I'm always amazed at how much seems to have changed since the last post, each time I sit down to write one of these catch-ups! Some of it is stuff I'm going to keep to myself for now, but there's also plenty to share, along with my tv, film and book favourites of the moment.


The first new development is that I'm learning to drive! What you might not know about me is that I can't drive; like a surprising amount of my friends who are the same age as me, having grown up in the city, there was never much of a pressing need to drive as a teenager. I then obviously went to university, where everyone just walks within the same few square miles and I could just hop on the train home from Birmingham to Manchester. Fast-forward a few more years and I still hadn't got round to it. I still don't have much of a need to drive in my day-to-day life but I thought it would be a good life skill to have, should that ever change. I did have a few lessons when I was 19 so I haven't had to start entirely from scratch but there's definitely a learning curve I still need to ride out. Hopefully I can get my theory booked in at the start of next year. At the moment I'm trying to just get my bearings and improve my confidence as opposed to putting a load of pressure on myself in relation to the test itself. Though the darker evenings are becoming a bit of a pain! 

I think October was one of the busiest month I've had this year; you know when you make a ton of plans and then unexpected things come about and you don't have a minute to yourself? One week I had an event with Pixi Beauty on Wednesday (we did cocktail-making at the Botanist, had some food and found out about the new products, which I've now reviewed here) until late, a work event with our brokers the next night (a pub quiz at Revolucion de Cuba, which was a lot of fun!) and then on Friday I headed to Oxford for the weekend to visit my friend and go to a party (where they turf out all of the residents of one of the university houses and host a huge party with free alcohol all night - there was literally a DJ in someone's bedroom!). When you're learning to drive, trying to keep up with blogging and have other stuff going on, weeks like that are a lot of fun but pretty exhausting - especially if you enjoy a bit of downtime like me.

The week after that, I headed down to London to work from that office and get some exposure to their work for my development. It just really reinvigorated me and reinforced that I enjoy what I do - when I headed back to my office I felt refreshed and excited about things. I obviously also took the opportunity to see my friends when I was down there! I've been at my company a while now so I've got to know so many people across the organisation - I had a bit of a catch-up with some of the people on my graduate scheme intake, which was great. I also had a night in with a film and a bottle of wine with another friend on the Friday night before meeting up with some of my old university housemates for a wander around the British Museum to soak up some history. Before heading home on the train we got dinner and cocktails at one of our regular haunts in London: Sager + Wilde

I haven't been home that much recently, though I'm actually going to be back in Manchester when this post goes up! It's just been so hectic lately that I've not had the chance other than stopping by en route to a friend's birthday in Leeds. I was kind of gutted earlier this month when the Childish Gambino gig in London was postponed until March as I'd already booked time off work and paid for all my trains, so I did still head to London. I'm glad I did - it was kind of nice not to have much planned and just kick back and catch up. It was also really good to get everyone together for a huge lunch at Dishoom. You can also get soooo much great Indian food there for a really low cost compared to other places in London!

Although it's early, it definitely feels as though party season is underway. As the team I work in sits in a slightly different part of the business to the rest of the office; we actually get two Christmas parties! The first of which was this month and it was actually a costume party. I was so impressed at how all-out everyone went - these things are always great when everyone makes the effort! You might have caught my Cleopatra look on my Instagram Stories. It was such a good night - we had a pub quiz, got a lot of strange looks and it was great just to socialise with some of the rest of our part of the business outside of an office environment. We also had a bit of a social at Lane 7 (think 'bowling for adults') which I'd never been to before. I won't lie; I was very bad at the bowling part... Actually, I started off ok, but the free-flowing drink must've started to have an effect about halfway through! It was really fun and there were a bunch of arcade games you can play, which was all very '90s nostalgic'. 


What a Time to be Alone by Chidera Eggerue | It's funny how you kind of have to be happy alone before you can really think about being in a relationship. Even when it comes to your relationships with friends and family; they're always going to best flourish if you know your own worth. This book is full of snippets of great advice and stories to uplift you. It's a really quick read and stylistically beautiful, so if you're ever in need of a boost of self-love or motivation; it's well worth picking up this book to have a flick through. 

