Afternoon, you beautiful lot! Here we are again, Friday is finally here and we’re looking forward to a chilled weekend, hopefully with a little more of this glorious Indian Summer sun we’ve been having! Nevertheless, on this rainy, grey Friday and with the Autumn Equinox just around the corner, we’re pulling together all our favourite things to keep us comforted as the nights begin to draw in.
So, from a new album from our favouirte music muse, to an environmentally conscious menstrual cycle, to our favourite way to soak up the last drops of summer, the most beautiful book of poetry a woman could own, and our favourite seasonal vegetable right now; we’re preparing our own ‘Hygge’ to see us through Autumn.
Take a second for yourself this Friday, pour yourself a mug of warmth, get those weary feet propped up high and let’s delve into some serious loveliness…
One: Now Listening (well, sorta)
First up: Bon Iver.
Justin Vernon has been my all-time favourite musician since I was fourteen, when one of my good friends first played me ‘Skinny Love’. Too many years later, and Vernon is just about to release his 3rd album, ’22, A Million’, and while it’s worlds away from his woodman-sy debut album, ‘For Emma, Forever ago’, his haunting falsetto remains unmistakably beautiful. NME describes it:
‘Vernon’s most experimental work to date – ambitiously described as ‘poly-fi’ by his collaborators […] but still houses that unmistakable falsetto which will make your soul soar and your eyes damp. Computer bleeps clash with guitar twangs, skittering drum machines and misty melodies for something very lush indeed.’
In his truly gutsy way, Vernon released the album by performing it live, in its entirety, as his headline performance at Eaux Claires Music & Arts Festival, which you can view here, or you can wait for the album release date, September 30th.
Either way, Bon Iver has captured us, heart and soul, all over again!
His words and that falsetto… I mean, I don’t know about you, but he’s got my attention. I have a feeling this may become my go-to Autumn album.
Two: Dispose of Disposables
Periods. Now, while they might not be the first thing that springs to mind when we’re talking about making life lovely, for the majority of women they’re a sign of a happy, healthy body, that we should be grateful for.
So, why am I mentioning them? Well, because as a relatively recent convert to the menstrual cup, the more I read about the advantages to making the switch to reusable menstrual products, the more I want to share this news!
- Your Health – Disposables are typically made with a combination of plastics, cotton, synthetic fibers and wood pulp. Conventionally produced cotton is one of the most toxic crops grown, using 20 percent of the world’s pesticides and herbicides. These materials are then bleached with chlorine dioxide, creating polluting, harmful and bio-accumulative byproducts like dioxin, which not only end up in the environment, but also remain in our bodies for decades. Add other synthetic chemicals and artificial fragrances to the mix, and you’ve got a recipe for side effects like allergic reactions, hormone disruption, reproductive and gynecological disorders.
- The Environment – Switching to reusables is a striking example of how seemingly small personal choices can have a tremendous positive impact on our environment. It’s estimated that nearly 20 billion (billion!) pads and tampons are discarded each year in North America alone. The plastics in a pad will take hundreds of years to decompose. The process of manufacturing these disposables also pollutes our waterways, air and animal habitats.
- Your Wallet – If that isn’t enough to sway you, consider this: surveys estimate that menstruating costs women around £18,000 over their lifetime, so switching to reusables you can save around £8,400. Christine McRitchie, who sells Cloth Sanitary Pads (or CSPs) through EarthwiseGirls, adds that over five years, CSPs cost £30-£55, compared to the £120-500 on disposables.
- Girl Power – Most, if not all CSPs are made and sold by women running small businesses so there’s also the feel-good factor of supporting the sisterhood. Many retailers have charitable links – for every three Earthwise pads McRitchie sells, one is donated to an orphaned girl in Kenya.
So whether it’s a ridiculously cute set of CSPs (which get a much brighter review than you might first imagine) or a new-found love for menstrual cup (which, don’t believe the hype, is neither painful nor terrifying!) consider making the switch to reusable for your health, your world, your bank balance and your sisters!
Three: Capturing Summer
Now, how to capture the colours of our beloved Summer and make them last all winter long?
Well, along with the painfully cool peeps over at Urban Outfitters, we’re picking and pressing some of our favourite summer blooms this year in a bid to create some utterly beautiful, almost nostalgic glass frames of summer florals.
Such a simple, yet almost therapeutic practice, take a look UO’s great little guide to flower pressing here and get straight to it before Autumn truly sets in!
Four: Eat Seasonal
On our menu at least twice a week right now is a September vegetable favourite: Aubergine.
Aubergine’s got a bit of a bad rep, but when cooked right (which isn’t all that tricky to master!) it can be an just gorgeous!
We’ve been loving White Miso Aubergine (a recipe found in issue 74 of Vegetarian Living) whereby the aubergines are treated like a piece of meat, being scored all over, then rubbed with a ginger/garlic/chilli paste before roasted in the oven and finally glazed with a miso and tamarind based sauce; SO yummy! And we’ve also tried a number of stuffed aubergine recipes that have all proved seriously delicious and comforting for cooler nights!
