I took this picture last May in a wild rhododendron forest in Sevenoaks, Kent. Just like the blooms that come each and every spring, life can also have a funny way of repeating itself. Not to be too cryptic, but more to come soon.
I have good news, and bad news. The good news is that I found some time to read an actual fucking book this week (!!!), but the bad news is that I’m still camped out in the centre of a client chaos cyclone that only feels like it’s picking up speed and is 100% going to end in mass destruction. It’s bleak. I’m wrapping all my valuables in cellophane, boarding up my windows and bracing myself.
But in the spirit of looking on the bright side, here are some things I stumbled across this week that made me feel like life isn’t all bleak:
I read M.F.K. Fisher’s Consider The Oyster and you guys, reading this book without a very cold bottle of Chablis and at least a dozen oysters should 100% be illegal. I was panting like a chocolate lab in the August sun while reading it, so desperate for some refreshing oyster liquor and icy cold Chablis*. I also wish I could write about anything as emphatically as M.F.K. Fisher wrote about oysters, bc damn, she really makes you feel it in the soul and stomach. Anyway! I gobbled this book up in a single sitting and cannot wait to add more of her writing to my bookshelf (why is it not there already? TRAGEDY!). I’m also looking for someone (anyone!) who might like to join me on a cookbook tour of this book. Oyster stews, Oyster Stuffing, and Oyster Loafs all sound amazing and like something I will definitely need to share with oyster-loving friends. Who’s in?
On August 7, 2001, my life changed. My mother drove me to our local Target and I used my babysitting money** to buy Usher’s ICONIC album 8701. I was 13 years old, horny as hell (without really knowing what horny was), and had Usher pumping through my Walkman’s foamy over-ear headphones every chance I could get, v awkwardly grooving along to R&B anthems like Twerk It Out and U Got It Bad (which I may or may not have called in to my local Top 40 radio station to dedicate to my boyfriend while at a sleepover with other equally awkward and horny tweenagers) and bangers like U Remind Me***, I Can’t Let U Go, U-Turn, and my 13 year-old personal favourite, If I Want To.
What’s the point of this story? Well, I was powering through a design job earlier this week and listening to an artist radio station on Spotify - I don’t remember which one - when Lykke Li’s cover of U Got It Bad came on and reader, I was SHOOKETH TO MY CORE. It’s so good and combines two things I truly love: Usher’s 8701 and Swedish songstress Lykke Li. BANGER. Already can’t wait to make the DJ play it at my brother’s wedding in a few week’s time.
I can’t stop laughing at this clip of Jinkx Monsoon calling Miss Vanjie the DMX of Drag. It’s so pure and so spot-on. (DMX: Another artist who was hugely influential when I was a horndog baby teen!)
And speaking of horniness, the animals in Chernobyl seem really good at reproducing. And, like, pretty good at living in a super toxic environment, too! (Shoutout to all my ladies who can 100% deffo relate 🙌!). Did you know about this? Because I didn’t until I cried my eyes out through all 8 episodes of Our Planet and was then given the teeny-tiniest glimmer of hope that even if we wipe out our own species through irresponsible environmental practices, there still might be a bit of hope for some of the animals we fuck over in the process. MAYBE.
Okay, let’s end on that precariously hopeful note. Yes, we may be fucking up everything – both on a personal and global level – but at least there’s hope that something will be able to thrive in the wake of our destruction. Doesn’t that make you feel better?!?
Yeah, me neither. 💔
*Though, tbf, the bottle of norm-core Chablis that I bought at my friendly neighbourhood M&S Petrol Station did a pretty good job of stymieing some of my cravings.
**Yes, they used to let 13 year-old children babysit other children when I was a tween. Isn’t that horrifying/sweet? It was a different time.
***That dance in the rain? Tween me didn’t know what to do with that, folks.
I’m headed back to Provence with this babe in a month and one day. I honestly can’t wait.
