August and September Favourites : The Long Hot Summer

Books, Film, Italy, Life in France, Music, Pop Culture, Travel, TV

Hello people. Did you all have a great August and September? I hope it was a delectable summer if you’re in the Northern Hemisphere and a not too shocking winter for those in the Southern.  Holidays and summer are the perfect combination for me and I’m already feeling a little sad at its fadeout, although more energised. We stayed put in summer but did go on a few forays into nature. I’ll mention my favourite moment further on but there were plenty of days spent at the beach.  My boys love the sea and are happy to stay in the water for hours.

Film Recommendations : OK not off to a good start here as I’m struggling to remember any I saw in summer. Thankfully a quick look at my camera roll revealed Pretty In Pink, one of the Molly Ringwald films of the 80’s.  James Spader has a small role and was great in it and the styling for the film is throwback gorgeous. Plus the music is classic 80’s.

Television Recommendations : You really should try out Ozark. It’s a grimy show with the fabulous Jason Bateman in a serious role paired with a gritty and determined Laura Linney. These two are peas in a pod although they don’t know it, well not for a while anyway. The show got me hooked as soon as it played Decks are Dark by Radiohead at the end of episode one. It so perfectly documented the mood. Actually I was already hooked before that as it got into the action fairly quickly. Give it a go. You’ll enjoy it if you are a fan of Breaking Bad or Bloodline. If you’re a paid up member of the Bateman fan club, you’ll love him in this for a change of genre, although it is darkly humorous at times. The soundtrack is excellent too.

I nearly forgot Game of Thrones. The conclusion is nearing. The dragons were brought to the battle scenes and (spoiler alert) one died and morphed into a zombie dragon. The thing with Game Of Thrones is that it has got sillier as the seasons have progressed but  nonetheless it’s addictive viewing.

Book Recommendations : I do like a spot of historical reading and was doing some background research for a project and polished off The Riviera Set by Mary S. Lovell.  This book focuses on the golden age of the French Riviera, i.e.  what rich people did in their leisure time and the parties they put on around the 1920’s to the 1960’s. It does get a little tiring after a while, all that money and sun and a huge focus on Churchill. I didn’t enjoy it as much as other books I’ve read by Lovell, however it did paint a picture from the glitz and glamour viewpoint.  The Mitford Girls (bonkers aristocratic British family) and Bess of Hardwick (female entrepreneur in the Elizabethan age) are a better read, if you like historical biographies.

Moranifesto is a humourous book and comes highly recommended.  Author Caitlin Moran worked at Melody Maker (British music rag that I was obsessed by in my youth) from 16 years of age,  grew up working class  and made it in the British media. She is very upfront that she is one of the few people of her background who have risen to the top in the media in the UK. A club that is typically populated by those with private school and Oxbridge educations. She writes on topical issues and day-to-day life stories. She’s funny and I laughed out loud at various times while reading it. The only parts that I skimmed were on the Olympics, when London had their moment of glory.

Music Recommendations :  Beethoven was listened to a lot as I was selecting music for a project and finding the right mix for different moods and images. Thankfully all of those years of classical music training helped out here. In retrospect it’s a good way to spend your childhood, surrounded by instruments and lessons, rushing to orchestra practice.  It keeps your teenager out of trouble. Note to self.

Cigarettes After Sex are a new discovery for me although they’ve been around for a while. They play moody, ambient, film soundtrack like music. This is one of those introspective tracks that I’m rather partial to called Nothing’s Gonna Hurt You Baby. Love the name of the group.

Perfume : A whole range of new things including the collection from Cire Trvdon, the famed candle makers who have now branched out into perfume.  I’ve been going through the perfumes and of course I saw quite a few new fragrances  at Pitti Fragranze. It was great to actually meet people out of the show too. These trade fairs  are rather expensive for a new brand to partake in so many come to have meetings outside the show.

I’ve been wearing the three Giovanna Antonelli perfumes a lot as they really work for me and are incredibly versatile. Also Bombay Bling from Neela Vermeire Creations. I’m not ready to settle into more wintry perfumes yet as it’s still warm and sunny here.

Travel : The trip to Florence for Pitti Fragranze was highly stimulating. It’s a whirlwind of perfume and olfaction and I didn’t see a lot of the city this time but I ate some amazing food. Really wonderful. Just look at this lovely pasta. It was pear and pecorino and absolutely divine, from an old school Italian restaurant that I stumbled upon with a new friend.  I also recommend a restaurant called La Ménagerie, that reminded me of Corso Como in Milan as it also functions as a store. There’s an open kitchen so you can see the chefs in action and the service is very good as is the food.

One of my favourite summer moments was a trip was to the Porquerolles, an island off the coast of Hyères.  We hired bikes and cycled around the island, had a picnic, a swim or two and wandered around as well. The smell of pine trees, eucalyptus and the sea breeze / salt air is really heavenly for me. It reminded me of New Zealand and childhood holidays around the Nelson area. Magical. I’m pretty sure I planted a scent memory for my children too.

