Month In Review: November

Pretty Confused Month In Review November 2013
I've missed my monthly reviews quite a lot lately, one of those times when life moves a bit too fast to accurately capture it all. I figured I have to start again some time though.

  • Holiday Time: I had a week off work at the start of the month and although I didn't manage to fit in as much as I had hoped I still had a lovely time relaxing, staying up late watching scary films and catching up with friends. 
  • Actually Having Time For A Social Life: Right at the start of Autumn I became an absolute hermit, I just didn't have the drive or the energy to organise doing stuff around work. I'm glad I've made an effort the last week or so to see more people. Hopefully I can build up to, you know, actually going on a night out sometime.
  • Learning: I've been doing a bunch of training courses for work recently and I feel like I have learnt so much recently. It's made me really excited about expanding my career options and working out what my next step is. Working within the third sector is the best and I never want to do anything else again. 
  • Cuddling Up In The Evening: Cold nights mean curling up on the sofa, drinking tea, playing board games and having people over for dinner or movie nights. 
  • Taking Some Time For Myself Before The Holiday Season: I've been trying to relax and pamper myself a little lately because I just know that next month is going to be busy. I've been having lots of bath, dyed my hair and I'm going to try and give myself a manicure and other stuff before the madness actually starts. 
Long Baths. Seeing the sunrise. Dogs in bed. Watching American Horror Story and Criminal Minds. Making my own soup and bread. Lots of pots of tea. Candles everywhere. Trying to get back into reading, I finally getting round to reading The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath and am trying to make time to read more often. A new coffee machine. Being busy. Sleeping in at the weekend. Slowly but surely trying to lighten my hair (it's a slow process when you don't want to just bleach it). Trying out new make-up colours and techniques. Finally turning the heating on. My first bad cold of the season.

Looking Forward To
Going up to Crieff with my family. Lots of parties. Picking out Christmas presents for the people I love. Planning for next year. The possibility of snow. More time with friends. Turkey. Watching Christmas movies. Decorating. Basically absolutely everything to do with Christmas, I've got my advent candle and first seasonal movie of the year ready to go at midnight. 

I can't believe it is nearly the last month of the year already, time flies, eh? Here's to a wonderful last month of the year! 

Cake Baking Adventure

pretty confused cake baking adventure
A couple of weeks ago I took the train out to East Lothian to spend a day with two of the coolest ladies I know. I don't get to see them nearly as much as I would like, but I had the day off and LF to take care of the pups so I jumped at a chance to go gossip, drink tea and make some cake. I had thought about trying to do some kind of recipe post with these photos, but explanatory posts have never been my thing. All we did was slightly alter a basic sponge recipe by adding amaretto cherries and a little bit of almond essence. The final product was a little bit flat but absolutely delicious. Perfect for an Autumn afternoon.
pretty confused cake baking adventure
Baking is not one of my natural skills so we did a bunch of research to make sure our cake didn't end up too wet due to the cherries. Naturally I didn't help and instead got in everyone's way by trying to photograph everything - I wonder how annoying it is to be friends with a blogger.
pretty confused cake baking adventure
Add Amaretto to your cherries, a couple of spoonfuls should do it.....
pretty confused cake baking adventure
.... Or you can just pour it all in then leave to soak for half an hour
pretty confused cake baking adventure
While they soak gather all your other ingredients and make a simple sponge mix, make sure it isn't too wet as you are going to add the cherries last and they have been soaking up all that alcohol.
pretty confused cake baking adventure
While it bakes have a cup of tea and gossip 
pretty confused cake baking adventure
And the final product! As I said it didn't rise as much as we were hoping, but it was absolutely delicious. Final step; eat and/or Instagram. Yum. 
pretty confused cake baking adventure

Monday Link List: 057

How adorable are these knitted heart elbow patches? Such a cute embellishment for a simple knitted jumper.

This print from Moorea Seal's shop is adorable, I need this pinned to my fridge, especially after long days when I can't be bothered cooking.

This outfit from Rebecca at The Clothes Horse is gorgeous, I love the layering and simple colours.

