living, learning and lounging in lockdown

During these stressful times, it seems due to the fact I was an anxious mess already, I’ve actually became calmer during lockdown. To the point where I’m having more good days than bad for the first time in a long time and strangely I’ve ended up figuring some things out that have been preying on my mind for a while now. I know, sounds a bit odd, might need to get it checked out. I’m making the most of reading in the sun- therefore turning into one big freckle- and trying to focus on doing the things I enjoy and learning as I go, while attempting not to worry about employment (quite the feat if I ever manage to pull it off). I’m also trying to make sure I keep up my daily exercise, which includes a lil routine which is incredibly basic and yet always leaves me feeling faint on the floor dripping with sweat even though I’ve been doing the same thing for almost a year. So seems I might be unfit. And with the added addition of a walk everyday I aim to balance out the high quantities of ice cream I consume for maintaining optimal happiness levels. I’m kept busy caring for my rather large number of houseplants, which I haven’t started talking to yet cause that’s not really my thing, but another few months and who knows what could happen.

My babies are growing and thriving like heck as you can see, and I’m completely obsessed with my monstera, to the point where I’m now drawing its leaves and becoming the artist I was always meant to be, one that only draws the same type of leaf over and over. Speaking of art, when this all started my first moment of possible insanity (or genius) was to buy a can of yellow spray paint and basically spray any plant pots or other similar paintable items yellow. Think I was attempting to brighten the mood, which was all well and good other than the mess of yellow paint I left on the ground outside. No time to dwell on that just now though.

Looks like we’re gonna be continuing like this for a while, so good #content is gonna be required. So I thought I’d do a lil run down of the things that have been keeping me entertained, starting with the obvious, books.

I’m currently reading The Most of Nora Ephron and if you happened to read my last post you’ll know I’m a big fan of Ephron. I thought it would be the perfect read to keep my spirits up as it’s a rather chunky collection of her writing so it should keep me going a little while. And if you’re interested I’ll be giving it a proper review in my April books.

As well as reading, I’m listening to my first audiobook, Malcolm Gladwell’s Talking to Strangers. Which of course I knew was gonna be pretty damn good from listening to all 4 seasons of his podcast but damn it really is that good, and Oprah agrees. David Sedaris also has a kindle/audible exclusive essay out called Themes and Variations which I bought for £1.65 to listen to while I painted some more monstera leaves which was a short but wonderful listen. And as always he managed to make me snort with laughter. The other book I’ve been meaning to listen to for a while is Michelle Obama’s Becoming so I’m happy to finally be getting round to that next month.

I’ve got a lot of exciting books in my tbr pile at the moment- including The Mercies and Girl, Woman Other- which I cannot wait to get stuck into and review. I also don’t know how I’m gonna manage the wait for some of the books coming out late summer, there’s so many wonderful ones and so many new books from authors I love. I really want (need) to get my hands on them. For now I’m looking forward to Holly Bourne’s newest novel Pretending arriving.

As usual I’m listening to plenty of podcasts, some of which I’ve talked about before and some of which I’m going to in an upcoming blog post but I wanted to mention a couple of really great episodes I’ve loved over the past few days here. First of all is the only episode, so far, that I’ve listened to of Angela Scanlon’s Thanks a Million podcast. The most recent episode with Marian Keyes was just wonderful (as everything involving Keyes tends to be) and ever so honest, and as the name gives away the interview centres around gratitude. Next up, I adored the newest episode of Table Manners with Jessie Ware and guests Mel and Sue. Their love for each other was such a nice thing to listen to and they were as jolly and full of laughs as ever. Elizabeth Day’s special episode of How to Fail was filled with listeners sharing their stories of living in the time of Coronavirus which was a really lovely idea and managed to leave me in tears multiple times throughout. And lastly in a recent episode of Ctrl Alt Delete, Emma Gannon interviews the writer Holly Bourne (who’s book I’m waiting very patiently on arriving) and it’s a truly fascinating interview about writing, the difficult topics Bourne writes about and how she does so with sensitivity but also humour and ease.

I’ve also been watching more tv, I say more because I’m terrible at actually sitting down and concentrating on watching something. Really the only time I manage is if I’m sitting down with my boyfriend specifically to watch a show which is where Netflix Party has came in handy so we can still watch shows at the same and chat in the lil sidebar. Season 4 of Money Heist was just as amazing, if not more, than the others and doubly heartbreaking and tense. We also raced through Netflix’s recent thriller, The Stranger which is a really twisty lil show at 8 episodes long and I’m still thinking about it now. Also Safe, written by the same guy, is just as suspenseful. And I’ll always recommend the last few seasons (or all the seasons if you’re in the mood) of Death in Paradise, it’s just such a happy show to watch, even with the odd murder. Not on Netflix but as I’m sure everyone’s seen, Fleabag live is now available to rent for a limited amount of time from Soho theatre’s website and after binging the two seasons I’m more than ready for it. And also, I’m half way through Mae Martin’s show, Feel Good which is wonderfully funny and great so far.

@thehyphenbookclub on Instagram

Coming back to book content for a moment, I’ve been loving Emma Gannon’s new book club The Hyphen on Instagram. It’s super pleasing to look at and has been giving me loads to add to my list as well as just keeping me topped up on that book love. It’s possible I get cravings for books as well as for chocolate ice cream (with chunks). And if you happen to be looking for more people to follow on Instagram, Florence Given, as I’ve mentioned before, is the one.

Back to the current situation and a topic I’ve seen a lot of discussion online about at the moment: Productivity. As much as I try to keep up a good routine; write everyday and also work on my studies because I know I feel better when I do, some days I just lose all that motivation and need to take a lil moment to get back to it. I used to really beat myself up about it anytime I slightly deviated from my plan, which definitely didn’t help matters or get me in a good head space to be productive. So I’ve been trying to work on letting those moments pass and allowing them to exist without getting annoyed with myself and fighting them to no avail. Which I think is a problem quite a lot of people can maybe (?) relate to. Anyway I think I’m getting somewhere although then sometimes I don’t feel like I’m getting anywhere, but overall, I hope I’m making moves for the better.

I hope you’re finding some little forms of happiness during such weird times, dancing to some proper bangin’ tunes maybe? I’d recommend Hot Stuff by Donna Summer on repeat and maybe a lil Stevie Nicks and Prince in-between, gosh I’d love to see what he’d have made of these times, probably more music by the looks of his extensive catalogue. If music is your thing, Dolly Alderton has a wonderful Spotify playlist called “Pandemic at the Disco” ready made for groovin’. I’m loving the band Fuzzy Sun at the moment, they have perfect upbeat tunes to get you moving. I’m at the point of actually looking forward to when I next shave my legs and then stick on a summer dress and some hoops, drink some super fruity cider and go out dancing.

I can’t wait to be watching the sunset from one of my favourite spots in Edinburgh again, I don’t think I ever really took it for granted in the first place but I’ll certainly appreciate it even more than ever. I’d also just love to go out for some damn good food and drinks. And I know everyone will be saying this, but I really really wanna be by the sea. What are you looking forward to in life after lockdown, or as Cher might say do you believe in life after lockdown? The question is why has no one done a parody of Cher’s song Believe yet, although I guess it’s possible someone has as I’ve been avoiding most social media (I could maybe check). But anyway, what are your little moments of joy? And please send any book, podcast or tv show recommendations my way!

—T

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