Something a little different this time… for my latest Things I’m Loving This Month I decided to do a round-up of what I loved throughout 2023:
Japanese words, YouTube relaxation videos, autumn TV dramas – and much, much more.
So in 2023, the Best of the Blogosphere series was reborn as Things I’m Loving This Month, and I’m so glad it was… it meant I could include much more than just what I’ve read/seen/watched in blogs or social media. I’ll always include those things of course, but when there’s a TV show that you’re just dying to tell everyone about (Reacher =cough cough=), then it’s nice to have the freedom to include anything and everything.
[Reading time: 4 mins – excluding time reading links]
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I hope 2023 was kind to you, and if not, then I hope 2024 will be. Let’s focus on the positive wherever we can, and if that means taking the time to enjoy binge-watching that amazing TV series, learning beautiful Japanese words or reading/watching a fabulous RomCom or two then I say GO FOR IT. Make this year the year you focus on what makes you happy.
What are you now loving too, or what did you discover that you loved to the ends of the earth and back in 2023? Comment below…!
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In 2023 I loved (I mean I REALLY loved)…
1. My new blog design, being back writing again and all the talk about a blogging renaissance. A new design for NDAL was long overdue considering my return to blogging back in the summer, and so many of us are either sick of the Instagram algorithm, deleting Twitter (X) or tired of Facebook that it only makes sense that we go back to doing what we all did best back in the day. Blogging FTW, I say.
2. How Ellie Goldstein was the first model with Down’s syndrome to appear on the cover of British Vogue looking stunning.
3. The Blue Cross’s ramped-up campaign to end greyhound racing for good, known as the Cut the Chase Coalition. As a greyhound mum, I’m a THOUSAND per cent in favour of these beautiful dogs being house pets only because the greyhound racing industry is horrifically cruel (244 dogs died or were put to sleep due to their participation in greyhound racing over the last year, and there were 4,354 injuries/source: The Dogs Trust). British residents can sign the petition to end greyhound racing here (and if you’re not in the UK please do look for one in your own country, if relevant)… and thank you, from the bottom of my (greyhound-shaped) heart. #PetsNotBets
4. The wondrous writings of Lizzie, a new-ish but traditional blogger. In her post Raggedy Ash she talks about her favourite tree: “The first time I approached the enigmatic Raggedy Ash, my eagerness to find my very own deciduous mentor was surely clanging like a cow bell, sounding the approach of a muddle-headed mystic in search of a trunk to hug”. Beautiful writing.
5. The movies Barbie, Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One, Extraction 2 and Love At First Sight. I absolutely loved all of them and are the films I’ll remember from 2023.
6. The unashamedly romantic comedy debut novel The Accidental Imposter by Amber Eve, known to many as blogger Forever Amber. I bloody LOVED it because if you know Amber’s blog writing and how good a storyteller she is, you’ll get why it’s so good. I got book 2 in the series, The Accidental Actress, for my birthday and loved that too (I got books 3 and 4 for Christmas). Book one was described as a “laugh-out-loud romantic comedy” and I have to say I’m in 100% agreement with that.
7. Beautifully romantic, new-to-me (and often non-English) words, like komorebi (Japanese), meaning “Sunlight leaking through trees, the beauty and wonder of light rays dappling through overhead leaves”. This word and more are beautifully illustrated in Iris’s wonderous nature-driven Instagram account. See also apricity, cynefin and gluggaveður.
8. The BBC series Detectorists (it’s several years old but rose in popularity last year I think because it was released on Netflix). I CANNOT RECOMMEND THIS HIGHLY ENOUGH. Do not be put off by the fact that it’s about metal detecting, of all things. We haven’t watched anything funnier, more character-driven, more beautifully filmed, more binge-worthy or as well-written in ages. My one-sentence review would be “A wonderfully charming, subtly hilarious ode to the beautiful English countryside and the characters in it”.
9. Charity shop, secondhand and preloved shopping. Last year I vowed to do more of this instead of buying new and have really enjoyed my charity shop trips – can’t wait to discover more finds in 2024.