Five: Now Watching
Two words that will make the hearts of many flutter: Aiden Turner.
A.K.A. the devastatingly handsome, Ross Poldark.
Oh yes! That’s right! The BBC’s popular remake of the 1970’s drama series and Winston Graham’s novels is back for a second series, every Sunday night at 9pm BBC One.
And I mean, did you see the first series?!
You get where I’m going with this, right?! That’s one sure fire way to banish the Sunday evening blues.
Six: Ethical Adornments
From the moment I laid eyes on this brand I fell head over heels in love. You know when you just land on an instagram feed, or open up a look book, and you feel like the pieces were made with you in mind?! Yeah, that’s the vibe I get from YCL Jewels, this designer just gets it!
Vegan and ethically made, YCL Jewels creates pieces designed to sit at the Chakras (energy points) of the body, and layer beautifully to create your own look.
With a minimal carbon footprint, and handmade by designer and CEO, Fabienne, I cannot wait to begin and expand my collection of YCL Jewels (the Constellation Disc Necklace and Crystal Cave Choker are my faves!)
And those Lioness Drop earrings? Are they not just GORGEOUS!? So many of her pieces would make amazing bridal jewellery or divine ethical bridesmaid gifts.
Seven: Now Reading
Well, this book just went ahead and changed my world!
milk and honey is a new york times bestseller […] it was first self published in november 2014. the self published edition quickly became a bestseller as it topped north american charts. its grassroots success lead to andrews mcmeel publishing releasing it under their name on october 6 2015.
‘milk and honey’ is the experience of violence. abuse. love. loss. femininity. the book is divided into four chapters. each chapter serves a different purpose. deals with a different pain. heals a different heartache. milk and honey takes readers through a journey of the most bitter moments in life and finds sweetness in them because there is sweetness everywhere if you are just willing to look.
It’s the book every woman should have next to her bed, or on her table, her honest prose, relatable style and simple, beautiful illustrations are to be experienced time and again. Be sure to check our Kaur’s beautiful instagram feed to get a feel for her art.
Eight: Being Present
The art (and I really do believe it’s an art!) of being present, is one I continue to endeavour to master throughout the year, but I always feel it most poignantly now.
With people and stores already throwing around the C-word, and Summer having passed in the blink of an eye, it’s so easy to find yourself either longing to still be in the midst of the summer just passed, or finding yourself consumed with plans for the C-word.
It’s at this point in the year that I find myself most tested in being present, but most fulfilled when I manage to achieve it. There’s such beauty in this season of change, and it passes so quickly. The relief that being in the present moment brings is wonderful. No worries for the future and no longings or regrets from the past; just now.
I loved reading this very Practical Guide to Being Present, from a tactile approach, to meditation apps, or even journalling; it’s a great place to start.
As a self-confessed Summer/sunshine lover, usually the prospect of Winter paints a rather foreboding picture for me personally. Then I discovered the Danish concept of ‘Hygge’.
A lot of people think of hygge as being ‘cozy’ but that only brushes the surface of a much more complex concept. Hygge is about creating a safe space to foster connectedness and togetherness with friends and family.
Danes are raised on hygge, so they do it naturally without a second thought. Many believe that the Danes’ ability to hygge is one of the main reasons they are so happy; hygge is creating a safe zone of togetherness, which makes it easy for all family members to take part in it at all times during any point in their lives.
Hygge serves as a safe, comfortable, judgment-free zone, something I definitely find I seek in the darker winter months! I love Decor8’s guide to creating Hygge at home and plan to implement plenty of their ideas this winter in my own space.
Ten: Now Listening
Following on from number nine, podcasts most definitely form a part of my hygge on a personal level. There’s something so comforting about listening to a peaceful, ethical conversation about life from the comfort of your own home, and my current favourite podcast is Earth to Us.
I found Earth to Us through a lovely vegan YouTuber that I follow, Ellen Fisher (known as Mango Island Mama on the YouT). Ellen’s sister, Hannah McNeely, is half of the Earth to Us duo, accompanied by her friend, Evan Oliver.
The premise for the show (which I just adore!) is as follows:
Earth to Us is the show where we are waking up. We want to explore the ideas that have motivated us to rethink the way we live our lives. There are so many people and concepts on this planet that inspire us to be better and live bigger, and we are here to hit record, learn and share all of that with you. Paying attention – that is our calling.
In a non-confrontational, conscious way Hannah and Evan cover big, heavy topics from discussing grief, the healing power of yoga, travel, vegan stereotypes, unschooling, female sexuality… I could go on, but in a nutshell, they’re awesome, open-minded individuals who leave me feeling like I’ve just had a comforting chat with likeminded friends, I’d highly recommend!
What have you been enjoying this month? Is there a show we need to be watching or a brand you’ve fallen in love with? Let us know in the comments below, we’d love to hear what you’ve been loving!
Have a beautiful weekend, gorgeous ones! We’ll see you on the flip side.
Peace + Love