Thursday, August 27, 2020
A big 'ole Summer Update

A big 'ole Summer Update

I haven't written a thing here since May but writing is still very cathartic for me so I always drift back to it. Imo, blogs are really fading out now (correct me if I'm wrong). The world of bloggers has now become the world of influencers and all that's needed is an Instagram account, good captions and eye-catching photos - not the kind of time that goes into a blog, which is about double the amount of work an Instagram account requires. I don't even like or want to refer to this as a blog, or myself as a blogger, I just write stuff on the internet... anyway, I've been busy hence the hiatus and I've been thinking a lot about changing what I do online for the new year - more on that another time. We're closer to 2021 than we are to the start of 2020, which is probably a relief for most. However, I'm all too aware that just because it's a new year doesn't mean everything will miraculously be better or that covid will disappear - the new changes are going to be around for a while and will carry on with us into next year. 

I've moved, done an internship following my placement at a radio station and am awaiting a new start for the new year. I've seen family and friends, celebrated my nephews 2nd birthday and I've recently been on holiday as well.

Life in a nutshell...

Politics: The BLM movement has quite rightly reared its head in a time where it felt the world was at full capacity of breaking news and life-altering changes. I'm of course sickened and saddened with what's going on and it's definitely been revolutionary for me, at least mentally. I'm not racist, I've just realized that I've not been anti-racist enough in my life. I'll admit I have not spoken up when black people weren't present enough, I've overlooked comments or jokes, I've not realised these 'micro-aggressions' contribute to the bigger picture of racism. I've not acknowledged that my life has been privileged by my skin. So it has been a big wake up call for me and I'm motivated to help in any way I can. It's been a realisation that I always have a spare few minutes to sign an important petition, I always have some money to spare and donate to a helpful cause and I always have the time to speak up, share, retweet and tell people to be anti-racist too. 

Sustainability: I've been thinking about climate change too (oh how fun it is to be in my head!) and how I can help, how I can consume better, do better. A friend recommended an app to me called 'Yuka' which has been really useful and insightful - where you can scan and research products and see which rate best based on their ingredients. It's helping me consume better, more organic/bio based products. Next, if you're interested in a future career in climate change, there's a useful website where you can sign up for job updates here. I've recently signed up to this important campaign on Fridays For Future here and lastly, a useful bit of information I found on Instagram is to snip the straps when binning your disposable covid masks, to protect our wildlife. It REALLY frustrates me that people (myself included, not a saint) forget that I, and humans in general, aren't the only ones living here and I think we need to be constantly reminded, we are not the only ones here! I'm not talking about aliens, I mean who knows, but the plants, the animals. We really need to cooperate better and think of others and how our small actions (such as disposing of a mask) will ultimately affect the environment and ourselves.

TV/Film: This year has been a really good year for TV, for me anyway. I have sort of temporarily neglected the film studies nerd side of me and gone all-out Mike TV this year because there is just some cracking content and I've had all the more time to consume it all. I've finished Hollywood, Unorthodox, That 70's Show, Sex Education, Girl Boss, Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich, Dead to Me, Selling Sunset - all on Netflix and EXCELLENT. 

I succumbed to the hype and binged through Normal People on BBC Iplayer. What really, out of them ALL, knocked it out the park for me, was I May Destroy You by Michaela Coel, and I can assure you I have consumed all the content that goes with it - interviews, youtube videos, podcasts, reviews. It's not an easy watch but wow, is it good, is it intelligent, emotional, it's pure art at its finest and all at the same time, raising awareness of an important, sensitive topic. It spurred me onto watch Chewing Gum, by the same creator of the latter which I devoured in a day or so - it's laugh out loud funny and I highly recommend. I'm in the midst of re-watching Gossip Girl (I never made it past season 4 for some reason), where in costume design and drama, it can do no wrong!!! I'm obsessed.

As I said previously, film has really taken a back seat for me, and I've been a bit lazy. I still haven't been back to the cinema, as everyone I've mentioned it to, is not such a die hard cinema fan that they are willing to sit in a mask in a dark room for hours. However, to name a few films I've loved recently : The Talented Mr. Ripley (I'm obsessed with the costume/aesthetic of it), Vertigo, She's Gotta Have It, 13th, At Eternity's Gate and the 'Before' trilogy by Richard Linklater. Ok maybe I've seen more films than I thought...but my goal is to see MORE!

