February Memo: Glossier, Curling and Minimalist Vegans

February Memo: Glossier, Curling and Minimalist Vegans

First February tip, dear readers: do not catch the flu. I know from painful personal experience that the virus doing the rounds at the moment is a seriously unpleasant one. Wash your hands, avoid people, do what you must – I’ve been fever-free for thee days now, but still weak and completely dehydrated. Fortunately, there’s more to February than flu and here’s some of it:

1. New books. Maybe it’s just me, but there seem to be many exciting book launches happening right now. I’m eager to read Zadie Smith’s essays collected in Feel Free, the new Julian Barnes (The Only Story) and Lisa Halliday’s Asymmetry. I have already started The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock, a historical romp that comes highly recommended by almost everybody. Then there’s Steven Pinker’s sure-to-provoke Enlightenment Now and on the more practical side, How to Break Up With Your Phone by Catherine Price.

2. Poetry. It is my firm belief that the reason I remain thoroughly uninterested in meditation is that I read. If all the talk about mindfulness makes you feel silly, but you wouldn’t mind some mental housekeepig, I highly recommend getting into reading poetry. It doesn’t take much time, it makes you concentrate and let go simultaneously and it’s of course often a huge aesthetic pleasure. Reading more poetry is one of my reading goals of the year and it’s going well. I’m currently reading Wislawa Symborska, who is a genius. The collection on the photo is from a lovely bookshop in Singapore.

3. Kate Somerville. I believe I’ve mentioned before that this is going to happen and indeed, Kate Somerville has finally landed in the UK. This means many of us will have access to it through Cult Beauty. Not everything has been cleared for the EU market yet, so more stuff is to come in spring. In other news, if you like trendy skincare in pink packaging, Saturday Skin has also launched at Cult Beauty.

4. Valentine’s Day. There is no escaping Valentine’s Day this week, although I will do my best. But I do want to remind the world that there is no UN convention that says Valentine’s gifts have to be red or pink and involve lace and/or hearts. What is wrong with giving people things they would love any time of the year, not something that only makes sense (loosely speaking) on 14 February?

5. Winter Olympics. Now, this is much better than hearts and roses! The Olympics will be somewhat difficult to follow because a) work and b) time difference, but I will find a way. It’s the best time to watch sports you don’t know much about (current favourite: short track skating), just make sure the commentators are decent. The discipline where I will not miss one single event? Biathlon, obviously. And curling is always an excellent choice.

6. Fashion weeks. If you have any time left, there are the fashion weeks. New York has just kicked off.

7. Glossier. On a more personal note, I’m pre-warning you that I have recently got my greedy paws on a nice selection of Glossier products. I know, the Internet is full of Glossier reviews, but in case you are interested in my take, it’ll be on the blog soon.

8. Being virtuous. We can all rest assured that I’ll never become a vegan minimalist. I do, however, occasionally eat vegan food and sometimes I even tidy. I also occasionally watch videos about people who own 27 things all together and prep their healthful meals seven years in advance. Two current favourites are Jenny Mustard (her life may be minimalist, but her makeup is anything but, major style points) and Pick up Limes (she is so awfully nice, just don’t listen to her on skincare).

What are you excited about this month?


Add yours
  1. 1

    Very much agreed on Wislawa and winter olympics. Can’t get my head around Valentine’s day though. If Christmas has the “old black and white movies and snowfall in Manthattan accompanied by a Sinatra song” appeal or the Scandnavian hygge thing going on, then Valentine’s comes across as an artificial global craze where people a) feel bad because they don’t have anyone b) feel bad cos they have a different approach to “celebrating/not celebrating that day” as their partner. Can’t see any sense in that to be honest. But I do like pink heart shaped candies and I may buy some of those!

    • 2

      Yeah, I’m with you on Valentine’s Day. I can understand when you are a teenager, you might need an excuse to admit you like someone. But for grown-ups… Then again, there are worse things in the world and if it brings joy to people, who am I to complain. It’s just not something I personally enjoy.

  2. 3

    Sorry you caught the flu, although not at all surprised. Glad to hear you are on the mend. I used to read poetry, but no longer do so. Perhaps I might try it again some time soon.

    I of course, being a terrible chauvinist pig, only watch the speed skating. We don’t seem to be quite at Sochi levels, but things are going well!
    And I need to clean my skates, as apparently that is the only mode of transport in my tiny country in winter.

