I’ve decided to officially self-title myself an Influencer because you’ve to go fake it ’til you make it honeyboo. And in order to do all kinds of influencin’, I will be coming at you each month with a round-up of all the things I’ve been doing, consuming, watching, reading and loving. Prepare to be influenced.
I’VE BEEN WATCHING…
This is Us
When I was off sick earlier this month, I started watching This is Us on the recommendation of one of my editors (and, I later realised, two of my friends who I accidentally ignored). It’s an intergenerational romantic drama series starring Mandy Moore and Milo Ventimiglia as the ultimate TV couple goal, following their children’s lives and the interconnected stories of the people they love. I have watched 18 episodes, and I’ve cried at every single one. If it’s not an emotional monologue about love, its an emotional monologue about death; if it’s not an emotional monologue about death, someone is actually dying. It’s the most beautiful and draining series I’ve watched since I gave up on Grey’s Anatomy after the death of he-who-must-not-be-named. You can’t find it on Netflix but I bought the box-set. And when I say bought, I definitely don’t mean downloaded illegally. Who do you think I am?
Keeping Up With the Kardashians
When I was off sick and wallowing in my own misery, sometimes This is Us was just too much trauma for my mucus-filled lungs to take. So that’s where KUWTK came in. I literally had not been keeping up with the Kardashians for a while, having fallen off the wagon a while ago. I told myself I was done wasting time watching a load of excessively rich women moan about having ‘anxiety’ when clearing out their gigantic closets and constantly sitting at countertops eating large salad bowls (where do they buy these salads from?? Do they get the same ones every day?? So many questions). I mean, this is brain-numbing stuff. But along the same lines of why all adults need Disney, so too do all adults need the Kardashians. The big houses, flashy cars, perfectly pouty lips and unnaturally silky hair contribute to a fantasy that is both ridiculous and believable at the same time. When you enter Kardashian world, private jets are normality and you get your makeup done professionally every day. I’m not sure I’d want to be in that world permanently, but for a 45 minute episode – hell yeah, take me there.
I’m often pretty late on the bandwagon with cultural things (which, I suppose, I should really work on if I’m going to be a good #Influencer) and Black Mirror was no exception. If you, like me evidently, have been living under a rock for the past three years or so, this Netflix series is made up of hour-long specials – completely separate and unrelated to each other – that all portray some kind of technological advancement and, often dystopian, future. I haven’t watched every episode – I’ve just been picking and choosing the ones that have tickled my fancy. I really enjoyed Nosedive from series 3, about a world in which you have a social media score that applies to real life too, and that score can affect the jobs you can get, the cars you can drive and your inclusion or exclusion from society. It felt chillingly realistic and does almost feel like we’re heading there – pretty soon Influencers will be taking over the world, which is why I’m getting involved now before it’s too late.
I’VE BEEN READING…
Lullaby by Leila Simani
I won’t lie to you friends, even though I spent half of this month in bed I’ve barely read anything at all. You know sometimes you feel too ill to even read a text message? Yeah, I had that. That’s my excuse. But last week I felt my brain-function returning to normal, and spotted this book at work (magazine offices are full of ’em) and have been snatching time to read it on the tube ever since. It’s an award-winning French novel that has just been translated into English, about a nanny who murders her two young charges. That is not a spoiler – you discover this on the first page, but the rest of the book is back-tracking to find out exactly why. I’m not finished yet (too busy binge-watching This is Us – so much culture, so little time) so unfortunately I can’t give a full review BUT I will say it’s incredibly gripping and pretty disturbing. Updates to come. I’m pretty shit at this Influencer thing, aren’t I?
The Money Diaries on Refinery29
I’ve been thinking about money a lot lately. How little I have, how much I accidentally spend on Oxford Street every week, how much Laurie seems to have but won’t tell me about etc. etc. I have money on my mind just like Sam Smith in 2k14, so I became a little bit obsessed this month with the anonymous money diaries published on Refinery29. They’re weekly diaries from a range of different millennials – from students to investment bankers – documenting how much money they have, how much they spend and where it all goes. It’s a nosey Nora’s absolute dream. One of them went viral this month – it was a freelance writer living in London off just £14k yet spending all her money on drugs, Ubers and brunch. It caused outrage, but I’m pretty sure she could be half the people I know. Also, I’m sort-of tempted to do my own version of this on the blog… holla if that’s something you’d be interested in.
