Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Life Lately - November

I've been all over the place in November. Physically, mentally, emotionally. It's been a really strange month. I've done loads of brilliant, exciting, wonderful things, but I've also drained myself emotionally, taken on too much, made myself ill for most of the month, and Phil's family had an unexpected bereavement this month which has knocked us all for six.

I don't want to say it's been a bad month, because that would be terribly unfair on not only myself, but on the people I've been on some really great trips with this month (I've had two holidays in November!). But in between the great things this month, I've had some really overwhelming lows and in that sense, it has been difficult.

I've barely blogged this month at all, and I've barely read anything the last few weeks beyond Liverpool match day reports and Amazon reviews because I am overwhelmed and exhausted by politics and the world we now live in and can't bring myself to read any more.

For December, I'm ready for an opportunity to refocus, get back into my routine and try to get my anxiety under control as much as possible. I need to figure out what I want to achieve and reset my goals, and importantly, find a way to take more time for me for self-care, and stop being so hard on myself all the time and constantly beating myself up.

But anyway, here's what I've been up to in November...

What I've been doing
The short answer to this is way, way too much! I've been completely overwhelmed this month by trying to do everything - trying to work on my marketing diploma while being away nearly every weekend and having plans almost every night after work.
But like I said at the start, it's been busy but in a lot of ways it's been good busy - I've just been too busy doing fun things to have time to catch up with every day life! As a result I've had about three colds in the space of a month or so, mostly because I jumped back into everyday hectic life as soon as I felt a tiny bit better, but I seem to be on the mend now!
A few weeks ago I had a concert with my choir which was so great. I spent the whole day baking for the bake sale at the interval, and made millionaire's shortbread and chocolate chip cookies. The concert went really well, and I think both my solos sounded okay!

We've been sorting out a lot of house stuff this month and we're right in the thick of the bit where you feel like you're constantly filling in forms and paying up for stuff. I can't wait til we have everything sorted out!


I've been working a lot on my marketing diploma and trying to get into a routine of studying. I decided to start staying at work late to catch up if I end up not getting as much done as I would like at the weekends, and while I've only done it once, I think this is a good way of keeping focused. Staying til almost 9pm last Monday meant I could have a lovely evening out with Phil last Tuesday for a belated anniversary meal (more on that later!) and I was able to get everything I needed to do out of the way so I could see friends and (try to!) relax the rest of the week!

Where I've been
I've been lucky enough to have two brilliant holidays this month!
The first weekend in November was spent in Budapest with my Mum as a birthday gift from me for her 60th in July. We had such a brilliant time! We had dinner in a restaurant that looked like a bookshop, went to a ruin bar,  did a fantastic walking tour for nearly four hours, ate goulash, went to the spa, had cake in the most beautiful cafe in the world, toured the parliament building, visited St Stephen's basilica and just had the most wonderful time together! I'm hoping we make a trip together a yearly tradition!
And I spent this last weekend in Berlin! My friend, Kayleigh, lives out there and invited myself and my friend Eve over for a wintery visit to the Christmas markets. I've been to Berlin before so we had a really chilled out break which was much-needed! We had a relaxing Friday night with pizza and prosecco, spent Saturday morning seeing the sights and then spent the afternoon at the Gendarmenmarkt! I had a mulled wine and deep fried cheese balls before we went home to bake cookies, make raclette and watch Love Actually. It was absolutely brilliant and I cannot wait to go back!
And I've also had a lovely time at home in Manchester! We went to see Breaking the Code at the Royal Exchange (one of my all-time favourite places in Mancheser) a few weeks ago which was excellent.
We also finally went to Refuge which is an absolutely amazing bar round the corner from our flat.
What I've been loving
Apologies for the cheesefest, but this month I've been loving Phil for THREE WHOLE YEARS! Doesn't time fly when you're having fun, eh? We had dinner planned at Evelyn's in the Northern Quarter, but then on the actual day Phil was poorly! I spent our anniversary morning running to the shops to get him cough medicine, and cancelled our dinner reservations for a night on the sofa with a Dominos. And you know what? It wasn't the anniversary we had planned but it was really lovely!
I've also really been appreciating my friendships this month. Maintaining friendships as an adult is ROUGH. And I have to admit I've had a cry this month over feeling that I didn't have enough friends or worrying I was a bad friend. But then I had a really lovely evening with my friend, Riven, last week where we sat talking in Tampopo for what felt like hours, and then a wonderful weekend with my friends in Berlin and I've realised how lucky I am. I may not have dozens and dozens of friends, but you know what? I have some bloody good ones.

