November 2019 recap

Well, that’s another month over. We’re only 20 days away from Christmas day now, which is quite honestly terrifying. I still have so much to get done! But today I’m here to link up with the lovely Kristen and talk about what I did in November.

whats new with you

Visitors and trips

I’m putting those two things in together for ease of… something.

On 1st November, I headed to Zurich to meet Jan after work. His sister had sent us a messaging saying someone she studied with had an art installation in a café in Zurich that was opening that day. So we went along, had a chat with the artist and admired the art (which was really interesting).

The next day, Jan’s former choir in Karlsruhe had a small performance in a jewellery shop. We discovered that, coincidentally, the youth choir of Baden-Württemberg was also performing an anniversary concert on the same day and a friend from back in student residence days was taking part, so we decided to go to Karlsruhe for the weekend and see both. That was a Saturday, so we arrived in time to see the former choir and have a quick chat with them, went for lunch with two other friends, then attended the anniversary concert in the evening before spending the night in a hotel. On the Sunday, we were invited to another friends’ place for breakfast then went for a walk with him, his wife and their baby before catching a train home.

I had planned to take some other trips during that week since I was off work, but it poured down most of the time so the furthest I made it was into town to do some shopping and grab a Cornish pasty from the autumn fair. Then on the 9th my cousin and her boyfriend came, and luckily the weather cleared up! The three of us spent their first afternoon here looking at an archaeological site and exploring the autumn fair, where we ate sausages and had a ride on the Ferris wheel (Jan was performing in a concert in Lucerne). The next day it was just the three of us again as Jan had a rehearsal with a different choir. We walked into town and then around Basel for hours before meeting Jan for a drink and, later, food. Then on the Monday we took a day trip – train up to Rigi Kulm, another train down the other side and then a boat to Lucerne. We’ve taken other guests on the same day trip but this was the first time I’d been up there and discovered snow. Unfortunately that was my last day off work, so they went to Colmar on their own on the Tuesday then when I finished work we met for a drink before coming home and ordering sushi from the delicious place nearby. They left on the Wednesday morning to head to Athens for a week and on the Thursday I went into the office so it was a very busy week!

The following Sunday (the 17th) we had another visitor. A friend and former colleague had been visiting someone in Zurich so she stopped by our place on the way back. Unfortunately the weather had returned to being icky (sleet when she first arrived, which quickly turned into extremely heavy rain), so after I gave her a tour of the new bathrooms and kitchen, we stayed home, chatted and drank tea. Jan had a choir rehearsal (of course…), so we headed into town at the time he said he would be done and met him for food at one of the few restaurants that’s actually open on Sundays. I had arranged to start work late on the Monday so my friend and I had a lovely breakfast together before she had to go and catch her train.


I was taking part in Believathon in November and I read a lot. After completing all the prompts and reading a few extra books, I decided to challenge myself to read an extra book for all 10 prompts. They were all children’s books so some of them were pretty short and most were fairly easy to read, but even so I read a lot. If you’ve seen part1 of my reading recap you’ll already have some idea of what I read… the rest will be coming soon. And if you want to know which book was my favourite of the month: The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill.


Still Buffy the Vampire Slayer. We’ve finished Season 4 now. I don’t think there’s been anything else? Jan watched Back to the Future recently (I swear those films are never off the TV!) but I was busy doing housework and cooking so I didn’t pay attention.

Craft stuff/cross stitch

I’ve been very busy making Christmas cards for Post Pals, but the good news is more than half of them are done. I also stitched some designs for cards, including a birthday card for my cousin. I actually posted a Christmas card in November as well… as usual, my first Christmas card went to my uncle, father of the aforementioned cousin. Since I send their Christmas card in the same box as my cousin’s presents, her birthday is on 12th December and they live in New Zealand, I always have to get at least Christmas card sorted and sent very early. Here are some photos – both of these cards have already been posted, one to the US and one to New Zealand:

Miscellaneous/ general life stuff

– I booked flights for us to go to England for Christmas and for some reason they cost three times as much as usual this year! People keep telling me that’s why they always book early for Christmas, but 1) we’ve booked this late before, 2) we wanted to wait and see what happened on 31st October before booking anything and 3) I initially checked prices in August and they were just as bad then… I was actually hoping they might get cheaper, but alas no. Oh well, they’re booked now and my credit card is gently weeping. After booking them I put myself on a spending ban (apart from Christmas presents and things I *had* to spend money on like food, sending parcels to New Zealand and going to Germany for work).

