Monday, 2 January 2017

December favourites 2016 | The Small Desk

December has been a really fun month, apart from having a very stressful beginning to the month at work. However from the 22nd December onwards I didn't have to go to work, which has been absolute bliss. I need to take more weeks like this where I just hang around at home, get up really late and watch films and read books. It's so damn relaxing, and it makes you feel you really have a life outside of work.

The end of December is one of my favourite times of year because so many people are off work and de-stressing and there is a positive feeling in the air. This month has been about enjoying being with my partner, friends and family and not trying to achieve anything! So refreshing!

1. Friend's bottomless prosecco birthday brunch
At the beginning of the month I celebrated a good friend of mine and my partner's birthday at Villandry on Great Portland Street.

2. Christmas lunch with old school friends
I invited three of my old school friends round for a Christmas lunch and 'craft' day. Needless to say the crafting element was more for the lols than to be taken seriously!

3. New curtains
My mum made us new curtains for our living room. They are absolutely gorgeous and make our living room so much cosier. I'm obsessed with them.

4. Neighbours over for drinks
Our neighbours came over to ours for some mince pies and wine. It's so nice to be able to socialise with our next door neighbours as it's so easy to get home!

5. Work Christmas party
We had our work Christmas party this month where we played a quiz and then had a late lunch at a swanky Italian restaurant.

6. Winchester Christmas market
My partner and I went to visit Winchester as he has never been before. The Christmas market was on and it was so festive. We went for a piece of cake and a smoothie and browsed the cute little independent shops there. If you haven't been I thoroughly recommend going, apparently it is the best place to live in the UK as well!

7. Seven and a half mile walk
Now that I basically live in the countryside we've been trying to go on more walks and this month we successfully went on a mega long walk straight from our front door. The weather was perfect for it as well.

8. Pizza Express for friend's birthday
Always love a Pizza Express – this time I went with my bestie from Uni to celebrate her birthday. We splashed out and had all three courses – it was excellent.

9. Mince pies with parents
My parents came over to give my partner his Christmas presents and we went to our local cafe for mince pies.

10. Partner's parents over
I've started using partner instead of fiance because I can't be bothered to find the 'e' with the accent all the time! Sorry! Anyway, yes, the partner's parents came over to swap presents and we put on a nice buffet-style lunch for them.

11. Christmas with my partner
We celebrated with a meal of salmon and roast potatoes and then opened presents to each other.

12. Christmas Day

13. To the neighbour's for drinks
We went over to our neighbour's for drinks and to see their new bathroom!

14. Lunch with my partner
We just went out in our local area for lunch but we don't go out for meals much anymore as we're trying to be good and save for our wedding, so it felt like a real treat.

15. Home day
I've had a few of these now, and ahhhhh, dream!

16. New Year's Eve
Finally I celebrated the last day of the year with my old school friends and now my head hurts.

Happy New Year! How was your December?


Sunday, 1 January 2017

New Year's Resolutions: 2017 | The Small Desk

Happy New Year!

I'll start by reviewing 2016 New Year's Resolutions...

1. Only eat one sweet thing a day
Hmm... yeah, not sure this one really worked out! I have been more conscious, but not really succeeded.

2. Get a bike
Sadly, this one didn't happen either but I'd like to roll it into next year.

3. See more of the UK
Well, I went to Snowdonia and I've moved to a different area – so I'd say I have achieved this.

4. Earn more

5. Buy a house

6. Experiment with new recipes
Meh, not so much!

7. Go to more shows, exhibitions, talks, gigs, etc.
I guess I sort of did, but nowhere near as many as I'd like to have been to.

8. Learn a new skill
If you count house buying as a skill, then yes!

2017 New Year's Resolutions

1. Go on more country walks
This should be an easy one now that I live in the countryside. Basically. I've lived in cities all my life so living in a town is the countryside for me!

2. Eat less chocolate
Every year I try to do this and fail, but maybe this year I can defeat my addiction?! Maybe...

3. Go to more cultural events
Rolling this over from last year as I didn't go to enough.

4. Watch more film
Think I might go on Amazon now and buy a load of DVDs... ah such a hard life, hehe.

5. Get an amazing camera
This may or may not happen as I'm saving for my wedding...

6. Do more good
This is a weird one but I do often feel my life is very self-indulgent and I would like to try and take the time to do more good even if it's only small things.

7. Blog more
Looking back on 2016 and seeing I only achieved 34 blog posts makes a little sad and I don't want to let this blog die, so I will try harder this year.

8. Write more of my novel
I think I've written about 3,000 words so far...

How was your 2016? Have you set any New Year's Resolutions?


