things I’ve found solace in lately | april

Life has been beyond hectic lately. I’m sure come October time I will go into more detail on my life lately and what the past year has brought about for me, but for now I’m looking for every and any distractions available to me. I’m so grateful for anything light I can seek a little solace in and as usual always think of instantly sending it to all my loved ones. Naturally, they usually don’t ‘get it’ and most the time just get outright annoyed with my pestering and don’t bother looking (yeah, I’m looking at you bearded boyfriend). To that end, I like to turn it out to you guys and hopefully you’ll find something you like too.

this post As a knitter myself, this was really entertaining and on-point for me. It had some more serious points which I think are really on the mark but it also hit some humorous notes which I really enjoyed.

This video of Never Fear Truth Art by Johnny Depp, with him discussing it in a very raw, candid way is soooo inspiring. I have always loved him as an actor but watching him in interviews is so telling of who he is behind all the characters he portrays. He’s such a natural creative and really quite a beautiful soul I think. We all know he’s been put through the ringer lately so watching and seeing him in this capacity is really quite beautiful. I also loved this short clip too, of him discussing his long friendship with Tim Burton.

-After reading Best Wishes, Warmest Regards I went on a bit of a tangent and listened to so many podcasts that Dan Levy appeared on, one of which was David Tennant Does a Podcast With…. While there haven’t been any new episodes with guests since late 2020, I’ve been absolutely loving going back through the episodes and listening here and there. Obviously I loved the Dan Levy one but I’ve also really enjoyed the Catherine Tate, Olivia Colman, and Jim Parsons episodes too. I think Olivia Colman is such a delightful person and so enjoyed listening to her bond with David Tennant.

-writing… getting back into a routine of writing daily has really helped my mental health. Whether it be journalling or using prompts, or even just writing morning pages or a stream of consciousness; it has helped me a lot and I have found so much comfort in that recently. I’m hoping it’s something I can maintain as time goes on. My life is becoming increasingly chaotic so I think it’s something I’d really find helpful to continue as part of my everyday routine.

-I’ve always loved the content that Vogue’s Youtube channel churn out but I especially love their Inside Home… videos. I loved their Hamish Bowles one, he’s such a fascinating character to me and I love how maximalist his home is. It’s a true representation of such a full, colourful life. I also really enjoyed the ones they did on Karl Lagerfeld’s French home and Iman & David Bowie’s one too. What I love also is how they highlight sentimental objects in their home and the stories behind them, which is quite special.

-I loved this article-rant about people-pleasing on the Frankie magazine website. Frankie is one of my absolute favourites and I love all the writers, photographers, contributors, etc. It’s just such a beautifully curated publication. I also adore their penchant for all things colourful and crafty, often with a touch of whimsy -like these charming felt frogs (honestly I’ve swooned over these guys so much since discovering them through Frankie) and these really cool knits. I have a digital subscription to Frankie magazine and as you can tell, love everything about them but do check out their website too. They always have such great, uplifting content that can always bring a smile to ones face!

I should probably wrap it up there or this could grow a bit too long.

Cheerio for now!

What a Digital Detox Taught Me

Way back, at the beginning of 2019 actually, I took part in what I can only describe as a digital detox. I had already deactivated my Facebook account months beforehand and had felt incredibly light since scrubbing that from my brain. The difference I felt in my mind and brain power after deactivating it was insane to me. I couldn’t believe it and so, I wanted to extend that to other areas too.

Since then I have done numerous digital detoxes. I typically do them whenever I feel overwhelmed and also, whenever I’m realistically able to do one. When I say digital detox I don’t exactly mean avoidance of digital devices. I still have my phone, my computer and tv but I delete my social media apps (no insta, YouTube, etc), my tv is only for a specific amount of time in the evening, and my computer is restricted to work and emails -no browsing anything online that could influence me. The only apps that I still use on my phone is audible and Spotify, which are where I listen to a lot of my podcasts and audiobooks. So it’s not an entire detox and some would probably say that I’m cheating but it’s important to be realistic and as a housebound Spoonie, I don’t think I could commit to a full detox at this time.

Having done a few of these detoxes now, usually for a few weeks at a time, I wanted to share some things that I’ve learnt from them. Some of these are quite obvious and then others really surprised me. Even just the experience of it and how clear my mind seems during a detox is amazing and something I would recommend everyone do at some point.

