July 2018 Things

Oh hello there.  I haven’t posted for a month, and to be honest, I haven’t done that much this month either.  My work life over-shadowed pretty much everything as I had the big scary audit that people in my sector dread.

But I got through it, and now the pressure is off (a little).  Just in time for the new academic year prep.  When can I retire?

The Weather
I do not like hot weather (let’s ignore the fact I go to Miami every year…) so July has been hell on earth for me.  How people can deny climate change is beyond me – it was 32 degrees in my office by 10am last week, please don’t tell me this is normal.

Is August going to be cooler?  I bloody hope so.

The Cosy Club
As a reward for getting through the audit, my manager took us out for dinner at the newly opened Cosy Club in Guildford.  I have visited their Exeter restaurant for brunch, and was very excited when the manager there told is they’d be opening in Guildford “soon”.  That conversation was two years ago and I was beginning to give up hope – it’s so great they’ve managed to make it work!

My favourite thing about the Cosy Club is their non-alcoholic drinks menu.  As someone who isn’t a huge booze fan, a varied mocktail menu is very much appreciated.  So much so, that I had to go back a week or so later with another friend.

Their Pink Lemonade is dreamy.  I could do with some of that right now.

New New Glasses
So last month I bought myself some new glasses and decried that I wasn’t sure I liked them.  As the weeks went on, I decided I definitely didn’t like them so bought a gorgeous Kate Spade pair from Glasses Direct.

Anyone who says that they are basically exactly the same as my original glasses is 100% right wrong.

Injury fun
Husband was away for work again at the end of July, so I had a lot of alone time.  I am very happy with my own company, but the only time I worry is when I injure myself, like last Friday night when I slipped over backwards in my garden, smashed my the back of my head on the ground, and oddly badly cut and bruised my foot.  I really thought I’d properly done some damage and having him 8000 miles away isn’t particularly helpful.

The bruising is quite incredible.

Burger Mania
I love a Byron burger, and I had two this month – one in a hotel room the night before a workshop, and one on a spontaneous trip to London with my Mum.  We did our normal shopping route – Liberty, Fenwicks, and House of Fraser where I bought some beautiful Butterfly Twist flats and then I persuaded her to walk a little further up to the Byron at Langham Place.

June 2018 Things

Oh June, what a mixed month you were.  I thought it would just be an average month, albeit with a couple of excellent trips planned, but that all changed right in the middle with some very stressful work news (I’m being deliberately abstract).  Needless to say, ending the month by working 10 hours a day was not where I saw myself.

We did get the “premium” catering for a workshop the other day though, so it’s not all bad.

Fun Home at the Young Vic

Think of Bechdel when you need to embalm.

Flight of the Conchords at The O2

Have you ever been asked if your hair is a wig?

Schitt’s Creek

On the face of it, this does not look like my type of show – a wealthy family lose all their money and are forced to live in a run-down, small town motel.  However, with Husband away for work for most of the month, I quickly ran out of Netflix shows to watch so gave the first episode a go.  Inexplicably, I became addicted and watched all 4 seasons in a week and a half.

It would be easy to see the characters as stereotypes, and that’s definitely how it started, but there’s such a charm to them all.  Catherine O’Hara’s portrayal of Moira was the main reason why I continued watching, but I then fell in love with Dan Levy and Annie Murphy.  The show has rarely made me laugh out loud, but has made me teary on a couple of occasions which is why I’ve continued watching -there’s a surprising amount of heart.

Winter Boots

Considering we’re in a ridiculous heatwave at the moment, it seems a bit odd that I’ve bought some boots, but these glorious Grenson Annie boots were on sale and I couldn’t say no.

Just need it to be cold now please.

New Glasses

My left eye had got super twitchy recently, and an eye test showed that my prescription had changed slightly so I got some new specs.  Whilst the twitching has subsided, I’m not sure I actually like the glasses.  One – they’re by Kylie Minogue.  Two – they’re called Spinning Around.  Three – the arms are silver glitter.

I was hoping for something cool and minimalist, and somehow ended up with a pair that border on crazy.  Why is it so hard to buy a pair of glasses?!?!

