The advent of October is always magical. There is nothing quite like the charm of Autumn and its associations – rust coloured leaves, moody bordering on spooky vibes, cosy jumpers, knee-high boots. And pumpkins! Social media heaved with the season’s beloved mascot this month as pumpkin patches, PSL drinks and eerie carvings flooded our feeds. I jumped on the festive bandwagon with gusto, decorating our seasonal window display with autumnal flowers, leafy stickers and faux pumpkins (of course)! I embraced the season’s cosy wardrobe (my Reels will testify!), consisting mostly of old staples spiced up with a few new items like this teddy coat.
October 2020 was eventful from start to finish. Storm Alex set in motion a wet and windy month. Cineworld shut down all of its 127 UK venues, evoking a strange sadness in me. I associate it with my early UK days watching brilliant movies like The Dark Knight, Avatar and Shutter Island at Glasgow Cineworld on student prices of just £2.50. Across the pond, Trump got coronavirus in the tumultuous build-up to the American elections. Back home in Bangladesh, people took to the streets to protest against an alarming surge in sexual violence against women, culminating in the government introducing the death penalty as a punishment for rape (a knee jerk reaction if you ask me but that’s a discussion for another day).
We spent all of October waiting for the axe (read: lockdown) to fall. A regime of regional lockdown was introduced in the UK, carving it up like a three-tiered cake. One by one, governments across Europe started reintroducing strict measures to control the second wave that had gathered speed with shocking momentum. Talks of a short, sharp ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown was dangled over our heads all month.
On 16th October, London went into Tier 2 of the coronavirus alert system, banning people from different houses from mixing indoors (Tier 1 could meet up to 6 people indoors, Tier 3 couldn’t mix at all). The dos and donts of this limbo life got so confusing that they sparked household debates, prompting Nizar to confidently (and wrongly) argue what was and wasn’t allowed. Only to concede that he just didn’t know anymore.
The looming threat of lockdown spurred us into maximising our weekends. Almost every restaurant we visited asked us to ‘check in’ before entering. No, not on Facebook, although that would have been a novelty back in 2010, but on the NHS Test and Trace app. I downloaded it last month after receiving a letter from the local council advising me to do so. I didn’t know what to expect from it but I certainly did not anticipate being bombarded with erratic notifications that consisted of one of two things: 1) local covid alert levels and 2) warnings of ‘possible exposure’. Neither translated into anything useful. I hear that its been updated recently so that might explain why I am no longer getting useless notifications. The main purpose of the app is to alert people when they have been near an infected individual which is crucial in the long fight against covid. Despite my misgivings about the app’s efficiency and usefulness, I check in diligently and hope for the best.
Masks and social distancing markers dont faze me anymore but some public signs still catch me off guard. I was on the DLR the other day when I saw two huge signs alerting locals to high covid infection levels in the area. Watching the ad boards flash up against the East London skyline (think tall glass buildings) gave me a very Hunger Games like feeling. It felt too dystopian to digest, even for 2020.
This month, Covid came scarily close as my in-laws in Dhaka tested positive. My Chacha Shoshur had to be hospitalised. By the grace of Allah, he recovered and was able to return home after a few days. This experience made me appreciate how lucky we have been in dodging the virus when it was at its deadliest. It is one thing to hear about people falling ill, its entirely different when its your loved in a hospital bed. Luck has worked in our favour thus far but it does make me think of all those who have not been so lucky.
I hit some notable milestones in my blogging journey this month. I finally reached the coveted 10k mark (hello if you landed here from Swipe Up :D). I got my first ARC (Advance Reading Copy) from a UK publisher which cemented my status as a bookstagrammer (at least in my head). I also bagged some writing opportunities that makes me want to jump in joy. I did multiple collaborations with brands like @diormakeup, @halalfreshuk, @RefillHQ and @WorldRemit. After spending two and a half years trying to grow this little corner of the internet, I feel excited and happy with each new opportunity that comes my way.
A bit of Unsolved Mysteries Season 2. Some of Borat. A lot of Friends. We just cannot seem to move past the familiarity and comic relief that Friends so diligently delivers.
Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton was the perfect October read. As I holed up one whole weekend racing to get to the bottom of the fantastically twisted murder mystery, Storm Alex lashed our windows, rewarding me with a 5D reading experience. Some might deem the plot to be a bit too complicated but me, I love twisted plots and chasing them to their climax. That rush of adrenaline when the knots come undone – uff! I live for it. If you are anything like me, and love a clever whodunnit, add this to your TBR. NOW.
I also read Brown Baby, which was kindly sent to me by @bluebirdbooksforlife, an imprint of @panmacmillan. Read my review on IG.
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Potty training is hard you guys! We have officially started climbing this steep hill and its not been a smooth ride. Aryan understands the concept but cant really express or assert himself in a timely fashion. He knows that its a big deal (he appreciates my loo trips with a ‘Good Job Mummy!) and exclaims in joy after each successful excursion (‘I did it!’). I would have waited a bit longer if it wasn’t for his super keen daycare teachers. Summiting Mount PT will not happen overnight, that’s for sure.
Shopping underpants for Aryan made me realise how quickly my baby is growing. It boggles my mind when he comes up to me and strikes a full-fledged conversation.
‘What you doing Mummy?’
‘I am working Ary.’
‘Oh, that’s right!’
It rained so much in October that Ary took it upon himself to remark on the weather every morning (so typically British, lol). As soon as we pulled back the curtains, he would have to confirm the weather with a ‘Oh its raining!’ or, on rare occasions: ‘Look Mummy! No rain!.’ Among his toddler obsessions are towing cars and pretend plays with scary things (little bugs, imaginary dinosaurs and lions). He was immensely geared up for Halloween so its a shame that we couldn’t do much this year.
I eagerly read all the observations posted by his day-care teachers on the Parent Zone app but this one below made me bawl my eyes out. It surely deserves a mention in my digest!
Recipe on Repeat
I have strayed away from cooking this month and spent way too much on food delivery. Forced myself back into it by making this One Pot Greek Chicken and Lemon Rice that I have mentioned multiple times on the blog. Many of you have been making it and loving it too!
October is Black History Month UK so I used it as an excuse to buy more books on my TBR. I wanted to shop with a black owned business and I chose Afrori Books. I got one fiction (My Sister, the Serial Killer: by Oyinkan Braithwaite) and one non fiction (Natives : Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire by Akala). Akala has rave reviews and few pages in, I can totally see why.
We are hunkering down for Lockdown Season 2.0, finally declared on the very last day of October. Things look ‘bumpy’ to Christmas and beyond. For now, I am just counting down to Costa and Starbucks festive drinks. I have a feeling that I’ll be relying heavily on them to survive the next 4 weeks at home. November will no doubt be news-packed in the run up to the American elections. Here’s hoping festive season isn’t entirely cancelled this year.