How much damn time I spend on meaningless apps

I always knew I spent far too long on apps like instagram and YouTube, even apps like Pinterest and Tumblr I could spend hours on. They’re like rabbit holes into the digital abyss that would take up so much of my time and before I know it an hour or so is gone and I really need to get sh!t done. By taking all those apps away, it made it all the more evident how much of my day is eaten up by mindless scrolling – it was an eyeopener! So much so that when I did finally have my apps back it made me more mindful of my use of social media and how long I spend on there.

Facebook doesn’t contribute anything to my life

While I had somewhat realised this before the detoxes, it became ever more obvious to me as time went on. Throughout the detoxes, I kept thinking about how I use social media apps and the roles each of them play in my life. I realised very quickly that Facebook just doesn’t contribute to my life. For people like my mom and her friends, its a way for them to keep up to date with one another’s lives even if they don’t have the time to physically see one another. For me, it became more burdensome. I’d be tagged in meaningless videos and status’ that really didn’t bring anything to my life, or if they did it was a more negative tone. I’d feel like I had to comment or acknowledge the tagged posts in some way, even if I didn’t like them which would feel tiresome but at the same time I didn’t want to be rude so it also felt somewhat fake.

Now I know this perhaps sounds very ‘first world problems’ and just outright rude of me, feeling burdened by having to comment to friends and families online, but I just realised that I much prefer seeing people. By not being involved on the Facebook scene I’m far more present when I do spend time with them and I really love that. When I ask about their trip away, I enjoy seeing how their face lights up that I remember and I’m interested in them and their experience. They usually pull out their phone and show me photos of what they’re talking about and telling me their funny encounters, etc. It’s far more fulfilling for me then swiping through and simply ‘liking’ them.

Instagram inspires me but also burdens me

I think there’s different ways in which people tend to use instagram, I have friends who use it in a very social way but for me it’s a little different. I follow a lot of independent businesses, especially those with a sustainable initiative and I absolutely love following activists and keeping in touch with the different ways in which they are striving the change this world. I find these figures so incredibly inspiring but while I love this kind of content, too much of it can be overwhelming; especially if something particularly poignant is happening in the social sphere such as the death of Sarah Everard. Instagram was inundated with posts of advice and ‘what to do’s’, and there was so much conversation around this topic that needed to happen. I know personally that this event and these posts conjured so many open conversations with my boyfriend. Quite often he would send me a post he’d seen with his thoughts which would open up a discussion about it. While I loved this and to my mind these conversations are how we will change society, it can get a lot. Every so often I find instagram too much and I need to take a time out. It’s not that I don’t want to interact or stay up to date with things, and I still care about whatever’s happening at that given time, but I also need to take time out to help my own mental health and I think that’s okay.

How valuable time is

Now it’s a bit of a cliché but digital detoxes have really taught me how precious time is. I’m not talking about time in the grand scheme of things but the little chunks of time. Those 10 or 20 minutes of scrolling here and there throughout the day when you’re on a break at work or between jobs or chores, etc. Those moments all add up and can make quite a sizeable chunk when you really think about it. I didn’t realise this until I scrubbed social media from my routine for the detoxes. Instead I’d spend those little moments doing other things like getting fresh air with the dogs in the garden, reading a few pages of a book, practising some mindfulness or even just doing a little bit of knitting. I noticed not only the difference in my time but also how that time spent elsewhere contributed to my mental health. It was refreshing to sit outside with the dogs, even when it was the colder months and I really loved those moments of stillness in practising mindfulness (the daily calm tracks with Tamara Levitt on the Calm app are godsends to me).

How many important tasks I can complete instead of being on my phone

This one is somewhat linked to the one above. It’s all too easy to get distracted by our phones and let the important tasks slip by. They don’t even have to be important but even chores and little things that need doing but all too often stack up until you need a full-on chore day. Instead of browsing my apps, I got into the the routine of doing a task off my list with a podcast or audiobook on. One of my favourite chores to do is set up my stall and try do some ironing while I have an audiobook on. I can enjoy the book while ticking a thing off my to-do list -which never would have happened had I still been sucked into all my apps.

While I know this list is by no means ground-breaking, I do hope that it gives you something to think about and maybe even inspire you to try your own digital detox. Everyone is different and uses technology in their own individual ways, especially since so many had to work from home during the pandemic, so be realistic if you want to try one and don’t be too hard on yourself.

Let me know your thoughts or your experience if you’ve tried a digital detox before.

Cheerio for now!

