We’re just going to ignore that it’s now halfway through February ahaha – welcome to my January wrap-up!
January was such a breath of fresh air.
I’ve struggled with feeling like time has been slipping away far too quickly in 2022 – but January was lovely and leisurely, and looking back at the month, I got so much done too! It was the dream, and such a productive month in so many ways. I just hope you’ve had such a great start to the new year too.
So without more a do, let’s just get stuck in eh? As usual, I’ll have bookish first, and then a more generalised life update for you – so you can pick and choose what you’re interested in.
I managed to read 9 books – which actually really surprised me when I looked, as I did not think I’d done that much reading – in January. I’d say it was a good mix of genres – there are a couple of non-fictions (I adored Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, I found it absolutely fascinating), along with some mystery and horror, historical fiction, contemporary, and mythological fantasies.
I also tried my first manga – A Man and His Cat – and I am totally obsessed with it! I really cannot wait to continue, and thank you so much Abi @AbiOfPellinor for bringing it to my attention!!
◍ The Bleeding – Johana Gustawsson // 📖 // ★★★★ // occult horror murder mystery that takes place over three time periods.
◍ Swipe Right for Murder – Derek Milman // 🎧 // ★★★☆ // mistaken identity teen gets embroiled in cyber-terrorism cult shenanigans.
◍ The Bewitching of Aveline Jones – Phil Hickes // 📖 // ★★★★★ // second in spooky middlegrade series – this one has a witch.
◍ Everyone You Hate is Going to Die – Daniel Sloss // 📖 // ★★★★☆ // comedians memoir following on from standup tour that resulted in people breaking off relationships.
◍ Smoke Gets in Your Eyes – Caitlin Doughty // 🎧 // ★★★★★ // coming of age memoir of a mortician that demystifies death.
◍ Melmoth – Sarah Perry // 🎧 // ★★★☆ // encounters with melmoth, who roams the globe through time in this gothic horror
◍ Skin of the Sea – Natasha Bowen // 🎧 // ★★★★ // ya fantasy with the african mythology of mami wata (water spirits/mermaids) set during the slave trade
◍ Lore Olympus Vol One – Rachel Smythe // 📖 // ★★★★★ // greek myth graphic novel with a contemporary feel.
◍ A Man and His Cat #1 – Umi Sakurai // 📖 // ★★★★★ // slice of life manga where a man adopts an “ugly” cat
The Winter Guest by W.C. Ryan. Nothing against the book – I definitely didn’t get far enough to have an opinion. I just picked it up on a whim, and pretty quickly realised it was not what I was in the mood for.
A few I just didn’t get around to finishing before the month was over, and will be picking up again in Feb, are: The Satsuma Complex by Bob Mortimer, The Colour of Magic by Terry Prachett, and Raven Winter by Susanna Bailey.
LOOKING FORWARDS – FEB // readathons and book clubs I’m participating in
◍ Total Bollix // I’m hosting the live stream over my channel on 26th Feb. This month we’re talking middlegrades.
◍ The Bookwanderers // run by Celine @ StuffCelineDoes // wrapping up the winter wonderland readathon.
◍ The Literary Society // run by Celine @ StuffCelineDoes // I’m hoping to read Sense and Sensibility for the first book in the Year in Jane Austen challenge.
◍ Gerbitathon // hosted by Hannah @ LadetteM // The Sims themed year long challenge, I’m hoping to finish up the toddler prompts.
So, where shall I start? That I left the Christmas Tree up for most of the month? After reading that English Heritage were doing so like they did in the medieval era (leaving it up until Candlemas on 2nd Feb) – I caved earlier as it was getting super dusty. With the acceptance that I definitely ate out too much? I most certainly took advantage of all the promotions that restaurants run in January to entice people in (and ignore their diet resolutions).
January was filled with so much food, I am feeling it now. But it has started to also rekindle my love of cooking, so I won’t complain. I am so so excited to get back in the kitchen, even if I am going relatively slowly still. If anyone has any recipes they swear by, please please send them my way – as I love trying new things and recipes.
My mental health is thriving at the moment, or at least improving, following making the decision (or finally just plunging in on a whim one night) to sign up for an online therapist. I really wanted to focus on my anxiety, as it was really really affecting me and had just been getting worse. I’ve already achieved so much I didn’t feel like I could. So this is an experience I definitely recommend – and actually, it was reading Daniel Sloss’s book, Everyone You Hate is Going to Die, that gave me the final push. He may have talked about his experience of signing up for a very different reason, but the positivity he brought about that experience finally tipped the scales for me.
At the end of the month, I had a mini-break around the Cotswolds. I’d never been before, but I will definitely be back (probably in the summer or autumn next time, as there are so many gardens etc. that would be STUNNING to explore). But even in winter it was glorious, especially as we were lucky with the weather. And bonus, it’s quieter, so you can get in everywhere really fast haha. Great to go scope out a place, with a longer trip in mind next time.
While there we also ambled over to Bath for half a day – we packed so much in while there; visiting the Jane Austen Centre, the Roman Baths, Sally Lunn’s (had to squeeze something foodie in), two bookshops that I’d heard a lot about – Toppings and Mr B’s Emporium – and then chilling in Thirsty Meeples board game cafe before the trip back to the hotel again.
In general over the month, we had an emphasis on getting outside at the weekends. So plenty of roaming around the local National Trusts was still had, and we had a few jaunts around North Wales – including a day trip to Betws-y-Coed (a firm favourite of mine since childhood). We’re hoping to go to Eryi/Snowdonia more this year, to get out for some long walks and mountain ramblings. I cannot wait, and really hope we actually stick to it this year (it was an intention last year, but it didn’t happen).
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