October Life Lately

October was a month of scary films, spooky books and DIY. Here's what I got up to (and here's my One Second Every Day for the month).

What I did

If I had to sum up October in one word, or three letters, it would be DIY. Nearly all of my One Second Every Day clips are of one of us pushing a roller over a wall or touching up a skirting board.

We've been working on the house near-constantly since August and we are getting there, albeit very slowly! In October we finally got our bedroom, office room and hall plastered (after weeks of bare plaster in our bedroom, and worse, bare dusty brick in the hall and office room as they both needed completely new walls!). And once all the plaster was dry, we could paint!

Our bedroom is now Timeless white with a soothing green feature wall, our office room is Chic Shadow (the most gorgeous shade of is-it-grey-is-it-blue-is-it-lilac - see above) and our small dark hallway is now the brightest pure brilliant white. It's been a lot of work - every single weekend and most evenings have been spent covered in paint, but we've managed to get so much done.

I'm not a fan of sharing my journey part-way through and we have a long way to go, but there are a few sneak peeks in my seconds video. Our bedroom is definitely coming along the quickest (and by that I mean, Phil ripped off the horrible old textured wallpaper in there back in July!) and it's the room where we had the clearest vision about what we wanted, which meant we could actually get some accessories this month too!

With the room being green and white, we've gone for blush pink for everything else which I absolutely love. Our bedding is pure white (omg Dunelm's soft touch bedding is amazing), with a pink throw and the most perfect pink-and-green cushions from Matalan which go perfectly. We've also got pink curtains, a pink lampshade and pink lamps. 

But my favourite thing in the room right now is some prints we got from Desenio. I didn't even know where to start with buying art but wanted something a bit more grown up. A lot of the prints in our house are of our favourite places (our little feature wall in the living room has prints of Duluth (where I lived on my year abroad), Manchester city centre (where we first lived together), Lyme Park (where we got engaged) and Banff (where we spent our honeymoon)), and the landing has 2 prints of Stockport (where we live). We also have lots of photos and film and book-themed prints, but nothing just, art.

So I hit my usual resource for all things house - Kimberley's blog - and discovered Desenio. The prints we found are absolutely stunning. One is of blue and pink mountains, and the other gold-and-pink hills. They go perfectly together and really make the room. They also sell frames, which is amazing because buying frames is the bane of my life. We got 2 prints and 2 frames, and because we bought 4 or more items, we got 30% off, so the whole order was £70! They look fantastic.

I'm so glad we got all the painting done before the DIY shops close. We have a few more bits to order online but I don't think we'll make much progress in November, but hopefully I'll have something properly to show you in the new year!

What I read

(I've never done this before, but I've become an affiliate with Bookshop.org which supports independent bookshops, so if you buy anything from any of the links to books I've shared I'll get a small commission).

Not a massive book-reading month last month - likely because of spending all my evenings and weekends painting!

Here's what I read:

I first encountered Marilynne Robinson when I was at university when I read Gilead, and I think this was my first introduction to my favourite genre, which I call "beautifully written character studies where nothing happens". 

Years later I read the second book in the Gilead series, Homegoing, and up until recently I didn't even know there were more books in the series.

It was only when I was browsing NetGalley to look for something new to request when I noticed Jack, and saw it was the fourth book in the series. I requested it, then promptly downloaded Lila, the third book in the series, which I read last month.

While I loved Lila, I just didn't love Jack quite as much. Jack is the story of the titular Jack, who is abandoned by his family due to his checkered past, and falls in love with Della, a black woman, in a time in which these relationships are illegal.

I really like the way Marilynne Robinson's Gilead series keeps us closely tied to different characters and how each book focuses on a character who might have been minor or barely mentioned in the other books. I expected to really love this but actually I much preferred Lila, even though it had much less in the way of plot.

I wanted a couple of spooky books for October and had had this on my wishlist for a while, so when it was discounted on Kindle I bought it and read it almost straight away. I was hooked so quickly that I ended up buying another Simone St James book after a few pages.

The Sun Down Motel is a character in itself. Carly finds herself working in the motel while investigating her aunt's disappearance in the 80s. Her aunt also worked at the motel and it was the last place she was seen before she disappeared. The book takes turns between their perspectives, both working at the motel, Carly in the present and her Aunt Viv in the past.

This is a pacey, spooky and fun read which I really enjoyed, and it was perfect for October. I really loved it.

When it comes to spooky books, there is one man we always come back to, and Salem's Lot is one of the classics I hadn't read. It's actually Phil's copy and he described it as "basically every vampire story but it's good fun."

One of the reasons I didn't read as much last month is because Salem's Lot is long, man. It took me way over a week to read.