I hate the word busy. I visibly cringe when I accidentally say, “really busy” when someone asks me how I am. I roll my eyes at the communal refrain of “we’re so busy!” when volleying potential meeting dates back-and-forth with friends, before finally deciding on a day three months down the line that we’ll all inevitably cancel anyway because: busy. But most of all, I hate the feeling of busy-ness. It claustrophobic and toxic and manifests itself in tight shoulders, spotty skin, irregular sleep and snippy answers to even the most innocent questions. Feeling time poor also means I don’t cook as often and therefore don’t eat as well as I like to, and that I often drink more than I should (you know, to unwind) and this combination creates a perfect storm of self-loathing, which you may or may not know is great feeling when you’re already stressed.
I hatehatehate that I’m about to say this but for the past few weeks, I’ve been really busy. Between work, social obligations, my fitness goals, and trying to manage some personal grief, I’m feeling physically, mentally and emotionally maxed out. Luckily, I’ve been through similar busy periods before and now have the ability to spot the signs of busy-ness and deploy some coping mechanisms before I reach a breaking point. But even so, this spiral into busy is exhausting. My number one goal for this next week is to take my former therapist’s advice and be kind to myself at every opportunity. I’m going to look for the good, focus on finding the joy, and give myself a lot of space to think and feel and be. And as we enter a new month, I wish this for you (for all of us!) too.
And speaking of spotting the good, here are a few of the good things I crossed paths with this week:
I never do this, but I’m totally going to re-listen to Marc Maron’s interview with Brené Brown. So many nuggets of goodness! And I loooove that she didn’t get her degree until she was 30. A great reminder that it’s never too late to go after what you want.
I can’t stop listening to Lizzo’s new album, Cuz I Love You. I love all of it so much but keep finding myself humming Jerome, which I think might be my favourite song on the album. So much real talk from my pop princess! 🖤
I deeply identified with Anne Helen Petersen’s piece on how groups are the only good thing Facebook has going atm. I’m a member of a few really great Facebook groups and they’re honestly the only thing I enjoy about the platform. If it weren’t for them, and for the fact that I need to use facebook for much of my client work, I’d be outta there in no time.
SPEAKING OF growing communities, as a digital marketer and a human, I’ve been really enjoying the Get Together podcast, which is all about growing communities with purpose. I totally recommend it to anyone trying to make a space to connect with people online.
I love eggs. I eat eggs almost every morning– which means I think about Susan Sarandon jubilantly eating an egg in The Meddler every day- but I don’t switch up the way I prepare my eggs very often. However, that just might change after I watched this twenty-seven minute-long video exploring 59 ways to cook eggs. Will I finally have the confidence now to poach my morning eggs? Should I try putting them in a waffle iron? How have I never made coddled eggs?! Forget busy-ness. I want more eggy-ness in my life!
Even though Food52 has only been UK accessible post-GDPR for, like, five minutes, I’ve already convinced myself that I need their entire online store in my kitchen ASAP. Specifically these stock cube trays, this genius ice cube tray, and (surprise!) these adorable egg coddlers– you know, for my new-and-improved morning eggs…
Here’s to an eggy, restful, and wonderful week. Breathe deep and don’t let the fact that it’s somehow going to be May freak you out too much. ✨
FKA Twigs giving me some feelz in this stunningly beautiful new video. 🖤
I didn’t grow up talking much about money. I was taught it was something to save, to tithe, and to spend wisely, but there was always an underlying assumption that it would just be there, as if by magic, and that if I worked hard, I’d be able to afford all the things I took for granted as a child– a comfortable home, regular holidays, a lackadaisical attitude to eating out. But as a millennial woman who jumped into the job market– and wanting to work in publishing, of all things– in 2009, I’d just like to say this: hahahahahahaaa!
In the decade since, I’ve never had a “proper” job. You know, one that comes with a pension/401k, a dental plan, office snacks*, and one of those ugly chairs that supposedly helps with lumbar support. And as the co-owner of a small business and a woman married to someone who literally calls me his retirement plan, I think about money a lot. Over these joyous ten years of self-employment, I’ve learned a helluva lot of money lessons, but I’m still so so far from feeling like I have a solid grasp on planning for my future- despite being a diligent YNAB-er.
