Call Me Monthly | November

Blog post wise, it's not all that long ago since my October round up, but I've let my blog take a back seat this month (something I never usually let myself do). I'd say it's because I haven't had time, but I have; I've just been spending that time doing other things, which I need to realise is OK. 

If I'm not feeling it then I'm not feeling it and I haven't been feeling it and if you wonder how many times I can fit feeling it into this sentence to ensure it makes as little sense as possible then four would be the correct answer. 

Moving on...

R E A D I N G |  I haven't done a huge amount of reading this month, but I did read Arbitrary and Unnecessary by Daniel Piper, who's actually an old school friend so it feels a bit odd to include his book in a round up because it's like LOL we really are old, he's written a bloomin' book. Anyway, Arbitrary and Unnecessary is a collection of poems (funny ones) about anything and everything, but mainly about growing up and being a twenty-something. It would make an excellent Christmas present if you have any comedy loving giftees. 

L I S T E N I N G  |  I'm about to sound like I'm going through some sort of existential crisis (I'm not), but I've taken to going for long evening walks with my headphones in and more often than not it's been London Grammar keeping me company. Their music is just so beautiful and please can I have her voice? I've started learning some on the piano so if anyone could gift me with a beautiful singing voice to go with it that would be grand.

W A T C H I N G  |  After living under a rock for a coupla years, we finally caught up this month and got Netflix (well, we got the password to my best friend's Netflix anyway). It's a bit overwhelming because there's so much on there I want to watch and have heard good things about, but for now we've started watching Better Call Saul together and I'm watching The Haunting of Hill House by myself because I'm an idiot. I'm not convinced by Better Call Saul yet, but we're persevering because I've heard it gets better.

What did you get up to in November? Also do send any Netflix recommendations my way!

Amy x

Looking After Your House Plants In Winter

If you're subscribed to my newsletter you might wonder why I'm writing this on my blog and not saving it for that, but you may also have noticed that there hasn't been a newsletter in a little while. 

Remember my post about spreading myself rather thinly? I've decided to stop doing that quite so much so for now, Call Me A Plant Lady is on hold, and Call Me Amy is welcoming back my house plant posts.

Winter was always where I struggled with my house plants; they'd end up wilting, sometimes even dying and I'd get frustrated at the lack of growth in the ones that did survive. 

Well, newsflash, house plants don't really grow all that much (if at all) in winter so it's more about keeping them afloat than helping them grow. This means a change in your house plant care routine so I thought I'd share both how I prepare for winter and how I get through it with my house plants alive (famous last words).

O N E  L A S T  R E P O T  |  It's very unlikely that I'll be doing any repotting over winter, as my plants simply won't need it so I always like to gather them all together to check that they're all in the correct sized pots for the months ahead. You should generally be able to tell by looking whether your plant is in the right sized pot or not, but a quick and easy way to tell is to see if there are any roots poking through the bottom of the current one. If there are, it needs a bigger pot.

R E L O C A T I O N  |  During winter, house plants don't get as much humidity or light as they're used to so they'll fare better if they're kept somewhere that gets the sun when it does come out. I also tend to move more plants into my bathroom where they'll benefit from the humidity in there. Obviously both of these points depend on how much light and humidity a plant likes in the first place. Do your research kids and, as with most things house plant related, it could take a little trial and error to find the right place for each plant.

L E S S  W A T E R  |  Technically plants should actually be easier to look after in winter because they need less attention. As a general rule I water my house plants once a week in summer and once every two weeks in winter, although I'll always check whether they actually need water or not before doing so. You can do this by simply looking at the soil, or picking up the pot to feel how heavy it is. Less is certainly more when it comes to watering during winter.

Do you have any extra winter house plant care tips? Let me know!

Amy x

You Don't Need To Be The Best

I've been wondering a lot recently whether I've been spreading myself too thinly. I've always been someone who likes to do a lot of different things and who has a variety of hobbies; this has always meant I'm sort of OK at a fair few things, but not stand out amazing at anything.

The thing is, I like a lot of stuff, and I think that's OK. I'd rather only be OK at a lot of things if it means I get to try all those things. 

I like writing, I like photography, I like music, I like getting crafty, I like editing. I'm not and never will be the best (or possibly any good at all) at any of these things, but I'm certainly not bored and I'm definitely enjoying myself. 

Sometimes we have to step back and realise that life isn't about always 'achieving' (I could probably write a whole separate post on what on earth achieving even means, and maybe I will). Life is about enjoying yourself (yes that's right, I think I've discovered the meaning of life and it is in fact just to have fun. Deep huh?)

On Saturday I attended the Moonpig #merriertogether Christmas party in Leeds, which was a dream for someone like me who likes to try lots of different things. (Read Moonpig's post all about it here.) We made a Christmas wreath, decorated a sack, made cocktails (my attempt at a strawberry mojito during a cocktail making competition earned me the forfeit of a chilli vodka shot - would not recommend) and designed our own Moonpig Christmas cards. Big thanks to Moonpig for having me and for all the goodies (see sack below) I left with!

I wasn't amazing at any of those things, but I tried my best and I had so much fun doing so. 

As someone who is a huge perfectionist, it's quite the paradox to have the realisation that it's OK to not be amazing at everything. I'm never happy with anything I do (a feeling I'm sure fellow perfectionists are familiar with) and even when people assure me that something is good, I assume that they're just being nice.

