Friday, 2 December 2016

November Round Up

Watching: my favourite thing this month was Arrival. Sci-fi and linguistics? Double whammy of delight for the inner nerd in me. I like the way the experiences of the scientists were presented, as they were quite human and realistic rather than heroic. I also watched the sci-fi horror Under the Skin with Scarlett Johansson. It's set in Scotland, with the main character (an alien) picking up lone men in her van. The hidden camera style used for the van interior and curb crawling scenes made it feel quite claustrophobic and unpredictable. It was a lot of style over substance, but it was enjoyable. I'm more interested in reading the novel version, which is supposed to be quite different.

Doing: my flatmate is american and we hosted a Thanksgiving dinner together! She's been missing home lately, so we invited 6 friends to squeeze round our dining table and feast on her Latin American favourites. We had turkey and a veggie nut roast alongside green bean casserole, American stuffing, some weird potato thing, an amazing spinach and artichoke dip and 70s devilled eggs. Her mum sent over adorable decorations and we got our Pinterest on with some turkey leg shaped paper table settings, spiced oranges and a hot cranberry cider. It was quite the meal. We started cooking at 9am and watched the New York parade (and some Crufts-style dog show that's apparently popular?) while we prepped veg. It was a really relaxed and fun day. The dinner went down pretty well too!
I also spent a lovely weekend with my family for my mum's surprise birthday celebrations. My siblings and I haven't all been home together since last Christmas so it was really nice, and many old family friends popped along. After a problem with the photographer, I was tasked with the family portraits. We got something usable of my six toddler-aged nieces and nephews in the end but I do not envy child photographers!


Clicking: knitting patterns. Every year when the dark nights approach, I suddenly get a craving to knit. I'm a decent knitter (I almost started my own knitwear brand in fact) but I'm so unfocused that any project I start in winter is never finished before the nights start to lighten again. I discovered that Hilary Grant has written a knitting book with patterns. I adore her knitwear and the patterns in the book are based on her designs. It may have landed in my shopping basket already...

Buying: I actually didn't do any shopping this month, because I spent most of it in bed ill! I had no energy for trying on clothes. As I mentioned, there are a number of babies in my family, with three nieces and nephews born just this year so I've had to get my Christmas shopping started early with all my gifts for them. The older ones are fine, because I can buy toys and games that Auntie Kim wants to play with on Christmas Day, but the babies are quite difficult because they're always being spoilt. And their toys are boring. Hmmm. Send me ideas, people!

Helen

Watching: I had a bit of any Amy Adams double bill this month, seeing both Nocturnal Animals and Arrival in the same week. Both were really good but in very different ways. Nocturnal Animals was super stylish, slightly cold and a tad disturbing. It also had Jake Gyllenhaal in it, which is always a big plus in my book. Arrival was a subtle sci-fi that I really enjoyed, even if it was sadder than I was expecting. The visuals were great and I liked they way it portrayed the worlds reaction to the visitors.

Doing: It's been another busy month, including plenty of fun festive activities. I enjoyed some mulled wine and fireworks at Dundee's Winter Light Night and had a fun afternoon making an advent calendar at DCA.
I also took a trip down to Nottingham for my cousin's birthday party. While I was there I visited Nottingham Contemporary and really enjoyed Marguerite Humeau's surreal and moving exhibition. Plus I visited the Robin Hood statue, had a mulled cider in the oldest inn in England and took a look around the Winter Wonderland market. A busy but really enjoyable day!

Buying: While shopping for a birthday present for my nephew I spotted this fab little face pin. I recognised it straight away as being the work of Glasgow School of Art graduate Freya Adler. I saw her jewellery designs at the degree show earlier this year and loved them, so I jumped at the chance to purchase a piece. I opted for this little brass pin but I still have my eye on her bigger brooches and necklaces too.

Clicking: I've been getting in a festive mood by watching Christmas adverts online. I don't watch live TV so miss out on the ad breaks. This is usually a good thing but seasonal ads have become a bit more interesting so I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. I did enjoy the new M&S one but my favourite has to be the H&M ad. I mean, how could it not be when it's directed by Wes Anderson. I've also been doing some research into Christmas films to watch come December. In the same vein as my October horror movie challenge I'm going to try and watch a Christmas film every day in December, or at least up to the 25th. I want to make sure my list is full of good ones so I'm trying my best to plan my viewing.


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