I’VE BEEN LISTENING TO…
The Moana soundtrack
I won’t dwell on this too much because I already discussed my Moana obsession in a previous post, but GUYS the soundtrack is so fabulous and joyful that it’s pretty much the only thing I can listen to on my commute now to save me getting severe pedestrian rage. It temporarily transports me to Hawaii, which is just where I want to be all the time tbh.
The Debrief Podcast
I’ve been a big fan of The Debrief Podcast for some time now, and recommend it to all my friends – but this month, I feel like it’s just been reading my mind. If you’re not already a listener, it’s a weekly half-an-hour-or-so podcast run by The Debrief and hosted by journalist/comedians Stevie Martin and Tessa Coates. Each week, they discuss a common millennial conundrum in a ‘how to’ style, ranging from ‘how to be vegan’ to ‘how to be more assertive’ to ‘how to be single’ using a combination of expert advice and really funny, relatable anecdotes. It’s all about tackling the uncertainty of your 20s, which, you might have noticed, is pretty much my thing. Whenever I listen, I feel like I’m hanging out with a couple of my friends, except I’m not contributing at all to the conversation which is both unusual and very enjoyable. Last week, their podcast on ‘how to get better at self promotion’ came literally the day after I decided to link this blog on my Instagram account and was feeling super embarrassed about it. But, as they reminded me in the podcast, if you don’t put yourself out there, no one else is going to do it for you – so get ready for lots of self promo coming your way.
I’VE BEEN BEAUTIFYING WITH…
Rest assured, I absolutely DID NOT pay for this cream – I managed to nab it for £1 at a work beauty sale a few months ago (I know, I have the best job in the world), but only just got around to cracking it open. It’s an almost gel-like consistency, and is so smooth and soft and delicious-smelling that I’ll probably cry when it runs out as there’s no way I’ll be buying it again. Plus the packaging is pink and rose gold which is incredibly #OnBrand.
From one very expensive product to one very cheap one, this foundation is such good value it really ought to be illegal (and does make me question all my other products… like y u so expensive, huh?) It’s so full-coverage yet isn’t cakey or overly-matte like a lot of foundations are; it’s a lovely satin finish and looks especially pretty when mixed in with some tinted moisturiser (mine being a little Laura Mercier number). I just don’t get how The Ordinary does it. Somebody tell me.
Mally Shadow Stick, £19.50
This was another product I picked up randomly in a beauty sale a few months ago, but have only recently become obsessed. I’m an eyeshadow addict, and am known for doing a full shadow look every day, but when I got my eyes lasered in December I stopped doing it as much as blending made my eyes too sore. Plus I realised how much extra time not doing eyeshadow in the morning gave me. But, I do love the look of eyeshadow so this is an absolute godsend – I just swipe it across my lids, sometimes leave it or sometimes add a teeny bit of brown shadow to blend into the crease and voila, it looks great. It also means I can get up 20 minutes later in the morning too. Win-win.
I’VE BEEN WEARING…
Nike Beige Internationalist Trainers
I don’t have an exact link or price for these as I bought them in the Boxing Day sales, but if you’re looking for a new pair of sneaks, I highly recommend the internationalist style. I had never heard of these before but they seem to have a massive range, and they are honestly the most comfortable trainers I have ever worn – truly like walking on clouds.
I’VE BEEN THINKING ABOUT…
If there’s ever a time to get your shit together, it’s January. So I bought myself another Moleskine pocket diary, which I do every year but always end up forgetting to use mid-way through April (NOT THIS TIME), to organise all my plans and goals for the year. I know getting organised and writing lists is supposed to clear your mind and make everything seem manageable, but I do sometimes feel like seeing all the things I need to do there on paper can be a tad overwhelming and then I do none of them. Then again, my current to-do list is ‘learn to drive, become Insta-famous, make the whole flat look gorgeous and get a banging bikini bod.’ (NTS: Take own advice as per previous blog post and set realistic goals.)