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Now That It’s Come to an End
How was your 2018, now that the curtains are drawn? My illnesses evolve every year, and it seems like my brain was of main interest to them in 2018, what with the seizures, brain fog and mixed psychological states. You can read about them in more detail here: A String of Bad Days (and What Happened When That Good Day Finally Came Along).
My Christmas and New Year holidays were pretty much low key affairs, but still a lovely week full of good food and cosy gatherings. Here’s a list of things I liked in December. I’d love to hear what yours were as well, what with the surge of giving and receiving that December is linked with!
Here’s wishing you and your loved ones a brilliant, beautiful and meaningful 2019!
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1. Family Dinner & Dear Little Snuffles
I had an early Christmas dinner with my family this year, because my sister claimed that her tree was dying (thank you, tropical weather!). It was beautifully decorated, and dinner was fit for a king. It was a fusion of Japanese, Western, Russian, French cuisines and more. My sister is a serious foodie and even blogs about it on Instagram, so she went to great lengths to prepare this meal.
It was the first time I tried uni (sea urchin), and ate caviar the Russian way (with a mother of pearl spoon, on your wrist, and on blinis). Then there were cakes and macarons for dessert, which is my favourite part of any meal 😉
Whilst the food was divine, I think the best part of the whole gathering, besides seeing my family of course, was cuddling our dog, Snuffles, the whole time. I remember bringing her home as a baby, and her loyalty is just heart wrenching. She’s 13 now, survived cancer, yet is constantly itchy and her skin is mottled with age spots. She’s such a dear little thing 🙂
2. Rockin’1000 “Smells Like Teen Spirit” Cover, Live in Firenze
This sounds like an interesting band concept, with 1000 musicians in it! I enjoyed this cover of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit”. It just makes me think how Kurt Cobain’s spirit lives on, sadly only after death. And how much this song inspires life, despite his deep depression. Anyway it wasn’t just the song in itself that I liked, but watching everyone having a collective blast of a time celebrating life.
3. Achilles & the Uniqueness of Life
Achilles has been with us for two months now, and I got him because I missed Archer I (our first feisty parrotlet which we hand raised). But that was a mistake, because you can never really replace one life with another, even if the characteristics are the ‘same’ for each breed. Life is always unique, even with something as small as a parrotlet (approx. 26g or 0.9oz).
Archer I was a curious boy who liked to hang with one claw from my glasses as I went about doing my chores, whilst Achilles is independent and enjoys sitting alone, chirping away to music. He isn’t friendly, except during the nights. I’ve been watching Chinese dramas of late, and have been bonding with him by giving him head rubs for up to an hour. Spending time with life is always worth it 🙂
4. Antipodes Skin Brightening Serum
I didn’t like this serum so much at first, as I thought it was ineffective. But it seems like my skin was dry and stressed out for other reasons. My current skincare routine consists of using one bottle of serum until it is done, but applying a different one with alternative properties every 3 – 4 days.
For example, this particular serum touts a skin brightening effect, so I use an ultra nourishing one every couple days. I like to try those free sample packs during this time 😉 Anyway, it seems to nourish and boost my skin better this way. Experimenting with new skincare products is something I find interesting for some reason 🙂 Also, better prevention than cure :p
Buy It Here
5. My Celadon Mug from Taiwan
Okay so this is not new anymore, but I still enjoy looking at it, and using it. It includes a strainer for tea leaves and a lid to keep it warm – a teapot mug?
The older I get, the more I’m turning into my mum, even in terms of the objects that I admire. She loves her desserts and pottery, and so do I. I enjoy picking out a nice mug to use every day, and displaying pottery for aesthetic purposes. From rough, imperfect minimalistic craftwork, but especially intricate, complicated, oriental styles.