Winter always makes me want to try out new crafts and this lavender soap would be perfect. I can spend some time crafting and then have a long bath.

The photos of Norway from The Headless Mannequin are absolutely stunning. I can't wait until I can get away somewhere beautiful.

These dresses made of vintage sheets are absolutely gorgeous, such a wonderful way of preserving these beautiful patterns and fabrics.

I have been absolutely obsessed with candles lately, but a lot of them still have wax left even though the wick has disappeared. I stuck them all in a plastic bag after reading DIY for making your own candles. I just need to find somewhere I can buy wick.

Rachel's outfit is just perfect for that time between Autumn and Winter clothing, cosy but still stylish. I love all this rich colours.

Gentri posted the most beautiful photos of her mountain home, including this example of free lensing, it makes such a beautiful effect.

This painting, Autumn On The River, by Demeter Gui is absolutely stunning, the colours are just fantastic.

This behind the scenes photo of Tom Felton on set for Anna & The King makes me smile each time I see it. I wonder if he knew he was going to play Draco at the time? It must have been quite a few years before the first film came out.

Three Little Ways Of Getting Through Thanksgiving; Obviously, being in the UK, I don't usually celebrate Thanksgiving. I think this post from Angie is perfect for the holiday season in general. I find Christmas day in particular quite stressful, I love my family and all but the expectations of the day make me anxious. This post makes me feel so much better about taking time for myself when I need it.

Practice Makes Perfect Or Something Like That: I'm definitely not one of those people who feels like they have any kind of calling, so I really loved Katie's honesty about the work she puts into her business and craft. It makes me want to work harder and not get put off when I'm just not that great at something.

Outtakes: You guys know I love outtakes from outfit posts, and these ones from Amanda are fantastic. I think it's great that, as bloggers, we can still laugh at ourselves.

Oh Life - Learning To Let Go, Breaking Up With Friends: Ella's post about loosing friends really touched me, we've all lost friends for various reasons. I've been so busy lately that I haven't been a great friend to a lot of people lately, this is a good reminder that I need to put more effort into my friendships if I don't want them to fade away. It also has some great advice for those going through a friend-break up at the moment, whether it was caused by a disagreement or just falling to the side. 

Speak The Truth, Even If Your Voice Shakes: Kelly Ann posted so eloquently about her beliefs on religion and feminism that it nearly brought me to tears. I'm not religious but every word really touched me and, at a time when religion and feminism can be hugely controversial topics that seem to be on opposite side of the fence, it was wonderful to be reminded that they don't need to be, and for many they aren't. 

Six Common Baking Pitfalls To Avoid: Just some great common sense tips to improve your baking

Honest To Blog - Growing Up Is Hard: It is reassuring to know that not everyone in their twenties feels like they have it together. I always assumed that life would just kind of slip into place when I was in my twenties but the reality is even now I sometimes feel like I'm not getting anywhere. It's good to know I'm not the only one.

Can A Man Be A Feminist? This post about being a man and a feminist is such an interesting read. I can find it quite difficult to talk about feminism with people because they get defensive, this post really made me understand why people who are wonderful and believe in equality can find feminism a difficult subject.

Britain: This description of the UK for American's from WW2 is absolutely amazing, and kind of hilarious.

How I Grew My Blog: I started reading Melyssa's blog about six months ago and it has grown incredibly, mainly due to her hard word. It was interesting to get a look into some of the ways she has turned her blog into a business in such a short time. 

Snapshots: Through My Phone

Well it seems the cold weather has beaten me. I'm currently curled up on the sofa under several blankets using the dogs as hot water bottles. I've been holding back a cold for a couple of weeks now and as the temperature has dropped my immune system has as well. I woke up this morning feeling like death, and after walking the dogs and having a shower I felt even worse so a day in bed it was. As soon as my head hit the pillow I feel slept again until about 2pm and then dragged myself out with the dogs again and on to the sofa. I love having dogs but when I feel like this I would do pretty much anything not to have to take them out in the cold. Scally is keeping my feet warm at the moment though, and Mania was my pillow all morning so I think it is a fair trade. 

