Did I achieve my 2019 goals?

I’m still considering which goals I want to set for myself next year. It will probably take me a week to get them fixed and write a post again, but for now I want to take a look at last year’s goals and see how I did with them. I had them split into three sections (reading, cleaning and healthy eating) and I did a recap in the middle of the year where I changed/added to them so I will talk about the new goals here as well.

bookcases

Reading goals

  • Read 100 books (Good Reads challenge goal) – increased to 150 in the middle of the year. Of these:
    • 10 should be non-fiction
    • 12 should be from the BBC Big Read list
    • 20 should have been on my to-read list before 2019 started
    • Additional half-year goal: re-read four books that I own and decide whether I actually want to keep them or not

I won’t have time to read anything today, so I’m finishing the year on 180 books. I think it’s fair to say I smashed the overall goal! However, only two (and a half) of those were non-fiction. I really most try harder to read non-fiction in 2020! Seven were from the BBC Big Read, five of which I read before my recap in July. Both the ones I read in the second half of the year were huge though (960 pages and 1376 pages) so I don’t feel too bad about it. As for re-reading, I only managed to re-read one book – which I did then get rid of. I’m definitely going to make some kind of goal involving re-reading for next year because there are a few I want to revisit before deciding whether to remove them from my shelves.

9-bathroom cleaner

Cleaning goals

My one cleaning goal was to deep clean once a month (I then went on to list all the things that involved, but I’m not going to do that here). I’m going to say that was mostly a success. I did clean the oven once a month up until the renovation, and since then we’ve had a self-cleaning one. And I’m pretty sure I’ve cleaned the bathrooms at least once a month. I’m not sure I mopped every month, but certainly more often than in the past so I’m calling it a success.

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Healthy eating goals

  • Eat 5 or more portions of fruit and veg on at least 3 days per week
  • Have nuts/fruit as snacks instead of chocolate and crisps
  • A maximum of 2 cups of black tea per day
  • Drink at least 2 pint glasses of water per day

The first one I’ve found really hard to track. There have definitely been days that I’ve had no vegetables at all, and weeks where I’ve had vegetables every day but haven’t managed five portions on any day. I did do pretty well at having dried fruit as snacks at the beginning of the year (which also helped with my portions) but honestly it’s all fallen by the wayside since around October and I’ve eaten way too much chocolate. Being healthy just hasn’t felt that important between all the IVF failures. If I’m not going to get pregnant regardless of what I do it all feels pretty pointless. I’m definitely feeling motivated to get back on the bandwagon next year, I just need to think of a goal that’s a bit easier to track. I can say I’ve been very successful with the black tea – most days I only have one cup. I may have increased to three a couple of times over Christmas but I’m okay with that… in general my caffeine intake has been pretty low. Water has been a but of a mixture though – during the summer I did really well (extreme heat helps!) but recently I’ve been forgetting to drink for most of the work day then realising I’m thirsty right before bed and downing a whole pint of water. Not ideal. I really do need to work on that!

Overall I’m going to say I did okay. A few things ticked off in each section, and I’m at least more mindful of what I’m putting in my body even if I don’t always succeed at actually drinking the water and avoiding the chocolate.

Of course, my other goal/wish/hope for 2019 was to get pregnant again and to actually stay pregnant, but that one was entirely out of my hands and did not happen despite mine and the doctors’ best efforts. My body remains useless but, for now at least, we’re not giving up.

And that’s that. 2020 goals coming soon!

The book review of 2019

This is my fourth year doing this post, so I guess you can call it a tradition at this stage, I got it from Kezzie, who got it from someone else. The original is by The Perpetual Page Turner and has more/slightly different categories. I like this version though, so I’m sticking with it. I am also linking this post up for Jana and Steph‘s Show Us Your Books year-end favourite books link-up.

Books2019

And now, without further ado, let’s get on with the questions.

Best book you read in 2019:

As always, this is a really difficult question to answer. I read a lot of good books this year. However, I shall go with The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton because I read it early in the year and I still think about it.

Best children’s fiction:

The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill. This book is magical and adorable and contains my new all-time favourite dragon ♡ This was even a contender for my actual favourite book of the year, not just chuldren’s books.

