Monday, 4 September 2017

August Life Lately

Hello, hello! It's September! Don't you feel like you should be buying new notebooks and pencils and a pencil case in the shape of a Pepsi Max can (yep, had one of those!).

Whenever I write one of these posts I'm amazed at how long a month feels. August has felt exceptionally long! Maybe it's because I go on holiday this month!

August has been pretty good! We've been to Whitby, caught up with friends, got very settled in the house and had a few people over. I feel like we've lived here ages and I am so in love with our house. I even love doing the cleaning! I still wake up some mornings and look around thinking "we own this! We finally got there!".

Anyway, August!

What I've been doing
The month started with a night out with my work colleagues to Musical Bingo! Like normal bingo, you get a printed card, but instead of numbers it has song titles and artists on. Each round a brilliantly talented guy at a piano plays different songs and you have to identify them and see if you have them on your card. It was SO much fun, so different and I can't wait to go again!

One of my goals for August was to read every day (I managed it all but one day - the day that I was off sick with a chest infection and could barely keep my eyes open, let alone read a whole sentence!). One thing that has helped has been the Productive app. I have a variety of goals set for my week (read every day, stretch and strengthen my knee twice a week, yoga twice a week) and this app is super simple but makes it really easy to manage by reminding me of my tasks to do throughout the day. I think there's a lot more to it I haven't quite managed yet but for now I like the simplicity.
This month I hit a new milestone in independence - dyeing my own hair! I've been a bottle brunette ("chocolate truffle") for about a year and a half now, but I always get my Mum to do it for me. This month my persistent greys were poking out (insert grandma emoji!) and I knew my Mum was busy, so I decided, after watching a few YouTube videos, to give it a go myself. Admittedly, I covered myself and the bathroom in dye, and managed to completely soak myself to the skin washing it off, but I am freshly dark brown and I love it!
When we first saw our house, the thing Phil wanted to do right away was paint our bright pink bathroom. Now, I don't hate it (and actually I think I'm going to miss it!), but painting it is on the to-do list, so this month we bought some paint samples and I think we've picked the colour! So now we just need to find the time to paint it!

I've been very lucky this month to have spent lots of time with some of my amazing friends. We kept July very quiet to give us time to get settled in the house, but August gave us a packed social calendar which has been lovely. It's been so nice to go out with friends and to have some people over to see our little house! We've had Bundobust with our friend Rosie who was briefly home from Australia, a house party with my friend Kayleigh home from Berlin, and visited our newly-married friends Meg and Si for the first time since their wedding!

But as I mentioned in my last post, a packed calendar naturally led to one thing - a chest infection! I started to get ill while we were in Whitby and by Monday I was completely wiped out. I took Tuesday off work and was only finally feeling human again by Friday! Thankfully I'm loads better now but it's the most ill I've been for ages!

Where I've been
Last weekend took us to Whitby for my third time with Phil's family. We stopped off in Harrogate on Friday night, naturally making sure we got in the queue for a fat rascal at Betty's!
On Saturday Phil and I got up for some parkrun tourism at Harrogate parkrun and we headed over to Whitby. We had an amazing weekend of ice cream, fish and chips, gin tasting, failed escape rooms, losing pennies in the arcade and taking the same photos we take every year. It was everything I wanted it to be.
If you don't know, Phil and I are huge Liverpool FC fans, and we've got tickets to a few matches this season thanks to our club membership we both got for our Birthday. But when Phil announced his friend had two spare tickets to the midweek Champion's League qualifier against Hoffenheim two weeks ago, we couldn't resist. A 4-2 win under the Anfield lights on a Wednesday evening was absolutely incredible, even if we didn't get home til midnight!

We've also been exploring our new home this month. We've found an amazing pub that we can cut through to from our road and we spent a lovely sunny Friday evening a few weeks ago drinking in the beer garden. I can't wait to explore more places!


What I've been eating
I'm still working through Love Real Food so look out for a review of that soon. My favourite things so far have been the chickpea tikka masala and the enchiladas.

I've also been loving my slow cooker for late nights home from British Military Fitness on a Wednesday night.
I finally got a chance to try the Hip hop chip shop this month thanks to Kosmonaut. The deep friend halloumi is to die for.

Another thing I've gotten a real taste for lately is tofu. I've often been indifferent but I've started to really enjoy it lately with broccoli and brown rice and a tasty sauce. My current favourite sauce is Cate's coconut curry sauce which I could eat with a spoon.
Finally this month I learned the ratio of effort to praise of a lemon cheesecake is at least 1:100000. I swear a monkey could have made it, and everyone was going crazy over it. I may never make another dessert again. Recipe here.