Thursday, 29 December 2016

My year in review: 2016 | The Small Desk

2016 has been the year I grew up, big time. I bought my first house with my partner, got engaged and got promoted. I feel sad that the year has been terrible globally, with a lot of terrible decisions being made, but for me personally, 2016 has been one of the best years of my life.

In this year's 'year in review' I've added a section summarising the cultural activities I've done each month as this year one of my New Year's resolutions is to go to more.

I'm aware this post is very self-indulgent, but I've done one every year since 2014 and I find it very therapeutic, so even if no-one reads this it has still been useful to me.

I hope you've had a great 2016, and if not, I hope 2017 deals you better cards.

Here's my year in review...

January 2016
The year started with me blogging about the photographs from Instagram I was most proud of. I should really have stuck with this theme throughout the year, as at the end of this year I am feeling pretty creatively poor and wish I had put more time into photography.

This month was the 'boyfriend's' birthday. We celebrated with loads of his friends and my friends with dinner and drinks. This was also the month we ramped up the flat viewings and started to take the house hunting very seriously. It's bizarre to me to think at the beginning of this year I was still living in London with awful neighbours.

Culture-wise: we went to the Electric Cinema and to 'The World of Charles and Ray Eames' at the Barbican.

February 2016
In February I entered a writing competition, which I did not win, but I thought could have been the start of my writing career, but unfortunately not. I'll just carry on blogging then!

There was a massive launch and re-brand of the company I work for, which I project managed. It was also the month our neighbours got even worse and I broke down about it.

We celebrated eight years together at a posh Indian restaurant called Trishna.

Culture-wise: I went to the Betty Woodman exhibition at the ICA, and saw the film, Rams.

March 2016
This was the month we had our offer accepted on the house we are now living in. We celebrated by going to a little canteen restaurant in Covent Garden and blinked a lot in disbelief that after eight months of searching we'd finally found the one.

Culture-wise: we went to 'Strange and Familiar' exhibition at the Barbican, I went to see the Filler podcast live, and watched breakdancing in the Royal Festival Hall.

April 2016
April is always the month of birthdays including mine. We celebrated my sister's birthday in Brighton, and mine in a pub for 10 hours. It was one of the best birthday celebrations I've had.

Culture-wise: I went to the Natural History Museum, and saw Macklemore live (best gig ever)!

May 2016
This was the month I got engaged, and got a promotion at work. My partner whisked me off to Bath for the weekend and proposed on top of a hill in Prior Park. It was incredibly emotional and one of the best days of my life so far.

Culture-wise: I watched Eurovision... does that count!? But I mean I did go to Bath... so that probably counts too!

June 2016
We moved into our new house, and left London behind. It was a surreal feeling but one of huge relief. To not have a landlord anymore and to know you own the house you live in is one of the best and most secure feelings you can have in the world. I am eternally grateful to my family for making it happen.

We also went on holiday with my partner's family to Wales and even managed to climb Snowdon, which was ridiculously hard.

Culture-wise: I went to Taste Festival, again does that even count?! See why I need to make this my New Year's resolution!

July 2016
This was the month my partner completed the Prudential 100 mile bike ride. We went to Richmond Park to watch him and then again later on. My parents and I held a banner and cheered him on, I was so proud! Apparently it's Ride Britain next...

Culture-wise: I went to the RA summer show and the new building at the Tate modern.

August 2016
Oh, how I wish it was summer again! We went to Austria with my parents and went on lots of walks, and even swam in a mountain lake. It was such an incredible trip. We also spent a lot of time rowing, like leisure-rowing, not proper rowing, in our new area.

Culture-wise: I went to a Goya exhibition in Austria.

September 2016
This was the month we went on the first long walk in our new area since we moved here in June (only took 3 months!) and where I signed up to Riverford veg boxes – I felt very country this month. I went rowing, swimming and asked my bridesmaids to be my bridesmaids. This is the month we started wedding planning properly.

Culture-wise: I went to the open-air theatre in Regents Park and saw Pride and Prejudice, it was magical.

October 2016
October was when I realised how quickly 2016 had gone, and I said I was looking forward to writing a year in review post, well here I am! It was a busy old month and I did a fair few things, but by far my favourite was having a week off with the fiance to sort the house out.

Culture-wise: I went to the RA's 'Abstract Expressionism' exhibition.

November 2016
November was when work started to get really hard again, but I saw quite a few friends and visited my sister in Manchester. Going back to Manchester (I went to Uni there) was very surreal. I also bought my wedding dress this month!