April 2018 Things

It’s probably a terrible way of looking at things, but I just wanted April to be over and done with because May is MIAMI MONTH (!!!!), but there were a few notable points.

(More) Holiday Planning
I have been very forward thinking and have combated the post-holiday blues I know I’ll get when we’re back from Miami by booking another trip before we’ve even gone.  A few weeks ago, I was alerted to a great Virgin Atlantic/Delta deal to a variety of different places in America.  We spent too long thinking about it at the time and the deals vanished overnight, so I set up a Google Flights alert for the same locations, and what do you know – up popped the deals again.  This time, we didn’t mess about, and booked ourselves a week in… TEXAS!  I’m so excited – I haven’t been to Texas before, so I’ve spent the past few weeks bookmarking all the places I want to visit.  It’s not for few months yet, so I have plenty of time to prepare.  Woo!

John Robins
Since seeing John compere at the Greenwich Comedy Festival in 2015, I have become an obsessive fan of the Elis and John show on Radio X.  I call myself a PCD, a double retro-oner, and other things that only people who listen to their show will understand.  In that time, I have utterly fallen in love with John (and Elis of course).  I bought tickets for his show in Aldershot but the snow scuppered my chances of getting there so thank goodness for a second chance in Basingstoke.

The Darkness of Robins was spectacular, and the only reason I haven’t blogged about it is because I don’t know how to put my feelings into words.  The best I can say is that for a stand-up show, I did an awful lot of crying.  Team Robins all the way.

Brooklands Hotel
We had a random night away where I had a facial, we ate some lovely food, and we watched fast cars from our room.  Always fun.

Alone Time
Every so often, Husband goes away for work so I get a bit of alone time.  With him off in South Africa for a week, I managed to fit in some shopping (where I found my dream Lulu Guinness Vanity Case in TK Maxx), lots of Sex and the City watching, and a multitude of face masks.  I don’t like him to be away too often, but it’s good to have some time to myself once in a while.

Card fraud
It’s not great when you start the month with someone fraudulently taking money from your bank account.  It gets worse when the same thing happens to your credit card the following day.  I really don’t understand how this happened, and my bank was equally as baffled, but considering I don’t have any other cards, I was pretty stuck for money for the first week of April (except for a random £10 M&S gift voucher).  Thank goodness Google Pay still worked, albeit for payments under £30.  Stupid fraud!

March 2018 Things

My mind throughout this month was dominated by one thing:

Work
It has been one of those months.  You know the ones – you think you’ve planned for every eventuality but then something comes out of left field and completely derails you.  Always fun.  As well as doing my best impression of someone who is coping fine-thank-you-very-much, I visited Liverpool to catch up on new Government policy, and presented two (very dry) sessions at our staff conference.    This time last year, I wouldn’t have dreamt of presenting, so at least I’m developing professionally!

More snow!
This featured in my February Things post as well, but we had a couple more centimetres of snow in March.  I LOVE IT!

Bayside the Musical
Ridiculous, ridiculous fun.  I love this musical so much!

Touristy weekend in London
Over the bank holiday weekend, we found ourselves stuck with a London hotel after a cancellation, so decided to go all out tourist.  More about that soon.

Editors
I’ve been a huge fan of Editors since their first album The Back Room, which soundtracked my postgraduate degree, and have loved every album since then.  Their latest release Violence is so different to that first CD, but still as spectacular.  I can’t stop listening to it.

February 2018 Things

February felt like a ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ kind of month.  It was very admin-heavy – I managed to book my Miami flights which I’m SUPER excited for, started finalising plans for a visit to Dublin in the summer, and booked part of the secret trip for Husband’s birthday.  Lots of boxes ticked.

The Nix
I spent most of the month reading Nathan Hill’s The Nix – an epic story that spanned decades and almost constantly caught me by surprise.  I really hope the TV show happens as there were so many filmic elements.  As much as I love quickly whizzing through several books a month, it’s good to let one stop me in my tracks every so often.

