Oh look, it’s your favourite #Influencer back with her monthly round-up of all the things she’s been watching, reading, listening to and obsessing over (it’s a few days late, but that’s fashionable, right?)
February has been a very busy and eventful month for me. I got a Monzo card, and subsequently gave everyone I know a golden ticket (weirdly, I’ve been given about ten. My boss even started getting suspicious and asked if I was working for them as a promoter, like an Avon lady). If you’re not sure what Monzo is (where u been girl?), it’s essentially an online-only banking system with a really helpful app for budgeting, saving and tracking your money. Sounds boring but it’s really fun to use, plus the card is a funky bright pink (not quite millennial pink, but from the same family). So far, I’m really enjoying it, and I’ve actually realised I’m not as bad a spender as I once thought. Or maybe I’ve just been using my Barclays card sometimes by mistake… who knows.
This month also witnessed the annual occurrences of Valentine’s, my birthday and my anniversary with Laurie (meaning his spending this month was far worse than mine, poor sod). As luck would have it, I got a cold over my actual birthday – a sign from the heavens that I’m not ready to grow up – so I didn’t get to properly enjoy a fancy afternoon tea in the Shard with my parents. But luckily I recovered in time for my birthday party a week later. It was great having most of my friends under one roof, but I did pretty much spend the whole time finding people bottle openers, opening the door, saying goodbye and picking up mess. Someone threw up on my sofa, another friend weed in a cup and left it outside my front door, my wok was full of beer, and the floor still feels sticky despite three rounds of mopping. Safe to say I’m never having a party again.
On the Sunday after the party, Laurie and I went for a massage at the Landmark Hotel’s spa in Marylebone. Laurie booked it as a birthday present to detox from the party but it actually fell on our anniversary. When I exclaimed ‘awww thanks for booking something for our anniversary, we NEVER celebrate it!’ he looked really confused. Instead of going along with it and pretending he’d remembered, he just said, ‘nah mate, didn’t even know that was our anniversary’. Good to know I can always count on him for honesty.
Shockingly, between all the fancy hotel trips and many glasses of Prosecco (this is NOT how I usually live my life), I actually managed to squeeze in some TV, books and tried a load of new products. If you want to be #influenced, look no further.
I’VE BEEN WATCHING…
The Confession Tapes
Laurie and I started watching this series on Netflix a few months ago, but we ended up taking a break from it because it’s just too depressing. We watched the final few episodes this month, though. Each episode documents a different tale of a false confession that led to a guilty verdict (so a bit like Making a Murderer but mini versions). Many of them are pretty old (some from the 1980s) when interrogation tactics were much different, and they’re all based in America, but it was kinda terrifying to think how the justice system fails so many people. You will sit through every episode with a huge knot in your stomach, and the knot just tightens when the episode ends, because by the closing credits you feel ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN that the person is innocent but then (spoiler alert) they are all still serving life in prison. It’s pretty devastating, but I suppose it does put your problems into perspective. Sure, dropping your phone down the loo is annoying, but it’s nothing compared to being harassed into confessing to a crime you didn’t commit and then serving life in prison, is it?
From the depressing to the uplifting (this month has just been a rollercoaster of emotions), I started watching Friends from season 1. When it first came on Netflix, something always put me off watching; maybe it’s the fact the episodes used to play on a loop on E4, or maybe it’s that people who quote Friends episodes and expect you to understand the references are generally really, really annoying. But I had nothing else to watch and needed something funny and light-hearted, so to Friends I went. When I watched the first episode, I was like, ‘wtf, why aren’t Monica and Chandler together?’ before looking it up and realising they actually don’t get together until season 4. Having thought I’d seen it from the start, I realised I’d actually only ever watched it (consecutively) from that point, which makes sense considering I was minus-one when the first season aired. So now I’m making it my mission to watch the whole bloody thing, from start to finish. If you don’t see another blog post for the next month, that’s probs why.
I’VE BEEN READING…
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
I finished a book this month, hooray! (And not going to lie folks, I speed-read it this week because I didn’t want to look like a complete idiot who couldn’t finish a novel in a month. Like how could I call myself a writer??) Every single member of my team at work had read this book and, being the sheep that I am, I thought I better hop on board the bandwagon. The book is written from the perspective of a unique (could be described as weird) woman who basically has no friends or family, and has an interesting way of observing the world (essentially, her social cues are completely ‘off’). It took me a while to get into, but as the story develops, you learn about all the bad experiences that have made her the way she is, and her life starts to come together after a colleague shows her some kindness. A lot of it is really funny – her perspective is both out-there and relatable at the same time – but it’s also pretty dark. It really made me take a cold, hard look at myself; at how harshly I judge people, automatically assuming people to be ‘weird’ or ‘loners’ without recognising that we are all essentially a collection of experiences. It made me think about my own privilege; not everyone has a family who loves them unconditionally, and not everyone has been given opportunities to flourish and socialise. I hope, now, that I would pick up on someone else’s loneliness and be a bit kinder.
