Good afternoon, you lovely lot! I simply cannot believe that we’re half way through October already! It’s been a lovely month so far for us, full of cold crisp sunshine and little trips to the middle of nowhere to explore and hike, and today I celebrate 10 years with my man; it’s been a beautiful one all round!
And the loveliness isn’t about to stop there! We’ve got a gorgeous little fragrance, a stunning new album for you to get on repeat for next month, 3 wonderfully warming soup recipes, and a few of our favourite simple pleasures to make you savour the little things in life!
Let’s kick things off with this incredible album, grab yourself a fresh coffee and enjoy!
One: Now Listening
So, I’m not gonna lie it took at least 3 people raving about this album to finally get me to listen. I had some preconceptions: I’d listened to some of Solange’s music historically and never been particularly wowed by it.
Boy, did she prove us all wrong with this one.
Three years in the making, her third album, ‘A Seat at the Table’, is deeply personal in content and rich in sound. From the title down, this album is an ‘intensely personal testament to black experience and culture’ (Guardian).
I love this break down from NME:
Solange breaks down the cliché of the ‘angry black woman’, takes ownership of her heritage, and grapples with the complexities of cultural appropriation.
These are complicated topics to address on record, but ‘A Seat At The Table’ succeeds because it’s musically soothing even when her lyrics are challenging. With cool, classy co-producers including Kwes, Kindness and Sampha, Solange has created a warm, balmy blend of neo-soul, low-key electro and gentle R&B, which has echoes of Prince on the funky ‘Junie’ and her own ‘True’ on the crackling ‘Don’t You Wait’. Stitched together by insightful spoken-word interludes from Solange’s parents and rap mogul Master P, ‘A Seat At The Table’ feels deeply personal and thrillingly intimate throughout.
Check out the (incredible) video for her first release from the album, ‘Cranes in the Sky’ below…
Two: Fall Fragrance
Now, this fragrance is no newbie to the scene. In fact, it’s not even a newbie to my scene (I think my beau gifted it to me a few years ago for Christmas?!), but after having been to see a Shakespeare Live at the cinema with a buddy recently (if you’re a Shakespeare fan, you really should check it out!) I was distracted for at least the first 5 minutes by the gorgeous scent she was wearing.
It was familiar to me, perfectly Autumnal, a warm and velvety… I knew it, and as soon as I returned home I had to figure out what it was (I could, of course, just asked her, but where’s the fun in that!)
It was Under My Spell, Noelle, by Benefit Cosmetics.
They describe this enchanting perfume:
An exotic & glamorous woody floral. Noelle entices & intrigues. She’s the toast of the town, the essence of mystery in her divine velvet lounge. So glamorous & exotic she’s sure to beguile all in her presence. “Long to linger awhile.”
Top notes: cardamom, black pepper, lingonberry
Middle notes: wild orchid, jasmine petals, vanilla flower, fresh rose, soft violet
Bottom notes: patchouli, accord oud, black amber, vanilla beans, benzoin resin, raspberry
...And I haven’t taken it off since!
Three: Life Changing Chocolate
On a recent visit to the beautiful town of Hay-on-Wye, I discovered a gorgeous fair trade shop and inside it, a chocolate that was about to change my life. No overstatement, I take my chocolate very seriously.
Now, take everything you love about white chocolate: the smooth, velvet, creamy indulgence, and take out everything you don’t: the sickly feeling that comes from eating too much and any kind of over-processed flavour, and there you have it, Labooko’s Rice White Chocolate.
The earthy richness that comes from his use of Powdered Rice in place of milk gives this chocolate a beautiful flavour, which I’ve been sat here at my desk trying to describe for a good ten minutes now! You just simply have to try it, it’ll change your life and those of the cocoa bean growers who’re given fair prices, fair terms, decent working conditions and empowered to create sustainable businesses, every time you buy Zotter.
Four: Mirror Mirror
So, I recently read an article over on Free People’s ever-inspiring blog that I just can’t get out of my head. It’s something I’d never thought of as being detrimental before, but now that someone’s suggested it to me, it’s been filling my thoughts.
How often do you look in the mirror? And how often does what you see in said mirror have implications on the way you feel for the rest of the day?
So what happened when one of the Free People girls went off-grid for 3 days, sans-mirror?
Living without a mirror is freeing. Almost immediately, life gets much more simple. It shifts from how you look, to how you feel. You begin to nourish your body from the inside out — drink more water when you are dry, eat more veggies to “feel” good, get more restful nights’ sleep. You start to realize that you don’t need concealer, eyeliner or mascara to be yourself. Quite the opposite, truly […] The vulnerability of not knowing what you look like can be scary. But, friends, all-natural becomes the beautiful norm.
