Wednesday, 28 February 2018

February Life Lately

February is always the month I want to just hurry up please - both mine and Phil's birthdays are in March, with Phil's being on the 1st, so usually by the start of February I've already bought all of his presents and I just want to be able to give them to him!

The good news is, unlike January, February always seems to go super quick, and this February has actually had a couple of pretty exciting goings-on (which funnily enough basically happened on the same day!). So here's what I've been up to this month...

What I've been doing
One of the biggest reasons I was nervously anticipating February was that it meant the final results of my final module of my diploma in professional marketing. I worked on this qualification for 14 months and I handed in my final piece of coursework at the end of November. My last module was particularly challenging and I really struggled to get my head around the questions, and I was more than a little bit convinced that I might actually have failed. Thankfully, after sending Phil out of the room so I could refresh my emails constantly, I found out this month that I passed my final module with merit! I was absolutely thrilled and definitely didn't cry. I am so relieved I passed and that I passed well, but more than anything else just so glad it's all over!
The other big exciting thing that happened this month was that we booked our wedding! We are getting married on 13th April 2019 - eeeee! It all happened very quickly - we'd seen four venues, and were down to two we were considering. One was gorgeous but had a few boxes unticked, and another was perfectly fine and would probably have looked really nice with the right decor, but definitely felt a bit like we were settling. When it came to going to the open day at our now-venue, we weren't that excited and almost didn't go, and spent the whole journey there convincing each other of all the reasons it wasn't right! However as soon as we got there we fell in love, and we'd agreed the date the next day! It's starting to feel kind of real now, and it's crazy that in less than 14 months we'll be married! So far we've booked the church, the venue, the DJ and have chosen our photographer so while I keep getting completely overwhelmed we're doing okay considering we've only been engaged two months!
While Phil and I don't really celebrate Valentine's, I do always celebrate Galentine's and this year my friend Riven completely excelled herself with homemade waffles and a plethora of toppings at her annual Galentine's get together. We had presents and snacks and I came home with a whole bag of treats, from candles, to chocolates, to tea, to games, and my Galentine loved her makeup palette. Leslie Knope would have been so proud!

This month we've been super into board games which is the best because I love board games! My friend Sarah introduced us to Jaipur which we've been getting the hang of, and Love Letter, which we're yet to play. We also had a board game night at my friend, Eve's this month, where we played Codenames and Heads up, and my friend Riven bought me Sushi Go! as a present for passing my diploma - yay!
I'm considering writing this up as a full blog post, but last week I gave blood for the 11th time, even though I absolutely hate needles. I can't even watch injections on TV! I wrote a tweet about how you can donate even if you're scared which got more likes and retweets than I've ever had before, so I'm hoping to get a full post up with tips and advice in March.
Our house is currently a bombsite as we're having our living room and kitchen done - which is super exciting and I can't wait to show you everything when it's done! - but before it was a complete state we had visitors come to stay a few weeks ago. I've never had so many people in my house! Five of Phil's friends came up to visit and we had a lovely time in the pub (playing board games!) and out for dinner and then we went for a walk around Lyme Park on the Sunday, which was where Phil proposed. It was so lovely to have people come all the way from down south to visit us!

Finally, I usually give up chocolate for lent, but seeing as we're off to Bruges before lent is over and I didn't want to deprive myself of delicious Belgium chocolates, I decided to look for an alternative thing to do during lent. As you might already know I care passionately about foodbanks and ran the Manchester Marathon in 2016 for the Manchester foodbank, so I was thrilled to find the Trussell Trust do a Lent "advent calendar", which has something different to donate to your local foodbank every day of lent. I've been picking things up every weekend at Aldi and have cried every single time when I'm buying things like baby food and nappies and washing powder and thinking of the people who can't afford those basic things. It's easy to feel powerless and that you can't do anything to help, and while I know I'm not changing the world, I am glad I'm doing something to help, even if it feels small.

What I've been eating
On a similar note to board games, my friend Sarah told me her and her boyfriend play board games and bake on a Sunday and I said that sounded like the dream, so I've been trying to bake at the weekends to try to will myself to enjoy baking. So far, lemon drizzle, banana bread and banana muffins have all been a success.

I've also started to slowly work through Dinner: Changing The Game which is going well so far. I've only made a few recipes so far but hopefully I'll have a review in the next few weeks!

What I've been reading
I've read seven books this month, bringing me to a total of 13 this year so far, so I think my Goodreads goal of 40 books this year might need updating! I've completely fallen in love with reading again and want to read all my time!
Here's what I've read this month:

The Trouble With Goats and Sheep
Eat Up
Thin Air
The Silent Companions
Pages for You
See What I Have Done

My favourites were The Silent Companions, The Trouble with Goats and Sheep, Pages for You and Ruby Tandoh's brilliant manifesto of the joy of food, Eat Up.

What I've been watching
Four cinema trips this month - The Shape of Water, Black Panther, Lady Bird and
I, Tonya. These were all brilliant, but I think Lady Bird was my favourite, followed closely by I, Tonya.

Films at home this month have been When Harry Met Sally as I had one of those weeks where it followed me around, thanks to Ruby's book and This American Life, and also two classics I should have seen way before now Gladiator and Apollo 13.

I've mentioned loads of times before that Fargo is pretty much my favourite ever TV drama, so we finally started season 3 and I am absolutely buzzing.

Finally, I kept hearing people talking about Queer Eye on Twitter so tonight I put it on and 20 minutes in I'm almost crying already.

What I've been reading online
Cate - The Power of 10 Minutes
Amy Jones - The Goopification of self care misrepresents how hard looking after yourself can be
Amy Jones - Am I the asshole?
Jack Monroe - My ready meal is none of your business
The Pool - As someone with mental health issues, what do I owe my friends and loved ones?
Biscuits and Blisters - Legal Damages (Trigger warning - my amazing friend Louise wrote this story of her abuse and she is just the most incredible, brave and wonderful lady. I am so proud of her for writing this)
Hummusapien - How I became the eater I want to be

What I'm looking forward to 
YAY MARCH! So first up is Phil's Birthday on the 1st - we're having a couple of days off work so we're finally going to do the Anfield tour and get pizza in Liverpool and maybe see a couple of films. Then it's also my Birthday which means two things - Birthday trip to Bruges, but more importantly IT'S FINALLY GOING TO BE TIME TO SEE HAMILTON AFTER 14 MONTHS OF WAITING. I genuinely don't think I've ever been more excited for anything in my life and I've waited so so so long. God I'm so excited.

I'm also looking forward to my house being less of a bombsite and hopefully having the living room and kitchen finished!

Speak to you soon!

Charlotte x

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