And so we are in the middle of my favourite season. October has come and gone already and Pumpkin Spice Lattes have made way for Toffee Nut and Gingerbread (thank God…! I am no fan of the PSL).
The trees have well and truly turned, nights are a thousand times darker and the heating has finally been switched on. I even had my first hot water bottle this weekend and it was bliss.
I am always at my most nostalgic and (usually) melancholic at this end of the year; thinking about the years behind us and what could be ahead. It seems like time flies by faster and faster every time we get to the end of another 12 months and I am not sure I’m totally ready for 2017 to be over just yet.
In complete honesty, this last month has been a bit of a difficult one (a vague little insight into my life, there). I have found things slightly more challenging for the last couple of months than I have in a while, but without challenges we’d never learn to overcome anything – or indeed, we’d never learn anything at all.
I’ve been lucky enough to have some much-needed time out in the last few weeks, and now that the nights are longer I feel much less guilty about being a bit of a hermit and staying in to write and read, which is just what I need right now.
And so, once again, without further ado, here are my favourite things from October 2017. Another month down…
Three Daughters of Eve by Elif Shafak
This was one of three books I picked up for my holiday in October and I devoured it in mere days. It was a wildcard; I chose it after a nice chap in my local Waterstones recommended it, and I am really glad I listened to him. I can’t wait to review it on here properly, but in the meantime…
The story is split between Istanbul in the 1980s and modern-day, and Oxford in the 1990s, and follows one woman’s journey through discovering love, life, and God, becoming part of a feisty and intriguing trio. It’s beautifully written and has real substance, and I highly recommend it.
I’ve not read any of Shafak’s other work but I think now I will have to hunt some down!
The New Forest
What better way to celebrate Autumn than a trip to the New Forest with my snazzy new camera, walking boots and my friends…plus dogs!?
Seeing as I live only a few minutes away by train, I don’t visit this beautiful part of Hampshire nearly as often as I should.
This time we went to the Blackwater Arboretum and had great fun exploring the huge redwood trees on the Tall Trees Trail. The perfect mini getaway, just for a few hours. I highly recommend if you live nearby and need some fresh air.
The Lake District
October saw my first full week away in around six years.
Yep. You read that right.
(I’m not counting my weeks at Home – I’m talking proper holidays)
This trip was a long time coming. The Lake District is such a place of comfort, nostalgia and peace for me. I used to visit every year when I was younger with my family, so going back after a ten-year break was heaven. It rained, and it was blustery, and everything got covered in mud, but it was also beautiful and was a much-needed break away from everything. We walked, read, ate and learned to relax again.
This will also explain why I’ve been posting a little less on here recently!
Watch out for a proper post about this soon – I think it deserves a space of its own.
From small businesses
In October I ordered products from two friends who happen to be marvellously talented illustrators!
I picked out two lovely cards from Katie Moody – perfect for thank you notes – and a pack of four bookmarks from Amy Harwood, which means I am able to keep track of every single book I am attempting to read simultaneously!
Their designs are so cute and unique and it’s a great way to make sure that your money is going towards small businesses, and the people who spend the time designing each product. I love my purchases so much and will be trying to use Etsy a lot more from now on – especially now Christmas is coming up!
Free verse Poetry
At the beginning of the month I spontaneously signed up for a six-week evening course on writing Free Verse Poetry.
I’m trying to take this writing business ever-more seriously and poetry is one area I’d like to improve in. I have a lot of work to do and attending a course seemed like the best way to start!
I’ve only been to two sessions so far but it’s great to get the old grey matter working again. Unfortunately, November is a busy month so I haven’t been able to dedicate enough time to the voluntary exercises, but I am hoping that will change in the last few weeks of the course and I can continue to work on my skills once it’s over.
I am trying to see this as the beginning of my poetry work, rather than just a phase. Hopefully I will see improvement and perhaps this is the start of something exciting.
If not…at least it’s fun!
Stranger Things 2
True; technically I finished this in November, but I started the series in October…so I’m counting it.
I watched the whole thing in under a week thanks to one surprise mid-week sickday (cheers, body) which saw me confined to my bed. I’m not really one for sequels, but this was very, very, very well done.
Don’t worry…no spoilers here! But I am rekindling my love affair with 80s music and big curls for the foreseeable future.
The Good Place
I can’t remember why I decided to watch this, but I am well and truly hooked now. This quirky comedy on Netflix is about what happens when one badly behaved young woman finds herself in The Good Place after an unexpected and undignified death.
It’s full of brilliant twists and hilarious dialogue, and some fantastic acting. Kristen Bell is a far cry from Frozen‘s Anna as Eleanor, and Jameela Jamil is wonderful as Tahani in her first acting role. This is perfect for a light-hearted Netflix binge, since each episode is only 20 minutes-or-so long.
There may be parts at the start that seem daft but, trust me; stick with it. It’s SO worth it.
The Noise Next Door
I went to see The Noise Next Door at the Point in Eastleigh in October and was delighted to find that it was even funnier than their show at the Fringe in 2016! You can read my full review for more details, but they’re on tour at the moment and I urge you to catch them if you can.