    • 4

      I used to read a lot of poetry in my teens and early twenties, then much less for a long time and now I’m back at it. The key to enjoying it seems to be in not worrying too much about “understanding” everything.

      And speed skating is not going too badly indeed. I just watched women’s 1000m and it was thrilling.

      • 5

        Probably very true, although I don’t think I ever really read it to understand it. Are you feeling a bit better? It’s been a bad year for flue, and people seem to take a bit of time to recover. But fortunately there are the Winter Olympics. I remember watching them during the second year of my internships when I was bored to death, but was able to watch Koss take 3 gold medals. Odd, that Norway has completely dropped out of being a skating superpower.

        • 6

          I’m feeling better, thank you for asking. The actual flu or whatever it was is gone, but it has left me with a runny nose and a horrible cough that is not budging.

          I remember watching Koss in my teens, he was so impressive that I have a very clear memory of that.

  3. 7

    High five on Jenny Mustard’s make-up, I love how confidently she wears it and makes it her own.

    I need to check out Szymborska’s poetry in translations, you made me very curious to check if it would read differently from the original.

    • 8

      Glad you like Jenny’s makeup (it’s not necessarily for everyone). And I’m sure Szymborska is much better in the original language, as poetry always is. I’m very glad I read her though, even if it’s only an approximation of her work.

  4. 9

    Hope you’re feeling better Ykkinna. I’m currently reading- The Soul of Man under Socialism (Oscar Wilde), The Amber Spyglass (Philip Pullman), No place to call home (JJ Bola), Wizard of the Crow (Ngugi wa Thiong’o) and looking forward to the release of- An Orchestra of Minorities (Chigozie Obioma) & Children of Blood and Bone (Tomi Adeyemi).

    Yes! so excited for Kate Somerville and Drunk Elephant coming to cult beauty. I really should try to read poetry…sigh

    • 10

      I’m feeling better, thank you! Coughing horribly, though. And this is a fantastic reading list! I’m a big fan of Pullman’s trilogy. Do you have a particular interest in African literature? And I think it’s completely fine not to read poetry, I didn’t for a long time. It’ll come to you or it will not.

  5. 11

    Oh dear! coughing is the worst. I’m sending positive vibes and a speedy recovery your way. Re the list, thank you. I’m ashamed to admit I discovered Pullman recently. The trilogy is excellent and I can’t wait to finish reading Amber Spyglass.

    Re African literature, no interest per say – except that I am Nigerian and derive a great deal of pleasure from reading books written by African writers who sadly don’t get as much recognition as they should. I could go off on a tangent about that but I’ll spare you the details. I do hope poetry comes to me because I know I’m missing out.

    • 12

      Oh, can I do a little happy dance because I have a Nigerian reader!? Sometimes I wonder why I put so much time and energy into the blog, but then something like this happens and it makes my day.

      If you have any recommendations for Nigerian/African authors, I’m very interested.

  6. 14

    What a charming response! you may of course have a happy dance… I’ll have one with you💃🏿 I’m pleased I was able to contribute some happiness, because I really do enjoy reading your blog.

    Re author recommendations, I could name hundreds, but I’ll start slowly and in no particular order- Ngugi wa Thiong’o (Kenya) Chinua Achebe (Nigeria), Tsitsi Dangarembga (Zimbabwe), J J Bola (DRC), Buchi Emcheta (Nigeria), Nnedi Okarafor (Nigeria) & Lola Shoneyin (Nigeria).

    It’s so nice and refreshing that you’re interested in reading books/more books by African authors. If you want more recommendations at a later point, I’ll be happy to oblige. Hope the coughing has subsided. X

    • 15

      Thank you for the recommendations! I’ve only read Okorafor (the first Binti book, would gladly read the other two, but my local Waterstones annoyingly only has part 3 and no part 2!), although I have held Things Fall Apart in my hand many a time and considered buying it.

      I do try to make an effort to read more diversely, but you know how it is – it is difficult to stay committed if you’re in this space where you’re mostly surrounded by Anglo-American litrature and maybe European classics. Plus there are just so many good books that sometimes it feels hopeless to even skim the surface of all that treasure.

      Please always feel free to recommend things to me. And I apologise in advance that I will not be able to read everything.

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