Three Books by Nikita Gill

Nikita Gill is one of the first modern poets who’s work I delved into when I first started getting into poetry. I remember seeing some of her work online years ago but it weren’t until I read Wild Embers that I really became entranced by her words. As I’ve mentioned here before, I got into poetry during the very beginning of the pandemic, when the world stopped and emotionally I just felt numb; and consequently didn’t know what to do with myself. Nikita Gill’s Wild Embers: Poems of rebellion, fire and beauty served as a welcome distraction and so I escaped into a new world of modern poetry.

I wanted to share a few books by Gill that I’ve read and fell in love with over the past couple of years

Wild Embers Poems of rebellion, fire and beauty

As I mentioned above, this was my first experience of Gill’s work: a collection of both poetry and prose. There’s a strong sense of validation and empowerment to her work. The language is both gentle and fierce, charged with so much emotion whether it be recognition, anger, rage, love, empowerment… I could go on. I also think her choice of words works beautifully in this work as it’s lyrical and there’s a musicality to the language which is incredibly moving at times. I love the themes she uses, especially those of rebellion and revolution; they definitely light that fire in you which is such a powerful thing. I also really appreciate Gill’s comparisons to nature and universe, an ongoing tool she’s also used in her other works, and how it relates to our acceptance and growth in personal ways. I think I’d characterise this work as very much ‘self-care-poetry‘: I cannot tell you how much solace and comfort that it brought me.

I had such a huge appreciation for her revisited, or should I say rewritten, fairytales and goddesses in her writing. She slightly changes the classic tales from mythology and princesses to show them in a feminist light and highlight how toxic society can be – which was so refreshing and truly enjoyable to read. I hate to leave this section on a bad note but my only little niggle was the fact that it was slightly repetitive in areas. Rather than a growing development and ‘journey’ through the different themes, it became tiresome as it flipped back and forth and dwelled on some of them. Ultimately though, I would say that this is a great first read to test the waters with Gill’s work and I’d definitely recommend it to any avid poetry reader or poet themselves.

Where Hope Comes From: Poems of Resilience, Healing, and Light

This is Gill’s most recent book off poetry and my second read of her work. Written as the world went into lockdown, there’s strong themes of loneliness and mental health throughout it. I found it incredibly poignant as it explores so many emotions that we, as a collective society, experienced to such extremes through this period of time. It explored the moments of isolation, fear and despair, hopelessness and hurt, depression and darkness, and anxiety and exhaustion. As I mentioned previously Nikita Gill’s work always seems to have strong imagery of the universe throughout, but this book also included imagery of constellations and the universe which was a nice change. I think the majority of us had a tough time through the lockdowns especially the very beginning of the pandemic, however I think even if you had an easy time and breezed through it, you’d be hard pressed not to feel touched and emotional from Gill’s work depicting this time. I personally found it a bit too much at times. I read this as they started to slowly ease our third lockdown and while there seemed to be light at the end of the tunnel, it definitely didn’t feel like we were out of the woods; so at times I had to put the book down for awhile to recharge before I could continue on.

I only had a few issues with this book. While I did find it inspirational and it created a sense of hope and optimism towards the end, at times it was a bit too spiritual and godly for my liking but I wouldn’t say this ruined my reading of the book as a whole. Also I’d say sometimes it read more so as affirmations than poetry which, while still powerful, wasn’t what I expected or wanted from this book.

Your Heart is the Sea

This is the most recent book of Gill’s work that I have read. I found it quite a cathartic read as it definitely explores a lot of wounds and trauma, especially that of mental health. I felt as though it took me to the darker, more damaged parts of myself and then gave me safe and more comforting words to heal. I definitely felt like this book was more of a journey than the other books above. It had a bit more melancholy to it and was very much a ‘wallow-hollow’; which looking back felt as though it tore you down to build you back up. Having said this, there’s a connection through the trauma and turmoil that these poems explore which I think many could relate to. It deals themes such as trauma, healing, self-care and hope so I think it would appeal to a wider range of readers, across all age-groups.

This book is split into eight sections, The Anguish, The Descent, The Acceptance, The Defiance, The Survival, The Worship, The Wonder, and The Beginning, which makes it a bit easier to pick up and put down as and when you need to. Gill also draws on the classic Greek Gods and mythology in The Worship section of this book too, such as Narcissus, the Minotaur, Athena & Medusa, Orpheus & Eurydice, etc, which is a nice layer to the book. Overall, I loved this book. The language was simple but used with such weighty subject matters and themes that it felt like an extremely profound experience. I think the simplicity of Nikita Gill’s language too adds to an effortless effect; it hits all the right notes without trying.

