Saturday, 6 January 2018

December Life Lately

Ahh I know it's already the 6th December and I'm super late to the party, but with the end-of-year blog posts I wanted to write I've found myself a bit behind with this one (and I'm still only half way through another 2017 post!) but I love writing these posts and reflecting on my month so I thought better late than never!

December feels an age away now but I swear I always feel like that at the start of a new month. There are some things on my list where I think, wait was that only last month?

So I promise I won't detail everything to do with our engagement again (I am still milking it for at least another few weeks on Instagram though!) or go into loads of detail about Christmas (because it feels forever ago!) but this is what I got up to in December...

What I've been doing

On 29th November I handed in my final piece of coursework for my marketing diploma, so to celebrate Phil and I took a few days off work. It was absolutely love to have a few days to go to the cinema multiple times, go for lunch, see family and friends and have the kind of weekend I haven't been able to have for a very long time! 

One of the things we did as part of our time off was explore The Light which is at the new leisure complex in Stockport, Redrock. As I've written before, Phil and I are both Cineworld Unlimited card holders and go to the cinema at least two or three times a month (and sometimes a lot more!) but while we were off we thought we might go and see if the grass is greener!
The first thing that pique our interest was a showing of Gremlins on 1st December - just when I was starting to get in the festive spirit! - which included a Q&A with Zach Galligan who played Billy. We couldn't resist watching one of our favourite Christmas films and the Q&A totally sold it for us. The cinema is absolutely gorgeous with so much legroom (even Phil, who is 6'5" could stretch out!) and while we were waiting for the film we found out they were offering Unlimited card holders a week of trying out the cinema for free - sold! Gremlins was brilliant and I got to ask Zach what he thought of the "dead-Dad-stuck-up-the-chimney" storyline which has always haunted me, and we got to meet him after! 

We ended up going to The Light twice more in December which I'll go into in my "watching" section!

This month we also booked my Birthday trip to Bruges which I'm so excited about! We're going to London to see Hamilton (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) finally on the 29th March, and my Birthday is the 30th which happens to be Good Friday. So we're getting the Eurostar across to Brussels then travelling to Bruges and having a long weekend there before coming back on Monday. We've been talking about booking this trip ever since we booked Hamilton tickets a year ago so I'm really excited!
We've done a lot of work on our house in December too. A few weeks ago we finally painted the bathroom after buying paint samples in August so it's no longer bright Barbie pink.

And then we spent two days between Christmas and New Year stripping our living room, stairs and landing wallpaper so we can start afresh with something new for 2018. So far we've got about as far as picking paint colours, and we're going to completely change up the room and make it ours which is really exciting so stay tuned for that over the next few months!
Of course we also celebrated our 5th Christmas together with our traditional two-Christmas-dinners, and I was completely spoiled as usual! Highlights include a tofu press, a cast iron pan, new slippers and a new dressing gown, and from Phil I got a print of Duluth, which was my home in Minnesota for a year while I was at uni, and a print of the building we lived in in Manchester from the 1920s. We had a drink early last year in the pub underneath our old building and they had this old photo on the front of the building and I loved it and said we had to find a copy for the house. So Phil spent ages looking through the library archives before emailing the pub to ask for a copy. It's so amazing to see that old building nearly 100 years ago!
And yes, if I haven't milked it already, on Boxing Day we got engaged in Lyme Park, and you can read the full story of how it happened in this post. That was definitely the biggest surprise in December!
We brought 2017 to a close quiet(ish) with a board game night at Phil's parents. However I'm not sure we've all quite recovered from the fall-out over Codenames!

What I've been eating
After really loving Meera Sodha's Fresh India, I bought Made in India last month after borrowing it from the library and deciding I needed it! Highlights so far are the green beans, the dal and the chana masala.

Also this month I finally learned to make amazing poached eggs, so I've basically spent the last few weeks eating poached eggs at every opportunity. (I use this recipe!)
I'm currently working through the Winter/Start of the Year second of The Modern Cook's Year (read my Autumn review over here) and so far my favourite thing has been the cauliflower-topped puy lentil pie.
And finally, Phil made this excellent lemon meringue pie for New Year's Eve and I am super impressed with his egg white skills!

What I've been loving
Ooh lots of lovely things this month!

One of my goals for 2018 is to look after my mental health and I started this in December with the Happyfeed app. Every day I have to write about 3 things that made me happy that day. I like to do this the following morning as it gives me time to reflect on the previous day and it really makes you think about the little things you might have forgotten!
At the start of December I decided I wanted to buy a few new nail polishes, and I always buy Essie. While I was picking colours I noticed Superdrug had an Essie Advent Calendar for only £25, which had 7 full-size colours and lots of smaller colours and other nail products. I got one for myself and one for my Mum! We both absolutely loved having a little nail polish treat every day of December!

One of my favourite people, Cate of Cate in the Kitchen has started a podcast and it's absolutely brilliant. It's all about food and cooking and food culture and food memories and ah, it's just lovely. Go download it now!
Every Christmas I make Phil's parents and my Nan a hamper, and this year I got one myself! My friend Riven made us the most amazing hamper, containing two books, homemade flavoured gin, two kinds of biscuits, two kinds of condiments, chocolate, SHARK HAT...to name but a few! It was so lovely and thoughtful and everyone has been amazing so far!
Finally, I got myself a Buddy Box this month so I could get a copy of their Self Care book and it was really lovely. If you haven't heard of Buddy Boxes they're a subscription box from mental health charity, The Blurt Foundation, full of treats to help your mental health. I got a copy of the Self Care book, lovely socks and lots of other lovely things this month.

What I've bought
On top of Christmas presents, just two small things this month! A new bullet journal because I've finished my first one (and I'm still in the process of moving everything over!) and World Vegetarian which I got for a few quid second hand and I'm using for the first time this weekend.

What I've been watching
A bit of a mixed bag this month! I absolutely loved everything we saw at the cinema this month - Wonder, Battle of the Sexes, The Last Jedi and The Disaster Artist.

But films we watched at home, not as much. This month we watched Glengarry Glen Ross and The Game, which were both a bit disappointing!

Finally, Phil and I are completely obsessed with Love it or List it, the Kirstie and Phil programme. As we're redoing our living room we're kind of obsessed with home programmes and instead of catching up with Peaky Blinders or Stranger Things 2, we're really enjoying watching mindless episodes of this!

What I've been reading
I've read 5 books this month, my absolute favourite being What I Loved, which has instantly made it's way into my favourite books list. I read Siri Husdvedt at uni but hadn't read any of hers since, and I'm really excited to work through all her books.

I also really enjoyed Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine at the end of the month, and am glad to hear it's won a Costa award.
Other books this month were Fever Dream, which was a surreal and bizarre but interesting read, Fingersmith which I was super into but then got a bit bored of towards the end, and You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine which I'm still trying to decide how I felt about!

What I've been reading online
I absolutely adore Louise and she is one of the people I'm so glad I "met" in 2017. All her blog posts are brilliant, but I love this one on Why your dreams don't have to scare you.

Google's A Year In Search video gave me all the feels.

And The Pool's post on Matt Damon completely summed up how I felt.

So there we go - better late than never right? In January I am looking forward to a quiet month, choosing paint for our living room and playing with layouts and maybe starting to plan our wedding!

Hope 2018 is treating you well so far!

Charlotte x

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