Monthly Muses | July 2018

I’m not going to lie; I’m starting to run out of ways to start these posts. Every month I whip out the old ‘where did the month go?’ and, this summer, ‘isn’t it HOT?!’. I’m getting bored of writing it, so I can only conclude you must be getting bored of reading it too.

So here’s what July looked like for me; a wonderful hen party in London, pink shoulders, a nasty cold, a trip to the beach, and more poetry.

I’m trying to get back on track with my Goodreads 2018 Reading Challenge (12 our of 25 completed; send me your recommendations and follow me) and I’ve also had to take a little time off of writing (I’m blaming the heat, my cold, and suspected burnout). However, I am keen to get back up to my usual written rhythm in August, either side of some Annual Leave plans.

So without further ado, a few of my favourite things from the month of July this year. It’s a long list; brace yourself!

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Reading…

I Feel Bad About My Neck (and Other Thoughts on Being a Woman) by Nora Ephron

This was the first book of Nora’s I’ve read, and it was good – just not the best thing ever, which slightly disappointed me and my high expectations, as I’m a big fan of her films. However, I will keep making my way through her published pieces; hopefully, I’ll enjoy the next one more! I’ve got my eye on that gorgeous edition of Heartburn.

Spinster: Making a Life of One’s Own by Kate Bolick

I have been thinking a lot about ‘single-ness’ recently and so this book really jumped out at me when scrolling through Goodreads one weekend. I enjoyed it, but was a little underwhelmed and found it a bit…much. I’m adding this to my growing list of book reviews to write, so watch out for this one too if you’re intrigued.

10 Creative Ways to Use New Instagram Story Questions

I loved this helpful article from Instagram expert Sara Tasker – of Me & Orla  – on Instagram’s new story feature. When the Questions sticker came out, everyone under the sun was asking followers to ‘Ask Me Anything’ (including me!) but Sara has taken the time to help you be more experimental with the new feature, and it’s a great place to start if you want to stand out a little more.

The Intolerable Rise of Perfectionism

This article by Paula Cocozza for The Guardian was a fascinating insight into the depths of perfectionism, looking at it as something more than just an amusing or frustrating trait. As a perfectionist myself, a lot of it really spoke to me, and it’s an article I’ll probably revisit at a later date when I want to think about the subject a bit more.

You Think I’m a Flake, But Planning is the Death of All Good Friendships

This article in Grazia really stood out to me; as someone who has been called a Flake more than once or twice in my life, I loved this less-negative take on the topic. I particularly enjoyed this quote, and wanted to share it:

“A flake in the eyes of a zealot is a failed planner but, to me, sometimes flaking on pre-made plans is the only way you can actually live your life. Of course, in my experience, planners will always make your desire not to plan about them. When, in truth, it’s all about you – sometimes you just need to create some space in your life. Space for recharging, space for reflecting and, perhaps most important of all, space to be spontaneous.

And, let’s be real, there is nothing less spontaneous than a dinner you can’t really afford when the date finally comes around because it was planned 7 weeks ago and, since then, your laptop has broken.”

Why Millennials Aren’t Taking Their Vacation Days

In a world where we are all, seemingly, working harder and harder, it is often even more difficult to warrant taking some time off. Personally, I save my leave for something that seems deserving of hours out of the office – a day off to do ‘nothing’ just doesn’t seem worth it – but I am feeling the strain of it now that I am nearing the end of my leave year.

This article hits the nail on the head and is a nice little reminder of the importance of taking time out.

Watching…

Glow, Season Two

I devoured the latest season of Glow in under 48 hours. I love this series and am already keen for Season Three, even though that’ll be a while. And, for the record, I could watch an entire series of Episode Eight on its own. Make it happen, Netflix!

SS Mendi: Dancing the Death Drill

Another absolutely astounding production from NST and my second review for Broadwayworld.com. Read my post to find out more.