So I’ve been on a mission to further educate myself. Because I’m nosy, I absolutely love reading Refinery29’s Money Diaries series, and the Money Diaries book by Lindsey Stanberry gave me a few additional tips for saving and planning for the future, as well as the confidence to actually talk about this shit (because omg, talking about money is so fucking hard!). But like money in general, I want more, and I’d love to know from a self-employed and/or business-owner perspective, if there are any books or resources that you’ve found helpful for managing, forecasting, investing and growing your money– especially when you’re income’s not 100% for sure going to be the same every month and you don’t have a boss you can talk to about getting a raise because you’ve been kicking so much ass lately. If you care to share your recs, pls comment below or drop me a line using the form on this page if you care to be incognito.
Anyway! Here are some things I like almost as much as I like money:
I’ve full-on belly laughed multiple times this week reading and sharing this post celebrating 20 years since Fabio’s ill-fated rollercoaster promo, during which his face collided with a goose. I’m never going to ride another rollercoaster again but I am going to share this at every party I go to for the next 20 years. At least.
Samin Nosrat’s Salt Fat Acid Heat changed the game for me. Not only did it make me realise that I was criminally under-seasoning everything, it also gave me the know-how to finally tackle meat dishes that always seemed too daunting. With Samin’s words and Wendy MacNaughton’s wonderful illustrations, I learned how to spatchcock a chicken, make a mean brisket, and put salt on everything.
While salt definitely enhanced most of my post-SFAH cooking, some dishes came out way too salty. “But Samin said to salt it like this!” I’d whine to David, his lips in a saline pucker. Well, reader, I’ve finally sourced the problem! Samin wasn’t wrong, and I– for the record– wasn’t always over-salting… Essentially, it all boils down to (see what I did there lolololkillme) the fact that the UK and US version of the book had a classic miscommunication. You see, not all salt is created equal, and while reading about the varying saltiness in salt, I learned that the salt chapters in the US and UK version of SFAC are different because both countries commonly use different kinds of salt in their everyday cooking. Most American cooks use Kosher salt and over here, most Brits use sea salt, which 100% tracks with my own cooking. And as an owner of the US version of Salt Fat Acid Heat (I insisted on buying it in the US because 1) it came out sooner over there and 2) the cover is better, don’t @ me) I will now take Samin’s writing with– you guessed it!– a grain of salt. And now you know this very tedious and boring story that I’m beginning to regret telling you but am too stubborn to delete because L👀K AT ALL THESE WORDS.
I planned on having a very productive weekend while David is in America but instead spent 8 hours reading years-worth of evidence about a secret relationship I already 100% believed was real. Sometimes you just need to embrace the fandom and live your truth, you know? 🤷🏻♀️(Also 100% here for Taylor’s next chapter– especially if it’s what she’s been hinting at!)
F I N A L L Y - and this isn’t really something that I already love, but really truly hope to love: I’m heading back to the States next month and am thinking of getting a quip while I’m there. (Yes, they sell them in the UK but no, I don’t want to pay £15 on shipping– pls reference above ching-wagging about trying to be sensible with/trying to hoard money, thanks). So I’m wondering, do you have a quip? David bought me my current toothbrush when we first started dating NINE YEARS AGO, which was the most romantic thing anyone has honestly ever done for me, but the battery’s totally fucked and I think it’s time to level-up to a new toothbrush. The thought of brushing manually depresses me, so I definitely want to go electric, but am I being brainwashed by my podcast feed or is quip for sure the way to go? Is there an eco-friendly electric toothbrush out there?? WHY IS EVERY FUCKING PURCHASE SUCH AN EXHAUSTING SUSTAINABILITY FRAUGHT NIGHTMARE THESE DAYS****?! Pls someone tell me what to do. 🙏🏼
Wishing you all a very prosperous week and in the words of pirate ghost Geoffrey Rush from the first POTC movie*** TAKE ALL YOU CAN AND GIVE NOTHING BACK. Except please pay your taxes because the NHS need £££ and jail sounds really awful. (I say this as someone who hasn’t properly filed a tax return in my home country in years and lives in fear every gd day of going to prison. But don’t worry! I’m working on it. Also! Nobody tells you that you need to keep filing your stupid UfuckingS taxes when you move to a new country! I’m self-employed! I don’t have a legal/HR department… I also don’t know which department would be in charge of telling me this. I’m useless. Pls don’t put me in prison.)
