10 things that brought me joy in November.....

1. Sushi: sooooo some people find the lack of alcohol during pregnancy tricky, this didn’t bother me so much, however the lack of sushi did!! One of our favourites places to eat and one of the first dates I took my husband on was to Yo Sushi and it remained a firm favourite from then on, however throughout the nine months of pregnancy our attendance dwindled. But now baby is here I can eat sushi again whoop whoop! So during November we popped to Yo Sushi with baby and nothing beats their salmon ponzu salsa.

Thinly sliced salmon, topped with salsa & a zingy ponzu dressing. It’s just so tasty, my absolute favourite dish they do, however I am massively disappointed that they have scrapped their ‘blue Monday deal’ as it was a real treat to be able to get some of their dishes for the price of a blue plate on a Monday. Also in recent weeks Sainsburys at Monks Cross has also added a sushi bar to their deli range, I’ve so far only tried the spicy salmon roll but it was lovely. You can’t beat a bit of fresh sushi.

2. Bonfire night: Remember, remember the 5th of November! I’ve always loved bonfire night from being small, there’s just something about the sound and smell of it. As a kid I used to go to Skinningrove (Teeside region) which is reknowned for their themed displays every year. This year we went to Sutton on Derwent and it was lovely. Lots of people, lots of fireworks. I find there to be something very calming about fireworks you get lost in the colours and the shapes in the sky. Fireworks are notoriously noisy but in a weird way it seems like the rest of the world goes quiet when you watch them.

3. Christmas shopping: so I started this at the beginning of November to help spread out my ever dwindling maternity pay and I’ve decided this is the way forward; get a good bulk of it done at the start of November and then chip away at the rest, rather than leaving it all till December. I was also really impressed with TK Maxx at Monks Cross, (not somewhere I would have usually thought of) especially when buying gifts for younger children, they had a really fantastic range of stock at a range of prices, makes it much easier.

4. The Baby Sensory song I’ve linked it below but for any mummies out there who attend baby sensory classes you will have heard it and it just makes me smile plus it gets stuck in your head so you have very little choice. There are of course actions that go with it which I can never remember from week to week but I still enjoy a little sing song. Say hello to the sun.

5. Dinosaurs love fairy cakes: these guys are a local independent York business that run various sessions each week for different age groups as well as seasonal events. We went to babes in arms which runs every week on a Tuesday from 10-12 at Spark York and it’s just lovely. You get a cup of tea or coffee on arrival which for a mum is amazing for someone else to make it for you, then all the mums and dads sit around in a big circle while their babies lie/wriggle about in the middle. They have a huge range of sensory toys as well to keep your little one entertained. There was no pressure at all, you didn’t have to arrive bang on 10am and you could leave when you needed to. I found the other women/men there lovely and friendly. Plus half way through they bring round cakes!! Absolutely win win, it was gorgeous and just what was needed. For £6 a session (pay as you go) I can’t recommend it enough. Link to their website for more info:

6. The Affair Season 5 (the final season): CONTAINS SPOILERS, well what a finish! I have loved this series since season one; the characters, how they are portrayed, how the story is shot from each of their perspectives so you have to play spot the difference for example in Noah’s version he’s wearing a suit but in Helen’s version of the same event she sees him wearing something different. The first couple of episodes of this season were dark and pretty heavy to get through with us skipping into the future to now follow the life of Joanie (Cole and Alison’s daughter) now all grown up, not quite The Affair's usual style however, following the extremely sad passing of Helens partner Vic it starts to find so much light in the darkness and begin to put many wrongs to rights. Whitney (Helen and Noah’s eldest daughter) also has a chapter in this season which I thought was fantastic, she’s always been a strong willed character. This series also covers some topical issues such as the recent LA fires and the ‘me too movement' which helped to create some incredibly tense storylines. The ending is equally brilliant, I won’t spoil it but even though I found the first couple of episodes a little tricky the end was well worth it, do they all manage to find solace from the pain they have caused or endured? You will have to watch and find out.

7. Zoflora: Limited Edition Christmas fragrance ‘Sparkling Spruce’ is amazing! I can’t get enough, so much so I don’t want to use it because I haven’t got another one. I bought their Christmas fragrances last year but apart from Winter Garden I was a bit disappointed as the other ones mainly smell of cinnamon (which I know is a traditional Christmas scent) but I really don’t like it, so I’m chuffed to bits that 'Sparkling Spruce' doesn’t have that as its main scent. Absolutely delicious and I’ll be keeping my eyes out for a back up bottle before it goes off the shelves.

8. Baby giggles: they are just the best, I can’t really put it into words but when it’s your baby the sound of their giggle is just like magic. It’s a sound you want to bottle and keep for always. It’s a sound that makes your heart melt and your throat thicken all at the same time. It’s just amazing and she finds her Daddy very funny!

9. The M&S Christmas jumper advert: so as an ex-dancer this brings me great joy. I love the shoulder movement which in turn leads to a variety of other movements. I just love it. The choice of movement, music and all wearing festive jumpers, it brings all the joy.

10. The book Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman: this book has been on my shelf for ages and I know I’m very behind with this as many people have recommended it and said how good it was and they were absolutely right it is fantastic, brilliantly written. The character of Eleanor is so well crafted and developed throughout; you want to weep for her, you want to hug her, you want to tell her everything will be ok and even though I can’t relate to the story line as a whole, we can all relate in part to the feeling of loneliness or isolation that she so significantly feels but isn’t aware of. I love how Gail Honeyman also intersperses Latin terms and phases to support Eleanor’s study as it also helps to broaden the readers vocabulary, whilst also supporting Eleanor's slightly warped perspective that her 'mummy' was a woman of worldly experience. Really worth a read if you haven't already.

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