As my partner and I enjoy our Introverted Nerd Time, the former playing Skyrim with an adorably concentrated solemnity, and the latter scribbling ideas into her planner to the soundtrack of Eddie Lang, it dawned on me that my October favourites remains neglected in the back corner of my mind. The last few soot sprites of my birthday month scurrying away into obscurity! Come back little soot sprites! So that I may review thee!
So October was a month of quite a few setbacks for me, which I sometimes let dishearten me, however one of my “what have I learned” points was that letting go of certain things IS possible for me, it just requires continuity and practice, I can’t lose touch of my coping strategies and hope everything will sort itself out organically, after I’ve addressed it just the once. I don’t know if this is making any sense, but there were odd moments of feeling almost proud of myself for taking active steps towards taking care of myself. I even tried to mirror one of these ‘letting go’ moments in reality, by walking down to my local charity shop and handing over a box of dresses and things that a) did not fit me anymore, b) didn’t make me feel good or c) I thought others would get more use out of. It felt symbolic and yes, a tad self-righteous, but it was nevertheless productive for me. I practically skipped back home as if I had thrown a heavy burden into the fires of Mordor, and I could burst through the doors of The Green Dragon and request a draught of the healthiest self-esteem. It comes in pints!
(I will postpone further rambling and delve straight into what I loved in October.)
- YouTube: Emma Blackery
It’s fair to say that Emma is pretty damn well-known in the YouTube community, with a shedload of subscribers and various sub-channels, but for a good reason. I would describe her as a “candid creative”, in that she is incredibly frank and sincere, and yet always willing to adapt to her environment and re-assess her views based on her experiences. It’s a delicate balance that few people manage to reach. She is probably more famed for her comedy skits and sassy Q&As, but I am more of a fan of the likes of her sub-channels ‘Vloggery’ and ‘Boxes of Foxes’ (which is unfortunately now defunct), which was more of a heart-to-heart setup of speaking openly about topics such as depression, self-harm, anxiety and sexual confusion. She has also had more wigs, hairstyles and colours than I have ever known of any other human, and she always looks fantastic.
2. Food: Urban Fudge
This is a company based in County Durham specialising in delicious hand-made fudge. I bought some at a farmers’ market recently, and after demolishing half a box over the past couple of weeks, I would definitely recommend the cappuccino, with a warm glass of milk, and the vanilla-orange, which incidentally bore a remarkable resemblance to a block of mild cheddar, until I bit into it of course. Just, the creamiest.
3. Theatre: The staging of ‘Mary Poppins’
An old uni friend invited me to watch this production in Newcastle for her birthday, and I was admittedly ever-so-slightly unenthused about the show. Not because I don’t care for Mary Poppins, but because it’s very dear to my heart, and something I don’t want to be further meddled with (see Emma Thompson’s portrayal of P.L.Travers in Saving Mr. Banks). I was proven wrong, not particularly by the script or the performances other than Mary herself, and Mrs Banks – but by the fantastic staging and special effects. It is constantly impressive, with all sorts of trapdoors and gravity-defiance and clever choreography. 17 Cherry Tree lane is beautifully imagined and just the sight of the house itself got me a tad emotional, all of which is excellent for a touring show.
4. Drink: Tea with jam
Apparently it is a Russian custom to drink your tea with jam. Admittedly our version of this custom lacked the authenticity of an antique samovar, as well as the accompanying market-bought spice cakes. Also, the combination of black tea with cherry jam was traded for milky tea with raspberry jam. I have also heard it’s supposed to be more of a spoonful of jam in your mouth, washed down with tea sort of situation, but nevertheless we stirred ours in with gusto, and it was a deliciously subtle sweetness that I much prefer over sugar itself.
5. People: Kevin Clifton
If I might rephrase, Kevin Clifton encompasses the Clifton Holy Trinity, that is including his beautiful wife Karen, and adorable sister Joanne, all of whom are my Strictly favourites, and wonderfully talented, hilarious people. To take the tone down to a smidge of smut, Kevin has one of the best bums I have ever seen.
6. TV: Luke Cage
Marvel Netflix Originals are always highly anticipated in our household, but we always like to spread them out a little as they are so far apart. We started Luke Cage on the 30th of September, and three weeks later we were finished. (There was a previous incident in our Jessica Jones phase when we were just about to finish the season and then our internet was brutally cut off for no reason, for a good two weeks. So there’s always an added element of fear in the final episode for us.) My brief review is this: The casting and the soundtrack, and the bluesy-sepia-toned setting of Luke Cage was fantastic, and wonderfully subtle. However, the last third of the season I was not a fan of, as it took a very pantomime turn.
7. Film: My Scientology Movie
Due to a little error at our local cinema it turned out that we watched the Q&A before the film itself, which was slightly confusing, but it did not tarnish the impact of Louis Theroux’s latest gift to the world of devil’s advocate journalism. We watched it on Halloween, and it was genuinely frightening…the “Squirrel Busters” in particular were horrifying. What I loved the most was the concept of making a documentary about not being permitted to make a documentary, or not being given the light of day to access any interviews with Scientologists to shed some clarity on a religion still in its infant stages. The denial of access itself actually led to a pretty funny scene in which Louis confidently debated his right to use a public road, with the utmost sass.
8. TV: Taskmaster
A gameshow that was created by Alex Horne during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2010, and hosted by himself and a bethroned Greg Davies, the concept is as simple as it sounds. Five comedians are given the most bonkers of timed tasks to complete to please the taskmaster, and win a prize collectively donated by the contestants themselves. Tasks include identifying the contents of pies without breaching the pastry; conceal an entire pineapple on your person; placing three exercise balls on a yoga mat, on top of a hill on a windy day. I think my favourite series was the second, the contestants being Doc Brown, Jon Richardson, Catherine Ryan, Joe Wilkinson and Richard Osman. It’s bloody hilarious.
9: Book: The Lie Tree
This was a slow-paced read for me, as I would only dip into a chapter or two nightly. This method really appealed to me, as it felt as though I were reading a Victorian penny dreadful in bite-size serialised episodes. The tree that offered fruitful truths when it had been fed with whispered human lies, was a very interesting take on religion and fraud, constantly embittered with shocking revelations of protagonist Faith’s family. Not my usual cup of tea, but it catered to my Halloweenish urges.
10: Beauty: Honey Trap
My favourite Lush lip balm of all time was one called Maple Taffy, which I think was a seasonal offering of theirs, and I can still taste it now. It takes me right back to my first year of university. Isn’t it wonderful how strong a memory a particular scent can evoke? The closest readily-available alternative I have found is Honey Trap, which has the same soft brown sugar texture, and smells (and tastes) of honey and mint. Very refreshing, and doesn’t leave my lips shiny. Would buy in bulk if I could.
So there we have it! I apologise that I can never seem to write short blogs, I have no anti-ramble filter in place at the moment. Here’s to November! My favourites are already accumulating.