Friday, 17 April 2020

Things that are bringing me joy right now #2

Hey so it turns out this is a series!

After I wrote "22 little things that are bringing me joy right now" last week, I found myself starting on a new list a few days later, so I guess I'm going to keep doing this.

I will add, a lot of things on the original list still stand. My garden, running, cross-stitch etc. are never going to not be bringing me joy, but here's a few new things that I've been enjoying this week:


  • Finally repainting our kitchen
(I promise this is the same colour - I just took the before and after photos hours apart so the lighting is completely different! It's closer to the after photo in real life)

We've had trouble with damp in our kitchen for ages, and fortunately right before *gestures wildly*... this, we managed to get the pointing done so we could repaint where paint had flaked and worn off over the last few years. Doubly-fortunately, the week before lockdown we anticipated that painting the kitchen might be a good idea while we couldn't go out, so after work on my last day in the office we nipped to B&Q for supplies. We've put it off for a while, but this weekend we finally did it and it looks SO GOOD. I literally haven't seen our kitchen with fresh lovely paint for over two years. I'm so glad we finally got it done. Now, organising the loft is another matter...

  • Iced coffee in the garden
Iced coffee in the garden is our post-parkrun/post-run/post-military fitness treat when it's warm, and last weekend it was finally nice enough to do it. One of my favourite things ever.

  • How to Murder Your Life by Cat Marnell
After blogging last week about struggling to read more than a few pages at a time, something pacey and juicy was exactly what I needed. Like everyone else on Twitter I was engrossed in the Caroline Calloway blog last week and when she mentioned Cat Marnell as inspiration I thought, wow, if her memoir is as juicy as this story I am in! Fortunately I already had How to Murder Your Life on Kindle after buying it for 99p a few weeks ago and I absolutely devoured it in a couple of days. I couldn't put it down. It's so messy and juicy and unbelievable and shocking at times, and also for all its sadness, the way Cat writes is so fun? Cat Marnell is a brilliant writer and her memoir on her life and addictions is just so wild and her tone is so irreverent and ironic and sarcastic, god I just loved it. 

  • Reading novels again
And on that note, How to Murder Your Life has got me back into reading longer writing (can't really count a memoir as a novel, but it definitely feels like a novel). I read Red to the Bone in less than a day on Thursday (99p on Kindle!) which I loved and I've just started Silver Sparrow (£1.99 on Kindle!) by Tayari Jones which I'm really enjoying so far. An American Marriage was one of my favourite books of 2019 so I know I'm going to love this too.

Of course, I got so into short stories last week that I order 5 new collections and now I'm back on a novel-reading bender, but hey, such is life. I'm sure I'll be back on short stories pretty soon!

  • Watching Documentaries
One of Phil's friends has started a film club (okay, there's 5 of us so far, but it still counts), and our first watch last week was Diego Maradona, by the same director as two of my other favourite documentaries, Senna and Amy. It just so happened that Curzon Cinema did a talk with the director on Monday night so we watched that before we had our film club catch up. On Saturday we also watched Hoop Dreams, which was available from Cuzon at Home for just £3.99. Hoop Dreams is always heralded as one of the best documentaries, and we've both been trying to get hold of it for literally years, so I'm really glad we got the chance to finally see it.

  • The Americans - season 4
Guys, we watched a whole TV season in a week! It took us 4 months to watch the first 2 seasons of The Americans, and I think we've watched seasons 3 and 4 in about 2 weeks. Season 4 was by far my favourite season so far, and I know we're going to end up finishing the whole thing in a few more weeks. I'm enjoying it so much and can't wait to see where it's going.

  • Family Quiz
On Sunday night we hosted our first Cantillon-Crowley family quiz, with my parents, Phil's parents, Phil's brother and his sister. We had a round per household, and mine and Phil's round was 20 "lookalikes" from "best in the business" Lookalikes.co.uk. We had general knowledge rounds, "name that face" rounds, and a "Shakespeare or not Shakespeare" round. It was such a laugh I think we're going to do it every week!