Best crime fiction:

I want to choose two books for this one (I know, I’m terrible). The first is In the Dark by Cara Hunter. This is book two in a series. I was going to choose the first book for this answer but then I loved the second book even more.

The other one is I Have No Secrets by Penny Joelson, which is a young adult mystery/crime book about a young disabled girl who finds out that somebody committed a crime but can’t tell anybody because she is unable to communicate. I gave it 5 stars.

Best classic:

Black Beauty by Anna Sewell. This was a re-read from my childhood and it’s just as good as I remember it being. (Also, I only read about 5 classics this year so there isn’t a great deal of competition…)

Best non-fiction:

I finished precisely two non-fiction books this year, despite reading more non-fiction being one of my goals for 2019. Oh well, at least We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was a genuinely good read so I don’t feel too bad about it winning by default.

Best dystopian fiction:

I think I’ve only read two dystopians this year. I was disappointed with Vox so it has to be The Boy on the Bridge by M. R. Carey (is that dystopian? GoodReads says it is).

Best YA:

I think Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen McManus. I really enjoyed her first book last year, but this one was even better in my opinion.

Most surprising (in a good way) book read in 2019:

The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay. This one was on the BBC Big Read but I put off reading it for ages because I had no interest in it. I ended up giving it 5 stars, so that shows what I know 😉

Book You Read In 2019 That You Recommended Most To Others:

I don’t really go around recommending books to people. I’m going with Frogkisser by Garth Nix because I know at least one person read that based on my recommendation.

Best series you discovered in 2019:

I’ve continued a few series this year, but of the ones I’ve started the only one I’ve read more than one book in is Cara Hunter’s DI Adam Fawley series so I’m going to have to say that,  even though it means repeating myself.

Favourite new to you author you discovered in 2019:

I’ve really enjoyed a few books by new to me authors this year, but since I only read one book by most of them I’m going to say Robin Benway because I read Far From the Tree and adored it so much that I immediately ordered Emmy and Oliver (which I gave 4 stars… not quite as amazing but still very good).

Emmy&Oliver

Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love But Didn’t

Vox by Christina Dalcher. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t bad, but it was so much less than I was expecting. Most of the characters lacked depth and parts were really confusing.

Best Book That Was Out Of Your Comfort Zone Or Was A New Genre To You

Avalanche Express by Colin Forbes. This is a spy thriller and I don’t usually care about those, but I had this one after ending up not using it as “a book set where you live” a few years ago. It ended up being surprisingly good, if dated (it was written in 1977).

Book You Read In 2019 That You’re Most Likely To Read Again In 2020:

As I say every year, it is highly unlikely that I will re-read a book again so soon. A book I read in 2019 that am likely to re-read at some point in the future (and that I haven’t already mentioned) is The Dragon With the Chocolate Heart by Stephanie Burgis (I also considered this one for the best series I started this year but decided to save it for this question, so take from that what you will).

Favourite Book You Read in 2019 by an Author You’ve Read Previously:

What’s a Girl Gotta Do? by Holly Bourne. After feeling a slight disconnect with the second book  (although it was still excellent) this one reminded me of why I loved this series to begin with.

Best Book You Read In 2019 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else:

I read Frostheart by Jamie Littler because it was the Believathon group book, but even if it wasn’t after hearing how much Gavin raved about it I would definitely have picked it up sooner or later. I’m very glad I did read it because it was an excellent book – I gave it 4 stars.

Favourite Cover of a Book You Read in 2019:

Wundersmith by Jessica Townsend. It’s so pretty! Even under the dust jacket. I almost put this as my favourite children’s book of the year, but decided to save it for this question. I’m sad that publication of book three has been pushed back to August (and not until 5 days after my birthday so I can’t even ask for it as a birthday gift!). Also, thank you again to Kristen for sending this my way.

Book That Had The Greatest Impact On You In 2019:

This question was a lot easier to answer in previous years. Um, maybe Nora and Kettle by Lauren Nicolle Taylor. The awful things humans do to each other are just so heartbreaking.

Book You Can’t BELIEVE You Waited Until 2019 To Read:

Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones. I’ve owned it for about six years and obviously originally bought it because I wanted to read it, but somehow I never did. I ended up really enjoying it it so I don’t understand why it took me so long to get to it!

Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About It? (a WTF moment, an epic revelation, a steamy kiss, etc.) Be careful of spoilers!

The Never List by Koethi Zahn. I was not expecting the final twist at all!

Favourite Relationship From A Book You Read In 2018 (be it romantic, friendship, etc)

My favourite relationship is in The Stars at Oktober Bend by Glenda Millard. Not the one between Alice and Manny, although that is lovely, but the sibling relationship between Alice and Joey.

Most Memorable Character In A Book You Read In 2019:

I loved Mary in Mary’s the Name by Ross Sayer.

Genre You Read The Most From in 2019:

I’m not actually sure – I don’t keep statistics of my genres. Possibly fantasy though thanks to all the children’s fantasy books I read in November.

Book That Was The Most Fun To Read in 2018:

The Christmasaurus by Tom Fletcher. It’s just so cute and whimsical and Christmassy.

Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2019:

The book I am going to use for the next question made me cry, but let’s avoid repetition… Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley. This one was missing that spark that would have made it a five star read for me, but it obviously made me feel something (hence the tears) so it’s still a very good book. I gave it 4 stars, maybe 4.5.

Book You Read in 2018 That You Think Got Overlooked This Year Or When It Came Out:

The Girl in the Broken Mirror by Savita Kalhan. This was published in 2018 and I can’t believe this book has only 18 reviews on Goodreads (at the time of writing this post)! I gave it 5 stars. It does feature sexual assault so I can understand if you would rather steer clear but I really do recommend it. Not an “enjoyable” book, but a really good one.

Total books finished in 2019 (so far): 178

And, just because Goodreads tells me and I like statistics, at the time of writing this the longest book I read in 2019 was The Far Pavilions by M.M. Kaye, which has 960 pages but I am hoping to finish It by Stephen King by the end of the year, which is longer at 1376 pages. The shortest book I read was We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie with 52 pages pages.
The first book I read in 2018 was Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy, and as of right now, the last book I finished was In the Dark by Cara Hunter.

I know this was a long post, so if you actually read all of it you are amazing! If you decide to answer the questions, let me know so I can come and be nosy. And check out the link up. to find out what everyone’s favourite books of 2019 were.

So here it is, Merry Christmas

Colmar Christmas18

I would like to wish all my readers a happy and stress-free Christmas with your loved ones (be that your actual family of the family you’ve chosen for yourself). I hope those who have had a tough year can find some measure of peace, those who have difficult people in their lives can avoid them and their comments, and we all all come out the other side of the Christmas period refreshed and ready to face a new year… and new decade! Catch you on the other side – my next post will be linking up with Jana and Steph for a special extra Show Us Your Books., so look out for that

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.

Reading

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.

Watching

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!

Friday letters

Hello lovelies. I haven’t done one of these in a while… I’ve just checked: the last one was June 2018. I don’t have anything else to post about right now – or at least nothing I feel like making the effort for – so we’ll go with this.

Friday letters

Dear Christmas. I see you lurking just over the horizon. Calm down and bide your time… I have way too much to do before you get here!

Dear people who constantly posting X sleeps until Christmas. You are not helping with the above situation!

Dear universe. On behalf of my family, I would like to say please just stop! The last couple of months have been relentless.

Dear flight companies. Are you actually serious about your prices to fly from the European continent to England this year? I paid triple what I normally do for flights to England… and that includes the time I went over for my grandpa’s funeral and literally booked the flight the night before. In fact, I’ve just checked and I could get a return flight from London to New York on the same dates for less. Care to explain?

Dear work. I still love you but I have to confess I would much rather be off right now. As I already told Christmas, there’s just so much to do!

Dear weekend. You’re so close I feel like I can almost reach out and touch you. I just wish we could hang out more often and for longer!

Dear bookshelves.  Please don’t be sad that I’ve put myself on a book buying ban for the rest of the year. After the extortionate flight prices I really can’t justify buying anything other than necessities and Christmas presents now. And the unread books seem to be on a mission to take over anyway, so I shall be attempted to make a dent in those before adding any new ones. Okay?

Dear everyone. I hope you have a wonderful weekend, however you plan to spend it. I will be reading, cleaning and trying to get as many Christmas cards as possible made.