What I've been eating
It's November so I am obviously head over heels in love with my slow cooker. A big success this month was a vegetable stew with cheesy dumplings which was perfect on a cold, cold Sunday evening.
As I mentioned before we did make it out for a late anniversary meal and I did make it to Evelyn's! It's a gorgeous little cafe bar - right up my street, very Northern Quarter. I had the prawn and crab burger, after a starter of olives and guacamole, and Phil had a laksa. It was lovely!
What I've been reading
I hit my goal of reading 30 books in 2016 when I finished The Collector, which I loved. I've also just finished Stephen King's Needful Things, which I thought was one of his best.

After seeing a recommendation on Instagram I downloaded the audiobook of Matt Haig's Reasons to Stay Alive and I've been listening to that on and off. If I'm honest, it's quite hard to listen to and I can't quite work out if it's good for me or not. The way he talks about his depression and anxiety cuts a little bit too close to the bone, and I sometimes come away from it feeling very ... "in it" with my anxiety which doesn't really help. However I'm sure as the book progresses it will become more positive so I will stick with it.

What I've been watching
As Phil mentioned in his post, we've started doing "mystery film night" where Phil picks a film and I have 20 minutes to decide whether I want to stick with it or turn it off. So far we've had The Thing and Goodfellas, both of which I was never in the mood for when suggested, but loved as mystery films!
I've just been to the cinema once this month which is a bit of a poor show from me. We went to see Arrival which I thought was pretty good!
I also watched Love Actually, my favourite Christmas film, while we were in Berlin. I've watched it every year since I saw it at the cinema in 2003 (when I was only 13 and it was a 15 film - shhh!).

What I've been working on
I've been so busy this month I've kind of lost my focus a bit. I've obviously been working on my diploma, but I've not been running much because I've been ill a lot and away a few weekends.

I have been trying out new workouts this month though as a change from just running. Running will always be my first love, but when it's so dark it feels like the middle of the night and freezing cold I don't always fancy running, so while I'm not training for anything it's been nice to try new things. I've done a few workouts from Kayla Itsines' Bikini Body Guide (even though, bleurgh, that name makes me sick!), which were really tough and made me wayyyy more sore than I expected, and I've been giving yoga a go!

I've never enjoyed yoga at all, but I'd heard such great things about Yoga with Adriene that I've decided to give it a go, to be honest, more for my mental health than anything else. I've only done two days so far but I'm already excited to do it tomorrow and who knows, maybe I'll stick with it!

I get a bit restless and out of routine when I don't have a race to train for, but with everything else going on I know I really don't have the time or the energy for something else to focus on, so hopefully I can use this time well to try other things!

What I'm excited for
Oh my god I am so excited for Christmas. If I didn't have a business casual dress code at work I would 100% be wearing one of my Christmas jumpers tomorrow. I've finally made good headway on my shopping (although I decided to make a lot of presents this year which I now regret!) and I am fully ready to only listen to Christmas songs for the next 3 weeks. I love this time of year so much I'm already getting sad about it being over!

I've also got a trip to see my uni friends the weekend after next which I'm really looking forward to - it's going to be so nice to see everyone! And I'm out this weekend at Riot Jazz which sounds AMAZING.

What I've written
I have so many blog posts in my drafts I just need to finish up and publish, but it's been hectic this month, so of the two posts I published this month I only wrote one of them!
In defence of renting
And by Phil, Philhelm Scream

So November has been a strange one. A lot of lovely things mixed in with some really sad and stressful and upsetting things. Here's to a hopefully quiet and enjoyable December.

Charlotte x

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