On February 1st I could practically hear the entire population of the UK simultaneously exhaling in relief. Twitter had been making jokes about January being 765 days long for weeks, and we were all been crossing off the days on our calendars, counting down until payday.
January did seem to go on forever, but I know this year will fly by and we’ll soon be wishing for a little more time!
So how was the month for you? Mine was a mixed bag, as always; partly basking in that ‘new year, new challenges’ glow, which slowly gave way to monotony and the same old bad habits. I’ve already failed to keep up with my 2018 goals (a poem a week? Ha!).
However, the lack of festivities and money meant I had more time this month to myself, and I’ve discovered some new loves which, as per tradition, I’d like to share with you all.
Praise be that Friends is now on Netflix!
I’m making my way through every season in order; Ross has just married Emily, Phoebe just had triplets and Monica and Chandler are sneaking around and it is warming my soul a treat.
It’s also great fun watching it as an adult. I’m the same age as the group at the moment…and could it be more relatable?! The last month of watching has confirmed that I am a Monica through and through, and I’m ok with that. In fact, I’m breezy.
I stumbled across Lovesick last year while looking for a different show entirely, and fell head over heels for this haphazard group of lovelorn, unlucky humans. The third season is on Netflix now so I’m ploughing through that when I’m not in Central Perk.
I’ve been meaning to watch this since everyone raved about it a year ago, so I picked the DVD up on a whim in Asda one Saturday. It was a slow burner but gripping, and it was great to watch an intelligent sci-fi, alien film which didn’t end in explosions, WWIII and the Americans saving us all. If you haven’t seen it yet, I really do recommend you make some time for this brilliant film.
Another one I missed at its prime around the Oscars last year, and another gem on Netflix. This was a brilliant film, with wonderful acting and a powerful yet steady storyline. It’s not the most pleasant of topics, but it is handled gently and effectively.
Black Mirror, Season Four
I so very nearly forgot to add this on, since it feels like it was released so long ago! I ploughed through Season Four of Black Mirror in January and, though I don’t consider it to be Charlie Brooker’s finest batch, it was still gripping and very clever. I had to watch Metalhead and Crocodile through my fingers, and the phrase ‘monkey needs a hug’ will haunt me forever.
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
Book one of my reading challenge this year, and what a way to begin. This novel completely blew me away. I can’t recommend it enough and equally can’t wait to review it to share with you all – watch this space!
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
Confession time; I bought this book two years ago (I know), read half (I KNOW) and left it languishing on my shelf until I decided that enough was enough, and I was going to give it the attention it deserved.
I’m so glad I did.
I re-started this book with pencil in hand at a time when my creativity was suffering, and it was just the antidote I needed.
Losing your creative spark, or need a little encouragement? Get this book on your shelf.
Ice Cream for Breakfast by Laura Jane Williams
This is a very similar story to the one above; I bought it ages ago, read it sporadically, and decided to devote my time to it properly this month. It was third book of the year, and I’m so glad I finally sat down and finished it. I’ll no doubt be picking this up regularly when I’m in need of a pick-me-up.
Baked goods from The Hoxton Bakehouse
I finally hunted down The Hoxton Bakehouse, which is hidden near Central Station in Southampton; one mocha croissant, one almond bear claw and a big loaf of bread later, and I was hooked. I think it’s going to become a regular weekend destination (much to the delight of my taste buds and the disdain of my waistline!) They take their bakes to numerous farmers markets locally, and I think they’re opening a place up in Winchester soon too, so keep your eyes peeled.
The Savvy Cook by Izy Hossack
I bought The Savvy Cook for myself as a post-Christmas gift and I’ve used it SO many times every single week of the year so far. It contains a whole host of delicious (and healthy) recipes, and most are vegan, gluten free or dairy free.
It has impressed me so far and it was a brilliant investment; I can’t recommend it enough if you’re looking to make some delicious, guilt-free, deceptively easy meals. I love sharing my cooking adventures with this book on Instagram Stories and Twitter too!
Shout out to Molly White for bringing Hurry Slowly to my attention; I especially enjoyed the episode about prioritising rest and reflection. As someone who feels the need to be on-the-go 24/7, it’s fascinating to hear that doing nothing is key to doing everything. Hurry – not so slowly! – and add this to your subscriptions.
Get It Off Your Breasts
Emma Gannon’s second podcast venture, and a collaboration with Lliana Bird, sees modern-day issues being discussed and debated by a round-table of guests. I’m still new to this series but I’m really enjoying it so far, and am excited to be going to the first live recording in March!
The Poetry Show
After January’s foray into poetry (see below!) I wanted more spoken word in my life, and found The Poetry Show podcast. It’s something a little different and brings a little life to my morning walk to work and I can’t wait to be inspired more; it’s a great way to get more poetry into my day.
Performing my own poetry at an Open Mic night
Late in January I decided, spontaneously, to go for it, and do something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. I went along to the Talking Heads monthly Open Mic night, Write a Note, and read out two of my own pieces. It was terrifying and completely out of my comfort zone, but I proved to myself that I could do it, and nothing went wrong. Now that hurdle’s out of the way, I can do it again…and again!
This is something I’d like to write more about, so watch out for that. In the meantime, I’m going to bask a little in the fact that I have already achieved one of my 2018 goals!
As an aside, if you’re based in or around Southampton, I can’t recommend Write a Note enough, whether you’re keen to share your own work or just listen with a drink in hand. They’re such a friendly bunch and it’s always a good night.
Another 2018 goal underway! I’ve been testing my hand-lettering skills and spending some time with my nibs and ink. It’s slow progress, but I’m already getting commissioned to create some pieces, and I really do love zoning out and crafting pretty sentences (even if it can be frustrating!)