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2017 Gratitude List (and a 2018 Project) #ShareYourYear

This year has gone really quickly. In lots of ways, nothing much has changed (except where we're living) but there are big changes on the horizon (looks pointedly at massive bump). Inspired by Rosie's post, I've made a list of everything I'm grateful for this year:

Lovely, supportive, hilarious colleagues.
Health insurance and DBT.
Friends (old ones and new ones).
Board games.
Pete. 
Christmas tree lights.
Books.
My body.


All the Christmasses.
Lush bathbombs.
Gigs.

December 17: Waiting and Hibernating #LittleLoves

I'm trying to keep up with a Little Loves each month, and incredibly I've actually managed two now. Go me. December was always going to be a weird one this year; it's been Christmassy without actually having many concrete plans to look forward to, as we didn't really know if the baby would come. Spoiler alert: I'm typing this leaning over my massive 41 week bump.

Although I'd quite like to have produced a human by now, December turned out to be a pretty good month to be heavily pregnant: there's a lot of food around, the TV's good and no-one really expects you to leave the house much anyway. Here's my month:


We dug out some board games and I remembered why I love Monopoly (I won) and why I shouldn't play it (at one point I got so angry with myself I had to squeeze a stress ball to death and take a break).

READ

December was a surprisingly prolific reading month (helped by the fact that I spent two hours awake in the middle of the night, pretty much every night). 

After The Last Dance - Sarra Manning

I actually read most of this in November, but whatevs. This book won't change your life, but it will probably be hard to put down and the bits of WWII history make it a bit more interesting that your average "chic lit" (urgh, sorry) choice. Would make an excellent holiday read.

Friend Request - Laura Marshall
I bought this after loving The Couple Next Door last month and being in the mood for another thriller, but sadly I found the plot a lot more predictable. There were some breath-holdingly-creepy moments though, so it's not all bad.

How To Build A Girl - Caitlin Moran
I would say that Moran is one of my problematic faves but I don't even think she's a fave anymore. It was a library book, ok? Although she states that this isn't an autobiographical novel, it did all feel very familiar having read How To Be A Woman and Moranthology. That said, the characters were really captivating and it did make me laugh out loud a lot (Pete's pet hate when I'm reading in bed). 

Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
Having been obsessed with this book when I studied it at A Level, I always say it's one of my favourites. On a reread, I still loved it, just not as much as (more) naive 17 year old Liz did. But yeah, if you haven't read it already, you should. 

The Secret Lives of the Amir Sisters - Nadiya Hussain with Ayisha Malik
A quick, enjoyable read that mostly stayed on the right side of twee (although did we have to shoehorn baking into it?) A nice way to spend a day between Christmas and New Year - and probably another good holiday read. Disclaimer: I love Nadiya and will probably never think anything she does is bad.


WATCHED

Seven Terrible Christmas Films

Like a festive superhero (Santa? Jesus?) I've been watching shed loads of awful Christmas films so you don't have to. I know, I know, I'm too nice.

You do, however, have to read my reviews to see just how much I suffered. I even devised a handy rating system:


1/5: WTAF? Would watch again just to check I didn't dream a film this bad.
2/5: Just bad. Wouldn't watch again, life's too short.
3/5: Was kinda ok. Would watch again if it was on and I was too hungover to change the channel (that's happened to me).
4/5: Enjoyed it, because it was so terrible.
5/5: Spoiler alert: none of these films got 5/5 so I didn't bother to think of an explanation.



A Christmas Prince (2017) Netflix
Aspiring journalist visits fictional kingdom of Aldovia to get some dirt on the prince, before things get predictably messy.
More plot holes that a slice of...what's that cheese with the holes? That one. I would say it's unrealistic but that doesn't seem like a strong enough word. The whole thing is so silly that it was almost enjoyable. Bonus: Aldovia, for all it's unrealistic laws, customs and strong British accents, is a snow covered Christmassy wonderland. This film is terri-brill. 4/5

Christmas in Connecticut (1992) 
TV chef who can't cook hosts national hero for Christmas, assisted by her fictional family.
You know a film's going to be great when it's directed by Arnie and starts with a man doing pull-ups. There's some pretty funny physical comedy at points, and the likeable main characters just about makes up for the complete lack of plot twists. Also has the classic bad film trope of no-one's appearance matching with their supposed age. Bonus: Dyan Cannon has (genuinely) excellent hair; it's almost worth watching just for her hair. 3/5

Christmas on Chestnut Street (2006)
Department store over orders Christmas lights and organises a festive lights competition to encourage the locals to buy up the excess stock. 
This one had the potential to be great but it was just ok. The main problem was that it didn't make me feel remotely Christmassy until about 5 minutes from the end, and why else do you watch a Christmas film?! The relationship between the lead character and his father with dementia is definitely the most interesting part of the film, and the rom-com elements are cute enough, but for some reason the film's producers decided not to linger on any of that stuff. 2/5

November 17: It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Actual Pregnancy #LittleLoves

November was a bit transformative; like a reverse butterfly I went from trying to spread my wings to retreating into my comfortable cocoon. Pregnancy really started to kick in once I hit mid-November (hello exhaustion and fainting) and it felt like a good time to really start embracing rest and maternity leave proper.

Speaking of which, I'm now waaaaay too lazy for consistent weekly updates, so I figured I might try a monthly one instead. Surely even I can manage to do this once a month? Surely. I'm going to try and link up with Little Loves because a) I love reading other people's and b) as I said, I'm lazy and it's a nice format.

Here's my November:

READ

The Girls - Emma Cline
I loved the atmosphere this coming-of-age novel creates, but I thought some of the themes felt a bit over-worked and I wasn't massively captivated by the plot. Maybe my expectations were too high; this is probably a lesson in not waiting too long before reading a much-hyped book.

The Couple Next Door - Shari Lapena
I read this in less than 48 hours and barely guessed a single twist, which tells you all you need to know really. Would definitely recommend if you're a fan of thrillers.


WATCHED

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
I'm going to keep this pretty spoiler-free, but three series in and Rebecca finally gets a diagnosis. And it's the same as mine, and the way it's handled is utterly perfect. I laughed and cried my way through that episode and then immediately watched it again. 100% recommend (but start from the beginning).



Honeymooning: Langkawi, Malaysia

Me: 'I keep getting Facebook Memories from our honeymoon.'
Pete: 'Really? What honeymoon?'
Hashtag married life.

Despite the fact that my husband seemingly can't remember it, a year ago today we arrived on the island of Langkawi, which seemed like it would be a perfect relaxed ending to our trip, having already visited hectic Kuala Lumpur and explored the sights of George Town.

It turned out to be mostly very relaxing with a couple of terrifying (to me) moments. Let's start with the relaxing bits - there's enough terrifying moments in the world, amirite?


Langkawi beach

After arriving in our resort, it became clear that we had a difficult decision to make:

[2017: 44] Boxing, Cake Fails and Friday Favourites

The Week With The

...boxing.
I ended up watching the boxing last weekend and it really surprised me. Or maybe I surprised myself: I actually enjoyed it. I felt awful because, jeez, it looks painful but also it's...exciting? I feel kinda bad for enjoying it. 

...baby names. 
We were given two baby name books this week, so promptly set about creating a short list. The 'short' list had 22 names on it, and we've now managed to get it down to 10. So that's...progress? This baby had better make it to full term because there are a lot of name debates to fit in over the next few weeks.


Easy Vegan Cupcakes


...cupcake disaster.