Brooklyn 99

I’m very late to the party, but upon finishing Jane the Virgin *sob* I needed a new show. I’m well and truly hooked and can confirm it has only intensified my crush on Andy Samberg. Ahem.

Wonder Woman

One year after wanting to see it at the cinema, I finally watched Wonder Woman in July. I so wanted to love it…but I didn’t. I’ll be honest, I was rather disappointed, but that’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it. It was good; just not fantastic. Sorry guys; I’m a little ashamed.

Football

There was a brief period of time this month where I voluntarily watched football and actually enjoyed it. I think it was called the World Cup, or something. It’s all a bit hazy now; it was very strange, but great fun while it lasted.

Listening to…

How to Fail with Elizabeth Day

Another podcast to add to my favourites, How to Fail is a refreshing take on the interview format, looking at people’s shortcomings as a vital stage of success. Elizabeth is a great host and she’s had some brilliant guests so far; Fleabag’s Phoebe Waller-Bridge was standout for me. Definitely listen to this podcast if you want a bit more reality and honesty through your earphones.

Letters from a Hopeful Creative

July was a good podcast month; I love this new series from Jen Carrington and Sara Tasker (yes, her again!). More honesty about creative pursuits, answering real questions from real people. My favourite episode so far addresses Instagram Anxiety. I highly recommend!

Eating…

Hoxton Bakehouse, Winchester

I’d be utterly lying to your face if I said I didn’t take a train to Winchester just to buy a pastry and some baked goods from the Hoxton Bakehouse. After sampling some of their wares earlier in the year, I wanted more, so I took myself off to enjoy a Nordic Bun in one of their window seats, reading and watching people pass by. It’s well worth a visit if you’re in the area.

Performing…

At Apples & Snakes 451

Apples and Snakes host a regular evening at NST, featuring an Open Mic slot and a booked headliner. I’ve been once before in July 2017 and vowed that one day, I would return to perform my own work. One year later, I decided to sign up on the door and shared my (shaky) words with an audience in an *actual theatre*. It was only my third time performing – practice makes perfect, they say, and I need plenty of it!

We also got to watch a wonderful and poignant performance of ‘To Helen Back’ by Helen Seymour, which explored illness, health, and recovery in an unusual and surreal way. If you have a chance to see this show, make sure you go.

Practicing…

Outdoor Yoga

In the spirit of the hot weather, In Balance Hot Yoga held some outdoor yoga lessons, free to all! I managed to go along to one (the other was a little too wet to be held outside!) and it was lovely to stretch and relax in the fresh air. Stay tuned; I’ll be writing more about it soon!

Visiting…

Southampton City Art Gallery – Pillars of Dawn exhibition

I decided to make a detour on my last trip to the library to see one of the latest exhibitions at Southampton City Art Gallery; Pillars of Dawn by Kelly Richardson. It was eerily beautiful. I’m very lucky to have art like this on my doorstep, and I recommend locals catch it while it’s there!

Room2 Hometel, Southampton

When my lovely friend Emma Real-Davies spent the night at the latest hotel in Southampton, she invited me over to enjoy dinner in her room! We had a great time. Room2 Hometel is a stunning and unusual space in Southampton’s city centre, encouraging guests to feel even more at home during their stay. It was a lovely evening and very comfortable!

You can read Emma’s review of the Room2 experience on her blog to find out more.

Creating…

Blackout Poetry

I read about Blackout Poetry (or Found Poems) in a few articles throughout July and felt intrigued and inspired to try my own. My first attempt was great fun and I’m keen to try it a few times to try to uncover some unexpected poetry in everyday places. I plan to write a little more about this soon, so if you have any questions, let me know!

Poetry Films

I was delighted to be involved in creating a video for the University of Southampton in celebration of Graduation this month! I was asked to write and perform an original poem based on the nostalgia and anticipation fuelled by Graduation, which was then incorporated into a beautiful video by a very talented team. I even make a short cameo at one stage! I’d love it if you took some time to watch it.

Writing…

 

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