millennium Centre in Cardiff which is used a location for a few episodes!). I was also listening to The Killers while I was cleaning and that was like another portal. It is incredible how music can take you back to a time and a past self. The person I was in my early twenties is almost unrecognisable to me now!

I wrote up some notes on that but I’ve not worked out exactly how I want to share it, or if I really do want to pull to hard at some of those threads!

Obsidian still needs an overhaul, one day I’ll get to that!

I haven’t made anything with my hands yet this year, but I think I am about to start on an embroidery this weekend (hopefully). I also need to fix a hole in my partners jeans, so there is danger that takes out my needle and thread time, but fingers crossed!

๐Ÿ“– Reading

I am currently reading Nemesis Games by James S.A. Corey as we continue through The Expanse series. This is another re-read, I’ve not go very far in as I’ve not made enough time for reading this week.

I bought two books recently:

  1. Penance by Eliza Clark – had my eye on this for ages!
  2. Lost Property by Helen Paris – not sure how I’ll like this one, could be uplifting or just sentimental and saccharine.

I also had a clear out of my Amazon eBook watch list after it ballooned last year.. only 52 on there now…!

๐Ÿ’ก Inspiration

I read Elizabeth Tai’s latest newsletter this morning which definitely gave me the push to get my own newsletter out today! Liz talks about wanting to step away from the internet drama and just have fun again with her writing! She links to some great posts in that, but I really did love what Clive Thompson wrote for Wired in Praise of Online Obscurity where he discussed the loss of community in gaining too many social media followers. It reminded me of a post by Justin Cox (Let’s Make the Internet Personal Again) I read last week where he advocated for a revival of the personal web where people just blogged because they were passionate about something and because it was fun!

This is why I blog – I enjoy it!

I want to start sharing some of the cool embroidery or craft things I see. I do need to get more organised with that, so I’ll just start with one of my favourite newer discoveries – @angiehall.anderson.

I really love her bright, textured slightly mad collage pieces. They remind me of space (I love image of galaxies and space) and they’re just so fun!

I don’t know if this embed is actually going to work, I think cookie permissions might effect it (it’s not displaying the image for me) but you should at least be able to click to view the post on Instagram to see Angie’s lovely work!

โค๏ธ Highlight of my week?

I had a nice day in the office this week. When I travel in it is hit or missed as to whether there will be any colleagues there to chat with but this week there were a few of us. I also moved my desk recently so I’m next to one of my team members so now it feels easier to ask her questions or try to get some chit chat going when we are both in. I feel like I got to know people a bit better this week as to their hobbies and outside of work life, and we have a few things in common.

If I was a Sim, this really boosted up my “social” needs bar and I felt like I gained a new skill point in “charisma.” And after gaming with people today as well which felt like it went great, I really feel like I took a chunk out my general Social Anxiety.


The cat has arrived to roll all over my desk so I think time to sign off! I got an hour of walking done, which I am pretty happy about.

If you made it all the way down here, let me know how your week was! What was the highlight for you?

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