So it's been a pretty intense December.
As I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned lots of times, we’re moving up north. SOON. I’ve been gently nudging Alex to start getting rid of some of their vast horde of stuff for pretty much the last year, but it’s finally (slowly) happening. Mostly because hording and dust-triggered hay fever are not great friends, and most attempts at clearing stuff end within about half an hour with sneezing and streaming face until (quite literally) the dust has settled. Still. We’re making progress.
I know people move house all the time. And over far longer distances than we are about to. But I’ve been in Brighton for over 9 years, so I’m granting myself permission to let my brain swirl and process and panic and freak out quite a bit, especially this month. Recurring theme alert.
Given blood quite a few times but I still get a bit anxious about getting light headed after, as I have quite low blood pressure. Had quite a long break after my nose piercing earlier this year, good to be back. (And they text you with where your blood has been used now, which is cool/weird)
There’s a very particular type of visual diary, where I’ve got home from work, sat down with my housemates, talked/eaten dinner/hung out, and suddenly it’s late, I haven’t done a drawing, and Alex and Justin want to go to Budgens for snacks. So we go to Budgens, then we get home, I realise I haven’t done a visual diary, and ask if I can draw one of them, to test my figure drawing skills and because I'm too lazy to think of anything else. Of course Justin is usually eating biscuits by this point, and asks me not to illustrate the fact that he’s eating biscuits, which is becoming something of a running joke.
This is not a very good visual diary but you’d better believe it’s because I spent all my time calling up letting agents to arrange house viewings, and other important moving business, like a pro.
Oscillating wildly between I’M MAKING A TERRIBLE MISTAKE and MAYBE EVERYTHING WILL BE OKAY
I genuinely love the Christmas work party. I’ve worked here for 6 years now… This coming year I’m going down to part time (3 days a week) and will be working remotely from our new home, with the remaining two days a week for freelance (hire me plz)… They've been incredibly generous in letting me do this, and I’m lucky to have such a kind employer who genuinely want to help me move forward in my life.
Time for Chris and Anna’s annual port n’ cheese party, this year with vegan cheese, very exciting developments.
House hunting timmmmmmmmmmeeeeeeeaaaaaaargggghhhhhhhhh
Our friends Amy and Fred in Manchester very kindly let us stay with them for a couple of nights during house-quest...
And hey, would you look at that, day 1 of house hunting, we found the place.
We looked at 4 houses, but realised we were never going to find anything better than this, so here it is. Top end of our budget (£800 split 3 ways), but guys — what do you get for £800 up north? The answer is A LOT. 5 bedrooms, a cellar, the fanciest kitchen in the world (it’s got a KITCHEN ISLAND amongst many other great things), solid wood flooring, all new carpets upstairs, the most stunning views across Hebden Bridge, basically everything you could ever want (apart from two toilets and a stand up shower which I’m pretty gutted about, but ho hum)
Cancelled all our house viewings for the following day and holed ourselves up at our friend Nat’s house, with her cats. I got a bit emotional (it’s ridiculous and some people deal with these things a lot better than I do, but I’d been so anxious about the whole process of finding a house that I clearly had a lot of pent up aaaaarggggghhh to vent, so I ended up having a big cry for absolutely no good reason, because it was all good news about the house)… luckily, cats are there for comfort… Right?
Had a nice although in some ways slightly tedious third day in Manchester… We’d left plenty of time for house viewings, and as we found our house to quickly we were sort of twiddling our thumbs waiting to come home so we could start Christmas. Still, got some great vegan eats and saw some sights, which was nice.
One last day of work when we got back on the 22nd, and then a lovely and much needed break.
However, because of our house hunting expedition being when it was, I had LOADS of stuff to do before Christmas that I’d normally have sorted ages ago. Had a super fun productive day rushing around achieving most of it…
Tried to leave Christmas eve relatively clear, because Christmas eve is me and Alex’s anniversary… this year, 5 YEARS! We didn’t do anything super big… updated our Winter 2016/17 looks at London Road’s finest charity shops, and then tasty lunch together. In the evening, we went over to Tom and Harriet’s with Justin for some amazing Christmas eve soups and games.
Christmas day was lovely. I went to church in the morning, then me and Alex cooked a big Christmas dinner for us, Justin, and Justin’s parents, who came over to join us with plenty of treats. After they’d gone in the evening, we went over to Chris and Anna’s for more cheese, port, and family time with Anna’s parents. So much loveliness.
On boxing day, my parents came over and took me, Alex and Justin out for tasty lunch at Food For Friends. In the afternoon we went for a nice long Boxing day walk.
(Side note, I worry that lots of my visual diaries have got a bit samey this month, in terms of style — this is mostly because I treated myself to a new set of Frixion rollerball eraseable pens in 8 colours (my drawing implement of choice, and my secret is out — pens that you can legit rub out. It's magic), and as a result have basically wanted to use them even more than usual. Sorry for sameiness.
What are Christmas/New Year sales for, if not buying loads of pants and bras you couldn’t previously afford at M&S?
One of my favourite days of the year, CHRISTMAS II! For the last 4 years we've put out a fairly open invite for people to come over to our house and have a big vegan Christmas roast, between Christmas and new year. Each year we've had anything from 15 to 22 people, and it's always been magic. This time, comparatively chill 13 friends came round (plus me, Alex and Justin), and we managed all the food without a hitch (if anything, our main problem was things being ready too early!) So much love to George, Dan, Harriet, Tom, Matthew, Martin, Kris, Jonny, Tom, Hannah, Jack, Alex F and Jules for joining us.
Had a lovely walk in the fog at night.
New year was unexpectedly lovely. I hadn’t even really planned on leaving the house, but Alex persuaded me to come round to Lucy and George’s, where we joined them, Jade, Emile, Harry and Sophie for tasty stew, games, and then a progressively more hectic dance party…
It started with us all sat round a stereo reminiscing about our shared pop-punk teenage heritage (Blink 182, System of a Down, The Hives, Incubus, At The Drive-in and much more), and then the realisation that actually, we all really loved 90’s dance music and UK garage, and suddenly the room is dark and we spent the two hours in the run up to midnight unashamedly bopping around to such classic hits as this, this, this, this and this.
Couldn't really ask for much more of a treat than that.
Onwards to 2017. This is the beginning of my 5th year of visual diarying, which sounds pretty hard to believe somehow, but I guess I have been doing this a while...
Big changes afoot. We leave Brighton late January. Next blog will be from Hebden Bridge, which is a pretty intense thought.