– I don’t tend to talk too much about my family (or other people) on here because it seems unfair for me to be putting other people’s business out there on the Internet, but last year my dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer (which he has now been successfully treated for). He ended up having to go to hospital in October then again in November (for a separate issue), resulting in an MRI, bone scan and him being on painkillers – including liquid morphine – for basically all of November. Thankfully the bone scan showed no trace of cancer, but as you can imagine, it has not been the best time. Seriously universe, you can stop kicking everyone associated with me while we’re down now!

– Yet another friend told me she was 20 weeks pregnant a couple of weeks ago. She got married last year and they bought a house this year – and apparently also conceived a baby. I’m happy for her but sometimes I honestly feel like I’m jogging in place in front of a glass door while everyone else zooms past me (the door opens for them, of course). She’s the third person I know to have met, married and conceived a child with someone in the time since we moved to Basel (the other two children have already been born). Meanwhile the metaphorical door opened just enough for me to start thinking I could maybe squeeze through only to slam shut in my face again. (That’s a terrible metaphor but I’m going with it.)

– I haven’t been doing great at drinking enough water or eating enough vegetables recently. All the trying to be healthy stuff seemed to go out the window after our last IVF transfer failed. I really need to get better about that again. Especially the drinking water part – way too often I forget about it for the entire day then realise I’m thirsty before bed and end up downing a whole pint of water!

– I need someone to recommend a brand of anti-wrinkle cream and also under-eye cream that actually works! The lighting in our bathroom is almost too good and lately every time I go in there I’m shocked by how old I look. I’ve been trying to keep up a routine of day cream, night cream, eye cream, but I just have shops on cheap ones and I’m not sure they’re doing anything. I’m reluctant to shell out for other ones without know they’re going to do anything – those tiny pots are expensive! But I have a weird (irrational) fear that if we ever do actually conceive a child the other parents at school will mistake me for his or her grandmother instead of the mother. Before you all laugh at me please bear in mind that I’m 37 next year and could very easily be 40 before any of this actually works out. That will make me nearly 50 by the time my child is in full-time school – definitely old enough to be a grandma! Especially bearing in mind one of my grandma’s was 44 when I was born. Also, I know somebody this actually happened to, so maybe not that irrational! (Child born when she was 41, parents of other children at the nursery assumed she was the child’s grandmother.)

– Work has been busy again, but it’s mostly lots of jobs from one customer. I find that slightly concerning because what if they don’t renew their contract? Oh, and speaking of work, the new person who started in April passed his probation period so we are now permanently two full-time English translators (plus my other colleague who is part time). That makes it slightly easier for me to take time off at times that suit me without always having to defer to the person with children (new guy doesn’t have any).

Wow, I’ve done nothing but complain in this section. If you’ve read this far then I apologise – I’m aware that I have so much to be grateful for. Also sorry for the long post with not many pictures to break it up.

Anyway, I can’t remember anything else of significance that happened in November so I guess that’s it. I’m off work today because I have an appointment later and I’m not sure how long it’s going to take, so not having to rush back and continue working afterwards makes things much less stressful – but that’s irrelevant to this post. Don’t forget to check out the link up and I shall hopefully chat to you all soon in the comments or wherever. Ciao!

20 thoughts on “November 2019 recap

  1. Sorry to hear about your Dad’s health issues- I hope he’ll be feeling well enough now to have a lovely Christmas! Wow, your poor friend who someone thought was her child’s grandmother! I would be mortified. I bet the person who said it must have felt awful too though! I don’t have any good eye cream recommendations unfortunately. What I have been doing is avoiding mirrors with harsh lighting! Oh yeah I also forget to drink enough during the day then I drink loads before bed and have to get up all night to pee x

  2. I’m sorry about your Dad’s health issues – he must be so relieved about the bone scan. Hope he can now enjoy the festive season. We’ve had a lot of family members going through health issues my side and 2019 has been quite a rollercoaster. I get what you say about not wanting to put things online but this week I think I’ve done the exact opposite lol! Thought I’d lose it if I didn’t have a vent (or rant?) on my little online space haha!
    I’m trying some Clinique goodies – bought a set and there was an eye cream included so let me get back to you on what I thought!
    Your Christmas cross stitch cards look amazing – so festive.

    1. Honestly the only reason I don’t want 2019 to be over with is I’m not convinced next year will be any better.

      Hopefully my dad will improve and be able to enjoy Christmas.

      I definitely use my blog to vent but I feel weird writing about people’s health issues or really private stuff in such a public space.

  3. So sorry to hear about your dad’s health! Glad no more signs of the cancer but illness on top of that recovery must have been terrible. The Merry & Bright cross stitch is adorable, it definitely matches the saying and makes me think of a lovely bright holiday.

