2017 got off to a shaky start for me. Maybe because I was expecting everything to change – to be better – overnight. I think that's a classic New Year feel, though. And, well, it's bullshit for the most part.
January hit me with challenges, right off the bat. Spots ran amok over my face after a very indulgent Christmas time neglecting my minor lactose intolerance, lol 100% do not recommend, I had to chase a few freelance gigs for the dolla I was owed, and my stable employment situation changed somewhat.
I decided to get proactive and book in ALL OF THE THINGS because I am sick and tired of sitting at home...feeling sick and tired. And lonely. I want to visit more friends scattered across the country and indeed the planet, plus attend more events in the city. I trawled the London book stores' events lists, looked up train ticket costs and adopted the 'let's actually pin down dates' rule with friends. I've already had several long-anticipated coffee dates both locally and in LDN, and it's been lovely.
My new favourite things discovered this month were:
- 'La La Land'. Just. What. Lovely. Ryan Gosling was not Ryan Gosling – at least, not the one I've grown used to. Emma Stone was Emma Stone, though, but it worked. Both times I saw the film I managed to hold off tears until that final scene – the true love and the what if of it all smacked me in the heart.
(However, this film is not without its flaws and controversy. See Daniel J. Layton's video for a more detailed dissection)
(Alternatively, read Emma Gannon's rather gorgeous post about the film and her experiences seeing it)
- Ed Sheeran's new releases. I may play it cool guys, but I am and always have been a die hard fan of Ed. His new songs 'Shape of You' and 'Castle on the Hill' are examples of his flexibility and originality. 'Shape of You' had me dancing in my room after my morning shower, while 'Castle on the Hill' made me wistful af while driving down my country lanes.
- I did the unthinkable (for me, for a long time) and downloaded a dating app. Happn is a cute and enormous idea; you leave it on in the background of your phone as you go about your days, then (this is what I did, anyway) at the end of the day you have the opportunity to look at the many many people you crossed paths with that day. My hometown was often a major disappointment, but London and Brighton were always wild successes. I doubt anything huge will come from this app for me, as I am woefully old-fashioned in terms of meeting partners, but it satisfied my most intense curiosities re strangers in the streets and I like to think it gives me a second chance to speak to That Cute Guy I Will See But Not Speak To For Some Reason (shyness).
- I started re-watching 'The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air' on Netflix. It's just as ridiculous as I remember.
- Using both halves of the bagel; peanut butter on one, soya cream 'cheese' on the other with teeny pomodoro tomatoes and cut into bite size pieces. Stupidly simple and yet revolutionary for my lunches.
And the exciting news this month was:
- I joined a gym. No, really. It happened. And then, because clearly that wasn't enough of a shocker, I decided to attempt my local badminton club. It was a success.
- I revamped the blog (again). This time with a professional theme I bought on Etsy and then tweaked to my heart's content. Although tbh I didn't need to much, as it's so goddamn beautiful.
- The gorgeous Phie Hackett did a commission portrait for me, and wow it's unreal. I can't wait to get a new batch of business cards with this on the back!
- It snowed. The first snowfall happened as I left the cinema, in tears after seeing 'La La Land' for the first time and, well, it was quite a dramatic and disorienting experience.
- I received Lisa Williamson's new book 'All About Mia' in the post and oh my goodness, the excitement is intense. Thanks, DFB folks (and congrats Jasmine on the new gig)!
I bought 8 books. 4 of these were the new editions of Harry Potter 4-7; I needed to complete my second collection! Another was 'Get Your Sh*t Together' by Sarah Knight, I f*cking love her writing style and general lifestyle messages. Another was 'Mind The Gap', by Phil Earle, published by the awesome Barrington Stoke.
I drank 43 cups of coffee. My favourite was one I made myself on what I thought was a normal morning, which I then drank while receiving bad news; it gave me pause for thought and something to do with my lightly trembling hands.
I attended just 2 bookish events in London. One of these was the launch of Katie Webber's debut Wing Jones (which I reviewed here); the other was the Scholastic Bloggers' Book Feast, which was excellent - and I always love seeing the actual publishing office buildings, because it's where actual magic happens!
Also, the start of my 2017 Reading Schedule was a triumph. Although I may not have enjoyed – or got around to – every single book I originally mentioned in the January Imma Read post, I was chuffed that I managed to stick with a plan and expand my reading patterns, if only a little. Read here how it all went down.
Stay tuned for the February books theme reveal! (Calm down, I know it's cray exciting)
At times throughout the month, I had this one unsettled feeling. Like, I felt that January 2017 was just a half-hearted warm up act. Or the awkward talent show contestant that comes onstage right after the most promising entrant that earns the biggest round of applause (their names are Christmas, and NYE). Everyone I spoke to about it felt the same way, too. January is a 'meh' month. Could be because we're all rather poor after all the shopping and partying and entertaining in December. Could be because we're suddenly having to see this new and bewildering thing that is the next 12 months. I don't know about you guys, but I have a lot planned for this year. It's gonna be a big one. And while that's exciting, it's also immensely daunting. So really, actually, a lukewarm January is the best way to enter it. Good work, Jan.