While I loved all of the books above, and no doubt will return to them at some point, I think Wild Embers was my favourite of Gill’s work so far however, that is probably more so to do with where we all were with the pandemic and how that started my love of modern poetry at the time. I look back on it fondly and even now still have a flick through it’s pages occasionally, reading a piece here and there. I’d recommend any of these works, or any of her other works too – she is truly talented!

Have you read any of these books? What did you think?

Cheerio for now!

((If you are a Nikita Gill fan, I’d recommend you listen to her as a guest on the Saturn Returns with Caggie Podcast, hosted by Caggie Dunlop. I love the podcast anyway but listening to Nikita Gill talk about poetry as a form of self-expression and how you can create beautiful things through your more painful experiences was so inspiring. I’d definitely recommend you give it a listen)).

Things I’ve found solace in lately | pt. 5

While there’s moments when life feels ‘back to normal‘, I find myself feeling in flux still. I’ve enjoyed seeing and catching up with friends again (safely) and I’m so looking forward to the festive season beginning but I’m also enjoying having those safe moments in the comfort of my own home and just chilling out. Maybe it’s the November version of me – I always seem to hibernate a little during November as a way of trying to build up some energy and enjoy the peace before the madness of Christmas begins. It’s a moment of rest and serenity for me although, it is usually littered with a few Christmas shopping trips or some ‘brainstorming‘ for gifts. In these moments of rest I’ve really been enjoying my more creative hobbies/past-times so I wanted to share a few of my favourites with you lovely lot.

Colouring books – Without sounding like a total kid, when it came to my birthday I asked for quite a few colouring books. I really enjoy popping on a podcast or something on audible and colouring for an hour or two. It’s so peaceful and relaxes me so much that I really lent into that when it came to my boyfriend wanting present ideas. He got me a Twilight one (team Edward foreverrr!) and a Schitts Creek one. I love both of them and they’re great additions to the ones I have on my shelf too -like Gilmore Girls, Game of Thrones, and Tim Burton. As it happens, my mother also got me a Beetlejuice one which was such a surprise -I’m a bit of a darker one when it comes to my favourite films so I’m shocked she would even know what to look for.

knit kits – I found a real love of knitting during the pandemic. I learnt years ago but never found the time to pursue the craft properly and then an international pandemic came along and helped me out. I spent most of 2020 knitting, even knitting at least one thing for everyone in my life for Christmas, and now it’s got to the point where I feel a little lost if I’m not working through a project at any given time. In all honesty, I’m usually knitting items for other people so this year there’s been a few things on my list to knit for myself. Lauren Aston does some incredible knit kits, some of which I have done already but I listed some on my Wishlist and was lucky enough to receive the Santa hat one from my boyfriends parents. I have actually done this one before but I did it for my mom and knew I wanted one for myself but never got around to doing it. So after receiving this gem, I stuck on a Christmas film (during Halloween, might I add) and got to knitting it, with hot chocolate to hand too.

Last Christmas I actually made a point of knitting something for almost everyone in my life, which was insanely hectic. Although, I’m not making that commitment this year, I will no doubt be enjoying knitting a few bits leading up to and over the Christmas period… I would actually love to share a few things I’ve knitted with you all so stay tuned for that!

Books! I’ve been spending a lot of time reading lately. Whether it be through audible or curling up with an actual book, I’ve really enjoyed it lately. I think the cooler weather really stirs up the need and desire to just immerse myself into fictional places. I’ve also really been diving into my reading list lately as I completed my Goodreads reading challenge during October and while it was lovely it felt a little disheartening. I should’ve done it far higher. I made my challenge for 36 books for 2021, thinking that 3 books at month will be a challenge -I should say that I think I made it a lower number because I was reading chunkier books at the time like those by George. R. R. Martin. I have since edited it to 45 but I’m already 4 books ahead of schedule and it’s early November as I write this so I think next year I’ll have to take the plunge and just go for the full 50! Anyway, because of all these contributing factors I have been absolutely loving my books lately. The books I’ve been reading will appear on my end of year roundup and no doubt, you’ll see a few reviews here soon.

What have you been enjoying lately? Let me know

Cheerio for now!

things I’ve found solace in | pt. 4

I know I haven’t been around these parts lately but I’m hoping that will improve soon. Life has been so crazy lately and there are so many great things that have kept me going but for now I just wanted to share these few bits below.

