I’m loving the view this evening.
The sky is beautiful! And while I’d love to just sit here and soak it in, I have an appointment with the gym downstairs.
I’m loving the view this evening.
The sky is beautiful! And while I’d love to just sit here and soak it in, I have an appointment with the gym downstairs.
Went for a lovely walk at lunchtime.
When I noticed the blue skies, I downed tools and headed outside. At this time of year, I’ll take sunshine whenever I can find it.
Another booze-free month in the bag.
Today marks the (official) end of Dry January for 2024. A thirty-one day alcohol-free challenge that was really no challenge at all.
In all honesty, I only missed booze on one evening - a friend’s 40th birthday party, where the prosecco was flowing and the AF beer I’d brought along really sucked. It was just awful and I kind of resented it. But within minutes, the birthday boy produced a bottle of AF Prosecco (Nosecco!) and all was right with the world. The rest of the month featured a few AF beers (Guinness 0.0% is far and away the best of the bunch) but not as many as I assumed I’d have.
I marked the occasion in the only way possible: I went to the pub! But… I just had some AF beers and a whole feed of chicken wings. I’m definitely not jumping back in to the world of alcohol and undoing all my good work. I’ve lost 2kg this month and my body fat percentage is heading down in a very positive way. As is my blood pressure.
Yes, I’m getting more exercise and yes, I’m eating healthily - but the absence of alcohol is making it all much easier and removes a pile of weekend calories from my weekly routine. Plus I sleep better, and sleep helps maintain a healthy weight.
It’s a no brainer.
I’m going to continue with my food and exercise and not intentionally have any alcohol for the foreseeable. And just maybe, I’ll lose another 2kg in February. Which my body would really appreciate.
Not to mention my trousers.
Packing up in the office, to head home and go to the gym.
I slacked off yesterday as I had to meet a deadline once I got back from Japanese class. But no excuses this evening!
Plus, I have a metric ton of Apple Vision Pro review videos to watch as I pump away on the elliptical.
I know we’re supposed to say that Mondays tend to suck, but to be honest, I quite like Mondays - and the fresh start they bring.
This one, in particular, has been great. I started it in a lovely cafe on Old Street, meeting with a prospective client. The coffee was great. The conversation even better.
I then had a couple of super-productive hours back in my office, before heading to this week’s Japanese class.
Japanese class was fun and challenging in equal measure. I like being challenged, but boy am I glad I did my homework and prepared for today. Otherwise I would have been lost. It seems like the pace is picking up with each week, which is great - as my next trip to Japan gets closer and closer.
And now, I’m curled up on the couch, full of a delicious chicken salad, waiting to watch the latest episode of True Detective.
Here’s to Mondays - they’re what you make of them.
I’ve continued a real focus on my wellbeing, with several visits to the gym, my first 5km run of the year (and my second!), some long walks and - shocking to me - managing to stick to my healthier diet. Dry January continues to be a breeze, and the easiest way to decrease my weekly calories. So I’ve decided to continue it into February. How I’ll handle the free champagne on my flight to Tokyo is a problem for future me to deal with!
But in all seriousness, I’ve not slept this well or felt this positive for ages. So exercise and AF beers seem to be the combo that’s making all the difference.
I bought a new weighing scales, as my old one completely gave up the ghost. I got this one from Withings, to use up the last of my Christmas Amazon vouchers. So far I’m super impressed. It measures body composition as well as weight, to give you an idea of the fat to muscle ratio. The accompanying app is really excellent and syncs perfectly with Apple Health on my iPhone. A daily check-in on the scales keeps me honest! But also realistic.
The fact that a friend noticed I’ve lost weight in my face was the boost I needed to keep going.
I had a stellar week at work, winning a new client and getting an approach from an old one to do some really interesting work. I also managed to record two episodes of the podcast, publish two YouTube videos (to be fair, one was just the recording of a webinar I did earlier in the week) and made a big decision about a self-directed business project I’m going to work on this quarter.
More to come on that front…
A friend in Tokyo has arranged an overnight trip to Hakone for when I’m in Japan. So I’ll spend my birthday soaking in a hot springs resort and eating delicious food! I’ve also been refining my list of places to visit, so that it’s more manageable and realistic. And yes, I’ve been organising it all in Noteplan which is all kinds of wonderful. I don’t have shares, I promise - but if you use iOS and want fast access to your notes on the go, this is an excellent option.
And yes, I know I’ve promised a blog post on Noteplan. I’ll get to it. Soon.
And even though it’s at the other end of the year, my partner and I are planing our November trip to Japan. In stark contrast with last year’s trip to sunny Okinawa, we’re planning to head to Hokkaido, to explore Sapporo. Lots of snow and ice, but my first visit that north in Japan, so lots of new experiences lie ahead. Exciting!
