Sunday, 3 December 2017

November Life Lately

It's December! My favourite month of the year, and the month that I am FINALLY FREE OF COURSEWORK! After 14 months, three modules, three pieces of coursework and an exam, I completed my final assignment in my Diploma in Professional marketing on Wednesday. It's been incredibly hard sacrificing nearly every weekend and endless evenings for over a year to studying, reading and working on coursework, and I am so exhausted and relieved and thrilled it's over! I'd wanted to do the course for years (it's the equivalent of a degree so I'll basically have two degrees once I get my results!) and it's been incredibly interesting learning the theory of what I do at work every day, and I really feel like it's helped my at work, but I am definitely glad it's over! Now, just to wait til February for my results!

Because of this, however, November has been far from an exciting month! I have spent every single Sunday, nearly every Saturday, and most Monday and Thursday evenings doing coursework this month, and that's really been my focus. I've missed runs, British Military Fitness classes and social engagements to stay inside hunched over my laptop so I'm looking forward to getting back into my routine this month!

However, I have done a few nice things this month, so here's what I've been up to which hasn't been related to "Measurement and Metrics":

What I've been doing
I've been trying out Forest app after reading about it on Rosie's blog. The concept is simple but it totally works. You set how long you want to not use your phone for, say 20 minutes, and then it grows a tree while you're not on your phone. If you use your phone, the tree dies! I'm finding it really great because I refuse to kill a tree! I put my phone on aeroplane mode, set my tree to grow and get on with reading or watching a film. It was also brilliant for coursework! I already use the Pomodoro technique and I've sworn by it during coursework, and this has been a really helpful addition.
At the start of the month Phil and I went out for dinner to go see Jamiroquai at the Manchester Arena. I didn't really know what to expect when Phil booked the tickets, but they were always on his list of "bands to see no matter the price when they go on tour" and we'd booked these tickets back in February. It turns out you forget how many amazing songs Jamiroquai have! It was an absolutely brilliant concert and they were amazing. I'd definitely go see them again!
We've also been at the football this month where I ate chips and curry sauce and we beat Southampton 3-0 and it was excellent.
And finally, November marked mine and Phil's four year (!) anniversary. We celebrated in true Charlotte and Phil style by going to British Military Fitness and doing burpees in the dark in a freezing cold park, but then a few days later we went out for a fancy-pants meal in town. We went to El Gato Negro Tapas which I've been eyeing up as an anniversary meal option since about July as it looked gorgeous and just a little bit more fancy than somewhere we would go for a standard meal out, and it did not disappoint! We had the most amazing food - sweet potato with mango, tomatoe-y chickpeas, king prawns, tiny fish cakes, I can't even remember what else, but it was all stunning. I would definitely recommend it as somewhere for a kinda-fancy meal in Manchester as the food is exceptional. We then had a drink after in one of our favourite places - The Fitzgerald.

What I've been reading
Despite studying most of the month, I always make time to read, and this month I read a novella, a graphic novel, and two novels (with one being 900 pages!).
I've gone on and on enough times about What Page are You On? podcast, and I basically read every book they talked about in their Halloween edition. Such Small Hands was a gorgeously creepy novella, which I followed up with the gorgeous Thornhill which was the most stunningly beautiful gothic graphic novel.

Next up was The Upstairs Room which I was super into until right near the end, and finally, one of the best books I've read in a long, long, long time, I Know This Much is True.  This book completely took me by surprise and absolutely broke my heart. It is absolutely stunning and at 900 pages I was so glad I had so much to read. I was devastated when it was over and I know it's going to stay with me for a long, long time. 

I'm going to do a bit of a write up at the end of the month on my favourite books, films etc. of the year which I'm really excited about!

What I've been watching
This month we finished Mindhunter which was absolutely stunning and wonderful and perfect. I was devastated when it was over and can't wait for a second series. I am the biggest Fincher fan girl (plus, Jonathan Groff!!) and this totally hit the spot for me.

We have also been watching The Sinner which we're kind of, eh. It's okay. We are determined to not leave another series unfinished but we're not super into it, but with only a few episodes left we're probably going to stick it out but it's been a little bit disappointing!

Finally, I mentioned last month I read Let the Right One In and this month we watched the Swedish film adaptation. Wow, this was such a beautiful and gorgeous film and a brilliant adaptation of a book I loved.

What I've bought
Not much this week as I had a bit of a Black Friday disaster. I bought a dress that was too big, a jumper that was too small and three times now Topshop have sent me the wrong coat! The only good thing was Phil happened to be in town when I discovered the jumper I ordered was too small and managed to get me another size. So Phil and I are the proud owners of almost-matching fairisle jumpers.

What I've been eating
A few winners this month. Lebanese moussaka from Slow Burning Passion is one of my favourite things ever and I'm so glad I rediscovered it this month. 
I also gave mythical-sounding slow cooker mac and cheese a go from Miss South's Slow Cooked which we were a bit dubious about, but it was EXCELLENT.
I finally used my last two decorative pumpkins this month to make some amazing completely-made-up pumpkin soup and another completely made up vegan breakfast burrito which was bloody amazing and I regret making it on Instagram stories because I can't remember what I put in it.

I've also been cooking LOADS from the Autumn section of Anna Jones' A Modern Cook's Year and my review of the autumn section will be up over the next week or so!

What I've been reading online
This kind of depressing (or inspiring?!) cartoon that Amy shared
The Guardian - What's your biggest regret?
Rosie has had a really challenging year, so I loved her post On Contentment
The Guardian - My Week Eating Nothing but Recipe Box Meals
Swoonworthy - Let's talk Infertility
Kate Leaver - Feminist reading really can beat anorexia. It worked for me.
New Statesman - Ghost Watch: The Halloween Hoax that Changed the Language of Television
Mara Wilson - A 13 Year Old Girl is Not "All Grown Up"
The Pool - The Piercing that Made me Feel Powerful
Metro - Male Incompetence is a Subtle Form of Misogyny
Buzfeed - 100 Tweets that Made British People Piss Themselves in 2017

I'm looking forward to getting back into blogging this month. I've got a recipe book review planned, a look back on my year and a bit of a favourites of the year to do. Plus it's my blog's 8 year anniversary at the end of the month!

Hope you're having an awesome December so far!

Charlotte x

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