Early mornings
I’ve had a few early mornings this month with training courses up in London, and a meeting in the very north of England.  I couldn’t do it regularly as I am really not a morning person, but it’s fun every so often especially when I get to see the sunrise on the way to the train station.  My trip to the north involved a very early flight from Heathrow, followed by a four hour meeting, and then enough time for an amazing facial before a flight home – the facial made it totally worth my while (but only slightly alleviated my carbon footprint guilt…)

Nostalgia
We’ve been clearing out our study as the hoarding levels have become almost unacceptable.  Opening boxes has mostly been uneventful, but when I got to the box containing my university work, the nostalgia left me breathless.  I loved both of my degrees, but my first shaped so much of my personality, particularly the Men’s and Women’s Cinema modules led by my favourite Academic, Stella Bruzzi.  They’re the reason I became a feminist, and I don’t know who I’d be now if I hadn’t taken those classes.

In the end, I kept the module lists and only threw away the associated material that came with it.  I just couldn’t get rid of everything as it had all had such a lasting impact on me.  It felt wrong to destroy such a huge part of my history.

The Joel McHale Show with Joel McHale
I was so sad when The Soup was cancelled a few years ago.  It became our Sunday lunchtime treat and the weekends have never quite felt the same without it.  When we read that Joel McHale had a new show starting on Netflix in February, we had our fingers crossed that it would contain elements of The Soup.  It certainly looked like it might, but there was always the concerns that they would want to do something radically different.

But it’s basically exactly the same and I LOVE IT!

Snow
After many months of pining over snow photos from the rest of the UK, it finally started to snow here at the end of Feb.  Whilst we didn’t have a substantial amount, it was enough to make me giddy.  We even managed a bit of a snow day (well, snow afternoon).  Sadly, it hasn’t stuck around, but at least my journey to work on Monday will feature significantly less skidding around.

January 2018 Things

Husband persuaded me to use some of my precious leave for the first week of January so I had a very quiet start to 2018.  Still managed a couple of things to get me out of the house though!

Celtic Manor – again
The Celtic Manor has rapidly become our hotel of choice for last minute breaks.  We managed to fit in afternoon tea and I had an incredibly relaxing Elemis facial where I managed to suppress my ongoing cough for a whole hour.  I was quite impressed with myself.  On the way home from Cardiff, we managed to fit in a visit to the McArthur Glen Outlet in Swindon (of course) but also Ikea – it was a breeze as everyone else had gone back to work.

Everyman Esher
I love an Everyman.  When Husband demands I see a Star Wars or a Bond with him, I will only go if he can promise it’s going to be an Everyman.  Esher is our fifth different branch – to be honest, it’s not really that close to us, but we felt like a change and couldn’t be bothered to go all the way into London.  We had an excellent hot dog and fries, I bought a bucket of popcorn, and we settled into the sofa in their beautiful art deco screen.  I was a little worried as there were a bunch of children scattered around the auditorium, but Husband actually enjoyed listening to their animated chatter about his favourite franchise.

As for the film – eh, it was ok.

Sara Pascoe – LadsLadsLads
I love her.

Network at the National Theatre
An astonishing piece of work which I have yet to write about (I need to get on that).

Coffee and fries in Brighton
Someone in my team went to Brighton for the weekend and I recommended she visit BeFries because it’s just the best.  I told Husband that we were talking about those beautiful Belgian fries at work, and the next thing I knew, we’d booked a weekend away at The Grand.

An entire weekend break just to eat fries.  I can’t think of a better reason.

December Things

December 2017 will be remembered as the month I sat around feeling sorry for myself.  The last post I made was about how I thought I had bronchitis – apparently, it’s “just” a cough, albeit a cough which made me actually vomit during a meeting at work (oh god, the shame).  Just when I thought it was getting better, I then picked up another cold which has made my cough worse again, so spent the week between Christmas and New Year’s on the sofa.

It’s so ridiculous and pathetic – I’m normally such a well person, so I can’t really understand why I’m so run down.  At least I have another week off work for more lying around feeling sorry for myself.

There were some highlights in December though.

