Month in Review / December 2015

Sunday, 3 January 2016

After the difficulties I had in October and November, I was really hoping that December would be a little bit more positive, and thankfully it didn't disappoint!  Although not everything has quite gone to plan, this month has been a much better month and I'm feeling much better and more hopeful as we edge closer and closer to the new year.

I applied and interviewed for a new job, and although I didn't get offered it in the end, the interviewers said that they were impressed and interested in me for similar upcoming positions, which was nice to hear.  I had a bit of a shaky time with my anxiety this month after being unable to attend a work away day because of it, but my mental health affecting my job so badly for the first time gave me the push I needed to get in touch with a therapist.  People in Surrey have access to online therapy, so I now have an appointment with a therapist for online cognitive behavioural therapy and that's hugely comforting and a step forward.

Other than that personal victory, it's Christmas time!  We spent a lot of time travelling - we had Christmas day at the Other Half's, then went to visit his grandmother and then onto my mum's place on Boxing Day for a few days, then back to the OH's family, then further up north for New Year's Eve, back down again and finally back home yesterday!  Needless to say, we'll be happy to not be driving for a while.

Post of the month: I'm exactly like other girls.

Films & TV...
  • We started watching the Amazon only series Mr. Robot last month and finished it this month - it's a really fantastic show and one I would definitely recommend if you have Amazon Prime.  In a nutshell, it's about a hacker who suffers from various mental illnesses and wants to change the world and save it from the inequality of capitalist monopolies.
  • Christmas movies galore!  We covered the newish animated A Christmas Carol with Jim Carrey first, then How About You? (which took me most of the film to realise the lead actress was Peggy Carter!), Miracle on 34th Street and The Santa Clause.  Followed closely by The Grinch and The Muppets Christmas Carol once we got to the OH's parent's house.
  • Also an Amazon exclusive, we've been ploughing through The Man in the High Castle after seeing it advertised for quite a while.  Based on the novel by Philip K. Dick, it's about an alternate universe in which the Nazis and Japanese won World War 2, and the mysterious ways the resistance is trying to fight them.  Another really, really impressive exclusive show!
  • We completed our run of the old Star Wars movies with Return of the Jedi, and... I saw The Force Awakens and basically spent the next two days not really knowing what to do with myself because wow.  I'm planning a full post about it soon when everything's died down a bit and everyone is more comfortable discussing possible spoilers (although I will still label spoilers), but for now let's just say there were a few moments where the little girl in me was close to sobbing with joy.
  • I'm a huge fan of Starz programs (Spartacus and Black Sails are two of my favourite shows and I loved Outlander too) so when I saw Flesh and Bone on Prime I thought I'd give that a go too.  I'm only part of the way through it now but it's as dark and at times graphic and controversial as I've come to expect from their shows and I'm not sure I enjoy it as much as the others.  It's about a company of ballerinas in New York and a girl who flees her abusive family to dance with them - if you like dark, gritty, realistic dramas you might find it worth a watch.
Edible things...
  • I experimented a little bit and made Christmas sugar cookies.  I used a vegan recipe and substituted banana for the egg replacer which in that particular recipe was apple sauce, and it was nice but tasted just a bit too banana-y, and the texture turned out a bit more cake-like than I'd planned.
  • I made vegan mince pies, both using shop bought filo pastry for crispy little mince pie parcels, and I made my own short crust pastry.
  • I enjoyed an incredible Christmas dinner with the Other Half's family, including my very own mushroom and truffle oil wellington as a main.
  • I made my own incredible Christmas pie for everyone to enjoy with me over the holidays!  I wanted to do something a bit non-traditional but full of Christmas flavour, so I made a mulled cranberry and apple crumble pie and it went down a treat.  I'll definitely be sharing the recipe at some point because I just made everything up off the top of my head and have never seen anything like it before - I'm pretty damn chuffed with myself!
Worth a read or watch...
  • If you're a Star Wars fan, you might have heard the expected rants and tirades about how Rey is too strong and talented a female character, and therefore must be a Mary Sue.  This article (incidentally on The Mary Sue) sums up my feelings perfectly and links to a longer, equally as well-written article too.  (Possible spoiler alert!)
  • In the same vein, this post on The Mary Sue describes The Force Awakens perfectly again for me: this Star Wars is mine.  (Possible spoiler alert!)
  • I never enjoyed being forced to hug and kiss relatives or friends of relatives when I was a child; now that I'm older I understand that it's a violation of childrens' boundaries and really wish that adults wouldn't force their kids to touch people against their will.
  • I love learning about words and concepts that exist in other cultures but not my own, and this article on 7 cultural concepts that don't exist in the US (and also the UK, though it doesn't specify this) is great.
  • Fans of The Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy will already know what it feels like to have a favourite female character excluded from merchandise, but The Force Awakens has also suffered some serious sexist toy marketing.  It's bad enough to exclude Black Widow as a member of the Avengers and Gamora as a Guardian, but excluding the literal main character of The Force Awakens from many toy sets?  Christ...
If you celebrate Christmas, I hope you had a wonderful day and if not, I hope you had a fabulous December and that everyone had a happy New Year!  What did you get up to this holiday season?


  1. Sounds like you had a wonderful December, and you definitely saw/read a lot of new things! :) I hope you had a great New Year and Christmas, and hope 2016 is good for you xx

    Sam // Samantha Betteridge

    1. Thanks Samantha, I hope you have a great 2016 too! :D

  2. I'm glad December was a better month for you, Steph, and I'm glad Star Wars didn't disappoint! It's wonderful that you have access to online therapy and I hope it goes well for you. I'm off to read the article about cultural concepts that don't exist in the US - I always find that kind of thing really interesting! xx


    1. Thanks Beth! I really liked the idea of hygge - particularly appropriate at this time of year. :) Hope you had a great Christmas and New Year's!


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