It’s nearly blimmin’ December!! How did that happen?! I’ve been a bit rubbish lately keeping up with blogging along with everything else. I always find November and December a struggle. I have barely started my Christmas shopping and every time I try, something happens to prevent me!
It was the school Christmas fair this morning so I took our youngest along and this afternoon we all used the fact that it was grey and pouring with rain to snuggle up in the warm and do very little! I just love afternoons like that – they are the best thing about winter! We had to venture out in the rain again this evening for our son’s swimming gala. He is getting to be a strong little swimmer and is already ten times better than me or his Dad have ever been so it’s fantastic to see him doing his thing!
Since we’re taking a bit of a breather on the home projects front at the moment, I thought I would take the opportunity to join in with a lovely feature some of my favourite bloggers tend to do at the close of the month and tell you about ‘things I’m loving lately.’ I adore sitting down with a cuppa and reading other people’s posts on the topic so grab yourself a coffee and maybe you might like to hear mine?! Here’s what we’ve been doing and loving in November…
I belong to a book club with some gorgeous people and one of my favourite nights of the month is to gather together with these lovely ladies and talk about everything and anything. Sometimes, we even mention the book once or twice 😉 This last month, I’ve been catching up with everyone else and finishing one we started a few months ago. It’s called ‘The Passage’ by Justin Cronin and is the first book in a trilogy. It was a mammoth read but I stuck with it long after everyone else had finished (I’m just slow, ok?!) because I was really enjoying it. It takes in a story set over more than 90 years which starts with the outbreak of a ‘virus’ which creates ‘vampire-like’ creatures and leaves the world reeling and the human race struggling to survive. Initially, we follow the story of the outbreak – how it begins and gathers pace. Then, the story jumps forward 93 years to a community of humans who have managed to barricade themselves in and, using the only weapons they have at their disposal, along with a system of lights and fortress walls, they struggle to live without ever really knowing what’s going on beyond their walls. This all changes when a girl arrives at the compound gates having apparently survived alone in the outside world. I won’t spoil the story for you but, in my opinion, it’s worth reading and I’m hoping that at some point (maybe on holiday next year?!) I may have time to read the second instalment. I believe the final novel is due for release in 2016.
Our latest book is ‘The Tea Planter’s Wife’ by Dinah Jefferies (I’m still playing catch up but I am enjoying it so I’m pressing on!) Is anyone enjoying any great books at the moment? I would love to hear all your recommendations in the comments.
You may have seen on my instagram feed that our local area is host to ‘Europe’s largest illuminated carnival’ and November for me (right since my childhood) has always been an exciting time filled with fireworks parties and displays and of course, Carnival night. It’s a magical time of year and now that I’m a Mum, I get to watch my children absorb the magic too. #emotional
We’ve also been watching lots of lovely dancing. Our daughter is a keen dancer and this month, her dance school put on their 4-yearly show and there were four performances over three days. It was such a credit to all the dancers involved and I’m always in awe of their teachers – the energy and work that goes into these kinds of productions is immense! It was such a special, wonderful thing to watch how much our beautiful girl has grown, changed and developed in confidence over the last four years since she danced her last show as an 8 year old. A real proud Mummy (and Daddy) moment. She’s also been involved in a dance show over two evenings with the school so she’s been a very busy bee and I’m sure she’s made some incredibly special memories which will stay with her forever.
One of the lovely things about our children being a bit older now is that we can now spend time together watching programmes we all enjoy! Our current favourites to watch with the kids are:
‘Modern Family.’ We are very late to the party with this one. I think it’s about 7 series in now, but the more we watch, the more we love. The characters are hilarious and the scrapes in which they find themselves often remind us of certain members of our own family (mentioning no names, of course!)
‘The Flash.’ This is one my husband has particularly enjoyed watching with the children. It started off as just him and our son but surprisingly, our daughter has really taken to it as well. There are lots of twists, turns and plot revelations that leave them desperately hanging on until they can watch next week’s episode.
I made this super-yummy baked chocolate cheesecake this week for a dinner party we were having. It is a Nigella recipe (find it here) and was a process I hadn’t encountered before which involved wrapping the tin in cling film and foil and sitting it in a baking tray filled with boiling water in the oven for an hour. I was expecting to find the cling film stuck fast to the tin afterwards but I was surprised to be able to peel it away easily. The cake turned out to be rich and delicious – a theme I find running through all of Nigella’s dessert recipes!
I bought these little vases on amazon to make small table centre-pieces. They were really reasonable and so I was surprised at what great quality they are. They are so cute and the perfect size and height for the table – not too large so they leave plenty of space on the table for food and drinks and not too high so that we could all see one another over the top of them! I’m definitely using them again at Christmas and I may or may not be thinking about spraying our Christmas centre pieces with glitter!
Adele’s ’25’ is our latest album of choice. The kids and I love to have a sing-along in the car and we are all really loving Adele’s newest release. I have forbidden all Christmas music and films until 1st December this year but you can bet when Tuesday rolls around, we’ll be breaking out the Michael Bublé and Mariah Carey!!
I also went to watch ‘The Staves’ this month. A book club friend recommended them and a group of us had a really fun ‘girls night out’ watching them and enjoying a drink or two! Apparently, the band is made up of three sisters, and being one of three musical girls, I was excited to hear how they sounded. It was really inspiring. What a fab way to spend your time, touring with your sisters united in a passion for something you all love. #jealous!
Glitter nail varnish. (Do excuse my horrible sausage fingers but you get the idea!) I do love to add a bit of sparkle to proceedings around this time of the year and, as someone who rarely makes time for ‘glamming things up,’ I was happy to discover that glittery nail varnish seems to be easier to apply and less inclined to streaks and imperfections than regular nail varnish (which really helped when I was applying it on the dashboard, in the dark last weekend as my husband drove us to dinner!) It also looked better for longer as the chips and knocks showed up less so it’s a win-win. I usually carve out some time to visit my sister in her salon for a proper gel nail manicure at Christmas as a bit of a treat so I am looking forward to that too!
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What about you? What have you been loving in November? I’d love to hear about it….Thanks so much for reading. Until next time…xoxo!
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