There’s another island off the coast of Cannes that we visited called Ile Sainte-Maguerite which is where the famed Man in the Iron Mask was held prisoner for many years in the 17th century.  An exhibition by Yann Arthus-Bertrand who is well-known for his aerial photographs was on at the Fort. There were some great images but unfortunately les enfants were over it by then and were very hot and bothered. I would advise if you had the option to visit an island in this region to choose the Porquerolles. You won’t be disappointed.

PS : The image on the bottom left is one of the Yann Arthus-Bertrand photographs of the Old town of Sana’a and Al Khbir Mosque in Yemen.  

Lows : Thankfully I can’t remember any but I’m sure if I went back through the memory bank it would come but let’s be thankful for that. I don’t want to bring back my laptop pain back to resurface.

How about everyone out there? Let me know know if you came across anything interesting this month – TV, film, books, music, perfume, food or if you went anywhere uplifting, bizarre or odd or if things were completely crappy as well … And have a great rest of the month everyone.

Notes : All photos by Megan In Sainte Maxime. 

15 thoughts on “August and September Favourites : The Long Hot Summer”

  1. Ozarks was interesting. Jason Batemen is underrated as an actor and Laura Linney can do anything. The show frustrated me in that how far can this couple dig themselves into a hole. Not a peppy series by any means. Of course I’ll watch the next season when it comes out. And thankfully, the 2nd season of Stranger Things is out soon. I loved that.


    • Hello there! Hope your new life is great in Mexico. I definitely get what you say about Ozark but am interested to see how they hold it together. Laura Linney is great but I was more surprised by Bateman for the switch from comedy. Yes Stranger Things coming back soon, I really enjoyed that too. It really captured the mood of things I watched when I was young. xx Happy times for you I hope!

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  2. Loved your island photos! I visited the Ile Sainte Marguerite several years ago with my own children during a week’s stay in Cannes; it was lovely. We also visited the Ile Saint Honorat and its monastery’s grounds; loads of lavender. I also remember many ancient olive trees, just beautiful. Both islands felt like peaceful refuges from the bustle of the mainland.


    • Hello there! The islands are beautiful. I was tossing up whether to go that island with the monastery or not but chose Marguerite. You’re completely right they’re not far away but a world apart in character from the mainland. x


  3. Cymbaline says:

    Summer seems to have terminated rather suddenly and the chill in the air has me hunkered down with books and music, so I’ve happily made note of your, “Moranifesto”, and, “Cigarettes after Sex”. I’m currently reading – and highly recommend, “The Vanishing Velásquez” (Laura Cumming), and, “The Sixth Extinction” (Elizabeth Kolbert).
    As far as perfume, predictably it’s the heavier stuff…wearing the heck outta Ottoman Empire (Areej Le Doré). It’s a beauty, and I’m eager to try more from that company.


    • Hello Cymbaline. Thanks for popping by. I’ve put those books on my reading list as they both look completely up my alley. I haven’t tried any of those perfumes yet but they do sound gorgeous. Happy hunkering down.


  4. Thank you for your post. This was such a pleasant distraction and I enjoyed reading about your travels this summer. Unfortunately we did not make it to the beach, not even once–a first in my life. Now you’ve got me addicted to “Cigarettes.” I think it’s so cool the “my tribe”–perfumistas are into LIFE–cooking/food, gardening, travel, music, art, pop culture, reading–all the good stuff!


    • Hello there! Thank you so much for reading I really appreciate it. Glad you like the Cigarettes! Sorry you didn’t get to the beach but next year hopefully. Like you, I get tips on travel, books, food etc from the perfumistas so I think it’s a good hobby to have. x


  5. We had quite a warm winter here in Johannesburg, with temperatures often around the 20 degrees mark. Watched Trainspotting 2 recently. So much better than expected. Danny Boyle is such a good director. Been hearing a lot about Ozark, so must watch that one. Will be good to see Jason B out of romcom mode. Had a bit of a Narcos binge recently. Highly recommended. Thanks for that track, Megan. Like the downbeat, stoner vibe. Been listening to a lot of Grace Jones recently. Now there’s someone who really does her own thing. Porquerolles looks wonderful. Have not been travelling as much as I would like to. Best I sort that out pronto! Thanks for the great post! R


    • Hi Rich. Nice to see you here. Trainspotting 2 is on the list as is Narcos. I really want to see what all of the guys look like now in Trainspotting. The original had a huge impact when it came out (for me anyway). I remember the cinema I saw it at and the music was so good too. Grace Jones is always good. Your winter sounds brilliant. 20 degrees! x Megan

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  6. Ozark! thanks for the push…have been eyeballing it but haven’t taken the plunge to watch the first episode!


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