Crazy Rich Asians | In terms of pure enjoyment; this has to be my film of the year! If you've been living under a rock: this is a romantic comedy based on the super-popular book series. I just had so many feelings about this film; it was so refreshing to see an all-Asian cast in a film that's allowed to be funny, exciting and opulent. At the same time, I realise that the lack of representation in cinema puts a lot of pressure on this film to be to everything to every minority, so although it's not without its flaws, I think that as we get more stories from more perspectives featuring diverse casts those issues will largely fall away. It's essentially about Rachel (a young American lecturer whose mother emigrated to the US from China) and Nick (her British-Singaporean boyfriend) who wants to take her home to meet his family for a friend's wedding. It turns out he's obscenely rich and Rachel gets thrown into this world of 'old money' Chinese families in Singapore. However along with the luxury comes conflict, as many of Nick's loved ones back home aren't exactly welcoming to her; least of all his mother. Yes, it does lean on the 'mother in law from hell' trope a little, but it explores this in such an interesting way; Rachel's westernised attitudes towards following her dreams and her mother working her way up in the world are juxtaposed against Eleanor the matricharch's collective view that you must sacrifice your own wants for the needs of the family. Obviously the film (and the entire cast, actually!) is gorgeous to look at, there's some really great comic relief in there; it's just really enjoyable from start to finish.

A Star is Born | This is a film that in some ways is kind of cliche (but I get that it's been remade several times over the decades so is probably the Trope Originator) but is so brilliantly executed that it hardly matters. Ally is a waitress that moonlights as a singer in a drag bar but has all but given up on her musical dream. By complete coincidence, alcoholic Country star Jackson Maine wanders into that bar and sees her perform and the two have a connection. From there on she joins him on tour and ends up signing with a major record label - her career begins to skyrocket as his starts to stutter and their relationship begins to break down due to his addiction. This isn't a new story (the vices of the music industry, how fame can change people, destructive relationships etc.) but the music is really brilliant (said by someone who doesn't like Country!) and it's so well-acted. It's just insane that as the film got going, I just stopped seeing Lady Gaga as 'Lady Gaga' (who wears meat dresses and sings Alejandro) and saw her completely and totally as her character Ally. Bradley Cooper is also pretty stellar in this. I think it's a must-see.

The Cry | I haven't really heard that many people rave about this show but I think it's so worth a watch! The plot is centred on what I think is probably every parent's nightmare, which could be what makes it so compelling to watch. At the start of the story, it's fair to say that new mum Joanna (played by Jenna Coleman) has been struggling with motherhood; she's permanently exhausted, doesn't have much of a life and her partner (who is focused on his political career) isn't exactly supportive when it comes to sharing parenting responsibilities. However they're dragged to his native Australia when he decides to try and regain custody of his older daughter from his ex-wife. This is where the nightmare begins (and the pacing and tension in episode one had my blood pressure right up!) as something happens to baby Noah and suspicion is cast on Joanna. This is so tense and really well-acted, as you change your mind constantly over what you think happened; was she negligent? Did she do something to him? Is she innocent? Was he kidnapped? Before all is revealed...

The Haunting of Hill House | Now this TV show has seen some serious hype, and it's well-deserved in my personal opinion. The best horror stories weave real-life darkness into the narrative that many of us relate to, and perhaps are scared of seeing in ourselves; like suicide, mental illness, addiction and abuse. The narrative flashes between the family's time in the haunted Hill House and the present, where they each wrestle with their literal and figurative demons, which all seem to lead back to that house. I can't say more without spoiling it but you absolutely have to watch this for yourself.

Dynasties | Ok, so I've only watched one episode of this so far, but let's be real; we already know it's going to be incredible. This series is just as breathtakingly stunning as other Attenborough documentaries like Planet Earth, but it does something really special by focusing in on one endangered species and one story per episode. This allows an incredible narrative to be created from the footage captured. The first episode focuses on chimpanzees, which is particularly fascinating because, like many others, I just love to watch human-like species interact socially. This episode focuses on a troop of chimpanzees in Senegal and their charismatic leader - David - and his fight to remain the alpha of the group.

What have been your lifestyle favourites lately?

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