This piece by Daniel José Older. I came across it through a Skillshare course and have been returning to it on a regular basis since. The idea of showing up and having to write is one I’ve struggled with at times, and definitely felt as though I’m forcing something. This piece goes on to state how if we do this, we’re ultimately doing a disservice to ourselves. We’re not living, observing and experiencing all those wonderful things that ultimately inspire our writing. I personally loved this piece and will forever return to it.

This video was somehow recommended to me and I absolutely love it. The shots are incredibly beautiful and Laura’s voice is so calming, you can’t help but feel at peace watching it. Wild swimming is something I really want to get into so it’s definitely given me a boost to look at some local spots I can try this out at.

This tour with Rajiv Surendra’s apartment felt like a tour of his soul – so damn beautiful. What struck me throughout the video was that, while everything he owns is incredibly beautiful and well-made, it is also functional and serves its purpose. A lot of the items in his home are handmade by either himself or someone else, either a friend or individuals he has outsourced in his desire to get his hands on something. He referred to himself as a butcher-baker-candlestick maker at one point which really tickled me but is so on the mark when you observe his living space. I’m a huge believer that our living arrangements say so much about a person. Rajiv’s definitely illustrates the thoughtful, organised and beautiful soul that he is. I absolutely love how everything is his home is thought out. He recalls multiple stories where he has outsourced a company or individual to hand-make an item he’s trying to find -which I adore the concept of working closely with artisans to get exactly what you desire. I cannot recommend this video enough. I will also be living by the saying we’re too poor to buy cheap things from here on out.

I hope you get a chance to check out some of the above, they really are great. I have a few things lined up for this space so hopefully all goes well and we’ll chat soon. I hope you’re well.

Cheerio for now!

Books I’ve Loved Lately

The pandemic really reignited my love for reading and I’ve been trying to keep it up while the world has been opening back up. I have been keeping a log of everything that I’ve read this year, and will probably do a round up or ‘best of’ post at the end of the year, but for now I thought I’d just let you know about a couple that I have really loved.

No Shame, Tom Allen

This book was hilarious. Just all out amazing-greatness-hilariousness. Now Tom Allen is pretty new to me. Having seen him on a programme last Christmas and cried with laughter multiple times, I loved him so much and had to see more of him. I then heard him on a few of the podcasts me and my Bearded-Boyfriend listen to, and just became so smitten with all things Tom Allen.

Now if you don’t know who Tom Allen is, I urge you to google or search him on YouTube. He is not your average male. He is dapper. In his uniform of three piece suits he is always put together like something you’d see on men in photos from the roaring twenties not in suburban London. This book is a very frank memoir with the chapters serving as vignettes of parts of his life, especially those from his early life and when he was coming to age.

When I was 16 I dressed in Victorian clothing in a bid to distract people from the fact that I was gay. It was a flawed plan.

Tom Allen

The book is sectioned into chapters which are labelled Driving, Working, etc; all of which come in heavy with the anecdotes. They are witty and sharp, honest and hysterical but also heartbreaking at times. He bears all in this book, even writing it in a fast and personable way rather than mimicking the narration style of some academic scholar with long-winded accounts. It’s a very accessible book to read or listen to -I actually downloaded it on audible too after I heard a sample of him narrating it himself. While I do highly recommend getting your hands on a couple, the audiobook just brings so much more colour to it. The timing of which he narrates it and accents he puts on just adds so much to the experience.

Intimations: Six Essays, Zadie Smith

This little book is a collection of essays from a pretty hefty time in history. I wouldn’t call them essays, more so reflections or vignettes of a moment in time. They all relate to the beginning and surge of Covid and how we, humanity as a whole, got through some of that. Smith explores some of the mundanity of life and the stillness most of us were engulfed in. While the humdrum subject matters in here seem wearisome, Smith details them in such an intimately powerful way. She muses about the unprecedented events in a way that now on (somewhat) the other side of them, gives the reader a lot to think about and reflect on.

What I’ve tried to do is organise some of the feelings and thoughts that events, so far, have provoked in me, in those scraps of time the year itself has allowed

Zadie Smith, 31 May 2020

I enjoyed this book so much. I must say this was my first book I had read by Zadie Smith on the recommendation of a friend. It was a welcome reprieve from a lot of anxiety and uncertainty as the covid statistics started to rise over winter. It is also the perfect little size to fit in my bag and for that reason it came everywhere with me; I often found myself dipping in and out of it for a moment of calm. I would recommend this for any reader, not just for the moments of reflection but also just for posterity. I now have a small collection of books that have come out post-covid that I will definitely refer back to when I’m talking about covid; this being one of them.

