Strictly Come Bitching is back!

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For those who don’t know, every year Steve and I write recaps of Strictly Come Dancing over at Strictly Come Bitching. Our recap of the launch show is live and we usually post up Saturday and Sunday recaps a day or two after broadcast. We’ve not yet decided whether our Apprentice blog (with Helen), The Apprent-bitch, is returning when the new series, but it may well do! I’ll keep you posted, or follow us on Twitter for news.

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Adventures in Beauty: So much to learn!

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One of the reasons I have got back into blogging is that, since being off work for several weeks, I’ve got back into reading blogs in a big way. In particular, I’ve been really enjoying a whole plethora of beauty and lifestyle blogs-not vlogs, however, I am still too old to think much of them. (Not that there’s anything wrong with them, I just like to be listening to music or watching telly whilst reading and video just seems counterintuitive). I’d like to update my blog roll, but I’m afraid there might be too many to list! I’m still undecided how I’m going to tidy up my links and it may be that I use Bloglovin as my main curation system, but I’m still learning that. Indeed, this idea that I’m still learning is the focus of this occasional series that I’m calling Adventures in Beauty.

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Armless fun

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In my last post, I mentioned having been off work for a few weeks. Indeed, I’m at the end of week six of seven-and possibly more, but I hope not! I have been signed off for several weeks now-this is the longest I’ve ever been away from work/study other than that summer after GCSEs. Even when I was on the dole I had less time out of work than this!

Two years ago, I injured my left shoulder-not entirely sure what I did, but it was something like opening a drawer and twisting it funny. Lots of physio, pain medication and tests followed. An MRI a few months ago revealed that something was wrong, but it wasn’t entirely clear what. It was then decided that I needed to have keyhole surgery to see inside the shoulder and ascertain what the problem was, and to fix it if possible. I asked for this surgery to take place once teaching had finished in order to have as little impact on my work as possible, and so it was set for the first week of June. The surgery involved smoothing out my muscles, which had torn and doing some sort of filing down of my bone to stop it rubbing against the muscle! I was in a lot of pain afterwards, but the physio exercises I was given were really helpful and after a fortnight off work, I was ready to go back – albeit with a reduced capacity and a need for workplace adjustments.

However, the day before I was due to go back to work, I tripped and fell over a crate that had been left in the aisle of the supermarket. I won’t say which here, because as you can imagine, there is a “process” going on! It turned out that not only had I bruised my knees pretty badly, I had actually fractured a bone in my right elbow. It was pretty unbelievable that both arms would be injured and I had several days that were incredibly tricky where I needed to rely strongly on friends to help me around the house. Nearly 4 weeks later, and I can move the elbow a bit more, but it is still far from healed. My shoulder has made a lot of progress in its mobility because of my left arm having to be the dominant one, but it is still quite painful.

I am not actually able to type-I’m using Dragon Nuance NaturallySpeaking software– which is so much better than I expected, but that doesn’t mean you won’t see the odd weird typo here and there, despite my efforts to edit after dictation! The main problem I’m having with my right arm is that whenever I move the radial bone, this aggravates the fractured part of the elbow, and although I do need to move my arm in order to enable healing, it’s a fine line between recuperation and just giving myself a whole new world of pain! This means that I am OK to do some things, but weird little things are still really difficult-for example, one thing that I wouldn’t be able to do at work is going in an out of our kitchen, because that requires using both hands at the same time and turning both wrists, something that would just be too difficult for me to do at the moment. It’s these little things that have been the most difficult, things that I didn’t expect!

Anyway, fingers crossed I will be able to go back to work later this month, even if it is only on an adjusted basis for a while (fortunately this is the time of year when there’s a lot of annual leave, so the workload tends to be a little less intense/urgent). I am totally bored! So, I’m looking forward to getting back into blogging-if nothing else, it will give me some level of justification for the amount of time I’ve spent watching Netflix, Amazon and NowTV and poring over beauty and nail blogs whilst buying things that I really don’t need, like a drawer full of lipsticks that is twice the size it was before I was injured!

Back to blog

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So, it’s been quite a long time since I last blogged. To be honest, I lost some motivation-and finding time to do it was a bit of a difficult ask. However, as I have been off work for several weeks now (more to come in the next post), I have really got back into reading blogs-and that’s really made me miss writing my own!

So I’m intending to update this blog a lot more frequently than I have in the past. It will still no doubt have those random lists about Neighbours-these seem to be the things that get most read anyway! However, I want to get back to writing more about film, TV and music than I have done in a while-and probably something about writing and books which might help spur me on in the last stage of writing the novel for my MA.

In addition, I have become addicted over the last few months to nail and beauty blogs-this is all the fault of Instgram! I found I’ve not only been buying a lot more products, but I also have a lot more opinions-and as none of my friends are into make-up or beauty, I don’t really have anywhere else to share those opinions-so expect to see some posts about make-up and beauty here too.

Once I get a substantial base of posts on different topics, I’ll sort them out into categories so that you can avoid the content you don’t want to see-however, this will take me some time (see also: sorting out my blogroll) . Anyway, even if nobody reads these entries am looking forward to getting back to blogging and hopefully will be able to keep up momentum.

