January is my least favourite month of the year (when living in the Northern Hemisphere) and I tend to feel a little on the low side. My tiny town in France turns into a shell of itself as many of the cafes and businesses shut down to reopen in March and locals evacuate to foreign climes. When you live in the Southern Hemisphere however, January is fabulous. It’s all about summer holiday time, road trips and time in the sun. The vibe is footloose and fancy free. I’d happily swap France for New Zealand at this time of the year.
I don’t know about you but I tend to be a little lazy in winter and haven’t been to the gym as often as I should. I’ve also watched far too much news and read my Twitter feed more than usual and don’t feel good because of it. There really is a lot of shit going on at the moment politically speaking and sometimes I can’t believe what I’m seeing, it all feels so surreal as if it’s a satirical TV show. But hello it’s not a bad dream. It’s today’s reality.
The French have their tired system that needs reform but nobody will tackle it as it’s a gravy train if you’re part of the political establishment. The up coming election now seems to be wide open as the leader of the Republican party (conservatives), once the front-runner, is accused of giving his family fake jobs and I have to add that he has a very poor communications strategy with little understanding of how this plays out to the general public even if the accusations are proved false. Marine Le Pen (far right) is far worse though and apparently we’re leaving France if she becomes President, even though that looks highly unlikely. Yet the polls are not proving to be predictive these days, so we shall see. I’m personally hoping that the younger independent candidate Macron wins even though he’s fairly light on anything resembling policy. Anyway enough of politics.
Right so on that rather depressing opening let’s get into my favourites for the month.
Television : My new motto is to watch less TV. I should also say that when I say TV I really mean Netflix on my mobile. I’m not actually watching a TV screen. I know the advice is to banish electronics in the bedroom as they’re a sleep disrupter but 6 nights out of 7 I read the news before I go to sleep and usually an episode of something or other. My favourite this month has been The Affair. I’ve binged on two seasons and am desperate to see the third now. I can imagine this is a bit of a love / hate show though and the characters are not always easy to like but the performances are very good. The plot device of a he said / she said narrative in the first season was catchy and widened to include the other principal characters in the second season. The acting from Dominic West (The Wire), Ruth Wilson (Luther), Maura Tierney (ER) and Joshua Jackson (Dawson’s Creek) is superb and hooks me in. Did I mention there’s a lot of sex.
Film : I saw La La Land in Version Originale and didn’t really have too many expectations which in retrospect was a good thing. Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone are actors I like to watch and director Damien Chazelle‘s Whiplash was one of the best films I’d seen in a long time. La La Land isn’t as memorable for me but it’s more ambitious. It’s also whimsical, dream like and the message to follow your dreams is what great films are made of. There’s no compromise with these two though and surely when you run into a lover five years later you would actually talk to each other, even if it did make for one of the best scenes in the film. If you’re expecting a good old-fashioned musical you may be disappointed because they don’t really do that many big song and dance numbers in an overt way. The musical aspect is quite dialled down. The focus is on a low-key style for the leads, they are not belting out show tunes here. That could mercifully be an advantage for many viewers though.
Books : Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert was recommended by two friends in French class. It’s an easy read and a bit self-help like but not too much so. She writes about creative inspiration and has some great tips and advice when you’re blocked but the insights translate through to all parts of life.
Music : The new The XX album I See You has been on high rotate and you’ll definitely enjoy this if you’re a fan of their earlier work. A little more upbeat than previous albums, although when I say upbeat I’m talking in shades rather than a huge shift. La La Land may have inspired me to listen to jazz. I’ve had terrible allergies for over a week now and have been playing Miles Davis‘ Kind Of Blue. A timeless album and so so good.
Perfume : The chakra oils from April Aromatics have been worn frequently and I will write about them very soon. Silence the sea from strangelove nyc, a quirky marine oud perfume has also had time on skin. Vanille Tonka from Parfums de Nicolai is proving to be perfect in winter for a cosy treat.
Fashion : The snow season is nearly upon us and new snow boots and ski pants have been purchased, as I appear to have grown wider this winter. I ordered them online and am crossing fingers they’re going to fit. Does everyone buy clothes online now? I rarely buy clothing in a store now and purchase nearly everything for myself and the kids via the computer. I don’t like clothes shopping much anymore. It used to be one of my favourite activities when I was younger but now hate trying things on.
Travel : Nothing exciting to report this month. February is going to be much better with a few trips planned including the yearly trek to the snow.
Let me know if you came across anything interesting this month – TV, film, books, music, perfume, food or if you went anywhere uplifting, bizarre or odd. … And have a great February.
Notes : Images : Featured and perfume : Megan In Sainte Maxime : All others wikipedia, twitter or the show site.