November

london eye

November has been jam-packed. I feel like I say that all the time, but having a look at my calendar I can safely say that this time it is very true. I can't complain really, it's lovely to go out so much, eat out at lovely restaurants, try new bars, spend time with my gorgeous friends but I would be lying if I said I wasn't looking forward to January when things might calm down a little bit. Plus, we've booked a weekend away in Edinburgh for the end of January - so that's something to look forward to in itself!

apple market

Since my Masters has finished, I've been very much enjoying having weekends again! Rather than making careful choices so that I have enough time and energy to write my dissertation, I can finally take up everyone on their invitations. November saw me making a trip to Nottingham to stay with friends (and their adorable daughter) and getting myself down to London for a flying visit to see my best girl friends. Aren't they gorgeous?

friends

We ate Mexican food, feasted on churros and sipped tequila. We ooh-ed and aahh-ed at the Christmas lights and then we headed home to watch that perennial favourite, Mean Girls. We know all the words but it still has us in hysterics. I wish that we could spend more time together, and I was reminded how much friendships are made up by knowing the mundane little details of each others lives, rather than just the big things that you tell colleagues and acquaintances. I miss that, living so far away from my oldest friends. I need to make a better effort to be more involved - and having weekends again will hopefully make that easier.

churros

I love London, but going there does make me feel very grateful that I live in Leeds. I feel like I get all of the benefits of city living without the crowds of tourists, the price tag or the need to trek for hours to get where I'm going (seriously, everything in London is so bloody far away from each other!).

Covent Garden

November is often a time for reflection and gratitude. Whilst we don't celebrate Thanksgiving in the UK, I'm glad that part of the holiday has made its way over the pond to us. I think it's natural to want to reflect as the nights get darker and colder, as we look forward to the end of year and the start of another new one. I am always a positive person, but this month I think I have genuinely felt happier and more content than at any other stage of my life. I sometimes have to stop myself from smiling as I walk down the street so people don't think I'm odd.

There is a lot to be grateful for, and I am very lucky in my life. I have a great job which I love, a homely flat full of lovely things, a partner who makes me laugh every day, a wonderful group of friends, a loving family, an adorable cat (even if she does hate me), and a comfortable life where really I do not want for anything. I could skip down the street I'm so happy (but again, people might think I'm odd). Some of those things come from my own hard work, but so many of them are down to luck. I don't want to take a single thing that I have for granted because my cup runneth over, and I know there are many people who are not as happy as me. November has brought this into very sharp relief for me, in one way or another, but it is something to take forward into December and into 2014. If I can continue to be as lucky, I want to continue to be as grateful.

That all got a bit deep - but it genuinely has been the theme of November for me. December's theme is looking like a lot of cocktails and not a lot of sleep but I am very much looking forward to the end of the year, spending time with my friends and family and launching into 2014 with as much enthusiasm as possible.

How was your November?