The Monday of the Months is over! Hurrah! Can’t quite believe we’ve made it through January! It is the most
2019 was a year for the world, and it looks like 2020 might be going the same way, and as I write this we’re barely a week into it. You’d have to be living under a rock to miss the goings on between the USA and Iran. And Brexit. An Coronavirus.
It’s only February and 2020’s been a long year!
It’s been an excellent book month!! Who knew that buckling down to a goodreads challenge was just what I needed! I’ve now read eight of my 24 books, six ahead of schedule, and with four books on the go… typical. That’s ten books I can waffle about, but I’ll save most of them for the next Reading Nook post.
The standout for me has been Sourdough by Robin Sloan. This was just fantastic. It was everything I wanted and nothing I was expecting. It was made all the sweeter as I read it just after I’d embarked on my own sourdough journey – though not as successfully as our protagonist Lois, alas.
I’m not sure how to categorise Sourdough. For me, it was contemporary fiction at its most understandable and at its most… real. It’s a slice of life, and then some (pun absolutely intended).
The boy and I (mostly the boy) settled in to watch the BBC’s His Dark Materials, the wildly successful series by Philip Pullman. I read the first two books prior to the publication of The Amber Spyglass, if I remember rightly. By the time the third instalment made its way onto my shelves, I wasn’t too bothered.
Whilst I moved onto, and prefer, the realms of Harry Potter, the boy rates His Dark Materials more highly, so we sat down to watch and, though I’m not as invested, even I could see that this is an exceptionally filmed series.
Ruth Jones is, as always, utterly fantastic as Mrs Coulter – she does sinister exceptionally well – and although Lyra really grated on my for the first episode of two, she grew on me the further we got through the series.
Being a TV series, not only did this adaptation undo all the ills cast upon the source material by the travesty that was The Golden Compass, but it wove together the the events of The Northern Lights and The Subtle Knife that happen in parallel. It was exceptionally well done, right down to the relationship between humans and daemons being beautifully handled.
And now I’m kind of excited to see what they do next.
I’m not sure this should really go here, but I’m putting it in here anyway as it was so close it can almost count.
The boy and I went to see Knives Out on New Years Eve. I loved it, but then I’m a sucker for a who-done-it. Daniel Craig, taking on the role of detective extrodinaire, the suitably mis-prounouncable Benoit Blanc – a name which might as well have come straight off a Cluedo board – is outstanding, and the ensemble cast each show excellent range within the scope of their role. Jamie Lee Curtis, as is to be expected, is eternally wonderful.
The film is far from linear, jumping back and forth between the ‘present’ timeline and various ‘memories’, but after the initial shock of the editing, it all works sublimely.
I didn’t see the twist coming, I was guessing the whole way through, as I should have been, and left the cinema feeling satisfied and hoping that we see more of Benoit Blanc in years to come. He may be the most suitable successor to Poirot I’ve ever seen.
I’m planning on making more of an effort this year, widening my musical horizons, with most musical props going to my sister who is an excellent judge of music.
The track I’m going to talk about today is Ricercar by Penguin Cafe, from their album The Imperfect Sea. This is an uplifting, simple tune of strings and piano, the layers of which wash over you and provide you with a feeling of calm.
I love when this comes on shuffle during the working day. It’s a musical pick-me-up. Give it a listen!
My wardrobe thinning plans were somewhat stalled by the ills and what-not, but my sewing plans have been progressing. I muddled over and cut out a Wiksten Haori pattern, and started tracing the Tilly and the Buttons Indigo pattern – I have big plans for this one!.
At time of writing, I’ve finished the Haori, and I LOVE IT. It’s far from perfect, but it was always a test piece and as it’s wearable, I’m not remotely mad about it. More on that in another post.
The #makenine2020 journey is in full swing, and I’m very pleased about it. Hopefully, in February’s Last Month Today I’ll be able to share the reductions in my wardrobe!
I’ll be honest, I spent most of my January looking pretty grim – three rounds of antibiotics and a cold can take it out of you! My saving grace was good old coconut oil.
This is my go-to whenever I have a cold, as it saves me from that horrible nose-peeling stage. Just a little bit, morning and evening, saves a whole lot of miserable.
January wasn’t all bad. I’ve eaten better, the snacking has dropped off, I’ve been drinking more water and I’m generally feeling awesome. Being ill had its positives, so it seems.
I’ve been making myself drink more water (and it seems I prefer it warm now) and snacks are as healthy as possible – though, let’s be honest, it’s not been plain sailing, the good old PMS is making itself known at time of writing!
A comfort food go-to during times of need has turned out to be the bibimbap from leather lane, conveniently right outside work. It’s not strictly accurate, but I’m not mad about mixing the kimchi into my bibimbap for convenience!
All in all, however, I’m feeling good. Really good. Better than I’ve been in quite the while, and I’m relieved.
I’ve also embarked on making bread after doing a one-day sourdough class (mentioned in passing earlier). My at-home first attempt was… less than stellar, but I’m confident I will improve.
Not an event, per se, but this year’s January brought with it Lunar New Year, and we spent it with friends in Queensway/Bayswater, which is closer to home than I realised – I’m still piecing together the maze that is London.
There was food, of course, lots of it, and as friends of ours stayed for the weekend, we went on a brunch adventure on Sunday down to Fulham broadway.
Then we found the cupcakes…
Of course, I had the Harry Potter Butterbeer Cupcake. It wasn’t as flavourful as I’d have hoped, but boy did it look good, and it would have been rude not to have picked this one!
I rotated the desk and dressing table in my room this month and my desk is now in a much nicer position. Now I just need to make use of it. That’s a whole project for another blog post.
My curve ball is a new skill attempted this month – stamp carving. I’m not any good, at all, but there is such a joy at figuring out what it is you want and how to make it for yourself.
It’s been a month… foodie and creative in all the good ways, and I’m excited for February.
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