Mindfulness/spirituality: I've been doing so much work on myself over the past two years and sometimes I feel like I make a step forward then 10 back. But the important thing is to get back on the saddle and keep going ahead! A new habit I've quite recently picked up is 'morning pages' which I discovered via Youtuber Jenn Im. You basically write a stream of consciousness for three pages first thing in the morning (or later). I kept up a good streak for about 30 days then went on a holiday and didn't do it but I'm back at it and I'm finding it therapeutic to just purge out all my thoughts before I start the day. It really makes me feel like I'm starting on a clean slate. For more info and a better explanation of MP, look here.

I'm still meditating, not daily but at least weekly. I continue to use 'Yoga with Adriene's' meditation playlist, and have downloaded the 'Calm' app to my phone, but unfortunately you can't do very much with this app for free, so I'm on the lookout for something efficient and without a price tag. I really want to get a Transcendental Meditation teacher but I currently can't justify the cost so I just watch tons of videos with David Lynch talking about it and try to learn as much as I can on my own. 

I've taken up free style dancing, or sort of 'dancersising' lol. A recent TED talk I watched ft. the late Sir Ken Robinson inspired me, albeit long after I've decided to take up dancing, I recommend you watch it in full here. However, he reinforced what I've been thinking, and that so much of your life you use your head, when you study, work etc - you're so often up in your head, and that it's so important to move and use every other part of your body. I never regret it afterwards and it makes me feel good and energized.

Cooking and baking have been such a positive outlet for me lately and I've finally found enjoyment in it. It gives me energy and peace of mind and I love creating something for others, or sometimes just myself, to enjoy. I've gone quiche crazy and even tried my first ever garden focaccia. 

Travel: As I mentioned I've recently got back from holiday which was very last minute and spontaneous and I'm so glad I went. This year we've all felt a bit 'trapped' so getting away somewhere new can do the world of good. I went down south to the national park of Cevennes in France, where my friend grew up and I honestly couldn't believe my eyes. The views were incredible, the water clear and blue, towering green mountains, waterfalls - like something straight out of a Bob Ross painting (I recommend his show too, an anxiety cure). I did a fair bit of walking, a lot of eating, jumping in icy cold rock pools, climbed rocks and sat under a waterfall - truly magical! Me and my friend both agreed we felt like we had gone back to our natural state and remembered how simple yet important it is to eat delicious, natural food with good company. It's such a traditional, almost religious experience in culture, to have a sit down meal, and something that keeps you rooted and grateful in this crazy world.

Books: This year's been quite good on the reading front - but there's been a lot more reading of online articles than books for me. I've read roughly 12/15 in my book challenge on my Goodreads app. Honestly, I've not felt hugely motivated to read this year and have found it really hard to concentrate on a book and want to find a book that I don't want to end. Lately the books I've been reading, by about the last few chapters, I'm eager to finish it. If you're struggling with the same, I set a timer on my phone to force myself to read for a good hour or so.

And the rest: What else? It's been a good year for music but I miss live music so much. I don't think I've ever gone this long without going to a gig, in a long time. Dua Lipa's Future Nostalgia album really lifted my mood during lockdown and got me dancing round my apartment - a great disco soundtrack for partying. I also really love Disco Volador by The Orielles to continue on with the disco theme. I've been revisiting lots of Madonna's albums and Kylie Minogue's too. I've unexpectedly been enjoying the likes of Kacey Musgraves and Harry Styles but also lots of indie music such as Altin Gun, Tame Impala and Khruangbin. Social life wise, I'm a lot happier with that. I've made new friends and I'm enjoying valuable family time and I feel I have all the right people in my life and I'm excited for what the future holds.

And that's the update... I have so many other recommendations, like Instagram accounts I like, Youtube videos I've enjoyed over lockdown, thoughts, ideas etc etc... and I will save them for another time.

See you in the next one.