December Life Lately

It feels weird after writing loads of post looking back on 2019 to be looking back on what I did in December, especially now in the cold dark reality of January!

December is always one of my favourite months of the year and this year was no exception!

Here's my one second every day for December, and here's what I got up to last month...

What I did

I think everyone I work with at my new job thinks I'm obsessed with my house and/or thinks that we're new home owners! After two and a half years in our house we still have so much we want to do, and we're taking our time with things (especially having just got married and had a big honeymoon!).

But December brought one thing we'd been excited about for ages - new carpets! We stripped the wallpaper off our landing and stairs nearly two years ago (the day after we got engaged we were scraping wallpaper off the walls!) but while the walls were painted almost straight after, we'd never gotten around to new carpet. Just before Christmas we got all new carpet up the stairs and replaced the old (blue-paint-splattered!) carpet in the front room too, and I can't explain what a difference it has made! I now want new carpet in every room!

A post shared by Charlotte Cantillon (@girlnextdoorfashion) on
We also got this amazing fireplace from my parents for Christmas which really makes the front room! We tend to spend more time in the front room in the winter as that's where we have the Christmas tree, and it's really starting to get there too!

Every year I complain "I don't feel Christmassy!" all through December, so one of my ways to try to combat this this year was some Christmas baking. I made this Pret-inspired melted Melvins - mine definitely look very melted!

We had a lovely day out for a walk in Lyme Park, secret santa and an amazing pub lunch for our first, and now hopefully annual, Friendmas, on the Saturday before Christmas. It was so lovely to get out and about (I can't tell you how much I love out National Trust membership!) and have good food with good company!

This year was mine and Phil's seventh Christmas together. For the last 5 years we always had two Christmas dinners - one at Phil's parents' at around 12pm and then off to my parents' for a second around 6. I've been saying ever since we got the house we wanted to host, but this year, with it being our first Christmas married, I was determined we were going to do it! We got a new dining table and chairs last December, so we put our old chairs in the loft (and grabbed a few emergency chairs!) and I asked my Mum and Phil's Mum to help with some of the cooking. My Mum came on Christmas Eve to decorate the table, and on Christmas Eve I prepped the veg (with some help from Phil who peeled everything while I went for a run!), made a nut roast and got everything ready.

Phil and I started Christmas Day with presents to each other - he got me Hamilton tickets and I got him a weekend away in the Yorkshire Dales and then we headed off to our first Christmas Day parkrun!

I've wanted to do Christmas Day parkrun for years but because our Christmas Day is always so manic we've never managed to do it. Our local parkrun, Bramhall, doesn't do parkrun on Christmas Day, so we headed to our next favourite, Wilmslow. We went super early to make sure we got parked, and it was a good thing we did - they broke their attendance record with 520 of us running on Christmas Day! I absolutely loved getting to run on Christmas morning and I'm already excited about doing it next year!

After parkrun, we headed back for a quick change before went to my Auntie Bre's Christmas breakfast - a Crowley family tradition. Normally this is a quick affair for Phil and I before we have to rush back for our first Christmas dinner, but it was nice to get a bit more time with everyone before I had to start cooking.

Our oven isn't amazing and doesn't circulate heat well when it's full, so my potatoes ended up taking two hours, but my Mum brought the turkey, stuffing and gravy, and Phil's mum brought the pudding and in the end it all went pretty well, if exhausting! I was so proud of myself for managing to get everything done, and I'm already making plans for what I need to do differently next year!

After dinner, we did presents which was quite a nice way of spreading out gifts throughout the day - Phil and I did our presents for our families, and our families exchanged gifts too. After presents, we did dessert, then games, then cheese before Gavin and Stacey. It was absolutely brilliant and I'm so glad we could all spend the day together!

Where I went

Back in May, Phil's sister, Suzie, tagged me in a post on Facebook for a singalong Hairspray night in Manchester. Straight away, I said to her, I'm in and I'm not bluffing. I'll get it for you for Christmas. So in December, 7 months after booking, the day finally arrived.

It was so so so much fun! Everyone was absolutely going for it, which you definitely need with something like that. You got unlimited drinks with your tickets, and just turned on the tealight on your table whenever you wanted a drink. Everyone was singing and dancing along - it was such a good night!

Phil and I decided to finish work for Christmas on Friday 20th to give ourselves a really nice break over the Christmas period. On the first Monday we were off we headed to our final National Trust location of the year - Dunham Massey. They have a really lovely Christmas lights event on through December which was sold out, but we still had a lovely walk around the gardens and grounds, and I had the best Christmas ginger biscuit in the cafe!

What I read

6 books in December and one audiobook:

The New Me
The Female Persuasion
Olive Again
I still dream
Fleishman is in trouble
Spoilt Brats
The Secret Barrister

Olive, Again was one of my books of the year, and I knew it was going to be from the first page. Olive Kitteridge is one of my all-time favourite books and I love everything I've read by Elizabeth Strout. I read Spoilt Brats from cover-to-cover on Boxing Day (I've now read 3 books of Simon Rich's short stories and every time I've read the whole book in a day) and The Secret Barrister was absolutely fascinating and I highly recommend it on audio.

What I watched

Three trips to the cinema in December:

Star Wars
Little Women
Le Mans 66

I didn't expect to love Le Mans 66 as much as I did, but I definitely expected to love Little Women as much as I did!

At home we watched 4 films this month:

Die Hard
Marriage Story
The Irishman

We watch Die Hard and Gremlins every Christmas, and decided to use the Christmas break to catch up on the two Netflix films which everyone has been talking about. Marriage Story might be my film of 2019 (as much as I loved Rocketman!). It was sad and dark and hilarious and absolutely brilliant. I also really enjoyed The Irishman, despite it being so long we watched it in hour-long chunks throughout the day.

What I bought

Okay, I didn't buy it, but my Mum got me a Revolution Advent Calendar for Christmas and oh my god I've never been so excited to get up for an advent calendar! I got one full palette and a mini palette, lipsticks, brushes, eyeliner, eyebrow pencils, tonnes of highlighters (for me, too much highlighter!) and so many other things. I loved it so much that I ended up buying three Revolution Palettes in the sale after Christmas in a bid to try to wear more eyeshadow.

Boxing Day brought new books from some of my favourite cooks - Veganish, the new Jack Monroe book and the new Bosh book. I'm really excited to cook from these this year!

What I read online

This thread about leadership is so helpful to people like me who have just started managing people for the first time

Happy New Year to you all and I hope you're having a brilliant 2020 so far!

Charlotte x


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