I WENT TO SEE…
DARLINGS, I went to the theatre! This trip was special for many reasons: it was my first time seeing a West End show in about three years, I went with all my sisters (even the one who lives in Israel) and it was my first time seeing a show without contact lenses or glasses. So, everything was in place for me to really, really enjoy this one – and thankfully, the show itself did not disappoint. If you’re not familiar with the Kinky Boots movie, it’s all about a guy who takes over his dead father’s shoe factory in Northampton, only to find it is massively struggling. By chance, he comes across a sassy, fabulous drag queen who tells him she struggles to find stilettos that can hold up her (male) frame – so they join forces and he attempts to target this gap in the market. It’s the definition of joy and feel-good – full of hilarious songs, sparkles and amazing dancing – and the overriding message is to be who you want to be, and accept others for doing the same. Love that.
I’VE BEEN LISTENING TO…
Love Stories with Dolly Alderton
A few months ago, I read Dolly Alderton’s new book Everything I know about love before it was released, and it was an absolute joy. The book actually came out earlier this month though, and to coincide with it, she’s released a new podcast series called Love Stories, where she interviews a different guest about the unrequited, everlasting and passionate loves that have made them who they are. Sort of like a Desert Island Discs, but for love (which I much prefer, as my music knowledge is so dire so I can never relate to the celebs’ favourite songs. Mine would be, like, Taylor Swift and maybe a bit of The Wombats if I’m trying to be edgy). So far, my favourite conversations have been with Vanessa Kirby and Cosmo Landesman, but each one will make you reflect on your own big loves and remind you that every person or thing that you love (including, in my case, my muzzy, chocolate and macaroni cheese), is one piece in your own personal puzzle, and each piece should be treasured. Also, Dolly’s voice and the jazzy jingle are incredibly soothing, and will most definitely calm your rage when your train is delayed because of the tiniest bit of snow, and some guy just elbowed you in the back.
I’VE BEEN BEAUTIFYING WITH…
Earlier this month, I was invited to an acne workshop with Cult Beauty to learn about the best products for irritated, spotty skin. The founder of Skin Owl (a brand I’d never previously heard of), Annie Tavelin, was one of the speakers, and she told her story about how she cured her own cystic acne by nourishing her skin with essential oils. She explained that oils penetrate deeper into the skin than any cream, and should be used to replace moisturiser. Although these lavender and Argan oil drops are advertised as being perfect for oily skin, I have really dry skin and this works amazingly on me as a moisturiser. At the moment, my skin is properly dewy and I’m pretty sure this is why. I’m not exactly sure if it’s helped my spots, though, as I don’t really have acne – I get stress spots which I then pick to oblivion until they scar (yay anxiety) – but the softness and hydration of my skin is enough.
As you may or not have read in my original Glossier review, I wasn’t super impressed with the products I got. FORGET EVERYTHING YOU READ. Not only do I now LOVE both those products (the cloud paint and birthday balm – I just had to give them more of a go), I now love a few more too. I bought this cleanser to replace my Pixi Double Cleanse which is way too expensive for how quickly it finishes, and I absolutely love it. It has a milky, jelly consistency (surprise surprise) which is so soft on the skin, but it actually does get yo’ makeup off like a trooper. I do have to use it twice, but I s’pose a little double-cleansing is good for you anyway. The only gripe I had was that it came way smaller than I envisioned it (this always seems to be my problem with all Glossier products… they teeny tiny).
Another new (and pretty tiny) favourite from my Glossier order was the boy brow. I’m a bit of a non-mover when it comes to brow products; I use Anastasia Beverly Hills religiously, and get pretty scared about trying anything new. You just don’t want to mess with a good thing. But having heard SO many reviews about this tinted brow gel, with people claiming you don’t actually have to use any pencil before, I thought I’d give it a go. I didn’t really believe it, but honey, it’s true. Just a lil brush through your brows in the morning and they look more than mildly presentable – they look fleeky af. It’s magical.
IT Cosmetics ‘Confidence in Your Glow’ in ‘Instant Warm Glow’ (not out yet in the UK)
If you work in magazine journalism, you’ll know all too well the sharpened elbows and absolute pandemonium of a beauty sale (where a random selection of beauty products are put into plastic boxes and sold for £1). It’s very stressful, but it’s all worth it when you find even one item that you absolutely LOVE. It’s only happened a few times before, and this time I discovered the blusher/bronzer/highlighter of my dreams.The ombre palette itself is so beautiful and mesmerising, but it’s the actual colour payoff that steals the show. You can mix and match the shades however you like; sometimes I’ll dip my brush into both the blush and highlight side for a glowy cheek flush, and other times I’ll mix the bronzer and blush and swipe them up my cheekbones. I’m in loooove.