Within these four walls, mindfully Evie

This book is not necessarily one piece of work but rather a collection of eloquent pieces of poetry, prose, letters and journal entries tied together beautifully around the theme of self-discovery, healing and growth. They exude a resilience that I think really speaks to a lot of people like myself who suffer from chronic illnesses, which I would say is the central topic of this book. As the author herself puts it;

Spanning over nearly three years this book is a testament to my time being housebound and proof that despite all the suffering, there is always happiness to be created, peace to be unearthed, and a life to be live‘.

The books has three sections to it: The Storm, The Aftermath and The Calm. It also has an extra chapter called A Conversation with Wisdom. Each section holds such a selection of writing, from the wisdom in some pieces to the thoughtful and reflective pieces in another; all oozing powerful emotions in such an articulate way.

Now, I did really love this book but I will say that this is definitely one you pick up every so often and I wouldn’t recommend reading it all at once like other poetry collections I’ve read in the past. As I type this, I do wonder whether this is purely because of my own emotional and physical journey with my chronic health or if the pieces would stick with someone else in the same way. What I mean by this is, sometimes Evie’s words were too close to home for me and transported me back to darker times which were much harder for me to handle and live through. Literature has always been an enjoyable escape for me but sometimes the pieces would strike a cord and, while they did illustrate how I felt at times so eloquently, they also at times were too potent or vivid. Having said this, I do think this is a wonderful collection of work and I cannot recommend it enough to those looking to understand the lives and journey of those who suffer from chronic illnesses. It really serves well as a looking-glass into the realm of a Spoonie’s journey. Mindfully Evie also has another book newly released called Everything is Always Changing. I haven’t got my hands on this book as of yet but it’s sitting pretty on my list of books to buy so stay tuned!

Thats about it for now but keep an eye out for my bookish content coming soon – I’ve been rather busy on the book front lately so there’s lots to come.

Cheerio for now!

things I’ve found solace in | isolation edition pt.3

I know, I know -I dropped off this little area for a while. This post was one of the ones that just got abandoned half way through its formation but nevertheless, I really want to share it still in hopes that it might help some of you lovely lot. I’m writing this introduction as England is in its first week of Lockdown 3.0 so I think we could all use a little uplighting about now and this might help. (*most of the things below were logged mid-late 2020).

Rachel Maksy on YouTube has always been a source of inspiration but a few of her videos in particular, have really inspired me. Her outfit videos are just amazing, this one in particular I really loved and how could I not fall head over heels with her video of making her own coraline-esque doll (I have rewatched that movie a shameful amount of times). But it has been her sunroom makeover video that has had me swooning ever since. It’s vintage feel and Swiss Family Robinson aesthetic is just beautiful and so well curated. I got all sorts of A Series of Unfortunate Events/Reptile Room vibes and could almost see Violet tying her hair in a ribbon to work on an invention in there. Anyway, I couldn’t recommend Rachel’s channel enough, especially if you love the vintage aesthetic, are really into cosplay or dressing up or just love watching a good DIY video. She is so creative and just a beautiful soul!

Jenny at wearilive on YouTube is one of my all-time faves and this year she has been a saving grace for me. I find her content so raw and refreshing, especially in times of tension or uncertainty. Her morning routine videos and moving vlogs are my absolute faves.

While we are on the subject of YouTube, I have been loving Whitney Ports reaction videos to The City and The Hills. I used to love those shows back in the day so watching her react to them with her husband now is just so entertaining; especially given how much time has passed. I think it’s also eye-opening to how much I have grown up since when I was infatuated with those shows.

lexie lombard is lyfe – podcast and videos. Now I’ve followed Lexie Lombard for some time but I’d say I only truly got into her channel in a big way during isolation when she began her isolation vlogs. She’s entirely unfiltered and seemingly so down to earth in all her videos, I can’t help but feel drawn to her. Even more so now that she has launched her podcast. I’d definitely recommend giving it a listen, and check out her YT channel too!

Orion Carloto’s film for her. Now, anyone who knows me knows that I’ve been low-key obsessed with Orion Carloto for many years so when she announced that she was releasing her second book I was ecstatic and ordered it as fast as I could. I have found a lot of solace in poetry and prose this year, especially throughout the lockdowns and this book has without a doubt been my favourite this year.

knittingggg – I learnt to knit years ago but seriously got back into it this year throughout the lockdowns. I can honestly say that it’s the thing that has kept me sane this year. I have made various bits throughout the year, including poppies for remembrance Sunday but I also made the goal for myself to make as many Christmas presents as possibly this year -which, as you can imagine, has really kept me busy.

