The December Round-Up

Well, December certainly upped the celebrity death game.

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I didn't intend to open my round-up with a discussion about death, but then the universe decided to fuck with Carrie Fisher, so all bets were off. Her passing made my heart break, she meant a lot to me (and to millions of other people) and then Debbie going the day later ... your heart then breaks for Todd and Billie. 

And Gary, obviously. 



Sigh, we're done, right? Please let this be done. 

Anyway, before this shitshow happened, I did the rest of December. 



I had my work Christmas do at a few venues around London. We ended up in Lucky Voice in Soho, and if I'm honest I had no clue how it was going to go, but it was one of the best nights I'd had with my colleagues ever. It was hilarious. We all sang our little hearts out. 



I blasted through The Crown on Netflix and loved it. That show makes you up your accent game! John Lithgow as Churchill was the standout in the casting, and speaking of which: 



I went to The Churchill Arms, the most Christmassy pub in London, apparently. I went because it was my friends old local. Bloody great thai food there, too. 

Onto my favourite Christmas tradition: Brian & Robin's Christmas Compendium of Reason (which I've reviewed in previous years starting here). This year alongside brilliant science we got treated to Public Service Broadcasting and Duran Duran, it was fantastic! 



I spent Christmas in the North with my folks, which was lovely. I did lots of walking with my mum and lots of laying down, which is just what I needed. I've been fighting a cold since before Christmas and it's not giving up, but neither am I!





After that break, I went to Paris for a day to meet up with a friend who was visiting from Canada. We went to Musee D'Orsay to look at art and then to the top of the Eiffel Tour. 









It was cold but beautiful. 

Tomorrow, it's the New Year and 2017 cannot make an appearance a moment too soon. I did a lot of amazing things in 2016, so it is a great shame they've been overshadowed by bad things, I'm going to make an effort today to remember all the good things before the year ends. 

For 2017 I have hope. Hope is neccessary. A great film this year has taught me that rebellions are built on it and I think next year is the year when we'll all need to pull together as rebels and make this world a great place to be. 



Bye 2016, you goddamn shitshow. 

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Just Write: December

You know what I am? I'm that person who moans that no one blogs anymore. I mean old-fashioned blogging; a general post full of life chit-chat which allowed people a little glance into your world. I fill a lot of my end of month Round-Ups with little bits of that, but it's rarely wordy, and I LOVE being wordy. 

Being a firm believer in the expression sometimes if you want something to exist you have to do it yourself, I'm starting a old-fashioned blogging tag called Just Write, as that's what I'm going to do. Here's a post full of the things I'm doing and thinking about at the moment.




House & Home

I treated myself to a new bed base at the start of the month. I had a divan in my bedroom previously but I wanted one with space at the bottom, albeit not for the usual reasons (to start filling under the bed with things, I don't have enough things to do that, thankfully!) but to allow heat and air to circulate better around the room. My house keeps the heat in well, so it's better to allow it to circulate to feel the benefits. My old divan was creaky as hell too, which meant if I moved, it creaked. ARGH. Nothing disturbs my sleep more than a noisy bed.

Warren Evans Black Friday sales FTW. I'd been waiting for this bed to drop in price so that I could snap it up.



I have to praise this company so much. I ordered online, they called me to confirm and give me instructions about recycling my old bed. I selected my own delivery day, they gave me a 4 hour window and a courtesy call on the day to say they'd be there within the hour. To top it all off, they removed my old bed and fully assembled my new one in eleven minutes. ELEVEN!


Work

I had my annual appraisal last month and it went really well. Better than I thought it would, anyway. I've been a bit low on motivation this year at work, due to personal life stuff, redundancies and then a colleague dying, so it's understandable but not excusable. The industry I work in has been quite quiet as well, but things have started to pick up again, which is good news. My boss knows me really well (joys of spending 40 hours together each week for over 5 years) and therefore he can see when my motivation wains. He suggested I try something new and put my energy into something else over the next year, which will be hard work but ultimately very rewarding. I like learning new things and it's great to top up your CV with new experiences.


Health

After the virus from hell finally buggered off, I decided to sort my shit out health-wise. This meant actually engaging with my kitchen and doing more cooking. I have no trouble spending a Sunday night cooking nice lunches for the week, but I'm shit at cooking for myself on an evening. Really bad, like I'll just have a bowl of cereal tonight bad. So, I wrote a big list of all the things I want to eat, which is easy at this time of year as it's all comforting game meats and vegetables. I committed to making a few of these things every week so that I wouldn't get bored and would get a decent appetite back for dinner.

So far, so good. I found the recipe on the Wagamama website for my favourite of their dishes: Chilli Chicken Ramen and made that:



I started buying LOTS of venison; meatballs (braised in red wine are excellent with pasta) and sausages, I even decided to have another go at making pizza (because I'll be damned if I'm making pizzas on pitta breads, fuck that noise, I want a proper thin base):



SimplyCook had a little sale on their recipe boxes, so I got one for a bargain £1:



I like this a lot as it takes a lot of faff out of cooking. I'm a bugger for just throw some italian herbs or sriracha on it cooking, so this does actually make me stretch my repertoire, and gives me lots of ideas of how to use it outside the set recipes too. (If you'd like to have a cheap SimplyCook box you can click here and you'll get your first box for £1).


Reading

Reads recently have included Brene Brown's Daring Greatly, because everyone needs a bit of Brene's calming wisdom in their lives, Derren Brown's Happy (still plowing through this one) and I've just started The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers, which is based in space and therefore I'm intensely involved in it.

