Sunday, 25 September 2016

Life lately - September

A little early this month as we go on holiday on Thursday (yasss!) and we're not back til 9th October, and I thought that might be a bit late to be looking back on September.
However, it feels very weird to be writing one of these already. Didn't I just do one of these?

As I did last month, I've been keeping a list in my phone of things I wanted to cover this month. I'm not sure it will be quite as long as August's update but September has been rather lovely and I'm excited to tell you all about it!

What I've been doing
Ooh I've done lots of nice things this month! 

A few weekends ago my auntie and cousin had a spare ticket to seee Sister Act at the Palace, so they took me out for dinner and then to the theatre. I had the most lovely, girly evening and was completely spoiled! I hadn't seen the film of Sister Act so I had no idea what to expect, but it was so much fun and Alexandra Burke was fab!

Then a week later, we went to the theatre to see A Streetcar Named Desire with Maxine Peake. This was Phil's birthday present to my Mum for her 60th, but we were a bit nervous about whether my Dad would enjoy it (he's not really into the theatre), especially when we saw a sign saying it finished at 11 (it started at 7.30), but we were all completely enthralled! Maxine Peake was unbelievable. I love the Royal Exchange Theatre (soppy fact, it's where Phil asked me to be his girlfriend nearly 3 years ago so it has special meaning to us!) and both Phil and I think this was the best thing we'd ever seen at the theatre.
The 10th September is two of my all-time favourite people's birthdays - my Dad and my former work wife, Riven. My Mum was taking my Dad out for the day, so I made sure I spoiled Riven! I decorated my house with balloons and stuck some to the door, baked her some coffee and walnut cupcakes, wrapped her presents, opened a bottle of prosecco and after a dinner of paneer curry, I lit some candles and sang Happy Birthday to her. We had a really lovely evening and I hope I gave her the birthday she deserves!

We've done a lot of visiting family this month which has been lovely. We don't live far from our parents or extended family at all, but we can feel quite far away in the city centre. A few weeks ago we had lunch with my Nan, went to visit Phil's Granny and popped in to see my Dad to give him his presents. Then today we've been to Phil's parents to see them and his Grandparents.

Oh and last weekend we did a 10K! Remember three years ago when I'd just started running and I signed up for my first 10K three days before the race? Thanks to injuries and training commitments I haven't been able to do the Stockport 10K the last few years so I was so happy to be able to run it this year! It's a really challenging course (they've changed the course and it's much harder than it was 3 years ago!) but I ran a PB of under 54 minutes so I'm incredibly chuffed about that! Plus the New Balance finisher's tshirt is one of the nicest I've ever had!
Then we finished up the day with a bitter shandy in the sunshine outside Home (one of my favourite places in Manchester) and an ice cream from MilkJam (more on that later!).
Where I've been
I mentioned in my On uni mates blog post that I spent last weekend in Liverpool with my girls from uni and I had such a great weekend! We went out for dinner and to a few bars on Friday, and on Saturday had lunch and spent a couple of hours in the Cavern Club! I absolutely love Liverpool because I feel like it's a mini-Manchester. I always say there's no city I love as much as Manchester, but Liverpool is pretty close!

What I've been loving
I'm already a little bit obsessed with podcasts, but I loved Michelle's post on her favourites, and downloaded Lore earlier in the week. I tend to prefer longer podcasts for running, but Lore is perfect for round the house and I already love it!
I also went full-on Pinterest dream the other week and bought loads of jars for my kitchen to organise my pulses, grains and nuts and I am obsessed with them. They make me way more happy than I should admit.

On a practical note though, they look nice and they've cleared so much cupboard space. Plus now I know exactly how much of everything I have left so I don't panic-buy green lentils "just in case" and then find 3 bags at home (you'd be shocked to know how often this happens...). Also if you want to do this, I got nearly all my jars from Wilko - the largest jars are £3 and the smaller ones are £2. Edited to add: THEY'RE IN THE SALE! Large ones are only £2 now and smaller ones are £1.50!

What I've been eating
I've already reviewed Vegan Bowls, but if you haven't read the post yet, just know that Vegan Bowls is an awesome book and you should just buy it right away.

