With November coming to an end, we are jumping headfirst into the winter months now folks. Goodbye crispy brown leaves, hello freezing your tits off in the car as you wait for the windscreen to defrost.
We say adios to pumpkin spice, and hola to peppermint, baubles, and the pure panic of remembering you are an adult and have to buy people presents. I am a self-confessed lover of all things autumn so the end of November is always a bit bittersweet. Buuuut then I remember December brings me two weeks off work and suddenly I am December’s biggest fan! Let’s stop looking towards December for a moment, and return to looking back on November. Here are my favourites of the month, November 2021 style…
Beauty & Skincare | Hyaluronic Acid
It has taken me long enough but I am finally back on the skincare train! Toot toot folks. With the colder weather creeping in and the upping of the central heating, my skin has really felt the change. When I wake up, my skin is as tight as a drum and my forehead is as flaky as a Tinder date. My hero in these drying times has been hyaluronic acid. Don’t let the ‘acid’ part scare you; it’s not acidic or stripping at all, quite the opposite actually. Hyaluronic acid is all about keeping the face hydrated and locking all that goodness in. It’s a magnet for moisture, if you will!
Once I’ve cleansed and toned my face, I pop a few drops of the hyaluronic acid on my face from the dropper, rub it all in, and then do a few rounds of the quartz roller before applying moisturiser. I don’t think the roller does much beyond cooling my face and relieving my sinuses but it just feels good in the moment. But for a lasting, moisture-lock-in dream, I’m all about the hyaluronic acid. My brand of choice for oils, acids, and serums is The Ordinary. They are a no frills brand where you get the product without any added scents, sulphates or additives. They are also Leaping Bunny approved which means they are fully cruelty-free! The Ordinary, you can get it.
Books & Literature | Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982
The full-throttle reading train that came with having COVID in October has slooooowed right down. But that doesn’t mean it’s fully ground to a halt just yet! I found that making time to read was beneficial to my creative and academic sides of my brain but it also clicked the ‘rest and relax’ button in my noggin. So, I spent many evenings in November gunning to keep a hold of any reading momentum I had. In order to do this, I picked up a book that I’ve read before that I remember loving: Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 by Cho Nam-Joo.
This is a novel that delves into systemic sexism, motherhood, the expectations of women, and struggles with psychosis and mental health. I know that these all sound like heavy topics for a book that is meant to just keep me reading, but it is so so good. What gives this novel its spark is that it is about the every-woman – in fact, Kim Jiyoung could be any woman. The novel itself is short and sharp, and yet manages to be all encompassing. It’s not too late to pop it on your Christmas list.
Style | Autumn Necessities
You know I am all about a killer coat and boots combo for the autumn-winter months. This year, the killer combo features a grey check ankle length coat and the ultimate classic, black Chelsea boots.
I bought this coat last autumn after getting frustrated at the impracticalities of my teal peacoat. Honestly, who puts poppers instead of buttons on a women’s coat?! The coat closes but as soon as you move, the boobs scream ‘release me!’. Anyway, I knew it was time to move on from flashing everyone my outfit as I walked down the street and luckily I fell in love with this coat that was in the New Look sale (here’s the closest current coat I can find!) It has an interior button to keep the coat closed, two on the exterior, and a belt to keep it all together. The pockets are deep, as in ‘deep enough to consider not taking a bag out with me on a day out’ deep. Plus, whilst the coat is patterned, the neutral grey means it works well with any colour or pattern that the rest of my outfit throws at it.
Speaking of neutrals, can we talk about these boots? You cannot go wrong with a pair of black boots; perfect for every occasion. These Chelsea boots are the Taylor Shine from Clarks and are currently being sold for £75. Luckily I had a birthday voucher and a sweet 15% deal, so I found myself walking out with these boots for less than a third of the price. If I can’t get a deal, I don’t want it. Well, I do want it, but I will rarely buy it… But that’s beyond the point. Despite being leather, these boots are easy to slip on and off, and the brown heel offers a classy contrast to the timeless boot. So far, these boots have received gold stars for wearing to work, events, outdoorsy walks, dinner dates, and in their confidence boosting abilities.
Wildcard | Hot Water Bottle
Okay, this wildcard makes me sound like a poor Victorian child or a middle-class yummy mummy, but my wildcard favourite of the month has got to be my hot water bottle. This November, it has been my chronic illness saviour. I had a particularly nasty post-period PCOS flare up this month, which meant I had about nine days of chronic pain on the left side of my uterus, intense swelling, and brain fog. In all honesty, the usual painkillers don’t do anything to help. Buscopan and Codeine help when it gets particularly bad but I can’t rely on them all of the time. For me, heat therapy is what it is aaaaall about. I’ve been cuddling my fluffy hot water bottle in bed, strapping it to myself when I cook, sneaking it under my jumper at work, and even bringing it out in my lectures. It has been my aid to keep me functioning as much as I can, and when it all gets a little too much, it’s always comforting to have a hot water bottle on your lap and pretend it’s a cat.
And with that, November is over. I’ve eaten two of my advent chocolates. I’m fully panicking about Christmas gifts. The oil in the car has been changed ready for the trek up to Scotland for Christmas day. Before you know it, I’ll be kissing my fiancé underneath some fireworks and then it’ll be the year we’re getting married. Isn’t time strange? What have been your favourites this November? I’d love to know!