Culture-wise: I visited the Bedlam exhibition at Wellcome collection, and saw my favourite ballet ever: the Nutcracker.

December 2016
This month I got a bit drunk for the first time in a while when I went to my friend's bottomless prosecco brunch. I've basically spent the entire month celebrating Christmas with work and friends and have 100% made the most of the festive season this year. I'm ready to work now and focus on 2017 goals.

Culture-wise: I watched countless YouTube videos of Sergei Polunin, and am hoping to go to the Barbican before the month is out.

Overall this year I am most thankful for my partner, family and friends, without them none of what I have achieved this year would have been possible.

That's a wrap! How has your year been? Are you looking forward to 2017?

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Friday, 2 December 2016

November favourites 2016 | The Small Desk

For some reason I feel like November has been a pretty slow month, but when I write down everything I've enjoyed this month it seems like a lot has happened, so surely it should have felt fast!? Confusing. I think it may be because the weather has turned. It's so goddamn cold now! I think about going out and then think about how cold it's going to be and decide against it. I've even eaten an apple instead of chocolate because I can't face going to the corner shop! That's how bad it is!

I've not found it the easiest month at work, and I think it's only going to get more challenging. It always seems to go like that with my job: I'll have some months where my responsibilities seem to die down and other people get all the shit jobs, then other months when I'll feel like I'm getting all the hard work and everyone else is getting off lightly! It would be nice if it was just a nice steady stream of work that had minimal amount of stress and responsibility, but then I guess maybe no-one would pay me if it was like that!? Anyway, with all the buckets of money that I earn (not) it means I can enjoy some fun things such as...

1. Wahaca, Soho
This is mainly in my favourites because I didn't get sick! Did you see how many Wahaca chains had to close because of that virus? It was awful! I went to the Soho branch the day BEFORE they shut it down. The funny thing is I was having a free meal there to apologise for the terrible service I experienced last time!

2. Friend's bday meal
It was one of my bridesmaids' birthday this month and we all went to Ping Pong to celebrate. I reluctantly shared some dim-sum.

3. Bedside tables
I am so happy to announce that I now live in a house where we can have bedside tables on EACH SIDE of the bed! #goals

4. Fiance's sister's birthday weekend
We went up to the fiance's (I can't be bothered to find the 'e' symbol) parents house to celebrate his sister's birthday. We had what they call a 'Chindian' – it means you order both Indian and Chinese – it's pretty much the healthiest takeaway you can get.

5. Day holiday and trip to arboretum
I had a day off work and took a trip to a local arboretum with my parents. Yeah, that's right, an arboretum. I now know what one of those is. It's a tree park basically.

6. Exciting filming at work
If I tell you the film I made with work you'll know where I work but trust me, it was cool.

7. Pizza Express with friends
Obviously this is a favourite, who doesn't love P.E.!

8. David Bowie auction
I'm so rich I attended the David Bowie auction. Not reeeeeeally, I went to watch with my friend. We lasted about half an hour before I felt sick with the amount of people who were overpaying on pieces of art that were already estimated to go for a minimum of hundreds of thousands. Not hundreds and thousands.

9. Shopping trip
Shopping in a city near where I live with my bestie from Uni. We went to Anthropologie and Waterstones and lots of other fun shops and spent money and ate burgers (mine was veggie obv).

10. Met up with old work colleague
I went for a drink with an old work colleague and had a ginger beer because I'm cool. We laughed about old work things and cheers to her new house.

11. Manchester trip
I went up to Manchester to see my sister for the weekend and got into some deep chats. We went for lunch and dinner out and lusted after homeware in the city centre.

12. Drinks with neighbours
We went round to our neighbours for drinks again and drank the free bottle of wine we got from the Indian we went to last time.

13. Nutcracker
The. Nutcracker. Ballet. Royal. Opera. House. Go. Now.

14. Bought wedding dress
Oh yeah, casually bought my freaking wedding dress this month! From a sample sale – the whole story is in the post before this one. It was MENTAL.

15. Bedlam exhibition
Went to see the Bedlam exhibition at the Wellcome collection. I would highly recommend – it is incredibly thought provoking and powerful.

16. Snapchatting my sister
I have been obsessed with sending and receiving Snapchats with my sister. It's so nice to have daily contact now that's she's moved up North!

17. Mexican dinner
I went for Mexican in London with an old school friend and had an excellent catch up.

18. Melanin Millenials
Finally, I would highly recommend you check out the Melanin Millenials podcast. Those girls are FUNNY.

That's it for my November favourites! What have you been up to this month? Looking forward to Christmas?

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