Saturday, 3 October 2020

September Life Lately

I promise I am not going to keep starting all these blog posts with "ermagerd it's [month]" but it really is hard right now!

It feels a while since I last wrote here - so much so that my Mum asked me last week if I was still writing this blog!

I am, still here. Coming up to 11 years later!

I've got so so many posts in drafts and I feel like I'm not far off one of those periods where I just want to write constantly. I have a journal full of ideas of topics and I think maybe now the nights are drawing in I'll feel a bit more inspired to write. 

I've also had a lot of thoughts lately about the length and topics of my blog posts. I write this monthly review post every month and they take at least 2 or 3 days to finish and clock up at upwards of 1,500 words a time. That's a lot of words and a lot of time! This blog post could easily be 3 or 4 different posts. I kind of miss just spontaneously writing just because I have some inspiration. Last month I had a post in drafts I wrote in 20 minutes while I dried my hair, but I never posted it because it didn't feel long enough or didn't feel like it had enough of a point. I've had posts in drafts for months purely because they feel like such big hefty topics that I want to make sure they're complete, and it's just meant months and months of work potentially going out of date or not feeling relevant. I want to get back to writing a few hundred words on a topic just because I feel like it, and every blog post not needing days to complete! So many other bloggers I know write these little posts and I love them, so I don't know why I feel the need to write such long and in depth posts, and don't bother writing up my little ideas. I have a few ideas but I'm naturally quite verbose so it's hard for me to come up with topics which don't requite an essay on! But I have a few posts ideas so watch this space!

Anyway, here we are, October. I've just ordered a load of new, bright and brilliant jumpers (I absolutely love Sugarhill Boutique for most things, but knitwear especially), my candles are ready to be lit, and we have a few roast dinners on the meal planning list over the next few weeks. Phil has a list of films ready for "October horror films only", I have a books-to-read list as long as my arm, and The Haunting of Bly Manor starts next week.

As positive as I'm trying to sound, the last few weeks have been tough. As the weather started to turn last week, both Phil and I (and it seemed, a lot of people we knew) found ourselves spiralling. It was cold and grey and miserable, and there was just nothing to look forward to. Where I live in Stockport, we had less than a month of being out of local restrictions before we were forced back in again. Christmas loomed gloomily on the horizon, and everything felt uncertain and dull. We're bored and restless but also anxious about keeping safe and following the rules. We ambitiously started what we thought would be fairly minor work on the house which has now left us with our bedroom stripped of its wallpaper and it feeling naked and unfinished, the office room completely out of use with bare brick and leaving Phil to work in the front room with a desk shoved against a bookcase and everything feeling dusty and messy. The house feels in limbo which makes us feel even more uncomfortable and uncertain, and makes us want to escape the only place we can really be right now.

And like a lot of other people, we have been fighting ourselves and our "right" to be miserable. We both have our jobs and both love working from home, we're forever grateful we got married last year (I cannot tell you how upset I feel for everyone who planned to get married this year and what you're going through. I really can't imagine it), we have our wonderful dog and our home and lots of friends and family on the end of the phone. Neither of us have had the virus or have lost anyone we love. We're coping okay just the three of us, and we're so grateful to have our space and each other.

But this last week has been better. We didn't force ourselves to feel better but after a few days of not being able to see the light at the end of the tunnel, there was a tiny glimmer of hope, and thankfully we're feeling slightly better. The house is still a mess, working on a dining chair is still uncomfortable and the house is still freezing (the heating went on last week!),but we're going to throw ourselves into autumn and winter the best we can.

Here's what I got up to in September (and here's my One Second Every Day for the month):

What I did

In the very brief period when our local restrictions were lifted I was very lucky to catch up with most of my close friends as well as my family. 

I took advantage of being able to meet friends outside and celebrated my friend Riven's birthday with a picnic and exploring the local charity shops. We got probably the best M&S picnic of all time, and came home with plenty of charity shop goodies (including a Nigella book and a sparkly top!). I'm sad the weather is changing now because I've really enjoyed the picnics and walks I've had with friends over the summer this year.