There's something terrifying about putting yourself, or something you've done, out there when you're not happy with it, but it's also incredibly liberating especially when you realise that actually most things are subjective and the fear that something won't be good enough isn't a reason to not do it. 

Somewhere in this blog post I think my actual point may have got a bit lost, which tends to happen when I let my fingers loose without any direction, so just to reiterate; the point is that it's OK to only be OK. 

They say it's the taking part that counts when you're playing a game and I think that's true of life as well.

Do you like variety?

Amy x

Recent Reads I'd Recommend #3

Well it's been a while since I did a book post hasn't it? I didn't read as much as I'd have liked to over summer, but during the colder months you're much more likely to find me in a cosy corner with a book (either that or watching Ex On The Beach just in case you had the impression that I have any sort of taste).

So, now that we've clarified that I don't have any taste, here are some books I've read recently that I'd recommend...

The Passenger by Lisa Lutz | Without giving too much away, this is the story of a woman on the run from a crime she didn't commit, who in the process of running essentially ends up becoming a criminal. I love books where you're not sure whether to like the main character or not; I certainly empathised with her, but she wasn't a particularly nice person. She was flawed and all the characters were so 'human' in that way. I was completely gripped by this book and finished it in a couple of days.

The Seven Sisters by Lucinda Riley | This book is the first of six in a series and I definitely want to read the others. Six adopted sisters are left with the opportunity to discover where they came from originally when their adoptive father dies and the first in the series follows the story of Maia. Her journey takes her to Brazil and there the plot splits between there and Paris where we find out more about her ancestors. I got so invested in the story of her ancestors that I almost forgot that was only a sub-story and I definitely enjoyed that part more than the main character's. Each of the other books tells the story of another sister and I'm hoping the very last one will tie up some loose ends with regards to the death of the adoptive father.

Our House by Louise Candlish | This is a crime story and I really don't feel like I can explain the plot without essentially giving the whole thing away, which at least explains why the blurb didn't tell me much! It wasn't what I expected, which I was slightly disappointed with at first, but I really got into it. There was a character for me to like and a character for me to hate and the ending was amazing; the was a huge twist at the end that I think I actually gasped out loud at, despite being on a night flight at the time. Whoops.

What have you read recently? Anything I should add to my list?

Amy x

Budget Eats in NYC

If you've been to New York, then you'll know that when I say 'budget' I say it with a pinch of salt, because nothing is really on a budget in New York. However we ate pretty much as cheaply as we could, mainly by avoiding sit down meals where we'd have to tip and opting for takeout or fast food options instead.

Fast food and takeout might not sound appealing to you, but we ate so much amazing food in New York, not all of it unhealthy and I wanted to document where we ate, both so I have a point of reference for if we return and in case any of you are heading there and need recommendations!

I must apologise for the lack of photos in this post; all the food was honestly just so tasty I kept eating it before remembering to get my camera or phone out. I'll just have to hope my words do it justice.


Chelsea Market | I'm kind of gutted we weren't staying nearer Chelsea Market because I would probably have just eaten every meal in there tbh, there's so much choice. We had breakfast from Chai Lait, which did all sorts of things, but I had a matcha smoothie bowl and a matcha latte (matcha overload much?) They have two other locations if you're not near Chelsea.

Andrew's Coffee Shop | We went here purely because it was close to our hotel. It was a proper American diner experience, which I loved about it. It didn't try to be pretty or fancy, it just served good food; I had peanut butter and banana pancakes (yes you read that right, get yourself there now). 

Egghead | The most delicious egg sandwiches to go (mine had avocado in it). Enough said.

Best Bagel & Coffee | When they say best bagel, they really mean best bagel. The bagels are huge and so doughy you can barely see the hole in them. I had a cinnamon and raisin one with cinnamon and walnut cream cheese and now I'm drooling so that's that. I 100% thought this would be a chain, but it turns out the only one is on West 35th Street, which also happened to be where our hotel was.


Egg Shop | Yes I only have one lunch recommendation because we have an awfully bad habit of skipping lunch on holiday. We tend to just get so busy trying to cram a lot of stuff in that we forget or it gets too late. Our final day was a bit more relaxing though and we spent it meandering from Brooklyn through areas we hadn't managed to visit like Soho and Chinatown. 

Handily, halfway back to our hotel was Egg Shop, which I knew about from reading Hannah Gale's food recommendations. I believe it was the priciest meal of our trip because it is a sit down and tip sorta place, but I had the BLT poached eggs on brioche (without the bacon, obviously) and they were the best eggs I've had in my life. The coffee was equally excellent and the cafe itself is super cute so get yourself there if you can!

T E A (dinner if you're Southern OK)

Shake Shack | I mean, obviously. I know they have one in London, but I don't live in or near London  so I've never been. We went to the one in Grand Central Station so got to eat it in beautiful surroundings too. I had some sort of fried mushroom burger and chips with cheese sauce and OH MY is all I have to say about it *drools*.

Neapolitan Express | Most nights we bought food to take back to our hotel room, partly because we were knackered and also because it saved a lot of money. We stumbled upon Neapolitan Express on the way back to our hotel and I'm so glad we did because the pizza was freshly cooked in a pizza oven in front of our eyes and was incredible.

Pennsy Food Hall | This was super close to our hotel so we went to have a nosey one night and ended up buying the healthiest tea we had all week from The Little Beet. They do amazing salad bowls and I had a falafel and sweet potato one which was divine. The Little Beet is a chain so they have various locations across the city too!

Amy x 
New York, NY, USA