I finally finished Apple TV’s ‘Invasion’ this week, on my iPad, while exercising on the elliptical trainer in the gym. It was overall a B+ for me, as I think it could have all be done and dusted in six punchy episodes. I really can’t see it coming back for a second season, but of course, I’m always wrong with these things…
Now it’s finished, I’ve moved on to re-watching the re-make of Battlestar Galactica while exercising. I’d honestly forgotten how tense and well-scripted it is. I’m pretty sure the angst of the first episode translated into a higher heart rate on my part and quite a bit more exercise! And with seasons to go, it’ll keep me from getting bored as I pump away.
And that was the week that was!
A quick run around the block
I had planned to run another 5km this morning, but once I got out of bed, I felt quite stiff and achey after yesterday’s exertions. So I decided to reduce it to 4km. But once I was running along the Thames Path, I updated my plan to turn around sooner and so only did 3.8km.
The only thing on my mind right now is to avoid another running injury, so I’m more than happy with a quick and short run, rather than pushing my body to do something that will cause lasting damage.
Wide awake since 0520 on a Sunday morning.
So obviously, I’m sitting up in bed with a coffee, creating templates for my Obsidian notes. A totally normal, non-obsessive activity.
But seriously, having watched a couple of YouTube videos on Obsidian, I was inspired to open the app, create a new vault and completely start my note-taking and organisation from scratch. With lots of lessons learnt and hopefully, a more sustainable approach.
I started my Saturday morning with a 5km run in the sunshine, cutting a decent time off yesterday’s run. After that, a walk to the mall to run some errands, and have coffee with a friend. Immediately after that, I walked along the Thames to Wapping, to have lunch at a local market. One delicious freshly-cooked burrito later, accompanied by a delicious German alcohol-free beer, and I was walking back to Canary Wharf.
I had a brief 20 minutes on the sofa before heading into the West End to meet a friend. By the time I made it back home, I’d walked over 22,000 steps. And I’m definitely feeling it now. My other half made us a delicious dinner of baked salmon, and I’m sitting with my feet up and a cold Asahi 0% beer in my hand. It’s turned out to be a very active, but incredibly relaxing, day.
My first 5km run of 2024
I didn’t intend to do 5km, but the blue skies and very welcome sunshine spurred me on. I could have gone on, but didn’t want to risk over-doing it. And I didn’t edit the photo below one bit - that’s really how blue the sky above Canary Wharf is right now!
Not too much wind, nice and bright, cool air: perfect running weather. I’m almost feeling like I’m back in my running habit now that I’ve run a 5km without any pain or stiffness.
Now to keep it going!
Check out that moon over London first thing this morning!
Yes, it’s Friday - but let’s hope the day improves as it progresses. I woke up with a zit - a teenage style zit! - in the middle of my nose. It’s bizarre on a man my age. And it just appeared overnight - there was no sign of it after I showered last night. I’m just grateful I haven’t got any YouTube filming planned for today.
I then stepped on the scales, which revealed some weight gain. Despite Dry January! Despite daily exercise! Despite no snacks! What a disaster…
I couldn’t care less. I’m sure the weight will return to its downward trajectory tomorrow. Or the day after that. After all, it’s the trend over weeks and months that matters, not a single measure along the way. And my diet and exercise is going to continue. So I will get the results I’m looking for - I just need to be patient.
I can barely express how much better I’m sleeping and feeling in general since the start of the year. I can’t keep my eyes open once I get into bed in the evening. And I rarely wake at all in the night. I’m getting more done at work and feeling better about it. My focus has improved and I think I’m even a little more creative.
And I put it all down to a combination of daily exercise, no alcohol and a much healthier diet. Who knew all that health advice we’ve had for decades actually works!
Sitting back with a cold beer.
Don’t worry, it’s zero alcohol, but with all the taste. Dry January remains intact!
Asahi have done a great job making a tasty alcohol-free alternative. The only other AF beer that beats it (IMHO) is Guinness Zero, which I can’t distinguish from the ‘real thing’.
I finally realised this week that not every domain I own requires its own project!
I’m going to let most other domains expire this year. I was metaphorically hoarding domains and all the time feeling bad I wasn’t doing much with them. And I’ve lot account of the number of blogs I’ve started over the years, all because I owned a snappy URL. No more. A bit of digital housekeeping this week has resulted in the cancellation of several services, and deletion of sites.
I’m a lot happier as a result.
The week started on a positive note, with a return to my Japanese lessons. I’m in a new class - as it’s scheduled during the afternoon - and it’s taking some getting used to.
But I have the same wonderful teacher, who brought us all back some delicious Japanese KitKat bars from her visit home over Christmas.
Work was a mixed bag, with some great coaching sessions and some progress made on a big podcasting project, mixed with a last-minute client workshop cancellation (they paid!). I also won a new client project and had a new coaching programme kick-off with a new coachee.
I also published my latest work-related vlog and provided a little tour of my new office!
I still don’t have a referral appointment with the gastro specialist, and I’m going to have to chase that up tomorrow. My health wasn’t too bad and it didn’t stop me going to the gym or getting out for runs this weekend. But it did leave me miserable on Friday night, when I should have been enjoying my best friend’s 40th birthday party. Came home earlier than planned and curled up in pain in my bed.
