Monthly Review: October

I stumbled across Belle’s review posts over on her blog by accident and decided to attempt to revive my own Monthly Review posts. This is October’s monthly review. You can see others here. At the end of each month, I write a monthly review all about what I’ve been up to each month. 


Monthly Review: October

Highlights from October

  • October started with the Harvest Supper at the chapel. With Chris being at youth group and Our Sidekick having plans, Jaxon had to come with me. He was a very good boy and behaved himself as I helped Mum with serving the meal. When I got him home he went straight to bed as he was absolutely shattered by then!
  • At the beginning of November, we will have been in our house a decade, so we’ve been looking at our outgoings as far as the mortgage and figuring out if we are on the best deal and bits like that. There was lots of adulting on my part, as I was going to meetings at the bank to chat to the lady there.
  • With Jaxon starting school, there have been lots of extra sessions to learn about what’s he’s learning. I went to a session at school all about the school will be teaching Jaxon phonics and then how to read. (His first book should be arriving home any day and I’m super excited!)
  • Even though there were a couple of days which felt a bit crazy, I managed to grab coffee with a friend and we got to chat about all sorts of bits without getting distracted by our respective children (yay for school or husband’s who take child-duty)
  • Mum and I went to Vue to see the live stream of Cliff Richard’s concert. We had a lovely time but there were a couple of hiccups which did interrupt the evening a little bit but overall it was lovely. We worked out that I was probably the youngest in the room lol.
  • Jaxon had his first Parent’s Evening and oh my goodness I am so proud! He’s settling into school so well and he’s learning so much each day!
  • After a bit of a confusing conversation with the Receptionist at my GP surgery. I had an appointment at the Asthma Clinic and the nurse decided I was still Asthmatic enough to qualify for my flu vaccine.

Top Posts Viewed in October

Goals Set for October – and the Progress

  • Clear some more projects.
    • So, I manage to clear a couple and get them delivered to the recipients. I then started on another project for a charity event at the end of November. Just hope that I have time to finish it.
  • Work on a business plan for work and ideas around a new direction.
    • This is still not really happening. When it comes to work bits I get caught up in the day to day tasks and don’t get the plan sorted out but I have managed to have a “mentoring” call with another business lady who is helping me so hopefully with her guidance I’ll get it sorted out.
  • Exercise! There are 20 school days in October (although 25 weekdays) so I’m going to attempt to make sure that all of those 20 days I reach my step count.
    • I’m not sure this worked out as I kept forgetting to charge my FitBit but I am definitely taking this goal into November to try and make it happen. (I have the car for two weeks though so it’s possible it will all go to pot completely!)
  • A longer term goal is to walk 2018km in 2018. (540km in 90 days).
    • Having just taken a look at my Fitbit I’m on 112km to go in the rest of the year. I will definitely wipe the floor with that one!

Projects Worked on in October

  • I worked on 3 baby blankets that are finished and all delivered now.
  • Charity project for the end of November.

Books Read in October

  • The Sally Red Shoes (finishing properly ahead of starting The Keeper of Lost Things in Book Club in November)
  • Remember God by Annie F. Downs
  • The Bullet Journal Method by Ryder Carroll.
  • Returned to You by Emma St. Clair (I read it as a Beta Reader but it is now released)

Series Watched (Not full seasons btw!)

  • The Shannara Chronicles
  • 9-1-1
  • Grey’s Anatomy
  • Hyori’s Bed & Breakfast: Season 1
  • Ascension
  • Salvation
  • Salt Fat Acid Heat
  • Jack Whitehall
  • Cheaspeake Shores
  • Scorpion
  • Reign (Didn’t really enjoy it….)
  • The Good Place (Still not really getting into it)

Films Watched

  • Nights in Rodanthe
  • You Can Tutu
  • The Lady in the Van
  • Moana
  • Coco

Goals for November

  • Try and get some of the handmade Christmas presents started and finished.
  • Finish planning the rest of the presents.
  • Purchase some of the presents (the rest get pushed into early December)
  • Book the car service.
  • Get the home stuff sorted.
  • Keep us all alive while Chris is on his adventure.

BEDN: Rebellion

Blog Every Day in November

I am so stuck! Rebellion… what a word. I guess it has negative connotations. Is there a way that rebellion can have positive connotations?

I guess in a way we sort of rebelled last week. For years, when Halloween has come round, we’ve come in from work or whatever we’ve been out to do. Shut the front door and sort of battened down the hatches. When people have knocked at the door we’ve ignored it or turned them away empty handed.

The theme for this term at Community Group has been “Taboo” or “questions you’ve always wanted to ask but never had the forum to do it” or something along that route.