A photo an hour: 16 November 2019

I almost missed photo an hour day again this month, but luckily I saw a tweet about it half way through the morning rather than at 7 o’clock at night! It was 10:30 so I decided to take my hourly photos on the half hour rather than waiting until 11 for the first one. Unfortunately, I wasn’t actually doing anything that day, other than sorting out the flat ready for my friend coming the next day (my cousin and her boyfriend had left on the Wednesday so the spare room needed to be sorted again). Last month we actually went out for the day so I would have had interesting things to take photos of if I hadn’t missed it. Oh well, such is life. Here’s how my day went:

10:30 a.m. The calm before the cleaning! Drinking tea and trying to find something to stitch for my little cousin’s birthday card. (I did not go with the newt.)

11:30 a.m. After a shower, it’s time to answer the eternal question of what to wear… Dress chosen, looking for tights.

12:30 p.m. Changing the spare room bedding ready for my friend to sleep in it.

1:30 p.m. So hungry! Time to make a bacon sandwich.

2:30 p.m. About to hoover the spare room. The exciting life I lead!

3:30 p.m. Making teas. Three because Jan came home from a choir meeting with a friend.

4:30 p.m. Finally managed to sit down and start reading. Not making much progress with Jan and his friend rehearsing songs in the background. Also, immediately after I took the photo my washing machine started beeping at me. No rest for the wicked!

5:30 p.m. Pairing socks. *Yawn*

6:30 p.m. Heading out for food. I was excited because I was starving!

7:30 p.m. Finally got to feed my face. This empty plate once contained delicious Afghan food.

8:30 p.m. I took the photo 10 minutes late but the activity hadn’t changed… drinking beer.

9:30 p.m. Home! Sorting out bedding for the sofa bed since the aforementioned friend was staying the night and I was mean and wouldn’t let her sleep in the freshly made spare bed 😉

And that was it. I was in bed by 10:30 so I didn’t take another photo.

What did you get up to on Saturday?

 

October 2019 recap

Hello friends. October is over and we are already just short of a week into November, leaving us with less than two months left of the year… and of the decade. Eeek! Is anyone else so not ready? I feel like I need to do something amazing before the end of the year to make up for wasting the entire rest of the 2010s, but obviously that’s not going to happen. Anyway, that’s not what today’s post is about. Today I’m here to link up with Kristen for What’s New With You. (Go check out her blog – she’s awesome!).

whats new with you

Remembering

That’s a weird heading for this section but it’s the best I can think of so we’ll go with it. If you saw my September recap, you will know that 3rd October was exactly one year since we lost our boys. I was off work that day because my employer is actually in Germany and it’s their national holiday. Most of the day was spent with my great aunt and great uncle, who were visiting their son just across the border in Germany. After showing them all around Basel (we walked a lot) and dropping them off back at the train station, I stopped by the cemetery on the way home. Then on the Saturday Jan and I went up there together. It was the first time Jan had been since their the boys’ had been added to the site… I wanted to say “plaque” but it’s not a plaque, it’s like a concrete strip with the names carved into it and a little star. I would show you but we don’t want their names to be broadcast publicly (Jan doesn’t even want them on Facebook, where only my friends list would be able to see them). After the cemetery we walked into town and went for a hot chocolate, which seemed appropriate considering that’s exactly what we did the day we buried their ashes (which was actually a year ago today). I would have liked to be pregnant again before the anniversary, but alas that was not to be. Maybe we’ll get there before next October. That would be nice. I’m not getting any younger here!

Travel/days out

Jan was busy on almost every weekend in October, but he had a free Saturday in the middle of the month so we decided to go out for the afternoon. After a quick search of the Internet, I came up with the Verenaschlucht (Verena Gorge) in canton Solothurn. Jan got a car and we drove there and parked near the start. We walked through the gorge to the Verena Hermitage and then followed the megalith path to get back to the car. It wasn’t a long walk – maybe an hour in total – but given we hadn’t left the house until 2 p.m. it couldn’t really have been much longer.

 

Reading

October wasn’t my best reading month. I took part in Spookathon but only ended up reading 3 and a half out of my five choices. The three I did read can be matched to all the prompts though so I technically completed it, and I finished reading book 4 the following week when I had to go into the office. But for most of the month I was reading It by Stephen King (which I’m nowhere near finished) or not reading at all because I was distracted by crafting.

