SHARING WHAT I’VE BEEN WATCHING,READING, EATING & BUYING DURING THIS LAST WEEK

As we approach week 9 of lockdown in the UK I think I’ve started to relax now into accepting this new way of life. The frustrations I felt over the last two weeks, when I think we all hoped some sort of normality would resume, has now subsided and I’ve realised and come to terms with, what we have now is our new normality, for some time to come.

I’ve been spending some of my time during my last post, connecting online with writers, musicians and creatives who are reaching out to the public with different and innovative ideas and ways to entertain us.

Obviously all festivals and concerts have been cancelled for the future, but many have gone online to share talks and live mini concerts streamed from their homes. It’s a real worry for many people that live venues will be closed for an unknown time scale, As one musician I watched online last night said, for many people going to a live gig is like going to church for them. Many musicians are now unemployed and it is a depressing prospect for many of us, that this is part of our life might not resume as quickly as we would like?

Anyway as promised in my previous post about sharing some of the things that I have enjoyed, which have entertained or enriched me over the last two weeks, here’s a round up of some more, that you might enjoy as well?

Reading

Atelier magazine is a downloadable lifestyle magazine sharing creatives and their work from all around the world. The magazine is the work of Michelle Mason, owner of one of my favourite shops and instagram accounts, Mason & Painter. You might recall that I’d read Michelles book a few weeks ago in my last post about lockdown here. The book shares how Michelle combines the antique and salvaged treasures she sells in her shop, with the art of displaying flowers from Columbia Road Market, where Mason & Painter shop is located. Atelier magazine was designed to raise money for a local hospice during lockdown, but issue one was so successful, that issue 2 has now been written and is available to download for a small fee of £3, the link is in the Mason & Painter instagram profile. It’s a lovely read full of the stories of small brands and creatives and what led them to pursue the life they lead.

An article from Issue 2 of Atelier magazine

Je T’aime is the love story of Serge Gainsbourg & Jane Birkin and their hell raising adventures throughout their relationship as one of the celebrity power couples of the 1960’s and 70’s. Its a beautifully written and interesting book by Veronique Mortaigne. If you’re feeling the loss if Normal People from our screens and need to dive into another intense relationship to fill that hole, then this is the book for you.

Graysons Art Club in which Grayson Perry and his wife Pippa invite you into their home and Graysons studio to talk to celebrity friends and members of the public about what art means to them and how it has helped them throughout lockdown. Every week Grayson sets a new theme and showcases some of the artwork that has been made to this theme, choosing some of his favourites to enter his exhibition at the end of the show. It’s brilliantly heartwarming and entertaining as all of Graysons shows are.

Watching

Later with Jules Holland

Each week Jules broadcasts live from his own studio in Greenwich and invites guests from the music world to stream live from their homes to chat to him about their life stories through their choice of music and invites them to choose some of their favourite footage from the Jools Holland archives. I’ve only watched episode one up to now, with Christina from Christina and the Queens but it was entertaining and really interesting. Christina is a warm and charismatic person and you got the sense of a real empathy between her and Jules. Highly recommended.

Charleston House Festival, home to the Bloomsbury Group should have gone ahead in May but of course, it was cancelled. The artistic team at Charleston have however, brought together a series of talks from some of the presenters that would have been live at Charleston House which can be watched via their website. Guests include writers, artists and creative thinkers, of the sort that would have been invited to Charleston for the weekend by Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant.

Charleston House

That Summer is a beautiful short film, made in the summer of 1972, by friends of Lee Radziwill, sister of Jackie Kennedy, and her boyfriend of the time, photographer Peter Beard. The film documents the shambolic lifestyle of her cousin Eadie Beale and her daughter who have lived in grey Gardens since 1924, barely leaving the house for years. For anybody that has watched and been inspired by Grey Gardens, a film made three years later about the eccentric duo, this film was the pre cursor to that documentary. The footage was not seen for 45 years, until recently rediscovered and was available to watch on BBC4 which we had recorded last year. unfortunately it’s no longer available for free but can be bought from Amazon. It’s a brilliant film of a time which seemed long forgotten, but which we can probably all identify with a little more since lockdown. Big Eadie and Little Eadie were the original lockdown queens.

Little Eadie outside Grey Gardens

Eating & Cooking

We’ve been eating quite a bit of Lebanese and Greek food recently, maybe as a way of trying to bring some exotic eastern and mediterranean vibes to Manchester, particularly as travel will be off the agenda for much of the year? We’re also using this time to push our culinary boundaries and cooking abilities and this type of food is both easy to make but incredibly tasty. The flavours and textures of crushed spices, pulses and numerous dips & sauces, make a real feast for the senses. A favourite book that we bought a while ago but rarely used is Olives, Lemons & Za’atar with lots of simple recipes for Middle Eastern cooking. Even something as simple as homemade hummus, takes the shop bought variety to another level.

Buying

I know there seems little point parting with your money when there’s no where to go or no-one to see but sometimes a purchase for yourself, just lifts the soul a little and brightens the day when that parcel arrives. I’ve made a few online purchases that have been just perfect for the current situation.

Sans Ceuticals skin & Hair oil from Object style has been just the thing my skin and hair needed after spending weeks walking and sitting in the garden in the glorious spring sunshine we’ve been having. It’s a light dry oil which smells of orange blossom and a little applied to my skin and dry frazzled ends of my hair, really make a difference.

Bensimon plimsolls

A perennial summer favourite of mine, just for that nostalgic, schools out summer feel and they look good with anything. They’re also the perfect summer shoe for a walk around the neighbourhood, when birkenstocks just don’t cut it. I ordered two new pairs in black and sand from La Redoute with 35% discount!

Bous Candles

Hand poured in the North of England, in Cumbria, made with ethical ingredients and sustainable packaging, they smell heavenly. The sort of earthy, woody fragrance that reminds me of holidays in Ibiza and the smell of burning Palo Santo wood brought home from the hippy markets. Lighting a candle every evening after, we have all finished our chores, work, walks for the day, is the sort of ritual that marks the end of another day and gives some sort of continuity to what feels like a very unstable world at the moment.

my favourite Bous candle Rose Hammam

I hope you’ve all found some simple pleasures that have got you through the last 8 weeks? I’d love you to share them with me which you can do through the comments on my blog or by sending me a direct message or a comment on my instagram account which is @Karen _barlow.

Take care & stay safe.

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