Happy Blogmas Day One!
(Oh hi! Little introduction to Blogmas here! This is just a little pledge to finish off the year with a blogging bang (no sexual undertones there), by getting involved in this festive tradition! Blogmas or its YouTube equivalent Vlogmas, is an effort to record something seasonal in every day of December, if possible, as a sort of novelty Advent Calendar. It’s one of my favourite parts of the season since Crabstickz’ Advent Calendar of many Christmas Pasts. Now I can’t quite guarantee that I will be able to post EVERY day, or that each post will be massively festive as I will be working rather a lot over the holidays…but it is the effort that counts! So come in, and know me better man! As I endeavour to drive myself crazy with this writing task! Bear with me as the quality inevitably dwindles!)
It’s time for my November Favourites! Don’t lie, you’ve been anticipating this mediocre celebration of consumerism from myself, weren’t you? November was a month of new starts. I recommenced two courses that I had previously abandoned in fits of self-doubt. I told myself that I just wasn’t worthy of even trying, as failure is inevitable. But I actively kicked myself in the head (metaphorically, as flexibility would not permit) and thought so long as I am still here, there is no shame in making an effort, regardless of the outcome. God I’m just a pinnacle of positivity aren’t I? My boyfriend started a new job, and I am immensely proud of him, a new chapter has been a long time coming. I gave the gym another whirl, and stepped it up a notch by actively planning my workouts. I do feel better for it. And I started crocheting, and it’s bloody hard, and I still don’t quite get it, but it’s something I’ll keep attempting. That ball of wool represents my goals in life, in that it’s up to me to make them happen, and make them interesting. If I drop them on the floor then I need to pick them back up. Things can get tangled up, but I can work the knots out, or cut my ties and start afresh. Had enough of this woolly analogy? Let’s begin the post.
1: TV Show: Orphan Black
My good friend Rachel introduced me to this show in a traditional fangirling manner, and I am ever grateful for her reviews, as I am now somewhat hooked. Every now and then you find a show that will validate your usage of Netflix, and at the moment this is it. A perfect blend of sci-fi, crime, comedy and slightly dodgy but forgivable accents from an excellent cast, the obvious frontrunner being Tatiana Maslany. So many personas, always eyebrow-perfection. Jordan Gavaris is also brilliant as Sarah’s foster brother Felix. You can’t help but fall in love with the ridiculousness of everything.
2: Books: Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children Series by Ransom Riggs
I was overjoyed to receive a gorgeous boxset of Ransom Riggs’ peculiar stories, complete with vintage spines and a selection of Victorian photocards, the subjects of which form the basis of characters. I love the concept of these found photographs being brought to life in this fantasy world, and the stories are so well crafted. It tugged on my Gothic heartstrings which first formed a love with A Series of Unfortunate Events. It’s X-Men on a Welsh island with creepy children.
3: Music: Elle King
This sassy lady has been well-known for a while, but she has formed my internal soundtrack for the past month. I first witnessed her perform on The Graham Norton Show (a show I love eternally), and I was transfixed by her fuck-it-all persona, smoky belting voice and doe-eyed charm. I work in a cinema and one of her songs played over the credits for this Summer’s Ghostbusters effort (which I actually thoroughly enjoyed), and it’s been stuck in my head ever since. There is a country twang to some of her songs on the Love Stuff album, and if you close your eyes you’re in a sticky bar in South Carolina.
4: Fitness: Cassey Ho
Pop Pilates has become my in-between gym days routine, as Cassey’s videos are always entertaining, encouraging and bite-size at a general running time of 20 minutes. I’ve always loved pilates and though I may not be the most flexible or have immense ab-crunching stamina, it always relaxes me and I feel thoroughly stretched and happy afterwards. Cassey is so motivating as this clearly means the world to her, having been through the process of eating disorders and a skewed body image – now it seems that the motivation to exercise is to be HAPPY and proactive.
5: TV Show: Planet Earth II
My boyfriend and I always look forward to a weekly episode of Planet Earth and the subsequent filming diaries. This week’s episode zoned in on desert wildlife, and just how bloody hard it is to form sustainable life in such a harsh environment. The number of times we stare at the screen and announce “THAT DOESN’T LOOK REAL!” has become obnoxiously common, but it’s very true. Everything looks immensely beautiful and horrifying and wonderful. Big love for the golden moles this week.
6: Film: Arrival
This was a really interesting take on the language barriers formed in terraforming alien invasions. Nothing massively groundbreaking but I thoroughly enjoyed watching the process of establishing the motivations of these beings, and the casting was excellent.
7: Education: Tofugu
I am attempting to learn Japanese, and this website has been one of my favourites. If anything it presents itself as accessible Pocky-packaging, kawaii and colourful, and there are so many interesting articles on Japanese life, etiquette, and traditions, as well as an incredibly helpful guide to learning Hiragana and Katakana.
8: Dress Most Wanted: Lindy Bop “Grey” Yellow/Black Polkadot
Ah the Lindy Bop sales. Do I trust them? I’m not quite sure. In the past I’ve fallen in love with sale dresses, paid for them and then informed several weeks later that they are out of stock, and a refund would be organised once the backlog of complaints were dealt with. The sizes are also a bit unreliable in my experience. But they are just so damn GORGEOUS.
9: Clothing: Red Cord Skirt from Primark
I think this skirt was about £9, and it has probably been my most worn item of clothing in November. It’s cord, button up, A-line and forgiving around my thigh chunk, and the most festive shade of mulled wine. I don’t need to iron it, always a bonus in my books, and I tend to wear it with a loose checked shirt tucked in. Utmost comfort.
10: Food: McDonald’s Festive Cheese Bites (shame on me)
The other night I finished work and walked past a McDonalds. I then backtracked and walked inside, ordered two bags of festive bites and then walked out with a balance of triumph and shame. I told myself I wouldn’t order McDs again, and yet here I am. I could faintly hear the bells of the Shame Lady from Game of Thrones following me home. They are to me, not remotely festive but they are delicious and cheesy and everything I want.
11: Drink: Earl of Grey Teabags
These pyramid teabags from Joe’s Tea Company were delivered to me as part of my November Book & A Brew subscription box, and I have very nearly finished the box. They are DELIGHTFUL. They remind me of this gunpowder flavour I once tried at my local teahouse, slightly smoky and full of flavour.
My farewell to November is this. Thursday the 3rd was a day of making pumpkin, ginger and shallot soup with my partner. I dyed a stripe of blue in my hair, in homage to winter’s arrival. An evening of ginger parkin and custard followed, Strictly and blankets to honour Bonfire Night in a more comforting way. On Monday the 21st we had The November Tempest, a day when it did not stop pouring down and we all returned home with ice-cold foreheads, awaiting that first divinely hot shower after coming in from a storm. Fantastic Beasts and my own fantastic failures on the 17th. Smoky-mustard coloured skies and the ladybird who found a home on our light fitting. Trying to understand Westworld and sorting through my memory box. Writing job applications with shaking hands. Crafting Christmas presents and feeling like a child. My anxiety has not plagued me anywhere near as much as in previous months, and though I’m struggling to understand the cause of this, I am so grateful that I have ventured this step forwards. Thanks for letting me take part, November. I’d say my spirit animal was something along the lines of Slash brooding outside a church with his guitar, while a helicopter whirls around him, throwing dust in his hair, Slash all the while giving no fucks whatsoever.
Bon voyage, November Rain!