It's a classic Stephen King - small town in Maine, lots of characters and lots of names to remember, spooky stuff going on. It's great fun, and exactly as Phil described with lots of classic vampire tropes. I'm glad I've finally read it.

This had been on my to-read list for a while so I finally caved last month. I really loved this.

An unnamed narrator (I love an unnamed narrator) is living illegally in an apartment owned by his Aunt in the late 90s while he studies for his MFA writing programme at Colombia, and feels guilty about his living situation and family wealth compared to his peers. He becomes friends with a fellow classmate, Billy, who is a brilliant but struggling writer, and invites him to move in.

I loved so much about this - the story of class and friendship and politics and masculinity in 90s New York. The Apartment is sad and funny and brilliant and tragic and compelling. I highly recommend it.

Another spooky book for October. This is one of those books that I was suuuuuper into, until I wasn't. With horror I can easily get bored once the creepy goings-on start to get explained and this one kind of lost me in the last 100 or so pages. 

I know lots of people who really love this though, so if you want a creepy book with lots of spooky goings-on set in Mexico, it's worth a read.

This was I heard about months ago, added to my wishlist, bought for 99p then promptly forgot about. If I remember correctly I first heard about it through Blair (who I get most of my book recommendations from to be honest) who compared it to Otessa Mosfegh's Death in Her Hands - an old woman in a cold, wild location, trying to solve a mystery. 

I absolutely loved this. I loved being in Mrs Duszejko's head, I loved her weird thoughts, her obsessions with animals and horoscopes and William Blake and solving the mystery, her funny nicknames for her neighbours. It's quirky and weird and dark and brilliant and perfect for a cold winter evening. Translated from Polish by Antonia Lloyd-Jones.

I know it seems strange to list a recipe book in my What I Read section, but Cook Eat Repeat is much more a collection of essays than it is a recipe book, and I read it from cover to cover. Including all the recipe intros. Even those containing meat.

It's a lovely little book. I can see people who were expecting a classic Nigella recipe book to be disappointed - there are only a handful of "real recipes", instead it features more inspiration and ideas and recommendations, suggestions for recipes within the text, without exact measurements or timings. It's a love letter to food and cooking and the joys of eating. I adored it.

What I watched

October is for horror films, so we had a horror-film-only month. Here's what we watched:

First time watches for me:
Friday the 13th
Lake Mungo
The Woman in Black

American Werewolf in London
Don't Look Now

The rewatches this month were a real highlight - I love both American Werewolf in London (as mentioned here) and Don't Look Now, but I hadn't seen Scream since I was a teenager and I cannot believe how brilliant it is! Maybe one to watch every year from now on?

We also loved The Haunting of Bly Manor. Like a lot of people, it was completely different to what we expected but by the end I was completely captivated (and in floods of tears).

What I loved

I've been using an app called HappyFeed for a few years now (I actually have a blog post planned about it). It's a really simple concept - every day you have to list 3 happy things for the day. Some days are really hard, some days you have way more than 3. And last month I hit a total of 1000 days on HappyFeed. I love looking back on what my happy things were a year ago, 2 years ago, 6 months or 3 months ago.

To cheer myself up last month I treated myself to 3 jumpers from Sugarhill Boutique. Sugarhill Boutique is my absolute favourite independent online shop - I love their cute, quirky designs. I've managed to get a few other people to buy from them lately after me being such a cheerleader! I got this pink stripe jumper, a navy striped one and this adorable dinosaur one. They make me smile whenever I see them in the wardrobe!

I've been hitting the podcasts pretty hard lately too. I'm currently working through the whole back catalogue of You're Wrong About and I'm utterly obsessed. My favourite episodes have been the OJ Simpson series (which I'm still working through), Human Trafficking (very relevant at the moment), Yoko Ono, Kitty Genovese (especially as I did a social psychology course a few weeks ago where there was a whole section on the bystander effect!), Anna Nicole Smith, Columbine and the Quarantine Deep Dive episodes into both Michelle Remembers and Jessica Simpson's autobiography.

Related to You're Wrong About - I've been enjoying Maintenance Phase, which is also hosted by Michael Hobbes of You're Wrong About. Maintenance Phase is a deep dive into the misconceptions and general rubbish of the diet and wellness industry.

And finally, I love having a series I can savour which I can only listen to when I'm running, and currently that is the satanic panic series of Uncovered. I love anything about the satanic panic thanks to the Michelle Remember deep dive on You're Wrong About and American Hysteria, and this is such a fantastic and well-researched investigation.

What I wrote

The return of this section! I actually wrote something last month that wasn't just a round up post! I wrote four posts in October:

What I read online

Writing Between Pauses - Making Magic
Writing Between Pauses - How to become a better writer

I've got loads of blog posts in drafts at the moment so hopefully I'll catch up with you before December!

Charlotte x


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