Get that money, honey! 💰💰💰
*Honestly, the snacks are the only thing I really feel that I’m missing out on. (But a large part of that is because I’m blessed to live in the UK where I don’t need to worry about health benefits as a self-employed person. Long live the NHS!)
** No. 1 being that you need to take your head out of the sand and engage with what you have and what you owe, folks! It’s not always fun, but it’s necessary
*** A very good family friend who saw, like, every movie with my family/me (she introduced me to Clueless when I was nine – L E G E N D), took out a pocket notebook and wrote this quote down DURING the movie IN the movie theatre and teen me has never forgotten it. Teen me has also never forgotten the all-encompassing obsession I had with Keira Knightley and her extremely long torso after this release. Imagine teen me’s joy when she learned Bend it Like Beckham existed in the world! Teen me drove her car to Blockbuster and rented the hell out of it.
****Don’t get me wrong, I love sustainability and pride myself on being an informed consumer but my god, it’s so much work sometimes. Right?
OKAY FOR REAL NOW BYE.
Lookee here, friends. Here we have a Clara Rubin, camouflaged in her urban environment. With a sly turn of her head, she entraps unsuspecting passersby in a sultry stare. Goners, all of them. This world is a wild one, and there is no match for Clara’s captivating and powerful charm.
I love getting to take photos of my friends. 🖤
You know what’s fucking weird? That Mother’s Day isn’t the same day in the UK as it is in the US, but Father’s Day is. I don’t know why that is, but I’m gonna chalk it up to some man working in the International Calendar Office and 100% remembering when Father’s Day was bc patriarchy but totally forgetting Mother’s Day. But joke’s on him! Because now moms like mine get TWO days in a year when their US/UK daughters commemorate their love for them on social media!
Mom, I love you. And here are a few more things I love!
My business partner, Hanna, told me about this non-binary stock photo library this week and it 100% gave me all the chills. So wonderful and important!
I shared a bottle of Gut Oggau Family Reunion Rosé on Friday night with my friend Clara and you guys, I can’t stop thinking about it. I’m doing my best to talk myself out of buying a case because at £48.00 a bottle it’s not exactly in my budget, but omg it’s so goooood… HELP. 😬
I’m crushing so hard on photographer Liz Seabrook. Her work is beeeautiful and it makes me want to shoot more portraits.
Surprise surprise! I absolutely sobbed my eyes out watching the first episode of the FINAL season of Jane The Virgin. Anyone else?! I don’t know how I’m going to cope when this show is over. It’s been such a joy watching it these past few years.
Another thing I love: A fresh start. Tomorrow is April and I’m so excited to start a new dang month because this one has felt 400 years long and I feel like I’ve been crap about a) exercising 3x a week b) taking photos and c) finishing any of the books I’m partially through. But a fresh start means a clean slate** and I’m excited to be better in April . See you on the flip side!
*I bought the pink sunnies in August of last year, but realised a month or two later when I was late-night scrolling through my screen grabs, that I’d saved a pic of ICON Tracee Ellis Ross wearing the same pair earlier in the summer. I didn’t intentionally mean to copy her but I guess my subconscious had other thoughts…
**I Know this isn’t how months/time/life work/s but pls indulge me and my small, feeble, human brain as I try to make sense of time passing and find order in the chaos we’ve made of this world. Thanks!!!
I spent most of this week on the sofa with Le Chat, a plant-basket-cum-puke-bowl by my side while my laptop played episode-after-episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine in a soothing loop and I slowly survived a stomach flu and my period. Ladies, never let a man tell you you’re weak, for we can truly have unpleasantness coming from all exits and still live to tell the tale!
