Small green seedlings poking out of soil

What I’ve loved lately: April/May 2022

April and May were sumptuously busy months. Possibly the most comparable to life pre-Covid – albeit still not without risks or concerns. While the world still seems to be nose diving into some sort of bottomless pit, life has continued to offer up joyful moments and experiences. Light relief.

Here are some of the things I’ve enjoyed the most over the past couple of months; the things that have inspired me the most. As ever, non exhaustive, but just a highlight reel!

(While some include gifted/ad opportunities, I’ll only ever mention them if I really genuinely loved them, as always!)

ZoieLogic Dance Theatre – RIDE

I knew I had to catch ZoieLogic’s RIDE on its tour of Southampton over the 2022 Easter break. The Southampton-based dance company is all about breaking down boundaries and preconceptions, and encouraging people to dance (or enjoy watching it), whatever their background or experience. RIDE is a three-man show that centres around a 1984 red Ford Orion, Stanley, which has a life of it’s own. I saw it in the Holyrood estate, and it was fun, surprising, and definitely a hit with the kids. I’ve watched a number of ZoieLogic performances and each one is thought provoking and exciting. Check out my reel to see it for yourself!

[AD] Six Weeks to Inner Peace course

My friend Emily invited me to join in with Innerspace Wellbeing’s Six Weeks to Inner Peace workshop in April, and since I’ve always struggled to actually dedicate minutes in my day to meditation and wellbeing, I took her up on the offer. Over the course I joined a group of other women in weekly, two-hour zoom sessions, alongside self-driven journaling exercises, designed to help us to explore our own mental health and wellbeing and gather the tools to help ourselves.

I wasn’t sure what I was expecting, but it felt very much like group therapy, which was, for me, much more beneficial than just group meditation sessions. We talked things through and navigated our thoughts and feelings in a super safe and friendly space, and I found it genuinely valuable and worthwhile. The WhatsApp group is still going strong, too! It was a wonderful, welcoming, worthwhile experience and Emily has definitely found her calling. They’ve just started a podcast, too, which is exciting!

Exploring Bath’s bookshops

In April I had a day to while away in beautiful Bath, and while it was busy – as ever! – I used it as an opportunity to explore some of its bookshops and, most importantly, its charity shops.

It was a great way to spend the day, and while I know I missed a few must-visit places, I’m just seeing it as an excuse to go back! I made a reel about my visit, which you can watch on Instagram. Definitely a fantastic destination for book lovers.

[AD] The Da Vinci Code – Mayflower Theatre, Southampton

I’m enjoying going to the theatre more and more at the moment, and particularly relished the chance to  see The Da Vinci Code at Mayflower Theatre on a press visit.

I had, at the time, neither read the book nor watched the film, so went in completely oblivious to the story. Sometimes I think that’s the best way to experience a show! I was surprised at how much I loved it, as I’m not a huge fan of mysteries and thrillers. The staging was fantastic and the story was smooth and gripping, with an impressive cast. I was absorbed the entire time, and it doesn’t take a detective to work out 

[AD] Axe Throwing at Go Ape Southampton

I had another exciting invitation at the start of May – this time to try out Go Ape’s new Axe Throwing experience (thanks Sotonbloggers!). I’d be the first to say I’m not the strongest person physically, but I loved giving it a go and even scored some bullseyes! It was great to do something a bit different and I’d say it would be fab for an alternative date night or hen do activity. So much fun, and you really don’t have to have muscles to nail your technique.

Once again, check out my reel to see more.

[AD] Waitress – Mayflower Theatre, Southampton

Another fab night at the theatre, this time to see Waitress at the end of May! I’ve been keen to grab a ticket to this for a while, since I have a number of friends who rave about it. I wasn’t disappointed. The show was sweet but not without the bitterness of real life, with some catchy songs and incredible performances. Chelsea Halfpenny’s Jenna was captivating, with such a powerful voice, and I really loved Matt Willis’s Dr Pomatter (yes, that Matt Willis!).

It was great to have the chance to see a West End hit in my city; yet another reminder of why I love living in Southampton.

Heartstopper

This Netflix series is an absolute sensation and a sucker punch to the old emotional gut. I was so completely swept up in this beautiful story and the lives of the two boys at the heart of it, and believe it absolutely deserves the hype it’s received. Be prepared to shed some tears – both happy and sad – if you haven’t indulged yourself yet.

Magpie by Elizabeth Day

I mentioned earlier that I’m not one for thrillers – but here’s yet another exception. I love Elizabeth’s writing, both fiction and nonfiction, so I was delighted to find that Magpie lived up to my expectations. Tense and stressful but in the best possible way, I devoured this over the Easter break and would highly recommend adding it as your beach read this summer.

Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason

Another great book. I’ve heard nothing but great things about Sorrow and Bliss and I am pleased to join its fan club. This is an intense book with heavy, heavy themes of mental illness. Beautifully written with an imperfect protagonist (my favourite kind!)I genuinely felt physically and emotionally exhausted upon closing the final page. Any book that has my body reacting to its storyline is definitely up there with my favourites.

Gardening

I am not naturally green fingered. My houseplants, especially the brown, crispy ones, can testify to that. But since we got ourselves a home with a small garden last summer, I’ve been keen to learn a few basics.

I found myself with a sun-soaked Saturday in May and decided to give it a go. A couple of weeks on, some of the bulbs and seeds I planted have started to actually sprout – to my astonishment! – and I’m hoping we will have some homegrown herbs and blooms in the coming weeks and months. It’s nothing special, and certainly not complex, but I am finding a lot of joy in popping out between Teams calls to water the seedlings, seeing more and more green leaves appear.

I’m certainly no Emma Jo Real-Davies (who you must follow if you love your garden!) but I am loving doing my bit to make our garden a little more bee friendly.

Derry Girls

I cried during the last few episodes of the final series of Derry Girls. Not only because of the emotional plot, but also because of the magnitude of history the crew managed to convey on screen. The power of a vote, the lingering hopefulness of change, the fear of the new conquered by the need to move forward. The complex feelings surrounding historic moments, especially in such turbulent, mistrustful, fearful times, where democracy feels unstable and politics is rotten.

This show, particularly the final episode, is a beautiful window onto Ireland’s history through the everyday person – the young adult obsessed with the spice girls, the housewife keen on changing her path. It was extremely poignant without, of course, losing the zest and silliness at the heart of the show. What an exit.

Everything Everywhere All At Once

I had absolutely no idea what to expect when we started watching Everything Everywhere All At Once – and am still not totally sure what it was that we watched. Nevertheless, this film all but blew my mind. It has all the multiverse complexity of a Marvel movie, but it’s much more…luxurious. Profound. Devious. All of its unsuspecting heroes, entertaining twists and turns, razor-sharp wit and heart-squeezing poignancy ensure you’re in for one hell of a journey. It’s beautiful, too. Be prepared to be served with some serious looks. What a work of art.

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