I am so fascinated by this concept, I feel like this could be such a release, I’m gonna have to try it sometime, and I think it’s certainly challenged my thoughts on home decor, on how many mirrors I’d allow to pervade my space.
Five: Soup for the Soul
This time of year calls for soup. No doubt about it.
Now, if you’re not a fan of soup, you simply haven’t tried the right one! I used to hate soup as a kid and teenager, but that was simply because I’d only ever eaten processed stuff.
Homemade soup. That’s where it’s at.
Chunky, wholesome, rich, warming homemade soup. It’s a labour of love, but I boy do I love to fill my Sunday afternoon with soup-making for the week ahead.
When the nights are dark and you feel like you’ve endured Arctic temperatures just getting from your car to the front door (hyperbole much!?) coming home to a big ol’ bowl of the good stuff is just good for your soul.
Six: the Autumn Staple
The Winter Coat.
A staple piece that I just have to get sorted before Autumn’s barely upon us to know that I can survive the Winter (can you tell I’m a more of a Summer person?!). I wear it almost everyday, it goes with pretty much everything I own and it’s fuss-free.
Is it the same shape as the one I bought two years ago? Yeah pretty much.
Do I care? No absolutely not.
This piece is a fundamental in my winter wardrobe. It’s a cosy blanket I can legitimately wear outside, it’s so long it covers most of my outfit (so if it doesn’t perfectly coordinate who gives a damn!) and it’s just a necessity that I reach for everyday.
If you haven’t sorted yours already, you might wanna get to it, I promise you won’t regret it! We love this slate grey ASOS coat, this belted longline number by New Look and this maxi overcoat by Urban Outfitters.
Shapes seem to be a little longer this Autumn (which I am LOVING, the more blanket-like the better) and greys, deeper camels than last season, and an abundance of khaki are all proving popular choices! Happy shopping!
It’s the little things in life. And for my beau and I, one of those ‘little things’ is continuing to use a film camera on our holidays.
Why, you say?
Because it makes us consider our photographs more than the instant press of a button.
Because it slows down the overall picture-taking process, the moment is savoured.
Because we can’t see the picture until it’s developed, stopping us from over-analysing or retaking/recreating a shot to try and perfect it.
Because you can only take a maximum of 36 shots per film, so you won’t be wasting precious holiday time perusing your photos.
Because we love the anticipation of the film being developed.
Because we love the nostalgic feel of film photographs; their perfect imperfections.
Because we treasure our film photographs, they’re not so disposable as an iPhone photo.
Get yourself a genuine vintage film camera (you can get all sorts on ebay! for around £40). We shoot with an Olympus OM10 or OM2, both of which were gifted to us, and I love the results we get.
Eight: Cosy Candles
Dark nights = Candle lit nights.
For ultimate cosiness, nothing beats the gentle flicker of candlelight. You could buy me the most expensive, warm-toned lamp in the world and I’d still light a candle.
We love the beautiful ritual of lighting each individual wick, of replenishing the candles as they burn out. It’s yet another way to slow life down a little (a favourite past time of ours right now) and to appreciate the simplicities of life.
Plus, this double wick Teakwood and Tobacco Soy Candle from Urban Outfitters is just calling my name…
Nine: Go Fruit Yourself
Up until now, we’ve been all cuddled up and cosy, so this one might seem a little out-of-season, but bear with me!
As I sit here fighting a cold that every member of my friends and family seems to have had, I’m pretty proud of my body and what my immune system is achieving. This is the first cold I’ve had to battle all year, and I attribute that to the inordinate amount of fruit I eat!
So, however, summery it might feel to do this, I’d encourage you to up your fruit content, now more so than ever. Have a daily smoothie for breakfast (I drink a litre of blended fruit everyday) and surround yourself with an abundance of ripe fruit. Consume it raw and regularly to boost and maintain an amazing immune system throughout this cold-ridden period!
Plus, can we talk about how gorgeous those smoothie bowls are?! Create yourself a little work of art, every morning, and eat it straight outta one of these beautiful eco-friendly coconut bowls too… They’re totally on my wish list!
Ten: A Grateful Heart
Having spent last weekend away on a spontaneous trip with some of our very best friends, I found myself constantly challenged to be more grateful.
Life shifts when you see it through a mind full of gratitude. Lacks subside to gratitude for all we have, uncertainties become opportunities and hardships sit in their rightful place (often significantly diminished in importance) when your perspective is that of gratitude.
How have I personally been translating this into everyday life? Well, a couple of practices have really helped: taking a moment before I eat to be grateful for the clean, life-giving food that’s available to me, starting and/or ending the day with a period of mindfulness (for me, that translates as a yoga practice to end my day) and taking the filter off myself a little, not being scared to tell my friends how much I love certain things they do, to hug family when I greet them…
We’ll see YOU on the flip side!
Peace + Love