I've added three Ottolenghi books to my Chirstmas list because I like to believe when we buy a house I'll become the kind of person who will spend Saturday afternoons cooking from Ottolenghi books. So in preparation (and to justify needing three of his books), I've been trying recipes of his that I've found online. So far we've had the grilled ziti (yum) and the ah-mazing puy lentils with tahini and cumin (or "posh houmous" as we call it) which we had with lots of nice bread (and I had the leftovers a few days later on toast with a fried egg). Really excited to try more of his recipes, and hopefully get Plenty, Plenty More and Jerusalem for Christmas.
Bake Off is back which means I have to make something to eat during Bake Off each week. I made a last-minute lemon cake (using this recipe) a few weeks ago because I was bored and had all the ingredients in. It was unbelievable and ridiculously easy (and I'm rubbish at baking!).
I mentioned our trip to MilkJam earlier, but I really need to tell you more about it. MilkJam is a DESSERT CAFE that is dangerously close to my flat (T- 5 minutes max). So what's a girl to do on a sunny day after running a 10K? I went for the malted soft serve with raspberry sauce and OH MY GOD IT WAS SO GOOD. The raspberry sauce is actually compote. God my mouth is watering thinking about it.
THEN on Friday they tweeted saying "the next person to come in and show us this tweet gets a free brownie", and Phil has to walk past Milk Jam on his way home. He wasn't home from work yet so...
#boyfriendgoals

What I've been reading
I was a bit disappointed to realise I haven't read much this month! I did read
The truth about the Harry Quebert Affair which I really enjoyed (and at over 600 pages, was the bulk of my month's reading), and We have always lived in the castle which was a quick, creepy read which I enjoyed a lot. 

I talked about my holiday books in this post, and how I was going to start reading them, shock horror, before holiday. So I've started my first Bukowski with Post Office. For holiday I've downloaded 7 books - Post Office, Ham on Rye, Burial Rites, The Shipping News, The Possibilities, His Bloody Project and Eileen.

(I'm super active on Goodreads if you want to follow me over there.)

What I've been watching
Obviously Bake Off, but we've also restarted Friday Night Lights after starting it two years ago (Phil is on his second watch) as we need something to fill the Game of Thrones-shaped gap in our lives.
I've only been to the cinema once (!!) this month, but Hell or High Water was one of the best films I've seen in months, so I think my Cineworld Unlimited card monthly membership was worth it just for that.

Last night we watched Gone Baby Gone which I hadn't seen before, and wow, just wow. Ben Affleck is such a brilliant director! Haven't stopped thinking about it all day.

Working on
This week we launched the Stagecoach Bus app, which I've been heavily involved with since joining Stagecoach in April and it's probably the biggest project I've worked on of my career so far! It's still so weird seeing it in real life and thinking "I wrote that app store description! I built that landing page! I worked on that creative!". If you live in an area with Stagecoach buses, please download it!
And obviously my next half marathon is looming ever closer! Today was my last Sunday run before the race, as when we get back from holiday there's only a week to go! I did 12 good miles and I'm feeling nervous but excited for the big day!

What I've been excited for
In case I didn't have enough going on, I've enrolled to start my Chartered Institute of Marketing Diploma in Professional Marketing next month! My start date is actually the day after my half marathon! It's going to be weird to going back to full-on studying, especially as it's distance learning, and I'll need to be spending 4-6 hours per week to get through the course. I'm planning on cutting my running down a bit and trying to simply my life so I don't drive myself too crazy, but let's see how that goes!

I'm so ready for the weather to cool down! Summer just isn't my thing, so I'm totally ready for snuggly jumpers and boots. I've got my eye on a couple of new pairs of boots that are smart enough for work, and I'm hoping to get a new coat at some point. We always go to Spain this time of year and I always see it as my "goodbye!" to summer, because it's usually just touching autumn when we get back.

And obviously, I'm excited for Spain. I've written before about how it's my happy place and I love having my internet off on my phone and totally disconnecting for a few days away. I'm looking forward to lots of time with my family and Phil, long walks, Fanta orange, endless patatas bravas and lots of time to read!

What I've written
On resetting your goals
Cookbook review: Peace and Parsnips
On uni mates
How using my Garmin less is making me a better runner
Life is too short to read books you don't enjoy
The Myth of the 10 minute mile
Cookbook review: Vegan bowls

What I've been reading online
I wrote last month about how much I love Vix Meldrew's blog, and this month I loved her 30 things I've learned by 30, and 30 things I hope for in my 30s. She's so wonderfully honest and relatable - I've been trawling through her archives the last few months!

I also loved my friend Michelle's blogging story, especially as I remember her journey from almost the beginning! I've loved each of her blogs, but I think her current one is my favourite. She's been a real inspiration for the direction my blog has moved into.

And finally, one that hit home for me a bit this month. From The Pool, why women should stop saying "I don't know" at work. I am absolutely terrible for this - I'm always saying "I'll just check that" or "let me ask" even when I know the answer. This was a real wake up call on being more authoritative at work.

And that's all from me til next month! I've got a super-busy week this week and I'm not actually home now properly til we go away, but I'm so ready for a long break!
See you when I get back!

Charlotte x

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