So a few weeks ago, ahead of it being Halloween, we got talking about celebrating or observing Halloween.

We started with a discussion about what Halloween was like for our families growing up. Mine involved sticking a sign on the door and then ignoring the door. Sometimes it would involve decamping to the dining room so that the living room light was off too. One of the other ladies in the group said how it would be majorly embarrassing because her parents would hand out “Jesus Loves You” stickers or something along those lines. There was then the opposite to those, another member of the group said how her Mum would host a party and invite the kids in the street, almost the idea being that they got to join in but had somewhere safe to do it rather than knocking on strangers doors.

We then watched a video from Mark Driscoll titled “Should Christians Celebrate Halloween?“. He kind of breaks it down to three opinions. Receive, Redeem and Reject. So I was definitely brought up in the reject camp. Have nothing to do with it, ignore it and hope it will go away almost. Having watched the video and discussed as a group, I sort of went away still feeling in that camp. We’d previously discussed that we were going to hand out Bag of Hope goodie bags from UCB and Scripture Union. There is an activity sheet and a story booklet and you can add sweeties or other bits. I had only expected to be handing them out to a small group of kids that we knew would be coming on Halloween then probably turn everyone else away.

Following the chat at Community Group, Chris and I hadn’t discussed it more, with all the usual crazy plus him getting ready to go away, it hadn’t got much further than what had been discussed at the group. On Halloween itself, I’d got home with Jaxon and we’d taken up residence in the living room as we do after school and it just happened that the hall light and the kitchen lights were off too, so the house looked really dark. The pumpkin that we’d carved after watching Patch The Pumpkin was still in the kitchen and the battery operated tea light that had been in the pumpkin was still switched off. Other than packing the Bags of Hope earlier in the day, I really hadn’t thought about it.

Chris then got in from work and commented about it being so dark and like we weren’t joining in. I put the pumpkin outside on top of one of the flowerpots we have near out front door, then got some washi tape and taped my blue star fairy lights around either side of the door. I wasn’t going to decorate with skeletons like next door but I could at least add some decoration. I grabbed one of my big granny mixing bowls from the kitchen and emptied the spare packets of sweets that I had and we were ready. Chris and I ended up having to take a call about adulting stuff in the middle of all the crazy. So between Chris and I on the call, we were tag teaming answering the door and trying to get there before Jaxon because he was having such a good time! His main Love Language is defintiely thoughtful gifts, so to be able to stand on our door step and give out sweeties this spoke right to his lovely and caring heart. At one point we were running low of sweeties in the bowl – first year doing it “properly” so I had no clue how much we needed! Chris commented that we might have to raid Jaxon’s treat box but could restock it the next day if needed. Well in the time it took Chris to finish the sentence, Jaxon had gone past me, past Chris, got his treat box from the cupboard and presented it to Chris like “here it is, let’s share it”. So they took it to the bowl and emptied what was going to be shared and then Jaxon put the box back.

Jaxon went to bed about normal time and we brought in the decorations/switched off the lights. In a quiet moment, while I did bedtime, it dawned on me that I felt happy. I didn’t feel sort of scared and fearful like I might have felt on previous years. Now I’m not going to be dressing up or going all out as I have seen on FB and Instagram. But if we can make a difference to our neighbours by showing them love and redeeming Halloween in a way to show love to our neighbours then that’s a good thing right? Maybe we’re being positively rebellious right?

BEDN: Healthy Living

Blog Every Day in November

Healthy Living

When people talk about healthy living we generally end up discussing the food we eat, the latest diet that is trendy or the exercise that we did (or intended to do but didn’t get to do). But can healthy living also include our mental health and taking time for self-care?

On a variety of scales used by medical professionals, I’m not very healthy. I’m overweight, my lung capacity is rubbish and too low for someone my age/size etc. But I think on the whole my mental health is reasonably good. It’s also possible that since giving up Diet Cola, things are in general that bit better too. Something that has recently been discussed on some platforms is how if you’re overweight you can go to the doctor and because you’re overweight that is immediately blamed for the rest of the symptoms. Some days I struggle with loneliness. It can sometimes feel like some weeks I see my boys and that’s it. This is part of why I have a couple of things I try to keep in my week even when it can seem a little crazy. Firstly, I try to make sure that I get to the two daytime knitting groups that I am part of. Otherwise, I can end up spending all the time that Jaxon is at school by myself and actually that can be kind of detrimental to my mood. But actually, sometimes I need time by myself. The human mind (or specifically my variation of a brain) is complicated! The second is making sure I get out for a walk, most of the time this isn’t a problem as Chris has the car and Jaxon and I walk to school every weekday. This week with Chris being away we have the car, tomorrow I will drive him to school as I’m going to do the food shopping on the way home and hopefully I’ll be able to walk to collect him in the afternoon. If worst comes to worst, I’ll drive part of the way and we can then walk from the school to the car and drive the rest of the way home.