6. My Friend Julie & Her Girls
My friend Julie and I were free over Christmas, so we met up for a simple lunch at my place. She has a pair of four year old twins, and I am filled with joy whenever I see them. They are full of life, and her girls are especially affectionate and expressive – just like their mother 😉
As it was Christmas, more good food was to be had 😉 We enjoyed a good foie gras, and the girls were so excited just because there were snowflakes on the log cake. Whilst I am always exhausted after spending time with them (which makes me wonder how I’ll manage my own kids in future, if ever), it is always a contented, happy tiredness. I’m already looking forward to meeting them again [icon name=”heart” class=”” unprefixed_class=””]
7. Gin Wigmore
Whilst I haven’t gone through too many of her songs, I like what I’ve heard so far. I find her rough vocals very interesting, and was surprised to see how she looked like when I googled her. It just wasn’t what I was expecting, but in a good way! I’m still exploring, but another song I like is “Holding on to Hell”.
Story of Yanxi Palace (Image Source: IMDB)
8. Story of Yanxi Palace Chinese Drama
The girl at hair specialist told me that this drama is extremely popular at the moment, and that everyone was watching it. I decided to check it out of curiosity and have finished all 70 episodes!
Whilst I wouldn’t say that it was the bestest ever, it was still a fairly interesting storyline, if the typical Chinese Qing dynasty concubine drama. I just wished that for once, star-crossed lovers could be together in the end. Nothing I’ve watched so far has had a happy ending in that aspect.
9. Olympian Labs Complete Prebiotic & Probiotic
I’ve started on this brand of probiotics for a month or so now, and think it’s been pretty good for my own body so far. It comes with prebiotics, which is basically food for the good bacteria. (Tip: if you have Antiphospholipid Syndrome or are on blood thinners like me, always remember to check the ingredients for Vitamin K or blood thinning agents!). With 25 billion live cultures it is a little overpowering for my feeble gut, so I’ve reduced the dosage and take it on alternate days now, which seems to work better.
What is ‘better’? I don’t really know, to be honest. I’m just basing this on the subtle changes I’ve noticed after my breakfast (or whatever little I eat). My medications can be rather laxative in effect, but my stool quality seems to have improved, which also means better absorption of nutrients. This also happened after I switched from taking them in the morning to night. The time when you take probiotics can make a difference, too.
In terms of feeling better in terms of physical or mental pain, I haven’t noticed much of anything. Probiotics aren’t a silver bullet, but I think it’s safe enough for me to proceed with my next baby step towards hopefully better health. I’ll be adding new protocols in first, before doing the harder work of subtracting unhealthy habits and foods 😉
Read More: Getting to Know My Gut Bacteria (and What Probiotics I Need)
10. Top Blog Posts
I’m not sure how I’ve hit 10 favourite things for December already, so I’ll separate this bit into a new, more targeted post!
Read More: 10 Things I Liked in September
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Sounds like a sweet December, Sheryl! And your parrokeet is an adorable blue color. I have two 4 year old nieces and they are the life of the party but definitely you feel worn out at the end. My favorite part of December was being with my family, too. Things were busy but all worth it in the end. Happy New Year!
Hi Shannon, thank you, it had its up and downs, so this is the happy highlight reel! 😉 Just putting this out there in case others feel like their Dec was pure disaster! Yes people make life worth it, in the end! And yes my parrotlets’ blues never fail to amaze me. Such pretty, natural colourings 🙂 Sending well wishes for the new year!
Such a great round-up. Poor Snuffles, what a tough cookie going through what she has, she’s as lucky to have you as you are to have her. I loved this post, it’s a great reminder to look at the things we like or have been grateful for and enjoyed, things which all too often can be forgotten when difficult days and negatives are so all-consuming. xx
Thanks Caz! I always wonder if such posts are too self-indulgent and if anyone would read them 😉 Dogs are just really the best. There is so much I could learn from animals 😉
Yes! Pockets of joy or even simplistic happiness at times can help to give your mental health a nice little shot of dopamine 😉 Sending love for the new year!