On a more positive note, my blood pressure is coming down, my post-exercise recovery is improving, as is the speed of my 4km runs. I also lost a little more weight!
My big win on the wellbeing front for this week was sticking to Dry January in the middle of that party on Friday night. I brought a bunch of alcohol-free beers with me, but they were new and pretty awful to be honest. I toyed with the idea of have some prosecco when it was offered (“What’s the harm?") but instead went with the ‘Nosecco’ my friend had bought. My body is very happy with that decision.
Less than a month to my solo trip to Tokyo and I’m still doing lots of research on venues to visit. And looking forward to putting my Japanese to good use…
I’ve also booked a trip to Scotland to see family in March. So I basically have a trip to look forward to each quarter of the year, except during July to September. But I’ve no doubt I’ll be organising a jaunt to somewhere hot in Europe to get some beach time and a break from London.
I also bit the bullet and set up a travel-focused blog for all my future travels and memories of trips from the past. You can find it (though there’s very little there just yet) and This Guy Flies. Thanks to Maique for the steer on Ghost. It’s such a breath of fresh air after Wordpress!
Knee deep in my Japanese homework and realising just how much grammar seems to have evaporated from my brain over Christmas. Tomorrow’s class is going to be tough!
Finally realised my online presence is a mess and I have too many accounts and too much duplication. And therefore, too much time spent online. Time to strip things back to something sensible. Each account or platform needs to have a purpose.
Loving the sunset views over London this evening.
Yes, this is a day late, but it’s been quite the week so I hope you’ll understand.
And that….was the week that was.
A quick update
Following yesterday’s less than stellar medical update, I’ve since had a consultation with my doctor. And yes, I need an urgent referral to a specialist, followed by hospital time to get some quite unpleasant tests done.
Luckily, this should all be sorted in the next two weeks, so I won’t have too long to wait. I’m trying to focus on the positives and acknowledging that it could be a lot worse.
Well, today was definitely a game of two halves.
My other half had to catch an early flight to Spain, so I’ve been awake since 5am. Rather than go back to sleep, I headed into work early and got SO much done. I managed to wrap up everything on my todo list before lunchtime and then headed home.
Just as I was patting myself on the back for a job well done, I got an email from my doctor with some less than welcome news about some test results. So I have to have an urgent consultation tomorrow morning.
I’m obviously trying to avoid googling medical conditions and winding myself up even more. Best case scenario is an urgent referral to a specialist, followed by several weeks of invasive tests. Worst case scenario involves life-changing surgery.
So yeah. I’ve had better afternoons.
I’m distracting myself with Disney+ and a friend is coming over later for movie night. I’d just like to get the consultation tomorrow over with, so I know what I’m dealing with. Then I can make a plan and get some more certainty.
Onwards and upwards.
After a pretty long and busy day at work today, I took some time to sit down when I got home, and watch the sun go down. It was worth every moment of my time.
Welcome to the first in a (hopefully) ongoing series of posts reviewing the week that was.
Two big themes spring to mind as I write this:
One week into the new year and I’m attempting to undo some of the damage of a very lazy and overindulgent last few months of 2023. I’m really happy with the amount of exercise I was able to do this week, whether it was running, walking or using our much-neglected gym downstairs.
I made it to the gym three times, went for a cople of 4km runs, and this afternoon walked a loop of the Isle of Dogs - which is about 6km. Combined with a complete absence of alcohol, snacks or junk food, I’m hoping this is setting me up for some wins in the coming weeks.
I may be in the minority, but I’ve always found ‘Dry January’ to be incredibly easy. So why do it? A significant drop in empty / unneeded calories. Yep, beer is full of calories this little body doesn’t need. But it’s not a magic wand. So I also need to get this body moving more.
One week in, I’m already sleeping better and my skin is looking much clearer. No weight loss so speak of (a tiny drop on the scales) but I’m setting up some helpful habits that’ll
The highlight of this first working week was my office move. I’m now in a nicer building, in a nicer neighbourhood, with a better commute. It’s win/win. And while the day itself was stressful - about as stressful as any other move I’ve experienced - there were no disasters.
I’ve spent most of the working week setting up shop, making plans for this calendar year, and catching up on some simple admin I’d simple set aside in the run up to Christmas. The week ahead sees my first client-facing work for the year, and I’m really looking forward to it.
So that was week one. If the other fifty-one of 2024 are equally positive, fun and productive, I’ll have one hell of a year.
My second run of the year
It felt a lot better than yesterday - and I’ve no doubt the sunshine and blue skies helped a lot! I was also wearing my new running gear, which I picked up yesterday afternoon.
I had to get some updated gear - putting on three year old running tops made me look like a neon sausage! It made me very self-concious. So, one trip to Decathlon later and I have a new set of tops that fit me just fine and take my mind off how I might look as I plod along.
I repeated yesterday’s route and completed it just a smidge faster.
Onwards and upwards!
An absolutely beautiful morning in London
And as soon as I’ve finished this coffee, I’m heading out for a run. It might not be very long, or very fast, but it’ll be a run and it’ll be better than spending the morning on the sofa wishing I’d some something energetic.