Last but not least, The Holidate on Netflix. I can’t remember what made me watch this film but I am so happy I did. I don’t usually take the plunge with new films, I tend to stick to what I know and like and that’s that; but I really enjoyed this one. I even made my boyfriend watch it and he loved it too. I’d say its a mix of The Wedding Date and That Awkward Moment. There are so many hilarious scenes and the Rom-com element is just on point throughout.

*Right, now that that’s all out the way I can start from scratch this year and keep up to date. Let me know if there’s anything in particular that has been helping you through these neverending lockdowns.

Cheerio for now!

things I’ve found solace in | isolation edition pt. 2

It’s hard to really write about how I’m feeling right now when to be real honest, I’m experiencing at least several emotions in each hour that passes by. I have found myself seeking solace in all manner of things but a few things have really struck a cord with me or have just eased my mind that extra bit; and I wanted to share them here.

This article from Vogue made me feel all the feels. I found it quite an emotional read as although I do still live at home, I felt a certain parallel with Bella Mackie was writing in relation to my grandparents. I have always had more of a sister/best friend type of bond with my mother and so, my grandparents are more like parental figures to me so it is quite a foreign feeling to not be allowed to see them. A lot of what Mackie wrote really resonated with me but it was also nice to have that moment of realising that their is another human being, and many more, out there who are experiencing the same emotions that I am.

On the topic of Vogue, I really enjoyed this video from their Vogue Paris Youtube channel. I have mentioned their home videos before, which I really enjoy, but I loved this video and wanted to quickly mention it here.

This article from Refinery29 has been the greatest and most relatable thing I have read during lockdown. I have found myself becoming a bit ratty at times with everyone around me and I honestly couldn’t say why, other than the fact that we may be getting in each others personal space too much; so reading this article was very much needed. I’d highly recommend that everyone give it a read. I already sent the link to my boyfriend and mom.

The fact that Scotlands Home of the Year has begun again just is amazing. Obviously I don’t live in Scotland but I love it’s scenery and I’m a huge fan of Kate La Vie (probably touched on that in other posts). I love interiors and find the whole topic of architecture just so interesting so I can’t wait to watch the rest of these episodes. If you like these types of shows too then I’d also recommend Amazing Interiors on Netflix and a newfound fave of mine The World’s Most Extraordinary Homes on Netflix also. I haven’t quite got through the entirety of the latter as there is multiple seasons and I’m desperately trying not to spend too much time on screens while in lockdown -which is insanely difficult when you find such great shows that you want to binge watch.

This post by Alice Catherine. Her posts are ones that I’m always so happy to see appear in my bloglovin feed but this one in particular really sang to my soul.

And finally, this video from New York Magazines YouTube channel. I have found a lot of their videos being recommended since taking an interest in their interior videos and this recommended watch definitely didn’t disappoint. There is something so inspiring and empowering about people who find themselves on unexpected, but beautiful pathways in life. Lyn Slater could be said to be one of these people. If you love Iris Apfel or the post I shared on her, then I’d definitely give this a watch too.

Stay safe.

Cheerio for now!

Short Forms of the Written Word

I’m not gonna lie, I found the title for this post a little tricky. Basically the premise for this post is that I want to share some short doses of fiction, prose and poetry (even some magazines) that I have really been enjoying lately. Throughout this lockdown I have found myself wanting to read but as soon as I start reading, I have the niggling voice in my mind telling me that I should be doing something more productive or spending my lockdown time better. This thought has made me a little torn between wanting to be uber productive but also not having the mentality to truly fulfil such tasks. I think we’re all in the same frame of mind and the state of the world is just mentally draining right now. Because of this, I have found myself drawn to shorter forms of writing not wanting to get too stuck into a chunky book in fear that I’ll lose momentum half way through and never want to revisit it. So, I wanted to share those here today.

Poetry

Bit of a broad one I know but I have been finding poetry in general to be super calming before I go to sleep. In particular, I have been absolutely loving Lang Leav’s work. So far I have read Love Looks Pretty on You, Lullabies, & Sea of Strangers. Lullabies is entirely poetry however the other two have been both poetry and prose which has been a really nice mix. When I say prose, it has been short and digestible prose so it’s an easy-read. I have also really enjoyed Flux by Orion Carloto and Pillow Thoughts by Courtney Peppernell. I do have a variety of others too but those are the ones that definitely stand out in my mind.