Here’s some stuff I came across before/after that horrific episode that I thought was pretty rad.
I’m obviously going to start with Amy Sedaris on Marc Maron’s WTF this week. Her laugh kills me and I love that this interview disintegrates into the kind of reminiscing I do with my high school friends when we’re all back together. “Hey remember when so-and-so did ______. Man, what happened to that guy?” There’s so much warmth and goodness between them and it’s a true joy to listen to. As Marc would say, DO IT UP!
My family has a political Whatsapp group that I’m very happily not a part of in which they site factually inaccurate– and often factually absent– “news” stories and then have at the topic like sharks going at a decomposing whale carcass. Last week they discussed their outrage over the amazing drag wunderkind, Desmond is Amazing– I don’t even want to get into what they think about this wonderful child but I will say that I’m glad David tipped me off to their discussion because knowing Desmond exists in the world, and is THRIVING, gives me so much joy. More Desmond, less bigotry!
I’m going to live in these Ivylee slides all spring and summer and I can’t even tell you how happy I am about it. I’ve been wearing them around the flat the last week or so and they make me feel like a) someone who has their life mostly together and b) Melora Hardin in The Bold Type, which is a vibe I 100% aspire to (especially in the scene when Sloan comes to her apartment for a talk and she looks so luxuriously casual that I almost died. Speaking of, when is The Bold Type back?)
And while we’re on the topic of SS19 fashion/beauty/whatever, I bought this RMS Beauty lipstick set a few weeks ago and am head-over-leopard-print-slides obsessed with the barbie pink shade Masquerade. It’s bright! It’s fun! WHY is this colour a limited edition onlyt?! 😩
Okay, back to the sofa. Bye bye!
I’m recovering from a stomach flu atm and listening to this collab between Lizzo and Missy Elliott made me do a sick bed shimmy, a true sign that a full recovery is on the way.
Last Friday, I had the honour of shooting my step-son and step-daughter-in-law’s wedding, and it was during this celebration that I came to a very important conclusion: everyone should get married on a Friday. Not only does it give guests a full two days to to recover from their physical and emotional hangovers before braving the bullshit of a Monday morning, it also gives party-goers an excuse to take the Friday off work and revel in the loveliness of a long weekend. Such a gift!
It’s also great for gossip - which, generally speaking, is one of the best parts of a wedding. Bringing extended family, friends from college, colleagues, and some semi-strangers your mom insisted you invite all into the same space is a recipe for some mighty-fine goss, and a Friday wedding gives guests two entire days to investigate and then Whatsapp, whisper over brunch, and text each other gossip post-ceremony. Who was drinking too much (spoiler alert: it was probably me)? Which exes avoided each other all night and which ones seemed to have something fizzling between them? Did you see the DJ wink at whats-her-name? In my experience, there are often loads of details to discuss after a wedding and it’s nice to have two days to swap stories and over-analyse every minute detail rather than one.
In short: long live the Friday wedding! And a big thank you to Malaak and Tom for hosting such a lovely and well-behaved night of fun and family. Admittedly, I didn’t have much to gossip about after this wedding, but I did get hit with quite a hangover and was thankful for a weekend of rest of and recovery after. 🖤
And here are some other things I’m thankful for!
As a Farrow & Ball devotee of the highest order (I know, I’m the worst) I gobbled up this New Yorker article about finding the perfect colour. And yes, if you must know, Joa Studholme’s new book, Farrow & Ball: Recipes for Decorating is tippy-top of my frivolous book list right now.
I full-on gasped looking at Danai Gurira in Thom Brown at Paris Fashion Week. This look is absolute perfection. That cape coat? Slay me.
Speaking of art, I’m also extremely into Nevine Mahmoud’s sensual sculptures. Nipples and peaches and cherries, oh my!
I’ve been trying to post this photo to the bgsd IG all day BUT insta’s been down so womp-womp, I can’t. It’s such a good reminder that we shouldn’t put too much emphasis on the power of social platforms, and should instead share our shit on sites we own. We could wake up tomorrow, and our social platforms could literally be gone*. Fuck you, Suckerberg! ☺️
*I wake up every morning hoping this is true for Twitter lol
Photo of a rhododendron in bloom taken last May. And here’s a bigger version, just because it’s so damn beautiful.
