August is probably the closest thing to a normal month I’ve had all year! We were open to the public at work, I went for lunch with a friend, we did some nice dog walks. It was almost like the global pandemic going on out there wasn’t still raging – almost.
Reading in August…
At the beginning of August I finished a brilliant book called Inferno by Catherine Cho. It was a shocking look into the effects of postpartum psychosis, something I’d had very little understanding of up until this point! I applauded Catherine Cho’s bravery at sharing her story with the world, and wrote a review here.
After Inferno, I was hungry for some more non-fiction, so picked up Lemn Sissay’s My Name is Why. Being a big fan of Matt Haig, I was easily swayed by his review on the cover – ‘astounding’ – which by the end, I completely agreed with. It was so saddening to hear about a young man failed by the very system that was supposed to be keeping him happy and safe. It was an interesting read because rather than enormous paragraphs of text, the book was broken up by photos of paperwork and reports, put together by the social workers who were tasked with supporting him. This makes the book read a bit like research notes, with Lemn Sissay commenting on the documentation. How strange it must have been to read other people’s perceptions of you!
Gaming in August…
I was a little sceptical of Solar Storm initially as I wasn’t convinced that it was a *me* game. However, I ended up loving it! I’m not usually too into space games, but the game mechanics were great – working together with other players, you must fix up the different areas of your ship to avoid crashing into the sun. Short and sweet, it’s a nice little evening game, ideal for two.
This War of Mine has been a pretty long-awaited game for us, as I bought it for Neil months ago second-hand and wrapped it up for his birthday. The game has a unique concept: you play as survivors of a war-town world living together in a house, and you must balance your basic human needs (hunger, sleep, warmth) with going out scavenging for supplies and defending your base from raiders. We lost one of our characters within ten minutes, and had lost the game about an hour after that! Not a particularly positive first experience in terms of a victory, but the gameplay was fascinating, and I loved the use of story to drive the game along and add to the setting. Nothing like reading individually written deaths for each of your characters – yikes!
On a friend’s recommendation, I started playing Persona 5 for PS4. I hadn’t played a JRPG on console for almost ten years (!), mostly because they always seem too big and overwhelming (and I’m more of a PC gamer these days). However, I liked the sound of Persona, and ended up pouring over six hours into my first session with it! Long anime cutscenes, quirky characters, a ridiculous plot – the ingredients of a great JRPG. I’m approaching about twelve hours of gameplay now, and still have a lot of plot left to go!
Life in August…
Flynn is four months old now, and look how much he has grown! He has changed our lives so much, and we can barely remember life before those 7am wake-ups and chewed shoes and socks… It’s been great to have him around, and I think having something to care for has really awoken our parenting instincts! We’re looking forward to his nipping phase ending, but have already seen a lot of progress after attending just two puppy classes. The puppy class teacher has nicknamed him “The Dude” because he’s sooo chill in class. As I write this, he is stretched out in a pile of odd socks that I’ve been putting off matching up…
I’ve been on a bit of a clothes buying binge lately, which is quite odd for me as I usually wear the same outfits to death… Anyway, I saw Unwonted leggings recommended in the Rockfit group I’m in, and despite the hefty price tag, I treated myself to a couple of pairs. Just look at those gorgeous designs! Despite Flynn biting a hole in a pair of them within the first ten minutes of wearing them, I have been so impressed with the quality, and can honestly say they are the comfiest leggings I have ever owned. I bought them for exercising in, but now just wear them most of the time!
I decided to take up embroidery as I had seen some inspiring designs on Instagram. This design above took me two days to fully complete, and I’m so pleased with how it turned out! There is still a lot to learn, and some techniques I still need to improve on (French Knot, how I hate you), but it feels like a great distraction for idle hands while watching some Netflix or YouTube in the evenings.
Lastly, I finally visited Neil’s hometown this month, and met his family and school friends for the first time! Everyone was so welcoming, and it felt good to do something somewhat normal after this tumultuous year. We mostly enjoyed home cooking for the weekend, but we did have a sneaky Nanna Mexico when we visited Cambridge for the day. These incredibly tasty desserts had warm melted chocolate inside!
The shopping streets of Cambridge just seemed to stretch on and on and on. It was hours before we even reached the Cathedral, because we were having too much fun exploring down all the little alleyways and poking about the market. I spent a lot of pennies, with shopping highlights including some delicious homemade cookies by Ben’s Cookies, my copy of Persona 5, and some goodies from the Disney Store (we don’t have one in Devon anymore!).
Our trip made us both realise how much we miss living in a city. Watch this space, I suppose!
What have you been up to this August?