  4. i feel you on the flights. goodbye savings. i just closed my eyes when i booked my flight and ignored it lol. sorry the weather has been so up and down! also, i’m so sorry to hear about your dad, but glad no signs of cancer.
    i feel you on the jogging in place with the door slamming in your face. it’s a bit rude, really. it’s hard not to feel like surely it’s my turn now? they are pushing in!! lol. i feel like i’ve been kicked off the street and have to make my way back to the door but i can’t figure out how to get back down the street.. this metaphor went a little nutty.
    i don’t think there is an under eye cream that actually works, unfortunately. i think, in general, just moisturising will help. i have super sensitive under eyes so i can’t put my normal face moisturiser under my eyes, but most people can. i also love to use an oil on top of my moisturiser. i’m slightly obsessed with skincare, so if you want to email me with your budget and shops you can shop at, i’d be happy to do the research for you lol. i’m not even a little bit joking.

    1. I pretty much took a deep breath and entered my credit card details but I felt physically sick afterwards. Luckily I have saved quite a bit since we moved here but ugh! I’m annoyed that I could literally have flown to New York for less!

      Yes, pushing on is exactly right. Like how come they get to be pregnant the first time they try? (Or I know a lot of people who didn’t even plan it at all.) I wouldn’t wish our struggles on anyone but couldn’t they at least get one good thing at a time and leave *something* for me?
      I can’t even imagine having to find my way Jack to the door at this point (beating this poor metaphor to death. Lol). I hope good things happen for you soon. You deserve it!

  5. The universe does seem to gang up on people, what’s with that?! Enough already!!
    Sorry to hear your (fully understandable) feelings about other people starting families, I get it, I really do.
    If it makes you feel any better, I’m 44, if I do ever have children I’ll be nearing retirement by the time I have to pick them up from school, I might just get them to call me Granny and be done with it 🙂
    Your Christmas cross stitches are lovely

    1. I seriously feel like I’m being ganged up on. I was supposed to have a hysteroscopy yesterday but after 4 tries she had to give up. Waste of a day off and now we have to try and do it next cycle. I couldn’t make this stuff up!

  6. Good luck with eye cream! I’ve tried so many and none have done wonders for me. I’ll keep trying though! My husband and I had to do IVF to conceive our second daughter and it was awful. No one seems to understand how hard it is to hear about other pregnancies because it seems to make you grieve all over again. It’s been almost 3 years and sometimes it’s STILL hard for me. Praying you get your rainbow! If you ever need to vent or talk, please feel free to reach out!

  7. I don’t talk much about family on my blog either for the exact reason you mentioned. I’m glad your dad is okay now though!
    That metaphorical door is a real feeling! I’m sorry it’s a rough time 😦 The water part is hard too, especially when you want to rebel because you don’t feel like anything actually helps.

    We are the king and queen of last-minute flight-booking and we always pay for that (literally). It’s awful.

  8. I’m always impressed by how much you fit in! So many books, cross-stitches, and getting stuff to the post on time… to my perpetually-late self, you are an excellent role model. 🙂
    And sorry to hear about your dad. It’s been a very up-and-down year in that department over here too, so I’m sympathizing. Hope he’s feeling much better and you can all enjoy a lovely Christmas together.

    1. I wouldn’t be too impressed with my getting things to the post on time. I managed to send those two cards but I’m so behind on the rest that I haven’t even made most of them yet 😂
      I hope everything is going better at your end. It seems to have been a terrible year family-health wise for a few of us!

  9. Bev, I am sorry to hear about your dad but relieved that the bone scan was ok- you’ve got a lot of crap to deal with and I am sorry- it’s not fair. I can totally understand how you must be feeling when you keep hearing how easy other people have conceived- you’ve written so honestly about your feelings on here (and in emails) that I feel so frustrated on your behalf. And then I see feckless individuals where I work who seem to just pop them out all the time- can’t afford them, don’t spend enough time with them and it makes me so cross.
    I get you on the looking old thing- SUDDENLY, this year, I have started to look haggard and old and I hate looking in the mirror- I know I go to bed too late and that is taking its toll- here I am at 11.40pm typing when I should be in bed! AHHHH11
    Your cross stitches (they sound angry!) look beautiful!

    1. Thank you lovely. This year has felt pretty relentless! Hoping for a new start in 2020.
      I definitely should get more sleep. It’s so hard to fit everything in after work and still get to bed at a reasonable time though
      Haha, angry cards. Thank you ❤

  10. I know you said it’s a terrible metaphor, but I actually really like it and think it describes the feeling really well. Sorry about the scare with your Dad, but I’m glad the scan turned out okay. That must have been really hard while all of that was going on and you didn’t have answers yet. If you ever find the eye cream you are searching for, let me know!

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