I’d planned to arrive back on the blog with some reviews and then I’ve seen yet another unexpected upturn in the hours I’ve been spending at work and so here we are with a slightly more chatty favourites post. I could go back over a few months too and pick out some favourites from each month but I’m going for the easy option and just looking back over November.
I have a lot of unread books at the moment – my GoodReads TBR shelf has just reached 450 books. I know that some people find that off-putting or stressful but I find it really exciting! I’ve been enjoying buying books that I either fancy right now or that have been published by companies that I want to show some support to. We’re off over Christmas and I’m planning on hunkering down and getting through some then! Good times 🙂
Turns out I only finished three books in November! I’m a bit surprised by that but then I suppose we were away for a busy long weekend and I’ve recently bought a couple of new 3DS games that I’ve been playing a bit so I guess that’s one of those things.
First up was a bit of a hangover from Hallowe’en, Hollow Pike by Juno Dawson (originally published under the name James Dawson). I really enjoy Juno’s writing style. I think in part it’s because she was brought up not far from where I live and it makes a real (pleasant) change to read slang and speech that is undoubtedly northern and very familiar. I wasn’t 100% sold on the witchy plot but it was a lot of fun. When I saw my Dad in October, he was reading The Words in my Hand by Guinevere Glasfurd and really recommended it. It was a bargainous £1.99 so I snatched it up and read it straight away. It’s a fictional story based around a real relationship between Descartes and a Dutch maid, Helena. The writing is beautiful and I highlighted so many passages. While the relationship between Descartes and Helena is interesting, it was Helena’s development that really stole my heart. I cried in public over this book and that says it all, really. Last up was my first Ruth Rendell, The Secret House of Death. I’ve written bits of a review of it so I’ll be writing more on this soon but it took me a while to get through this and I was underwhelmed.
Book of the Month: The Words in my Hand by Guinevere Glasfurd
TV Programme of the Month: I’ll be honest – Designated Survivor. It’s a Netflix series about a man who survives a terrorist attack that kills the President of the United States and most of the Cabinet and is the “designated survivor”, automatically becoming the next President. It’s not spectacularly unique but it’s really entertaining and has some interesting characters so it’s earned its spot here as far as I’m concerned.
Film of the Month: I finally watched La La Land in November and I mostly enjoyed it. It’s a default film of the month because it’s the only film I watched. I really loved the ending and I adore Emma Stone so maybe it would have been the best even with competition. Who knows?
Recipe of the Month: Beef and ale stew with dumplings! I kind of freestyled this so I haven’t got anywhere to point to but it’s been wintery and cold and that calls for stew and home-made dumplings. Ooh, actually though, I can tell you that if you like dumplings but don’t want to mess with suet, this Jamie Oliver recipe is super easy,comforting and has never failed me.
Beauty Product of the Month: Lush’s Bûche de Noël cleanser. I swear by Lush’s facial cleansers and this one is made of satsumas, cranberries and I think it has brandy in it too so it smells so festive and it’s delightful. I definitely want to get another pot before it disappears in January!
Activity of the Month: We went to Lithuania for Husband’s birthday in November and it was such a good trip! Vilnius is beautiful and absolutely packed full of cosy bars and pubs and restaurants. It was flipping freezing and it snowed while we were there but it was fabulous all the same. We went to some really interesting museums (a former KGB Headquarters was so disturbing and haunting and a Holocaust memorial that was incredibly moving among others) and got a local bus out to the most stunning castle I have ever seen in real life. If you get the chance to travel to Vilnius, absolutely do go – it’s less touristy than other European locations, much more reasonably priced and so much fun. And Trakai is wonderful even when it’s freezing (there’s a chocolate shop/cafe on the way that does great coffee if you need warming up and gooey chocolatey cookies that are to die for).
And that was November! It’s been perhaps not as book-filled as I’d like but we had a lot of fun so that’ll do me. Now roll on Christmas!