Short Fiction

Faber Stories have a collection of cute little books, each a different story. I had a few for Christmas presents and bought quite a few before the lockdown so I think I stocked up at a convenient time. The little books are a convenient size for when life gets back to normal. I actually read my first one on a train to my last doctors appointment in February, and have since read more. They serve as easy, bitesize pieces of fiction to get lost in for a while. Two that stick out in my mind are Mr Salary by Sally Rooney and Mary Ventura and the Ninth Kingdom by Sylvia Plath.

Pamphlets

For the past year and a half I have really enjoyed the Candlestick Press Pamphlets. They have a huge variety of topics but each pamphlet focuses on one particular genre or subject such as Tea or Scotland, etc and then it will either have a bunch of poems about that given subject or a mixture of poems, short fiction and prose. My favourite so far has been The All Night Bookshop by David Belbin. While it is a piece of fiction, the pamphlet also has a selection of poems about books to accompany it. It was a such a magical story and I really can’t recommend it enough. The thing I also love about these pamphlets is that they come with an envelope, a sticker and a blank bookmark for you to scribble a little note on to send someone with the pamphlet inside. I have sent quite a few, the most recent being the pamphlet with poems about grandparents to my Granddad, who loves poetry. I also really love that each pamphlet donates money to a chosen charity near that subject, so for instance the one about dogs donates to Dogs Trust while the Christmas Lights one donates to the Starlight Children’s Foundation. They’re a great little thing to lift someones mood at any given time but especially now when we can’t be together, we can just pop one of these in the post to a loved one.

Miscellaneous

Now, I say miscellaneous purely because I can’t really group this section in any other way. I have recently been loving digital magazines, specifically Betty Magazine which I believe available through online pdf’s for a limited time only. I do have physical copies of a few of these but I love the idea of having digital versions which I can always revisit. The imagery and articles are just among some of my favourite content. Popshot Magazine is a great source of short fiction and poetry too if you wanna stick to strictly poetry and fiction. I have also really enjoyed reading the first issue of The Coven Magazine. This has made for an interesting read during lockdown. I always enjoy audiobooks but lately I have been pulled to podcasts more. Like books, I’ve been trying to digest shorter formats of everything; trying to take breaks to address my mood and mentality in this crazy time. I have been absolutely loving Queens Podcast -if you looked at my Spotify queue right now you would see a list of their episodes that I’m working through.

Let me know if you have any other forms of short fiction too.

Cheerio for now!

Iris Apfel, accidental icon

Iris Apfel, accidental icon: Musings of a Geriatric Starlet

The name Iris Apfel is not one that the everyday Joe would know. Hell, my boyfriend didn’t know who she was. But if you have an interest in fashion, wisdom, or are just up to date on the pop culture scene you’ll know exactly who I’m talking about. The bold little lady wearing every colour imaginable, usually sporting at least five chunky bangles on each wrist and always sporting her signature thick, round spectacles and swoosh of red lippy.

She’s everything you want to be when you’re in your 90s.

Young in spirit, she embodies everything wonderful about the fashion industry but at the same time doesn’t conform to any fashion trends or rules. She plays with fashion and accessories wonderfully: putting together the most creative and unexpected ensembles, which is so refreshing when we are used to seeing the black and grey drab outfits or the perfectly co-ordinating ones.

I never want to be an old fuddy-duddy; I hold the self-proclaimed record for being the World’s Oldest Living Teenager and I intend to keep it that way

Iris Apfel

A true icon full of vibrant panache, Iris Apfel shares anecdote, maxims, and passages on all topics from technology, style, interior design, textiles, and all things in-between. Her pearls of wisdom fill each sentence alongside pages of vivid colours and eye-catching prints. Iris embodies everything I wish I will be when I’m older, and not even older but now. Entirely awe-inspiring, I hope to breath fresh-air into my wardrobe with prints and colours in the future; and over all try to be fearless and go with what I like rather than what ‘goes’ together.

Full of practical advice and inspiring stories, this book is a must for anyone: especially women. I think there is a lot of ‘take homes’ for women, especially from Iris’ experience in the workplace and just growing up in general. The insight I have personally gained from this book is something I wish I had come across in my teens -which I honestly think would be the perfect time to read it for anyone. With so much good sense within its’ pages, it is one of those books I wish I could give a copy of to everyone I know. I can’t recommend it enough!

Cheerio for now!