It’s been a really long, cold, wintery January with the added bonus that my boiler has broken in the last week. On the bright side, there’s been very little rain in London so my Instagram feed has been filled with pictures of beautiful icy sunrises. The longest night is over a month away now but it doesn’t seem to be getting any lighter in the mornings – I think that’s why January is so hard!
I visited two countries this month, Belgium and Finland – Bruges and Helsinki, both entirely new places for me. Although I can’t say I saw much of Helsinki, arriving Monday lunch to go straight into a meeting all afternoon and leaving Tuesday lunch after being in another meeting all morning!
My most popular instagram posts (I’m @adarling575) were:
2. Red sky in the morning
3. Another frozen sunrise in Burgess Park
4. And a sunset over Brockwell Park
I spent 215 hours at work this month which is pretty ridiculous given I also had some time off on holiday – at the very least it kept me busy with James going back to the US! My training suffered though and some weeks it was impossible to do anything but run and some vague attempts at strength training.
Swimming: not a single swim despite a Christmas present of a lovely new swimsuit and goggles. Maybe I’ll have more time in February…
Cycling: 9.1 miles …… I can’t quite believe that but apparently I have cycled just once in the whole of February. That’s because I have been running into work at least 3 times a week rather than cycling, and running twice on the weekends. I miss cycling.
Running: 110 miles. That’s a LOT given I have been cutting down my longest runs recently to focus on speed. My longest runs have been around 10 miles, with only one half marathon distance this month. My third ever biggest running month…
Yoga: two classes – although one was acro yoga so that doesn’t really count! But hanging upside down was fun and used up so much ab strength that my tummy muscles were agony for days.
Cross-training: the most I’ve ever done with 7 sessions in the gym, increasing my weights especially for deadlifts and squats. I am really enjoying the gym right now!
Last exit to Brooklyn by Hubert Selby, Jr.: a cult classic set in Brooklyn in the 1950s, this book was banned in the UK as an “obscene publication”. I loved it – I loved its uncompromising, graphic, shocking language. I loved the characters – awful and yet sympathetic all in their own way. I couldn’t put it down.
Homegoing by Yaa Ghazi: you can read my review here – a fantastic, gripping novel. I know it’s early to say but I think this will be a contender for my novel of the year, it would certainly have been to there with last year’s favourite books!
Swing Time by Zadie Smith: a really enjoyable read but I have to say I think it’s been over-hyped…
My best moment in January was an entire day with mum eating delicious food at a number of new London restaurants and watching a Matthew Bourne ballet. It was just such a nice day and the ballet was incredible.
Right now I am:
Reading: I have almost finished The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen, a novel set at the end of the Vietnamese war, the author a communist sleeper agent exiled to America after the fall of Saigon. It’s brilliant – incredible prose, a story of identity and friendship as well as a historical novel. I have really enjoyed it. This year is getting off to a great start in books.
Listening to: a new-to-me podcast, 50 things that made the modern economy. Episodes are short, so good for the walk to the bus stop, and fascinating. I have listened to podcasts on the Ikea Billy Bookshelf (a new one is made every 3 seconds), antibiotics, and the invention of paper.
Enjoying: work. Its been a very busy month but an exciting one, with court hearings, witness interviews, and finalising a paper on Brexit and trade that I’ve been working on for months. I’ve got some really good friends at work and, while it does get slightly too much sometimes (generally when I’m working to midnight and all weekend), I can’t really complain!
Looking forward to: going to New York! I fly on Friday to see James and I CAN’T WAIT. I am really just looking forward to relaxing, eating all the food, drinking wine and looking at art.