I thought I might do a bit of a catch up and share some photos from my phone, seeing as I've not managed to take out my SLR since it magically started working again. I hope I manage to get the chance to take it out before all the beautiful leaves disappear. My phone camera is pretty good but it none of the photos I have taken have properly captured all the colours and the beautiful light we have been having lately. Hopefully I'll be up and about by the weekend and can take the dogs somewhere fun and, if I'm lucky, convince LF to take some outfit photos for me. 

Anyway, I'm off to make myself some lemon and honey tea. It always makes me feel better, that and lots of soup. What are your go to things for making yourself feel better when you are ill?

All photos from my Instagram

Monday Link List: 056

This latte art is absolutely amazing! So cute!

This is perfect for this time of year, and so cute! I love the play on 'cold hands, warm heart'

Grey scale cats by OliviaEW, something about this image just makes me so happy.

Twisted Doodles, I wish I could find your website, because judging by this illustration we would get on really well

I'm terrible for standing in my own way, I'm definitely my biggest critic. I love this print from WritersWire it is the perfect reminder to support myself more.
I just found Lemonade's blog and I am so glad I did, her last few weeks of outfits are perfect inspiration for Autumn outfits. Her gorgeous ginger hair has been inspiring me to change mine up again

I've been so drawn towards split coloured hair at the moment (maybe because I watched 101 Dalmatians last week) I love how dramatic it looks. The girl in Modcloth's How To Wear Black Burgundy Lipstick is totally rocking it!

This photo is everything I love about Autumn, it just looks so warm and cosy. I wish I could find a source for it

Sucker Apparel have released a Twin Peaks inspired collection and it is amazing, I wish I had a spare few hundred pounds so I could get this Welcome To Twin Peaks dress and the Fire Walk With Me one too.

This lurcher illustration by FlorenceV4 is absolutely gorgeous, unfortunately it has already sold but she does have it available as cards.

My Response To Martha Stewart Craft Blogger Smack Talk Fiasco via Ally If you aren't a craft blogger you might not have heard Martha Stewart's comments on bloggers but it is definitely worth a look at this article. I loved Marigold's response and her expert craft blogger certificate is amazing. 

Cut, Sew, New: I love this post from Jess, especially the way she presents it. Absolutely amazing post. 

We Need An Inquiry Into Food Banks: Ok, this is a slightly more serious link than usual, but did you know usage of food banks in the UK has increased dramatically in the last few years? A new one opened in Edinburgh just a few weeks ago. It is horrific and shocking that people are unable to feed themselves in a first world country, and even worse that politicians seem to have no idea there is so much need out there. 

Style Direction - All You Need To Make A Movie Is A Girl & A Gun: I loved this look into Chiaki's process of defining her personal style, I wonder how much happier I would be with my wardrobe if I tried it out for myself. 

North Vs South Alli's post about living in the arctic and accessibility to what I consider basics was absolutely fascinating. I've always wanted to live somewhere in the middle of nowhere but never considered how I would handle not being able to get my favourite brand of coffee.

Doing Me: Elanor's post about where she is in her life right now is just so ridiculously beautiful, it has really inspired me live my own life with purpose and be true to myself. 

Rich Reviews Perfume Becky's asked her partner to review some perfumes with her and the results are hilarious. 

Second Hand Style As someone who has always swapped clothes with friends I loved the advice in October's post about receiving second hand clothes. I absolutely hate the idea of clothes going in a land fill, especially if they are still in good condition

Blogs... And Why We Write/Read I can't really articulate what drew me into blogging, although I suspect a large part of it is nosiness. I loved Kaelah's post about how she started and why she blogs and the responses are an equally fascinating read. 

Blogging Thoughts Gina's thoughts on blogging and burnout could not have come at a better time for me. I've definitely been feeling busy and uninspired lately. I loved the advice in the comments about how to stay inspired. 

25 Ways To Have An Awesome Day Melyssa's post on how to have an awesome day has so many little things that can make you feel more accomplished and generally awesome. 

PS - I was going to apologise for my total lack of posts lately, but you guys know how life is. Instead I'm going to spend some time and energy trying to write a post for later this week. Wish me luck!