I am so excited to be expanding my regular column. Each month, I will continue to write about music, TV, self-care and wellness, but I’m also going to be adding to this and introducing some other passions of mine, namely fashion, beauty and film. I can’t wait to hopefully bring you more reasons to smile and maybe some ideas for fun ways to while away these chilly evenings that I think we’re all in need of right now.
I’m delighted to start this month with one of the UK’s most exciting artists, whose husky tone and atmospheric production was the perfect soundtrack to the nation’s mood last year. I featured Arlo Parks back in May, with her song Eugene, describing it as the perfect track to unwind to. Last week Parks released her debut album Collapsed in Sunbeams and has already found herself fans in Michelle Obama and Paramore’s Hayley Williams. Not bad for someone who only released their first single Cola back in 2018. As an artist, she started out as a poet, and you can see how this skill influences her lyrics. She is the epitome of cool, calm and collected.
There are so many singles out right now that I’m enjoying, but perhaps the most exciting comes from 21-year-old singer/songwriter and actress Sabrina Carpenter. Not only has Carpenter already ticked the Disney star box, starred in Law and Order and Orange Is The New Black and toured with Ariana Grande, but she’s also released four albums. Phew, I’m exhausted just thinking about it all. Since moving record labels Carpenter has released the song that’s elevated her to the world stage and has everyone talking: Skin. At a time when pop power ballads are ruling the charts I see this song racing up there quickly, asserting her authority and making her own mark on pop music.
Let’s move away from pop and into another genre I love, country. I Hope is the debut single of country star Gabby Barret. In typical country form this song immediately grabs you in the first few lines and has you wondering where it’s heading in the chorus. The song quickly caught the attention of hugely successful pop phenomenon Charlie Puth, who added a new second verse for himself. If, like me, you were obsessed with Carrie Underwood’s Before He Cheats, think of this song as part two. The power of Barrett’s voice drives this song and begs you to sing along at full volume.
The show on everyone’s lips right now has to be Channel 4’s British drama, It’s A Sin. Receiving critical acclaim for both writing and performance, it’s pure raw emotion. It follows the lives of a young group of friends who move to London in the 80s, at the beginning of the AIDS crisis. The story takes you on a heartbreakingly honest journey, as HIV tears their beloved world apart. With Olly Alexander, frontman of Years and Years, at the helm and creator Russell T. Davies, of Doctor Who fame, this is a triumph for British television and the arts.
British drama, The Dig, was recently released on Netflix and has proven hugely popular here in the UK already. It charted at Number 3 on the streaming platform, and with a cast that includes Carey Mulligan, Lily James and Ralph Fiennes, it’s no surprise really. Based on the 2007 John Preston novel, it’s a wonderful story about a Anglo-Saxon burial ship that’s discovered in Suffolk in 1939. This is the perfect watch for period drama fans, shot beautifully in the English countryside.
I’m delighted to share with you some of my favourite designers at the moment. Let’s start with London-based brand, WNU (With Nothing Underneath). This shirting company, that specialises in the boyfriend shirt, is all about simple luxury. Made from fabulous soft cotton, they’re all about looking effortless and chic at the same time. With mens tailoring as the inspiration, it’s the perfect oversized casual, yet luxury, shirt. You can stop looking, you’ve found it.
Another favourite fashion of mine has to be Sézane. Born in Paris, the brand started after Morgane Sezalory, a keen bargain-hunter, found an abandoned suitcase full of vintage clothes. She made slight alterations and sold them on. She then began creating her own collections, which have garnered huge adoration in France. Sézane creates pieces for you to wear forever, with a vintage feel and classic charm. As if the Parisian feel wasn’t enough to entice you, Sézane also has a charity programme, DEMAIN, which focuses on supporting children and their futures. Je l’adore!
Getting made up at the start of the day seems almost a waste of time when most of us aren’t leaving our houses, doesn’t it? Well, let me tell you, if there’s something I’ve learnt in the past few weeks it’s that spending an extra 5/10 minutes in the morning making myself feel more presentable certainly lifts me. (And I don’t just mean from the highlighter on my cheeks… although that certainly helps!) I recently discovered the gorgeous new Pixi Beauty collaboration with beauty favourites Louise Roe, Denise Sanchez, Tina Young and Promise Tamang. Each of them has injected their own individual style into a palette and each one has given me a much-needed boost first thing in the morning. There are flushes of colour for cheeks cheeks, perky eye shadows shades and sculpting hues to shape and contour. If five minutes extra in the morning is going to make me look like I’ve had even 15 minutes more sleep then COUNT ME IN!
Self-care and Wellness
This week I had the lovely surprise of receiving an at-home art kit. Now trust me I’m certainly Mollie, not Monet, but I was so excited by this unexpected delivery I dove straight in. With adult colouring books proving to be such a successful mindful activity, I could immediately see how this Masterpeace London kit could have the same mental health benefits. Along with the painter’s palette, handpicked acrylic paints, brushes and sponge, you also receive in your set a pre-sketched canvas with step-by-step instructions from the artist, as well as virtual classes. Aimed at helping to relax and inspire, this certainly was an instant mood booster and perfect Sunday evening wind down.