What I've been watching
After wanting to watch it for over a year, The Night Of is back on Now TV and it is absolutely brilliant! We have a few episodes left but I am both gripped and exhausted! I think Riz Ahmed is absolutely brilliant and as I'd never seen Four Lions we also watched that this month. Absolutely hilarious.

While we haven't been to the cinema this month (I know! Too busy!) we did watch the Netflix documentary, Icarus, which wasn't what I expected at all. Well worth a watch.

What I've been loving
OMG DID YOU KNOW BRAND NEW HAVE A NEW ALBUM OMG. So Brand New have been my favourite band since I was 14. I've been listening them to nearly half my life. When their last album came out I was 19. 19! I was in my second year of uni! I am so so so happy they have a new album, and it's also BRILLIANT. My little emo self is thrilled.
Also loving friends who buy you awesome clocks for your house.

What I've bought
Not much this month! Another stripey top because £13 stripey tops from Uniqlo are my weakness (I have three), and some insanely bright bedding I got from Aldi for £2.99. SCORE.

What I've been reading
I read two books in August - Night Film and My Shitty Twenties. I read a brilliant article about Night Film, which sums up how I felt. You have to suspend a lot of disbelief, some awful dialogue and a lot of thriller cliches, but it's actually a pretty good book.

I LOVED My Shitty Twenties, Emily Morris' memoir of finding out she was pregnant at university. Most of the book is set in Manchester and I loved all the little references to roads and places that I knew. Emily's writing is a dream and I'm not ashamed to say I cried when it was over.

What I've been reading online
A Rosie Outlook- Turning 33
I've been blogging-friends with Rosie for years, and I feel like I've been with her throughout her journeys through her blog. This year in particular she has had a difficult time, and I admire her strength, her writing and her way of communicating throughout her struggles. So I was thrilled to read her post on turning 33 filled with not sadness, but positivity and hope for a future that wasn't quite what she might have expected.

Guardian - Why we fell for clean eating
There are few things I hate more than the concept of "clean eating" (FOOD IS NOT DIRTY), and this article in the Guardian pin points a lot of my feelings and wonders why people are falling for this food morality.

Blisters and Biscuits - Stop relying on those struggling to start the conversation
I became friends with Louise on Twitter kind of by accident when she blogged about her experience running the London marathon, and now it's nice to have a running friend to talk to about trainers and parkrun tourism. She also writes about mental health, and I thought this piece was absolutely brilliant on how after a tragic suicide people always resort to "I'm here if you want to talk" rather than starting the conversation themselves. As someone who tries to speak out about my mental health, I know how hard it can be, and she is completely right that the onus shouldn't be on the person struggling to speak first.

The Pool - Can our kids really go gender free?
I've been passionate about rejecting gender stereotypes ever since I was 21 and read Judith Butler's Gender Trouble and I feel really strongly about raising children not to conform with their gendered expectations, and this article gives me hope than we can start to eradicate gender norms in future generations.

Sali Hughes - Being a grown up means empowerment - who doesn't want that?
I think this will be a topic for a future newsletter, but I love this piece because I LOVE being an adult. I have no interest in reliving my youth - I love owning a home, earning money so I can pay my mortgage, hey I even want to talk about m vacuum cleaner to anyone who will listen! I love this piece because "adulting" gets a bad rep and actually, there are a lot of great benefits to no longer being a kid!

Buzzfeed - How YouTubers like Zoella are capitalising on the self-care movement
This is a long but really interesting read on the growth of bloggers talking about mental health (good), but using it to sell products (bad). I find it increasingly difficult to find non-biased reviews of many products thanks to so much sponsorship, and as someone often looking for better ways to self-care, I found this really interesting. Self-care, it seems, is just another product to sell.

VOX - With Reputation, Taylor Swift has learned to stop worrying and love capitalism
As someone brought up on country music, I used to love Taylor Swift, and I still like a lot of her old music. I went through a phase of actually really liking her a few years ago, but now, not so much. I've been fascinated by her lately release which feels like a car crash I can't quite look away from. This article in the Paris Review from 2015 on her use of passive aggression in her lyrics is also worth a read.

23 questions from the final series of Game of Thrones
Game of Thrones? Good. Here's a great piece on questions that the final series needs to answer.


What I'm excited for

We FINALLY go to Spain this month and I am so ready. I've chosen my 8 books for a week-long holiday (don't worry, I have backups), and I am so ready for bare legs and long walks and locking my phone in a drawer and reading my books for a week. My parents' just got a new apartment and it has a POOL so I'm pretty excited!

Not gonna lie, excited to paint our bathroom, and another trip to Anfield. Oh and I'm also running the Stockport 10K  for the third time - the first race I ever ran  years ago!

Hope you're having a great September so far!

Charlotte x

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