November 2015: This month I have mostly been…

StPauls

Feeling: Excited about Christmas

I’m so looking forward to going home for a week over Christmas and just enjoying being at home for a little while and relaxing. It’s stupid because everyone gets excited about Christmas and stuff, but it’ll just be nice to be at home for a little longer than my usual dash home for the weekend. Downtime on the sofa under a blanket with Christmas films and TV will make a nice change to frenetic London life, even if going home means I do have to suffer through Strictly Come Dancing!

Reading: The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood

TheHeartGoesLast

I very very rarely buy hardback books. I’ll only do it if I absolutely have to. They’re ridiculous. They cost more, they’re heavier and bulkier and generally are completely wasted on me. However, having said that, for a new Margaret Atwood novel, especially a standalone novel, I’ll buy a hardback book because I actually can’t wait until September 2016 when it comes out in paperback and my kindle sort of froze and I haven’t been able to work out why. So hardback it would have to be.

In short (and from Amazon, because, yes, I am that lazy), the synopsis is as follows:

Stan and Charmaine are a married couple trying to stay afloat in the midst of economic and social collapse. Living in their car, surviving on tips from Charmaine’s job at a dive bar, they’re increasingly vulnerable to roving gangs, and in a rather desperate state. So when they see an advertisement for the Positron Project in the town of Consilience – a ‘social experiment’ offering stable jobs and a home of their own – they sign up immediately. All they have to do in return for this suburban paradise is give up their freedom every second month, swapping their home for a prison cell.

At first, all is well. But slowly, unknown to the other, Stan and Charmaine develop a passionate obsession with their counterparts, the couple that occupy their home when they are in prison. Soon the pressures of conformity, mistrust, guilt and sexual desire take over, and Positron looks less like a prayer answered and more like a chilling prophecy fulfilled.

After spending what felt like an eternity struggling through Night Train to Lisbon, a compelling Margaret Atwood novel was exactly what I needed and I raced through this in about a week and a half. I am a big Margaret Atwood fan and this follows her other dystopian novels. It’s an interesting premise, but I felt like I was missing a third narrative, one from inside Positron, that of either Ed or Jocelyn to give the novel balance and the sense of menace it needed, I felt like it missed that perspective and so the second half faltered a bit for me through lack of direction of the two main characters. Regardless, I enjoyed it and it’s made me want to dig out my other Margaret Atwood novels (currently they’re mostly somewhere in my storage unit) and enjoy my favourites again, it’s been too long.

Watching: Private Practice

Earlier this year I foolishly watched the first episode of Grey’s Anatomy on Netflix just to see what it was all about. Apparently Grey’s Anatomy is not the sort of show that you can do half-heartedly, I ended up steaming through all eleven seasons in the space of a few months and my boyfriend would regularly find me on the sofa, a snivelling mess doing my best Kim Kardashian ugly cry over an episode. Until season twelve airs here (probably next year) I was stuck for what to get my teeth into that I can watch without my boyfriend protesting that he also wanted to watch it. I turned to Private Practice, a Grey’s Anatomy spin-off focussing on Addison and her life in California. There had been a few Grey’s cross-over episodes and so it’s interesting to see it from the other side, but although I am now a few seasons in I still can’t warm to the characters in the same way that I did with Grey’s, nor are the medical stories as compelling (although they are possibly less likely to jump the shark so quickly).

Planning: My travels for 2016

enghery-guggenheim-bilbao
(photo from http://www.guggenheim-bilbao.es/en/the-building/outside-the-museum/)

We’ve been trying to sort out where we want to go next year. For one reason and another I’ve had to rule out one or two plans for trips (including a big tour of Austria because the dates now just don’t work for next year with other commitments already in the diary). Partly because it’s my 30th and partly because we both have limited annual leave and like to always have something to look forward to.

So far we’ve settled on a weekend in Bilbao in March, a week in Budapest in May, I’m being taken on a family holiday (a cruise round Northern Europe) for my nan and grandad’s 60th wedding anniversary and then we’re thinking about a multi-venue break to Zagreb, Ljubljana and Lake Bled. We’ll try and throw in a few UK city breaks too. Bloggers had great suggestions for UK cities last time I asked (Norwich was awesome), any more?

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  • I’m just so excited to go home and relax for Christmas too! It will just be lovely to have a few days off for sure. I enjoyed Private Practice but it definitely has a different feel to Greys which is also awesome. In terms of UK trips, wholly recommend North Wales, Anglesey and like, everywhere in Scotland. It is just a dream! x

    Jasmin Charlotte

    • Lisa

      Is it bad that I’m totally considering back to the start of Grey’s?!

      Thanks for the recommendations. Ooh, North Wales is a good shout. I’ve also been thinking about Scotland, I want to visit the Kelpies!