I often worry that January will be a slow, difficult month. For someone who considers the build-up to Christmas as the best time of the year, this first month can feel a bit bleak and sad. When I realised it was already time to sit down and write a monthly round-up, I felt suprised at how fast January has whizzed past this year. And in a good way too. I’ve been busy getting stuck into plenty of new projects, enjoying the last of the Christmas chocolate and sitting by the fire.
What I’ve been watching.
I’ll start with my favourite new Netflix series, Sex Education. I watched the entire first season in just two days, and then again with my boyfriend as I introduced it to him too. It has been a long time since I’ve found a new series that I’ve completely loved from the offset, but Sex Education had me at episode one. The story is based around Otis, a 16 year old whose mum is a sex therapist. An unusal situation means he teams up with a tough girl from school, and together they set up a sex clinic where Otis advises his peers, despite being a virgin himself. Every character is brilliant, and the acting felt natural and realistic. Plenty of teenage issues are covered, from confidence to coming out. No topics are taken lightly, but the humour and slightly quirky nature of the show carries through the different situations well. With eight episodes, the show is truly worth a watch, and with a light-hearted tone, I found myself feeling excited to watch the next episode every time. 10/10, I can’t recommend it enough.
I’ve also been watching Mari Kondo’s Netflix show. So satisfying. The ‘revolutionary’ KonMari method focuses on the question – does it spark joy? If an item doesn’t spark joy, you don’t need it in your life. It sounds simple but I’ve had Mari’s book ‘The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up’ for a couple of years now, and that ethos really does work. Especially when it comes to clearing out your wardrobe. I’m good at throwing things away, but am yet to master keeping the things I do own neat and tidy. That’s a whole other blog post really. But the Netflix show follows Marie as she visits different families to introduce her life-changing way of tidying. Easy watching, and motivates you to get tidying.
I have to mention my favourite film of the month too, Christopher Robin. I’m not sure if I documented my experience watching this on the cinema here on the blog, but it’s pretty easy to summarise. I wept for pretty much the duration of the film. It hit me with the nostalgia, something about Winnie the Pooh’s comforting voice makes me so emotional. No shame here, I’m admitting my weakness haha. It was so joyful though, and now I get to watch it on DVD at home, and I can confirm that far less tears were shed during my second viewing. The plot in a nutshell is that Christopher Robin is revisted by his childhood stuffed bear (among other friends) and has to navigate his way back to what is important. If you grew up with Winnie the Pooh on your screen (or wallpaper as I did!), this is the most heart-warming film.
What I’ve been eating.
My dad made the best bananna and chocolate cake which I’d even say is life-changingly good. So delicious that I’ve already asked when he might make it again next. The recipe is here, you won’t regret it. And that’s coming from a girl who doesn’t even really eat banannas. Yum.
As a 95% vegetarian, I often eat vegan and plant-based food. I was very kindly given the Bosh! cookbook for Christmas, and I’m finally getting stuck into testing all the new recipes. On Sunday, I made the Bosh beans on toast and it was SO good. Using cannelini beans works so well as a tinned baked bean subsitute and the smokey BBQ flavour of the recipe was great. I’d highly reocmmend the book if you’re looking into vegan cooking, it’s the best I’ve read so far. I couldn’t find their recipe online, but this one is pretty much identical.
A final note on what I’ve been eating. I feel I must confess that I’ve been to Nandos twice this month and enjoyed the Beanie wrap on both of these occassions. Once with garlic bread, and once with Peri Peri chips and peas. I need say no more.
What I’ve been doing.
The beginning of a new year of course calls for some new hobbies. And rekindling an old flame too – pun very much intended. My end-of-2017 goal for 2018 was to start candle-making, which I took to and learnt during the first 6 months of last year. Life got in the way towards the end of the year though, and I fell out of the habit. 2019 is here and it’s time to relight the fire (enough with the candle puns now). I’ve set up a dedictaed Instagram account for my candles, as I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. If you’d like to follow the journey, you can do so here. Hopefully I’ll aim to continue building my stock, settle on about 3-4 scents and try some selling. I’ll let you know how I get on.
Continuing on the craft theme, I’ve started painting with watercolours. Despite multiple years studying art and even a year at art school, I’d never propely used watercolours – acrylics have always been my paint of choice. This month I’ve begun a new sketchbook and I’m making notes after every painting. I find this is the best way to remember all my thoughts as I learn a new craft, so that I can take them forward onto the next piece of art. I’m really drawn to painting more natural forms, but its taking some time to get used to not outlining everything in a fine black pen. I’ll get there.
Happy February everyone, I’d love you know if you’ve tried any of the films/recipes/hobbies I mentioned today? Or what your highlight of the January was?