Watching

Our Buffy the Vampire Slayer rewatch continues. We watch an episode most nights after Jan finishes work. I can actually cross stitch while watching, which is useful because I now need to get serious about my Christmas card making.

Craft stuff

I finished making Halloween cards for Post Pals – 14 were completed in September so in October I made 26. I then got started on Christmas – I’ve done the stitching for six so far and I’ve also sorted a few handmade, non-cross-stitched cards that will be sent out to Post Pals families come December. The cross stitched ones are mainly for my family and friends. Post Pals are also holding a craft auction in December to raise money to send the families of sick children (and some who have sadly lost their children) on a glamping adventure at Chessington – you can read all about it here. So I’ve been making Christmas ornaments for that and they will also be getting some cross-stitched cards – I’ve stitched two birthday themed designs for them already. Have I bitten off more than I can chew? Quite possibly! At least having some time off work gave me the chance to get a few things done. Here’s an autumn card I stitched at the beginning of October that I really like.

autumn card

Concerts

Jan had performances with two of his choirs in October, and I obviously attended both. The first one was okay but not really my type of thing. The second one was at the Tinguely Museum – coolest venue ever – and I really enjoyed it. They were performing in front of one of the exhibits – here’s a photo I took before the concert started.

Tinguely

After both concerts I got to go out to eat with the members of the choir, which is always nice.

Purchases

I realised I didn’t have any waterproof shoes (other than winter boots and hiking shoes), so, with autumn being the season for rain, rain, and more rain I obviously had to buy some. Luckily I managed to think of it before the current downpour days and I am very pleased with them. Please excuse the teddy bear socks on the photos below 😉

 

I also collected tokens from Coop to buy a Kitchen Aid blender… or technically to make Jan buy it 😉 We got it for pretty much half price, which I think is a good deal. It’s not like I spent more than usual to get the tokens – it was all weekly food shopping that would have been done anyway. We have used it several times to make smoothies so I feel like it’s already justified itself.

Finally, I bought this liquid lipstick thingy (it’s in a lip gloss style tube but looks more like lipstick once it’s on). It’s very autumn and I absolutely love it! It’s actually a bit more coppery than it looks on the photo below but hopefully you get the idea.

me

Miscellaneous/general life stuff

Work was pretty busy again in October, for me at least. Both my colleagues had time off at the beginning of the month – part of which overlapped so I was the only English translator for about a week. I had the final week of the month off – or technically final 4 days since the Friday was 1st November – and I feel like it was well earned. The week before that I literally had 20 translations that had to be completed. Not an exaggeration. Four of them I had actually translated previously so I only had to check my proofreader’s revisions and get the final files ready, but that left 16 that I both translated and entered corrections for in that week. Needless to say, I was relieved when I finally set my out of office message and logged off on the Friday!

I had plans to do many things during my time off, but that entire week was a washout. I don’t mind rain, but this was the pouring down without a break and if you venture out for even a few minutes you will be soaked kind. On the 30th, I went for a walk along the stream so I could take my annual autumn photos. I was out for around 25 minutes or half an hour and had to change my clothes when I got home! The next day was at least slightly more friendly… as in there was enough of a break between rain showers for me to take a bag of books to one of the free bookcases in town without them all turning to pulp before I got them there, so I at least managed part of my decluttering goal. There are still some books in the giant carrier bag because there were way too many for my to carry in one go!

I also had a doctor’s appointment during that week to discuss where we go now that our fourth embryo transfer has failed. It was decided that I will have another hysteroscopy. That will be in December and I am not looking forward to it even a little bit (last time was not fun!). But if there’s any chance it will help then I have to do it. That means we won’t be able to try again until January, so with that my chances of being a mother before my next birthday are out the window.

Oh, the autumn fair also started in Basel last week. I didn’t get a chance to go properly (pouring down, remember?) but while I was out getting rid of books I managed to grab a few photos.

 

That’s all I’ve got for you. I took two weeks off work, but since the second of those weeks (i.e. now) is in November you’ll have to wait for my next monthly recap to read about them. In the meantime, go check out the link up and welcome Kristen back to more regular blogging. She has been very much missed in the blogosphere!