10. Hours-long YouTube videos of relaxing, AI-generated art with soothing sounds, retro synth music or relaxing jazz. Over Christmas we discovered some smooth jazz Christmas/winter scenes, and we also loved this abstract coloured liquids video, this rabbit hole infinite zoom animation and this back to the 80’s synthwave electro music – all designed as screensavers for digital TVs. They’re all so good for background noise and cool visuals.
11. Becoming a fully-fledged hedgehog mum. I have to feed the hedgehog every night (I say “the” hedgehog: there are at least three or more that visit the garden as that’s the most we’ve seen at any one time), clean out their feeding stations that we built and make sure the garden is hedgehog friendly. Their numbers are rapidly declining in the UK so anything we can do to help them is good.
12. The Amazon Prime series Reacher. We saw the first season and loved it, and Season 2 (released only a few weeks ago) is equally as brilliant. Forget the Tom Cruise version of Jack Reacher, this guy is the Hulk-sized version just as the character was written (in the books by Lee Child).
13. This recipe for roasted broccoli and cauliflower. The cold weather made me think I should be back to roasting stuff again, and I have been. Although I often roast veg I tend not to include broccoli or cauli for some reason(?). This recipe should be called roasted BROCCAULI ba-dum-tss (this recipe includes parmesan, garlic and breadcrumbs). Yum.
14. The best (and funniest) “tiny face” makeup by MUA Allan Avendaño. He’s laughing, I’m laughing, you’re laughing, we’re all laughing.
15. Autumn TV dramas, namely The Long Shadow on ITV (about the investigation into the Yorkshire Ripper murders in the late 1970s). You might need subtitles on because the accents are thick and they mumble a lot, but it was brilliant. Plus we loved Season 1 of Vigil on BBC with Suranne Jones and have downloaded Season 2 to watch (no spoilers please). And I discovered Manifest (which started in 2018 and wrapped up in 2023) about the passengers on a commercial airliner which suddenly reappeared after they’d been presumed dead for five years. That, along with Dead To Me with the wonderful Christina Applegate, were my binge-watches of 2023.
16. The holy grail of fake freckles makeup: the Freckles Printing pad and brush set. Ermahgerd it’s too good and gives me a face full of freckles in seconds.
17. These “Power of Styling” reels by Rita. These videos are so simple but so clever. They prove how great style is all about how you wear it (with accessories and the way you style things, e.g. tucking tops in or rolling up sleeves and cuffs), not what you wear. Not only that but she’s nowhere near a size zero, proving you don’t have to have model proportions to make clothes look amazing.
18. This blog post featuring 9 reader comments on kindness. A lovely follower of mine on Instagram forwarded it to me and oh my goodness there are some great stories in there.
19. The Colour Walk at London’s Spitalfields every third Thursday of the month – how come I only learned about this last year?! It’s a “gathering of creative people who love colour and dressing up.” Watch the artist Sue Kreitzman (herself a devotee of colour) talk about the Colour Walk… it’s glorious.
20. These slider slippers which are the most comfortable things on my feet ever. Over the course of last year I bought three pairs (I managed to get one pair from a charity shop). They really help with all the leg and feet pain I’ve had recently because they’re like walking on foam: just heaven.
And my favourite Not Dressed As Lamb posts in 2023?
You What Now? I Have No Idea What These 10 Modern Things Are (“It was just sort of… THERE one day. And eventually I thought to myself, what IS Bitcoin, exactly? Do I need it? Will it affect my life?”)
Pandemic-Related Life Struggles and Why I Neglected the Blog (“It was as if the very reasons that I started blogging were slowly and gradually being taken away from me and I’d been left scrambling around wondering where they’d gone”)
7 Stupid or Embarrassing Things I Did As a Kid (“Mum did the =ahem= “right thing” by RUNNING AWAY, pissy child in tow”)
Thank you for reading – this series will be back at the end of January as the usual monthly offerings! xoxo
Linking up to… Monday: Stylish Monday (second Monday of the month), Inspire Me Monday, My Glittery Heart, On Mondays We Link Up || Tuesday: Style With a Smile, Trend Spin/Walking in Memphis in High Heels, Turning Heads Tuesday, Confident Twosday, Happy Now Blog Link Up || Wednesday: WowOnWednesday || Thursday: Chic & Stylish, Ageless Style Linkup (third Thursday of the month), || Friday: Neverending Style, Fancy Friday, On the Edge