Coming up this month: reflections on the many things I’ve been watching via streaming services; Roxette live in London; swatches and reviews of my insanely huge collection of yellow nail varnish; plus Tramlines 2015!

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Gonna party like it’s the end of the world

2012

2012 then. It’s been a funny old year in some respects. If 2011 was when all the news in the world happened at once, then this year was essentialy when all the Britishness happened. Or something.

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I hadn’t planned to get swept up in Jubilympics fever, but I totally did – aided by my buying a new TV at the start of the Olympics, which made everything look super-sparkly, especially the swimming. I was so caaught up in the Olympics and Paralympics and gutted when they were over, which is why they were my favourite TV show of the year – and I include the evening shows The Last Leg and the thing with Gabby Logan on it in that. The competition was mostly old stuff: Doctor Who only had six episodes, but they were crackers, with Chris Chibnall shocking the world by pulling two decent episodes out of the bag. The Great British Bake-Off is surely due a BBC One transfer and Strictly slew all (or The X Factor, anyway- which was only worth it for Nicole Scherzinger, who was excellent value) in its wake. The new guard of TV has done OK: Call the Midwife feels like it’s been on TV for years already, and Fresh Meat and Bad Education both proved that Jack Whitehall is funnier than you’d have suspected.

Top Ten TV of 2012:

1. Olympics/Paralympics
2. Great British Bake-Off
3. Doctor Who
4. Sherlock
5. Fresh Meat
6. Neighbours
7. The Killing
8. Call the Midwife
9. Masterchef: The Professionals
10. Strictly Come Dancing

Incidentally, is it just me, or did Channel 4’s who reality/factual/lifestyle arm utterly fail this year?

Music-wise, I’ve felt massively out of touch in that all the albums/singles I bought were either old favourites or huge chart hitters. So far gone are the days of being trendy. And my favourite album of the year is by Lana Del Ray and we’re all supposed to hate her now, right? But I bought fewer albums this year than in some time, and the ones I did buy I didn’t rate too highly. Singles-wise, for ages my favourite singles were Emily Sunday and Gotye but over-exposure has done for both of them although I’ll still give them honorary top ten places. Music fared better on the live side of things, with another epic Tramlines, the fun Sheftival, Kylie’s Anti-Tour, Roxette and Pulp among the highlights. Kylie’s K25 was all kinds of wonderful, even if my gay male friends are utterly divided on the merits of the Abbey Road sessions.

Albums of the year

1. Lana Del Ray – Born to Die
2. Roxette – Travelling
3. Rodriguez – Searching for Sugarman soundtrack
4. Kylie – The Abbey Road Sessions
5. Richard Hawley – Standing at Sky’s Edge

Singles of the Year (yes, I know a couple of these were out in 2011, but 2012 was the year they got big)
1. Roxette – It’s Possible
2. Kylie – Flower
3. Lana Del Ray – Born to Die
4. Gotye feat Kimbra – Somebody That I Used to Know
5. Florence and the Machine – Spectrum (Calvin Harris remix)
6. David Guetta feat Sia – Titanium
7. Emile Sande – Next to Me
8. Of Monsters and Men – Little Talks
9. Kylie – Timebomb
10. Little Mix – Wings

I didn’t read many books that were released this year, but found Miranda Hart’s Is it Me? very funny, the Hunger Games trilogy a good read, Fifty Shades of Grey bad but not as bad as its reputation and I’m enjoying JK Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy so far. I saw a fair bit of theatre, alongside some acting and directing – but as I mainly saw Sheffield-based performances, it seems a bit unfair to rank it.

I saw a LOT of films, too. The Unlimited card does make me want to get my money’s worth (and I still went to the Showroom plenty in addition to Cineworld) and there were several films I enjoyed, along with some I didn’t so much – including The Artist and The Hobbit, as I’ve blogged about before. I’ve seen few things I will love until I die, but lots that are worth the time, including things I didn’t expect to like as much as I did, such as Skyfall, Prometheus, Ted and 21 Jump Street

Top twenty films of the year

1. Avengers Assemble
2. Looper
3. Searching for Sugarman
4. The Descendants
5. Moonrise Kingdom
6. The Hunger Games
7. The Muppets
8. The Imposter
9. Jeff, Who Lives At Home
10. 21 Jump Street
11. Ted
12. We Need to Talk About Kevin
13. Brave
14. Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
15. Life of Pi
16. The Silver Linings Playbook
17. Ruby Sparks
18. Safety Not Guaranteed
19. Friends With Kids
20. The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Beyond all of that, I guess stuff happened. We lost Jo Dunne from Fuzzbox among others, I finally got rid of the PhD, I went to New York, went on the actual TARDIS, put on a few more pounds, failed to buy a house, did bits and pieces… it’s not been the worst year, but it’s not been the best. On a non-sport level, it’s just been one of those nothingy years like 1986, 1993, 2003 or 2009. But at least the world didn’t end 🙂