January... you went on a bit, didn't you!?
Like seriously, January always feels like it's 500 days long compared to the rest of the year, especially after Christmas.
But we made it through guys, despite the dread of going back to work, being teased then surprised with snow and the endless Brexit negotiations happening... we made it past, in my opinion, the worst month of the year!
However, lots of things made January a good and bearable month, so it wasn't all bad!
I know I'm pretty late in writing this post, but for the last week, I have felt SO unmotivated to write or do anything with my blog.
It seems that every time I have opened up my laptop, I've just not been feeling in the mood to blog.
It's annoying, especially as I class this as my side-hustle, but also worries me when something I love is the one thing I'm not in the mood to do. But I know, in time, I'll be back to writing and creating great content again.
I guess I have just been taking some time out, to take care of me, rather than slave away on my laptop after work.
At least I was able to get my first monthly update of 2019 written for you all, so enough of my chatter and let's see what made the longest month of the year a great one:
The biggest thing to have happened this month was being whisked away on a surprise trip by Josh... Eek!
Cheesy sentence coming up, but I never thought I would be lucky enough to be whisked away on a surprise trip by a boyfriend. I always saw it happen with other couples, who would do grand gestures for each other but never thought it would happen to me.
He made up a whole back story to make sure I booked the days off and when he revealed where we were really going, I burst into tears (happy tears obviously!)
I'm starting to write some Budapest content for the blog, including s cheap eats guide and a travel guide, so I hope to get them up soon! But overall, it was one of the most memorable trips I will never forget.
The Full Monty
Those of you who saw, I went to see The Full Monty at the Royal & Derngate in Northampton to review it for OnStage Northants. It was my first theatre show of 2019 and it made me realise just how much I miss and love attending the theatre.
Back in the day when I was a nerdy theatre kid, I used to watch shows all the time, probably one a month. Since I've left University, I don't get the pleasure of seeing them as much - so when I do, it's such a treat!
I hope I will be able to see more theatre shows this year.
Queens Park Preserves Jam
Earlier this month, I had a REAL time of the month craving for jam on toast. And girls, if you know, you know how hard those cravings can get sometimes!
I didn't want to get just any store bought jam, so I wanted to purchase some homemade jam. Then, I remembered how much I loved Queens Park Preserves Jam when we purchased some at Althorp Food Festival - so I got three!
And they have continued to fulfil my jam craving, especially the Raspberry one.
They are really kicking up a gear now, as I can officially say WE ARE PERFORMING THIS MONTH.
In one respect, I don't feel ready to stand on stage and perform, but the other side of me can't wait to get back on stage and perform something we have been working on since September.
Pantomime is always such a fun activity to get involved with, especially as it's all about bringing the village community together and it's nice to have another hobby besides writing.
If anyone doesn't know, I am playing Wendy Darling in a pantomime version of 'Peter Pan'. It's always been my dream to play the role of Wendy Darling, in any production of Peter Pan, so I'm glad my dream is coming true at the age of 24 in a village panto production!
Salcey Forest walks
A few weekends ago, my two friends and I decided to take a spontaneous drive to Salcey Forest in Hartwell, for a walk and a bite to eat.
I haven't visited since Summer 2017 but I've always wanted a reason to go back. It's such a nice walk to go on, surrounded by big trees and beautiful scenery. And it was great to go with friends, especially when we found a cute little pub, The Fox & Hounds, to get a spot of lunch.
I definitely want to do more things like this, especially when Winter is on it's way out (hopefully!)
I'm not usually one to binge on much on Netflix, as I'm never a HUGE fan of just sitting around watching endless TV, but January was a big month for watching lots of series - and I actually really enjoyed them all!
I suppose my new mantra of 'taking care of myself' as meant I've been able to watch more. Series I binged watched the most were 'YOU', 'Sex Education' and 'The end of the f***ing world' which I managed to finish too quickly for my liking.
My current Netflix binge watch is 'Once Upon A Time' which I started watching way back in 2016 whilst I was at University, but I only got up to season 4 and completely forgot about it. Now I'm back to watching it almost every night and I remember why I loved it so much.
So if anyone has any other Netflix recommendations, hit them my way!
My bed after work
I got ill quite a lot in January, which is always hard to get through when you work full-time (and you don't get paid for sick leave!)
So a lot of the time, I was going to work full of colds, coughs and flu, so the only thing I wanted to do once I got home was to get in my bed and rest.
There's something about getting into bed after work, taking your bra off and snuggling up with something on Netflix that makes me feel super content.
Especially since it's been bloody freezing!
Speaking of bloody freezing, the reason behind it was because we finally saw snow in the UK!
I love the excitement everyone gets when even just a touch of snow lands in the UK. It's like the whole nation has never seen snow before, even though we seem to be getting every winter now.
I find snow days less exciting nowadays, but I do find snow seems to make the majority of people really happy (despite traffic and car issues!)
However, as much as the snow was lovely, it was nice to see it, but it can go now, bye bye!
New winter coat
Thank god for big, fluffy, water-proof coats!
And thank god for Josh and my mum for both convincing me that I needed a new coat, because they knew it was going to be freezing when we went to 'London'. Honestly, if I didn't listen to them both, I would have been moaning about how cold Budapest was instead of actually enjoying it.
I managed to pick up my coat in the sale at Tesco F&F, so what would have cost me £40 cost me £20 instead!
I know I keep saying and praying that Winter is on it's way out, but while our weather is unpredictable and whilst it's cold, my coat will keep me all snuggly and warm.
I had to leave this until last, because, you know... *shameless plug!*
But it's true, my newsletter returned! If you've been around for a while, I actually launched my newsletter back in 2017 where I sent out one newsletter and completely forgot about it. This was back when my content had no direction and I still didn't really know what I was doing.
I feel like now, my content has a purpose, a drive and a direction. Plus, thanks to the blogging queen that is Vix Meldrew, who recently spoke about why every blogger needs a newsletter, well, let's just say I was 'influenced' to bring it back.
The first instalment went out on Saturday, so if you missed it, I have now figured out how to add sign-up forms at the end of blog posts, so you can scroll right down and sign up if you fancy a bit more from Nicole Navigates - including free downloadables, sneak peaks to new content and maybe even a special offer or two.
Sign up to Nicole Navigates newsletter for more!
And that's all from me!
I hope January was not too much of a slog for you. But hey, remember... January is only a test. February is the month where you can really get your year started!
What has been your highlight of January? I'd love to hear! Plus, what have you got planned for February?
Thanks again for reading my monthly updates, I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoy writing them.