Reasons to smile...
As the crocuses and daffodils bring some much-missed colour back into our gardens and parks, I’m pleased to say Spring is popping its head around the corner. With it, it brings wonderful memories of those surprisingly hot and sunny days we had last year. I’m always one for trying to stay positive and see the good in everything, so I hope you feel the same as me about the roadmap out of lockdown. The finish line is almost within touching distance, which has given us a little boost. Although it’s hard to see right now, with so many of us at our wits end, there have been some positives come out of the past couple of months. There are things I have certainly enjoyed and things that I have learnt about myself. I’m reminding myself that there’s still enjoyment to be had within my flat and things to perk up my mood. Let’s start with my biggest passion of all, music!
Finding new and up-and-coming artists to shine a light on is one of my favourite things to do. This artist is well and truly on her way to being seen on a bigger stage, and her current single in particular could just provide that impetus. I’ve written in the past about her collaboration with JP Saxe, but in her follow up single, she’s going at it alone. Maisie Peters is a self-proclaimed “emo pop” girl and that is the perfect description. I’m always drawn to songs that I feel could stand alone as an acoustic track, rather than heavily relying on the production ,and this song certainly ticks that box. The title – John Hughes Movie – intriguingly refers to the filmmaker behind some of Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters, like Home Alone and Uncle Buck. I immediately wanted to see the route the lyrics would take us down. In my eyes, Peters always paints such a beautiful picture with her lyrics and this song is no different.
Next up is a collaboration between two of my favourite artists. Ella Henderson, whose name you will know from the almighty smash Ghosts and, more recently This Is Real with Jax Jones, alongside the gruff sultry tones of Bedford-born Tom Grennan. Grennan is one of the most entertaining artists coming through right now, with a completely unique look on life that I feel we all need a small shot of. He’s as funny as he is talented, and I can’t wait to hear his album Evering Road (released this month). This track from Henderson and Grennan, Let’s Go Home Together, feels instantly familiar like a long-awaited hug, and puts you at ease with some of the best vocals in pop music right now.
I have been desperately waiting to share my enthusiasm for this show all month which, while there’s not a lot going on in the world, has seemed even longer than the normal four weeks. You might’ve seen Firefly Lane advertised in your “popular” section on Netflix and if so, trust that advertisement and hit “watch”. Executively produced by and starring Katherine Heigl, this time-hopping drama tells the story of two best friends who grew up together in the 70s and are still inseparable in later life. One goes on to be a hugely successful TV host, whilst the other choses family life and is re-entering the working world some years later. Although this sounds like I’ve just given it all away, this is all revealed in the first few minutes and continues to time hop throughout the 10 episodes. In typical binge-worthy fashion, each episode ends on a very unexpected cliff hanger and take it from me, it’s a real task to turn the TV off.
In other exciting news Disney+ launched Star last month, which gave me access to hundreds of favourites of mine, both in TV and film. As if Grey’s Anatomy and Desperate Housewives weren’t enough to immediately entice me, as soon as I saw that I’d be able to watch The Devil Wears Prada at anytime, on any day, I suddenly felt like things were looking up. It seems that the film is popular once again, after Anne Hathaway featured on Ru Paul’s Drag Race US, and told the contestants she was in fact 9th choice for that role, behind the likes of Rachel McAdams and Claire Danes. Hard to believe when she is so perfect for it, but hearing that reminded me of the fact that Julia Roberts landed the iconic role of Vivian, in Pretty Woman, after Michelle Pfeiffer, Meg Ryan and numerous others had turned it down. (A note to their agents…. Big mistake, huge!) Incidentally, that movie is also available on Star on Disney+.
Even though we’re headed into Spring, I must share with you one of my favourite designers, who I absolutely adore for her knitwear (amongst other things). I’ve always believed a good quality knit is worth spending a little more on, knowing that it will stand the test of time and feel luxe every time you put it on. I fell in love with Amanda Wakeley after wearing one of her vibrant orange jumpers last year and have leapt at the chance to wear her latest knits again. Boasting gorgeous roll-necks and offering both softer tones in the form of light pink, and show stoppers in bright fuschia. With hot pink the colour of the season, it is no surprise that Amanda Wakeley is demonstrating that to perfection.
Another knit which has seen me through the past few months comes from unisex knitwear brand Fund. This luxury brand is all about sustainability and feel good fashion. Made in the UK, the jumpers all have embroidered messages on them, often about empowerment or messages to make you smile. They’re a way of showing self-expression and are manufactured from the highest quality wool from free-range, pasture-fed, ethically reared sheep. You’d be baaaaa-rmey to not jump on board with this brand.
If you follow me on social media you might have seen me talking about the injury I’ve incurred to my neck and shoulders. Baffled over what could have been caused it, I visited a physiotherapist who told me it was in fact the way I sleep at night. Did she mean with Friends on the TV and shoved into the corner by the world’s tiniest toy poodle? No, what she actually meant was the way I lie on my front with my neck crooked to the side. After describing the pain on Instagram, I was surprised to see such an overwhelming response and that so many of my followers have experienced the same thing. I therefore felt I had to share my findings with you on this, as it’s apparently something that creeps up on us when we are past our 20s and our bodies are slightly less forgiving! Something to think about when you get into bed this evening is sleep on your side or your back. The belly-to-mattress approach is a firm no-go from the professionals, so if you’re anything like me, you might be spending the next few weeks with a pillow up against your body to refrain you from rolling forwards. I’m looking forward to seeing my fiancé, Stuart’s, face when he returns home from 10 weeks away and tries and get into our bed, which is now home to me, my pooch Alfie, and a full body pregnancy pillow. To be continued…
With home workouts being such a focus for lots of us whilst gyms are closed, I have been looking around for places to purchase what I’m now learning to be the essentials at-home workout kits. Whilst perusing the John Lewis women’s fashion tab, I was really impressed by the sport and leisure goods they had on offer. Some favourites that caught my eye had to be the Bala Bangles, which fit around your wrists or ankles making otherwise body-weight exercises that bit harder, and their Manuka Eco Yoga mat for beginners (which I most definitely am!). I’m more Namast-yay than Namaste!… must work on that.
You may know from my previous columns that if there’s one thing I have a major weakness for it’s workout gear! With such an array of fitness brands, it can be overwhelming searching through them all. Well if I can be of any help at all in guiding you to one of the must-have workout brands, let me tell you about LuLuLemon. It’s probably not a new name to most of you, but with it being at a slightly higher price point it’s one of those brands that you save up for and treat yourself. I was lucky enough to order some pieces recently and can’t express my love for them enough. Managing to tick both the practical box but also the fashion one, it makes you feel like your best self. If like me, you fancying buying yourself a present going into the new season, look no further. Go on, you know you want to.