Speaking of walks, Phil's parents have a time share in the Lake District, so a few weeks ago we headed up for the day and took Bob for an explore. The weather was drizzly but we didn't let that stop us - we even stopped for a soggy drink in a pub garden! It was so lovely and I can't wait to go back next year.

I mentioned back in August that I ran the virtual Great Manchester Run half marathon, and a few weeks ago my medal arrived! I'm still counting it as half marathon number 8, but I can't wait to be able to race properly!

Untitled Goose Game was one of our favourite things on the Nintendo Switch last year so we were absolutely thrilled when they released a free update - Untitled Geese Game! Now we can both play as horrible geese together. I loved watching Phil play this last year so I'm so glad I can help out terrorising the neighbourhood now too.


Finally, one of the biggest joys of September for me was the release of the new Ottolenghi book, Flavour. Guys I cannot wait to share my review with you. It's genuinely one of the best books I own. Everything I've made has been absolutely incredible and I've been finding myself planning our meals weeks and weeks ahead so I can squeeze in everything I want to cook.

What I read

September was a brilliant reading month! I read 10 books - 9 physical and one audio.

The Lightness
I am Dust
Lila
Leave the World Behind
Trio
Famished
Memorial
Exit Management
The Dutch House

And on audio The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck, which I actually enjoyed more than I thought given the click-baity title.

One of my favourites was I Am Dust, which I read pretty much in a day, a spooky mystery over multiple timelines set in a theatres. 

Also, I adored Memorial, which I was thrilled to get as an Advanced Reader Copy cause I'd heard so much about it. It's the story of Mike whose father is dying, so he goes back to visit him in Japan at the same time as his mother comes to visit, leaving her with his boyfriend, Benson. This is a story of family and change and relationships and culture and home and food. I was almost crying by the end, I loved it.

I've had it on my kindle for months because I knew I'd love it but The Dutch House was exactly my cup of tea. Multiple timelines, check. Family drama, check. Loved it.

Leave the world behind was another book I knew I was going to love from the premise. A family rent a house in the middle of nowhere, and in the middle of the night, the couple who own the house arrive in a panic, telling them the city has had a powercut. I don't want to give anything away here but I read this in an afternoon because I couldn't put it down.

Finally, Exit Management was another book I'd been really really looking forward to and it did not disappoint. I'm actually glad this wasn't an ARC because I have no idea of explaining it or why I loved it, but it's brilliant and I really recommend it.

What I watched

Football is back, which means my TV watching is 90% football, so we only managed 4 films this month.

We rewatched Role Models on a lazy Friday night and I loved it. I am terrible for rewatching films. I always want to watch something new, and I forget the joy of revisiting a film I love. One I need to remember during this cold dark winter - watch fun films you love!

The other films this month were two I'd been looking forward to for ages - I'm Thinking of Ending Things, because I love Jesse Plemons and I loved this book, and The Devil All the Time. I'm Thinking of Ending Things was a bit too weird for me and too much of a departure from the book, and The Devil All the Time was just too bloody bleak man. I have a penchant for the depressing and maybe I would have preferred the book but Jesus this is just one depressing thing after another. 

On a cheerier note, we were struggling for something short to watch earlier this week and ended up watching a documentary on competitive Rubix cubers on Netflix called Speed Cubers which I genuinely loved.

In "other good things we watched though", we finished the TV series of I'll Be Gone in the Dark and wow, I just loved it. I might have mentioned this last month but they do such a good job of a) making it Michelle's story and b) making it the victims' story. True crime isn't really my thing but this is masterfully done. I cried a lot.

What I read online

Anne Helen Petersen - Quarantine Grooming
The New Yorker - The Age of Instagram face
Writing Between Pauses - Should I outsource or should I learn?

Here's to a cosy and spooky October!

Charlotte x

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