  • Hot Crossed Buns and other treats
Is there anything better than saying "oh no! I haven't had a hot crossed bun this year?" only for your husband to bring some home from the supermarket the next day? I think not. Supermarket shopping is making me hella anxious right now so Phil has been taking one for the team and doing it for us, which also means he comes home with extra treats I never normally let him put in the basket, and then regret later when I "really want a biscuit". 

  • French plaits
Like every other woman I know, I'm using lockdown as an opportunity to finally start training my hair to be washed less. It's going... not well (I bought 3 different kinds of dry shampoo yesterday), but I have discovered I can sort-of French plait my hair kind of okay-ish? I don't think I'll be going out with French plaits any time soon, but I love that I can now eke another day out of my greasy hair, AND I LOOOOOOVE how they keep my hair off my face (fringe probs).

  • My first sourdough baby

Documented here. Half the loaf is now wrapped in foil in the bread bin because I don't want something I spent 2 weeks on to be over so soon (I know, I know, I can make more from Seymour the Starter who now lives in the fridge), but I really want to save "nice bread" for the weekend. Basically, I'm still super proud. I'm still not sure it was worth it.
  • Coursera
Guys, do you know about Coursera? There are hundreds of courses available on there, and loads of them are free! I'm currently doing Social Psychology and it's sooo interesting, I'm even doing all the recommended extra reading.

  • Focusing on one thing at a time
I've been finding myself going with the flow a bit more than usual (okay let's face it, I don't go with the flow ever normally) and I'm quite enjoying giving myself permission to do what I feel like. Some days I just want to blog, some days I just want to read, some days I just want to cross-stitch, some days all three. On Wednesday I'd planned to do some yoga but it was just so lovely outside I took my book outside instead. I've been picking up books and putting them back down if I'm not into them (something I rarely do). I've been doing the extra reading on my courses if it's interesting, rather than just rushing onto the next lecture. I abandoned our planned curry on Tuesday night in favour of enjoying our fresh sourdough (and to our great joy, two perfectly ripe avocados from the fruit bowl!). We've been watching two or three episodes of TV in the evening just because we've been enjoying it. For someone who is always rushing around and trying to squeeze as much into my life and day as possible, it's been good for me to slow down a bit.

  • The Pomodoro technique
I don't mean this to contradict the above, but more to complement it. I've been using the Pomodoro technique for literally years and years, and while I often use it at work, I find it incredibly helpful when working from home or studying at home (I used it religiously all through my marketing degree). It's so simple - set a 25 minute timer, focus solely on your work for those 25 minutes, then you get a 5 minute break. I know so many people who don't think 25 minutes is long enough to get much done, but I know from so much experience that when you're focused - phone in another room, no chatting, no emails, no instant messaging, no distracting browser windows - you can get so much done in 25 minutes! Then in your break, you can check your phone, have a chat, make a cup of tea - whatever! - then get right back into it. There are loads of apps available, but I like simply tomato-timer.com.

  • Celebrating our first wedding anniversary



Monday was our first wedding anniversary! (How has it been a year?!)  Now a year ago I definitely don't think we imagined spending our first wedding anniversary stuck inside, but we actually had the most lovely day. We woke up and gave each other cards and presents - your first wedding anniversary is "paper" so we, unsurprisingly for us, both got each other prints. Phil got me an illustration of Banff in Canada - our favourite place we went on our honeymoon, and I got him a Soundwave print of our first dance song.

We went for a walk, then we ate the wedding cake from the freezer we had defrosted (honestly? Still great a year on!), watched our wedding video, read our guestbook, looked through our album. We also finally did our honeymoon scrapbook, and it was so nice to look back on that too.

Then we both got dressed up and put on the playlist we made for the evening reception and danced in the kitchen. We took a photo of us holding our wedding photo - the plan is each year we'll hold the photo from the previous year, so next year we'll hold the photo we took this year etc etc. We got a takeaway, we opened a bottle of champagne, and we ended the evening dancing to our first dance. 


I would have loved to have been able to go out for a meal or away for the weekend, but honestly, there isn't much I'd change about the day we had. It was so lovely to relive the day through the video and the cake and the album and guestbook, and we got to celebrate the day together - what more could we want?

Fingers crossed I have more happy things to report next week!

Charlotte x

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