Mollie’s Feel-Good Feed: January motivation, cheerleading and Hilary Duff

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  • Welcome to Mollie’s Feel-Good Feed, a place where each month Mollie King shares her round-up of the things bringing her joy in these strange and uncertain times. Check back each month for uplifting music, self-care tips and, hopefully, smile-inducing content. 

    Here we are then! A new year is upon us after what I’m sure we can all agree were some much needed Christmas celebrations. By the time New Year’s Eve arrived, I felt quite happy to kick last year into touch and look forward to what should hopefully be a much happier, more positive and dare I say it, normal one?! I always love the motivation a new year gives me, whether it’s New Year’s resolutions (I know, I know, you either love them or hate them), throwing yourself into something new, or even better deciding to accept the way you’ve been in the past is more than enough and should be celebrated.

    I am absolutely over the moon to continue to share with you more of the joys I’m coming across in music, film, TV, fashion. And I am even more grateful to you for coming along on the ride with me. If you follow me on Instagram, I am always keen to hear your recommendations. After all, we are spoilt for choice these days with the amount of entertainment flying in our direction. So let’s kick off the year with my biggest passion, music!

    Music

    I have to start with two new names who have already raced up the UK chart, one of whom has beaten Adele for the top spot! At only 17-years-old Texas-born Gayle has proved she has well and truly arrived with her monster break-up hit abcdefu. Having moved to Nashville to pursue a career in music, she was spotted by former American Idol judge and huge songwriter Kara DioGuardi who signed her to major record label Atlantic Records. She’s a fantastic breath of fresh air. She has the song-writing qualities of megastar Julia Michaels, with the cool nonchalance of Dua Lipa. Think a grittier version of Dua’s IDGAF and that’s what this is. Get ready to blast this out in the car next time someone’s rubbed you up the wrong way. The lyrics are forthright, but there’s a twist in the chorus that is sure to make you smile.

    My other pop recommendation for you is 18-year-old Lauren Spencer Smith from Vancouver Island who, like Gayle, saw her track go viral on TikTok. Serving up real Taylor Swift vibes in her diary-form of writing, her oh-so-personal ballad gives listeners an intimate look into her relationship and has even scored her comparisons to the biggest breakout star of 2021, Olivia Rodrigo. Much like Rodrigo’s Drivers Licence, Fingers Crossed has been written from the heart and it makes for a perfect soundtrack to our dark nights and frosty mornings. Let’s be honest, if Spencer Smith has even half the success of teen sensation Rodrigo, she’ll be doing alright for herself.

    Albums

    I love it when a huge star kicks our year off with a brand new album. It’s typically the final quarter of the year when the big names drop their latest masterpiece, but  The Weeknd has decided to brighten up the start of the year. Quite fitting really, as he has described the album’s concept as the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’. Dawn FM is his 5th album and is jam-packed with radio hits like Take My Breath and Sacrifice. It’s destined for success with collaborations from Calvin Harris, Tyler The Creator and Swedish House Mafia. The Weeknd, I salute you, thank you for bringing us this upbeat dance pop to get us shuffling our way through 2022.

    One to also get us moving is Years and Years’s Olly Alexander. Always one to put a smile on my face for his openness and honesty, as well as feel-good bangers, Olly is releasing Years and Years’ highly anticipated third album, Night Call, on the 21st of January,  with a tour later on this year. With this album being the first since Years and Years became a solo project for Olly, there’s no doubting fans will be excited to hear it in full.

    TV Shows

    If like me, you’re a millennial and part of your childhood was spent idolising Hilary Duff as Lizzie McGuire on the Disney Channel, you won’t be surprised to hear that I’ve followed her open and honest journey into adulthood. She then went on to star in what has to be one of my favourite feel-good comedy series, Younger. From Sex And The City and Emily in Paris’s Darren Star, it’s filled with quick-witted remarks, fun fashion and all the relationship drama we could ask for. But having just wrapped filming, Duff is keeping busy and is the lead and producer of How I Met Your Mother spin-off, yep, you’ve guessed it, How I Met Your Father. Watch it on Disney+.

    At the start of 2020, I was struck down by a mystery bug that, now looking back, was most likely Covid. But it was way before testing, so we’ll never know. Whilst I was holed up in bed, feeling somewhat sorry for myself, I came across the series Cheer, which followed the Navarro College cheerleading team’s journey to the National Championships. It went on to become a huge phenomenon with a handful of the cast now huge household names in the US. If you have seen it, I’m sure you fell in love too and will be delighted to hear that season 2 has officially launched. This time, expect just as many incredible routines and inspiring mat-talks, as well as the highs and lows of their newfound fame. We also get to meet Navarro’s competitive rivals, Trinity Valley Community College, who like Navarro will have you picking your jaw off the floor with their routines. Go team go!

    When I heard a new Harlan Coben crime series adaptation was coming to Netflix I was so ready for it. After being gripped by The Stranger, it was an easy choice. To be fair, anything with a cast that includes James Nesbitt, Sarah Parish, Eddie Izzard and Cush Jumbo is destined to be a winner. In typical Coben fashion, Stay Close gradually builds into a nail-biting, edge of your seat addiction. The 8-part series is as high quality as any thriller I’ve enjoyed in the last year and with so many twists and turns and suspense in the plot, it’s certainly one where I need to watch an episode of Friends afterwards before heading to bed.

    Fashion

    So I don’t know if I need to get out more, but over the holidays I managed to do a major tidy and wardrobe clear out, which I actually found so enjoyable. (Reading that back, I realise that I definitely DO need to get out more.) However it did enable me to really see what I had in my wardrobe and that, without sounding like Marie Kondo, filled me with joy and made me feel good. I was having this discussion with my mum recently and saying how obviously most pieces in our wardrobes aren’t going to have us jumping with joy to get into them, but we do all deserve to have a few pieces that make us feel that 10% better when we slip them on. And perhaps to your surprise, I think that rather than it being the slinky evening dresses or killer leather trousers, it should be the everyday items that we wear time and time again. I know how incredibly hard and frustrating it can be to find the best jeans but take my word for it, I’ve found a winner. Look no further than Mother Denim. It often feels like an impossible task to find jeans that both look good and feel comfortable, but somehow Mother seems to do it. Whether you’re after the slim leg, high rise flare or distressed straight leg, I would make them your next port of call for something special and lasting.

    This weather this month has been confusing – will you wake up and need to de-ice the car? Or will it feel as warm as a Spring day? With that in mind, my next staple has to be a long term favourite of mine, Barbour International. Inspired by a long history of motorcycling, Barbour International oozes confidence and style. With its British heritage, it’s always been my go-to for statement outerwear, classic but with an edge. Paired with a snuggly woolly hat, whatever the weather, I’m always ready to brave the elements in my best winter coat for my morning walk.

    Fitness

    So January has to be my favourite month to chat about fitness. I know it’s a cliché to sign up for new programmes and join a gym, but I see no problem with that and actually admire the people who see the new year as a new chapter and I, like them, try to put my best foot forward. If you follow me on Instagram, you might know that I’m in the middle of my January challenge where I encourage followers to get active or get moving every day of the month. Whether that’s taking your dog out for a walk, finding 15 minutes to stroll around the block and get some fresh air, or skipping for 10 minutes. It’s about finding those little breaks in the day and squeezing in those things that make you feel like your best self. A lot of the days have involved walks because I love nothing more than feeling the fresh air on my face. Plus, my dog Alfie will literally stare me out if I don’t take him out, so that definitely helps get me out of the door. If you haven’t yet tried it out, come and join us, it’s never too late to get involved with some January motivation.

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