Listening

My favourite new podcast in recent months is Beautiful/Anonymous, which is hosted by Chris Gethard. The premise is simple; Chris gives out a number and someone can call him for a candid chat for one hour. It's anonymous, he has no idea who the caller is, the listeners don't, it's a perfect little window into someone's life. Top episodes recently have been Fail Army Cop and Escape from a Cult.

Doing

I've started getting up a little earlier and having a longer walk to work via the park. I'm sure the extra exercise is doing me some good but mostly I just need to see some more daylight right now as it's really dark by 4pm every day. I do get to see some beautiful sunrises, though.



A little morning and lunchtime walk helps me see more daylight, keeping my Seasonal Affective Disorder at bay for a little longer. Still, the worst of it is done with now, as long as I can survive January then I can survive anything! 

I've also been working on some kind of list for 2017. Not exactly resolutions, not exactly a bucket list, something in between. A good intentions list, I guess. Places I want to go to, things I want to do, volunteering ideas, goals to achieve in my life (savings, spendings etc). I just  need something to look at and think 'the world might feel like it's in tatters, but I'm doing something about it in my life and community to make it a better place'. It's a work in progress. I might publish that next month. 

Anyway, Christmas is looming, I've a lot to write about and have been short on time to do so, hopefully I'll have some time to get all my new content up and running in the New Year. 

Mostly, after the way this year has carried on, I just need a long break. My time off this Christmas is going to be greatly appreciated. 

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The November Round-Up

I'm not going to talk about the thing that everyone has talked about this month on here, I can't bear to hear any more of it if I'm honest. It's not that I don't care about politics (if you've ever gone down the pub with me, or engaged with me on Twitter, you'll be brutally aware of how my political leanings stand), I just cannot watch everyone divide and hate. In my eyes, that's the last thing anyone should be doing and I can't help but think that segregation is what he wants. 

Nope, not in my name, and so we hunker down and crack on with November, together. 



MY TEAM WON THE FRIGGING WORLD SERIES. As it took me weeks to shift that nasty little virus, I was still on a shonky sleep schedule when the World Series games were on, so I kept waking up in the middle of the night and putting a game on. I know, not great, but I got to watch my team win and that's priceless. 



The day after this jersey arrived at my house, Kris Bryant won the NL MVP award. Perfect. 

I read a lot of comics, because I'm so addicted to Thor that it's unreal. I want to be Thor SO MUCH. 



I went to see my friend's band play a charity gig at The 100 Club



My best friend came to stay and we drank a lot of wine and did a lot of gossiping, it was great.



That was the first weekend I really started to feel better (that only took a whole 3 weeks, thanks virus) and I was able to really enjoy some nights out and some wine. Albeit, I then committed to no drinking until my Christmas party (as every drink was making me anxious) and that's been really easy. Turns out I can sit in a pub with a lime & soda and have exactly the same evening as I'd have if I was drinking. Except I sleep better, and I don't feel tired, and I don't get extra booze hunger.  

I took myself off social media this month after the US election, for the reasons I stated at the start of this post (I also don't want to look at that face until I really have to), and that's been nice. I've kept up with Instagram as that feels less anxiety-inducing and I've been making great use of Stories, so if you're missing me, come find me on there.



I finally found my powerbox for my Ikea twinkly lights and installed them in my bedroom. They're very bright, so they're a lovely contrast against my blue curtains. 



I re-started my gratitude practice, as that gives me a good positive focus and reminds me to be grateful for so many little things in life, occasionally it's good to have a little woo. 

Speaking of woo, Doctor Strange, anyone?



Cor, I loved this film. I loved the concept of spiritual powers, I loved the visuals, I loved Tilda Swinton, I of course loved Mads and I even didn't mind Cumberbatch's accent too much. 

I had a day out with my friend Martin at Leicester Space Museum, which I told you about last week.



On the space vibe, I went to see Public Service Broadcasting last week, a band I'd never heard of until I started work at the Science Museum last year. It's basically instrumental music interspersed with broadcasting noise (they do a lot of things involving space missions, or inspired by them). 


I beamed with smiles throughout this whole gig, it was wonderful. I will be seeing them again, oh yes I will.

I wrote very little this month. Sigh. I'm glad that virus has gone, it drained every bit of energy that I had for weeks. There was no writing. There was no nothing. I was coming home from work every night, eating dinner and going to bed (and sleep) at 8.30pm. There's nothing like 11 hour sleeps every night to make you feel like you're dying really slowly. I've never known anything like it, it was horrible. When I had my dentist check-up this month even my hygienist commented that I'd been brushing too fast and needed to slow down. When I told her it was the virus she gave me a pass (after giving me a strict telling off and showing me the correct way to brush my teeth for the billionth time *looks sheepishly at shoes*).

I've also decided to start a new series on my blog next month, and it's about something I complain about a lot, so it's time to do something about it! More on that soon. 

December is here and this weekend is my one free weekend until 2017. Laundry it is, then! December is always so busy with parties here and there, travelling and trying to see all your friends one last time before the year ends, speaking of which I'm going to meet one of my friends who I've known online for a good year or so at the end of December ... IN PARIS. 

I've never been. It's only a train away. I'm meeting a new friend. I'm SO excited. But more on that in the New Year.

For now, I'm just going to keep my head down, keep warm and see my friends. That, and eating Christmas cake with cheese on. HASHTAG NORTHERN.
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