While human memory is, indeed, short, I think we can be forgiven for forgetting that February is so f***ing cold and awful every single year. It has NOT been an improvement on January. Well, not in terms of weather anyway. In terms of stuff we did, the cold weather seems to have made us more prone to keeping our brains warm, and with Summer “just around the corner” (lols on lols) expect to see more in the way of activities that require actual movement popping up.
Here are some things we did in February
Priya: I’ve been really busy replacing running (okay walking briskly) with reading at the moment so technically haven’t finished this but…Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes. I don’t know how well known Shonda is back in the UK but she’s a queen and basically owns Thursday night television here because she created Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy, and How To Get Away With Murder. This book documents how her life changed after she just started saying yes to opportunities coming her way. It sounds a bit cliche but she was a total introvert and dealt with major anxiety about public appearances, struggled with her weight, and was a huge workaholic. Okay I don’t have three TV shows but I can relate.
Also this fire article about Drake and his not-so-subtle love for black women.
AND this essay on mental health, success, and creativity.
Sophie: Hardcore Self Help: Fuck Anxiety by Robert Duff. I played with the idea of reading self help books but there’s something really off putting about grandiose, pitiful titles like ’10 ways to a New You’ etc. This book is what really helped me with anxiety, the author is straight talking, clear and realises that self help needs to fit into everyday life. He also sent me the sweetest email that made me cry. Love.
Bethan: I’m struggling to keep to my New Year’s resolution of reading more books this month! I’ll be better next month…I have managed to keep up to date with current affairs and the coverage of the Brexit debate which has triggered a few minor existential crises!
Edi: Boku dake ga inai machi (ERASED): You can probably guess from the title that it’s an anime, but bear with me, I’m not just suggesting it for my (very few) anime fan friends out there. This is a great show in itself – great plot, great characterisation, great animation, and this is reflected in the reviews. It’s very rare for an anime series to get 5/5 or 10/10 for every episode (anime reviewers are notoriously harsh), but this one really deserves it. It’s essentially a great crime drama, with a bit of sci fi mixed in: a 29-year-old with very few prospects has been blessed/cursed with ability to go back in time to prevent major crimes occurring. It’s usually only a few seconds into the past, but when his mother is killed, he’s sent back a whole 19 years to 1988 to get to the bottom of the mystery.
It’s actually amazing, I’m completely hooked.
Priya: I’ve started watching the OJ Simpson American Crime Story series on FX. It’s a really in depth look at the entire case which I didn’t know much about other than the major headlines. The Kardashians feature a bit too much which is weird, at least for my liking but so far, so good.
Bethan: First Dates on Channel 4 makes me feel good, what more can I say?
Priya: Life of Pablo obv. Kelly Price’s vocals in Ultra Light Beam give me goosebumps every damn time. Also fun fact, my Spotify discover playlist was SO good last week but I forgot to save it. I tweeted at them and they got it back for me. *cancels free Tidal subscription*
Here are some gems from it:
Bethan: Revived my old iPod with hours of Red Hot Chili Peppers for the long car journey to the France and a trip down memory lane.
Sophie: This month I’ve discovered my favourite band to cycle to. Pearl Jam. Yeah that’s right, I went old school. Meandering down through a Thai village with Better Man in your ears is beautiful.
Edi: Trainwreck: I don’t really do Romcoms, in fact it’s a genre that I generally actively avoid, but I enjoy Amy Schumer and it seemed to be coming from a different angle, so I decided to give it a go. It was an entertaining film, not the best I’ve ever seen, but it didn’t make me feel sick and turn to Law and Order: SVU instead. It had that typical American style of comedy (if it were a sitcom, there’d be canned laughter) but it was actually funny, and the acting and comedic timing was good. It also takes the piss out of itself in places, and has a different kind of plot than you usually see in this kind of film. Give it a watch if you’re bored, need a laugh, and half a couple of hours to spare.
Sophie: This is in no way a new film but I finally watched Frank with the perfect Michael Fassbender. It’s a strange one; pretentious band, lead wears a large fake head 24/7, it’s different. I don’t think it’s a life changer, but I enjoyed that as it unfolds, it really honestly portrays mental health. At the same time, it’s not preachy, it’s not looking to make you think too much, it’s just a film of a thing that happens.
Bethan: Zoolander 2! Twice as ridiculous as the first one but very welcomed comic relief after a long day at work.
Edi: Imli Street is a modern-with-traditional-twist Indian restaurant in Soho, part of a franchise of Indian restaurants throughout London. It wasn’t the most amazing Indian food ever, but the presentation was good and the portions were generous. Also, they had this amazing white wine from New Zealand – can’t remember the name, but is available in the carafe, so that might be a hint!
Sophie: I recently went to see the Revenant (LEO, YOU’RE THE KING OF THE GODDAMN WORLD) at the Lido, one of the oldest cinemas in Bangkok. It was so kitsch, absolute Instagram heaven. Ushers in yellow, very 80s jackets and neon lights everywhere.
Bethan: I spent a week skiing in Avoriaz in the French Alps which was wonderful. Lots of wine was consumed but even more cheese; a speciality dish they have called Raclette consists of half a wheel of cheese that is placed with a heater on your table so you can scrape off the melted cheese and eat with a selection of cold meats. The cheese hangover lasts for about 3 days.
Bethan: I also recently had a delicious Sunday roast at the Carpenter’s Arms near Brick Lane. Roasts are served on Sundays between 1-5pm and tables cannot be booked so it is worth arriving before 1 if you want a lunchtime roast. The food choice is very simple; beef or pork roast, the drink choice is a lot harder due to the large variety of beers. Very recommendable for a cosy Sunday roast.
Edi: HIIT: My local gym just started up a ‘new year new you’ programme including High Intensity Interval Training. My mum suggested we attend the first session to see how it goes. It went painfully, but quickly. I’ll be honest, the timings didn’t quite add up for me. He said that each exercise was about 30 seconds long (lies, more like 2 minutes) followed by 15 second breathers (more lies) and, some water breaks (‘break’ is stretching the truth). But I feel like after a while, and by pairing it with other gym activities, it will pay off. Only join if your will to live is relatively high, it will be decreased after half an hour.
Serial series two and series one update. I’m not so sure about series two, and probably because there’s no central mystery that we’re trying to get to the bottom of, I’m a bit like “what is the point?” But it’s still interesting from the perspective of learning more about investigative journalism, how the US Army works, and just learning about something new. I had never heard of the Bob Bergdahl case before, so it’s kind of like listening to a 15-page New York Times being read aloud.
There are also some series one updates – exciting but few and far between!
Bethan: Serial series 1 update – magically appeared for 3 days then radio silence; what is going on there??
Sophie: Not sure this is really newsworthy but coconut oil is changing who I am. I’m silky smooth, my poor bleached hair is finally a bit happier and my eyelashes are growing.
Priya: I will fully second that. I use it once a week on a Sunday night to scrub all my troubles away before a new week.