When I’m State-side, I almost always have a La Croix sparkling water in my hand. (I like the lemon and the grapefruit flavours, if you must know.) I love how easy it is to carry them around, I love that they come in recyclable containers, I love their fizzy goodness– I love basically everything about them! And on more than one occasion, I’ve considered shipping a palate from America to my spare bedroom at an exorbitant price. (When I’m rich, I’ll 100% do this.)
Another beverage I love is kombucha, so imagine my joy when I found out that Kat Kombucha has started selling their booch in cutie-pie cans. I can’t slam ‘em back one after another like I do sparkling water, but I can afford to stock my fridge full of ‘em, and I plan to do exactly that.
Here are some other things I love!
Knock knock! Is there any room for me to live in Sasha Velour’s gorgeous Brooklyn home?
Also lusting after this colourful flat in Hackney. Those skylights? That kitchen?! YES PLS.
How did I not know that there’s a Refinery29 UK Money Diaries series!? I’m hooked.
Not that it’s a competition, but Amy Sedaris won IWD.
Speaking of IWD, I really love this pink and green sideboob print by Jessica Rose Bird. It would go pretty perfectly in our pink and green living room, don’t you think??
HAPPY INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY!
( . Y . )
Having my nails done makes me feel like I have my shit together even though I 100% do not have my shit together.
I don’t know what it is about this week, but I’ve felt really out of my depth and like everything around me is on the verge of collapse•. But even though I feel like a tornado of chaos is zooming through me, I find great comfort in the fact that my hands – my capable, scarred, and tiny hands – look like they know what’s up.
•Checks Clue: Nope, nothing here. Checks Co–Star: Oh, yes. Oh god, yes. This moon is out to get me.
I conned someone into being married to me for seven years. Don’t you forget it, I like to play the long game.
I finished Work Wife this week and damn, it really got me in my feelings. Like, I did not expect to be moved to tears so often while reading a freaking business book! I’ll write more about it in its own post because I have so many thoughts, but for now I’ll say this: as someone with a work wife of my own, I really found the book inspiring and useful. It’s out in the US on the 5th of March, so put getting a copy on your to-do list this week.
Here are some other things I’m loving right now:
Omg this photo of Lupita (10/37). What a vision! An icon! A real life goddess!
“Tina — that’s my rabbit’s name. Tina, I just found out is a boy. She got sick and they had to insert a catheter and they called me and said “Amy, you know, this is a male rabbit.” I was like, “What? What?!” So I just think of Tina as a big queen.” I feel like I put an Amy Sedaris item in almost every week but seriously, she’s such a joy I can’t even help it.
Little Simz has a new album out - Grey Area - and between this release and Solange, I feel like it’s Christmas in March. We are blessed.
I really want these tiger mules from Of a Kind.
I can’t stop staring at this photo of Dan Levy and I can’t tell if it’s because I want to bone him or be him. Can it be both? I should probably go back to therapy.
One of my big goals for 2019 is to be better about talking about money. I didn’t grow up talking about money and my family has always been sooooo shush about anything to do with finances, which made figuring out personal finances in my early 20s really difficult. I just kind of assumed that somehow, magically, money stuff would always work out and it wasn’t until we moved to the UK and almost lost everything that I was like, “Oh, shit. I guess I need to manage this.” So I’ve been trying to get better at money stuff the past few years, and this year I want to get more comfortable talking about it, asking for it, and making it work for me.
Reading about how Aminatou Sow makes and, more importantly, spends money was really powerful for me this week. I also found this recent episode of CYG in which she and Ann have a really honest conversation about freelancing and finances really relatable and useful. I highly recommend listening to it if you’re self-employed or thinking about going out on your own.
And on that note, I’m going to go and update my budget and plan for some trips that I want and need to take this year. Wishing you all a wonderful weekend!
The painted tile used in this photo by my amazing friend Ed Liddle.