Arm from Lefty Cartoons

Earlier this year, I had two issues that I had to go and see the doctor about. On both occasions, it took me at least a fortnight to pluck up enough courage to go and figure out if the problem I was having was an actual problem or a weight-related issue. On one occasion I was sort of fobbed off (and that issue hasn’t improved). The second issue was an actual issue and wasn’t weight related at all. But in my head, they were both weight-related and because of that, I felt like I couldn’t go and ask for help. Sometimes, I just need to be able to ask the question which almost seems like it doesn’t need a full doctors appointment and might just need a telephone call along with some treatment at home/come back if it doesn’t get better kind of information. There was a reason to this train of thought and then it took me a little while to find the picture and make sure I had remember it correctly so I think I shot off on a tangent but hopefully it sort of makes sense!

Trying to live healthily isn’t just about taking care of your physical body, it’s about making sure that your mental health is taken care off too. Just because it isn’t visible like a broken limb doesn’t mean, that it doesn’t need taking care off too.

BEDN: Lists

Blog Every Day in November

Lists

I am a huge fan of a to-do list. Whether it’s a short list of errands to run on a Saturday when I have the car or all the things I feel like I need to get done then there’s a list on the go. Basically, all the prompts for BEDN have been added to this month’s list in a way but rather than writing all 30 prompts into one list, I just add the one for that day and any that I missed.

I’m pretty sure this is part of why keeping a Bullet Journal works for me. I’ve got everyday lists, I’ve got “in the future lists”. I’ve got notes I scribbled in meetings. Recently we’ve been sorting out mortgage bits, so there’s lists I wrote down in the appointments at the bank to deal with when I got home. All the notes are there in one place instead of being all over the place on different scraps of paper or napkins!

On days when I don’t write a list, I nearly always miss something. I’ve even told Chris in the past that if it’s not on my list then it doesn’t happen. There are too many other things going on in my head to remember all the other things too. It’s usually at that point he encourages me to be more mindful lol. Making lists is a sort of mindfulness for me. It means I can write down what needs to be done. It also means then it doesn’t run out of my head when I’m not thinking about it.

To Do List
Now time to go and write a shopping list for Monday and a list of the chores I need to get done in the rest of the weekend.

BEDN: Travel

Blog Every Day in November

Travel

Travel

To me, it’s rather entertaining that this is today’s topic. This morning I’ve been working from IKEA in Milton Keynes while Chris has been at work. Today is the start of two weeks-ish of “solo parenting”. Do any other parents out there never know whether that’s an okay phrase to use? Just me?).

In a little while, I have to go and collect Chris from work and take him to the train station. He’s then taking the train from Milton Keynes to Euston then joining the Piccadilly Line to Heathrow (it sure is a lot colder than when Jaxon and I did it before). He’s then going to travel from London to Lilongwe in Malawi. Well, technically it’s the flight to his first destination before he catching the connecting flight tomorrow sometime.

So, most talk about travel in our house has revolved around Chris’s latest adventure. Two friends have just been on crazy adventures – one got back from Hong Kong (You can read about her visit to Hong Kong: Disneyland here) and another just got back from Japan. (Yep I am a bit jelly lol).

The list of places that I would love to visit definitely keeps growing, especially with my growing obsession with travel documentaries as a way to see the world until the budget allows! I watched Salt Fat Acid Heat a few weeks ago and wanted to go to Italy to learn about growing and harvesting olives which is hilarious because I do gardening out of a necessity rather than because I enjoy it. Maybe that one comes in the “Hide your passport before watching” category. Eat Pray Love is similar in that I get to Julia Roberts being in Italy eating Gelato and Pizza and I want to be back at Il Maggiolino stuffing my face with that fabulous pizza! You can read all about our adventures in Rome here. The other one is Julie and Julia where I get this crazy idea about decamping to France for weeks on end and blog my way around while eating as much French food as I can eat. Well, ignore the fact that Chris thinks I can be a fussy eater sometimes. (The only fish I eat is fish fingers and avoid mushrooms like the plague!). Oh and that Amy Adam’s version of Julie Powell would be my best friend and she’d guide me through how to cook Julia Child’s, Beouf Bourguignon. (A friend of mine emigrated to France earlier this year, maybe she needs to teach me how to make French Beouf Bourguignon so that I can make it when I come back? Right?)

My current list of places to visit is available here on my blog – it’s called Hannah’s Wanderlust List.

Where’s your favourite place to visit? Have you got a worst one?