Crafty Fox at the Mercato Metropolitano
The perfect timing for some Christmas gifts, I met up with an old friend to visit the Crafty Fox market which was held at the Mercato Metropolitano which is just gorgeous.  I wish I had another reason to visit Elephant and Castle – they currently have a Backyard Cinema there but I think they’re mostly booked up.

As for the market, I managed to get a lot of gifts there, and some fun things for myself.  I do love a Craft Fox event.

Liberty Beauty Advent Calendar
I normally blog about this weekly, but I just did not have the energy.  It was packed with all the usual goodies, with some new items like the iconic Brazilian Bum Bum Cream and QMS Medicosmetics.  It does feel like a lot more items have gone to my Mum than in previous years, so maybe this one hasn’t been as good?  Still enjoyable though.

Christmas
I mentioned last year that Christmas has become incredibly difficult for me to cope with but circumstances this year meant I was able to have a very quiet Christmas day with both my in-laws and my Mum (and Husband of course).  We didn’t go insane with gifts or anything like that – the commercialism of the holiday is getting truly ridiculous and makes me feel quite uncomfortable at times.  That said, I did get the latest Mr Jones Watch for my collection which I was incredibly grateful for.  It was a very relaxed and peaceful day with wonderful food and good company.

Dark
We got addicted to Dark, the first German language series on Netflix.  It blew my mind – the level of detail, the intricacies of the many stories being told.  On several occasions, a reveal happened on screen but the implications of it wouldn’t hit me for a while.  This meant I frequently turned to Husband at random moments and screamed excitedly at him.  Cannot wait for series 2.

First trip to London
My Mum had my niece for a couple of days over the Christmas break, so we decided to take her on her first trip to London.  On the itinerary – Liberty, Carnaby Street, and of course Hamleys.  She was a little overwhelmed when we first stepped into the famous toy store, but as soon as she saw Peppa Pig cuddly toys, she figured out that this was her shop.  It was very adorable seeing her excitedly spotting different things, and I managed to convince her to get a Supergirl doll (they didn’t have Wonder Woman).  Walking round the busy streets with her yelling at people to get out of the way is a memory I’ll cherish!

November Things

Working in higher education, I don’t really get any time off from August to October (no, we don’t get the summer holidays off – I wish), so November saw the arrival of my much needed holiday.  Plus, a video game addiction from the past returned, and there was a bit of TV catch-up.

Dungeness
I think I pretty much covered our stay in Dungeness in my two posts about it – both the estate and the Fog Signal Building where we stayed.  It was exactly what I needed after a busy few months.

Animal Crossing Pocket Camp
Many years ago, I remember husband coming home with a new Nintendo DS for the sole purpose of playing Animal Crossing: Wild World.  I demanded he go straight back out and buy me a DS because I wanted to play it too.  I very quickly became obsessed, and fell in love with a little blue squirrel called Filbert.

So of course I immediately downloaded Pocket Camp and have been playing it non-stop since then.  I appreciate that it’s got very bad reviews, but for a free-to-play mobile game, it’s pretty cute.  It’ll tide me over until something is released for the Nintendo Switch.

And I was over the moon to have Filbert move in to my camp.  He’s still just as adorable.

Tom Allen
I can’t remember how I found Tom Allen, but have been listening to his and Suzi Ruffell’s Like Minded Friends podcast for a while now.  We saw him at our friendly local arts venue and laughed so much that both Husband and I lost our voices the next day.  I adore him.

Audi Mania
November was the month of our new car arriving.  Unfortunately, he wasn’t quite ready on time so I’ve ended up driving three different Audis in November.  It’s been quite odd – I’ll be posting about my new baby soon.

Search Party
Continuing my theme of coming to TV shows late, we’ve just finished season 1 of Search Party.  We had every intention of watching it when it aired, but for whatever reason have only just started.  We binged watched the whole of season 1 in two sittings – what an ending.  Bring on season 2!

October Things

Good lord, what a wash out.  October started fine, but ended with me bedridden for an entire week with a mystery virus which I’m still trying to get over.  Nice.

Little Lord Stinky Butt
Over the course of a few weeks, we’ve had an adorable vulpine visitor to the garden.  He set up house for himself behind our shed, but would come out to stretch his legs and catch some sun every so often.  He didn’t seem fazed by me peering at him as he snuggled up in his temporary den, or by Husband and I taking a million photos.  We think he’s moved on now, but we’ll remember Stinky Butt for a long time (so named because… well…. he smelt quite strongly).

Buffering the Vampire Slayer
I’m trying to remember how I found the Buffering Podcast – I think it was a recommendation on another blog – but however I found it, I am now OBSESSED.  It’s a weekly Buffy the Vampire Slayer podcast hosted by real life married couple, Jenny Owen Youngs and Kristin Russo who are just precious!  If that description alone is not enough to get you listening, I don’t know what’s wrong with you to be honest.  They love Cordelia to the same degree I do, give awards for sexual tension of the week, and are people I desperately would love to be friends with.

All this, plus an original song each week – I don’t usually like silly made up songs, but these are slices of genius because Jenny is a brilliant musician.  I’ve bought the albums for season 1 and 2, and will no doubt buy season 3 as well.  All together now – When Daryl was in high school he played football, till he fell from some rocks and died…

Everything Everything
Speaking of music, I have listened to the new Everything Everything album a million times this month.  Can’t Do is a phenomenal song, and it’s firmly placed the band in my top ten bands of all time list.

Glossier
Thank goodness Glossier has finally launched over here, as I was experiencing some serious fomo.  Despite going to NY twice this year, I somehow managed to forget to visit their showroom, so snapped up their phase 1 set and some Cloud Paint on launch day to see what all the fuss was about.  So far, I’m really enjoying their moisturiser and Birthday Balm Dotcom.  Not so keen on the Milky Jelly Cleanser, although that’s mainly because rose scent makes me feel a bit queasy.  I now need to figure out what to try next.

Lurgy
I always boast about how quickly I can bounce back from an illness.  Not this time.  I spent the overwhelming majority of the last week in October under the duvet, only emerging to watch Strictly and The Defenders finale.  The prolonged recovery time has been quite unnerving for me – I know I’ve been run down so that’s probably part of the reason but I’m genuinely not used to being out of action for so long.  Nearly time for our holiday though, so that will give me some more time to get over it.

September Things

There has been a distinct lack of posts this month, due to the fact that in my industry, September is crazy times.  That’s not to say it’s been all work and no fun and there were two particularly awesome things I did which I haven’t had a chance to blog about which I’ll briefly mention.

They’re back
As already mentioned, this month is start of academic year madness.  At least we were expecting the madness though – it happens every year so it’s doesn’t take us by surprise.  I did have a last minute meeting at another university which I had to fly to however.  That was definitely unexpected, and involved me getting up at 4.30am, driving to Heathrow for my 7am plane, 4 hours of meeting, then flying home at 8pm.  It felt like a long day, but I did manage to squeeze a facial into the afternoon whilst waiting for my flight home so it wasn’t all bad.

Green hair, do care
I’ve always scoffed at people who accidentally turn their hair green.  I’ve been dying my hair since I was 18 and believed myself to be a bit of an expert.  Which is why it came as a bit of a shock when my hair went from reddy-purple to godawful green a few weekends ago.  That’ll teach me to be smug

Grown-up perfume
I’ve never really worn fragrance, other than the old cliche of Vera Wang on my wedding day, but having experienced Byredo scents in the many Liberty advent calendars over the past few years, I started to become a bit obsessed with them.  I’m a semi-frequent visitor to their counter in Liberty and can never resist a spritz, and fell in love with Velvet Haze when it was released, so my Mum bought me some for my birthday.  My first grown-up perfume.

Richard Ayoade
One of the fun things I managed to do was see Richard Ayoade interviewed by Adam Buxton for Guardian Live.  I’ll be posting about that at some point.

Theatre Nerds Day
The final day of September was spent wandering round the South Bank on two tours – one of the National Theatre, the other of the Soutbank Centre.  Blog post to follow about this as well.